Thursday, November 30, 2006
Paragraph of the Day
Thank you, Daily Cal:
"Prop 209 is like the canary in the mineshaft," said William Kidder, senior policy analyst at the UC Davis Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. "The rate of access for African Americans, American Indians and Latinos at UC is exasperated by Prop 209 but is part of a systematic non-inclusiveness."Well, let's start from the tail end here. Rates of access do not generally feel emotions and such, but this rate apparently is "exasperated." I wonder A) if the problem is the thing that's being exasperated, and B) if so, how else do problems feel? Would a problem that is easily solved feel useless? Lack self-worth? Perhaps satisfied, knowing that it had done its role?
(Notice: I'm putting the blame on the Daily Cal here, either for a transcriptional error or a failure to ask the dude "what the fuck did you just say?")
But let's back up to the first part of this. "The canary in the mineshaft"? I'm no miner, but my understanding of such things is that miners would carry canaries with them when exploring tunnels or some such, and when the canary falls over dead, that means they've hit some poisonous gas and should get the hell out of there. (Anyone with mining experience can clarify this)
So, with this is mind... how is Prop 209 the canary in the mineshaft?
. . .
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
More coffee wars!
Uh oh. Someone forgot to muzzle Oren Gabriel.
"As the number of student groups continues to rise, the ability of the ASUC to fund these groups is limited," he said.Aww, come on, Daily Cal. Have some fun. Try this:
"As the number of student groups continues to rise, the ability of the ASUC to fund these groups is limited," he said, less than two months after trying to spend ASUC funds to cover his personal legal costs.Or maybe this:
"As the number of student groups continues to rise, the ability of the ASUC to fund these groups is limited," he said, after last year supporting increasing the funding for ASUC Executives at the expense of student groups.Oh, well. Maybe we should letter-to-the-editor it.
[Coffee Spot owner Haitham Alloum] said the current situation is similar to an effort in the late 1990s to replace smaller businesses, but the students and businesses petitioned and rallied to save the Bear's Lair.I dunno. I don't think I'm in any danger of losing the space to run my business.
"In '97 we all stood up and we were all one voice because whatever happens to my next-door neighbor can happen to me," he said.
Gabriel said that students' opinions are a top priority and that he is creating a survey to find out what types of businesses students would like to see.Oh, a survey! Does this mean that if he doesn't get a response from the majority of students, he won't act? Or is he talking out of his ass again? And why didn't he use this "survey" approach for the "PAY MY LEGAL FEES!!!" bill?
"The ASUC is the student government and no action will take place if it is against the will of the majority of students," Gabriel said.
By the way, check out the picture caption:
Abraham, Haitham, and Tony, who did not give their last names, work at The Coffee Spot in the Bear's Lair on Lower Sproul Plaza.Aww, no last names. I wonder how they found out that other guy named Haitham had a last name of "Alloum"?
. . .
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
So, a half-month into the new Congress, it's nice to see that Democrats cower in fear from themselves, too. They don't look like a party that just won an election. Which, I guess, is sort of true, since the Republicans lost more than the Democrats won.
Then again, the way the Republicans dealt with their majorities was to pretend they didn't have them. Oddly enough, by doing that, they looked like they were in a lot more control.
. . .
An interesting idea from Davis
An interesting idea from a (former?) Davis justice:
Currently, at universities nationwide, there is a problem with elections. That being, that (1) if a candidate gets disqualified, they very frequently sue anyone and everyone until the right people roll over and let them take office, since no one but the candidate themselves cares about it enough to go to court over it; and (2) the candidate invariably cites a misguided interpretation of "democracy" or "will of the people" to support their position. It has been of little avail to advise them that its not "will of the people" if they had an unfair opportunity to influence "the people" or "the people" didn't know critical information about their character. But I came up with a solution that utterly resolves both these problems.How about it, "will of the people" lovers?
Keep the system of "campaign violations" or "censures" which are given in various amounts for various severities of violations. BUT where currently a certain number mandate disqualification (three in ASUCD, five at Berkeley I believe), replace disqualification with automatic recall. Basically, the candidate still gets elected into office, but a recall election is immediately scheduled for them the following week.
In this matter, it can be conclusively determined whether "the People" would overlook their indiscretions, and I can't imagine a lawsuit overcoming this second voicing of the "will of the people."
By the way, I assume he's wrong about "no lawsuit." They'll still sue and say they got the censures illegally or some such.
Update: I haven't given my opinion. As a matter of principle I don't like the idea, because I don't think "will of the people" arguments are legitimate, and allowing folks to violate the rules if they can get enough popular support doesn't sit well with me.
That said, allowing folks to violate the rules if they can hire enough lawyers isn't too cool, either. As a matter of practice, humiliating folks is the best we can hope for, and a recall may help publicize the wrongdoings more explicitly.
. . .
An important philosophical question
What do you do when you read this:
Despite warnings by Judge Trina Thompson Stanley not to make any statements about the case, Asmeron Gebrreselassie, the alleged gunman, said in open court, "Whatever happened was self-defense. Everything in the newspaper is all lies."in a newspaper?
. . .
Someone needs to do this!!!
I suppose this is technically outside the scope of Beetle Beat's coverage area, but this was too funny.
Canadian University Womyn's Centre Trying To Exclude Pro-Life Groups from funding and space generally available to other student groups. The university student association vice-president for student services agrees; so does a student association vice-president at another Canadian school.Someone totally has to do something like this here. It'll be great! "Debate makes me uncomfortable."
Anti-abortion speech, the theory goes, is "gender-discriminatory," and debate about abortion upsets some women because it "happen[s] in a space that they thought they were safe and protected, and that respected their rights and freedoms."
. . .
Monday, November 27, 2006
God is a murderer!
Or, so says The Chronicle:
An Oakland woman accused of hurling her three young sons into San Francisco Bay sat quietly in court during opening statements at her trial today, as the prosecutor accused her of deliberately murdering her children on orders of God while her attorney portrayed her as a loving mother whose actions were the product of untreated and chronic mental illness.Did the prosecutor really accuse God of conspiracy to commit murder?
. . .
More awesome ideas!
"Awesome," in this context, means funny and news-generating.
First, let me clarify a bit about the GA's failure to hold up its end of the new MOU. The first failure was the failure to find GA folks to serve on the Elections Council Selection Committee. There are six folks on this committee, and two of them are graduate students, according to the MOU. When I last checked, he was trying to defer this to the Senate.
There is also the requirement for a "Graduate Outreach Coordinator" on the Elections Council. The wording of the e-mail suggests that this is what he's looking for, but there's no reason to believe that he actually gets any say in this. (Elections Council members are nominated by the Elections Council Chair and approved by the Senate) I should note that he's sent out such e-mails before, too, which, if I recall, suggested the same thing, during the time he was actually looking for folks for the Selection Committee. It's entirely possible he just doesn't know what he's talking about.
Anyway, the funny part would be that, if the GA doesn't hold to its end of the MOU, the ASUC Senate could decide that it doesn't need to stick to the requirements either. The best result out of this would be a two sevenths budget cut for the GA. This would send a signal to the GA that they don't get to play the "GIVE US MORE POWER BUT NO MORE RESPONSIBILITY" game anymore, which would for once strike a blow in favor of students when dealing with the GA. Unfortunately, this requires an ASUC leadership which has balls, and I don't believe ours is properly equipped.
. . .
Power! If only someone wanted it
Remember how the Graduate Assembly would bitch and whine about not having enough power? And then how they put forward a ballot initiative that the ASUC accepted like tools which would give the GA more power? And remember how part of that initiative, which passed with a 60% abstention rate, included GA representation on the ASUC Elections Council? (It's okay if you don't remember this last part, since the writers of the ballot question deliberately kept it vague so you wouldn't know what it does. Did I mention the 60% abstention rate?) From GA President Josh Daniels:
The Election Council oversees the Spring Semester elections on campus.He's been looking all semester for some volunteers, and nobody wants to do it. Gee, I guess before you throw a hissy fit demanding more power, you should probably check to make sure you actually have the ability to take the responsibility associated with that power. I think the only appropriate thing to do is for folks who pushed last year's GA referendum to resign their current positions and volunteer. They wouldn't want to look like hypocrites, after all. We'd hate to think that they didn't really want the responsibility, but just wanted more power. It's okay to be impotent, but it's not okay to cripple the ASUC by pretending you're not.
These elections affect how much we pay in student fees, among other really important decisions. WE NEED GRADUATE STUDENT REPRESENTATION TO ENSURE GRAD CONCERNS ARE ADEQUATELY ADDRESSED. The time commitment is minimal, but the impact is significant.
. . .
Thursday, November 23, 2006
I have nothing to say.
I guess I can point out the Patriot blog's temporary home. In fact, not only can I, I will! It's over here!
. . .
Monday, November 20, 2006
Ah, that makes perfect sense
More tazer fun!
The officers' actions represent a startling ignorance of Los Angeles racial and judicial history. In a city with a sordid record of police brutality against minorities, the officers should have been aware that their actions would carry reverberate far beyond the library halls.Hmm. We're talking about actions representing ignorance, so the right thing to do would be to adjust those actions. But somehow, it should adjust those actions when dealing with minorities without treating minorities differently. (Left as an exercise to the reader)
This does not mean that police officers, UCLA or otherwise, should treat minority students differently than other students. But it does mean that the department and the university should recognize a public relations nightmare when it's staring them in the face.
. . .
Oh, right, the clog
I dunno if I've given it enough time, but I guess I'm ready to issue the Pronouncement of Beetle on the topic of the Daily Cal blog.
Sorry, try again.
One doesn't run a blog for the sake of having a blog. You need to do something with it. Try as I might, I just don't see the point of the Daily Clog.
If we wanted occasional articles that we could read and then perhaps send an opinion via mail in the hopes that it might be published, we'd read a newspaper. A blog that serves exactly the same purpose doesn't add anything.
It doesn't create a responsive community. Not only are there no comments, there's no blogroll. And it's not like they haven't gotten around to it yet. They have an offsite blogroll. It still reeks of the "gatekeeper" role that newspapers like to play. (That is, "We'll look at what's going on, but then tell you only what we consider important, and you'll never see the rest.")
This kind of thing is why I don't approve of blogs attached to newspapers. They almost never "get" it. I was hesitant about the Patriot blog when it was first introduced for the same reason, but Pat did get it and realized that a blog is not a newspaper column published in online form. Right now, what I see at the Clog is "the leftovers from a newspaper making the lame jokes and comments that weren't fit for print."
. . .
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I'll be following ASUC bylaw changes fairly closely this year. This week, Title I is being amended, apparently.
Many of the changes are corrections in grammar or some such. There are meaningful changes, however, including an unconstitutional one. (Though the law was probably already unconstitutional)
One of the changes is to change the concept of "killing bills" to "failing bills." Killing is scary, I guess.
The other interesting change involves Title I, Article XV. As far as I can tell, it currently reads as follows:
15.1 Membership in the ASUC is voluntary. No person shall be forced to become a member of the ASUC if he/she does not wish to be. All students, regardless of membership, shall have equal access to all services that the ASUC offers.As it currently stands, in order to remain members, we have to keep signing the back of our registration cards (whatever those are) every semester, or every other semester if we vote. That's already pretty ridiculous, and the bill considered this week is to strike that section entirely. The consequence is that unless you get elected or appointed to specific positions in the ASUC, you cannot become a member of the ASUC without voting, and even then it only lasts a semester.
15.2 To become a member in the ASUC a student must do one of the following:
1. Vote in the ASUC election,15.3 Membership in the ASUC shall be for one (1) semester, and must be renewed every semester.
2. Hold any elected position in the ASUC,
3. Be a member of the Judicial Council,
4. Be a member of the ASUC Store Operations Board, or
5. Sign the back of his/her UC Berkeley Registration Card.
15.4 The ASUC shall inform the student body that membership in the ASUC is voluntary and instruct the student body how to become a member every semester in the Election Supplement or in other advertisements.
Let me go grab a charge sheet...
. . .
We hate the Minutemen!
Dimitri Garcia is pushing a "We hate the Minutemen" bill, in relation to "that Columbia thing." As usual, the distinction between "legal" and "illegal" immigration is too inconvenient to mention.
WHEREAS, the ASUC defends the right of free speech, on Wednesday night, October 4, students at Columbia University exercised their right of free speech and protested the Minuteman group inside and outside the auditorium where they were speaking; andI wonder if the ASUC is concerned about libel.
WHEREAS, the Minutemen group represents an armed vigilante organization aimed to target, racially profile, intimidate, and forcibly detain immigrants across the country; and
WHEREAS, due to the growing militarization of the border region, over 3,200 people have died attempting to cross the mountains and deserts at the U.S. Mexico border since 1994; and
WHEREAS, the Minutemen try to mask themselves in legitimacy as a polite and intellectual group at Columbia University, but invidiously and hypocritically assault immigrants at the point of a gun, denying them the rights the Minutemen claim to hold so dear; and
WHEREAS, to call a Minutemen speech an "academic event" is false; instead of academically, scientifically, intelligently, or politically questioning globalization and immigration, the Minutemen want to spread their pessimism across our country, not some new form of knowledge we can all share in; they spread simplistic, superficial hate that comes nowhere near political speech, academic speech, or even intelligent speech; and
WHEREAS, the Minutemen are an organization that is presuming itself to be a political organization with a political agenda, or a political project; therefore, they lay their claim to speak at campuses; but they are not a political organization because they hide behind guns; they want to break down the political process by denying immigrants any rights in our country, or any rights in the political realm of everyday life; so, it is in fact the Minutemen who deny free speech and the political process; and
I especially like the claim that "academic speech" is whatever we decide to accept as such, and any speech we don't approve of does not count. That's the true path to academic freedom.
. . .
It's been a while since I did protest coverage, so I'll see if I can make it out to Monday's rally (?) about tazering on some other campus. I'll be reporting, not supporting, since I have a hard time getting worked up about it. Much like the death penalty, if there is an injustice, the recipient probably deserved it, so... meh.
By the way, I like the "he was tazered for not having his ID" argument. Imagine the other arguments we can make along those lines.
Dude gets stopped for speeding, shoots officer in the face when he walks up, drives away, firing a pistol at random at occupied playgrounds as he passes, while firing nuclear missiles out of the trailer/silo his car carries (for the sake of argument). Another officer shoots the dude. Protests form, pointing out that "he was shot for speeding!!!"
Or hey, "Student Action tried to charge us $22,000 for chalking!"
. . .
Becky O'Malley is ignorant?
I guess so. So, Becky O'Malley, of the Berkeley Daily Planet, has received criticism for providing home-delivery of her paper's endorsement issue. In usual O'Malley form, she writes a response that completely misses the point.
See, after front page article after front page article trumpeting "OMG! SOME BUSINESSPEOPLE ARE SPENDING MONEY TO TRY TO GET YOU TO VOTE SOME WAY!!! THIS IS TERRIBLE!!!!!" when she goes around and does exactly the same thing, it makes her look like a hypocrite. Her defense appears to be "but I'm fair and right, they're evil and wrong."
. . .
So, everyone and their mother is talking about tazers or something. I'm not even going to link anything. If you don't know what I'm talking about, consider yourself blessed.
1. The race angle: My parents are from Iran, as were a lot of their friends, so I knew a lot of folks of Iranian descent. I met a bunch more when I got here. From experience, I can tell you that we Persians are a contentious bunch, and I know I get the urge to tazer my Iranian-American friends more often than, say, my Chinese-American pals. Watch poker on TV sometime, and you might see what I mean. In any case, this dude's problem wasn't his Iranian descent.
2. This dude's problem was that he was a dick (which, as suggested above, may be related to the fact that he's got some Iran in him, but stands alone). As an educational matter, the PATRIOT Act does not address tazering students in libraries. The problem with going with the "fuck the police" strategy is that the police have weapons and will probably fuck you first. While there are times when rolling over and complying with the police because of their power is something to avoid, these cases are for when your rights are being violated or some such. This behavior is not for when you're just being a dick who doesn't want to follow perfectly sensible rules.
. . .
Saturday, November 18, 2006
So, when people talk about how Nancy Pelosi "is a risk-taker who places an enormous premium on personal loyalty and trust," they're referring to cronyism, right?
"No. I'm not a person who has regrets," Pelosi said.Huh. I used to think that's one of the things Democrats would always bitch about Bush for believing.
. . .
Hey ho, all you lovely readers. With Student Action's latest failure, I'm a bit light on news. Is anyone starting any wars out there?
There's been some talk about bringing a Starbucks or Coffee Bean or some such to campus. Obviously, the Coffee Spot at the Bears Lear isn't happy about this. This is actually something I know and care very little about, which might make it possible to provide fair information to folks.
If YOU are an important person with something to say on the matter, and don't want to give a thirty-minute interview to the Daily Cal, resulting in the publishing of a single quote like "Hold on, my mother's on the other line," consider Beetle Beat!
Don't hold back if you're a Student Action goon. If it makes you feel any better, I usually vote Student Action over CalSERVE, and am always happy to help out a party in need when they aren't doing ridiculous things.
Also on the agenda: Judicial Council suits! Because when you can't find news, you have to create it!
. . .
Friday, November 17, 2006
The other side
Here's a report from one of those Davis dudes who stopped by to watch Sonya's removal hearings. Be sure to check out the quotes, at least, both of which I can confirm are accurate.
By the way, I forgot to mention this in my report, but I'll quote him:
I think the whole thing is really summed up by an event that happened towards the beginning. After going back and forth a bit, and then consulting with the chairperson, it was announced that both the Defence & Prosecution had agreed that one of the charges should be dropped. This still had to be approved by a vote of the Senate however. Despite the fact that both parties agreed that the charge should be dropped, a sizable portion of the Senate STILL voted against dropping it. Clearly, some people weren't concerned with any sense of justice.
. . .
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Impeachment: The LOOOOONG Version
So, a blog post covering 7.5 hours of Senate antics. Strap yourselves in.
We begin by thanking Vishal Gupta for letting Anil Daryani chair the hearing and subsequent deliberations (which were kept open). I think Daryani did a good job.
The Sonya Banerjee approach was not the one I would have taken. I would have avoided the technical issues and just punched the major points. Banerjee used what turned out to be a far funnier strategy. She ripped the case to pieces on JRPs. Essentially, she would quote JRP after JRP as the plaintiffs, Donald Rizzo and Brandon Chen, stood around going "durrr durrrrrr." I should note that the Student Action folks admitted afterwards that the plaintiffs stood around going "durrr durrrrrr," arguing that since Senators are incompetent, the hearing was unfair because the defense was far more effective. Apparently, a fair hearing would have given Sonya a handicap of some sort so she wouldn't defend herself as effectively.
I'll note, by the way, that at no time did Student Action approach folks who did know what the fuck they were doing to run their case for them. For instance, I would've been cool with it, just as I would've been happy to mount an effective appeal in the Ratto v. Vakil appeal. (You can be damn sure my brief would've mentioned double jeopardy, and I wouldn't have charged 22,000 fucking dollars for it)
In pre-trial arguments, it turns out that the evidence that the plaintiffs were supposed to submit four days before the hearing was actually submitted four hours before the hearing. Good job, guys! The evidence was suppressed.
The stuff about the recording was dismissed, since Sonya wasn't chair at the time.
It was about this time that Rizzo and Chen realized they were in way over their head, and had no idea what they were doing. How DARE Sonya mount a defense. So they tried to get the entire case rescheduled so they could actually prepare. This was so blatantly unconstitutional that it got shot down, but it really showed how pathetic these charges were.
Rizzo argued that the appeal reversal served as an "admission of guilt," which was funny, because none of the "admissions" in the appeal reversal actually lined up with the charges against Sonya.
Blah blah stuff stuff. I won't get into the detail of the arguments. They aren't that funny. For instance, the plaintiffs say the Judicial Council denied Bret Manley the opportunity to nominate another spokesperson in Ratto v. Vakil, but actually he never made the motion when nominating speakers, and just tried to do it when it came up. Blah.
Suken Vakil was allowed to speak, since he was only found to be a liar in front of the Judicial Council, not the Senate. He then lied. Shocking!
He lied that he was asked about chalk as a campaign tool. He lied that he said he couldn't answer the question clearly. In fact, he was given the opportunity to explain himself when he said chalk lasts for one day. He was asked why it was still out there at the time, and he said "I don't know."
He claimed to remember word for word what was said in that >2 hour meeting. He identified by name the justices who asked him the question about chalk. But then, when asked to name the justices in the room (and most of them were there), he said he didn't know their names. He also forgot Bobby Gregg was there. He then said that he didn't really remember it word-for-word, only "pretty much" word-for-word. Great.
When Sonya was giving her case, nobody was really listening. The senators weren't paying much attention, which makes sense, since votes were probably predetermined, though Sonya certainly gave Ali the opportunity to vote against it.
Vivienne Nguyen asked Emilie Saleh if Sonya's questions for her in Ratto v. Vakil made her cry. This was where a bunch of discussion about whether Sonya badgered witnesses began. That discussion ended when Taylor Allbright pointed out in deliberations the minor detail that badgering was never charged.
Sonya asked DAAP Senator and charger Dimitri Garcia questions which had little to do with the case, really. Sonya convinced Anil to allow her to ask those questions based on her sixth amendment rights to face her accuser. I disagree, but whatever. It allowed some fun.
Dimitri was asked about some details. Here are the things he didn't know:
When the deadlines for witness/evidence lists and briefs were.
When Banerjee was appointed chair.
Who the other people who filed the charge sheet with him were.
Rizzo later asked him if he felt Sonya was engaging in character assassination, and he said yes, but he was wrong. Dimitri assassinated his own character by admitting he had no fucking clue what he was talking about when he filed these charges. It was a cheap shot, but it was a funny one.
As the trial winded down, Student Action folks started pointing out that they weren't lawyers, and they weren't all that familiar with the JRPs, and that the hearing wasn't really fair because Sonya knew her stuff, and Student Action didn't know jack. The "defense from incompetence" is one we've come to expect from Student Action.
"Mr. Chen, I would ask that you please articulate yourself better so we can understand what you're saying." -Anil Daryani.
"Regardless of our inarticulateness..." -Donald Rizzo
Impressive, though, was the suggestion that, despite the Senate's incompetence in reading the JRPs, their interpretation should be valued over the Judicial Council's. Those are tough arguments to make together.
Ali said he was convinced to oppose the removal because, regardless of SA's incompetence, in order to give a fair trial, the Senate couldn't compensate for Rizzo and Chen's impotence.
Vivienne Nguyen said that Kris Cuaresma-Primm was removed from office because he was arrested. I certainly don't recall this, and neither did Taylor or David Wasserman.
She ended with some boasting about how the Senate was doing "double duty" by paying attention to the JRPs as well. She went further to say that the Senate was doing far more than the Judicial Council in this regard, as if the Judicial Council never has to familiarize itself with the ASUC bylaws. Of course, in reality, the Judicial Council often gets stuck with the task of digging through poorly written bylaws to come up with decisions, while the Senate can simply vote on impeachment without giving any reasons whatsoever. And since a bunch of other speakers had just stood up to explain that Senators didn't know anything about the JRPs, the boast seemed a bit empty. But don't tell Vivienne that.
. . .
Impeachment: The Short Version
Here is the short summary of the impeachment trial.
Plaintiff: "We're incompetent and don't know anything about the JRPs. BUT our interpretation of the JRPs should be considered more valid than the Judicial Council's and thus Sonya Banerjee should be removed."
Defendant: "The plaintiffs have no fucking clue what they're talking about."
Result: Sonya Banerjee was NOT removed, on a vote of 12-8.
CalSERVE, SQUELCH! and BCR voted against the removal, as expected, and DAAP and most of Student Action voted for it, as expected.
Ali Ansary voted against it, which was also fairly expected. Jeff Manassero voted against it, which surprised me.
Thus concluded a 7-hour trial and a half-hour or so of deliberation. What a waste of fucking time.
I'll give you the more in-depth version later. There is a large amount of humor.
. . .
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
News, I guess
Some anonymous commenter says Vishal has stepped down as chair for the trial, but plans to lead the deliberations in closed session. I'm going to head over there now, so this is probably the last update 'till I get back.
. . .
Okay, so refusing to follow the Constitution is no big surprise for Student Action. What about Vishal Gupta's attempt to serve as chair?
Despite some concerns that Gupta should not act as chair of the meeting due to possible bias in the case, he said the senate will decide tonight whether or not he should step down from chairing the hearing.He was singing a different tune when he thought that the Judicial Council's actions cost him $5,000.
"I personally don't feel that I have any personal or financial interests in the outcome of this trial, but the senate has the ability to overrule my opinion on that," he said.
It certainly doesn't help if he was involved in writing the charge sheet. After all, none of the Senators listed on the charge sheet actually attended the hearings, so you wonder where they got their information. I sure hope there wasn't an effort to cover up Vishal's involvement.
Just for fun, I'll pass along the tip I received a while back. A person claiming to be an anonymous SAer suggested that Student Action party chair Jaime Hiraishi sent the following message to a bunch of SA folks.
If you get a call from the daily cal, do not talk to them about impeachment before it happensGeez. What a bossy party. Anyway, I asked a few senators and Jaime herself about this e-mail, and they never got back to me with denials or anything, so while an anonymous tip doesn't hold much weight, there's nothing to weigh it against, and I believe this e-mail was sent.
More importantly: DO NOT SAY YOU HAD ANY HELP FROM THE EXECS, ESPECIALLY VISHAL! if they get wind vishal advised you in any way they may ask for him to not run the trial, and he should be the chair.
So please, be careful of what you say to ALL PEOPLE not on this listserve. Best friend or not, we cannot take the risk right now.
By the way, remember that Senator Ilana Nankin said "NO" to Solicitor General nominee Joseph Rothberg not because of any actual problem with his neutrality, but because he was vaguely affiliated with SQUELCH! Ilana was concerned about "appearances" for the ASUC, and that the choice of Rothberg would harm the ASUC's legitimacy because of the appearance of conflict. We'll see how far that concern about appearance goes tonight.
. . .
Constitutions are for squares
Since the council is allowed to deliberate in closed session and the senate will be following the Judicial Council's rules of procedure, Gupta said they have the right to deliberate on the impeachment in closed session.Let me get this straight: Vishal Gupta thinks that even though the Constitution explicitly lists six grounds on which the ASUC can close their hearings, and the Senate clearly doesn't meet any of them, he still thinks the Senate can close their hearings because it's written somewhere in the JRPs designed for a different body with a different set of Constitutional obligations (including explicit constitutional authority to enter closed session for deliberations "for the ASUC Judicial Council only")? Does he think the JRPs override the Constitution? If he does, it would be pretty ironic, since the only reason he's sitting in office right now is because the Judicial Council decided the Constitution overrides the JRPs.
But former Judicial Council Chair Robert Gregg said although the senate must follow the council’s procedure, it is technically still the senate and thus does not have the constitutional ability to deliberate in closed session on this issue.
By the way, the Senate doesn't have "the right" to do anything. I know Vishal and friends like to think of it as their own personal property to use within their rights, but it's a government body, and has responsibilities, not rights. One of those responsibilities is to follow the Constitution. It doesn't matter if the Senate "wants" to deliberate in closed session, they're in office to do a job, not to play.
Here, I'll help you folks out, and post the relevant section. Come to your own judgment:
SECTION 1: CLOSED SESSIONNote how none of those exceptions are "When you can find a rule somewhere for a different body which allows it to do so."
A. All meetings of ASUC boards, councils, committees, and other organizations shall be open and public, except as provided in this article.
B. The ASUC Senate, the Judicial Council, the Graduate Assembly, and subordinate units of these bodies may hold closed sessions only if two-thirds (2/3) of their entire membership approve. Such closed sessions may be held only for the discussion or consideration of the following:
1. Matters involving litigation, when discussing in open session concerning those matters would adversely affect the interests of the ASUC.
2. The acquisition or disposition of property, if discussion of these matters in open session could adversely affect the ability of the ASUC to acquire or dispose of the property on the terms and conditions it deems to be in the best interest of the Association.
3. Matters concerning the appointment, employment, performance, compensation, or dismissal of ASUC employees, excluding elected and appointed officers.
4. Deliberation on a case in order to arrive at a judgment, for the ASUC Judicial Council only.
5. Matters relating to labor-related negotiations between the Association and the University.
6. Matters involving investments, when discussion in open session could have a negative impact on the Association's financial situation.
C. The agenda for closed sessions shall be approved in open session and no further items shall be considered in closed session. No items shall be voted on during a closed session.
Will the ASUC Senate be violating its rules in a hearing accusing Sonya Banerjee of violating her rules? It sure looks that way.
. . .
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I seem to be getting some linkage from facebook groups and yahoo groups associated with Pi Kappa Phi. I'd guess AlcoholEdu, but maybe they're looking for hazing tips. Other guesses?
. . .
In a follow-up, check out the victory statements.
Their position was summed up by a former teacher, Nancy Mancias, who said, "We need to teach a curriculum of peace."It really is just the "ick" factor, which just makes it that much more ironic when they talk about the discrimination that gays face.
The proposal approved by the board also creates a task force to develop alternatives to the program that will be tried out next year at various high schools.By the way, this is coming from someone who voted to take out the program. It'd be like chopping off someone's legs, and then giving her a pep talk about how her life isn't over, and there are medical treatments, etc. Sure, someone should give that talk, but it shouldn't be the dude with the axe.
"I think people should not despair too much," said [SF School Board dude Mark Sanchez]. "I think now the work begins. To work within the community to develop new programs that will fulfill the needs of our students."
By the way, does anyone seriously believe that the JROTC program can be replaced with an equally-successful program that achieves approval through the school board political process? This is the school board which didn't have the balls to close schools when it couldn't fill them, because some schools had loud activists whining to it.
San Francisco values indeed.
. . .
Oh, by the way
For those of you who haven't been following, now that the election is over, San Francisco is moving forward with its plan to eliminate the JROTC program at their high schools. The Chron questions the timing.
"We don't want the military ruining our civilian institutions," said Sandra Schwartz, of the American Friends Service Committee, an organization actively opposing JROTC nationwide.JROTC is ruining schools, as you can see...
Students, parents and school staff from each of the seven high schools converged outside the school board meeting carrying signs and waving at cars, some of which honked in support.Oh... that's some smoldering ruin that JROTC left in the place of their schools. None of this is really challenged by the opponents of the program, they just find the military icky and think it helps recruitment, since as we all know, almost every JROTC cadet goes on to join the military. God forbid the military provide a place for students going out into the world.
At least 100 cadets edged into Franklin Street waving their signs before being pushed back to the sidewalk by their ROTC instructors.
Inside, an hour before the meeting was to start, more than 60 people had signed up to speak on the issue.
The students say they learn leadership and organizational skills, personal responsibility, money and time management and how to be a team player, among other things.
Many students say they have found a home in the program, a place they are accepted.
Supporters say the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy doesn't apply to JROTC -- there are gay cadets -- and gay instructors -- in the program.
"This is where the kids feel safe, the one place they feel safe," said Robert Powell, a JROTC instructor at Lincoln High School and a retired Army lieutenant colonel. "You're going to take that away from them?"
Opponents acknowledge the program is popular and even helps some students stay in school and out of trouble.
. . .
They mean peers
Student court! So, Berkeley High has some court for good students' disciplinary actions or some such. Read the article if you care.
After considering the circumstances of Adriana's actions last week, the seven-student jury assigned her two student-court jury duties and referred her to general counseling.So... rule-breakers get assigned to jury duty for other rule-breakers? When they say jury of peers, they mean it.
. . .
Monday, November 13, 2006
It's Daily Cal cartoon interpretation time!!! Guesses?
. . .
Counting to 48
In another shocking display of incompetence, Sammy Averbach has attempted to add Finance Chair Chai Desai to the witness list today. The deadline for the witness list was 48 hours before briefs were due, which would be 48 hours before the hearing. I'll spare you the complex mathematics, and just ask you to take my word that it's less than 96 hours until the hearing on Wednesday.
. . .
Shut up, you underrepresented bitch
Those Davis folk sure know how to have fun with their student government. I guess you can pull stuff like that off with 10% turnouts.
. . .
The will of the voters is...
So, Berkeley folks are suing Michigan for its shiny new anti-affirmative action measure that was just added to its constitution.
[Josie Hyman] said she is a plaintiff because consideration will not be given to race or gender in the admissions process, adding to the discrimination felt by minority students when applying to and attending a university.I think I've made fun of Josie's name before. But for all you folks of color out there, is this right? Considering the color of your skin as a factor in whether you are suited for a university is less degrading?
"For minority students on these campuses without affirmative action, it's a degrading experience and that cannot be a reality for any more students," she said. "That's why what we're doing is so significant."
Oh, as a sidenote, Dimitri Garcia, our DAAP senator, was pissed that the Judicial Council tried to overrule "the will of the voters" by disqualifying Student Action.
In other news...
Dimitri Garcia, an ASUC senator who plans to be added as a plaintiff to the lawsuit, said the case against the proposal will be stronger than previous attempts because California can be used as an example of the negative effects of eliminating affirmative action.Hmm... I guess that "will of the voters" thing only goes so far.
. . .
Well, I'm not impressed
The Graduate Assembly has given us their Judicial Council picks, and my concerns are the same as they were before. I'm afraid that some of the Judicial Council members may let themselves be dominated by the older types who think they know everything. I don't think this happened with Carmel, but I think these folks are different.
Josh Templet is from Boalt. I'm sure he'll think he knows ASUC law better than ASUC law does. I'm not impressed with:
Both Templet and Smith said one of their first goals on the council would be to clarify the ASUC election bylaws.Um. Dude. The Judicial Council doesn't write or clarify the bylaws. While you're free to give your suggestions to the Senators about how much their laws suck, you could just as easily have done that if you weren't a Judicial Council member. I've been doing it for quite some time.
"One area worth looking at is the last election cycle; There was a grey area in the laws," Templet said. "I think it may be worth trying to clarify that."
Marisa doesn't reassure me that they won't give in to these folks with:
Judicial Council Vice Chair Marisa Cuevas said having a total of three graduate students on the council will add to the body's academic diversity, and that council decisions may have more weight with the support of a law student.Of course, real law doesn't apply to Judicial Council decisions. Will the Judicial Council remember this? I think it will while Sonya is in charge, but once she's gone...
"(Templet) will bring a little bit more legitimacy to our decisions," she said. "People may feel a little bit easier knowing that someone knows a little about real law. It makes people more comfortable."
As for Rachel Smith:
Smith sat on the judicial body at Everett Community College in Washington, where she was responsible for disciplining faculty and students for academic dishonesty.Ugh, this keeps getting worse and worse. Experience under a different judicial system with vastly different rules and scope does not make one more qualified. If anything, it makes it less likely that person will properly follow the rules.
She was also an advisor to the judicial branch at Pasadena City College, where she was an adjunct faculty member before coming to UC Berkeley.
. . .
Today's comical charge sheet quote
In the trial ASUC vs. SAES, Judicial Council Chairperson Sonya Banerjee inappropriately forced Suken Vakil to testify as a witness against himself while he was, in actuality, the spokesperson and a litigant.Did I mention who was chairperson in ASUC vs. SAES? I think I mentioned it before. Well, just in case you need a reminder, I'll mention it again. Bobby Gregg. You know. Not Sonya Banerjee.
Hoping to enlighten our Senate, I've compiled a list of some differences between Sonya Banerjee and Bobby Gregg. I realize these are pretty subtle, but I have confidence that our well-educated Senate will be able to follow.
1. Sonya's name is "Sonya Banerjee." Bobby's is "Bobby Gregg," or sometimes "Robert Gregg."
2. As far as I can tell, Sonya is a chick, while Bobby is a dude.
3. For the "diversity"-minded, Bobby's about as white as they come, while Sonya's sort of brownish.
4. Sonya is still a student here. Bobby is not.
I hope this helps clear things up.
. . .
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Indisputable factual commentary about who was present where... can't lie about that, can you?
I was skimming over the impeachment charge sheet and took a look at the witness list:
1) Suken Vakil, was present and directly involved with the proceedings mentioned(e-mail addresses removed)
2) Bret Manley, was present and involved with all trials mentioned.
3) Emilie Saleh, was a witness in the original ASUC v. SAES trial and will account for misconduct by Chairperson Banerjee.
Well, let's see. There were three hearings. ASUC v. SAES where Attorney General Nathan Royer brought and won charges for Student Action chalking, resulting in 3 censures, Ratto v. Vakil, where Andy Ratto convinced the Judicial Council to find Suken Vakil in contempt, and the Ratto v. Vakil appeal, where the Judicial Council overturned its decision.
Suken was present only at the first of those hearings. He was "directly involved" in the appeal hearing to the extent he submitted a "statement" (which Vishal Gupta and Oren Gabriel edited after receiving) and refused to be cross-examined, and that statement was suppressed. Which isn't all that direct, now that I think about it.
I don't recall seeing Bret Manley at the appeal hearing, and I don't recall any involvement in either the appeal hearing or the original ASUC v. SAES case.
Finally, Emilie Saleh as definitely not a witness in ASUC v. SAES. And if she's accounting for misconduct on the part of "Chairperson Banerjee," her presence at ASUC v. SAES wouldn't make much difference since Bobby Gregg was the chair for that hearing.
So I guess Student Action can't even write a witness list without lying. I wish I could say I was surprised. If I were Student Action, I wouldn't want to give Sonya Banerjee a fair chance to defend herself by providing a factually accurate charge sheet, either.
. . .
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Shamed to death
Well, I guess I have to cut my gut open out of shame that I had to have this pointed out to me: The article on the Senate's temper tantrum is entitled:
Senate to Consider Removal Of JusticeUgh! That's totally the kind of wordplay joke I'm supposed to get. In my defense, I was sort of off my sleeping schedule, what with the Pittsburgh conference and all, but that's really no excuse.
. . .
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Daily Cal Blog
The Daily Cal has launched its blog in public. I noticed it a few weeks back, (though I don't think the person who wrote this even knows what "trolling" is) and told the Daily Cal I'd publicize it whenever they wanted to launch.
As a review, it looks a lot like most newspaper-attached blogs, and I dunno if that's good. We'll see where it settles.
. . .
The Daily Cal reports on impeachment:
Among the alleged violations cited in the charge sheet is the failure to provide a written, audio or visual transcript of the campaign violations hearing during which Suken Vakil, the Student Action executive slate's designated spokesperson, made statements the Judicial Council later deemed perjurous.Here, the JRP violation is that the Judicial Council failed to make this recording. But Sonya Banerjee wasn't chair at that hearing, Bobby Gregg was. Which makes blaming Sonya tough, because they aren't blaming any of the other justices on the grounds that Sonya was the chair. If their argument is that this means there wasn't enough evidence or some such, then their problem is with the decision of the Judicial Council, not Sonya's duties as the chair. And impeaching Judicial Council members for their decisions is not allowed, generally.
The charge sheet also accuses Banerjee of accepting a case after the filing deadline, mistreating Vakil as a witness, imposing improper punishments and violating defendants' rights as guaranteed in the ASUC constitution.Accepting the case is done in a closed session, and the vote is not released. We don't even know if Sonya voted to accept this case, and as chair, she had no authority to force others to vote in certain ways. She could not subsequently accept a motion for dismissal on these grounds (which is the angle the impeachers are taking) because they don't introduce anything new. This part also makes some claims about interpretation of the bylaws, but there's no reason the Senate's interpretation should be accepted over the Judicial Council's, and there is very good reason why the Judicial Council's should be accepted over the Senate's: The Constitution says so.
The senate will hear the trial in open session and deliberate in closed session before voting on Banerjee's impeachment and removal in open session, Gupta said.On what grounds can they close deliberations? None, of course. The Constitution doesn't allow session closure for this type of thing.
. . .
I was afraid that I would have to manufacture some news, but luckily, I don't. Student Action is proceeding with its plans to impeach Sonya Banerjee, and presented charges last night. I will tell you right now, they don't have the 14 votes they need, and won't get them. But that doesn't mean we won't get to enjoy the circus.
I got the impeachment charge sheet, and it's basically a rehash of their brief's complaints about the Judicial Council not following the Judicial Rules of Procedure. I might go into the detail later, but it's all old news. They also accuse her of not following the bylaws, but that's a pretty blatantly unconstitutional reach of power, since interpreting those bylaws is the job of the Judicial Council.
The senators who signed the charge sheet are Dimitri Garcia, Donald Rizzo, Brandon Chen, Sammy Averbach, and Jennifer Avelino. They are, however, acting with the guidance of the executives, including Vishal Gupta, the Executive Vice President. Gupta wants to chair the impeachment hearing, though, so Student Action has instructed its operatives to not discuss impeachment with The Daily Cal, or let on that he had a part in this, as that would make it inappropriate for him to serve as chair.
Clarification: The stuff about Gupta's involvement and their desire to keep it hush-hush comes from an anonymous source whose veracity I can't confirm, but it was so obviously true that I posted it as fact. But yeah, to pretend to be a journalist and all... If any of y'all think what I reported was false, you know how to reach me, I'll publish your denials.
. . .
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
One of the major key factors this year in the election was the ability of the Democrats to get more people to vote for them than the Republicans in the races they won. I know the pundits say that all the time, but it really turned out to be true this time.
Will Fox News hire me, now?
. . .
I was flying around when most of the interesting election stuff was happening. It was a serious pain to get back up-to-date on blogs and such.
My personal opinion on this, as with so much, is "meh." California didn't do anything incredibly stupid beyond borrowing a shitload of money from the future. Democrats are creepy. The reason I like Republican politicians better than Democrat politicians is simply that: They seem more normal. As far as policy stuff goes, I usually tend libertarian, and the Republicans have been a bit light on that of late, so I'm not shedding many tears over their loss. On the other hand, a split government, especially one in which Congress is busy "investigating" the president, is a plus, since the more time they spend pointlessly posturing, the less time they have to fuck the rest of us over.
. . .
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I'm half-impressed by California. As expected, voters were really happy about spending money now and making other people pay it back later by passing every single bond measure.
Surprisingly, the more ideologically idiotic measures look to be failing. In particular, the free speech reduction act is going down in flames. It's a bit early to talk about the other tax increases, since Democrats tend to live in places where folks are incompetent and can't report results as quickly.
Locally, no real surprises. Wozzy is trouncing Overman by a bit more than I he would, but it's still a bit early. Similarly, Worthington isn't walking over Beier by as much as I thought. Measure J, which I thought would pass because people are dumb, isn't winning yet, but again, I'm expecting a fairly one-sided late count.
. . .
Saturday, November 04, 2006
While not technically on vacation, I'll be chilling in Pittsburgh for the next few days for a conference. I'll probably try to keep on top of things here, but don't expect too much.
By the time I get back, I want to see at least ten new blogs. A failure to accomplish this is equivalent to declaring that Cal is made up of a bunch of cowards too afraid to voice their opinions in a medium where other people might read them. The ASUC will then owe me $22,679 for no reason.
. . .
Friday, November 03, 2006
"I think it shows our dedication when students came out when it was pouring down rain," said junior Taymyr Bryant, a Students for Access to Education member. "This is one step of many that needs to be taken until Proposition 209 is overturned."What we really need is weather diversity. Maybe then folks wouldn't laughably call yesterday's drizzle "pouring rain."
. . .
Thursday, November 02, 2006
How's the editing coming?
I've seen quite a few more complaints than usual about the editing of the opinion page of the Daily Cal, including the piece I "criticized" here. I also know that this Mike Davis piece was edited to remove all "essence of Mike." (for those of you unfamiliar with Mike's writing style, he doesn't write this politely when expressing his opinion, and the sanitized version just isn't as funny or moving) Have any other folks felt the hand of the Opinion Editor to be especially heavy this semester?
. . .
To kill time, press 1
I just want to point out The East Bay Express's blog. It's got stuff, so if you like reading about stuff, you can!
. . .
You missed the best diss
Andrew Tolouse rips The Daily Cal for Tuesday's editorial saying that we should get rid of webcasting because students will use it instead of achieving the educational experience that The Daily Cal has determined is best for all students, regardless of their personal goals and desires.
If I were a real dick, I might draw attention to a two-year-old editorial on dead days which included, among other lines:
Such generosity isn't a problem because instructional days are limited to 130, while UC sets the bar at 146. Why are we burdened with three more weeks of school?But I would never do that.
. . .
This editorial about BUSD's illegal transfer problem seems to include an odd thesis:
The debate concerning transfer students who may be enrolled in Berkeley schools under an illegitimate address looms large in the coming elections. But focusing on this issue, even in a year in the black, sends the wrong message about Berkeley schools."Let's keep this problem, because it makes us look good!"
It is an overwhelmingly positive sign that students and their parents are clamoring to get into Berkeley schools. The Berkeley Unified School District should take this above all as recognition that the district has produced an educational environment that people see as a ideal place to learn.
In a time where districts all over California are struggling to make ends meet and beset on all sides with criticism, Berkeley schools should remember to recognize their good fortune.
. . .
Profiling! In some other country. You know, one of those "not America" types.
When I read an article entitled "Universities urged to spy on Muslims," in an October issue of the United Kingdom publication "The Guardian," I felt deeply betrayed. The article exposes the British government's request to universities in the United Kingdom to reveal personal information on Muslim students of South Asian appearance as a national security measure.That's what you get for living somewhere other than America!
As an exchange student from Britain now studying at UC Berkeley, I no longer feel at ease returning to such an environment in what I once considered to be my safe and non-threatening homeland.What a coincidence! Apparently, your homeland no longer feels at ease being safe and non-threatening towards you. I guess it all works out.
During my stay at here at UC Berkeley, it has been made clear to me that—when it comes to monitoring Islamic activities—encroaching on civil liberties in a post Sept. 11 world has become a common practice here in the United States.Really? How so? It's been made clear to me that a lot of people think this has been made clear to them, but that clarity doesn't seem to translate too directly into actual civil liberty encroachment.
I did not, however, expect the British government to take such extreme measures in light of its previously exemplary record of cultural and religious accommodation.I think what has actually happened is that the British government thinks its exemplary record of cultural and religious accommodation is perhaps too exemplary. They're probably concerned about things like the torched-car relay passtime that seems to be so popular in France these days.
It is apparent that now, the British government has decided to emulate the U.S. domestic policy in dealing with the threat of terror.Maybe they were counting subway bombings in various countries. But if America has been so evil towards Muslims all this time, why would Mohammed Surve suddenly feel ill at ease returning to Britain? After all, it's no worse than what we dumb Americans have created.
. . .
That's news to me
One hundred percent of all scientific papers published in the last decade conclude that climate change is a real and important issue; we must address it immediately.Wow. One hundred percent. That paper you read about isolating that one enzyme responsible for eggs turning green? It concluded that climate change is a real and important issue.
. . .
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
In a followup:
"Of course, now Senator Kerry says he was just making a joke, and he botched it up. I guess we didn't get the nuance. He was for the joke before he was against it," Cheney said in a line meant to recall Bush's skewering of Kerry in their 2004 race for saying he had voted for war funds before he voted against them.Well-played, Mr. Vice President.
If you're curious about why Republicans still manage to get a fair amount of support, it doesn't have a whole lot to do with the principles upon which the two parties stand, because those are pretty flimsy principles. It's that the Republicans seem more normal and less insane. When Republicans do evil things, they try to hide it, and when they get caught, they resign and try to change the subject, like normal people. When Democrats do things, they come up with theories about vast right-wing conspiracies and approvingly quote Daily Kos.
. . .
Authorities this morning increased to 10 the number of people struck by gunfire as the Castro Halloween party was breaking up Tuesday night...I'm impressed, too.
[SF Supervisor Bevan Dufty] said this morning that police and city departments involved in the event did "an incredible job."
. . .
. . .