Friday, February 29, 2008
This Daily Cal editorial is dripping with ignorance. It's a bunch of whining about how those protesters are too loud or something. The killer line is this one:
Whatever their cause, protesters serve it best when they allow the undecided to weigh both sides of the question.I can only assume that the Daily Cal is simply blind to what motivates these protesters.
First, it's important to understand the philosophical underpinnings of what they do when they shout their political opponents down, or attack them, or riot, or whatnot. Their view is largely one of "democratization," which is that political power should be exercised by "the people."
"The people" is in quotes because their view simply doesn't recognize that some people might disagree with them. Those people are mentally ill, or paid for by the evil corporations, or have some other property which makes treating their beliefs as actual beliefs unnecessary.
"Democratization" is in quotes because it isn't the kind of democracy that the Daily Cal is imagining, where people go out and vote for something. Here it means gathering a large number of people to exert force and exercise power until everyone else submits. One could just as easily call it "mob rule," and the moral issues of controlling other people through mob action are swept under the rug because they aren't real people (see previous paragraph).
In this view, Jane Z. Undecided doesn't really matter. She doesn't need to be convinced. Even if she agreed, it's not like she'd join the mob and do the things that help make change in this manner. To these folks, she's basically a sheep who has to be shorn of taxes and productivity to support the ideological goals of the mob, without deserving any real control.
. . .
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Some folks were getting arrested in front of Wheeler for supporting the tree sit today. I saw some whiny hippies trying to start a riot or something to overwhelm the police, but it didn't seem like anyone cared.
. . .
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Slow news week
The Daily Cal continues with the second straight day of "Hey, let's write a story about that website I just saw."
. . .
Taylor Fife asks:
Why would a relatively affluent city with a great university and a great view have such a housing crisis?I think that's a self-answering question. Add rich people who don't want to see efforts to make more (and thus cheaper) housing to a bunch of students who don't have any choice but to live in the area yet have no real power or money and you get expensive crappy housing for students. Rent control and landmarking just happen to be some of the ways this is implemented in Berkeley.
. . .
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Nowadays, I just can't put the heart into talking about the Daily Cal. So just go read their editorials here and here. Oh, I mean here and here. Whoops. My mistake.
. . .
Monday, February 25, 2008
"Berkeley, a Foreign Place for International Students". Well... yeah.
. . .
Friday, February 22, 2008
That's National Association for the Advancement of Cop People. It seems like they're needed to respond to (real) NAACP dude Allen Jackson:
Allen Jackson, president of the Berkeley Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called Thursday for the dismissal and criminal prosecution of officer Cummings.Also:
"I think he needs to be removed from his position and tried for murder," Jackson said.
In response to the police statement that the officer was acting in defense of Gay’s family, Jackson responded, "One of her daughter's was grazed by a bullet the officer fired. He almost took out two."
The NAACP official said he had not talked to any eyewitnesses to the event, "but I am basing my statement on experience and what I know has happened in the neighborhood. It is the policy of law enforcement to shoot first."
However, it is apparent that the only thing in the mind of a Berkeley Police Officer is to kill, especially any African American that they can."I don't know nothin' but that them colored folks just wanna kill us!" Oh, wait, sorry, I thought I was in the South, behaving in the manner that required the establishment of the NAACP in the first place. No, this time the prejudice goes against the cops.
Anyway, with his statement that police are just out to kill blacks, he also says:
This latest incident further exacerbates the tensions between the police and the African American community.I sort of feel that Mr. Jackson is contributing a bit to those tensions, too.
. . .
Continuing the error train, the Daily Cal writes about this ad:
The ad includes footage of council members and Mayor Tom Bates saying they have no reason to apologize for their stance...It does indeed include Max Anderson and Dona Spring saying that the city has no need to apologize. Tom Bates doesn't say anything like that, though. (He said the recruiters should leave)
By the way, that ad is sooooo terrible. It makes me cry out in pain. The pointing, the "you"ing, the saluting... ugh. It hurts my soul. Interestingly, in the opening cut, they have 6 black-and-white pictures of City Council dudes. I don't recognize the second on the left, though process of elimination suggests it's Dona Spring (but I don't recognize it as her... can anyone tell?). The point I want to make, though, is that one of the folks there is Laurie Capitelli, who voted for the apology. (He voted for the hate mail resolution they're talking about, so it's not necessarily "wrong" for him to be there, but since he then apologized, as the ad is saying the City Council should do, it seems kind of unfair)
I love how Ross Lingenfelder is open about how Move America Forward is going to turn the City Council's actions into donations.
. . .
Your mom can't wait, either
"Yoo is moderating tonight, yet he is not non-partisan or neutral," said Giovanni Jackson, youth student organizer of World Can't Wait.A panel discussion moderated by a non-neutral partisan? On a college campus? Unthinkable!
Seeing as how "panel discussions" typically include a bunch of folks who all agree, I find the complaint voiced by Jackson a little bit hollow. Essentially, he's inventing standards just so he can say that Yoo fails them, even though he doesn't actually give a crap about those standards. Have you seen a World Can't Wait panel discussion?
"He is a war criminal responsible for undermining international law and supporting torture."Go arrest and punish him, then. Or does your dedication to your cause stop at the point where you have to resort to real action with real consequences? Do you expect us to accept that you actually believe what you say when you refuse to take the only moral actions that follow?
. . .
Remember last year, when we had to raise our fees in order to build a pot of money so that the university would be convinced that we wanted to see Lower Sproul redeveloped, even though the money wouldn't really do anything? How we had to pass the fee in order to have a voice?
Josh Daniels, last spring:
Perhaps the most important aspect of this referendum, however, is that it gives us, the students, true power over the process and composition of the redevelopment. This referendum gives students the power to discontinue the fee if the redevelopment "process has either not been inclusive of the needs of the student body or they perceive the campus administration has ceased active participation in the redevelopment." This gives us additional power and protection just in case things do not go as planned, which is particularly important given the turnover rate of students.Imagine that. Even though the referendum failed, the planning and fundgathering is still going ahead, and, according to Josh Daniels:
In the world of the administration, money talks; more appropriately, those who pay get to talk. Since students will pay the money, we will get to talk. This holds true regardless of who is in the administration or what the administration's priorities are. If they walk, we walk. In fact, if the planning is not favorable to our priorities—i.e., student priorities—we can walk first.
Graduate Assembly President Joshua Daniels said he believes that the campus would not have provided the funds without the student officials' lobbying efforts.But... but... how could we effectively lobby them without our fee increase!!?? I guess money doesn't talk, after all. Whining does.
Of course, anyone who understood anything about how the university administration works knew that Daniels was wrong way back in 2007. I imagine Daniels did, too, and just lied to the student body, but maybe he was just ignorant. Whichever it is, we should keep this in mind the next time he comes up with one of his brilliant interpretations of reality. ("Boo hoo... Don't ask us about our responsibilities to the ASUC... they make us uncomfortable. Just keep giving us money without strings. It's fairer that way.")
The university doesn't have the balls to do what seems sensible on its face: Tell the student body to put its money where its mouth is. The university listens to the students when the students whine a lot. This is independent of whether the students have any legitimate claim to a voice, such as through the fee. Students claim that legitimacy regardless, and the university isn't going to tell them "nuh uh, we don't have to listen to you!" They think that, of course, but they'd still think that even if we passed the fee.
In other words, both sides would have the same situation regardless of whether or not the fee had passed. The fact that Josh Daniels claims he just didn't know sounds ridiculous, considering his position as a direct negotiator with the administration.
. . .
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Are you sure?
It feels like the Daily Cal reporter got this exactly wrong:
Wing added that UCPD took the recent Northern Illinois University shooting into consideration when dealing with the incident.Now, the Daily Cal often puts completely unrelated quotes next to statements, but if these are related, then it seems like the police dude is saying that, while folks are thinking about the shooting, they took security precautions they would've taken anyway, which is exactly the opposite of what the sentence above the quote says.
"Obviously (the shooting) came to mind. People are extremely sensitive to that issue because it's so recent in the news," he said. "We would have taken the same security measures we did anyway to ensure the safety of our campus community."
. . .
College students use the internet for communication. Wow.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Next week on ASUC, there's a bill to require all restaurants in the Bear's Lair Food Court be "green business certified."
There's also a bill to endorse an "ASUC Roadmap to Commercial Redevelopment" from the ASUC Auxiliary, which includes issues like putting a coffee shop in the Cal convenience store, finding someone else to fill the ugly, disgusting ASUC Mall space with Naia Lounge, etc.
While I'm on the topic of the ASUC, I might as well point out an attempt at an ASUC Elected Officials Blog that nobody seems inclined to use just yet.
. . .
Teh crazy is crazy
I find myself in the unusual position of largely agreeing with a craziness advocate:
Berkeley students come to this university aware of the rumors. Berkeley is competitive, unsympathetic, and for many students, it's far away from home. To be stressed at Berkeley is normal, as though there is no alternative in order to be a successful student. If you're not stressed, you're not working hard enough. If you are stressed, you just have to suck it up.Many folks come to Cal wearing their stress as a badge of honor, bragging about how stressed they're going to be (before they've even seen classes). Perhaps they want to seem "prepared" and not naive, so they talk about how they know they'll experience an enormous amount of stress, without having any clue about how things will actually play out.
But this shouldn't be normal and it certainly isn't healthy.
In what seems like a remarkable coincidence, those who come wearing their "Cloak of Anticipated Stress" are also the ones who end up stressed. Those who didn't, on the other hand, seem to get by much easier.
But then, this really challenges the external craziness concept. It sure looks like folks are choosing to be stressed. They pound and rip at their minds with the same quasi-religious fervor as Medieval Flagellants, seeing it as some kind of penance for... something. The lord it over their fellows as if doing it makes them somehow superior. Is it really any surprise when these folks then get a case of the crazies?
We don't call for an awareness week for those who constantly stab themselves in the eye with a needle to show how much better they are then the rest of us, and then mysteriously go blind. We don't talk about their blindness being beyond their control.
In general, I don't accept the construction that we are somehow separate from our bodies. Something that happens to our bodies happens to us. My heart, my eyes, my arms, and yes, my brain, are all part of me. Those "chemical imbalances" are my chemical imbalances, and the behavior that follows is mine.
To refuse to judge a crazy person is not an act of sympathy or kindness. It's a denial of her agency, freedom, and very humanity. When those who act or believe differently than you are "broken," somehow, it becomes extremely easy to deny them freedom, because you've separated them from their bodies. You can restrict what their bodies can do without affecting the "person" you see as separate, somehow hidden by the vulgarities of a functional organic system. You don't see it as denying their freedom, because you're only restricting their body, not "them."
There's an entire field of research which seeks to define one's political opponents as mentally ill, so that their opinions can be discounted without consideration. The scramble to figure out how "those flyover people" think after the 2004 election was comical in its revelation of how little thought the coastal elites had given to the possibility that maybe those who disagreed with them were, in fact, genuine in their beliefs.
If you're not comfortable with that approach to political governance, perhaps you can understand why many continue to judge the crazy, and reject efforts to destigmatize them. I won't accept the dehumanization of the crazy, because I don't want to prostrate myself before the prevailing notion of "normal" in order to claim my own humanity.
. . .
When the police hold you back so folks can take down the signs you put in their windows, it's "what a police state looks like." I imagine people who live in real police states wish that were true.
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Monday, February 18, 2008
Yeah, pretty much
I guess. To me, the real issue is that yes, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," "I have a dream," and "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" are indeed just words that mean nothing. The first one is especially meaningless, and I don't recall the Depression coming to a close any faster on its account. "Sieg Heil" is probably far closer to being relevant.
What we're really talking about is the power of words to inspire baseless loyalty. Obama is essentially bragging about his ability to get people to follow him regardless of any policies he might have, as if getting people to follow him is the important thing. A campaign which seems to be based on the fact that everyone loves the campaigner (see comments here) is empty and circular. "Look, we're sacrificing for our candidate! That's why you should, too!" How does that follow?
Obama is claiming that he would be effective in building a popular dictatorship. You'll pardon me if I don't find that compelling.
. . .
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I don't think I've mentioned it here, but my current plan is to end the blog after this semester, perhaps running into summer to finish covering the ASUC elections, if necessary.
I reserve the right to change my mind, of course.
. . .
Friday, February 15, 2008
You heard the lady
It has the vaginal seal of approval:
I love vaginas. I love women. I do not see them as separate things. Neither should you.You heard the woman. Treat the nearest woman as if she's just a cunt.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Recruitment in the schools!
Who is going to stand up to those who recruit students, pull them out of school, and encourage them to avoid receiving an education that they can put to good use in the future? World Can't Wait should be chased out of town!
. . .
Since it wasn't entirely clear from any story, there were two votes on the military thingie. The first vote was for Kriss Worthington's motion to change the motion to include an apology.
Yes: Laurie Capitelli, Betty Olds, Kriss Worthington, Gordon Wozniak
No: Dona Spring
Abstain: Linda Maio, Darryl Moore, Max Anderson, Tom Bates
It failed. The other vote was the letter rescinding/replacing (it's not clear which) thingie.
Yes: Linda Maio, Darryl Moore, Max Anderson, Dona Spring, Laurie Capitelli, Kriss Worthington, Tom Bates
No: Betty Olds, Gordon Wozniak
Olds said she was opposed because it didn't have an apology, and I imagine Wozniak was, too, in addition to it not including the other statement which said they support Code Pink in their efforts to make things difficult for the recruiters.
You can see video of the meeting here. Click the relevant video link. The councilfolks talking about it comes at the end, starting around 5:13. There's a break where we have to listen to the terrible, terrible radio station which, for some reason, broke in. It's apparently the only radio station to have a blog (?). Be sure to listen to Dona Spring's speech, somewhere around 5:45. She sounds more and more like a witch as she talks.
Bates: We have the most per capita homeless Vietnam vets. That demonstrates how much we care about our troops.
. . .
I just realized that Nuts and Boalts has been livecommenting the Berkeley City Council meeting. I guess it's good for folks to see at least part of one City Council meeting, just so they know how painful it is. I'm certainly not tuning in.
Update: I lied. I'm listening to the councilmembers talk. I missed Bates and some of Worthington. Capitelli had the most important comment so far, when he said he erred when he granted rights to one group (Code Pink) that he would be disinclined to grant to a less popular group. This has been the real free speech issue, not whether the recruiters could speak. With that, I'm out. Nap time!
Update 2: I'm still lying. Dona Spring sounds like an angry, evil witch who is going to curse you with newt's eyes.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Updated/Bumped: The Chronicle now agrees that 3 people were arrested.
The Chronicle has some video of some stuff. They followed around one guy, though, so it doesn't give much of a picture of what was actually happening. There isn't enough coverage of the events which lead up to the police having to step in to know what happened. Telling people what happened, apparently, took a back seat to listening to some guy yelling.
Maybe some actually useful video will show up later. It does seem clear from the reporting that the anti-Marine folks crossed the street to the pro-troop rally.
The Chron reports no arrests, while the Daily Cal said "a number" had occurred. (I guess 0 is a number)
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Last week, on the Activism Over Yonder festival:
Ms. Allbright said the next guest speaker was Sarah Ehrlich. Ms. Erlich said she would like to thank them for letting her speak. Part of the problem on the campus was not its size, although that was a problem, but a huge polarization in terms of empathy and political beliefs. She thought a lot of the student body was dormant, or sort of felt helpless. There was so much going on that they supposedly had no control over. But she thought this event showed that they could actually mobilize hundreds of thousands of people, starting with a couple of thousand people here. Who was to say this couldn't happen at UC Davis or UCLA or other schools? What really struck her was the hundreds of people storming the stage. She never witnessed that kind of energy before. Everyone was standing up and dancing, and it was infectious. It was a way of engaging people. Isaac Miller spent months of his life organizing this event. Students get so caught up in their personal and academic lives that they constantly overlook a really critical form of expression that could actually bring them together and cause some progress. She was asking the Senate to please help sustain this project and to let it go on. Not to sound trite, but this really was the future, and a way to actually be progressive. She wanted to thank them very much.Really? Storming the stage is the way to be progressive? Rapping? Whining? Feeling energy? Can't "actually being progressive" involve, say, changing things? Speaker after speaker went up to talk about how powerful the event was, but what changed? What was actually accomplished that will have an impact down the road?
Some senators are starting to get pissed at the Executives independent efforts without getting approval for the Senate. Danny Montes discussed the Higher Education Act, and how the office was trying to get folks to ask Barbara Lee to pass it (at the behest of the USSA). Senators Weiner, Kunert, and Osmeña, and Senator Wu's proxy all expressed some unhappiness with the approach that the EAVP was taking. I've excerpted Montes's report last week on Extended, and recommend you read it and see what you think. The reality, though, is that unless these Senators actually file a charge sheet to stop the practice, it will never stop, no matter how much they whine.
In response, Roxanne Winston said:
She would also like to say that one thing that was constantly lacking was respect for their fellow Senators, for students in the room, and for elected officials. While the conversation the Senate had that evening wasn't inappropriate, it was also not constructive. As EAVP Montes said several times, people should talk to him personally. Ms. Winston said she's talked to him and knew that people have not approached him about these issues. If it was so important to Senators, she would ask why they didn't approach Mr. Montes and talk to him about it. The manner the Senate addressed those issues was completely disrespectful and condescending. She would ask them to please check themselves when they were in this room and remember they were all students. No one had any right to disrespect anybody else. In the future, the Senate could work harder to be nicer to people.I'm not impressed by the "deal with it ahead of time" approach. It makes it easier to keep things hidden from the student body. If Danny Montes wasn't prepared to defend his actions it means he hasn't even been thinking about whether or not he has the constitutional authority to do what he's been doing with his office.
Mr. Weiner asked if she was suggesting that the business of the ASUC Senate should take place outside the Senate Chamber and off the record, and in rooms students didn't have access to. Ms. Winston said she wasn't saying that at all. She was saying it would be nice for somebody to speak to people they had an issue with beforehand and to bring something to the floor when necessary. Just because they were elected as Senators didn't mean they were God.
There's also no particular reason to respect other elected officials. I found Montes's answers to be far more disrespectful to the Senate (and student body) in their content-free nature and shifting justifications. The Senate is a proxy of the student body, and has a right to ask these questions, and when executives complain "Hey, you should have talked to me ahead of time off the floor" rather than actually justifying their actions, they're essentially trying to cut the student body out of the discussion. In the face of potential constitutional abuse, Winston is concerned about tone? Weiner and Osmeña were straightforward about what their concerns were, but I guess that's ruder than trying to kill the discussion, as Montes and Allbright did. Should content really be sacrificed for politeness?
Mr. Weiner said she suggested that the EAVP office should decide how it took action by personally gauging the will of the students by speak to students people in the office ran into. He asked if that's how Executive Offices should be run in general. Ms. Winston said she thought Executives were elected by over 3,000 students, more than any Senator. Elected by so many students, she felt Executives could make decisions that the students would want them to make.I think Winston just argued away her own job. In any case, being elected doesn't mean that students approve of any decision you make. The Senate is openly and publicly accountable. The Executives are not. The Senate is exactly where these decisions should be made. Remember that the Executives were elected to do the job of the Executives, not to do whatever the hell they wanted.
. . .
There are a lot of interesting opinions today on the We Love the Rapist Troops topic.
Corporal Sean Thomas Stutzman delivers what I think is a pretty effective disemboweling of the "we support the troops but oppose recruitment" meme.
It is a great insult to me and all the men and women in uniform, because what you are saying is that we made the wrong decision with our lives. I refuse to believe that. You are saying to the youth, "Don't make the same mistake these people made."Some other stuff is included, too.
Instead of talking about all the ways in which the protesters are being hypocritical, though, I'll leave it to Justin DeFritas. DeFritas is the Daily Planet's editorial cartoonist. While I typically disagree with him, he's an effective communicator through those cartoons. He delivers a killer today.
Kenneth Thiesen, of World Can't Wait, decides to narrow the definition of violence so it doesn't apply to him.
Protesters from World Can't Wait! Drive out the Bush Regime! were arrested after chaining themselves to the door of the recruiting station and refusing to leave in an act of non-violent civil resistance.The protesters were also refusing to allow people to pass. It could be done, but only through a bunch of shoving with a risk of injury. Preventing the free movement of people is also an act of violence, even if you don't want it to be one when you feel like doing it. Thiesen admits as much in the very same paragraph:
Berkeley police officers in riot formation blocked and violently cleared the street before arresting the orange jumpsuited protesters.You can actually tell that he is using various moral self-justifications because he lacks the courage to actually stand for a position.
Whatever it takes to stop the Bush regime and drive it from power is justified. I do not mind preventing the recruitment of Marines any more than I would have minded stopping the recruitment of soldiers for the Nazis during World War II. If the Bush wars are immoral, it is moral to do what we can to stop them by acts of civil resistance.Why only acts of civil resistance? Why not violent resistance? Whatever it takes, right? But a line has been arbitrarily drawn here not based on a morally coherent philosophy, but because Thiesen is a moral child who decides what to do and then draws the lines of right and wrong to neatly surround him on the side of "justice."
On to the letters: Norma Harrison works on a different system of reality than I do:
Marine recruiting in order to defend our country is like calling fire in a crowded theater, knowing there's no fire. Both are against the law.When did this happen? I thought recruiting was legal.
Pinko Cynthia Papermaster says:
Steven Donaldson wrote "many of the protesters are not from Berkeley." What bearing does that have on the issue of Marine recruiting in Berkeley? The war affects all of us.Cynthia Papermaster disagrees, though:
As if the right-wing false patriots coming from outside of Berkeley, who spew hatred and jingoism and attack our City Council and peaceful Berkeley values should be dictating how Berkeleyans should act and think.
. . .
So, the reason for the heavy police presence was probably a big confrontation earlier in the day. Stuff.
Be aware, though, that when Cat Moy describes the event:
Berkeley erupted in violence Tuesday morning when the Communist, terrorist-supporting anti-war group crossed into Martin Luther King Park and assaulted pro-troop individuals. Riot police stood by, but did not stop the assaults. Police agencies did not respond to calls for help.he uses the term "assault." Assault is a legal term, but in casual conversation has very little meaning, and when somebody says "that guy assaulted me," I don't take it as an act of aggression unless an actual accounting of the event follows. For an emotional protester in a situation where making the other side look bad is preferred, saying "they assaulted us and the cops did nothing" isn't particularly convincing.
It's not implausible either, though. The cops are trying to maintain "neutrality," and did so even in the face of law-breaking at the recruiting center.
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I saw today's Daily Cal editorial cartoon printed out on a piece of paper taped to a signpost like a crazy man's manifesto might be. At least it didn't say "Kill Jews" on it!
. . .
I stopped by the protest outside "City Hall" today in the vicinity of 2 pm. Megan was there snapping photos, so keep your eye on the Patriot blog for those.
I cursorily counted 58 police officers, many in riot gear, and there were probably more. There wasn't any evidence that they were needed though, as the event seemed pretty peaceful. Maybe things will get rougher as we approach 7 pm.
On the side of the actual building, the Code Pink folks had set up camp. And I mean camp. They had tents and everything, since they had been there since 7 pm the previous day. I asked a lady there about Fred Phelps, but apparently the Westboro Baptist Church hadn't made an appearance. Maybe they'll show up later, or maybe they canceled.
The Code Pink side was pretty tame. None of the pro-troop folks were on the Code Pink side. The reverse was not true, though. On the other side of the street, the pro-troop folks were mingling and blasting music and such, while Code Pink and World Can't Wait mingled with them, arguing and such. Many of them seemed at an age where they ought to have been in school.
I left just as Melanie Morgan started her rally.
"Who here has lost a loved one for this country"
Yeah. They were chanting "USA! USA!" as I left earshot.
Update: Did I mention the Semper Fi plane?
. . .
Next week, on ASUC
BCR Senator Chad Kunert has submitted a bill that says:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) voice strong opposition to the city's positions and actions against the Marine Recruiting Station and urge them to reconsider; andIt will probably get watered down in committee to say "we agree with opposing the war" or something. Or maybe it will die. If it passes, though, the interesting thing will be to see if the Van Nguyen and Danny Montes comply.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the ASUC request that federal and state funds not be pulled from the University of California at Berkeley; and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the ASUC President and External Affairs Vice President send and submit the ASUC's position to the Berkeley City Council and to any Federal and State lawmakers threatening to pull funding from the University of California.
. . .
Monday, February 11, 2008
More press about Berkeley's love for the military.
"This is a great gift to us to be able to ignite a national debate," said Medea Benjamin, Code Pink spokeswoman. "We're drawing a line in the sand on Shattuck Avenue and saying the war stops here."An interesting place to draw the line. I would've tried to draw that line in Iraq.
. . .
Ah! Youths! Run!
A few weeks back, the Activism Right There Festival had an event "Activism in the Arts," which ended with a bunch of folks storming the stage to dance. Cal Performances was not amused, I guess, so they want the ASUC to force events they sponsor to work with SUPERB. Of course, ASUC sponsorship for this event came after the fact, which suggests yet another reason why requests for sponsorship and money ought to come in advance.
You can read the complaint letters here, and watch the offending moments here.
. . .
Guy Houston, a guy from somewhere within one planet of Houston, wants to hop on the "take away funds" bandwagon with a more targeted effort.
"(Houston) is posturing for his political base," said Berkeley City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak.Oh, why does it have to be Wozniak who says these things? It's so much harder to say "I know you are, but what am I?"
However, there is strong support among Republicans in the Assembly to withhold funds from Berkeley, according to Houston.Republicans in the California legislature are in favor of it? It's already a done deal, then!
"My caucus is united in favor of this," he said.
. . .
Irony! And I think even the ironazis will agree!
Superstition! I think Dona Spring gets shamelessness points for "It's our city, we can regulate it the way we see fit" when she accepts state and federal funding.
Powerlessness! Clearly, everyone involved has been waiting for the ASUC to step up and solve the problems.
. . .
Friday, February 08, 2008
If there's one thing the City of Berkeley needs right now, it's Fred Phelps.
The council item and proposed revisions have sparked response on the right and the left, with pro-war Move America Forward planning a day-long demonstration Feb. 12 outside the Maudelle Shirek Building (Old City Hall at 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way) and Code Pink calling a 24-hour peace-in at the same place, beginning at 7 p.m. Feb. 11. The Rev. Fred Phelps will bring his virulent anti-gay message to the mix as well, demonstrating against both the Marines and Code Pink.This will be the Phelps folks' second visit while I've been here. (last time)
. . .
Thursday, February 07, 2008
The damage control issue I mentioned earlier is rearing its head:
Berkeley City Councilmembers Laurie Capitelli and Betty Olds submitted an item for Tuesday's council meeting to rescind the decision to send the military center the controversial letter.I already knew Olds held her position before the funding threat, and I'd not be surprised to find that Capitelli did, too. Still, this is one of those "no take-back" situations, where the truth will give out to the image, and the City of Berkeley will come off looking cowardly. This is why it's typically a good idea to just take a stand and not do stupid things, rather than hoping to reverse the stupidity later when it's convenient to take the stand.
"I determined long before (DeMint) made his inflammatory statement that I had made a mistake and that I was going to introduce an item to correct it," Capitelli said.
Olds said the federal threat to cut funds did not play a role in their decision to create the new resolution.
"We're rescinding it because we think it was wrong to do," she said.
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I'm told that the Activism Right There Festival eventually got $6,000 after CalSERVE kept the rolls open so they could call for reinforcements from their sick senators.
I'm also told that the members of the Senate accepted gifts (T-shirts) from the people asking for Cal students' money. The ethical choice, of course, would have been to refuse those gifts.
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Democrats are boring
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Someone pointed me to an article. Some guy wants to abolish the student government at the University of Arizona. Why do we care? See if any of this sounds familiar.
Since they do little actual legislating, the only remaining authority granted to ASUA is to provide services, the most inefficient function of governments everywhere.
What about student clubs? One of ASUA's major duties is appropriating an annual budget of $100,000 to clubs and groups across campus, a process that requires funding requests to be heard by an appropriations board, the student senate, approved by the president and managed by a treasurer. Student groups ought to get some stipend from the university - but there's no need for clubs to plea before a cartel that doles out cash.
Finally, the useful services that ASUA provides could operate just as smoothly as independent clubs - perhaps even more effectively without loads of bureaucratic oversight from ASUA.
Exclusion from policy discussions and failure to voice student opinion is a dangerous combination, because it gives the university administration a complacent buffer between their actions and student opinion. As long as ASUA exists, they will turn to our excluded, impotent student leaders as the voice of students - rather than to students themselves.
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Tuesday, February 05, 2008
According to the Alameda election results website, with 56.56% of precincts reporting, "write-in" is now leading the Libertarian field with a whopping 64343 votes. Out of 2935 registered Libertarians. I may hold off on drawing too many conclusions from the web site.
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It looks like the only thing being rescinded for the City Council is their mean letter to the Marine recruiters. From the Daily Cal letter by Betty Olds and Laurie Capitelli:
In a completely separate action, the Berkeley City Council granted fee waivers for permits to an organization actively protesting the Marine Corps office. To grant a privilege to one group while actively seeking to eliminate the legal presence of another is discriminatory and contrary to our longstanding support of free speech. In retrospect, the City Council should have considered the impact such an action would have on the rights of free speech and expression for all citizens. These rights must be paramount and must be preserved and protected for all of us.Note that they aren't actually trying to reverse granting those privileges, nor are they changing their policy of seeking to eliminate the legal presence of the recruiting center, so I dunno how their letter squares with their actions.
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Weren't Obama and Clinton supposed to be neck and neck in California? Obama's getting creamed by Clinton. Maybe it's that "I'll tell a pollster I'll vote for a black man, but..." thing.
Prop 92 got flattened. Prop 91 is doing pretty well for a measure that even the supporters want you to vote no on. Prop 93 is a little behind, but usually the later returns tend more liberal, which in this election means pro-93 for some reason. (I would think even average Joe would be pissed off at the dishonesty of Prop 93, and it's doing a lot better than I expected)
Ron Paul is behind Rudy, who isn't even running. Fred Thompson's doing pretty well for a no-longer-running candidate, too.
Both measure A and B are getting smushed, because everyone hates hospitals and children. Clinton is actually leading in Alameda, though the late-return effect would probably be even more pronounced for Obama.
"Write-in" is leading the Libertarian slate with 63 votes (with 35.71% reporting) for Alameda. Alameda also likes being lied to, and has Prop 93 in the lead.
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Daily Cal endorsements are already pretty irrelevant. Does it really make sense to endorse McCain because, essentially, "we Democrats like him more"? Most newspapers seem to be taking this approach, which really strikes me as silly. What will a Republican care who a liberal paper endorses? Maybe they should've left the Republican endorsement to their Republican staff... if they had any.
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For those of you interested, once voting is over, you can find statewide election results (most interesting on the propositions) here. Alameda results (Measures A and B) here.
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Last week's ASUC minutes.
Ms. Winston said that in reference to the ASUC Art Studio, she asked if there were any possible discounts available for Senators, since it could get kind of expensive to buy membership as well as pay service fees, such as for the darkroom.Yeah, we wouldn't want Senators to have to pay fees that other people pay. High costs are for non-Senators only.
Mr. Osmeña asked about the types of actions the GA took that must come to the ASUC Senate, and his interpretation of that. Mr. Daniels said he would encourage questions to be asked, researched, and answered, but at the same time, he would encourage them to be aware that a simple question like that was very laden with history. If the GA were to sense that the ASUC Senate was looking over its shoulder and micromanaging what the GA did, he thought it would bring up that history. And given how productive their relationship has been on any number of issues, he would like to find a way for that to not happen. If there was an issue where the GA has not upheld its end of the bargain, he would ask them to talk to him or send him an e-mail, and they could find out how it worked for the Senate and the GA.Looking over the GA's shoulder is part of the ASUC Senate's job. It seems that Josh Daniels doesn't even want people discussing the possibility that the GA is part of the ASUC, and somehow accountable to the student body. The GA likes the relationship now (because the Senate refuses to put its foot down on anything), and if the ASUC starts being responsible, the GA will throw another hissy fit. I'm sorry that the GA folks don't like to talk about their responsibilities to the students of Cal, but it's part of their fucking job, so they need to grow up and do it. Getting free representation in the Senate while enjoying food and benefits at the expense of a largely indifferent graduate student body should not be all there is to the GA.
The Activism Right There Festival asked $7,500 from the Senate last week, the week of the event. Regardless of whether it should have been funded, Albert Wu had a good point:
Asking for money for the very expensive Zellerbach the week of the event held the ASUC hostage to fund the event or to force actions to be taken to the event's detriment.I imagine this was, in fact, part of the plan. Unless the Senate actually takes some kind of concrete action in terms of asking for money in advance, it will continue to be extorted this way year after year. There's no room for negotiations or modifications, because there isn't any time to do them. If they vote against it, they're trying to halt the event.
Gabe Weiner similarly argued that if they were going to put more money into it than Spring Welcome Week (an event the ASUC invented, pretty much), they should have been involved in the planning and had their name on it.
He didn't want the Senate to set a precedent that, in the future, could lead other groups going out and making their own planning decisions, thinking they could come to the ASUC as an open bank.Otherwise, it was a bunch of discussion as to whether it was too much money when other student groups wanted some, or whether they should make the allocation without knowing how much money they had, and the like.
The bill was eventually tabled on an 11-7-1 vote.
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What do we want?
At Bancroft and Telegraph, a bunch of Obama folks were shouting "What do we want? CHANGE! When do we want it? NOW!" After that, they CHANGEd what they were doing.
No, no, actually, they kept on, without CHANGE, repeating the same thing over and over. How deep is their commitment to CHANGE? When you run on a platform as idiotic as CHANGE, you invite equally idiotic commentary like this.
Speaking of idiotic platforms, the idiotic platform of UNITY for the sake of UNITY isn't really functionally different from blind nationalism.
In other campaign news, a posse of Prop 92 supporters were out looking for votes. Prop 92 is the one which will reduce funding to the UC system. I hope they aren't successful at getting votes for it here.
I did notice police taking down a few Hillary fliers posted on Sather Gate. I assume that the Obama/CHANGE chalking is equally disallowed, but the effort to clean it up in real time isn't worth the benefit.
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Next week, there are a couple of odd bills.
One is a bill taking the side of the whiners and homeless in the People's Park kerkookle.
Another refers to an incident where, supposedly, some black students were tossed from Eshleman for trespassing or some such even after showing their student ID. I'm hesitant to take the bill at face value, though, without an account from the police, as the ASUC has been quite comfortable with making up facts in their bills.
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Monday, February 04, 2008
There's no q in back off
Whoops. The Berkeley City Council looks set to back off on at least their "fuck you" letter to the Marines. They've already admitted that they were using the recruiting center as a punching bag for their anti-Bush attitude, so it's going to be tough to call it a mistake and talk about how they really love the troops! For serious!
Kriss Worthington was the unexpected voice of reason on this. Gordon Wozniak and Betty Olds were opposed from the start (Olds had second thoughts almost immediately), and ascribing principles to Laurie Capitelli is almost always an error. I'm sure he just picked whichever side he thought was most effective for him.
It looks like even Tom Bates is going to join in on the back-off.
DeMint's defunding effort never really had a chance, but the move is looking downright genius, now. It will be easy for folks to say that the City Council did what most people who want the government to "take a stand" do: Take the stand only until it costs money. San Francisco passed Proposition I in 2005 saying something like "We take a stand against military recruiters in schools... but won't actually take action because it might cost us money." Berkeley did something similar for giving information to recruiters.
It no longer matters if the defunding threat is the reason the City Council backs off. They've painted themselves as whiny, petulant children who'll cry and scream until consequences materialize, at which point they'll run away.
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Tomorrow is Super Tuesday! How super is it? Very! Ron Paul will finally win the nomination he's been destined to earn! We'll get to determine whether Democrats hate black people or women more! Political advertisers will finally shut the fuck up!
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Hey, that looks peaceful
I guess it's Israeli Apartheid Week. Brought to you by the same people who whined about how inflammatory the title "Islamofascism Awareness Week" was. I want to see at least an assault or two. Can we really lose to SF State?
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I'm far too lazy to find out who to point this out to, or to take action myself, so here's my ASUC PSA.
The ASUC Wikipedia page continues to erroneously identify the ASUC as Cal's "Undergraduate student government," when it is, in fact, the student government for all Cal students. Not being the type to police the internet, I'm certainly not going to fix it, but if anyone feels like it, knock yourself out.
In a somewhat less forgivable offense, the ASUC website denies tens of thousands of ASUC members their role by writing:
The Associated Students of the University of California are the elected representatives of the UC Berkeley student body.No, actually the Associated Students of the University of California are the students of the University of California... and they're associated, you see. Every student who votes is a member, and there are probably more members than that (the current defintion is unconstitutional, but no one has actually fixed it). In any case, trying to limit it to the elected officials, or even any officials, is simply false, and telling members that they aren't members probably isn't really the best way to greet students.
In other news, it is no longer accurate to say:
We are a member of the University of California Student Association (UCSA), the coalition of student governments from all UCcampuses.UCSA chased UC Davis out of the association. It's sort of impolite to claim their support.
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Friday, February 01, 2008
More on that Berkeley-defunding-thingie:
In an effort to retain their funding, the campus plans to contact DeMint and inform him that the city and the campus are separate institutions, as well as tell him about the campus's ROTC program, said UC Berkeley spokesperson Marie Felde.Hey, it wasn't us. It's them, over there! Take their funding! We love the military!
"We are hopeful that when he has the facts he will rethink his position," she said.
Councilmember Gordon Wozniak, who voted against the resolutions, said he was unhappy with DeMint's decision.It's a tough position to hold, though, for the city of Berkeley, when folks say things like this:
"These are good projects, they should be judged on their merit and not whether you agree with Berkeley politics or not," he said.
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, who voted for the resolutions against the center, said that the council supports the troops, but said that they hope to see the war end as soon as possible.If the city is going to punish the recruiting center based on a national policy, they're not really able to complain that city projects shouldn't be punished for city policy. Obviously, this isn't Wozniak's fault, but he's being undercut pretty badly by his colleagues.
"The recruiting center is a symbol for the war and it provides (protestors) a convenient place to express their opposition against a war that they believe is illegal and immoral," Bates said. "I think it was unfortunate that the Marines chose to place a recruiting center in Berkeley. It's like poking us with a stick."
As I said before, nothing is going to come out of this but positive publicity for the Republican party, but that may be more painful for city residents than losing the money would've been.
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Since the protesters are no longer nonviolent, does that mean their special rights under the city resolution are void? (this is a hilarious picture, by the way)
"You guys are just cannon fodder!" the chained protesters shouted at three teenage boys who walked past the office and said they wanted to go inside. "They want to train you to kill babies!"I think the comparisons to abortion clinic protests are quite valid. If laws prohibiting them are valid, then laws prohibiting military recruiter protests like this are going to be, too. They might want to keep their eye on the ball.
Senator Jim DeMint wants to kill federal funding for the city.
"The First Amendment gives the city of Berkeley the right to be idiotic, but from now on they should do it with their own money," DeMint said in a statement. He called the council's vote "a slap in the face to all brave servicemen and women and their families."It'll fail to get anywhere, but that's probably even more beneficial for the Republicans.
"I guess they've never heard of free speech," said Councilwoman Dona Spring. "I've had a lot of nasty phone messages today, threatening me with things like saying, 'I'll take you out.' But they can go ahead. I don't feel scared."Said one caller, "I'll make it so you spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair."
But come on. Free speech? The City Council is a government agency, it doesn't have free speech rights.
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