Wednesday, August 31, 2005
More free advertising
DTI wants to abolish the ASUC. Before (s)he does that, (s)he might want to do some basic website management, like fixing the sidebar. Also, (s)he probably needs an identity other than DTI. Like, say, a name. Anonymous internet commentators don't effect real change.
That said, I hope, but doubt, that this movement will get off the ground. That'll be fun to watch.
. . .
By the way
Instapundit has a list of donation ideas, and links to other lists, if you want to help.
. . .
Now, to the 'Blame Bush' phase
Things in and near New Orleans are very serious. There is only one way for us to respond. We, as a country, must join hands, open our hearts, and blame Bush.
Yes, Joeann Edmonds is pissed that Bush isn't on camera. (I'm going to put aside the fact that... you know... he was) You see, if only Bush was around, things would've gone much better. Much, much better. His very presence saves lives.
Hugh Cavanaugh is pissed off that Bush is safe. He should put himself in severe danger, because that would totally benefit people.
. . .
Thank God for eclipses
Call the waaaambulance! We're not politically active anymore!
Even today, the notion of UC Berkeley spirit conjures up images of the infamous Free Speech Movement, Mario Savio and the hippie counter-culture.
According to another article, it should conjure up images of old buildings.
"I'd say Berkeley has substituted a Mario Savio Cafe for a Mario Savio spirit," says anthropology professor Laura Nader, who came to UC Berkeley in 1960.
Well, I believe Laura Nader. Sure, she doesn't even know the name of the Free Speech Movement Cafe, but that's no big deal.
Anyway, it's interesting to hear the geezers complain about our lack of 'passion.' If you stop to think about it, what they're really complaining about is the fact that things don't suck enough for us. Essentially, they're saying "I'm nostalgic for old days. If only things sucked more for students, those days could be brought back."
Thanks, but no thanks. I think a lack of political activism is a small price to pay for having things not suck so much.
. . .
To pedestrians strolling by the Wallace W. Clark building on Shattuck Avenue, the sound of clinking silverware from the building's restaurant drowns out its most distinctive sound: the echoes of history.
Thanks, Brian Whitley. That was a very newsworthy comment.
[OMGIhatedevelopmentista Lesley Emmington], now a member of the commission, said Berkeley's unique personality, exhibited through its architecture, must be protected from "hasty economic opportunism."
Note the following assumptions:
Berkeley has a unique personality.
Berkeley's unique personality is exhibited through its architecture.
Berkeley's unique personality must be protected.
No one really bothers to defend those assumptions, which don't make a whole lot of sense to me. Anyone want to give it a shot?
. . .
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
I'm newsy! In briefy!
The first story is about how a driver collided with a girl. A lot of stress is put on the fact that it was the driver that collided, rather than the car. I get the impression that he stopped his car, got out, ran into a girl, then got back in and drove off.
Next, we've got a knifey case. While "The attacker is described as clean-shaven, in his 20s with black hair, a thin build and a hooded jacket," apparently no one could get a close enough look at him to figure out his race.
Finally, someone flashed a woman while riding his bicycle. Actually, it's even more impressive than that.
The woman was walking on Derby Street near Shattuck Avenue around 5:38 p.m. when the man rode by on his bicycle, masturbating twice, said Berkeley police Officer Joe Okies.
Twice! Which, of course, raises a broader question which I must be ignorant on. How does one count masturbations? My previous understanding would suggest that someone could not masturbate twice in quick succession, and certainly not within the time frame of passing someone on a bicycle. But maybe I'm using the wrong counting method. Does anyone know the proper way to count masturbations?
. . .
If only these standards applied
Blah blah sue sue.
But UC's stringent evaluation of coursework serves to ready students for their educational careers at a UC school and is not meant to be exclusionary, said UC spokesperson Ravi Poorsina.
"We have these requirements in place because we want to prepare students thoroughly for UC coursework," Poorsina said. "The purpose is to make sure that students are prepared."
Man, I've got some bad news for UC. Those requirements make sure of no such thing. Incoming folks here have to be some of the dumbest, least-able-to-problem-solve people I've ever had the misfortune of meeting. Let the Christian folk in. They couldn't possibly be any worse.
. . .
Not short enough
As has been reported by Calstuff, Dean Karen Kenney resigninated.
Apart from concrete projects, Kenney also served on behalf of the chancellor in reaching out to students' families who had suffered personal crises and served as a mediator in conflict resolutions between various student groups.
"Whether the work was done with Muslim and Jewish students, or conservative and progressive students, one of the most enjoyable things is being able to bring people together and have a meaningful conversation about their differences and to work through those and gain mutual understanding," Kenney said.
Wow, what great success. I mean, Muslims and Jews have such meaningful conversations now, just like progressives and conservatives.
"Dean Kenney is the only administrator who came to almost every senate meeting," said Adnan Iqbal, an ASUC Senator from 2002 to 2004. "One thing about her—and I don't know any other administrator like this—is that her door is always open for any student, regardless of whether they're an ASUC Senate member or engineering major," he said.
It's good to know that ASUC Senators and engineering majors are polar opposites.
"She was always in dialogue with the Greek community, whether we agree or not with the dialogue. She did more than just lip service," said ASUC Senator Ben Narodick.
Okay, I'll bite: How do you agree or disagree with a dialog?
. . .
Patriotism, on sale
Boy, standards sure have lowered. Look what David Finley thinks counts as patriotic:
Cindy Sheehan is doing a great job of reminding us what true patriotism is—standing up, speaking your mind, and calling the government to account for its actions.
It would take a special kind of person to 'not' be patriotic with this definition. Dona Spring isn't patriotic, because she can't stand up. Polite people aren't patriotic, I guess, since they don't speak their mind. And hermits, who rarely call the government to account for its actions... they're not patriotic at all!
. . .
Amina Khan is still in the credits as the opinion page editor, though I thought Lisa Humes-Schulz was going to take over for this semester. Not that I'm complaining. I've liked Khan's attitude.
I will, however, complain about this bitchfest about Bowles students getting the boot. (Hey, at least the cartoon is understandable, if uninteresting)
What administrators don't seem to understand is that there is something worth saving in the traditions of Bowles Hall. While Bowles won't shed its reputation as easily as it sheds its culture, it does make students feel less loyal to the dorm, as residents will be there a year at most anyway.
I'm not sure how that counts as 'worth saving.'
. . .
God, Sex on Tuesday is so boring. It's not even fucking boring. Today's thesis is the incredibly original "do what you want."
Society is getting more and more sexually aware and, if you've been good little boys and girls and done your homework, there just isn't that much that I can tell you that you don't already know. Sex columns have been going on for a number of years, so it's all been done. The Internet is a confidential source for almost any sex query and is full of what I'll politely refer to as explicit demonstrations.
Does this mean we won't have to deal with more SoT this year? Ha! Yeah, right. That would actually make sense.
. . .
Makes you wonder...
Romilla Khanna is concerned about the unhealthiness of diets of poor people.
If they could afford it I'm sure they would choose a healthy diet to promote their health and enhance their lifespan.
After all, when was the last time you saw a fat rich person?
. . .
Here's an interesting factoid about The Daily Planet. While most commentary pieces are titled with the thesis of the commentator, an exception is made for Diebold Veep Dave Byrd's obvious defense of his company, which is titled "Diebold VP Says Company's Machines Recorded Tallies Accurately in Test." (The defense is that all the votes were counted, contrary to implications by others)
Contrast this with the piece he is responding to, from Peter Teichner, titled "How Many Diebolds to Screw Up an Election?" Indeed, contrast it with the other commentary titles in today's paper:
"KPFA Staff Has Refused to Implement Local Station Board's Decisions," and "Library Forum on RFID Revealed Threats to Privacy, Health."
Way to stand up for diversity of thought, O'Malley.
. . .
Becky O'Malley, predictably, likes educational experiments. Nothing helps students more than fucking up their education in the name of politics.
No discussion of education is complete without pointing out the Latin root of the word, from the Latin educare, to lead out.
Actually, such a discussion would be complete, since we all speak English, rather than Latin. It turns out that "the Latin roots of this word are..." does not make for a convincing argument.
Page Smith himself didn't last even 10 years at UCSC, resigning in disgust at the decision of the academic bureaucracy to deny tenure to a valued colleague, and yet his former students who spoke at the memorial on Saturday continue to believe that their education was an outstanding success from their personal perspective.
Ah, they said good things about his work at his memorial, that must mean he was good at what he did. Because honestly, if he wasn't, then they would've still showed up to his memorial, but they would've said "Well, he wasn't much of an educator. Boy, did he suck at that."
. . .
Monday, August 29, 2005
She sells sea shells...
Aww... how cute.
Not even slashed tires and a beaten husband with broken ribs—which [Telegraph decoration Kerlene Padilla] encountered from other vendors when she first opened shop—could scare her away.
"Those days a lot of those people were on drugs," she says. "They had a control grip on everything. They wanted us to leave, so we stayed. We’ve proved we’ve done this for ourselves."
But today, Padilla and many other Telegraph vendors consider themselves a close-knit group of friends.
"Today we all talk to each other and we're all good friends," she says. "We hold no grudges."
"Hey, Kerlene, remember that time I beat your husband to a pulp? Yeah, those were good times..."
"One time I got this crazy guy shoving and yelling at me and a bunch of vendors came and totally saved me," says [some other fluff puff Jonathan Fernandez].
Whew, thank God he didn't have to deal with the crazy anymore. Instead he had a bunch of vendors...
. . .
On some comment about relations between southsiders and other southsiders:
Complaints from neighborhood residents were handled on a case-by-case basis in years past, but due to a lack of parties involved, students were often forced to bear the brunt of the blame, she said.
Now, 'parties' can mean two things. Neither of them seems to make much sense. Any suggestions for interpreting this statement?
. . .
I love Meleia!
If you recall, Meleia Willis-Starbuck died after she called a hit on someone but used an amateur who hit her instead. I'm glad there are people working to keep her spirit alive.
On a broader topic, though, I remain somewhat confused about the whole run-for-charity thing. Some people like running. Some people want to give money to charity. Why do the two need to be interrelated? Who is the philanthropist who says "I'll help out with this cause... but only if that guy over there runs really far!"?
. . .
And then I found Jesus
[IEOR dude Ananth Krishna]'s drift away from religion brought him to the only atheist student group on campus, Students for a Nonreligious Ethos. Krishna, now the co-president of the group, says the absence of religious rhetoric is a major draw for the group's nearly 700 members.
At meetings, all students, regardless of their religious affiliation, are welcome to participate in debates as long as religion doesn't make an appearance in their logic, Krishna says.
"You can go there knowing you're not going to be hit with religious dogma," he said. "Nothing is going to stop you from talking about, say, cloning, because it says so here, here and here in the Bible."
What an shame to IEOR folks everywhere. Creating a group to hide from religious rhetoric on a campus where it is almost never raised... I'd like to see the decision tree that justifies that effort.
"It's (students') first time away from home, so there are questions of ethnic identity, issues of sexuality," [sociologist Bill McKinney] says. "All have to do with understanding who they are and what they're doing on earth."
I dunno what goes through your mind when you're thinking about getting laid, but a sociologist seems to think I'm strange for not wondering about who I am and what I'm doing on earth. Or Earth, for those of us who engage in the use of proper nouns. But what are proper nouns doing on Earth? And do they think about it when they want to get it on with, say, adjectives?
. . .
Don't miss the giant metal vehicle
During her three years at UC Berkeley, senior Alisa Arce has lost track of how many times she's nearly been hit by cars speeding down Bancroft Way.
What an arce. I know exactly the number of times I've been nearly hit by cars speeding down Bancroft way, and I can count them on the fingers of a man with no arms. I'll let you folks in on a secret: When you don't walk out in front of cars, you never almost get hit.
Maybe I'm just lucky, as I'm never in so much of a hurry that I can't wait five seconds for traffic to clear before crossing the street without slowing anybody down. Bancroft doesn't exactly bustle with traffic most of the time. I have more trouble crossing Hearst near Cory, but that's where engineers cross, and we're usually smart enough to figure out how to cross a street safely.
. . .
Take that AlcoholEdu
Drinking game! Drink whenever someone refers to The California Patriot while referencing it's glossy cover.
Other suggestions are welcome, and I'll add more as more of these repetitions come up.
. . .
Haha, dumb freshmen
Continuing the theme of ignorant confidence, today we discuss double majoring. Not satsified with their stress level with one major, idiotic students take on a second major so they can be even more proud of being stressed students.
Administrators also worry that students are shouldering the burden of double degrees under the misconception that it will win them points with employers.
There is no data or evidence to support that belief, many university officials said.
But students say that their double majors have given them a leg up in applications and admissions.
"I just know that for graduate school in economics, it is a plus if you have an extra background in mathematics and statistics," said junior Dan Nguyen, who plans to graduate with a degree in both economics and statistics.
It is indeed a plus. But you don't need a second major to have a background in mathematics and statistics. Why not just take some mathematics and statistics courses? But overall, it seems that the ignorant students think they know what the admissions folks want. Having actually talked to people involved in admissions, I know that they don't really care which or how many majors you have, they'll look at the transcript which says which courses you took.
But hey, what do admissions folks know? The dumb undergrads know better.
"I wanted to go to England ... I wanted to visit Stonehenge and backpack through Europe," said Di Fan, a sophomore majoring in molecular and cell biology and psychology.
Fan, who has decided against studying abroad during the school year because her courseload is too heavy, said going abroad would have been a way to experience a new culture.
"I would not be going there for molecular cell biology," she said. "I would be going there for culture."
Apparently, Di Fan hasn't heard of 'vacations.'
. . .
Sunday, August 28, 2005
As an old dude, the appearance of freshmen always pisses me off. There's no particular reason for this. Still, since most of my readers are also old dudes compared to those puny freshmen, I encourage them to come up with their own ideas for "What do I hate about freshmen?"
The colors. Hot pink? Bright yellow? I didn't know folks could make blue so intrusive into a field of view, but freshmen pull it off with their light yet bright blue shirts. Most folks tend to lose the ugly colors as they go on, but every year, a new crop of freshmen assaults our eyes.
The gangs. Know 11 people on your floor? Want to go out and do something? Bring them all! After all, being in a group of friends so large that you don't actually have any interaction with half of them just shows how popular you are. The cliques are so large that they have to form cliques within their cliques.
The stress. Or, more accurately, the whining about stress. Freshmen are ignorant. But that doesn't stop them from trying to be confidently well-informed, as they brag about all the stress that they're sure they're going to face here in college, despite knowing absolutely nothing about it. It's like a badge of honor for these folks. "Look at me! I'm almost in tears because of stress! I must be a good student!!!"
Strangely, it seems the only people who get stressed are the ones bitching about stress ahead of time. Do you know anyone who was blind-sided by stress? Who thought something wasn't going to be too stressful but was proven wrong? I certainly don't. Stress comes to those who are worried about it, while those who don't worry about such things somehow manage to avoid it completely. It would be an irony that worrying about stress causes the stress, except that the folks who do worry about stress usually want to be stressed.
Not that I'm concerned about those stress-braggers. They're so annoying I want them to be smothered in grief and pain and stress, but only if they shut the hell up about it. Since they rarely do, I have to settle for encouraging folks to not be worried about it. So hey! Don't worry about stress!
. . .
I'm not sure if this is a joke...
Carl Schwab says:
Sen. Chuck Hagel's comments regarding the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam were a beacon of honesty piercing the fog of worn-out clichés being parroted by the rest of the Republican Party.
Thank God we've got a beacon to pierce those clichés.
. . .
Friday, August 26, 2005
Save us, mommy!
Haha. That's funny. AG Lockyer, one of the biggest gun-sellers in California, wants warning labels put on potato products which produce acrylamide when cooked.
Lockyer is seeking labeling only of potato products, although traces of acrylamide are found in breakfast cereals, breads, olives, asparagus, coffee and even prune juice.
Yeah, but people are already at war with french fries, so who cares about all those other things?
"Acrylamide has been present in the food supply and safely consumed since human beings discovered that cooked food tastes good and is often safer than the raw form," the coalition of food producers said in its statement about the lawsuit.
Don't be silly, with the whole "pointing-out-the-obvious." The important thing is safety. SAFETY!!! Consider the two reactions:
1. Consumer continues eating those products, so there's no change.
2. Consumer stops eating those products because she's afraid of carcinogens, even though she doesn't at all understand what kind of actual risk is being presented by these foods. As a result, she probably eats something unhealthier.
And then we'll be safe.
. . .
Local elected official Jason Overman has this to say:
"If you're saying what it sounds like you're saying, you need to get the hell out of our city. Your intolerance is not welcome here."
I don't think I even need to comment on it.
. . .
OMG GAY! Or, uh, abortionistic.
Bonnie Chan knows that the responsible thing to do with unwanted children is to kill them.
Someone who is pro-choice simply understands that when a woman is faced with something as serious as an unwanted pregnancy, no government-imposed law has the power to resign her to a fate.
Someone who is pro-murderyourkids simply understands that when a woman is faced with something as serious as an unwanted kid, no government-imposed law has the power to resign her to a fate.
Wait, maybe that isn't such a good standard, after all.
Please understand that giving birth to an unwanted child is an anti-choice that cannot be taken back.
This is an example of anti-speech, where people just make shit up as if it communicates something. Abortions can't be taken back either, you know.
. . .
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Excuse me while I cry in sympathy
"This year it's just a bunch of freshmen who really don't know anything. There's no one to teach them the songs, tell them what to do, who to harass," [former Bowles asshole Cody Eckert] said.
. . .
A second tear of shame
"Rink on Brink of Closure Inks Deal" doesn't even work, really.
But here's some shocking news that'll floor you:
"Online Textbook Sellers See Spike In Sales"
. . .
Unconsciousness eludes me. Therefore, let me laugh at an official spokesman (or, perhaps more accurately, a DC rephrase).
Officials from the Attorney General's office maintained that the decision to move Pearcy's and two other artists' work stemmed from concerns about the situation in the Middle East and had nothing to do with its content.
That makes perfect sense. Maybe The Chron will help clarify the situation.
"Due to our concerns about the current situation in the Middle East, we relocated three of the selected pieces of artwork in the exhibit," said Nathan Barankin, citing the removal by Israeli officials of settlers in the Gaza Strip.
Ah...... umm... what?
. . .
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Waaah! I'm so right I'm wrong!
On that Cindy Sheehan person.
The core issue is sidestepped by shifting focus to the person raising the issue.
But no amount of real or projected shortcomings, or no number of legions of "swiftboaters" attacking her person, can diminish the veracity, immediacy, and importance of Sheehan's question:
"What did my son die for?"
Uh... are you sure that the focus is the issue and not the person? People have been bitching about this war for years, why do people suddenly care about Sheehan? It's not because of the person rather than the issue, right?
. . .
For National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator (now there's a title that picks up the chicks) Jeffrey Runge:
"Ah, now that I've carefully inspected Mineta's gesture, I have a greater understanding of the point he was trying to make."
"Are you trying to steal my lapel pin? You already have two. You can't have mine."
"Look at that guy. Leaning on the podium. Unbuttoned suit. Collar all over the place. This is what happens when you try to make Asians look professional."
"Is that really his penis size? Maybe I can tell from here."
For Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta:
"Follow the hand... follow the hand... haha, dumb whitey."
"My hair part is much more dignified than Jeffrey's. I deserve some podium-leaning leeway."
"If the lighting was right, this would totally be a shadow dog."
. . .
Now they're not even trying.
There's a story about some caravan of folks blah blah something blah support the military blah blah blah. Whatever. But on the SFGate website, at the moment, the headline is "Bash-Cindy Tour Rolling." Seriously. I'm not shitting you. Bash-Cindy. I guess they're going to meet up with the counter-protesters against the Bash-Bush camp. Bush defended the military mission in a Bash-Iraq speech.
In unrelated news, I'm getting fucking sick of the stupid sorority chants. What is wrong with you people? Is shouting lame chants the only way you can have fun with your friends?
. . .
So right, yet so wrong
Bob Burnett gives sound advice, and then proceeds to ignore it completely.
He begins by pointing out that no one really knows what Democrats stand for, besides not being Republicans. This hurts them, so they should start trying to stand for something, rather than just claiming to not be Republicans.
He then gives four ideas of what the Dems could do, all of which are essentially "don't be Republicans." (They speak for themselves, and I don't want to just make this post a giant quote.)
. . .
Monday, August 22, 2005
Stop colonializing my language!
There's an SF anti-war rally thingie coming in a few days, if the flyers laying around on the sidewalks are to be believed. Among the things they'll be fighting is our "colonial occupation of Iraq."
I grew up in a different culture, where "colonial occupations" involved colonies and the like, but hey, who am I to argue?
. . .
I'm probably thinking too long and hard about this, but:
However, one bisexual sorority member said that attitudes toward homosexuality vary from house to house. She said her sorority is one of the more conservative chapters and advised that anyone considering joining the Greek system think "long and hard" about it.
Sounds like it's fine for male gays, it's just the lesbians that need to be concerned.
In some houses, the attitude towards homosexual members is, "We don't really mind if you freak with guys, as long as you're still a guy. If you drink, watch sports, go to football games, that sort of thing overshadows your sexuality," [
IFC prez Andy Solari an anonymous gay senior] said.
What if you freak with guys as you drink, watch sports, and go to football games? I guess it's interesting that the argument here seems to be "Look, the stereotypical frat guy doesn't need to be straight at all, and all we ask is that you be a stereotypical frat guy. We're inclusive like that."
. . .
It... uh... whe...
Here's my guess: There's a tiny computer, on the end of a sweaty (really sweaty) hair that knows the future, and sees that in 2012, there will be a place with smoking craters. This is so scary that the computer on the end of the hair is itself sweating, rather than the sweat coming from the skin the hair is attached to.
. . .
*tear of shame*
"Lack of Dough Forces Elmwood Bakery to Close."
Judging from the recruitment site, a copy editor is responsible. Think you can do better? I hope so. Apply today! Make the Daily Cal less... uh... that headlineish.
. . .
Sunday, August 21, 2005
More free publicity
Something Awful is a great location for teh funnay. One of the SA folks is apparently working on a book describing some of the crazier attempts at invention by the Nazis. The original post is here, for a taste.
You can find information on the book, (tentatively?) titled "My Tank is Fight: War is Hellarious," here, as well as a mailing list. Whether you're a WWII nerd or just like reading about flying tanks and ice carriers, sign up!
(The illustrations are impressive.)
. . .
Yes, that is serious
So, as I've prolly mentioned, I'm getting over a hundred hits a day from people looking for AlcoholEdu answers.
From Google: "sign of serious trouble when person drinking wake."
Yes. If you are attending the wake of a person who was drinking, that's probably a sign of serious trouble.
. . .
Miss teacher, I don't understand!
Dorothy Dimitre says:
In regard to the California standards (STAR) test, I'm wondering how many eighth-graders (or most anyone, for that matter) need to know how many seconds it takes Ramon's penny to reach the ground.
Ah, I guess they don't need to know the specific fictional detail in the test. I guess the test is completely pointless!
Or... you know... maybe the point is to see if, given a problem, folks are able to solve it.
Then there is California Superintendent Jack O'Connell's grandiose statement: "A rapidly changing global economy demands that all students be excellent communicators and rigorous problem solvers, if they are to succeed."
Two questions: What is success? And what is being done to develop well- functioning people for trade vocations?
Let's ask this another way. Pick a definition of success, and tell me if excellent communication and rigorous problem solving are unimportant for it. Maybe instead of training everyone to do every trade, we can train them how to solve problems and communicate so that they can learn any trade in the future. Maybe.
Julie Wilder-Sherman asks the question:
The other thing was the perception that we who are opposed to the war don't support the troops. How much more supportive can one be than to try to save a life?
A whole lot, actually. There's a difference between supporting someone and locking them in a cage so they don't get hurt. Some things in life really are more important than simply continuing to breathe.
. . .
More memos missed
I shall not sell my slaves to you, says one set of parents, who I'll gratuitously name so they can be proud of their slaver ideals: Patricia A. Levesh and Michael Raabe. Which is funny, since I was under the impression we didn't have slavery here.
We are the parents of two teenaged sons entering junior year in high school. We will not send them to die for what we believe is an unnecessary and unjust war about which our government has lied to us.
My parents remember the day that they chose not to sign off on the contract that would send me to the military. Other parents do sign, though, sending their kids off to die in a war that, presumably, those parents approve of.
Oh, wait a second. Parents don't own their children in the 21st century. I guess it's telling that the "progressives" on the anti-war side continue to live in the outdated Dark Ages they accuse Bush and "the Christian fundamentalists" of sending us back to, apparently through their complete lack of impact on the law.
No, we live in a world where you can't be sent to war on your parents' whim. Absent a draft, the decision actually falls to the person being sent to war. I realize these are groundbreaking ideas that anti-war folks are unfamiliar with, but hopefully they can understand.
Ellen Goodman puts it another way:
It's a shorthand that both grants and diminishes her authority to speak out against the war, a moral authority won the hardest way possible, through the loss of her child.
That's right, you win moral authority if someone else gets killed. I dunno how that works, but I guess you can take it up with the scorekeepers. Oh, by the way, if you're still for the war after your kid gets killed, you don't win any moral authority.
(Remember, after this war, you can cash in any unused moral authority for plastic combs and the like)
. . .
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Send backup! Not enough dicks!
The camp is named "Fort Qualls" in memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne Qualls, 20, killed in Fallujah, Iraq, last fall. His father, Gary Qualls of Temple, said his 16-year-old son also wants to enlist, and he supports that decision.
"If I have to sacrifice my whole family for the sake of our country and world, other countries that want freedom, I'll do that," said Qualls, a friend of the local business owner who started the pro-Bush camp, Bill Johnson.
Hey, old man, you don't get to sacrifice your family for the sake of anything.
Qualls gained attention last week when he went to Sheehan's camp, which has hundreds of crosses as a tribute to troops killed, and removed one bearing his son's name. But he said protesters keep replacing it; he has yanked two more crosses, saying the protesters' views are disrespectful to soldiers.
Umm... what? Are the protesters serious? Not only are they claiming ownership of their kids, now they're claiming ownership of other people's kids? That's the most disgusting thing I've read, lately. (How much attention did he gain, by the way? This is the first I've heard about it) I guess it makes sense in context, though. ("That's why MoveOn told people to bring pictures of children even if they aren't in the military, and organizers handed out stickers saying 'mom' and 'uncle' and so forth, even if the 'son' or 'nephew' wasn't in Iraq.")
"We're asking for a meeting with the president, period," said Michelle DeFord, whose 37-year-old son, Sgt. David W. Johnson, was in the Army National Guard from Oregon when he was killed in Iraq last fall. "We don't want to debate with people who don't understand our point of view."
Yeah, because then you might have to actually defend your disgusting actions. But hey, while you don't want to debate people who disagree with you, you seem to be all for meeting with the prez. That makes plenty of sense. I guess you just want to yell at him. Why don't you just yell at Fort Qualls' cardboard cutout of him? It'll accomplish about the same amount.
"More assholes! We need more assholes!"
. . .
The dream is gone
Alas, move-in weekend is here. The days of having Berkeley free of ignorant idiotic freshmen are over. Cry out in pain!
On the plus side, this year's incoming class, based on my highly scientific method of estimation (looking around, vaguely comparing with my feelings last year which I don't really remember), looks more Asian than last year's. This, of course, translates into a more intelligent incoming class.
. . .
In a followup to comments about the whole ski jump in San Francisco thingie, some folks have commentary.
Lawrence A. Strick is rightfully pissed that San Francisco went along with the dumb idea. Then again, San Francisco likes going along with dumb ideas.
Lisa Morrill doesn't abstract very well.
My response to those folks "put out" by the ski jump: Quit whining. Geez. It's two days, not two weeks.
My response to those who think they should put in the ski jump: Quit whining. Geez. It's a fucking ski jump, not anything the slightest bit useful.
Oh, and by the way, Lisa, we have to commandeer your house for a museum exhibit on government abuse of power. We'll be putting you in jail for a couple days. What? Quit whining. Geez. It's two days, not two weeks.
I should also add that she writes "get over yourself" in defense of installing a ski jump at great inconvenience because of someone's 30th birthday.
. . .
So, apparently, when the Daily Cal sends out press releases, I'm on the mailing list. This time, they're advertising their new recruitment site. If you're interested in a job with the Daily Cal, go there!
I am not interested in a job with the Daily Cal, but I am interested in making fun of their recruitment site.
It's not news to us--students make the Daily Cal exceptional.
Now, if only they could find the right students, then the Daily Cal actually would be exceptional.
The good thing about their list of positions is that they don't pretend they're doing anything other than resume-building and ego-stroking. For instance, the News Writer is enticed with "You will be in the middle of it all. And your name will be on the front page."
Whether dissecting politics for the masses, giving advice on genital piercings or commenting on Berkeley goings-on, columnists must be absolutely fascinating.
Editorial cartoons are the visual centerpieces of the Opinion pages. They're smart, funny and leave readers thinking about an issue well after they're through with the newspaper.
These must be new policies.
. . .
Friday, August 19, 2005
Guess the relevance!!!
It's time for yet another game: Guess the relevance!
Americans suck at animal rights, says Peter Singer. More importantly, though, we suck at animal rights compared to Europe. Blah blah facts laws commentary etc., but check out this amazingly disgusting fact:
Around 10 billion farm animals are killed every year by US meat, egg, and dairy industries; the estimated number of animals killed for research every year is 20 million to 30 million, a mere 0.3 of that number.
This is the last we hear about research purposes in the op-ed. Judging from the use of 'mere,' I think we're supposed to conclude that not enough animals are being killed for research... or... uh... something. (quick question: Does that number include fruit flies?)
Anyway, guess the relevance!
. . .
Haha, Berkeleyans are dummm
If Cindy stood all alone, the hate-mongers would call her a "kook." If she stands with others, they call her a "dupe." Their hateful slurs show these media puppets to be hollow, cynical, limited individuals.
If they disagree with you, you call them "media puppets." These hateful slurs show... hey, wait a second...
James K. Sayre:
President Cindy Sheehan. President Sheehan. What more could America ns want in a president?
Iunno. Sanity? An ability to act without breaking down due to sadness?
When Bush and Cheney are Impeached, Tried, Convicted and Removed, Cindy Sheehan can be appointed president and "a liberal to be named later" can become vice president.
Capital letters are fun!!! Anyway, keep dreaming, chief. Did you know that when Bush and Cheney are impeached, tried- oh, I mean, Impeached, Tried, Convicted and Removed, they don't just appoint some citizen to replace them?
. . .
Crappy research when reported by The Patriot blog is even crappier when reported by the researchers.
Phil Reiff and Jason Alderman, directors of the Bay Area Center for Voting Research comment on their study on which cities are most liberal and most conservative. From their op-ed:
Defining who is liberal has become a national sport among politicians, as Democrats frantically run from the moniker, while Republicans hurl the invective blindly at everyone on the other side of the aisle.
New research done by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research (BACVR) reveals who the real liberals in American are and the answer is not the tree-hugging, ponytail wearing ex-hippies you might expect. Instead, the new face of American liberalism is of a decidedly different hue. The nation's remaining liberals are overwhelming African Americans.
They go on to point out that the Democrats are controlled by whitey. But let's go over this again: The Democrats aren't liberal. Okay, that's fine with me, I guess, but the report they're using studied liberalness by seeing who people voted for in the presidential election. The vast majority of the "liberal" votes were votes for Democrats. So, while Democrats aren't liberal, the people who vote for the Democrats the most are black, and therefore blacks are liberal. That's some fine research, dudes. Mighy fine.
. . .
Anyone know what these words mean?
Protest blowing. Oh, I mean coverage, coverage!
[Protest Geezer Tina Estes] said she and her friend have been following the machinations of the Bush regime since the 2000 election. "We drove out to Colorado to get out the vote, and we were in a debriefing with the MoveOn.org folk when we realized the election had been stolen. We've been in a tirade ever since."
Great job on the Colorado thing, by the way. Do you know what 'tirade' means? Because you should be really out of breath by now.
"I really like Berkeley politics. People always listen to people from Berkeley, and I like that," [dupe Oswaldo Rosa] said.
In fairness, Oswaldo is from Brazil, so maybe he hasn't had time to effectively determine how much people actually listen to people from Berkeley. (I'll give you a hint: Not very much)
Becky O'Malley has more:
But in Cindy Sheehan we've found a new Joan of Arc to lead us in battle against the forces of darkness.
I don't remember this story very well... what happened to Joan of Arc afterwards?
. . .
Bad news, nature lovers
According to Mel Blaustein, "beauty that takes lives becomes ugliness." So if you've ever thought an animal that also eats things is beautiful, think again.
I wouldn't like to see a suicide barrier mainly because it will deter suicides. As most folks know, I'm a strong proponent of easy access to suicide methods, because suicidal people are so annoying, and are usually doing the rest of us a favor by offing themselves, while still getting to do what they want.
A barrier will not just solve "the problems of a small minority." Bridge jumpers come from all walks of life and include such locals as the former president of the Oakland Real Estate Board, the former pastor of Ebenezer Lutheran Church, and the former president of the San Mateo Medical Society.
I fail to see how such inclusions make this group of gravitational sacrifices either large or no longer a minority. I guess you could argue that it's a diverse small minority, but who cares?
Actually, though, I agree with that statement, because preventing suicide does not solve the problems of self-deadifiers. It actually just provides another problem for them, not to mention a problem for everyone else.
I'm still patiently awaiting the day suicide booths become a reality.
. . .
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Now this is hilarious
Haha! Oh, God, people are such assholes.
A distraught bride, Hindu worshipers and some Pacific Heights dwellers are furious at a plan to cover Fillmore Street in snow to celebrate Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley's 30th birthday in about a week.
Yep. But the quotes are great.
"What the hell are you guys thinking?" said Bruce Miller, who lives in the area and, like most of the neighbors, just found out about the Aug. 27 event recently. "The arrogance of this organization is outrageous. This whole thing is unacceptable."
Sorry. Apparently it's acceptable, since it seems to be going ahead.
"I'm a very detail-oriented person," said [ball-and-chainer Laurie Beijen], 30, a nonprofit communications consultant. "I checked the dates for the Grand Prix, the Union Street Fair and the marathon. Who'd have thought you'd have to check for a snow jump competition? In August? It's just ridiculous.
It raises the question: If their marriage had been in December, would they have checked for a snow jump competition?
"When I turned 30, we went to a bar in the Mission. We didn't close any streets. We didn't create a public nuisance," Beijen said.
[Sales director Erik Gordon] said that Icer could have done a better job with public relations, but overall the event planning is going smoothly. "We've got a few people, probably on the senior side, who are frustrated, but we expected that to happen."
Spoken like a true fan: Who cares what old people think?
. . .
Dude... like... seriously...
All of us have been lied to by the president; all of us ought to be at his doorstep demanding straight answers. We all have that right -- she just acted upon it.
says David Wilmore. I'm rather curious about this right. Is there a limit on the amount of on-the-doorstep demanding we each are allowed? If everyone exercised this right, would anything get done? From what authority does this right arise?
If she is able to speak to the president, we'd get a real American asking direct questions and not accepting generic answers about "freedom" and "evildoers."
Riiiiight. Also, the tooth fairy is going to leave me a quarter.
But that's opinion. Let's see what's on the news page:
Joe Garofoli has this front page news to deliver:
Whether one supports Sheehan's position or not, she put the war back on the front pages in the middle of August and brought the war home to suburbia in a way other antiwar organizers hadn't been able to do.
Actually, Chron dude, you choose what goes on your front page. Essentially, you're arguing that Sheehan has been successful at convincing you to do something, but as if you had nothing to do with it.
But the backlash from conservative circles, where public criticism during wartime isn't socially acceptable, intensified this week.
Something tells me Joe doesn't hang out in conservative circles very much. Remember, this is front page news, not opinion.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005
I missed another memo!
Chron whiner Jerilyn Feitelberg says:
In a moment of madness, you might argue that this war was based on lies and false premises, and if you really are anti-war, left-leaning, anti-family values, spiritually bankrupt and a moral relativist, you may argue that it is illogical to perpetuate the violence to save the egos of a few chicken-hawk neoconservatives. But you would be wrong. Our government says so.
We know how much people love being victims. Here's yet another excellent example. When did the government say so, Jerilyn? Or did you just perceive it to say so because you know in your heart that you're a victim of government oppression?
. . .
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Trolled to death?
Maybe it can happen.
In other news, The Globe is being led by the nose, acknowledges that it is being led by the nose, and in fact praises its leaders for leading it by the nose.
What began as a one-woman protest in honor of [PR Parasite Cindy Sheehan]'s 24-year-old son Casey -- killed in Baghdad in April 2004 -- has swelled to a crowd of 60. People have joined her from around the country, as have antiwar organizations, offering their financial and media muscle to spread the compellingly simple message: Talk with her, Mr. President.
Stop and consider what is meant by "media muscle." It usually refers to the ability of organizations to get newspapers and the like to pay attention to them. Now consider what it means to be a newspaper praising that.
Last weekend rancher Larry Mattlage, impatient with the commotion, fired a shotgun blast to send everyone away -- apparently not stopping to think that he could have harmed someone or that his perceived inconvenience does not come close to the agonizing adjustment Sheehan must make for the rest of her life.
Emphasis mine to point out the desperate spinning attempt by those who have no control over their nose. Be sure to extrapolate, somewhat. If you're inconvenienced by someone who's sad, you have no right to try to get around that person. Instead, just sit back and continue to be inconvenienced for the rest of your life, because someone being sad and unable to act is far more important than you being able to live your life.
The neighborhood might not have had the disruption or danger if Bush had come out to talk, or invited Sheehan inside.
Ah, yes, Bush's fault. It also would not have had the disruption or danger if Sheehan and co. weren't camping out there, but who's counting?
But, in what has been a pattern of administration insensitivity with grieving families, Bush sent out two aides to talk to Sheehan.
Yes, everyone deserves face time with the president whenever they want. It's insensitivity if some person leading a country of 300 million does not establish a pattern of stopping to talk with anyone who has a problem everytime that person wants to talk.
Bush made little time for families in 2003 after the Iraq invasion, and though he has arranged more meetings over the past year, he still chooses to emphasize positive images of a successful mission rather than the US casualties, now approaching 2,000, in Iraq.
Dammit, why isn't our president explaining how terrible everything is?
Small things can mean a lot, and a vacationing president can surely spare a few minutes to talk with a woman who needs to express what is on her mind and burdening her heart.
Probably. But can a vacationing president spare a few minutes to talk with every woman who needs to express what is on her mind and burdening her heart? Or is that only a right for those who have "media muscle" behind them?
. . .
Voting machine conspiracy. Apparently the failure rate of voting machines was underreported!!! Or maybe it was specific to a certain kind of failure, and thus gave a different number. But we all know news organizations always report such things fully, so that's absurd. (I can't get to the original articles, because they cost money)
I find it hard to believe that the Secretary of State McPherson, who happens to be a Republican, or his office would inadvertently fail to report accurately on this critically important voting rights issue which is all about accuracy of the vote count.
I don't find that hard to believe at all. But more importantly, lets see what these "accuracy of the vote count" issues are:
. . .
Need more Ha! Ha!?
The last letter today is cut off on the website. It's written by Rio Bauce, who I've mentioned before for his stellar arguments on behalf of Youth Voting. (apparently, he responded without scrolling down/following the link to the Bauce-independent criticism)
This time, he's uncovered a vast conspiracy: The government knows your phone number!!! Four questions:
Why did you ask if the operator was going to take down your contact info? Did it matter?
Did it occur to you that she hung up on you because she was busy and didn't want to waste time discussing something she can't discuss, rather than because you were from Berkeley?
What differentiates a normal hang-up from a rude hang-up?
(from the cut off part) How do you make the logical leap from "President Bush knows where you live and how to contact you" to "He's watching you!"?
. . .
Ow, my toes
Lame! Steve Bankhead says why:
Cindy Sheehan's commentary ("I'm holding Bush's feet to the fire," Opinion, Aug. 15) closed by stating she wouldn't accept any answers from the president "about freedom and democracy -- or about how the war in Iraq is protecting America." That leaves two more questions: Why bother asking a question if you insist on pre-emptively eliminating the most obvious and compelling answers?
Well, it's because she doesn't want the question answered. She doesn't want Bush to talk to her, because that won't help her at all. But hey, keep on lapping it up.
. . .
The Ha Ha is rolling now.
Michael Stephens points out what I and many folks know from experience: Berkeley folks are intolerant nutcases who don't think their ideas need justification, in comparison to normals around the country. I take issue with him saying he moved to the Midwest when he lives in Chicago, though. That sort of misses the point of the "Midwest."
Alan Reisse has by far the funniest piece, directed towards Jonathan Wornick.
In two commentaries in a row you claimed your vote against peace related proposals was because it made no difference what Berkeley said, so the vote was a waste of our tax dollars.
Get real. City councilmembers are paid the same salary no matter how many things they debate or vote on, so it does not waste money to have the City Council act on peace resolutions.
So that must mean your complaining about the cost of implementing the recommendation. Let’s see, that would be the cost of four postage stamps to mail copies of the resolution and a cover letter to Barbara Lee and Senators Boxer and Feinstein. A tremendous burden on our tax payers. Sure glad we have a fiscal watch dog like WAR-nick on the case.
Why all the fuss? Were you really worried about the cost of a few postage stamps?
Good job, Alan. You win. Did you know that time is not infinite? That time spent doing one thing is time that cannot be spent doing something else? Apparently not.
Then we learn from another commentary ("Don't Let Conservatives Silence Berkeley’s Voice," Elliot Cohen, Aug. 12) that Wornick's ability to buy a house in Berkeley’s expensive market is the result of money made selling food rations to soldiers who Wornick voted against withdrawing from mortal danger in Iraq!
But wait. He's a vegetarian. Even if Wornick gets rich while people die in far off places eating food rations that make him rich at least we can take comfort in the notion they eat vegetarian foods!
This is pre-emptively rebutted. Twice. First, Mal Burnstein points out that the army eats even when we aren't at war. Jonathan Wornick points out that his family doesn't even own the company anymore.
Berkeley has room for conservative viewpoints; there are already several conservative democrats, as well as a vegetarian, on our City Council. What we don't need are war profiteers that lie about their motives for voting against peace.
Alan wins at mind-reading!
Diane Tokugawa says, about the whole gigantic bomb thingie:
But I don't want to get into the whys or who suffered more. I quietly mourn the loss of hundreds of thousands of civilians whose lives were lost with two bombs. I mourn for those who have died in the process of making the bomb, from the miners of the radioactive material to our solders and scientists who were exposed during testing to Americans exposed to the radioactive fallout after the testing, and for the devastated Pacific islands where the testing was done. Aug. 6 and 9 remind me to continue to oppose the proliferation of nuclear weapons and Bush's plans for mini nuke bunker busting bombs and to worry about the security surrounding nuclear power plants. As my uncle once told me, "War makes everyone crazy. In war, everyone suffers."
"While I don't want to actually deal with important issues like why and what could have been done, instead I'll be unequivocally against nuclear weapons because bad things happen."
. . .
Still lame after all these years
Haha! Becky O'Malley is lame.
Just about three years ago (it seems like much longer) I was involved in rescuing a young man of my acquaintance from the evil clutches of an army recruiter in response to his mother's anguished plea for help. I discovered that the recruiter (then based at Eastmont Mall, probably still there to prey on young Oaklanders) had lied shamelessly to the boy (that's all he really was) about what he was signing up for, and then lied some more regarding whether or not he could legally change his mind before showing up for induction.
Yes, army recruiters are evil. But put that aside. Notice that he's a "young man of my acquaintance" when it's relevant, but turns into a "boy (that's all he really was)" when it becomes emotionally convenient. Also note that while the recruiter dude is accused of lying, no examples are given, and you can't tell if it's just good PR.
Which would be relevant, because the rest of the editorial is about the importance of good PR. Apprently, though, while anti-war protesters can put all the effort into PR that they want, it's a no-no for the military.
. . .
Token post for yesterday
You are not a slaveowner.
I apologize to [public breakdown victim Cindy Sheehan] and every other parent who has lost a child in Iraq, because I never asked myself the most important question before we started this war: Would I be willing to send my child to fight?
She, after all, has given him her most precious possession.
My parents never asked themselves that question either. One reason they never asked that question is because it isn't their question to ask. Parents cannot send their children to Iraq. Parents do not "give" their children to the military or the president. The "children" (who are grown men) choose to go off and fight, or choose not to. The sacrifice is theirs, not their parents'.
There comes a time when you just have to spit in Sheehan's eye for suddenly claiming ownership of her son and using him the way she wants now that he has no opportunity to represent himself.
Spit in Tama Zorn's eye, too, while you're at it, for being such a pathetic slave to her initial idiotic emotions.
. . .
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Token post of the day
. . .
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Today's excellent fashion observation:
Those cut-off jean-skirt thingies... but with a green lace frill on the bottom!
Wow! Or... uh... wha?
. . .
While I'm here...
Since I was at the LA Times website anyway, I thought I'd do what I do for all newspapers, and stopped by the opinion section. I found this opinion from Rosa Brooks pointing out the obvious to liberals: The military doesn't represent you and your beliefs because you refuse to join it.
Consider the approach taken by university students to protest the anti-gay policies of the military: Get the recruiters off our campus! Obstruct recruiters! Waste their time! Do everything in your power to prevent people whose politics are close to yours from joining the military! Is it any wonder, then, that since these people who oppose current military attitudes which influence policy do not join, military attitudes do not change?
. . .
Redistrict my vocabulary
Boring article about constitutional politics. As you probably don't care, Prop. 77, which wants to take redistricting out of the hands of the legislature, is back on the ballot, after being pulled because of a difference in language between the petitions and the wording submitted to the Attorney General.
By a 4-2 vote -- with a Court of Appeal justice on temporary assignment to the court casting the decisive vote -- the justices overruled lower courts that had removed Proposition 77 from the ballot.
Yes, that imported justice cast the deciding vote in a 4-2 decision. Those other three votes didn't actually decide anything. But it gets stranger.
The order was signed by [Chief Justice Ronald George], Justices Marvin Baxter and Ming Chin, and Justice Richard Aldrich of the state Court of Appeal in Los Angeles. Aldrich was selected at random from a group of appellate justices to fill a temporary vacancy created by the June 30 resignation of Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who was appointed by President Bush to a federal appeals court. All are Republican appointees.
Justices Joyce Kennard and Carlos Moreno, the court's sole Democratic appointee, voted to keep Prop. 77 off the ballot. The seventh justice, Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, is out of the country.
It's really all the Republicans' and Bush's fault, or so I feel I'm being told. Never mind that apparently one of the Republican appointees also voted to keep it off the ballot. In any case, it was that imported Republican-appointed justice, imported because of Bush, who was the deciding vote. I totally don't understand how this swing votes stuff works. The LA Times wrote nothing about deciding votes and said:
Voting in favor of the order were Chief Justice Ronald M. George, Associate Justices Marvin R. Baxter and Ming W. Chin, and Court of Appeal Justice Richard D. Aldrich, who was named to the court temporarily to fill a vacancy. Justices Joyce L. Kennard and Carlos R. Moreno dissented.
One justice, Kathryn M. Werdegar, was unavailable and did not participate in the case, the court announced.
The court has one vacancy because Janice Rogers Brown has been named to the federal appeals court in Washington.
The Times hadn't played the angle of "this is what it's going to be like when it comes to redistricting," of course, so maybe that was the point behind the Chron's inclusion of vitally important party information and Bush's role.
. . .
I've always been fascinated by words, especially those that don't mean what they mean, or just mean whatever you feel like. One great example of this is "natural." What does "natural" mean? Or, quasi-related, though more specific, what about "organic"? Organic has a mildly specific meaning in chemistry, but what about foods? It has come to mean something fairly arbitrary when it comes to food-labelling. Organic food labellers constantly accuse each other of mislabelling things as "organic." What does it really mean? What good is a label if it means whatever the labeller wants it to?
Anyway, that's old ground, probably tread thousands of times by people who actually have a stake in the issue. Here's a thought prompted by a Globe letter: What's a war crime? When we complain about war crimes what are we talking about? Despite the broad term, crime is actually suprisingly well-defined. We say something is a crime when it is against some law. It doesn't have to be a government law, of course, but there is some standard that we expect things to live up to, and when they do not, we say that it is a crime.
What standard do we apply when it comes to war crimes? I'm not asking where do we draw the line between killing people in huge numbers and killing people in huge numbers during the commission of a war crime, as that's a rather vague personal judgment that can't really be argued. Instead, I'm asking what motivates us to try to draw the line.
While I'm more interested in other folks' opinions on this, here are some of my wild, unsupported ideas as to what factors go into drawing that line.
1. Standards of how human beings should treat each other.
2. Necessity of an action towards accomplishing a goal.
2a. Morality of the goal motivating the action.
3. The civilian/military distinction.
While I can see the importance of 1 and 2/2a, the civilian/military distinction seems oddly placed. It certainly does factor into what people consider war crimes, but why? Are the military folks cool with the whole "getting shot" thing while civilians are not? The line between the two is not exactly bright. The military sits on the back of the civilian population. When is targetting civilians to collapse the military acceptable, when is it not, and why can we draw that line?
Just musing. Input preferred.
. . .
Friday, August 12, 2005
Your opinion is inferior
There's a lot of Ha! Ha! in today's Planet letters section.
Sarah Fong doesn't want to blame the victim.
As a friend of Meleia's, it only adds salt to the wound of losing a friend to hear people attempt to blame her in her own death. Not only is it ludicrous to blame the victim, but it is entirely unrealistic to believe that the police would pay any mind to a phone call reporting disrespectful young men.
Well, she has a point. Calling a pal with a gun turned out much better.
I have heard and read all kinds of commentary on the death of a friend and yet hardly any of it has been about the real issues. Why is no one talking about the presence of guns in the streets and the ease with which they can be accessed? What about gun control? Why is no one concerned about the way men treat women? It has gotten to the point where many young women feel physically threatened simply walking down the street, why is this OK? What about the fact that many young people see violence as their only way of solving conflict?
In order: They are, what about it?, people whine about that all the time, no one said it was, what about the fact that your fact isn't true?
I don't see the point in attempting to blame a dead victim, because this line of reasoning does not change the facts of the case nor will it prevent this type of crime from reoccurring. We need to look at and take action on the core issues: gun control, violence among young people (much of which is directed at women), and finally the attitude of some young men who feel that it is their right and privileged to disrespect women—which is an act of violence in and of itself.
*tear* Sarah seems to think it's much better to blame the alive victims. I disagree. Alive victims can talk back.
Dorothy Snodgrass is named Snodgrass. Haha. HAHAHA! Well, maybe not, people often write to the Planet with fake names. Anyway, she's all "Yay for that pissed off mom who feels that her son's sacrifice was her own!"
I'm eagerly waiting news that you've agreed to meet with Cindy Sheehan once you've cleared the brush at your Crawford ranch.
Well, wait no more! They already met! Actually, they met last year, so you've got some negative eager waiting to undo.
While you've frequently stated that you don't read newspapers or watch television news, I assume you've heard from your staff that the anti-war activist, Cindy Sheehan, has been camped, in boiling sun, on the road outside your ranch.
In boiling sun!!! That's totally Bush's fault. God forbid she... you know... go home, to not-in-boiling-sun.
For this reason, she's hoping that you'll come out and meet with her to explain why Casey's death was justified. So far, only two senior officials have met with her.
Only two senior officials? Pathetic! I can see four or five senior officials at the drop of a hat, whenever I feel like it.
. . .
Thursday, August 11, 2005
No, don't spin!
OMG! Radioactive blunder! Beth Daley, from the Project On Governmental Oversight (POGO? Sounds like fun) knows that lab officials are just trying to cover up an imminent health risk that's going to kill us all.
"This guy walked around for 11 days with this stuff, going to other states and who knows where else," Daley said. "Anything that he touched may be contaminated. They are spending $1 million on the investigation, but it's unclear what exactly they are doing to discover what other sites have been contaminated."
I'd guess they asked the dude.
"It takes one speck of americium inhaled for you to get cancer," Daley said. "I'm alarmed by the way the lab is trying to spin control on this. I find this a bit Orwellian."
I'm sure POGO finds a lot of things a bit Orwellian. But yeah, that spin control is bad. I mean, it only takes one speck! Heck, actually, you can get cancer even with zero specks! That's how dangerous this is! It's infinitely dangerous! Oh, wait, she's talking about spin from the lab, not from POGO.
. . .
Haha! You lose at statistics!
The researchers found that "the number of AP and honors courses taken in high school bears little or no relationship to a student's later performance in college."
However, students with AP classes on their transcripts have a higher rate of admittance, said Richard Black, assistant vice chancellor of admissions and enrollment.
Oops. See if you can spot the problem. Anyway, unlike a newspaper, I can actually point you to the study. Well, a newspaper can, too, but that would be waaaaay too much effort for people whose job it is to bring news to the public. (I Googled the research associate's name, and it was the third link)
As I've warned before, trying to do statistics on current admissions practices in this way is challenging, because you're dealing with a selected sample. Despite the researchers' attempts to control for most relevant variables, it's simply not possible to control for admission. Would the people who have been rejected by the current policy but would have been accepted under some new policy (and vice versa) show these same results? You can't really tell, simply because only those who were admitted have data for "how they did in college."
I'm not saying the criticism doesn't have merit. I'm only saying that this study (and, in my opinion, most studies) should not be treated as some kind of great truth-delivery system upon which to overrule the "well, that makes sense" method of policy-making.
. . .
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
More shameless opportunism
The Globe's Resident Angry Black Man, Derrick Z. Jackson, thinks the best way to respond to Peter Jennings's death is to OMG SMOKING BAD!!! FIGHT BIG TOBACCO!!!!! Peter who?
. . .
William Lemos is mad that Bush wants to see evolution challenged.
I wonder if he might also push to include in public schools' curriculums these relevant topics: Discussion of homosexuality as a normal human condition; global warming as a consequence of overdependence on fossil fuels; imperialistic impulses of power-hungry oil zealots creating wars overseas or how feminism is a reasonable way to create parity between the sexes?
I'm not sure which schools you went to, Will, but we did discuss all those things in our school.
While he is touting such a balanced approach to controversial topics, perhaps he'd also like to explain why no Capitol Hill or White House child is serving our country in wars abroad, and why he can visit Saudi families but not the American families of war victims.
Do you want him to? "Yes, my son died, but hey, look, the press are here to watch Bush give a speech! Thanks, Bush! Who? My son? Who's that?"
According to Bush, truth isn't a subject that should be taught in public schools anymore. He dropped that from the list of required courses the day he was "elected."
Haha! Clever. Because elected is in quotes. How lame.
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Monday, August 08, 2005
Don't walk too far
Remember Chelsea Collonge? She's the one who couldn't even imagine walking for one hour. Anyway, she has some exciting criticism of the Regents and nukes.
During the public comment period, I listened as students from several UC law schools described to the regents how fee increases were destroying their ability to pay for school, as well as their faith in the UC system. Surrounded by security guards, we listened to each other speak as regents shuffled papers, whispered, and interrupted us during our paltry one minute of allotted free speech.
Yet another person who has no clue what "free speech" is.
Whereas the university was founded to be a place of independent social critique and pursuit of knowledge, for decades it has been compromised by its involvement with research funded by the military, and now increasingly by corporations.
You might want to clarify your history a bit, Chelsea. It was not founded to be a place of "independent social critique and pursuit of knowledge," it was founded as a land grant university. From Wikipedia:
The mission of these institutions, as set forth in the 1862 Act, is to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanic arts, not to the exclusion of classical studies, so that members of the working classes might obtain a practical college education.
The mission of the land grant universities was expanded by the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 to include cooperative extension - the sending of agents into rural areas to help bring the results of agricultural research to the end users.
That is, they wanted a university that would help people eat better, kill people better, and make stuff better. In this context, the nuclear weapons research is very much a part of the original mission of the university. But that's a fact, and we don't want facts to interfere with our high-minded ideological ideas of what a university should be founded for.
You can honor the memory of Hiroshima at the August 6th Seeds of Change rally at Livermore Nuclear weapons lab (www.trivalleycares.org).
That's helpful, when published August 8th.
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Yeah, I was shocked, too. It's actually an interesting op-ed about health care in America, and how despite everyone having better health, there's way more health care needs. I think Christopher J. Falvey misses the obvious reason: Longetivity leads to more old people who require more maintenance. Still, it's not bad.
On the other hand, 'artist' Stephen Pearcy misses the obvious, politically neutral criticism about his art: it sucks.
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Sunday, August 07, 2005
While reading an Ombudsdude column in the Boston Globe, I was struck by the utter pointlessness of it and most ombudsdudes. When people have criticism or complaints about the way the paper is run, they write to the ombudsdude, who then writes a column with maybe a suggestion or two. Of course, the ombudsdude has no authority over the way the paper is run, so essentially all this does is give people a way to complain and a way for the paper to ignore it. It goes like this:
The paper does its news-reporting thing.
The readers read it.
The readers respond to the ombudsdude.
The ombudsdude reads the criticism.
The ombudsdude writes back to the readers.
Note that none of this criticism actually reaches the paper. The paper doesn't have to provide an answer like "Well, while that sounds like a good idea, we can't do it because of logistical reasons" or whatever. Instead, the ombudsdude says "Well, that sounds like a good idea," and then moves on, effecting no change whatsoever.
This model is different from The Chron's, and I'll quote myself:
One thing I might note about The Chron's readers reps is that their job seems to be berating readers for having a critical opinion of The Chron, and then pointing out that one dude who agreed with The Chron as the smartest dude in the world.
Here's a better idea. Why not have someone on the editorial staff do the job? It seems like having someone with authority actually defend the paper or announce changes would be infinitely more useful than the Globe's idea of just having some dude saying "Yep, those are interesting comments by the readers, but since I can't do anything about them, let's move on..." and also better than the Chron's idea of "I must defend the practices of the paper at any cost, because I don't have the authority to take their suggestions into consideration."
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Remember how nuclear weapons are evil? Yeah, because they explode really bigly, and that's bad, because "RAaaaarrr! Weapons bad!" Anyway, here are some pictures, which include:
A giant inflatable dildo.
A... uh... umm...
A sign reading "NUCLEAR BOMBS MEAN CERTAIN DEATH TO ALL" with a picture of a skull, the international symbol for death for some reason. Also, it appears to be a sign-o, where they wrote "NUCLEAR BOMBS" instead of "MORTALITY."
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Saturday, August 06, 2005
Hey, look, website!
While I had to delay, the Daily Cal website is back up. Remember, the Daily Cal is number 1 in web excellence. But I forgot what I was going to say about RebC's column, so hey, nothing to say here.
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Happy Kaboom! Day
Yes, it's the day we celebrate a really big Kaboom! I call it Kaboom! Day rather than "the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima" because it really has become a kind of holiday, where we engage in rituals like debating whether it should have been done, or mourning the loss of life of people we don't care about at all, or protesting nuclear weapons in general. As Indybay describes it: "A protest will be held in Livermore on Saturday, August 6th to act to abolish nuclear weapons and war, protest new, earth-penetrating nuclear weapons at Livermore Lab, and celebrate visions of a just and nuclear-free world."
As a thought exercise, consider what "celebrating visions of a just and nuclear-free world" entails, and more importantly, what it does not entail (i.e. doing something about it).
Happy Kaboom! Day, everyone!
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Friday, August 05, 2005
That takes guts
I don't know how Becky O'Malley responded to the first letter here as she did. Actually, I do, and it's because she's a self-righteous bitch. She sidesteps the issue: She accused the City of Berkeley of refusing to advertise in the Daily Planet because of her editorial views, and this accusation was based on hearsay. Yet she conveniently glosses over this in her response to the city manager.
In other news, the Jew-antiJew war is starting up again in The Daily Planet. These are always fun.
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Now this is impressive
While I'm getting hundreds of hits looking for the answers to AlcoholEdu, it turns out that I'm the number 3 search on MSN for "Beetle." Sure, MSN doesn't matter, but still.
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Thursday, August 04, 2005
The Daily Cal website is down, which is a shame, because there's actually some stuff to comment on today. Among them:
An actual comment on a RebC column.
Another "Hey, Calstuff covered it, and so should we" comment.
And, the one I'll do here, a study on how ethanol is not a feasible energy source, because it uses more energy than it takes. (Link now available) I haven't seen the study, or its competing studies, and I don't want to read them, so I won't comment on the study itself.
I will comment on the bitching from Brian Jennings, Executive Veep of the American Coalition for Ethanol.
"These two so-called researchers don't have any credibility," Jennings said. "If you follow the money, you know that Tad Patzek is the director of the UC Oil Consortium."
OMG conflict of interest! He can't be trusted. Instead, let's trust the impartial fellow from the American Coalition for Ethanol. He's got plenty of credibility.
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Keith Lockitch has a Ph.D. in physics and is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine. Unfortunately, he's also really bad at scientific theory.
See, while the intelligent design folks say there doesn't need to be a god, in the end, there really has to be. That's fine. I agree there. But who cares? Why is that a knock against intelligent design? If they really can prove that intelligent design happened, the fact that the only possible intelligent designer is supernatural doesn't make that proof wrong. If anything, they've proved the existence of the supernatural. Which is why I don't see how one could conclude:
It is nothing more than a religiously motivated attack on science, and should be rejected as such.
So, first, that should read "a religiously motivated attack on my scientific conclusions," and second, any scientist should be able to deal with attacks to his scientific conclusions, religiously motivated or otherwise. Just trying to dismiss them because the religious folk support them is about as scientific as accusing scientists of blasphemy for suggesting the world is round. Mr. Lockitch is a disgrace to science.
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Wednesday, August 03, 2005
I... uh... um...
A followup to yesterday's post about rocking and arresting. But before that, I just want to mention how an anonymous commentator essentially made my point about an emotional reaction that doesn't even stop to come up with alternatives:
You really can't conceive of other ways to deal with children fighting other than locking one of them up in juvie hall for several days.
Damn, you're sad.
Note that no alternatives followed. Sure, it does sound pretty dumb on an emotional level, but that doesn't change the fact that good alternatives aren't being presented.
Anyway, the situation was resolved pretty simply. I especially like the Chron's lead-in:
An 11-year-old Fresno girl charged with felony assault for throwing a rock at an 8-year-old boy who pelted her with a water balloon avoided a trial Wednesday in Juvenile Court by agreeing to meet with the boy to work out their differences. (emphasis mine)
Whether brass knuckles would be included was not immediately known.
Charges will be dismissed if the mediation is successful, she attends school and doesn't use force or violence except in self-defense, lawyers said.
Uh... two questions. What about a stuck door? Can she use force to open it, even if she's not in any danger? And also, wasn't this incident self-defense?
A Web site was created to support his daughter -- www.freemaribel.org. A vigil was held for her Friday in front of juvenile hall.
While waiting for her court hearing Wednesday, Maribel -- dressed in pink pants, a white sweatshirt and pink sandals -- was handed a bouquet.
Remember that links are too complicated for a newspaper posting stuff online. But dude. A bouquet? I support her right to bash the head of that kid open, but I'm not going to hold vigils or give her flowers for it.
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Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Gail Taback has an interesting response to a letter from Ronald Branch (conveniently misplaced online) in Friday's Daily Planet. What I will point out, though, is that Branch is convinced that the Jews "drafted over 10 million men to do their dirty work in Europe and Asia." Maybe it was a joke. Maybe it was a parody. Maybe.
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Here's an exciting article.
This girl, Maribel Cuevas rocked this boy, Elijah Vang in the head. The police came and did that arrest thing, and now everyone's pissed at the police for treating a little girl badly.
Maribel says she was defending herself against Elijah and other boys who had thrown rocks and water balloons at her and some of her younger siblings while they were playing behind the low chain-link fence of a relative's front yard in their largely minority neighborhood.
As a disclaimer, I'll point out that I recall reading about this on Fark, but I make it a point not to quote Fark articles, because that's lame.
Still, the pro-arrest-the-kid folks seemed to focus a great deal on the lack of "proportional response." To me, that's fucking stupid. If you pick a fight with someone, you have no right to bitch if that person doesn't want to play by your rules when she beats the crap out of you.
That said, police are bound not by common sense, but by law. So when you have comments like this:
"Usually stories like this make headlines because there is something intuitively outrageous," said Michael Vitiello, a criminal law professor at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. "This is very uncommon given the ages of the children involved and all the other ways it could have been handled."
you have to ask the question: "What other ways?" And, of course, that question is not answered.
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Wow. Edward Yates is mad that Judge John Roberts (the boring Supreme Court nominee dude) made a joke that wasn't scientifically accurate.
Editor -- Regarding the toad and the judge (" 'Hapless toad' case shows how court nominee thinks," Aug. 1): Judge John Roberts' comment that the arroyo southwestern toad "for reasons of its own, lives its entire life in California" was humorous in a flippant way.
However, this remark did show a serious ignorance of ecology, which may be even more important than possible commerce-clause limitations that were argued in the case (an appeal brought by the developer of a tract in San Diego County).
Or, maybe, it was a joke. Oftentimes, when telling a joke, you relax the restraints of accuracy for the sake of funny. But no, telling this kind of joke is... uh... creationist? Well, Yates says so.
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Monday, August 01, 2005
What's wrong with corn
Normally, I'd let this slide, but it's a war, so what else can I do?
Anyway, Alex Stathopoulos goes into the usual tripe about how important it is to be activist. It's those evil corporations, you see, and they've infiltrated us from the shadows. What makes them evil?
We become angry when fast-food chains move into the neighborhood, but turn a blind eye to the monopolization of telecommunications—which has given corporations the power to control public opinion almost indefinitely.
Wow, that is bad! If only there was some kind of alternative to corporate media, easily accessible. I can imagine it now. There would be critics of all sorts with the ability to publish their views directly for viewing. No editorial staffs to stop them. No "standards of programming" for them to live up to. No, they'd be able to speak up directly, and the viewer could decide on her own about what's being said. Heck, just to make things even more impossible, maybe this alternative could have the easy means for critics to actually put sources and debates in easy reach of the readers, with the mere push of a button. These critics wouldn't just summarize what some other guy said, they could actually provide the full text. But that's absurd. It'll never happen.
Students, united by the principles that made this campus famous decades ago, need to realize the clout they wield united under a common cause.
The principles of "I want something! I'm going to try to get it!"? As fascinating as wielding clout is, I think it might be wiser to actually have a common cause of interest, rather than finding a common cause for the sake of wielding clout.
Though we may be momentarily appeased by the material luxuries we have acquired or the petty victory of having straight-A transcripts, I believe that sometime soon students will wake up and realize that injustice has been hypnotizing us into complacency.
Ah, more evil from the corporations. They make us complacent! Of course, no one can get complacent without being content. So I guess the evil the corporations have brought upon us is to allow us to be easily content. Such horror! Oh, wait. Actually, that's rather nice of them.
This answer, solitary and heartfelt, left me with an important question that I’d like to pose. If young people, the most daring people in any society—the ones who sacrifice their lives for their countries, the ones who rebel against stagnant institutions—if we feel helpless in the face of big business and corrupt politicians, then who will save us?
To your question, a question: Why do we need to be saved from contentment?
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Nod nod nod nod
Cynthia Czerwin is mad about the whole cutting money from the labor studies thingie. Yeah, I don't care.
So why the focus on labor studies? Its measly $3.8 million is certainly not enough to cause budget shortfalls, or be the focus of such hard-fought battles. It can only be for ideological reasons.
Wow, that is small. Why worry about cutting it? Also, I should get $3.8 million a year from the government. What? Why not? It's certainly not enough to cause budget shortfalls. Don't worry about it, it won't matter in the long run. So where's my check?
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