Thursday, September 30, 2004
I guess everyone's watching the debate right now. Well, everyone except me, since I'm a Californian and know it, so it hardly matters. I may watch it for fun later. Be sure to check out Something Awful's Drinking Game for the debate, and find out just how right they were.
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Interestingly, "socialized health care" + "sob stories" turns up only five results on Google (and guess who's number five). What's more interesting is that I actually used a phrase as long and complicated as "socialized health care."
Anyway, I'll be heading to a Bill Gates talky thingie tomorrow, reporting on his fashion sense. They say he'll be answering questions, so if anyone actually has an interesting yet non-confrontational question (ha, unlikely) they want me to attempt (and probably fail) to ask, let me know.
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Oooh, a protest
I went to yesterdays "I hate hate crimes" rally on Lower Sproul, and was pleasantly suprised. I thought it was going to be boring, since it had university backing, but it turned out to be quite interesting, especially with the occasional screams from the drunken revelry at the Bears Lair.
People were coming and going, and I'd say at the peak there were about 80 people (generously). Interesting sound bites, though. (unfortunately, most quotes are approximate and unattributed)
"Hate stops here. Hate stops with me."
"The meaning of this is that the community does not support hate crimes."
"Our words cannot erase pain, but they can state principles."
Billy Curtis, from the Gender Equity Center, blamed it on our national leadership and their "violent rhetoric." He condemned the ignorance that lead to people "mistaking Sikhs for Arabs." Which raises the question: Would it have been okay if they had properly identified the Arabs and targetted their hate crimes at them? Because if not, it hardly seems relevant whether folks are mistaking Sikhs for Arabs.
The Patriot should be glad, because they got plenty of mention. It turns out that The Patriot's opinions about racism being caused by race-awareness are hate speech, according to these folks.
One of the Muslim students who was attacked with water was certain the problem would get worse because of the way America treated Cat Stevens. She blamed the media for the problem. Interestingly, she has been asked "What did it feel like when your dad cut your clitoris off?"
The Sikh student asked to leave the Dining Commons because he was wearing a religious dagger was counted as one of the recent hate crimes. The student in question showed up, and showed himself to be Mackish. That is, he looks for hate when it's not there. He said that the DC folks responded to him because he was wearing a turban and had a long beard (his beard wasn't even that long) and, almost as an afterthought, was carrying a weapon. Yes, was carrying a weapon. Mystery solved?
Rebecca Parker from the Graduate Theological Union suggested that those folks who oppose hate crimes should "know the Other on the Other's terms," which is, of course, the opposite of what Mr. Singh had just done, by assuming the worst of the Other. Also, "The Other" is a stupid phrase.
Anyway, victory goes to the Latino folks for the most interesting comments. The first speaker insisted that she found "responding to hate speech with more speech" was inadequate, without ever mentioning any kind of real solution. (Stealing The Patriot?) Include traditional bitching about The Patriot's funding and "glossy cover."
Her brother then came on and repeated the whining about The Patriot, but proposed a great solution to the hate crime problem. Museum exhibits! That's right, responding with more speech isn't a solution, and trying to engage the opposition is a bad idea because, according to him, "They make me mad, and therefore I will never communicate with them." Instead, set up "Facing Hate" at a museum about communities coming together. That'll stop people from ever committing hate crimes again.
"Hate speech is not free speech, as it silences people and keeps them from learning from each other." I don't quite see how that makes a) sense or b) it not free speech.
Anyway, the idea of coming together as a community to fight the epidemic of people acting like assholes seems a bit... uh... ineffective. But hey, that's just me.
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Wednesday, September 29, 2004
"We worked to draw in a lot of people who wouldn’t have considered joining a fraternity and sorority by tailoring the message to appeal to more people based on what we thought were the weaknesses."
I read it the first time and skimmed right over it. Then I read it again. And again. Each time I read it, it seemed to make less and less sense. This is going to cost me some sleep. Can anyone translate this?
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Some nice weather.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Berkeley Dems are stupid
Political cheerleading by the Dems or the Repubs is sooooo boring. Consider:
It's an editorial about how we should vote for Kerry/Edwards because they'd be better as president/vice-president than Bush. Of course, they're running this in California, where voting for Kerry/Edwards isn't even slightly related to getting Kerry/Edwards in office.
Under Bush, young people have the highest unemployment rate in the United States: 12 percent, more than double the national average.
Oh, noes! So... uh... is this bad? Good? What counts as a "young person"? Is twice the national average of unemployment unusual for them? Learn to quote your studies better! Please.
(still on break)
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Monday, September 27, 2004
It's not funny anymore.
Also, "My life had little meaning before I moved into a co-operative." Conclude for yourselves.
(I'm on quasi-break for a while as I get some internet issues sorted out)
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Friday, September 24, 2004
Anyone else think this building is giving you the finger?
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How about that?
A strange thought occured to me. I'm a blogeezer here in the Berkeley blogscape. With Kevin gone, and Hugo on break until ASUC elections roll around again, I think that leaves me as the oldest student blogger in this particular portion of the Berkeley blogscape. (I may be wrong, but no one really cares) In honor of this nifty little detail, let's have some bloggy communityish thing for this weekend. I might throw up some of my blogging philosophy. But here's a fun idea. Blogger profiles! The nature of blogging prevents us from having an "introductin to me" page, but sometimes you want to know more about the blogger behind the blog post (note: not the (wo)man behind the blogger).
Anyway, if y'all are interested, I'm taking advantage of Blogger's quasi-infinite space by starting up another blog which we may be able to use as a blog on blogs, so to speak. So hey, if you're a Berkeley blogger and interested, lemme know, and send me a profile I can post about you.
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More drama, please
The Regents voted 14-6 (not 16-4, Daily Cal) to raise minimum GPA requirements for eligibility at the university to 3.0. Cue overdramatic responses:
Editorial Cartoon: Look closely at what this cartoon is implying. Admitting people based on good performance in school academics is bad. What would be better is to admit them based on the things at the feet of the losers. That's right. Admit people who know how to play a flute (I think that's a flute). (In fairness, it looks like that flute is playing music without a player, so if any student can pull that off, maybe they do deserve an admission). Better yet, admit those that know how to paint. Or even play soccer. Also, paper does not fold in the manner that those notes with GPAs or "Rejected" on them do.
Anyway, check this out. Remember fist in the air = our group is right (or something). But note that students are crying and have to be consoled. These are students who are already in the UC system and thus unaffected. "Whaaaa, I'm crying like a little girl because... because.... umm..."
From the Planet:After the regents voted 14-6 for the increase, a crowd of some 25 to 30 student protesters stood up from their seats in the auditorium of UC San Francisco-Laurel Heights, chanting “Education is a right, not just for the rich and white” and “Is diversity what you fear? We know you don’t want us here.”
Well, at least they're not ignorant. The Regents definitely did not want them there.
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Remember, kids: "Heinz ketchup is America's favorite ketchup and enjoyed by Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike."
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Could you possibly fold any faster?
Actually, the dining commons worker decided that Mansheel is not allowed to walk into the DC with a knife. It turns out this knife has religious significance. Which makes it okay. In a related story, my religion tells me to go around killing people. How dare people stop me. It's discrimination.
There are no rules prohibiting students from wearing Kirpans or other religious articles in the dining commons, according to UC Berkeley’ General Residence Hall Conduct Policies.
Yeah, but are there rules prohibiting students from wearing weapons? Well, the point is moot, as they folded faster than a house of folding papers.
The students said they will push for sensitivity training for Cal Dining staff, said Camille Pannu, a student on the Chancellor’s Task Force on Hate and Bias.
“I’m surprised they don’t have it already,” Pannu said.
Because sensitivity training makes people sensitive, and not bitter at all. Also, remember that this is the staff that's horribly underpaid and overworked. Let's give them MORE to worry about! Yay!
The students also said this incident incited them to push for a federal law that would protect the Sikhs’ right to wear Kirpans and other religious articles.
Can you say loophole? Some religion should make a concealed handgun a religious article.
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Women in PURPLE!!!
It's Friday, which means Women in Black was protesting again. I noticed they're still whining about Carrie, who got bulldozed to death. That is sooo last year. Surely they can get some new material.
Carrie does teach us an important lesson, though. Don't stick your head in a war, or it might come off. (Iraq has been demostrating this for us almost literally) And if you do put yourself in dangerous situations, don't expect me to cry for you when you get deaded.
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Thursday, September 23, 2004
Right in the feelings
This post about some search engine games leading to some stuff about lesbian beetle sex attracted the attention of Tilted Fish, a blog which seems vaguely Berkeley-oriented and possibly worth linking (if you want a link, Siguy, let me know, I'll throw it up).
Anyway, the good news is this is "Berkeley's resident angry conservative blog." (suck it, Res Ipsa)
The even better news is this theory:
Now this may sound incredibly horrible, but maybe, just maybe, the conclusions from this article explain the human male fixation with lesbian sex. If so it implies that men want one fat woman but settle for two thin lesbians having sex instead.
Could it be that we've found a loophole in society's sexual demonization of the fat?
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What's the going rate for a campaign advertisement in the form of "news analysis"?
Summary of advertisement: Kerry didn't flip-flop, but he sucks at explaining it (which is the real reason why you think Kerry flip-flops). Here, we'll explain it for him.
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Guess who's the number three search on MSN for "sex on beetle"? That's right.
But interestingly, the search led me to to this story on lesbian beetle sex. Fascinating stuff.
More strangely, though, ADD children questionairre finds me at number 7. You would think there'd be some more websites that at least had those three words laying around somewhere. (ADD is also add, after all, and add is the word which landed me in the google search)
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It didn't work?
I must have missed this when it happened. On the evil, vile, disgusting professor Yoo: (he held an unpopular opinion, you see)
Student demonstrators demanded Yoo’s resignation and more than a quarter of Boalt Hall School of Law’s graduating class this spring wore red armbands at their ceremony to protest his work.
Yep. Red armband = protesting his work. Makes sense to me. In other news, I'll be picking at my fingernails to show my disgust for people who leave orange peels just laying around.
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This Daily Cal story about the Governor vetoing and signing some bills concerning needle exchange issues discusses the various difficulties that the needle exchange question presents. But the entire story doesn't mention drug use at all. Not once.
Berkeley has supported clean-needle exchange programs like NEED for the past 15 years. State law requires the city to declare an HIV-infection state of emergency every two to three weeks to allow the distribution of needles.
Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington said continually declaring a state of emergency is a “waste of paper and time.”
Hmm... you know, maybe, just maybe, the law is there for a reason, and we shouldn't be arbitrarily declaring states of emergency just to get around it. Don't like the law? Fight it. Don't loophole around it. Are we in an HIV-infection state of emergency?
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Wrong, and more wrong
On lab bidding:
“The lab needs leadership that’s going to lead it in the direction of demilitarization and democratization,” said Chelsea Collonge, a UC Berkeley junior on The Coalition to Demilitarize the University of California. “Weapons research violates international law.”
Remember, this is coming from someone who "can't even imagine walking for an hour." Strangely, while her imagination can't handle a not-very-long walk, it can invent something called "international law," and even more amazingly conclude that "weapons research violates international law," as she fights wars with sticks and rocks. Unless using weapons in general constitutes weapons research.
Also, the lab doesn't need to be led "in the direction of demilitarization and democratization," since it has no army and is not a government.
Also wrong is Former Senator Hart.
Terrorism experts agree that the United States will be attacked again, but is not prepared to withstand another attack because no one has been held accountable for the Sept. 11 attacks.
If only we'd blame people, we'd be safe. I buy it. But where Hart is really wrong:
“Three thousand people lost their lives on Sept. 11,” Hart said. “Not one person lost their job in Washington.”
Hmm... how about the people who got deaded when a plane crashed into the Pentagon? (disclaimer: I'm not entirely sure about the official definition of such things. The Pentagon may be considered to be in Virginia and not Washington. Nevertheless, "people losing their job in Washington" pretty obviously refers to federal government officials, so it would almost certainly include the Pentagon)
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Another excellent byline
Marchers Traverse 90 Miles, 14 Bay Area Campuses To Make Higher Education a Greater State Priority
Yep. If you march far enough, the legislature will dedicate its whole budget to education. I'm sure of it.
“California can afford to provide a decent education for all,” Parish said. “The budget cuts in education are the natural outcomes of conscious decisions made over the years by state policy makers.”
Er... I guess so. Would we rather have our state policy makers making unconscious decisions?
“I wanted to meet the people who hit the pavement and put their feet where their beliefs are,” said UC Berkeley junior Chelsea Collonge. “I can’t even imagine walking for an hour, much less five days.”
Wow. Just wow. I hope she's in a wheelchair or something, because otherwise, she's got no excuse.
“We found walking to be a really good way of getting our message out,” said UC Santa Cruz student Leah Marchenko. “I think it’s going to get a good response at Santa Cruz and everywhere else.”
Marching is an effective way to mobilize other young people, Marchenko said.
Not according to Chelsea Collonge. Anyway, did you try talking or writing as a means of getting your message out? I guess I'm just naive, but I can't seem to put my finger on how walking really far sends a message, other than "the university system doesn't educate us with enough intensity, because look at all the free time we have."
It’s been a long time since students went out of their way and made sacrifices for a cause, said Yvette Felarca, director of BAMN, who rallied with the walkers.
People have been blowing themselves up for their causes almost continuously for years. What are you talking about? Are you getting senile in your old age?
The group is working to place referenda on California college campuses where students would vote to pay $10 a year to fund the creation of a statewide student union.
Great, an even bigger UCSA which wants us to fund their personal desires.
The student union will be a center of political empowerment for youth, because students will decide how to allocate its funds, Parrish said.
Correction: "...because some students will decide how to allocate its funds..."
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Tuesday, September 21, 2004
From yesterday: "Rodney was joined by a handful of students and dozens of campus employees from five staff unions in his efforts to make a case to the administrators inside California Hall about the bargaining situation between the workers and UC, which has deadlocked on unions’ demands for wage increases."
Yesterday I mentioned this protest after having seen the end of it. Maybe I missed the "making the case" part, but I certainly wouldn't consider "G-R-E! E-D-Y! UC has no Alibi! They're greedy! They're greedy! They're really really greedy!" or "Everywhere we go. People want to know. Who we are. So we tell them. We are the union. The mighty mighty union," to be "making a case."
In fact, in general, protests don't make cases. Especially when screaming at buildings where the administrators in question rarely reside.
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Hmm... what do you think?
Welcome to a new random feature which asks the question: What do you think?
Today's Male Sex on Tuesday column (!) says "porn is out of the mainstream."
What do you think?
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Saving the environment is great, but...
This Daily Cal story about some restaurants becoming "Greener" says stuff. Whatever.
But this picture is captioned "Nabolom Bakery is one of the Berkeley restaurants cutting waste with the help of Thimmakka’s Resources." Cutting waste? What about that statue-like thingie? How necessary is that?
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And a zero for creativity
VIVA TORO ENERGY DRINK!!!
With a picture of a red bull on them. Subtle, guys. Subtle.
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Monday, September 20, 2004
On the pillars by Dwinelle, there was vandalism which read "Spread love, smash capitalism." I will point out my own personal belief that "smashing things people love" rarely is a pro-love attitude. Stand by for the Loveism economic system.
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Fun Protest Coverage
Today, I caught the tail-end of a CUE union rally in front of California Hall. I was there from about 12:40-12:55, and still saw plenty worth laughing at. Here you go:
There were probably no more than 50 people there as I passed by. They spent the whole time wandering around in a circle chanting and waving their signs. One woman was knitting as she walked, who I salute for being productive with her protesting time.
I arrived while they were chanting, I believe, "What do we want? CONTRACTS! When do we want them? NOW!" Of course, "contracts" is far too complicated of a word to chant as a group, so it took me quite a while to figure out what they were saying. I heard "What do we want? FLAPJACKS!" first.
No protest is complete without unoriginal "Hey hey ho ho" chants. I heard "Hey hey! Ho ho! Union busting's got to go!" and "Hey hey! Ho ho! Tution hikes have got to go!" (which raises the question, where is the money for their raises is going to come from? How is this related to their cause?)
The person dressed up as the Planters Peanuts guy (making a joke about low wages) was suprisingly inconspicuous. Instead, you heard mostly loud fat ladies screaming into bullhorns, and barely noticed the big fat peanut walking around.
Which brings me to the hillarious chant: "G-R-E! E-D-Y! UC has no Alibi! They're greedy! They're greedy! They're really really greedy!" It looks stupid in words, but it was fifty times stupider coming from the amplified voice of a pissed off fat lady. She seemed like a Dr. Seuss wannabe.
"Everywhere we go. People want to know. Who we are. So we tell them. We are the union. The mighty mighty union." Clearly not the poets' union. And if you're so mighty, why can't you accomplish your goals?
"Not the Regents, not the state! Workers will decide our fate!" So decide already. Why do you keep asking for the Regents and the state to decide your fate?
Noisewise, we heard Indian war cries, a whistle of some sort, various shaky, clacky, and rattly devices that people got from a large sack of such toys one lady brought. Apparently, such tools add to the message. You know, because... umm... well, you see... the thing is... er...
They ended with the traditional "We'll be back! We'll be back!" chant before dispersing. I would have ammended the chant to "We'll be back because we failed to accomplish any of our goals, which might be expected since all we're doing is standing outside and screaming at a building," but nobody asked me.
"My family can't eat UC Prestige." Well, true. The goal is to make it such that my family can eat UC prestige in the future.
On T-shirt read "blah blah stuff stuff You never know when we'll strike." Which is true, because frequently, we don't even notice when they strike.
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No, I think you're just stupid
In a union? No days off for you.
Since the university can't give employees raises, it's giving them a few extra days off. But the unions aren't accepting that. They're afraid it will adversely affect their negotiating positions. Nonunion workers don't have to worry about it and get their days off.
“I think it’s unfair for the university to give (the program) to nonrepresented workers if the university is making it hard for represented workers to get it,” said library assistant Maureen Davis, a member of CUE.
Pay attention. The CUE is making it hard for represented workers to get it. But that's okay, you can still blame the university.
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The byline says it all:
Males Threw Water on Women; Chancellor Calls Special Meeting.
Oh, look, a bunch of drunken guys did something stupid. Time for RADICAL CHANGE!!!
The males sprayed the victims with water and threw water bottles at them before driving off, police said.
What spraying device was used? Do they have a water pump just sitting in their car?
The passenger in the front seat covered his head with a cloth, mocking the traditional hijabs worn by some Muslim women, police said.
Or was just too drunk to even notice there was a cloth on his head. How do they determine these things from a drive-by watering?
“At that time they were yelling but we couldn’t hear what they were saying because we were screaming so loudly,” said sophomore Rosha Jones, another victim.
Aren't you a little embarrassed? It's water. They're words. Oh, the horror. Scream!
Jones said the only thing she could hear was the men yelling “East Oakland nigger” out the window.
Is that even a Muslim slur?
“I wasn’t sure if it was a hate crime or a crime against women or it happened because we were Muslim women,” Rifahie said. “It just seemed like, why would they pick us?”
Yes, it is a crime against women. You are women. It was a crime against you. They picked on you because you were an easy target. Stargazing? Don't you have anything better to do with your time?
“Acts of hate in whatever form they occur and to whomever they are directed cannot be tolerated on this campus,” Berdahl said in a statement. “As a caring and supportive community we must, at all times, stand together against deplorable acts of hate and intolerance.”
"Non-deplorable acts of hate and intolerance, or deplorable acts of other kinds, do not need to be stood against," he added.
“It’s horrifying to know that this continues to happen at UC Berkeley,” said Camille Pannu, a student on the task force. “This isn’t the first time it’s happened. It’s unfortunate that it’s not usually as high-profile.”
Hmm... presumably this quote was aquired before there was a story out about this. How was it high-profile?
Everyone put your pants back on, there're scarier things than this out there. And remember kids, even if you do scream like a little girl, you don't have to admit it to the newspaper.
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It's a shame when...
It's a bit of a shame that, upon noticing that there weren't any newspapers on Sproul around 2 p.m., my first thought is "Gee, they must have been stolen again. *shrug*." Maybe they just never arrived, or were really popular today, but maybe someone was so disgusted by this picture on the front page of the newspaper depicting ugly nude old men (the one in the middle might be a woman) that she stole the newspapers. I guess I can understand the feeling, but stealing newspapers still just isn't cool. (It would be ironic if, in the Daily Cal's attempt to be "more liberal" they got their newspapers stolen)
That doesn't excuse the Daily Cal, though. I feel conspicuous enough when I'm wandering around campus with my porn, and that's something people might actually want to look at. Did you really need to put this picture on the front page? Was this revenge on all of your critical readers? If you were doing a story on abortions, you wouldn't put a picture of fetus juice on the front page. If you were doing a story on roadkill, you wouldn't put a picture of a dead squirrel with its guts smeared across the pavement on the front page. Why are you putting something so horribly disguisting on the front page?
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Sunday, September 19, 2004
It's Monday Night!
Thanks to the courageous efforts of the 527 organizations, I have made the shift from an undecided voter to a Bush voter. Thanks, Football Fans for Truth!
(Seriously, who makes up their mind based on 527 ads? They're the worst source of campaign information I've ever seen. I could get more accurate information on a Ouija board)
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Saturday, September 18, 2004
Bad times for baseball
As if there are any other kinds. Baseball fans are seeking to distinguish themselves as total assholes, and are succeeding with flying colors. We've already seen a guy name Bueno pissing people off to the point of chair-throwing, but now take a glance at who picked up Barry Bonds's 700th home run ball:
"The ball was on the ground. It rolled to me. It's mine. I know the truth, " he said. Informed that others had claimed the ball had been ripped from their grasps, Williams replied, "I don't care. There's nothing I can do."
"If these guys want to get a lawyer, fine," he said. "Bring it on. I got the ball fair and square."
Asked what he planned to do with the ball, he replied, "Are you kidding? I'm going to sell it. It's the only reason I came to the game."
If I was in charge of MLB PR, I would've stolen the ball from him on some technicality and given it to some kid just to shut this guy up. Luckily, I don't like baseball, so I don't mind.
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Friday, September 17, 2004
Oh, nice try
The poor little animals.
The angry little humans respond.
The animals in these labs are no different from our beloved "best friends" at home. Just think about your dog or cat, which perhaps is lonely all day cooped up in your house while you are at work.
Well, one big difference is that the animals in these labs are not our beloved "best friends" at home. If Bob is my best friend, and Jim shares the same species with Bob, that certainly doesn't make Jim my best friend.
So, did you think about your dog or cat? How about your Grandpa? The one who shouldn't get any medication at all for his pain, because to find it, we'd have to do animal testing. How about Fred the bum, who'd have to be kidnapped so that researchers can perform experiments on him to find new medicines to save lives, since using animals is so awful.
Animal research is archaic and denounced by thousands of scientists as inaccurate and misleading because of differences among species and between life confined in a laboratory and in the real world.
Which scientists? The similarities are there, so after we do animal testing, we know that we at least can try human testing safely. Without animal testing, human testing would be that "archaic" form: "Hmm, let me eat this mushroom... maybe I'll get better, or maybe I'll die... only one way to find out..."
The alleged goal of the National Institutes of Health is to improve our health. Everyone -- except the biomedical research industry and the politicians they lobby -- would be better off if the NIH focused on subsidizing and promoting preventive rather than potentially curative health care.
Eh? Are you fucking insane? Oh, you're a woman, that explains it. What about people who already have diseases? Wouldn't they be better off with work on curative health care?
This further proves to me that the only humane animal research is no animal research.
Yep, also a woman. "This particular example proves the general rule to me. Note how I carefully ignore the consequences of using the general rule."
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Dude, where have you been?
The growing number of scholarships available for gay students shows a shift in collegiate culture, which is slowly opening the doors to accepting gay students.
You know, to my knowledge, most scholarships have always been available for gay students. I've certainly never had to check the box marked "heterosexual" when applying for a scholarship.
“I’ve had a really good experience—I’ve never encountered any negative response,” [Jeff Manassero] said. “I see (homosexuality) a lot more than in my old town. It’s more visible and there are more resources.”
Dude, you don't need special "gay resources" if you never encounter any negative response. What kind of girlie-man needs help with what isn't a problem?
“The best way to get a scholarship is to find a niche of your own,” Manassero said. “There is such a small pool of students who have come out in their communities.”
I was under the impression that you don't go out and find "the gay niche." You end up there because you're gay. But hey, listen to the experienced guy: Become gay for the money. It's worth it.
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Sometimes, you're faced with failure. It's important to accept failure and head to a different plan, rather than mope about it.
For instance, this editorial from the DC complains about how tragic it was that the students' demands weren't put into the new student code of conduct. While pointing fingers is important, it's more important to set a new standard of behavior to adapt to your failure. In this case, for instance, we may have to put aside our desire to cheat, invade classrooms, and otherwise act like a total dick in order to adapt to the changing regulations.
Also important, though, is recognizing the realities of your failure and making future decisions accordingly. Here's an example. Right next to an editorial which complains about how the university fails to take student interests into account, you can find another editorial which says "We should trust that they [The UC and CSU systems] have students’ interests in mind when balancing their budgets and give UC and CSU control of future fee adjustments." Daily life is full of information worth complaining about, but it is important to draw connections.
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A Daily Cal editorial cartoon is actually good! Not in the "poignant social commentary" sense, but in the "Oh, sweet, pirates and ninjas!" sense. And there's nothing wrong with that.
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Thursday, September 16, 2004
The Daily Cal reports on new FBI access to international students' records.
"This shift in policy will affect nearly 300,000 students and scholars nationwide, approximately 2,400 of whom are at UC Berkeley."
Err... The FBI having access to my file does not affect me. Nor would it affect most of these students. The only students it will affect are those that the FBI does something to, which isn't going to be a very high percentage.
"In addition, the federal government began charging a standard fee for international students and exchange visitors who received a visa after Sept. 1 of this year."
See, now that actually affects international students.
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What were you thinking?
View this picture. Question: What are the lines between "standing" and "in"?
My answer: "Youth Standing" is mathematically defined as "In Peace Stop The Violence."
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Kofi Annan is mildly cool for not butchering communication. While Annan says that our invasion of Iraq is in violation of the U.N. charter, the reporters practically beg him to say it is "illegal." Annan eventually yields and says, effectively, "fine, call it illegal, but in reality, it's in violation of the charter." That is, Annan recognizes that the U.N. is not a government and thus cannot make laws. Reporters, of course, cannot figure this out.
Also interesting: In Australia, to "table" something in the legislature means to present it. Here, of course, "tabling" in the legislature means to ignore it (postpone it, "put it on the table so you don't have to look at it," etc.). Oh, those crazy Aussies.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Do Depression Drugs Cause Suicide?
Hmmm. Well, you know, depression causes suicide, too.
I like to think of psychiatric drugs less as treatments for diseases, and more as Choose Your Own Adventure stories. "If you would like to exchange your current mental problem for a new mental problem, use prescription drug A." And most depressed folk just need a little excitement in their lives, anyway. Who isn't down for a game of "Holy shit, I'm crazy, but in a totally new way!"
. . .
In this column about "Hero," Andro says some stuff about various perceptions of heroes. Then, for no particular reason, he throws in the sentence "These same liberals should therefore oppose by any means not only the expansion of Islamic sharia law, but also the growing entanglement of Christian virtue with American law." Dude, that is not an example from the movie.
Also, hahaha! Being an asshole has become slightly more difficult for students.
Finally, calm down, political analysts. Just wait until the election. It'll be okay. Really.
. . .
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Eeee. We all know PB can be a difficult personality to deal with at times, but oh, Lordy, this is amazing.
Here are some thoughts:
Blogging in general: One of the cool things about blogging is that you're anonymous, even if you're not. That is, you can say anything you really want, and it's no big deal how it relates to you, personally. Reading blogs isn't in any way enhanced by knowing personal facts about the blogger blogging. I read most blogs as products of online entities that have opinions, and never give a second thought to the "man behind the monitor." Oftentimes, personal relations between bloggers affect blogging relations between bloggers, which invariably has negative consequences for both the entertainment value and the analysis value of a dynamic blogscape. (Too many long words)
Blogwars: Blogwars are not continual disagreements between pairs or groups of blogs. These disagreements are just rivalries and often have hillarious results, and usually develop into friendly rivalries. Blogwars are when bloggers take a personal interest in another blogger's blog, often to the point of obsession. I've been on the receiving end of a blogwar from a blogger who was inexplicably obsessed with my blog for some time, demanding links, taking every opportunity to scream about "tasteless jokes" and generally complaining about how absolutely horrible the blog was, which makes very little sense since you can always just write off a bad blog as irrelevant and never visit it again.
Commentwars: Without Chris and Rory, Commentwarring just isn't the same. Now, comment wars lead to personal hatreds and folks like JonP trying to "out" a nemesis by "appealing to the blogosphere." Boooring. And sad, too. Threatening to beat the crap out of each other in a comment box just isn't cool, or even meaningful. It simply looks utterly ridiculous.
In summary, the official position of the Beetle Beat is to frown upon such personal injections into the blogscape. Unless you want to masturbate all over a webpage, like I do. In which case, personal injections are not only approved, but encouraged.
. . .
Check out what passes for a "research paper" in the sociology department. I thought it was stupid when summarized by a Daily Cal article, but assumed the actual paper would be a little less stupid. Boy, was I wrong.
An essential part of a sociology research paper is apparently the cover illustration. While real research has a title maybe four points larger than the article text and goes right into the gist of the paper a third of the way down the front page, this paper comes with a cover, a title page, and a foreward by someone not even on the research project, which warns "Caution: The report you are about to read may be painfully disillusioning." Forewarder Barbara Ehrenreich writes:
You can't pretend to value community when some members are treated as if they are disposable.
The purpose of this report, then, is nothing less to restore the conscience- and save the soul- of a great university.
Wow, that's a high bar. And the first statement is almost a contradiction of itself. Ehrenreich is claiming that the university pretends to value community when some members are treated as if they are disposable. (Reminder: Most members of the community are disposable)
Anyway, I'm not going to read the whole report (I don't have time), but it looks like it's mostly anecdotes. A study based on anecdotes alone (i.e. those which did not fit their thesis could be excluded) is pretty pathetic.
Apparently, part of a research paper in sociology is to have a list of demands. That really doesn't help much in convincing me that the information they found is representative of the truth rather than selected to support their own feelings about the matter.
Anyway, to add to their "research," they have a website and even a blog. I certainly hope this isn't the kind of research that we're saving racial information for, but it probably is.
. . .
Until I figure out how to get a clock applet or some such, I'll just use a manual counter in the byline of this blog, counting the days until society crumbles and we all become "hostages to violence" or whatever everyone is bitching about concerning the expiration of the assault weapons ban.
. . .
Thanks for playing, but try again
This plan is opposed by a few local merchants and neighborhood groups, who apparently care only about their immediate self-interest and not about the region or the environment.
I also oppose this plan (to kill car-owners, or something), am not a neighborhood group, and sell nothing. Fewer lies would be nice.
The irony is that they have a misguided notion of their own self interest.
Oh, please, let me take care of you! I know you better than you know yourself. All you have to do is give me power over you, and all will be well.
On Sept. 10 you reported that, tragically, 1,006 U.S. troops have been killed in the war in Iraq. The number of Iraqi civilian deaths is currently 13,802. Perhaps when the number reaches a nice round figure, like 14,000, the story will merit large front-page graphics.
When Iraqis are actually Americans, their deaths will be more important to Americans. Iraqis are not Americans, and therefore, their deaths are not more important to Americans. Is this really that complicated?
But there are possible health risks due to microwave radiation coming from the antennas, as shown in the following paper: "The Microwave Syndrome: A Preliminary Study in Spain." It reports that those close to wireless antennas may experience fatigue, lack of concentration, memory loss, dizziness and headache.
Also, those not close to wireless antennas may experience fatigue, lack of concentration, memory loss, dizziness and headache. It's one of those things that happens when you're alive. (The paper itself probably has some real information, but dude, learn to quote studies properly.)
. . .
Crystal Ball, 1
As expected, The Daily Cal is pissed that the assault weapons ban has vanished. The one which doesn't ban high-powered killing weaponry, but does ban high-powered killing weaponry with a bayonet. Once again, The Daily Cal shows itself rather ignorant of basic civics:
While second amendment activists have called the ban an infringement on their rights as gun owners, the act was designed not to infringe on individual rights but to protect society from 19 specific assault weapons.
Of course the act wasn't designed to infringe on individual rights. That's not an excuse to accept it. Racial profiling is not designed to infringe on individual rights but to protect society from "bad guys." But people still object to it because it infringes on their rights (they say). Rare is the right-infringement legislation that is put into effect because it infringes on rights, but such legislation is still justifiably challenged.
The ban’s supporters say federal statistics indicate crimes traced to assault weapons have declined by two-thirds since the weapons ban was enacted, making this law key in preventing massive amounts of violence over the last decade.
The ban's opponents say that the assault weapons ban has done nothing. Too bad you couldn't find a useful source.
The everyman should not have access to the same caliber of semi-automatic weapons we entrust law enforcement and the military to wield.
Well, if you buy the "we need to protect ourselves from the government" argument, then yes, the everyman should have access to such weapons. In general, one can argue that the everyman should have access to the same caliber of weapons criminals wield. Here's a newsflash: Even if you make it illegal, criminals won't stop using them.
Councilmember Maio: "There’s no need for anyone to own a high-powered assault weapon."
Technically, there is no need for anyone to own a lot of things. One of the things about living in a free country is that you can have things you don't necessarily need. I don't really need six pairs of socks when I could make do with one (or none), but that doesn't mean the government should come and ban my socks.
. . .
Monday, September 13, 2004
Eep, the sky is falling again
The assault weapons ban has expired. I don't hear the bullets yet from the apocalypse that was supposed to occur as a result. I wonder why.
Remember, kids, the assault weapons ban didn't ban dangerous weapons. It banned ugly weapons. So take a deep breath and put the hysteria over by Kamela Harris's lungs which popped out while she was hyperventilating. (Coming from a woman who lives in a state which still has an assault weapons ban: "When the ban is lifted, we as a community will all be held hostage by the destruction that will inevitably follow.")
Also, for those of you using anecdotes to explain why the ban is a good idea, don't use examples of killings caused by assault weapons while the ban was in place. They don't really add to the argument that "these bans save lives."
. . .
Independent research? Absolutely not
Oh, Lordy. Another Mack Column. This time, yet another "Oh, look at Joe Q. Guywhoagreeswithme, he's a misunderstood Saint" column. I decided to find out what I can about this Tariq Ramadan character from a quick Google search. Unfortunately, most of his "controversial work" is in languages I can't read, but I did learn that he is a whiner, greatly concerned about his self-image, and with appearing to be an oppressed "intellectual," a genius of sorts, if only people would understand him better. This sounds much like Mack himself, which is perhaps why Mack feels an affinity for him.
But bad news for Mack. Says his idol: "I learned from this experience how essential it is to detach yourself from your own viewpoint, to see your own starting–point in perspective – and to require the same of your interlocutor."
In any case:
Universities’ right to leave academia open to whatever thought platform, no matter how volatile, remains endangered by "national security" concerns.
Which right is this, again?
. . .
It's bad enough that an "I hate Republicans" column passes as Linguistic Analysis.
Now, in a totally unbiased study called "Berkeley’s Betrayal: Wages and Working Conditions at Cal," five fake university students (i.e. sociology students) discovered some tragic news about the plight of the university staff.
This pledge to maintain educational integrity but not make promises to staff members has made workers feel like they are left hanging.
Welcome to the university, and educational institution, not a public works project.
[W]orkers feel like second-hand citizens in the university.
Two points of order:
1) The university is not a national entity. Hence, there are no "university citizens" to be first or second class.
2) The university is an employer. Workers are second-hand employees of the university, because they are replaceable, while professors and the like, usually, are not. This is a very basic reality of employment.
"As a Berkeley student, I feel outraged. This is my own back yard," [Ofer] Sharone said. "These problems are not acceptable."
You think you're being marginalized by the university? Get to cleaning the back yard of the champions out to defend you, workers! The problems are very much acceptable. I have accepted them.
. . .
Oops, you missed
Good news, everybody. Your intercampus student government is standing up for YOU, the student. Check out these STUDENT-RELEVANT issues:
Registering student voters! What better way to make sure students have a voice than by diluting yours with even more student registrations! No, no, don't be absurd, students aren't adults who can make their own decisions about whether or not they want to vote. It's up to us, the UCSA, to take care of it.
Fighting the proposed tightening of restrictions on UC eligibility! That's right. All of you students who are already in the UC system, this is totally a relevant issue for you! "Board members said the proposed GPA raise adversely affects stupid people." We can't let underqualified students be turned away by the system. We need to admit MORE and MORE!!!
More money for education, less money for prisons! Amazingly, we at the UCSA discovered a way to whine about the three strikes law by pretending it has to do with students! After all, we're facing a budget crunch, and need MORE MONEY (but also want to admit MORE and MORE students, which isn't counterproductive at all). Says GAEAVP Claudia Medina, "I'd rather have that money (spent on prisons) going to schools. But totally in a non-selfish way."
How is your super-duper student government accomplishing these things? We're going to hold a rally at the UC REGENTS MEETING next week, because our rallies have had such great success in the past, we just had to do them again. We'll also be training our members to conduct VOTER REGISTRATION, because it's important to get the people who don't really care too much either way to the polls so that they can vote randomly. This is essential for the sake of DEMOCRACY!!!!
. . .
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Well, looks like being linked by Calstuff really does rake in the visitors. It makes me feel kind of sad that there isn't much to offer. Here's some line dancing:
\ | / | \ | /
Woooo! How about that? If any protesters are reading, get off your asses and protest more! I need some midday entertainment.
. . .
Hurry! Read! Before we all die!
Boring people from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Reading and Literature Project cook up some information about how the world is collapsing because not enough young adults read books. The Chron dutifully reports their complaints, and Beetle Beat rather callously and thoughtlessly dismisses them.
My general opinion has always been that "literary reading" is "okay, I guess, if you're into that sort of thing." Literary reading refers to the reading of "literature," which is defined rather obtusely. For example, Dictionary.com provides this quote from Rebecca West while defining it: "Literature must be an analysis of experience and a synthesis of the findings into a unity." I agree wholeheartedly, I think. Basically, the general rule from English departments is: "If it's easy to understand and gets its message across clearly, it is not literature. If it is convoluted and nonsensical but contains enough random connections that we can remain employed by pointing the irrelevant details out and then claiming they come together to form some kind of thesis, then it is literature."
But back to the article. The gist is that NEA did a study ("Reading at Risk") and found that lots of people just don't read books and "literature" anymore. They'll be having "meetings to probe the alarming trends in literary culture." Alarm! Alarm! People are realizing that literary culture is boring and pointless and they just don't care anymore! Alarm!
But enough of my opinions. Lets head right for the overstatement:
We worry that the fabric of American society is threatened by trends revealed in "Reading at Risk."
Brace yourself! Not enough people are reading! Danger! Danger! Society is falling apart! We're all going to die!!!
I discovered, as well, that 15- to 26-year-olds can be generally referred to as "generation DotNet." That is, unlike our younger and older generations, which frequent DotCom sites, we frequent DotNet sites.
The National Conference of State Legislatures recently announced: "Young people do not understand the ideals of citizenship ... and their appreciation and support of American democracy is limited." We must remember that the heritage of democracy is understandable mainly through reading, for we are a nation founded upon ideals expressed in documents.
We're not reading enough!!! Here comes the communism/anarchy/dictatorship!!! Well, take a deep breath, shoo off Chicken Little, and read on:
Areas of critical concern include: providing support to English language learners; helping teachers offer standards-based instruction; working with struggling secondary readers; and promoting literacy and the love of literature as a way of life.
Love of literature as a way of life? Are you sure hallucinogenic drugs aren't necessary parts of this way of life? Because it sounds like the writers of this complaint sure use them.
Books provide young readers with windows to other worlds, other times, other cultures. Few teenagers think they have much in common with Odysseus until an artful teacher helps them see how we are all on a journey toward self- discovery and self-overcoming.
First off, it looks like they're claiming Odysseus is a window to a person's own self, rather than other worlds, times, and cultures. Further, did this person even read The Odyssey? Self-discovery and self-overcoming were the two furthest things from my mind when I read it.
The books seem full of incomprehensible references and unfamiliar language. Artful teachers clear the pane so that students can peer through.
Even better teachers can find books which are full of comprehensible references, and familiar language, so more time can be spent actually reading and getting whatever the hell it is we're supposed to get out of reading.
Just as Oprah Winfrey's first book club offered stories that reflected the troubles and triumphs of women caught up in impossible dilemmas, good teachers offer students books that reflect adolescent experiences: broken promises, false friends, temptations.
The trumpeters of literature a) are referring to Oprah's book club in a positive light, and b) had some pretty crappy adolescent experiences. I've seen broken promises, false friends, and temptations, but I've also seen some happiness in my adolescence. Am I exceptional?
If we let literary reading slacken now, we risk losing the perspective that allowed our forebears to envision a better world for their children.
My vision of a better world for my children is one in which they can learn without having to suffer through volumes of sheer boredom smeared on dead trees. And it didn't take any reading to get that perspective. Also, I hate children, and hope they all die.
In the end, they refer to this as a "vast cultural condition." But as most folks know, referring to "conditions" is a short way of saying "I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about, so I'll pretend like there's some meaning to it." (Recall "the human condition") So remember, kids. Read more, before we all die!
. . .
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Speaking of which
God damn, you people are annoying. Is screaming at the top of your lungs, throwing things out your window, and otherwise acting like a drunk fuck really necessary? Can't you scream at the middle of your lungs, and perhaps, drop things off a table? Can't you get drunk and just lay around like an idiot, whining about whatever pops into your mind (Beetle approves!)? Can't you show your school spirit by doing something useful to bolster the school's reputation? I guess I'm just missing something.
. . .
The Chron: [I]f you don't have your wedding on Sept. 11, then they [the terrorists] win.
. . .
It's two weeks into the semester already. By now you've found which classmates are the loudest and most annoying, which ones are trying to impress the professor by asking questions including knowledge totally unrelated to the class, and which ones are trying to impress their classmates by trying to prove the professor wrong (newsflash: Even if you succeed, you still look like an asshole).
So where is this semester headed for blogland? Protest season has been subdued lately, and the presidential election isn't all that relevant here. But it's too relevant to talk about the relevant aspects of the election. ASUC is in boring Student Action hands. Now that all the annoying people are out of the noiselight (I'll take credit for that, too, while I'm at it), what else is there to whine about?
. . .
Friday, September 10, 2004
Blah blah fake CBS documents blah. I'm pretty convinced they're fake. There's a pretty long list of complaints, and defenders are focusing on parts of the list but not the whole list, or on the unimportance of the documents to the truth about Bush (which I agree with. I'm more concerned with Dan Rather and CBS acting like assholes than the election issue, which is irrelevant for me, as a Californian). But my opinion isn't that important. Here's what is important:
Dan Rather likes numbered lists, too.
If you are convinced they're real, there may be almost $20,000 waiting for you. (The website, designed for defeating John Kerry, has ads on the side. All were for pro-Democrat web sites when I visited)
More troubling than all of these, though: People watch 60 Minutes! (or is it 60 Minutes II now?)
. . .
Funny world we live in
My daily walking path takes me past a car with a bumper sticker that reads "Visualize World Peace." Today, I decided to do so. I visualized world peace. Then I stopped, because it was boring. Very boring. The Spanish-American War made so much more sense, all of a sudden.
. . .
Rebecca's birthday is coming up, as are September eleventh festivities. Be sure to sing happy birthday to her in a solemn and memorial tone.
Also, in the spirit of BCR and BAMN, I'm going to take credit for a correction reminding readers that "in" and "outside" are not the same thing.
. . .
Shame on me
I had planned to go to the Michelle Malkin protest (not the speech), but I totally forgot. However, despite not even being there, the protesters still manage to provide enough info for one of my "I don't like protesters" posts.
(Sources: Daily Cal, Calstuff, protesters themselves, Daily Planet)
(Chant) "This was a peaceful protest." If it was so peaceful, why would anyone even have to point it out? It's like putting "Truth" in the name of a campaign group.
In addition, the argument that racial profiling might be a worth while inconvenience has been thoroughly discredited. Experiences, over and over, have shown that racial profiling is ineffective - when used by the police to find criminals, when used by the US government against the Japanese, and even in the case of terrorism. The Oklahoma City bombing was perpetrated by white men - the profile doesn't holdup. Let's not repeat a historical error by using a method which is both racist and ineffective.
Because I can find a single counterexample, the method is ineffective. Yeah, that makes sense. Also, the assault weapons ban is ineffective, because a few people have killed people with assault weapons while the ban was in effect.
More disturbing than this rally was the Daily Californian’s part in the matter. The Daily Californian has taken it upon itself to act as a cheerleader for the racist politics of internment profiling. The day before the event, the Daily Cal. ran an editorial by Ethan Lutske praising Ms. Malkin and racial profiling and, the day after, ran a front-page article that read more like an advertisement for Ms. Malkin’s event than like a journalistic piece. While the paper does have the right to air controversial opinions, the fact that it runs only pro-racism editorials with no counter-arguments shows that the paper’s intent was to promote Ms. Malkin’s views, not to promote an open discussion.
Somebody clearly knows nothing about The Daily Cal or its staff. This writer also complains about "only pro-racism editorials" while today, in The Daily Cal, a letter from the protesters was run. Way to jump the gun, Tom Smith. Also, your name is boring.
. . .
Rules are designed to harm people
In this op-ed about how horrible it is to move the drop deadline up, note this paragraph:
Letters & Science students who receive financial aid must be in 13 units by the end of the fifth week. For those with the most economic need, Pell and Cal Grant recipients, anything less than 13 units at this point forces repayment of precious aid. A change in the deadline date to an earlier week would force these students to add whatever units necessary to meet the 13 unit minimum or face repayment. There would be no room to adjust their schedules beyond this and would lock them into classes that may or may not contribute towards graduation progress. Why is this unfair? Non-Pell Grant/Cal Grant students can create their schedule with little or no pressure to absolutely enroll in 13 units. In effect, the proposed policy changes would disproportionately negatively impact students with the most economic need.
Technically, the fact that some people get handed money for their education, while others don't, isn't fair. I don't really object, though, but I do want to point out that the 13 unit requirement to receive financial aid is there for a reason. Students who are being funded by the university are asked to hurry up and finish their education quickly, so they don't cost as much. This seems pretty reasonably to me.
What is not reasonable is allowing students to bypass this rule by just dropping courses after the 5th week. If you don't like the rule, argue against the rule, don't argue against the attempt to make the rule relevant.
. . .
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Boy, it's hot. I'm unhappy, because it's hot, and I don't like the heat.
(fast forward two months}
Boy, it's cold. I'm unhappy, because it's cold, and I don't like the cold.
Whiners, all of you. Pick a temperature and stand by it. If I hear one more person bitch about the heat after having to listen to her bitch about the cold half a year ago, I'm going to do absolutely nothing. When the cold air comes, you won't see me complaining. I'll be dancing! Sort of.
. . .
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Looks like Frat Row burned down. Or some such event occurred. Power was also out for several blocks near Frat Row. Anyone know what happened?
. . .
Wow! Huge news!
Two New Planets Found in Solar System!!! Let's read the first sentence...
NASA has announced the discovery of two new Neptune-sized planets beyond our solar system.
Beyond = in?
Now, conceivably, the use of "Solar System" in the headline may be referring to the generic concept of a star and it satellites (and their satellites, etc.), but still, the headline would suggest that the planets are in the same solar system, which they are not. C'mon Science Editor Lydia Fong. Edit!
. . .
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Are you kidding me
Sproul should be considered a sort of holy ground as it has been the sight of the freedoms which epitomize Berkeley. As the student body we must revisit the rich history of this campus and once again start to care for its grounds.
Blah blah blah FREEDOMS WHICH EPITOMIZE BERKELEY blah blah blah MUST DO WHAT I SAY blah blah. Color me strangely unmoved.
In other news, James Boo gets it. "It’s not 'common courtesy' to bend over backwards to listen to every insignificant thing some idiot on Sproul wants to say to me."
. . .
Haha. Nobody likes you!
Becky O'Malley, "editor" for the Berkeley Daily Planet, is angry because a cop wouldn't explain to her what they were investigating as she was driving by on the road in her car. Yes, you read correctly. O'Malley wants to blame it on rudeness, or ineffectiveness, or something. Here are some good-to-know facts for the future:
1) Nobody likes fat old women sticking their heads out of cars demanding explanations for things that are none of their business.
2) Identifying yourself as a reporter to someone working as part of an organization but not an official spokesman for that organization is not supposed to get them to talk. In fact, any organization that deals with the press tells its members specifically not to talk to the press unless it is their job. This is because people in the press are looking for stories.
3) Giving "The People's Right to Know" as your justification is something you should be laughed at for. Becky O'Malley is "a person," not "the people." The readership of the Daily Planet is "some people," not "the people."
. . .
BUSD frowns on students attempting to succeed
Some stuff about scheduling mishaps. But the backdrop here is that folks are upset that some students are trying to succeed in school by taking it seriously. Essential talking points:
"Because students are attempting to succeed in school in a non-racially representative proportion, these students should not be allowed to succeed."
"It's unfair for the school to be separated into winners and losers. It's better if the students are all made losers."
"Because the money comes from Bill Gates, we're not going to use it to improve education, because... umm..."
Look here, kids. There are two types of students. Students in school because they have to be, and students in school because they want to be. No one is hurt by separating the two. Putting them together screws everyone. Where is the controversy?
. . .
Monday, September 06, 2004
Yay Labor Day
It's Labor Day, a day set aside to honor workers. I've always felt most appreciated for my work on Pay Day rather than on Labor Day, but I suppose I'm in the minority.
. . .
Saturday, September 04, 2004
The Chron reports on some protesters proud of themselves for "infiltrating" the Republican National Convention. I'd hate to be the sorry shmoe who has to break it to them that doing so did nothing to help defeat Bush, and probably did just the opposite.
On Wednesday night, Code Pink member Gael Murphy spent several hours on the grimy floor of the Pier 57 temporary detention facility for rushing the convention floor in pink lingerie.
The activists' point, Murphy said, was to show the world that some Americans oppose the Bush administration policies, particularly regarding the Iraq war. Saying they are frustrated that the media hasn't been grilling Bush hard enough, Murphy and other activists made a "tactical choice" to take extreme action.
"It's pretty absurd that the political discourse has come to a point where people have to strip down to a pink slip and be pummeled by four 300- pound goons to make a point," said Murphy, a longtime activist who has traveled several times to Iraq on peace missions.
Actually, you don't have to strip down to a pink slip and be pummeled by four 300-pound goons to make a point. That's my point. See? I just made my point without any of that trouble. I bet you feel stupid, Ms. Murphy.
But why are these people so concerned with what the world thinks? "The important thing isn't making our country better, but quickly apologizing to everyone else for our more embarrassing elements." Grow up, folks. A temper tantrum about politics is still a temper tantrum.
. . .
Let's face it, a "You're Right!" mentality doesn't work well with blogging. So AG Lockyer inspired me to subtitle the blog "One of the biggest gun sellers in California." According to Lockyer, Wal-Mart, which doesn't sell any guns in California, is one, so since Beetle Beat sells the same amount, I figured that must make this blog one, too.
. . .
Search engines are not toys
Great news, everyone! It turns out that Beetle Beat is the number 118 search result on Yahoo for "picture jokes about fat women in thongs," right behind Chromatic Musings, a blog about, well, random musings.
This led me to the Votergasm Pledge, where you pledge to reward voters and punish nonvoters with sex. Although I am a strong proponent of "It's okay if you don't vote, really," it's nice of people to actually try to provide a real incentive for voting.
From there, we can head to Act for Love, a dating service which finally recognizes that most guys go to protests to pick up chicks, and a possibly parallel thingie for chicks.
In related news, supposedly I'm also a search result for "Gay son suck father," but the exact reference is out of date. You have to wonder, though, even though I can see how Beetle Beat mentions these words coincidentally so it shows up in the search engines, why do these people follow the links?
. . .
Friday, September 03, 2004
Two BNP's for the Daily Cal
The Daily Cal mentions "free speech" in the title of their editorial about how requiring a student group fee to use OSL is bad, which earns double credit on the "that's so stupid" scale. Note how the newspaper only puts this editorial out after the issue has been resolved. Excellent work!
Also, jeers to Aby Vanterpool for bitching about the term "Asian Ghetto," which she explains by: "I bet some Klan member came up with the title because he was uncomfortable with seeing a large selection of ethnic dishes, and ignorant, sheepish students have carried the horrible nickname for 25 years!" I bet you're wrong. The term is mostly used by Asians who have a sense of humor. Is the term 25 years old? Does anyone know the history of the term? Seems like it's a newer term. Anyway, it's a common usage in Berkeley, so shut the hell up. What's so offensive about it? What's so ignorant about it? "Students are supposed to be enlightened." What kind of crap is that? Are you enlightened? Your claim is backed up with an "I bet that..." statement.
. . .
Dude, you're an idiot
And your audience moreso. Attorney General Bill Lockyer, taking a break from his efforts to prevent gay marriage (it's only his job, not his fault, but still, you've gotta' laugh at that)
"One group sees isolated individuals as self sufficient atoms," Lockyer said. "The other sees complex connected molecules, and the role of government is to be our collective instrument to solve human problems."
Quick, name a human problem! Oops, sorry, that's not a human problem. That's your problem. Plenty of people disagree, and would use this collective instrument to not solve this "human problem." So what makes this instrument collective? Also, isolated individuals are self sufficient atoms. They have to be, because they are isolated. Also, chemistry wants its terms back.
Issue by issue, he presented the administration as callous and following a self-interested agenda.
Oh, God no! An administration following the agenda that interests it! If only we had a Democratic president, who would most certainly run an agenda contrary to his own interests of justice, peace, or whatever the hell else you think Democrats stand for.
"Our federal agencies don’t value a woman’s right to choose," he said to a riled crowd snapping their fingers. "For me it’s really a lot simpler. The constitution provides for equal protection, and I don’t know how a woman can be an equal partner in our society unless they have control over their reproductive decisions."
Did I miss something? Snapping fingers = applause now? Oh, who cares. Women have control over their reproductive decisions, you know. Birth control, condoms, leg-closure, etc. If you're so concerned about equal protection, shouldn't men be able to get an abortion, too?
“One of the biggest gun sellers in California, Walmart, has not sold a gun in California in over a year and a half,” he said. “I stopped them because they were not doing the proper checks.”
How can a company that doesn't sell any guns in California be one of the biggest gun sellers in California?
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If I was a Republican
(Disclaimer: I actually am almost a Republican)
Berkeley Republicans Take Cause to New York! See attached picture, of someone who did not take her cause to New York, and may not even be a Republican.
Missing the first week of her senior year to be at the convention, Vanessa Wiseman, a member of the Berkeley College Republicans, said the involvement of moderate Republicans has transformed the party to make it more attractive to young people who might ordinarily be turned off by a more conservative contingent.
The Wise Man thing to do would be to attend your classes. Classes lead to a future of power (supposedly). Showing up to a convention leads to, well, nothing. Young people are turned on by Republicanism not because of Republicans but because of everyone else. Our parents' generation included the hippies and the like. Our liberal peers are just annoying as hell. Republicanism seems the only logical result.
"I’ve always supported the president, but this past summer I’d been questioning some of his decisions," said Berkeley College Republican member Kelso Barnett. "The convention has brought me back around to full support of the president."
Oh, man, dude. That's like admitting to buying something because of a commercial. My sense of shame disallows me from making any such claim. I salute you, Mr. Barnett, for your courage. I will still laugh at you, though. Hahaha! You got your mind changed by a commercial! Hahaha!
Ivan Ip, a recent UC Berkeley graduate, was part of the hundreds who rallied the streets in the sweltering afternoon heat.
"The energy just kept going," Ip said. "I don’t think any temperature could have stopped us."
I'd like to put that claim to the test. I doubt God is on board, though.
Although more than 1,800 protesters have been arrested throughout the week, Ip said the march was peaceful and protesters were able to make their voices heard to the Republican party.
"I think we sent a pretty strong message regarding what changes need to be made and what kind of issues we are concerned about," he said.
Hahahaha! Oh, that's 33% more funny than Kelso's comment. Hahahaha!
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Thursday, September 02, 2004
Bush causes job loss!
Not according to the anti-Bush folks on campus, handing out "Jobs to defeat Bush" fliers.
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Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Andro Hsu has been deceived. His column claims self-interest precludes one from acting on principle. But no column would be complete without some rather pathetic attempts to explain the exceptions.
It is therefore helpful to examine people whose preference for a policy directly contradicts their self-interest. For example, poor white rural voters, often Republicans, supported tax cuts that, as implemented by the Bush administration, benefited people much wealthier than themselves. Either these voters were misled into thinking their tax cuts would be larger, or they clung to the American Dream—the hope that they would one day join the ranks of the wealthy. The former is misguided self-interest, the latter is anticipatory self-interest.
Interesting, but it raises the following questions:
1) What materials is Hsu's mind-reading device made of?
2) Is it at all possible that poor white rural voters just see a problem with having the government take money from people?
On the other hand, former President Bill Clinton noted at the Democratic National Convention that he is now in the highest tax bracket, the one that benefited most from the Bush tax cuts. Yet he still maintained that tax cuts for the wealthy were wrong—they should have been targeted toward people who needed the money more than he did. Clinton’s is the only position in the tax cut debate that can be said to derive from principle, not pure self-interest.
Well, I get the feeling that "pure" is misplaced in his last sentence (and it should read "derive from pure principle, not self-interest). If it isn't, then Hsu's article is even more wrong, in claiming that anyone who has anything to gain is acting from pure self-interest. But if you think Clinton is not acting out of self-interest at all, you're crazy. The following are possible motivations:
1) Helping poor people makes Clinton feel good about himself.
2) Helping poor people means more can afford his book.
3) Helping poor people keeps him employed as a speaker.
But no, Clinton is God, and such thoughts are beyond the realm of reasonable thought. Seriously.
I would caution Hsu when it comes to mind-reading. The fact that a self-interest may exist proves nothing about that self-interest as motivation. And the desire to "do right" is itself a selfish interest.
Also, that's two columns from people who've done columns before. There must be very little interest in columnwriting at The Daily Cal.
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