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Nap Time!!!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Prop 77 is about redistricting. It takes the decision and makes a panel of retired judges to make it for us.

+2 to hit. The judges on the panel will be called "Special Masters."

The influence!!! From the rebuttal to the for argument:

"2) The so-called independent redistricting judges are HAND-PICKED BY POLITICIANS."

While that does seem like a bit of a pain, I can't imagine it being worse than when the redistricting is done by the politicians themselves.

They'll cost themselves money!!! From the against argument:


If voters reject redistricting plans, the entire process starts over - new judges, new plans, more elections, and more political bickering - wasting millions of tax dollars. This could go on indefinitely... with election after election... until voters approve... all at TAXPAYER EXPENSE!"

Wow! Those damn voters. They can keep rejecting these plans, and the taxpayers will have to pick up the tab. Do we really want taxpayers held hostage by the will of voters? Can't we find a better balance between taxpayers and voters?

Maybe we should hire an editor. From the rebuttal to the against argument:

"Prop. 77 is simple and straightforward:

A bipartisan panel of retired judges would establish new, fair district boundaries for the Legislature and Congress.

They want the politicians to continue protecting their special interests at the expense of California's working families."

Would it kill them to include antecedents? Because right now, that says something quite different than what they want it to say.

Redistrorsement? Hmmmmmmmm. I like the idea of having entities called "Special Masters" in our government. It has so many ties to controversy. It also focuses the whining and screaming during redistricting to a few people rather than the redistricting plan itself. So I think I'll vote YES, in the name of streamlining.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/30/2005 03:05:00 PM #
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Oh, wow

Becky O'Malley is so clever. She says Congressdude Steve King is 'dumb.' Zing!

Let's see... she calls him a "yokel." That's some fine, enlightened criticism.

They don't seem to care that their own congressman (that's what he calls himself) looks dumber than dirt to a lot of us.

Nor should they. In fact, that's all the more reason to elect him. By the way, what's with that "that's what he calls himself" comment? He calls himself their congressman? Is he not their congressman? Is that some kind of misrepresentation?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/30/2005 12:55:00 PM #
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Kick it in the box and shove it?

No box!!! For the second week in a row, The Daily Cal publishes a Carol Denney rant that already appeared in The Daily Planet. (People respond to how wrong she is here, if you scroll down to "Southside view" and "Polarization." Carol Denney proposes putting boxes "on the median strip around the park," which I didn't know existed.)

The Poet-Politician says:

Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, whose district includes People's Park, took issue with the university's unilateral actions in the park.

"The university's doing very controversial things without talking to us," Worthington said. "It's about the imperial attitude of the administration towards people."

Wait a minute. It's the city's homeless who have imperially occupied People's Park. Where's Snehal's objection to that? (Which reminds me, I'm still waiting for some kind of explanation on how invading/occupying Iraq is 'illegal.') The way I see it, the university, unable to directly fight the occupiers, has to target such things as the boxes in order to drive them out. It's like the French Resistance.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/30/2005 12:48:00 PM #
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Here's what a staff can get you

Are you a newspaper with a staff, editors, and contacts? Then you, too, can put out news that folks with no staff put out 8 days ago.

By the way, good luck finding CalTV. The Daily Cal isn't really into the whole "give people enough information to go find stuff" thing. (It's over here)

The focal point of the project is to allow students to express themselves where otherwise they would not find the opportunity, project members said.

Blogs actually blogs, there blogs are blogs ways blogs to blogs express blogs yourself blogs without blogs going blogs through blogs CalTV blogs. It's blogs easy blogs.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/30/2005 12:41:00 PM #
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[Former DC editor John Emshwiller] and Daily Cal staffers were shocked when an editorial published on May 15, 1971, which encouraged Berkeley citizens to rip down the fences police had erected around People's Park, sparked a riot that led to some $100,000 in damages.

"It was sort of an underlying theory that nobody really reads the Daily Cal editorials," Emshwiller said.

Maybe that explains the cartoons, too...

Speaking of which... uh... let's see... taxes bring in revenue... spending costs money... Those aren't really all that insightful, though. Is there a point here?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/30/2005 12:38:00 PM #
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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Prop 76 is about fiscal policy. Ugh. I'm already falling asleep just thinking about it. The voter's guide section is a good 15 pages long. Yeah, I'm going to read that. Anyway, it screws over people currently getting money from the government, which is good! I'll vote YES.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/29/2005 08:16:00 PM #
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That is so gay

Go go gadget overrulevoterpropositionthroughlegislativeaction!

"What's the one thing that binds us all together?" [Assemblydude Mark Leno] asked the audience. "Regardless of race, gender, orientation, the one thing that binds us all together is the ability to love."

Well, actually, considering the topic, it should read "the one thing that binds us all together is legal recognition of our relationships, to be limited to two persons for no apparent reason," but that just sounds stupid. It's also accurate. Which should suggest something.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/29/2005 12:17:00 PM #
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Look at how branched we are!

Yay! Useless! Now, if only we could get humanities folk to branch out and take some science classes so they can learn how to think, rather than blindly parroting newspapers, we'd be in business.

For example, one computer science program is based in the College of Letters and Science, requiring students to take breadth requirements in areas outside their fields in order to graduate, like arts, literature or philosophy, Downey said.

Wow! That totally hones communication skills! Philosophy! Since apparently no engineers write for the Daily Cal, no one could point out that every program in Letters and Science, and Engineering, for that matter, requires students to take such courses.

Here's a better hint on what hones communication skills: Communication! Yes, actually start doing jobs and stuff, and you'll learn how to communicate. Take courses on useless topics... uh... well, maybe you'll learn how to communicate on useless topics.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/29/2005 12:11:00 PM #
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Okay, I normally don't try to do this kind of thing, because others should be a lot better at it than me. But I have to give Fred Taylor-Hochberg a brief humor lesson.

I love science. It makes sure that things don't fall up and that baking soda plus vinegar in a papier-mache volcano equals good times. If you stopped to think about everything science did for you, you'd be overwhelmed and feel so grateful that you would give Stephen Hawking a foot massage, just because.

But unfortunately, not everyone thinks this way. Some people do not respect science's contributions to this world and choose to ignore it, brushing its gifts aside like I brush the dirt off Stephen Hawking's shoes when he comes home after a long day at the lab. These people have chosen to remain ignorant of the iron laws that govern our universe and create a perverse, reactionary ideology that has seeped into all levels of American society, even the highest office in the land. That's right: I'm talking about the theory of intelligent design.

When you build up to a topic by referring to it indirectly but obviously enough that people will draw a conclusion, it's just not funny to spit out the very topic people are thinking of. Funny is when people draw a conclusion and it turns out to be wrong.

Luckily, I can pull an example of this kind of thing done well from my large sack (text file) of funny I've read over the years. In the flurry of press coverage over the Pope Swap, this piece from Aussie Tim Blair executes this reasonably well:

A certain globally influential organisation has been much in the news recently. You know who I'm talking about: that corrupt cabal led by a weirdly named fellow whose election no one understands, and whose underlings seem to specialise in sex scandals, corruption, accumulation of vast wealth, and causing the deaths of millions in the Third World. From where, exactly, does this venal, outdated body derive its authority? Why do so many remain in its thrall when every one of its programs ends in controversy and division? Why is it so violently resistant to reform? Why do furious crowds not storm the luxurious buildings in which this group's elite, unaccountable princes and princelings sit planning their next amoral incursion against elemental human rights? How is it that we even tolerate the existence of this vile, poisonous outfit, with its sickening claims to moral superiority despite a history – continuing to this very day! – of sucking up to some of the worst tyrants the planet has ever known?

But enough about the United Nations. Let's talk about the Catholic Church instead.

Note that he doesn't even have to change his topic, he just has to change his punchline. He's going to write about the Catholic Church anyway, as people would conclude as they read the paragraph, but it just wouldn't be funny for him to say "Yes, I'm talking about the Catholic Church."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/28/2005 11:43:00 PM #
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The mighty mighty union

Next up, Prop 75. This is the one to limit how much the public union folks can use their money to support Democrats without permission from public employees (it's sort of like going from an opt-out policy to an opt-in policy). Oh, I mean, to use as political contributions for any cause. Ironically, unions are currently using a significant portion of their dues to fight this proposition.

Let me just excise a few words here... From the rebuttal to the for argument:

"Prop. 75's sponsor, Lewis Uhler, told the San Francisco Chronicle on June 8th that he designed 75 to target public employees because of their "greed" and "arrogance."

What? Uhler hates public employees? That's terrible. Let me go look up the context just to confirm what is certainly true.

"This time we're focusing exclusively on public employee unions," Uhler said. "People are upset with their overreaching arrogance and even greed in collecting pay and benefits, with pensions no other taxpayer could enjoy."

Haha, I bet you were expecting me to be sarcastic and say that the truth was that he was really referring to the union bosses. It's actually pretty ambiguous here. The arrogance and greed probably refers to the bosses, but all the employees get those benefits and pensions.

The endorseyment. It's not clear from the analysis and such whether currently, nonmember dues cannot be used for political posturing. The analysis says that is the case if the nonmember "objects," which to me suggests that the nonmember has to actually fill out a form to say "don't use my fees." I don't know if this is the case, though, and if anyone knows, I'd love to hear. I also don't know of the ASE unions (the ones grad students are often part of) are included in this proposal. If they are, then clearly I'll vote YES, because that's more money for me. If not, I don't care, so I'll vote YES anyway, because I might end up in one eventually.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/28/2005 02:22:00 PM #
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Today's puzzle is an ad in the Berkeley Daily Planet for... uh... itself.


"Of course the New York Times covers the world. But nothing covers my personal planet like the Berkeley Daily Planet." *
-Elmore Wuffle.

*64% of The New York Times readers in our readership survey also read the Planet and 60% of the Planet readers read the Times.

So, who was in this readership survey?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/28/2005 02:18:00 PM #
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Oh, now it's buck-passing

Well, I won't even bother. When the New Orleans mayor and emergency coordinator blamed everyone else for their problems, it wasn't front page news. Now that FEMA scapegoat Mike Brown is doing the same, it suddenly is.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/28/2005 02:08:00 PM #
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This must be another of those "commentary on news that most people aren't on top of and can't really be referenced implicitly" pieces.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/28/2005 02:07:00 PM #
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Haha. Good call.

Nothing beats the high-quality reporting at the Daily Cal.

A guy from the Daily Cal (the campus newspaper) came by last Thursday to ask us a few questions. "What do you think about the ASUC adding an ice cream cafe to the BEARcade?" I told him that adding something like that could definitely be good for the BEARcade, that we'd like to attract more people, etc.

This article was printed the next morning:

"Gelateria Could Replace Student Union Arcade"

Oh awesome. The guy asks us what we think about the ASUC
adding to the BEARcade, then goes home and writes an article about them replacing the BEARcade. And I'm quoted in the article saying all kinds of great things that would've have only been appropriate for an article about adding.

Anyway, it's a good takedown of the followup editorial.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2005 11:02:00 PM #
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Uh, wait, so "no" means "some"?

Hehe. Not that I care, but it'll be fun to watch the fallout locally. (If you don't want to click, the House refused to name the post office after Maudelle Shirek)

But Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who led the opposition, said Shirek's background "sets her apart from, I will say, the most consistent of American values."

King gave no details in a speech on the House floor beyond citing Shirek's support for freeing Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer. In an interview later he said Shirek had an "affiliation with the Communist Party," citing her sponsorship of a Marxist library.

Those sound suspiciously like details. "The suspect gave no ID beyond providing his driver's license and US Passport." "The set {1,2,3,4} contains no even numbers beyond 2 and 4." "The meal provided no protein beyond the steak and beans." (Beans have protein, right?)

Not that King is afraid to dig himself a real hole.

"I think that if Barbara Lee would read the history of Joe McCarthy she would realize that he was a hero for America," King said of the senator who launched investigations into alleged communist sympathizers in the 1950s but was ultimately censured by the Senate. King said Hoover, the former FBI director, "was a giant when it came to law enforcement."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2005 08:58:00 PM #
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Oh, those poor incompetent teachers

Up next is Prop 74, designed to make firing teachers a lot easier.

School, prison, what's the difference? From the against argument:

"PROPOSITION 74 IS UNFAIR TO TEACHERS BECAUSE IT TAKES AWAY THEIR RIGHT TO A HEARING BEFORE THEY ARE FIRED. We give criminals the right of due process, and our teachers deserve those fundamental rights, as well."

Well, criminals are being sent to the slammer, so they get a hearing. Teachers are getting fired. What other employees have this "fundamental right" to a hearing before getting canned?

I don't quite see how the alternative is better. From the rebuttal to the against argument, after an example on how a crappy teacher needed to be paid 25 grand to resign:

"Rather than pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to lawyers and conduct lengthy and useless dismissal proceedings, school districts are forced to actually pay teachers to resign because of outdated tenure laws."

I guess it's just the wording here that's poorly done. The way it reads now suggests to me that the current plan is to pay teachers to resign, rather than doing the "right thing" by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on hearings. I guess if you squint right, you can see the real argument that school districts are choosing to pay off teachers to avoid getting into the hearing process caused by current laws, but I would've made that explicit if I was writing this.

Ooooh, leftovers. While perusing the list of old reasons-to-fire that are included in the ballot text at the end, I found some interesting ones.

"(3) Dishonesty."

"Mrs. Johnson, you've been teaching here for a year, right?"


"Tell me... do you celebrate Christmas?"

"Well, sort of. I mean, our family does the Christmas tree thing."

"Do you tell your kids about Santa Claus without explaining that he's fictional?"

"Sure. I mean, they're young, they don't need me to..."

"Aha! Dishonesty! You're fired!!!"

"(10) Knowing membership by the employee in the Communist Party."

Yep, this one's still around. We should change it to fit the times, and throw in Al Qaeda or something.

Oh, right, the endorsement. Hmmmmmmmmmm. On the one hand, I don't go to these schools anymore, so I don't care. On the other hand, teachers' unions can be really annoying, and pissing them off is certainly a plus. On the other other hand, though, pissing them off will probably make them even more annoying. I guess it's a toss-up. Call it in the air! Heads for YES!

It's heads! I'll be voting YES on Prop 74.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2005 05:57:00 PM #
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Hehe. Thrusts

"Thrusts" in the title, and a picture of fencing. How clever!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2005 12:24:00 PM #
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Haha. Dumb undergrads

He who smelt it dealt it?

The evacuation inconvenienced residents like sophomore Jessica Mintz, who said she was taking a shower at the time.

"I just wish I could get some clothes, get my iPod, though of course I don't want to risk my life for it," she said.

Two basic necessities at the same level of importance.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2005 12:22:00 PM #
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On the lowe

Ron Lowe is still writing letters bitching about John Roberts.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2005 12:20:00 PM #
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How dare you!

Oh, those loony People's Parkers.

"The university is stepping beyond its domain," said Shan Masuda of Friends of People’s Park. "They've pulled out something that had been here for 10 to 15 years. We're saying you can't do that without consulting us."

Look, if you guys want to have the park, take the damn thing back. I doubt the university likes having it on their hands. But to claim its your "domain" while continuing to hold the university responsible for its upkeep is just idiotic.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2005 12:15:00 PM #
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The Daily Planet was feeling bored, I guess, and decided to ID hitman-with-shitty-aim "Hollis" (they don't even bother with a first name) as shitty-choice-of-hitman-maker Meleia Willis-Starbuck's boyfriend. Also, he was hiding in his girlfriend's apartment (this is a different person, now). I guess having two girlfriends isn't all that unusual, though.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/27/2005 12:12:00 PM #
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Monday, September 26, 2005
Ooh, looky

In my stroll through various websites, I noticed this whopper from The Bruin's Lara Loewenstein on Prop 73 (the abortion one):

This proposition, if passed, would require women 17 years old and younger to procure parental permission before being able to acquire an abortion.

Actually, it requires notification, not permission, if I'm reading it correctly. This seems as good a time as any to blabber about the upcoming ballot initiatives, starting with Prop 73.

Essentially, Prop 73 says minors need to notify their parents 48 hours before getting an abortion, unless they can come up with an adequate reason not to.

Some notes:

I won't tell anyone if you won't. Well, except I will. One of the exceptions, designed for dealing with asshole parents, is pretty ironic. While the minor who failed to adequately protect herself from pregnancy (hereafter referred to as "the lazy slut" to deal with the vast majority of these cases) can confidentially convince a judge that "notification would not be in the minor's best interests" (i.e. the lazy slut's dad would beat the shit out of her (possibly conveniently providing the abortion, now that I think about it)), she has to convince the judge without any evidence that her parents are abusive, or else that information would be passed on to "the appropriate child protection agency," which, if followed up on, would probably notify the parent indirectly. Here, though, perhaps we can rely on the uselessness of such agencies.

My statistics are appropriately fudged. Are yours? From the argument in favor:

"A study of over 46,000 pregnancies of school-age girls in California found that over two thirds were impregnated by adult men whose mean age was 22.6 years."

You could count the number of ways that data has been carefully and conveniently selected, but it'd be like finding a needle in a bright red box labelled "NEEDLE INSIDE."

The other side makes a good point. Let me state it in my argument. From the argument against:

"Even teenagers who have good relationships with their parents might be afraid to talk to them about something as sensitive as pregnancy."

You wonder why this isn't in the "for" argument. In such cases, usually parental involvement would be helpful, but the lazy sluts just don't want to tell them because it's embarassing or something. Forcing it through law seems to be a good idea, here.

Get your exceptions! Free exceptions! Lazy sluts can also get exceptions if they are "sufficiently mature and well-informed to decide whether to have an abortion." I get the feeling that essentially Prop 73 is more of a recommendation via bureaucracy to convince them to say "Okay, fine, I'll tell Pa." If anyone actually wants to go through the effort of getting an exception, they'll probably get it.

Oooh, free money. If a lazy slut gets an abortion without notification, the aborter is subject to being suez0r3d. Or the parent can get statutory damages of $10,000. Giving false information to convince the aborter that notification is not needed is punishable by a fine of $1,000. I see some profit-making opportunities here, some of which would be great father-daughter bonding experiences.

And now, the endorsement. I don't really think this issue is going to come up for me. I'm a little too old to be getting minors pregnant, and a little too male to be getting abortions. I imagine if I had kids, the issue might arise, but frankly, if this stuff did come up, I'd probably have already failed miserably enough as a father that my knowledge of the matter wouldn't help much. In these cases, total ignorance would work out best for me. Further, since it looks like the measure is going to cost a little bit of money, I'll have to go ahead and vote NO on Prop 73.

Note: All votes are subject to change, especially if purchased (within legal bounds).

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/26/2005 09:35:00 PM #
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Ooooh, impressive

Darryl Stein has earned The Daily Cal an instalanche.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/26/2005 08:58:00 AM #
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Sunday, September 25, 2005

FDA head steps down abruptly.

Did anyone else get an image of a head sprouting little feet and hopping off a body?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/25/2005 03:04:00 AM #
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I'm bored. Let's look at dumb comments from protesters:

A sixth-grader from San Jose held a handmade sign that said "No war ever more" on one side and "No war anymore" on the other.

"I am going to be a conscientious objector," said Dominic Dello Buono, 11, who was there with his father and younger sister. "I vote for peace not war."

A carefully thought out opinion from someone who votes for peace, not war. You know, seven years before he's actually allowed to vote. I dunno... I think my faith in young Dominic's knowledge of the world is shattered. And isn't it a little early to be making declarations for your future? It's only a few years before you realize you were used by your parents who treated you as a convenient piece of property in order to get attention for their pet cause, and then you'll join the military out of spite. Your face'll be red then.

Maryjane Jota, a 20-year-old student from Laney College in Oakland, prepared to help carry a procession of black coffins, built to represent Iraqi children who have died in the conflict.

Jota said she is frustrated that the war hasn't ended, despite numerous protests over the years.

Well, gosh darn. We keep screaming and throwing tantrums, yet nobody seems to listen to us. What gives?

"There is a different way to peace," said Leigh Wolf, 19, a broadcast major. "This war can come to an end with patriotism instead of a socialist revolution."

I... uh... yeah, I guess that's... uh... I dunno, how does one end a war with patriotism? Do we summon Captain America with the patriotism in our hearts?

For Julie Stevens-Manson of Novato, the way to peace was folding red, white and blue cranes, using the Japanese paper-folding technique known as origami, then stringing them on fishing wire, hanging them from plastic crossbars, and taking to the streets.

Hmm... another interesting path to peace. I guess the cranes weren't large enough, though, so we don't get peace yet.

Meanwhile, over in Britland

"Enough is enough," said Lindsey German, an official of the Stop the War Coalition, which organized the march. "It is now time, once again, for the British people to step forward into the streets and insist that this time we will not be ignored."

Yeah... uh... good luck with that. Well, I guess since we're reading about them, they aren't being ignored. They're just not changing things.

A sign I saw in a photo somewhere else said "Social Justice, not War." So... what happens when a part of the world lacks social justice due to a military-supported dictator? Do you just ask politely?

People of Color say "No to War!" People of color also say "Yes to War!" Actually, they don't really say it, they print it on a piece of cloth they hold in front of their mouths. It's sort of like a speech bubble in a cartoon. Is it just me, or does her ring look like a golden frog?

Does Jesse Jackson's facial expression ever change?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/25/2005 02:14:00 AM #
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Saturday, September 24, 2005
Our idea was better, so we should all die

Michael Graf is in another kind of denial.

Environmental leaders have stressed that "adaptation" to a changing climate is not a real solution to the problem because the resulting global economic and social disruption will overwhelm our capacity to respond.

Which is why we should "adapt" so that we can respond.

Instead of spending a trillion dollars on dams and levees, how about some real funding for alternative-energy research?

That'd be great. But, unfortunately, it also is not a real solution to the problem, because using alternative energy isn't going to magically make the carbon dioxide in the air go away. Even if we instantaneously shifted to a fully solar-powered society, global warming would continue. Which means that we have to adapt anyway.

The real question becomes: since we'll be adapting regardless of what we do, can we justify huge investments into environmental regulation and the like in order to cause rather limited change?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/24/2005 12:56:00 PM #
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Friday, September 23, 2005
I dunno

I wasn't sure if I should respond to Barbara Teszler's column, but I wanted to type her last name, because it's funny.

Fundamentally, the column seems to say "Sure, humanities folks are worthless, but DIVERSITY!!!"

Computer Science: They may not be able to kick your ass physically, but they'll school you in such practical everyday matters as C++ and HTML. Watch out.

I think she's trying to be sarcastic, here, but seeing as how she probably typed this on a computer, I think the joke's on her.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/23/2005 12:47:00 PM #
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Peter J. Mutnick thinks he's Jesus, and is schooling the Berkeley City Council the way Jesus would. No, seriously, he thinks he's Jesus:

I will soon die on the cross for the sins of those who pretend to care about people, but really do not.... I call forth that Spirit of God in each and every one of you.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/23/2005 12:31:00 PM #
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That's a great idea!

Boaltie Takeshi Akiba thinks that UC international admission policies promote injustice throughout the world.

A good example is Boalt Hall School of Law. Each year, the school admits about 50 students into its LLM program, a master's degree equivalent of professional law education. Several Japanese are among them each year, and the composition is nearly the same each time. They are young government officials who are headed for the highest government positions under the centralized Japanese bureaucracy and corporate lawyers who work for the most lucrative multinational law firms in Japan.

The writer of this letter has a Japanese name, and was admitted as an international student, so I'll go out on a limb here and assume it's written by a Japanese law student. Is Takeshi Akiba one of these select few who have the opportunity? Or is this the special exception which exists to criticize "Well, sure, not me, but everyone else..."

Professional schools at UC could mitigate the global consequences of its admissions policy by several means. It may establish different levels of tuition depending on whether a person is being sent with government or corporate support or whether the person has to pay out-of-pocket.

So, while American students don't get tuition discounts, students from other countries should get them. It's bad enough that illegal immigrants can get them. Do we really need to spit in the eye of out-of-state students some more?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/23/2005 12:26:00 PM #
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"Everyone Attack!"

This appeared in the Daily Planet Tuesday, but I didn't understand what it was referring to. I still don't understand what it's referring to. John Stillman thinks she was threatening violence. I think Carol Denney's just a nut.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/23/2005 12:24:00 PM #
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Hey, that's pretty good

Wow, a decent editorial cartoon. Coincidentally, I'm sure, it's also a different cartoonist.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/23/2005 12:23:00 PM #
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More money!!!

But it's unethical, I guess.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, UC Senior Vice President Joseph Mulliniz reported receiving $405,103.42 for this year-a far cry from the $350,000 he's supposed to get.

That is impressive, especially considering that there is no UC Senior Vice President Joseph Mulliniz. There is, however, a UC Senior Vice President Joseph Mullinix, who is mentioned in the Chron. Even more impressive, though, is in the time it takes for Becky O'Malley to throw a fit about it, his pay grows to more than $450,000.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/23/2005 12:18:00 PM #
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"For 12 years, I have been actively against that Foothill bridge. It'll end up costing $2 million to build the bridge, and there are so many needs other than that," said Councilmember Betty Olds. "I do not support it, even now. Building that bridge on such a heavily traveled street is ridiculous."

Another great statement by Betty Olds. Heavily traveled streets should be walked across. Only over lightly traveled streets, where pedestrians are at little danger, should bridges be placed.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/23/2005 12:15:00 PM #
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

I wonder:

Germany's situation, however, is dire: Some 5 million Germans, or 12 percent of the workforce, are unemployed. The economy is moribund. So far, Germans have been unwilling to abandon their cradle-to-grave social protections of health care, pensions and unemployment for the uncertainty of American-style capitalism. Yet the economy is unable to generate the tax revenues needed to support the social safety net.

In the coming months and years, Germany must summon the political will to overcome its challenges and adopt a program of recovery. The choices it makes will offer lessons for our future, too.

I wonder if one of these lessons for the Chron is going to involve concern about universal health care.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/22/2005 01:17:00 PM #
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Regents set priorities! OMG!

Still, UC's compact with the governor, in which the state has agreed to gradually increase funding over the next five years, also calls for the university to impose an 8 percent undergraduate student fee increase and a 10 percent fee increase for graduate students in return for the next two years.

Wow... so, if they don't increase the fees, do we just not get these next two years? Will it suddenly be 2008?

Financial backing will also be needed to lower the current student-faculty ratio, the regents said, pointing to the current systemwide average of 17.6 students per faculty member.

The current ratio could rise as high as 20.9 students per faculty member, Hershman said.

The current ratio is going to rise. This is going to take some impressive time/space continuum gymnastics.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/22/2005 01:13:00 PM #
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Damn asians

The problem with asian parents is that when they take over education, their kids are at an educational level with most college students at about half the age.

Black says despite the fact that students like the Pierces are much younger than the average applicant, they are evaluated on their motivation to learn just as other applicants are.

"You can't really consider the application of a 12-year-old like everyone else, but plainly these students have done very well with the opportunities available to them," Black says.

Do those paragraphs seem a bit... contradictory to anyone?

"They understood the other option," says their father, UC Berkeley alumnus Wincie Pierce, of his children's choice not to attend high school. "It'd be pretty boring, as I suspect it is for most kids around."

Pierce says the family opted for home schooling to help Charlie and Mayumi reach their full potential.

"I went to third and fourth grade in regular school," Mayumi says. "It was fun but I just wasn't learning enough."

Pop: Yeah, high school is pretty boring.
Kid: Yeah, high school was pretty fun.

Once again, the generations understand each other.

"It's harder than community college," says Mayumi. "But it's been interesting, in a good way."

What isn't harder than community college?

The Pierce siblings also say they do not regret entering college early and that they have friends their own age at home in nearby San Pablo, where they are also involved in orchestra and martial arts.

Hmm... they'll be professors teaching their friends of the same age, if I'm calculating this right.

I was also somewhat young on the way in (not as young as these dudes, though). It didn't make the slightest difference, except for how long I had to ask friends to buy me booze.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/22/2005 01:07:00 PM #
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What a waste

For those of you bitching about the feds not giving students enough money, maybe you should tell them to stop wasting money on anti-suicide grants. Temina Madon's temper tantrum already haunts us through the health fee. Maybe we should stop wasting our money to support suicidial nuts.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/22/2005 01:03:00 PM #
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005
I don't know what free speech is

Did you know that refusing to work is a free speech right?

So, again, to repeat, free speech does not mean that whatever you do is okay as long as you're trying to say something with what you're doing. It means that if something you do is okay, it is also okay if you're saying something.

So, for instance, if UC said workers could strike to protest Stanford, but not to protest, say, Harvard, that would be a free speech violation.

Putting this aside, we're also talking about a contract. If the unions sign a contract that says they cannot strike for a particular reason, that's that. The 1st ammendment doesn't apply.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/21/2005 11:48:00 AM #
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Ooh, purty

Save us, feds! And after we become absolutely reliant on the feds to save us, suddenly we're in a bit of a bind when the feds can't save us anymore. So what do we do? Do we become more self-reliant?

Ha! Of course not. Instead, we keep screaming at the feds to save us by pulling money out of their gigantic ass.

I especially like this picture, and the sign second from the left. Because of the excellent design, you see STOP in the octagon, and STUDENT AID below. At first glance, it reads STOP STUDENT AID. The RAID inside the octagon is obscured by the structure of the sign, and doesn't appear to be related to "STUDENT AID."

The education committee in the U.S House of Representatives passed a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act last July, freeing up to an estimated $11 billion from cuts in student aid programs, which Republican legislatures said could help to offset the federal deficit.

But how many Republican legislatures said that? And which ones?

"Students shouldn't have to pay more for higher education," said ASUC senator Vishal Gupta, after putting a call into his Orange County representative.

Also, I shouldn't have to bend down to tie my shoes. Therefore, by saying this, my shoes will begin to tie themselves, reality aside.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/21/2005 11:41:00 AM #
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I can, therefore I should

Go go gadget Constitution.

Fletcher said that various antiquated provisions of the U.S. Constitution contrast starkly with the constitutions of European countries after World War II, many of which provide for universal health care and education.

"Our document is silent on these problems," [Judge William Fletcher] said.

Boalt Hall Dean Christopher Edley agreed, saying the 18th century document "is too cumbersome to work the way it needs to in the 21st century."

Perhaps that's because it's a document that describes what the government should be, rather than acting as a budget, or list of laws. I especially like the idea that we need to act more like the Europeans, because it works so well with Edley's idea. *cough* EU Constitution *cough* We certainly don't want a cumbersome document.

The national government ought to be "fleeter of foot" and "more responsive", Edley said, pointing to what he called the lapse of social equality revealed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"The Constitution seems to be reflecting too little our collective changes and aspirations," he said

Which is good! Because, you know, collective changes and aspirations... change. Here again we see the ol' "because a government can do something I want done, it should do it" attitude.

Fast-acting governments tend to become more-acting governments, which tend to become more-controlling governments, which tend to (etc etc etc) Hitler!!!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/21/2005 11:34:00 AM #
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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Jeff Belton belts out some high quality California intelligence:

"So John Roberts will most likely be confirmed. Choice for women will be out the window."

So, for those of you keeping track, you know that John Roberts is replacing Rehnquist (the dead guy).

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/20/2005 01:38:00 PM #
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Must... pretend... to care...

File-sharing! You know what that means. Dumb comments by freshmen!

Actually, first, we need this comment, on getting the go-ahead to try to sell stuff to universities:

"We have been accepted into this elite club where (we) are able to have conversations and meetings with different campuses individually," said Cdigix spokesperson Laurie Rubenstein.

You know the secret 'eligible vendor' handshake, right?

With Napster's music bank of 1.5 million songs, unlimited stream and download, and sharing, [Napster spokeschick Dana Harris] said, "As long as students are getting access to the music they want I don't see why anyone would not use it."

Oh, oh, I can think of a reason! Because cheap is worse than free?

UC Berkeley freshman Mary Yang said she was unaware that the university even offered services like RealNetworks' Rhapsody, but that she would not take advantage of legal downloading if Napster became a provider.

"I would prefer to use what I am using now and I would not switch," she said. "I don't think a lot of students care so long as the music is free."

Gotta admit to theft in the local paper. How can anyone resist?

Anyway, one more dumb freshman quote on pets:

With many tenants sneaking pets past relatively lenient landlords, some students say continuing the ban against animals in residences is unfair to students.

"The people who would own a cat, for instance, would probably have the ability to take care of it in such a way as to not cause a problem," says freshman Diane Ko.

Ko says a policy requiring residents to pay for the damages created by their pets would be most practical for landlords, the University, and especially new tenants who come to Berkeley still emotionally attached to their pets.

"A pet can sometimes be more reliable or more comforting than any other person," Ko says.

People don't even have the ability to take care of themselves in such a way as to not cause a problem, so I sort of doubt they'd keep their pets under control. Also, make some human friends.

University residential housing and University Students' Cooperative Association housing restrict ownership of all warm-blooded pets, allowing only attendant animals and fish.

They restrict warm-blooded pets, allowing only attendant animals. But fish? I've got some unfortunate news for the writer: they're not warm-blooded. They don't belong in that sentence. And if you want to argue that they do, then you have to wonder about lizards and such.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/20/2005 01:20:00 PM #
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. . .

Is it any wonder that the most insightful comment in a SoT column comes from an engineering student?

In an effort to capture "sex" and "virginity," engineering major Scott said, "If you've ever performed one sexual act instead of another because you were trying to protect your virginity, you're not a virgin."

On the other hand, "engineer" Rick Sterling needs to lay off the performance-enhancing drugs. He does present a good example of what's wrong with the Greenies:

Former gubernatorial and vice-presidential candidate Peter Camejo told a gathering of progressives in Oakland Saturday that recent events in New Orleans and the drop in American support for the occupation in Iraq "is a tremendous opening for the Green Party. This is a peculiar moment where we can win over people massively by explaining to them what is happening in our country and in the world."

Unfortunately, when they "explain what's happening," they sound a like like Rick Sterling does.

(As a sidenote, I noticed that in the same Planet article, greenie Aimee Allison is referred to as a "Gulf War conscientious objector." I'm not to familiar with the details of what "conscientious objector" means, so if someone could explain its role in non-draft wars, I'd be appreciative.)

Finally, Jessica Chen, illustrative engineer, knows that black market food dealers are really big, or sell to really small people. Also, healthy cafeterias are so healthy, they don't even cast shadows.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/20/2005 01:06:00 PM #
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Monday, September 19, 2005
Jelly donut

German election! I'm sure you've been closely following this story.

Schroeder argued that his stronger-than-expected showing indicated that the German public wants him to stay in power as chancellor, and he ruled out cooperating with the conservatives in any grand coalition unless he remains chancellor.

Well, I hope I'm reading this wrong. I hope I'm not hearing about someone saying "I should keep the position because I didn't lose as badly as most people thought I would."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/19/2005 06:03:00 PM #
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I'm doomed

I don't see how I'm supposed to keep up this blog if The Daily Cal doesn't maintain a website. I'll have to start doing analysis of things or something.

Anyway, the news today:

David Kim pulled a gnaW (or reverse Wang):

A month into the fall semester, ASUC Senator David Kim, who was elected as an independent, announced his switch to the Student Action party Wednesday, giving the leading political party a slight plurality in the senate.

The first term senator's switch cuts the number of independent senators to two and bumps the number of Student Action senators from eight to nine.

Let's see. If the switch gave his party the plurality, then it used to be 8-8. So now there are 8 CalSERVErs, 9 Student Actors, and 2 independents. And, if I remember how to count to 20, 1 mystery senator. Who is this mystery senator? An alien? A spritual entity present yet not quite present? Is its absence itself what is present? Nobody knows. Except The Daily Cal.

Vegetarians have it tough.

Yet vegetarians and vegans say there is still room for improvement. Many vegetarians and vegans are dissatisfied with Cal Dining's treatment of vegetarian options. Junior Kerry McNaughton, a vegetarian, said that at Unit 1's dining complex, Crossroads, her only options were soy meat and veggie burgers and the occasional bowl of cereal. She once picked up a hamburger that had been mistaenly placed among the veggie burgers, but stopped herself before she began to eat.

Ah, where to begin. First, I suppose I should point out that Crossroads is not Unit 1's dining complex. At the very least, it's also Unit 2's, and folks from other places often go to it as well. "The occasional bowl of cereal" is, in fact, not an occasional option, despite what is suggested by the sentence it appears in. Crossroads is one of the most variety-free locations to eat at, which means that the cereal is always an option, and often the most reliable one. Finally, how dumb do you have to be to pay so little attention to your food before you start to eat it?

Lastly, what question do you ask a firefighter returning from Mississippi?

Does anyone have an idea how much of the town was still there when the wave came and washed everything away?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/19/2005 05:49:00 PM #
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Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Chron apparently puts as much thought into headlining its pieces as I do.

"Food industry's appetite for change to bill means schools can serve canned produce rather than fresh." Yes, that's the actual headline. There is such a thing as reaching too far to get your pun.

"Like being a refugee again." It is true. Being a refugee is very similar to being a refugee again. In fact, I'd almost say it's exactly like being a refugee again.

"Tony Hall uses aide to reply to Newsom." The topic here is some shady money-movement in local politics, and is really boring. Still, the headline seems to suggest that the important aspect of this story is that Tony Hall uses a spokesperson.

"Sharon's threat to block Palestinians from voting." This one isn't too bad. It almost gets the point across. Still, normally, news headlines don't just list their topic. They usually try to turn it into a half-sentence, with a subject and verb. Not here, though.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/17/2005 06:01:00 PM #
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Friday, September 16, 2005
Wooo! We're number 1!

The Daily Cal, number 1 in web excellence, once again has a nonfunctional website. This is too bad, because there's a cartoon which desperately needs interpretation from Brad Aldridge.

Update: I guess they're back. Now with links!

Here we go: There's a pregnant woman, asking some dude "Oh, Honey! What will our baby boy grow up to be? A Rehnquist? A Scalia? A Warren?" The dude says "Sounds Risky to me. Honey, maybe we should reconsider." I couldn't figure it out. Is it a suggestion that we shouldn't even fill the vacancies? Or maybe require people to have faces before they have children?

There is a balance when it comes to cartooning. One needs to balance between the extremes of undecipherable and uninteresting. The Daily Cal, however, likes the extremes, I guess.

There's also some complaining from Pablo Lopez about how The Daily Cal didn't cover hurricane Katrina closely enough, which really says more about the dude who uses The Daily Cal to get his national news than it does about The Daily Cal. Anne Barrows is talking about... uh... something. I don't really know what it is. Any ideas? It seems to be in line with the equally inexplicable Ron Lowe letter in today's Planet.

Anyway, it turns out that I was right, as the front page had a giant "The Asians are coming!" warning, including a pie chart where more than half of the pie was labelled "Other." (in text form at the bottom of the web page, I guess)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/16/2005 03:07:00 PM #
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Sure, we've saved children from unhealthiness, but it's costing us.

Teal Miller, a Berkeley High student and student director on the school board, said it is important to continue spending the extra money on quality food.

"It's Berkeley, we try to be politically correct and we can't keep up that pretense if we're feeding kids sugar," Miller said.

Yes, people speak proudly of being politically correct. The important thing for these folks is to keep up these pretenses. As far as actually doing good goes... well, that's secondary.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/16/2005 03:02:00 PM #
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Thursday, September 15, 2005
Not even ha

So, I went to a debate between the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition and Berkeley College Republicans today. It was unfortunate. It wasn't so ridiculously bad that I could make fun of it, yet it was still a pointless debate, so it wasn't illuminating at all. I'll try some highlights, but there isn't very much for a 90-minute blabberfest.

The debate was put on by the Informal Debate Society. Snehal and Sasha were dressed informally. Andrew and James had suits and ties. I guess the Republicans just weren't "In" on it.

(pause for laughter)

Suprisingly, they filled up 145 Dwinelle.

Now, the topic was "should military recruiters be allowed on campus?" The arguments were:

BCR: Military good!
BSTW: Military bad!
Neither side: Here's an answer to "should military recruiters be allowed on campus?"

Well, that's not completely true, but the arguments about the actual topic were so pathetic (and rare) they're barely worth mentioning.

The BSTW took the interesting approach of saying "The military's recruitment policy with regard to gays is a violation of UC policy." I call this approach interesting because BSTW doesn't normally give a whole lot of deference to UC policy.

Anyway, the thing is, according to BSTW, that military recruiters should be treated just like all other companies and should have to meet the standards set by UC that all other companies must meet.

More interestingly, though, is that BSTW also argued that the military should not be treated like other companies. ("When was the last time Pepsi bombed a country?") In particular, they took great pains to point out the military's huge recruitment budget, and concluded that they should not have the same rights as other companies. It didn't really fit that well with their previous argument.

But for the most part, the argument went "the military is bad, see (list of injustices), therefore, we have to fight recruiters."

I think the biggest overstatement came from Sasha:

"The Patriot Act completely strips you of your rights."

Riiiiiiight. Name... uh... one.

Oh, wait, Sasha also said "The military shouldn't be allowed anywhere, it's disgusting." As to who is going to prevent the military from being anywhere, and how? I dunno. Me, and by asking politely, I guess.

Snehal, on the other hand, said the appropriate approach to war is not the military approach, but rather that of the French resistance during World War II.

Anyway, since the military is an agent of violence and destruction, unlike, say, resistors, or animals, or the environment, it should be attacked to the greatest extent possible.

Oh, right, and people who sign up for the military have no choice. They come from poor families and they have no choice but to sign up. Therefore, the BCR arguments of choice (upcoming) do not apply. Notably absent from this analysis is a recognition of what the case would be if the military did not recruit. These poor folks will go from "only one choice" to "only zero choices," so they won't even have no choice.

Anyway, I'd like to talk about the BCR arguments, but... uh... well... there really weren't any. Well, there were a few, I guess, so I'll list them.

The military protects us, and our freedoms. Therefore, it has a right to be on campus. I don't quite follow the logic.

There was some other stuff, but it really wasn't particularly interesting.

Anyway, the BCR statement of the day:

"The greatest weapon of mass destruction: Saddam Hussein."

Notably absent from the discussion was my favorite argument. If people continually refuse to enter the military because they disagree with its policies, it essentially guarantees that the military will never change, because it will be made up entirely of people who agree with the way it is run. But that argument doesn't really fit with either side, so it didn't come up.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/15/2005 09:28:00 PM #
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Oh, and by the way

In today's Daily Cal, referring to the two new regents, incoming regent Leslie Tang Schilling is referred to as an independent. According to The Patriot Blog, she is actually a member of the American Independent party. Which, I guess, is the party for people who don't want to be in a party. Or... uh... well, whatever. Anyway, more applause for the Daily Cal staff. Seriously, what is with you dudes this year? Normally, the occasional errors are forgettable and not worth pointing out, but they keep leaping off the page this year.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/15/2005 06:22:00 PM #
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Haha! Kids and their booze.


The police department got a bunch of money from the state to fight underage drinking. Let's go to the commentary!

Others, however, did not share Conti's enthusiasm. Councilmember Kriss Worthington was concerned that potential use of undercover tactics like the minor decoy program could unfairly punish merchants by generating crimes.

"Personally, I don't think we need to do entrapment and create new crime," Worthington said. "I don't think Berkeley's small businesses need people trying to trick them into breaking the law."

Pop quiz: In what way does this trick people into breaking the law?

You see, normally, small businesses sell to underage drinkers who won't tell the police. But now, the police are going to try to trick them into selling to an underage drinker who will tell the police. How tricky!

"I think the money could be much better spent than sending in minors to trick store owners," said UC Berkeley senior Trevor Owens. "We have a drug problem, too. Why not crack down on that?"

Ah, yes, the highly successful War on Drugs. Good idea. By the way, do we have a drug problem here?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/15/2005 12:32:00 PM #
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Nooo! Agreement!

Nothing ruins the day of a local whiner like unanimous agreement.

Ending more than five years of debate, the ASUC Senate unanimously approved an agreement yesterday night outlining the operation of the campus's multicultural center and keeping it in its temporary home for another three years.

"Ending" in this context means "postponing for three years." I really want to get hold of the Daily Cal dictionary. It has all kinds of new definitions.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/15/2005 12:30:00 PM #
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Today is this week!

This week, we're celebrating Constitution Day, which apparently is a week long. When Berkeley folks celebrate the constitution, they do it by bitching about things they don't like and trying to tie them into the constitution. Which explains why the ACLU is bitching about the still-not-an-acronym Patriot Act but not, say, gun control. (By the way, I'm still interested in hearing actual examples of how the Patriot Act violates the constitution)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/15/2005 12:26:00 PM #
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Walk in and take this

Oh, hey, it's that computer.

The laptop was recovered in June after UC police received a tip from a South Carolina man who had purchased the laptop through an online auction, said UC police Lt. Doug Wing.

UC police have arrested and charged San Francisco resident Shuki Alburati on suspicion of possessing stolen property, Wing said.

Wasn't that NC dude also in possession of stolen property?

According to police, the South Carolina man replaced the old hard drive with a new operating system, which is a common practice when individuals purchase used computers.

I dunno. While reformatting the old hard drive and installing a new operating system is a common practice when individuals purchase used computers, I don't think I've ever heard of anyone replacing a hard drive with an operating system. (I'll probably be showing the age of my computer knowledge with this joke:) How does one plug, for instance, an IDE cable into a piece of software? I suppose I can imagine some guy actually installing windows into his computer, to see what's inside, but I'm not sure they can replace the hard drive.

Anyway, I'm curious about how this dude found out. I imagine there was a sticker or something on the computer which identified it as a UC computer, and he didn't notice until after he had already reformatted and such. Still, when selling stolen computers, you'd think the seller would take off the identifier or something.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/15/2005 12:20:00 PM #
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Go go gadget traffic circle!

Council members said the existing circles have been well received.

Oh? I seem to recall a great deal of bitching and whining in The Daily Planet a few months back on the topic. Like, say here. There are a bunch of other examples, but their website is functioning by messenger turtle right now, so I can't really search it.

[Councildude Darryl Moore]also noted a decrease in the number of reckless driving incidents in the areas where circles have been built.

Someone actually counts them?

"(The circles) seem good, because they slow down traffic," said UC Berkeley sophomore Jessica Chen. "It's easy to run a stop sign, but with these, you have to go around. They're fun to drive around too."

While easy, you're not really supposed to be running stop signs. If I'm reading her statement correctly, she's saying "I think slowing down is good. Still, asking me to slow down doesn't work, because I just won't do it, even though I think slowing down is good. Instead, I suggest you do major construction to force me to slow down. I'm responsible like that."

The signal, which is set to be constructed at the cross-section of Hearst Avenue, Arch Street and LeConte Avenue, is meant as a safety measure for students walking in the busy area.

Cross-section? Yes, intersection and crossing mean about the same thing. That doesn't mean you get to mix and match, though, unless you're making planar slices of roads.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/15/2005 12:10:00 PM #
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Take... uh... 6?

Berkeley endorses instant run-off voting!

For those of you following, you might be wondering "Wait, didn't we vote in instant run-off voting an election or two ago?"

That's somewhat true. You see, the proposition that passed essentially said "We should do instant run-off voting, of some form, maybe, whenever it's possible, I guess." That is, people voted for a voting system when they hadn't even decided what that voting system was. But then, this is Berkeley, so I guess there's no real shock there.

In any case, what the City Council said was "Man, it'd be great to have instant run-off voting. We don't actually control that, but... it'd be awesome." Which is also not shocking, since this is Berkeley.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/15/2005 12:06:00 PM #
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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pathogen of the week: Fungus.

Next week: "Bacterium." Or maybe "Living thing." Or better yet, "Object with genetic material," so we don't leave the viruses out.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/14/2005 11:45:00 PM #
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You can talk about the happy happy happy man, and even talk about his reputation, but hey, you can't mention that his reputation is for being nuts and a curiosity to laugh at. That'd be mean. And if there's one thing that a newspaper shouldn't do, it's be accurate when doing so would be mean.

Moving on to the fantastic world of grocery bag fees.

Although Berkeley already disposes of 50 percent of its waste without using landfills, the fee could increase that amount to 75 percent by 2010, according to Cisco DeVries, Bates's chief of staff.

Let me make sure I understand that. Over 25% of Berkeley's waste is made up of plastic grocery bags?

Currently, there are no U.S. cities that charge a fee on grocery bags.

Berkeley city officials were inspired by a 17-cent grocery bag fee proposed last year by the San Francisco Department of the Environment, according to DeVries. The revenue from the San Francisco fee would go towards better recycling and disposal efforts.

If I recall correctly, that fee proposal crashed and burned. How inspiring.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/14/2005 02:23:00 PM #
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Ahh, I see

I've come to the conclusion that Fred Taylor-Hochberg is supposed to be the "funny columnist" for the Daily Cal. It wasn't immediately obvious because he wasn't... you know... funny. (OMG Punch in the face for no reason! Not even an ironic reason! That's gold!)

Even worse, he seems intent on destroying the world of Lego blocks that we grew up in by calling them "Legos." If they're going to call "Facebook" "The Facebook" for no apparent reason, the least the Daily Cal could do is call them Lego blocks.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/14/2005 02:18:00 PM #
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We all remember Michael Newdow. He's one of those fruits who sings instead of talks, if I recall correctly.

Newdow is an activist atheist, the kind who doesn't believe in God so strongly that he actually fights against this illusionary God more strongly than those who believe in Him pay attention.

The usual humor, though, is in the way this situation is headlined by newspapers. The judge essentially repeated an earlier ruling that said coercing students into reciting the pledge is a violation of the First Amendment (or its California equivalent, I don't care enough to check). The headline reads:

"Judge rules Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional."

What does that even mean? "The following pledge is in violation of the constitution, which describes the government. No, the pledge is not a government, a part of the government, a government action, or even anything relating to government. It's a bunch of words. Nevertheless, this bunch of words violates the constitution."

Moving on to the first line:

"Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional..."

Now, what would really be unconstitutional would be making it illegal to recite the pledge in public schools. As it reads, if a student wanders down a hallway and suddenly recites the pledge, she's in violation of the constitution.

In their lawsuit, each of the adult plaintiffs claimed that he or she had "been made to feel like a 'political outsider' due to the 'government's embrace of (Christian) monotheism in the Pledge of Allegiance,'" Karlton wrote.

Haha! All you other religions LOSE! Your gods aren't God! Only the Christian god is referred to by "God." Also, why is it relevant if they feel like political outsiders? I feel like a political outsider sometimes. OMG unconstitutional!!!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/14/2005 02:06:00 PM #
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Tuesday, September 13, 2005
This'll be tough

Yep, still no linkywinky here. In today's Daily Cal:

They run a correction about the difference between 15 and 16 (hint: it's 1). I'll take credit for it.

Another Sex on Tuesday column with another boring message. This time, do something unusual. Wait, that was the boring message last time. And the time before that. Maybe SoT needs to add some spice to its own life.

And, in the actual-news world, Kriss Worthington wants an ordinance that allows people to serve on multiple commissions with overlapping duties. Currently, Jesse Arreguin is on the Housing Advisory Commission and the Rent Board. This is apparently a violation of something, and the obvious way to deal with violations is to obliterate the rule that makes it a violation.

The Property Owners Association, of course, doesn't like this idea, although the prez, Michael Wilson, gives the cryptic complaint:

Nobody wins when there are conflicts of interest.

The main problem with conflicts of interest was people taking advantage of the situation to benefit themselves, thus winning. However, this seems to have changed, and now nobody wins.

Arreguin also said the association's concern with the matter is not about conflict of interest, but rather the fact that he believes the association has a bias against the rent board.

As well it should, since the rent board has a bias against the association. Complaining about bias as a member of the rent board is the kind of laugh you can expect from Arreguitron.

Finally, Jessica Chan has a cartoon complaining about how Bush's efforts are causing terror to increase. So far, I haven't seen a whole lot of evidence for this, and generally those who claim it to be true are using the fact that they predicted it to be true as evidence. Still, at least it makes some mild sense, and isn't just a regurgitation of news, so it's an improvement.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/13/2005 05:24:00 PM #
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The Daily Cal, number 1 in web excellence, has not updated their website, and I don't feel like running out and grabbing another paper copy. Instead, I'll do another Daily Planet Letter Sprint.

Ron Lowe presents an almost-coherent letter.

Two registered sex offenders who had their addresses listed on the Internet were executed in Bellingham, Wash.; they had committed transgressions, but their killer committed an even greater transgression by exacting an eye-for-an-eye vengeance.

Not just any vengeance. Eye-for-an-eye vengeance. Of course, now that I think about it, eye-for-an-eye vengeance should've included some broomstick sodomy, not murder. So I guess Ron is just using "eye-for-an-eye" as a generic term for vengeance. Which, of course, raises the question why it's used as a redundant modifier.

Chris Regalia actually writes something impressive, in response to a letter from Donna Mickelson last week, encouraging people to protest Berkeley Honda because it's like a party.

Donna Mickleson implores all your readers to "come on down and join the party" because "it's fun." She likens the entire affair to a neighborhood potluck. Well Donna, there is nothing "fun" about a labor dispute. There is nothing "fun" about technicians not being able to bring a paycheck home. There is nothing "fun" about the effect that the protest has on the dozens of employees who work at Berkeley Honda. There is nothing "fun" about trying to destroy one of the major generators of revenue for the City of Berkeley.

Thank you Donna, for giving us the perspective that the caricature that comes to mind when most people think of Berkeley is not a misrepresentation. People clearly care more about the protest (read: party) than they do the issues at stake.

Gerald Shmavonian is impressed with Katrina. It was like a whore. I guess. I'm not really sure what the point of the letter was.

Mary Ciddio spotted (OMG!!!) smoke!

4. This is state property and as a taxpayer I deserve to have smoke-free facilities.

Smokers, as taxpayers, do not deserve to have facilities in which they can smoke, by the way. The reason for this is simple. Uh... I just won't explain it to you.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/13/2005 11:55:00 AM #
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Monday, September 12, 2005
Stop! Thief!

Suppose you're walking around, and see a headline in a college newspaper that reads Students Steal Show at Campus Film Festival. Do you think:

A) A bunch of students broke into an auditorium and stole an entire show,

B) A bunch of students made films that totally blew everyone away, and left the competition in the dust, or

C) A film festival of only students had victors who were students.

See, I thought B), but apparently the answer was C).

The movie festival, which received more than 120 entries of short five-minute films generated entirely by UC Berkeley students, culminated in a screening that showcased the top 15 films selected by a panel of judges.

Participants had no idea which 16 movies were going to be shown until their movies popped up on the big screen.

Reporters, for their part, had no idea how to count consistently.

Campus Moviefest began five years ago, when then Emory University resident advisor Dan Costa organized a movie festival for the residents in his hall with the new movie-making software he and three of his friends, and future co-founders of Campus Moviefest, discovered.

"Discovered," in this case, means "noticed some film-editing software put out by a major company."

The turnout at UC Berkeley has been the best yet, with more than 128 teams, averaging seven people per team, submitting entries, Costa said.

More than 128! That could be, like, 129. Or even 130. But not 131, because that prolly would've been reported as "more than 130."

In summary, an excellent writing/editing job by The Daily Cal. Applause.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/12/2005 05:25:00 PM #
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And now, for my next trick...

Sometimes you just need a break from being an administrator at a university. It's times like these that you need to condemn the PATRIOT Act, which, if I recall correctly, is an acronym, though The Daily Cal seems to disagree with me.

Anyway, there's a bunch of quotes from a bunch of dudes about how this is the best way to oppose it, or how this is an important issue, but I can't figure out why they think it's Bob 2.0's job.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/12/2005 05:21:00 PM #
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Well, it looks like I made fun of Taylor Allbright unfairly. Although, reading that correction, you wonder what exactly they got right.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/12/2005 05:19:00 PM #
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I don't know which reality Darryl Stein inhabits, but it's not the one I live in.

But after what will be a smooth confirmation for Roberts, it seems unlikely that the Bush administration would turn again to someone like Clement—or Alberto Gonzalez, whose name, as the punch line of the recent joke goes, is Spanish for "Souter." The conservative base has not forgotten the turncoat jurist appointed by Bush Sr., and another such nominee would cost the party dearly in coming elections.

Uh... how dearly? How many voters actually know A) Souter is a justice on the Supreme Court, B) Souter was supposed to be a conservative, and C) Souter is a liberal? In a poliski 1 class I sat in on there weren't very many, and those are people who actually are interested. Normals just couldn't possibly care enough for this to matter. And the ones who do care aren't about to start voting Democrat even if they don't get their justice.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/12/2005 05:16:00 PM #
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Sunday, September 11, 2005
Um, no

John Arquilla suggests additional entries in Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. Unfortunately, he seems to understand very little about it. Among other things, The Devil's Dictionary was funny. It also wasn't so direct and boring. Where's the poetry?

You're not as good as Bierce. Please do not invoke him for your jokes. It would be like me writing a crappy sonnet about something I don't like, and saying "Gee, if Shakespeare was alive today, he'd write this!"

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/11/2005 01:05:00 PM #
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And now, the conclusion

AlcoholEdu, the Ending!

It's time for the followup portion of the AlcoholEdu course. Recall that AlcoholEdu is a required online course for all incoming freshmen, though I have heard of no actual enforcement of this requirement (if anyone does know, fill us in!). But there's a followup. Even I don't know what it's about. Is it to discuss what we've learned and how we've applied it? Is it to consume more time so the time-eating demons plotting the destruction of the world will starve? Let's find out.

Chapter 4 is called "Deciding for Yourself." I'll just click the button marked "Begin Deciding for Yourself." Or will I? I can't decide! I haven't begun deciding for myself yet! Let me go get some input from a friend.

Okay, my friend decided for me that I can click the button. Perhaps somewhat ironically, the beginning is about how our personal situation makes our decisions different, and that our decisions depend greatly on the particulars of our lives. That's why we're watching a generic alcohol education course.

Here are some things to recall. Keep a sharp lookout for arrows. You never know when you'll find yourself under attack by a swarm of angry arrows that blur everything around them, so stick with your friends. As long as they don't drink, of course.

Also, take care of your friends. "If it's hard to wake them, get help immediately - you could save their life." Just think of cashing in on that favor.

Lordy, this thing is boring. I mean, even more boring than the other chapters. PROTECT THE BRAIN!!!

And hey! Another survey, that's identical to all of the other ones. Over the past two weeks, I've been drinking the Fibonacci sequence of drinks. Unfortunately, that means I didn't drink at all last Sunday, and since they limit responses to 50 drinks of less, I had to just drink 50 drinks every day since last Wednesday.

We noticed that, since beginning AlcoholEdu, your expectations about drinking alcohol have not changed.

Did you notice that you suck!!??

Anyway, that's all for AlcoholEdu. Next year I'll do RapeEdu.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/11/2005 12:33:00 PM #
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Friday, September 09, 2005

Some things really are laughing matters. Like this.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/09/2005 02:27:00 PM #
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Mark Massoud is really reaching to turn the legislature into "the people."

Here are the reasons why Prop 22 shouldn't be considered as representing the "will of the people."

First, the people of California have a right to change their minds.

Okay. Did they? How about another Prop to see?

Second, some people may have voted for Proposition 22 inadvertently. The rhetoric of "equality" and "protecting marriage" that was deployed by the proposition's proponents made voters not want to choose the alternative.

In other words, some people who voted in favor of Proposition 22 in 2000 did not realize that their vote would ban gay marriage, and might have voted otherwise had they known.

Yeah, I voted 'Pat Buchanan' on Prop 54 a few elections back.

You see, when proponents deploy 'rhetoric,' the vote doesn't count. Only those propositions that passed while supporters argued in a rhetoric-free manner should count. I believe that includes... uh...

Third, many Californians simply abstained from voting for or against Proposition 22. Perhaps they didn't think their vote would count, or they didn't care either way.

Still others disdain the California referendum process. As those arguments go, Californians elect and pay people to go to Sacramento to make laws so that the rest of us don't have to—so that we can focus on our jobs, our hobbies, and our families.

Some people who voted for their representatives in the last election did not realize that their vote would allow gay marriage, and might have voted otherwise had they known. Therefore, by the second point above, the idea that representatives represent should be considered incorrect. In fact, there is no way to know "the will of the people." Therefore, all votes should be conducted by coin flip.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/09/2005 10:55:00 AM #
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Get your abortions! Quick!

Now, here's some breaking, shocking news. Pro-choice groups want pro-choice judges.

Now, rather than overturning Roe v. Wade outright, a new conservative court would more likely pass gradual laws restricting abortion, [Poliski Prof Gordon Silverstein] said.

This one's the writers'/editors' fault, not Silverstein's. Courts do not pass laws. Please note for future reference.

"The only hope for women is a moderate judge," [actvistish chick Taylor Albright] said.

Or birth control. Or lesbianism.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/09/2005 12:08:00 AM #
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Are! You! Ready!!!!

It's coming. It won't be long now.


posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/09/2005 12:04:00 AM #
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Thursday, September 08, 2005
OMG Gay!

I'm sure you've heard the news. Arnie said "screw you" to the legislature and "deferred to the will of the people." Actually, that could describe a whole lot of what Arnie has done. In this case, the topic is gay marriage.

"For a man who claims rather grandiosely to be 'following the will of the people' when he doesn't even allow the people to express his will to them as he does with every other bill is a deep disappointment to me," said state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica.

Hmm... Humm... Hrmm... I'm lost on the antecedents here. I assume 'he' is Arnie, and 'them' is the people. Therefore, this reads:

"For a man who claims rather grandiosely to be 'following the will of the people' when Arnie doesn't even allow the people to express Arnie's will to the people as Arnie does with every other bill is a deep disappointment to me," said state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica.

Well, that doesn't help much. The people aren't expressing Arnie's will to themselves? I suppose it might be a misstatement, and should in fact read:

"For a man who claims rather grandiosely to be 'following the will of the people' when Arnie doesn't even allow the people to express the people's will to Arnie as Arnie does with every other bill is a deep disappointment to me," said state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica.

That makes more sense, I guess, though she seems to be claiming that the bill passed by the legislature better represents the will of the people than an initiative passed in an election.

Anyway, moving on,

Gerard Heather, a professor of political science at San Francisco State, said it would have been a difficult political move for the Governor to sign the bill. He said the speed of the veto announcement sends a clear message to his supporters.

"All the polls indicate the majority of Californians are opposed to it," Heather said. Whatever political base he has remaining — the hard right — will be pleased by a veto. His base expects it."

The hard right apparently included 60% of voters just a few years ago.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/08/2005 12:21:00 PM #
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Requisite protest

Why not protest?

Some 100 students gathered on Sproul Plaza yesterday to protest what they said was the university's lack of concrete aid toward victims of Hurricane Katrina.

You know, though helping folks feels good, the university has a rather specific obligation, and it can't just drop it because something bad occurred somewhere. So the university can't all of a sudden start hurling huge sums of money to aid, or providing expensive services for free, or the like.

"(The administration) needs to recognize that this is a long-term project. They're only allowing for a semester when we all know that it'll take at least 60 to 80 days to drain. It's not enough," said graduate student LaToya Beck. "The administration should offer long-term accommodation, because if they don't, it'll be like the students are displaced all over again."

Hell, it'll be exactly the same. Well, minus the whole "run for your life" part. And minus the whole "only a few days notice" part. And plus the whole "functioning governmental infrastructure" part. But otherwise, it's just as bad.

Protesters also demanded administrators waive all tuition fees for displaced students. Officials said since the the students are studying on "visiting" status, they are charged for fees through their home institutions and UC Berkeley is not collecting any fees from them.

Nice job, guys. Nice job. While you're at it, why don't you demand that the university not send broomstick rapists after these refugees?

Protesters also drafted a list of demands, including giving academic credit to UC Berkeley students who plan on traveling to New Orleans to aid the relief effort.

The good news is that for real majors, 'academic credit' is meaningless. Still, shouldn't academic credit have to do with... you know... academics?

"UC needs to do more than take in a token handful of students," said Derek Wright, a member of the International Socialist Organization and an employee of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "It's just an empty gesture."

Well, I guess they could've done absolutely nothing. Would that have been better? What would you suggest, besides changing the country into a socialist paradise?

Protesters also criticized what they said was the media's racist portrayal of the hurricane's aftermath.

"The depiction of black residents as looters, especially as whites are depicted as doing what they need to do to survive, is really ridiculous," Beck said.

Whoa, I thought this was a UC protest. Way to spread the love. By the way, it turns out that the folks labelled as 'looters' were actually looting, while the folks labelled as 'finders' were actually finding. (Snopes)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/08/2005 12:10:00 PM #
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Forehead hammer


Junior Jeremy Chang, president of Alpha Xi Omega, said he received a call from administrators after the fraternity threw a party Thursday of Welcome Week and was confronted about having alcohol at the party.

"There was alcohol, but our organization doesn't have that many members ... and a lot of people had already been drinking at other parties before they stepped in the door," Chang said. "It's not fair to be singled out."


"Recruitment week is crucial for all fraternities and you can't just ask us to suddenly stop everything," Chang said.

Way to defend yourself rather than just put on the whiny face. Okay, fine, we'll give you back your rattle.

In case you frat folks are wondering where your reputation comes from...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/08/2005 12:06:00 PM #
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I, doll.

Way to stick up for your people.

Notice how nobody in the background seems to be paying attention.

[American Idol chick LaToya London]'s appearance was meant to encourage students to value their academic pursuits, said Berkeley High Student Activities Director Ivery McKnight-Johnson, who organized the event.

If there's one person who can bring that message, it's somebody who did well on American Idol.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/07/2005 02:10:00 PM #
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Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Hehe. Boston is funny

Locals are pretty boring now. Good thing New Englanders can pick up the slack.

Erin Miller says

If the measure of a democracy is its success in protecting the most vulnerable, it's startlingly clear that the United States no longer qualifies.

Well, it's a good thing that's not the measure of a democracy, then, isn't it? Once again, I'll try to explain it:

"Democracy" is the whole votey thingie. It doesn't have to do with economic stability, wealth, happiness, diversity, or whatever. It's the votey thingie. Now, some of these things are a consequence of the votey thingie, but democracy is still the votey thingie.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/06/2005 12:24:00 PM #
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Forehead saw

Sigh. It sure says a lot more than the news story.

In an unprecedented 21-15 vote Thursday, the State Senate approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriages in California.

Unprecedented! There's never been a 21-15 vote in the State Senate! (Is this true? I don't feel like looking it up right now) Or maybe it's unprecedented in that such a bill has never passed (although I think it has).

The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act changes the state's definition of marriage to a civil contract between two persons instead of between a man and a woman. It includes a statute declaring that religious institutions may choose whether to wed same-sex couples.

(As a personal issue, I approve of this definition of marriage for the government.) I'm not sure I understand... wouldn't religious institutions have that choice, statute or no? That's like saying "The bill includes a statute declaring that people may write with either hand." Is our legislature now in the business of telling people the rare instances where they actually have a choice?

"If we can secure rights for same-sex couples, it will be a slap in the face to those who pander to people's fears," [Boalt LGBT Caucus chick Lisa Cisneros] said.

And who doesn't want to slap someone else in the face?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/06/2005 08:58:00 AM #
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Don't think about it too hard, though

Apparently, sexual positions need advocates. I can imagine this list as showing up in the voter's guide for a ballot initiative. Since this is Cal, only one side shows up in the voter's guide, by the way.

Darwin would approve. To quote The Bloodhound Gang, "You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals, so let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel." Evolution doesn't lie, people. This position has been naturally selected; think about it.

While evolution doesn't lie, it tells you something else. That is, the naturally selected position is optimal for procreation. So, assuming that most folks reading aren't too interested in kiddies, thinking about it isn't the best idea.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/06/2005 08:52:00 AM #
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Monday, September 05, 2005
Even crazier

Our state legislature wants to ban tolls on bicyclists and pedestrians using bridges or roads. It's only fair, I guess. It's not like they're using the bridge, so why should the have to pay for it?

Oh, wait, that's not the argument. The argument is... uh... Ah, I see, bicyclists/pedestrians put less wear and tear on the bridge. Excellent! Then let's charge bicyclists/pedestrians a smaller toll!

No, that's what's being opposed. Um... Oh, we want to encourage people to be physically active. Therefore, if you're physically active while using roads and bridges, you don't have to pay for them. And once we reach a utopia where everyone is physically active, roads and bridges will magically maintain themselves.

Or... uh...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/05/2005 05:45:00 PM #
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The subject of the thesis...

Jay Martin makes some points about why New Orleans shouldn't be rebuilt. He wants to know where the environmentalists are. Southern Louisiana should be returned to swampland. Oh, and by the way:

President Bush is to blame. He diverted levee maintenance funds to Iraq.

Yes, who cares what you were talking about, the important thing is to blame Bush. But if you can't actually tie it in to what your were talking about, just add a statement like that at the end. It's just as good. (Actually, if Bush's diverted funds did cause the levee to fail, Bush should be praised by this dude for helping to return it to natural wetlands)

David Goldman has probably never lived in the midwest. Tornados, while damaging, cannot absolutely destroy cities like earthquakes and hurricanes can, and comparing them is idiotic.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/05/2005 12:21:00 PM #
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The UN cola

The most impressive thing about this letter is that Peter Betts isn't a woman's name.

What's the point of technology and affluence when we do nothing about global warming, and, as Gelbspan says, it may be too late already?

I dunno. What's the point of smiling when we do nothing about my toe ache?

Now this piece from Cornelius U. Morgan is more impressive in his thoughts about his grandson going off to war (I assume).

I'm not concerned as much about the real possibility of him losing his life or limb in these wars but that he will be condemned to hell for all eternity for merely participating.

Gee, thanks, gramps!

Ron Weissenberger feels bad about himself, so in order to feel better, he wants to attack white men.

Too bad Ms. Young didn't live the life of a slave or the life of a woman who was denied the right to vote before the 19th Amendment came into being all the time this country was faking democracy.

Uh... neither did you, chief.

This nation was established by rich white men who perpetrated a holocaust upon Native Americans via guns and germ warfare, enslaved and brutalized millions of Africans to work their land, and denied the basic right to vote to women for 144 years. This is democracy?

Yes, it is (note present tense). Any other questions?

I, as a white man, feel that a little reverse discrimination is in order for many years to come. Perhaps it just might make up for the crimes against humanity manifested by Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, et al.

Oh, sure, that'll make up for it. Because, you see, since discrimination was so bad, discrimination will make things better. And then broad intergenerational racial groups will be balanced in terms of suffering. Meanwhile, actual people, who are not intergenerational racial groups, may see things differently.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/05/2005 12:49:00 AM #
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The Globe is bitching about Rehnquist. Yay.

In his 33 years on the US Supreme Court, William H. Rehnquist tried to move federal law in favor of states rights, an archaic jurisprudence that would have negated much of the 20th century's progress.

The idea that locals should have control over local issues? Archaic.

He was partially successful, but his fellow justices understood that the federal government and individuals have rights that transcend the vagaries of legal codes in the 50 states.

Hey, it's been a stressful week for the news folks, I guess. Because I think I just read someone say that we need to be worried about the federal government's rights. And not just the vague concept of "government rights" that we hear about with such silly terms as "states rights." No, the federal government has rights in the same way that individuals have rights, and it's important for the judiciary to protect those rights. (From who?)

I give up. Maybe someone can give an explanation that isn't so fucking insane.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/05/2005 12:38:00 AM #
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Sunday, September 04, 2005
I think my browser is broken

The sub-headline of this story reads "White House Shifts Blame to State and Local Officials." For some reason, it reads "shifts blame to" rather than, say "shifts blame back to" or "blames" or anything. No, apparently, the blame originally lies with the White House.

Shifting blame would be, in a completely hypothetical example, when a head of emergency operations throws a fit that the feds aren't doing his job. That is, the job of heading emergency operations. Or when a mayor demands to know why the government isn't in control of the city he's mayor of.

Anyway, here's some potential blame-shifting that was thankfully averted:

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.

A lot of times, people don't have the authority to speak publicly because they're ignorant, and thus will give misleading information to the media. Quoting these people is extremely wise, I say. By the by, since the feds are blaming them anyway, I don't see what they have to lose.

Now, sharing the blame is appropriate.

New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas acknowledged that the city was surprised by the number of refugees left behind, but he said FEMA should have been prepared to assist.

"Everybody shares the blame here," said Thomas. "But when you talk about the mightiest government in the world, that's a ludicrous and lame excuse. You're FEMA, and you're the big dog. And you weren't prepared either."

See? Sharing isn't so bad. They teach you in school to share.

Now, if you want to throw a fit about something the administration is doing, here's a good thing to point out:

Top Bush administration officials met at the White House with African American leaders amid criticism that the federal response to Hurricane Katrina has neglected impoverished victims, many of them black.

Well, that's helpful. Really helpful. Can you imagine what they talked about?

Top Bush Administration Official: So...

African American Leader: Yeah...

TBAO: We're not racists.

AAL: That's good. Are you sure?

TBAO: Um... yeah, yeah, I'm pretty sure.

AAL: That's good to hear. Because just because we're black, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be help.

TBAO: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.

AAL: Uh...

TBAO: Black people are people, too.

AAL: We certainly are. Are you helping the people in New Orleans, even though they're black?

TBAO: Yeah, yeah, definitely.

AAL: Well, that's good to hear.

TBAO: Yep. Is it two hours yet.

AAL: Almost. One hour and 59 minutes to go.

TBAO: Well, that's less than two hours.

AAL: Oh, certainly.

Caucus Executive Director Paul A. Brathwaite said Bush officials promised to keep black leaders informed. He credited the administration with reaching out to the caucus for the first time to solve a national problem.

Yep. And as hundreds of refugees get evacuated via "informing black leaders," and thousands are eating "reaching out to to the caucus," we can take steps to reduce the damage caused by this crisis.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/04/2005 12:11:00 AM #
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