. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Nap Time!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Out to lunch

Well, it's about time to close up shop for the winter here. It's been a pretty dull ride, but hey, we've all got better things to do.

I'm off to visit Ma's cooking (and, I suppose, Ma'). I'll be back sometime in early January, though almost certainly with nothing to write.

It's also time to hang up the apocalypse clock in the title. So far we haven't been
"held hostage by the destruction that will inevitably follow" from the lifting of the assault weapons ban. There's still time before the end of the world, though, so we'll see. I sincerely doubt that one of our elected officials was trying to disingenuously overreact in order to get her way.

Also, winter break is a perfect opportunity to start your new blog! Do it today! We'll welcome you with open arms!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/15/2004 05:27:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

You know what's free? Blogging!

Harley Sorensen is proud of deserters. Blah blah stuff stuff "you might call them heroes in the finest tradition of the United States. They are putting their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor at stake to serve the cause of Right rather than the ambitions of the current president."

That's an interesting perspective. You see, the government is engaging in a really bad war, so these soldiers, seeing how bad it is, are refusing to participate.

One wonders, though, that if they felt justified in doing that, why did they sign an agreement that said, effectively, "You will fight in whatever way the government tells you." I can totally understand if you don't think that's a good agreement to sign on to. What I don't understand is, if you aren't willing to do that, why are you signing on, anyway? You're accepting pay. The military is investing in your training. If you aren't willing to follow orders because you disagree with the government giving them, why did you even join in the first place?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/15/2004 04:18:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Oh, noes! No gas! Blog instead!

Gas Boycott!

Pro-immigrant groups urged motorists to avoid buying gas every Monday through next year or until lawmakers allowed illegal immigrants to apply for licenses.

"Our campaign isn't a day protest," said Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association and Hermandad Mexicana, after announcing the "Dark Mondays" boycott. "It's a prolonged campaign of pressure to obtain licenses for immigrants regardless of their status."

That's the spirit. Hit 'em where it hurts. Nothing makes the government fold like... uh... income shifts from Monday to Sunday and Tuesday.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/14/2004 02:29:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Get half off any new blog today!

It's one thing to want someone to die. It's another to go to a courthouse, wait outside, and then cheer when some group of normal folks is forced to order someone's death. That's pretty sick.

Was it really worth a special issue, as the Examiner believed? "Man gets sentenced to death. Won't actually be executed, though." OMG!!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/14/2004 10:45:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .

You know what's cool? Blogging.

Attention: If you are related to a famous civil rights leader, you are not allowed to hold your own opinions. Or so this column seems to argue. I'm damn glad I don't have a famous family.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/14/2004 10:36:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Monday, December 13, 2004

Did I mention you should blog?

I checked out Compendex today and discovered hundreds of articles published in 2005. That's some impressive indexing.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/13/2004 05:51:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Haha, dollarz

Calstuff may have sold out, but Cal Politik has appeared on their blogroll, and may be worth checking out.

Don't have a blog? You're an idiot, then. Get a blog! If you already have a blog for more personal stuff, get another blog for fun political whining! It's worth every penny you spend on it!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/13/2004 09:16:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Sunday, December 12, 2004

Random Topic Rant

Ugh... this is getting harder and harder.

Flying! Is... uh... airborne? And... birds do a lot of it... but not emus...

Well, whatever, let's call it quits for the RTR as a daily thing. It's almost time to close up shop for the winter, anyway.

Also, BLOG! You fools! Do you seriously want such pathetic examples of human beings as us representing Berkeley in the local-political blogscape? No, of course you don't. Nobody is as right as you are, so get out there and blog yourself to fame!

Sure, I'll admit, I was nervous at first, too, but it was only a matter of weeks before I was declaring myself the king of all rightness and, by implication, stating that all other blogs were populated by a bunch of mindless, misguided fools. So come join me at the top of the mountain! The view is great! The air is fresh! The birds aren't emus! What, do I have to hold your hand? Do I have to set up your blog for you? (I will, by the way) Do I have to send you flowers? Start blogging now, and you'll have your fingers in every local political pie before school starts back up in January!

At the very least, you can have The Daily Cal trembling in fear at your every word! And isn't that worth something?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/12/2004 09:01:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

LINK again

Oh, look, a blog about Israel from Cal Tzedek. Uh... well, I don't follow such things, but it might interest other folks.

Keep 'em coming! I know damn well that a significant proportion of students like whining as much as I do, so why not turn that attitude into a blog? It's free, it's easy, and most of all, it's a great ego trip!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/12/2004 04:31:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .


Oh, look. A blog about frats, which appears to be internal criticism about how fraternities are failing to live up to their potential. Take a glance.

Also, it really is that easy to get a link. Join the fun! Start a blog! What do you have to lose?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/12/2004 04:19:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Saturday, December 11, 2004

Where's all the new bloggers at?

What gives? A new school year started, which means new people should be coming by, and old freshmen now have seen enough of the campus to have an opinion about it. There have to be bored opinionated folks out there. I see them prance about in Calstuff's comment boxes. Where are all the new blogs? It takes no capital investment and only a minimal time investment. Our blogscape is running dangerously low an different viewpoints. What gives?

Hell, there may even be another Berkeley blogscape out there, and we just never run into each other, because there's no good reason for us to. Do you have a blog that belongs in this community? Do you know of one? Do you want to start one? Let us know!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/11/2004 06:33:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .


This isn't going to look good on one reporter's resume.

"So, you worked for the Oakland Tribune?"


"We need someone who can communicate convincingly with people. Are you our guy?"

"Sure! Uh... well... there was this one time..."

But her name was Jesus, so she must have died for our sins.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/11/2004 05:15:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Random Topic Rant

Nobody likes numbers. Let's talk about numbers.

Numbers are cool. Unfortunately, math is taught backwards in our school system, because all the fun stuff about math is predicated on an understanding of the mathematical logic system. We don't even stop to think about the question "What is a number" unless we hit upper division math. Those of you who gave up after (or before) calculus don't know what you're missing. Because you're missing it. And hence, don't know. *sigh* I hate that phrase.

But problems arise when people who don't know about numbers try to use them to make points. Concepts like equality and proportion are very specifically defined in the mathematical world, but applying them to reality can be problematic if you don't know what you're talking about. And I'm not just talking about the idiots ("America is suffering a poverty crisis, with half of the population living below the median income level" or "Summer is the season of (blank), as 25% of (blank) occurs in the summer").

How many times have you has a "study" been waved around in your face to try to prove a point? How many times has that waving included a careful description of the procedure used to get the damning/reassuring number? No one does these studies for fun. They do them because they want to prove a point. If you're swallowing them whole, you've got a problem.

Here's an example from last year, when the conclusion "bigotry makes you dumb" was drawn from a study that, if anything, probably suggests "political correctness makes you dumb." The Chron made the mistake of actually telling the reader where the numbers come from, which gives the reader the opportunity to notice that The Chron's conclusion was crap.

You can't handle numbers! You are unfit for them! You sully their honor with your politics! While we're proposing re-education camps and communal property, why not institute a Department of Numbers? DeNum can deal with numbers outside the realm of politics, as its members are kept in isolation without knowledge of the world, and are only fed data which they convert into results.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/11/2004 04:51:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Friday, December 10, 2004

Random Topic Rant

Uh... uh... topics... Oh, here's one.

Sexual offenders databases! No one likes sexual offenders. This makes it easy to stick them in a database, make their information available to the public. After all, if someone raises concerns about how appropriate that is, that person is DEFENDING RAPISTS OMG!!!!eleven

How about a murderer's database? A burglar's database? An unlucky person's database? (Because you really don't want to live next to the guy whose last five houses exploded and totally destroyed the entire neighborhoods)

My concern is that if a person goes to jail for some crime, and serves his time, that person really should be allowed to live somewhere without protesters coming out and screaming about how "the children" are at risk. The problem, I'm told, is that sex offenders don't get heavy enough sentences. Need I recommend the obvious alternative solution?

I suppose this gets down to the question of what exactly a prison is for. If it is for protecting society from dangerous elements, people should be receiving life sentences for all kinds of crimes, not just murder. Keep stealing TV's? Spend the rest of your life in jail, because it's obvious you can't learn to play well with others.

If prison is for rehabilitation... uh... Well, let's just say that taking someone and putting him in an environment of criminals does very little to dissuade him that criminality is somehow abornmal or wrong.

In either case, a released criminal is one who is no longer a threat to society, so sticking his name on a database seems inappropriate.

Alternatively, if prison is for punishment, then it seems reasonable to have databases on every crime (or, perhaps, every crime with victims). Why single out the sexual offenders? It seems like the public would have a right to know about any criminal nearby who may still be a threat.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/10/2004 11:53:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

I've never met a Christian I couldn't stereotype

The following are not true in the general case:

"But evolution conflicts with the Bible, the world’s bestseller, which proclaims all life was created in its present form by God."

The Bible says the world was "created in six days 6,000 years ago."

"Fossils, cave paintings and tombs over 6,000 years old, along with noticeable changes in entire species, prove evolution occurs."

Now, I'm no creationist, and to me the concept of "Evolution" is not a theory or a law but just an observation, and an obvious one, at that. (and spare the discussion of "observations are what laws are") No one takes the Bible as literally as Mr. Adams seems to think they do. When God "created man," the Bible isn't particularly specific as to how, and there's no contradiction to be found in "God created man through evolution." You can also find the "God caused the Big Bang" theory put forward by Christians and deists alike. And I've seen these, despite never actually looking for theological debates. If you do, I'm sure you'll find loads of interesting ideas.

But that might get in the way of a good stereotype. So nevermind.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/10/2004 11:43:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Poor us

Grad students get depressed. SHOCK!

I think the survey they used was the one I completely ignored. I'm not sure how legitimately random the response was, so I take the conclusions with a grain of salt.

But still, these numbers are pretty impressive. Folks seem to be suggesting that we need to provide more health services for these sad souls, but I have doubts about how effective that might be. The simple fact is that grad school is not for everyone, and a lot of students head straight into grad school from undergrad and probably should head to work, first, and then, perhaps, go to grad school when the skills you need to keep your sanity as a grad student are better developed. If you can't handle it, you really shouldn't be here, and I think getting people to recognize that they're following the wrong path is more important than trying to put this kind of Band-Aid (TM) over the wound.

That said, IEOR professors are really, really cool, and our grad program rox0rz your sox0rz.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/10/2004 11:34:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Beetle's Lessons, #38

Don't piss off your employer.

Don't expect me to cry. You were willing to sacrifice in order to bring what you perceived to be injustice to light. Congratulations. You should be proud. But you don't get to whine to try to undo your sacrifice.

Also, don't forget to try to publish more bad research. That'll convince people you deserve tenure.

Stick to 'shrooms, dude.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/10/2004 11:28:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .


Just wow. Maybe she wanted to go out with a bang. It appears the Daily Cal editorial writer still thinks she's in high school. On dead days:

...leaving us with only one weekday to prepare a semester’s worth of material negatively affects far more students than a session will help.

First off, yeah, but the amount of benefit a summer session gives is huge compared to the negative effects of one dead day. Secondly, you had the whole semester to prepare for a semester's worth of material. You're supposed to be adult enough to recognize that you have to study as you go, rather than stick it all in at the end.

The university also fails to comprehend how difficult it is for UC Berkeley students to compete when other comparable universities—such as Harvard and Princeton—give their students a whole week to study. Such generosity isn’t a problem because instructional days are limited to 130, while UC sets the bar at 146. Why are we burdened with three more weeks of school?

Oh, man. Just oh, man. First off, we don't have to compete with Harvard and Princeton on our finals. They take different finals than we do, so it's silly to compare them. Where we do compete with Harvard and Princeton is on how knowledgable we are when we leave, and by having more instructional days, that gives us the advantage.

But oh my God. Seriously. "Why are we burdened with three more weeks of school." This isn't high school anymore! You don't have to go to college. If school is a burden, don't go to more school! Clearly, this writer was forced into college by her parents or something. This also shows the great difference between real majors and liberal arts. In real majors, having more time means you can learn more stuff. In liberal arts, though, time is not spent learning but showing how smart, moral, logical, emotional, kind, or tolerant you are. So for those folks, I guess it wouldn't bug them to axe classes. But for those of us studying in real fields, every extra day is an extra tool we can learn to solve problems in the future.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/10/2004 11:19:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .


So... We want our multicultural center to be soooo multicultural that we want all of the people on the board to be from the same group. Nice job, CalSERVE.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/10/2004 11:17:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Thursday, December 09, 2004


Thanks, reader! No thanks, junk filter!

Allen pointed out a great comment from The Chron, but his notice found its way into my junk mail box. So, slightly delayed:

"The BCS logarithms overemphasize particular games and give insufficient credit to consistent victory and strength throughout the season." (emphasis mine)

From former ASUC prez Grant Harris. But who knows, maybe the BCS uses logarithms.

This raises an interesting question. Why do algorithm and logarithm sound so similar? Did Al fight with a log over the rithm? They aren't that closely related. A logarithm is a specific, defined mathematical function, while an algorithm is essentially a series of defined steps to accomplish some goal (usually used in a programming context).

My curiosity piqued, I headed to dictionary.com to see what they have to say about logarithm.

Log: Comes from logos which is given as reason and proportion. (Same word for both? Who knows. Greeks were crazy)
Arithm: Comes from arithmos for number, so that makes sense, I guess.

Algorithm comes from algorism which refers to the Arabic number system (i.e. the zero through nine number system we use) and also to computations done using that system. The term comes from the name of a Persian who did an early work on arithmetic: Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Musa al-Khwarizmi. Al-Khwarismi became algorismus in Latin, and so on. (Some info from Wikipedia)

So, despite their use in similar fields and their similar sounding names, algorithm and logarithm have completely different origins. Yay for learning useless trivia!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/09/2004 11:04:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Random Topic Rant

Quasi-topical from
Caljunket. It's only quasi-topical there, so I'm mentioning it here.

Tommaso Sciortino has no objection to "getting money from some people and giving it to other people." None. At all. So if the government went randomly taking money from people and giving to other people for no particular reason, TS wouldn't really mind, beyond, perhaps, "there's something better they could do with their time." (If that's a mischaracterization of his argument, he apparently wasn't reading what I was writing which begged him to at least consider such an action as a drawback) The assumption behind this statement appears to be "your property is yours only at the convenience of the government. Whenever the government thinks of something "better" to do with it, it becomes the government's."

Well, actually, not even that. Taking money from some people and giving it to others is not even viewed as a drawback, so it doesn't even matter if the government can think of something "better" to do with it. At worst, doing so is neutral.

The property rights argument isn't stated explicitly, usually, because most people take it for granted. "If you want to take people's money, you'd better be doing something good with it." Sure, we'd all like to help people, but it's not like the money to help people comes from trees. If it did, and the government had infinite capacity to help people without hurting others, we'd all say "Yay, let's see some more government programs!" But that's simply not the situation.

All I'm asking from folks is that when you discuss government spending/redistribution programs, you stop to consider that doing so requires what is, effectively, theft, and that we should have to justify any such government action against that moral drawback. Note the difference between this position and "Never, ever, ever let the government spend money," which seems to be how it is interpreted.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/09/2004 01:20:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Random topic rant

Uh... let's do the environment today.

Natural: Here's a fun one. What we, as humans, are doing is unnatural, I'm told. Unnatural being defined, apparently, as "That which humans do." What's wrong with our actions? They're unnatural. What's wrong with that? Uh... uh...

Destroying the world: There is mounting evidence that human behavior is changing the world. Somehow, folks seem to assume change equals destruction.

Humans are just animals: I wholeheartedly agree. Yet strangely, this is somehow used to criticize how humans are "unnaturally destroying the world." My understanding is that humans are taking action for their own benefit, and their doing so affects their environment. This is just like every other animal. Which, again, begs the question: What's so unnatural about this process?

We're all going to die! Well, there's nothing really to argue about this one. Yeah, probably, we're all going to die, environmental degradation or no. Are humans going to go extinct? Maybe, but that's not our problem. That's the "natural" way of the universe. The world changes. Species adapt, or they die.

There are too many humans! This is an interesting one to use when spoken in conjunction with "We're all going to die." The population equilibrium curve has no exceptions. If there are too many humans, environmental pressures will push our population down. This is one of those things the world takes care of on its own, there's no need to throw a political fit over it.

The world will be unbearable for our children. Since our children make the world unbearable for us, it only seems fair to return the favor.

We must respect Mother Nature. Why? Who sends all those floods and hurricanes and earthquakes? After all that abuse, we're supposed to respect her?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/08/2004 08:57:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Nice shot

Well, folks are almost killing Dianne Feinstein again. Remind me never to be in the same room as her.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/08/2004 07:19:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Soylent Green is Flies!

Flies' Taste Similar to Human's.

While there is something technically wrong with the headline ("Human's" should probably be "Humans'"), if you're the skimming-type reader who skips over apostrophes, you're left wondering what exactly this scientific research entailed.

Bring back linking verbs!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/08/2004 07:17:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Random Topic Rant, Beta

Today's topic is: Academic Freedom!

My view of academic freedom (AF) is based on the idea that AF is not a right held by faculty, but a management decision made by the university.

Why is it not a right? Well, why should it be a right? Faculty are employed by the university. They are paid money in order to do stuff for the university. That's how employment works in general. Why, in addition to being paid, should they be able to do whatever they want to do? Employees have no such right. Employment is essentially suspending your right to do whatever you want in exchange for pay.

This is not to say that universities shouldn't have AF. University administrators don't know enough to tell researchers what to do. A part of research, in fact, is finding out what there is to research. Therefore, it makes good management sense for the university to provide AF for their researchers.

It is not, however, an immutable right. If taking away AF from faculty has a benefit that outweighs the loss of effective research, then there's no reason why the university shouldn't be able to do so. The uproar over losing a "right" makes no sense. For example, in teaching, as opposed to research, it is perfectly reasonable for the university to ask that teachers apply certain guidelines to how they teach. Telling teachers "No indoctrination" is not trampling their rights, it's asking them to maintain educational standards which make the education of students more effective.

Geez, I'm bored. Anyone have any requests for interesting random topic rants?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/07/2004 01:46:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Hahaha... see you in wrongland

ASUC Senator Lakshimi Sridaran should consider name Americanization as a viable option. That might set her on course for understanding some other American concepts, such as not saying things are going to happen when they're not going to happen. Wait, that's not American at all.

Anyway, check out these predictions. Then come back in a few months and laugh at how wrong she was.

As a senator I will no longer stand idly and watch the institution that I am a part of consistently silence significant populations of the students on this campus.

The by-laws can no longer back people into corners, the principles of fiscal responsibility can no longer exclude underrepresented groups and the actions of the senators will be under strict scrutiny at all times to ensure accountability to every student.

We'll see. Anyway, check out this statement that should get her canned immediately:

I will not defer to rules, rules created to systematically shut out very specific groups of students.

Sorry, lady, those rules are what we elect you under. If you don't want to follow them, don't join the ASUC. Also, that's some pretty crappy English.

I am enraged as a member of the Finance Committee that Derby Days, a fraternity event that has recorded incidents of exploiting women, was funded amply by ASUC while funding for Alpha Phi Alpha’s Black Women’s Appreciation night was cut severely. They are the only fraternity that has prioritized the recognition and appreciation of women on this campus.

Sounds like they're only concerned with the recognition and appreciation of black women. Do other women not count as women? And you bitch at the ASUC for excluding specific groups from consideration.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/07/2004 01:30:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Kick their ass!

Editorial: Bowl Hopes Dashed. What's that? Pointing out that bowl hopes were dashed isn't an opinion? Shows what you know.

But the BCS is a better system than nearly any other, barring an extensive playoff series that would take up much of our student athletes’ time and make regular season games less important.

But when football teams find themselves unfairly snubbedby the BCS year after year, it is clear that the system is not working.

So... "The BCS is great and all... until it screws us over. Then it becomes objectively a travesty." That's some fine editorializing.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/07/2004 01:27:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Oh, excellent!

The Daily Cal has a sex issue today! That's great! Because whenever I want to know stuff about sex, I always turn to The Daily Cal.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/07/2004 01:25:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .


Remember when the Daily Cal had an interesting opinion section?

Michelle Pelletier writes a livejournal rant about how she keeps almost getting run over. (oddly enough, I almost collided with a bicycle while reading it) "And there was this one time, this guy was mean and almost hit me. And there was this other time..." That's some good Op-Ed material right there. And remember:

Instead, own up to your carelessness and apologize for being so selfish that you could not be bothered to adhere to traffic laws. We’ll understand. No one wants you to put yourself out.

...Bicyclists are giving sex to strangers they almost hit, or am I just that out of touch with phrase turns?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/07/2004 01:22:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Monday, December 06, 2004

So... uh...

I guess I should say something about Cal's BCS situation, but somehow I just can't bring myself to care.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/06/2004 09:07:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

I don't normally do this, but...

Aaron Azlant says a lot of things I wish more people would believe. In particular:

Given this, people should make a greater effort to bend their personal ideology to fit the facts—and not vice versa. Intelligent people have a special problem with this; they think their facility at manipulating ideas can substitute for contact with different beliefs.

Go meet a Republican! And not an official one.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/06/2004 01:07:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Sunday, December 05, 2004

Am I missing something?

I had a pretty substantial visitor spike on Sunday, but the logs don't seem to indicate any obvious source. What happened?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/05/2004 11:59:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Saturday, December 04, 2004

Holy shit

Hello ignorant rant. This one's about "The Irresponsibilities of Religion," from Thomas Ulatowski, and reminds me why I don't read the Daily Planet anymore.

The thesis of the piece is that it people need to engage in "responsible reasoning" or else Bad Things happen. And religious folk don't engage in responsible reasoning. But you would think a promoter of "reasoning" would apply it himself. No such luck. Indeed, I can hardly imagine that this fellow has even talked to a religious person in a non-confrontational manner.

Since there is no worldwide religious consensus, the belief in divine revelation produces this devastating dichotomy: Either God is not almighty because He was incapable of making Himself clear regarding the existence of one true religion, or the Almighty created mostly defective people who can’t recognize His clear message. Consequently, faiths based on a revelation by a god who claims to be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent must either inculcate a prejudice against nonbelievers or an aversion to impartial consideration.

Let's put aside what exactly "impartial consideration" entails and head right for his dichotomy. The claim makes the assumption that had God done His job correctly, everyone would believe in Him and follow His will exactly. Now, I'm an atheist, yet even I can see what's so pathetic about that assumption. Would we really be perfect without free will? Would it even mean anything for us to act morally if it wasn't possible for us to act immorally? No modern religion I know of casts God as some kind of selfish person trying to create perfect worlds for fun or whatever. Our lives are given to us as gifts, not because God is looking for results.

For instance, if you ask Catholics why their Church was once a terrorist organization that started religious wars, tortured infidels, and brutally murdered heretics, some of the true believers might quietly assume that you are in league with the devil and hope that God strikes you dead “to show that you are wrong.”

If you ask Catholics something like that, you are an asshole. "Hey, you, why did some dead guys who used to be in the organization you're in do something bad? Oh, wait, I can read your mind, and now you want me to be striken dead, and I'll use that creative mind-reading to draw broad conclusions about people similar to you."

Moreover, in order to maintain their status as moral authorities, religious professionals encourage their followers to endorse unjustified beliefs on faith.

Give me one example, just one, of a moral belief justified on rationality.

Responsible reasoning is so important that a halfway decent god would not have failed to emphasize it. Responsible behavior shows love; therefore, it is the key to morality.

Love's a pretty irresponsible thing, actually. And saying that love is the key to morality is not an example of responsible reasoning, or any reasoning, for that matter.

The religious disregard for responsible reasoning explains crusades, jihads, and inquisitions. In addition, it explains how the Christian-conditioned Nazis assumed their supremacist and aggressive beliefs without concern for objective justification. And, it even explains how the Christian-conditioned Bolsheviks embraced communism, atheism, and totalitarianism without sound reason or evidence.

Uhh... let me make sure I'm on the right page. Religion encourages disregard for responsible reasoning so much that atheists act immorally. Did Tom never stop to responsibly reason that maybe, since even the atheists screw this up, it's an aspect of humanity, and not of religion?

If we truly take control of our lives and demand responsive, effective, efficient, and honest political representation, then responsible governments will adopt sensible policies, and an era of peace will result.

Bwahahaha! Oh, that's rich. Well, here you go. Dictatorships can result in sensible governments. Democracies (or other products of 'honest political representation') cannot, as long as people are not all identical. This is the strength of democracy, not its flaw.

Mr. Ulatowski, you are an embarrassment to rationality. Under no circumstances can a logic-worshipper invoke morality.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/04/2004 07:18:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Nice job!

Blondie's managed to get their liquor license suspended. Nicely done!

I'm letting you know just in case you were planning to go to Blondie's for the booze... uh...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/04/2004 02:03:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Friday, December 03, 2004


I usually avoid reading the "news" in The Daily Planet, but this comment on
the front page jumped out at me:

In a prepared statement, CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro called the lockout “an outrageous slap in the face to the patients and the communities that Sutter purports to represent,” and said the move “will sharply escalate tensions between Sutter and its RNs."

On the other hand, our striking did not escalate tensions at all. Really!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/03/2004 11:58:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Andro wins!

Wednesday columnist Andro Hsu
crushes Thursday columnist Tejas Narechania, once again showing how real majors always win.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/03/2004 11:56:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .


This has to be the most juvenile and petty defense of Israel I've read in a long time. Talking points:

Israel is not an apartheid state on a techniality.

We know big words like nuanced. Everyone who disagrees with us must not know enough about history. Nuanced history, that is.

Comparing the barrier to the Berlin wall is false. What exactly it means for a comparison to be 'false,' I don't know, but still.

Check out these big words:

It is time for some honest debate, because frankly, the utter denial of historical fact is offensive. To make these false comparisons is morally repugnant, academically dishonest, and does not serve to advance the cause of peace or a greater campus dialogue.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/03/2004 11:53:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Good God, you're wrong

Editorial 1:

If the United States military tomorrow became an equal-opportunity employer, they would be welcome on our campus. But since they show no inclination to do so, it is the university’s responsibility to demonstrate, through example, what we think of the military’s bigoted practices.

The bigoted practice of defending our country, for instance. There's more to the military than their policy towards gays.

Editorial 2:

Like good liberals, the Daily Cal urges us to SPEND SPEND SPEND!!!

The last time students were given the seemingly masochistic opportunity to raise their own fees in an act of altruism was in 2001 when a $37.20 fee increase passed, giving every student the Class Pass that still adorns our UC Berkeley identification cards.

We must differ in our definitions of 'altruism.'

The rest of our $98.75 doles out money to ASUC, the student center and the ethnic studies department, and includes fees for intramural sports facilities, “Life Safety” and the recruitment and retention centers. These are arguably worthy causes, but couldn’t we do more with students’ money?

Those look like pretty stupid causes, actually. Why should these particular examples be exempt from the begging process most organizations use? And doing more with students' money is nice, but this editorial is asking us to do more with more students' money. Not all money that students have belongs to the university community, as this editorial seems to imply.

The problem is that referendums are few and far between on this campus. Students should have a say in how their money is spent. Likewise, they should be given the opportunity to pay additional fees for causes and programs they wish to support.

Referendums are a positive way to let students better their school and therefore should become a more regular practice, not just an uncommon event.

Okay, here goes the very complicated one-point explanation:

The group STUDENTS is made up of many individual and different students.

So when you say "students like such and such" you actually mean "some students like such and such," and when you say "students spend money on programs they wish to support," you're actually saying "all students are forced to spend money on programs that some students wish to support." I would be happy to see students "be given the opportunity to pay additional fees for causes and programs they wish to support." This is called 'donation.' A referendum does something very different. It coerces a minority into paying for something a majority wants.

Finally, I'd be more inclined to vote for referenda if there was a possibility of them being reversed in the future. As is, however, once a pet project passes, there's no way to get rid of it, because its supporters will cling to it and the ASUC will mindlessly say "Hey, we'll defend it!" Consider the uproar if we tried to defund ethnic studies, and ask them to work on a level playing field with other departments.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/03/2004 11:44:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .


Rifkind cartoon. So, the five and six of spades, who play football, apparently, are painting roses Cal colors with Texas Orange nearby. Something to do with our Rose Bowl opportunities and their relation to Texas, I assume, but... What?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/03/2004 11:41:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .


New admissions dude:

From the acting admissions dude, Mary Dubitzky:

“It’s incumbent on the university to try to do what they can to make the university look like what the state will look like in the next few years,” Dubitzky said. “It’s obvious that we need to try to diversify this campus. Otherwise, we run the risk of looking like South Africa.”

Because there are so very few black people in South Africa. I guess she prolly means "Whites in control in a not-very-white place," which means "we" must mean California, rather than UC. Except that she's using "we" for university, too. Sheesh.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/03/2004 11:36:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Thursday, December 02, 2004


So, I just recieved notification informing me that I was registered to vote in last month's election. Excellent! I apparently figured that giving my registration to Get-Out-The-Vote folks in August meant they would turn it in sometime before October 18. Boy was I wrong.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/02/2004 09:25:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

I'm so out of the loop

When did all the newspaper boxes get moved from Bancroft and Telegraph? And why am I having such a hard time finding EBXs?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/02/2004 01:24:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Uh, that's pretty stupid

More irrelevant Peterson humor.

Scott's pa says he's "I’m frightened, deeply saddened." If I were him, I'd be embarrassed as hell, too. Oh, you think that wouldn't be a good thing to say when trying to convince a jury? Well, then check out the alternative they're using:

"You see, he was a nice boy. He never really had any hardship. No bad things ever happened to him. So, it's not like he became a murderer because he had a troubled childhood or anything. It looks like it was just cold-blooded selfishness from a person who feels he deserves everything."

Yeah, that'll convince the jury to sympathize with him.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/01/2004 06:23:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Stuff that doesn't make sense

National student database.

Under the current system, transfer students can skew statistics regarding graduation and retention. Now, if a student transfers schools, he is recorded as a dropout in his former school, but a graduate in the other. The proposed system would allow the federal government to recognize him as the same person.

Seems like keeping track of how many people transferred from one school to another would accomplish the same goal without keeping a federal database of students. But hey, what do I know.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/01/2004 06:20:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Another strike-lockout combo


Union: We want something from you, and we'll use our power as employees to coerce you into giving it to us.

Hospital: We want something from you, and we'll use our power as employers to coerce you into giving it to us.

Union: Hey! No fair!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/01/2004 06:18:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

. . .