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

Nap Time!!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

I've talked about reporters' desires for special rights before. If they want to come up with a coherent argument, they should insist that no individual, reporter or not, should have to respond to a subpoena for any reason, and then I'd be happy to hop on the bandwagon. Until then, however, while they continue to insist that they are special and should not have the same obligations as the rest of us, I'll continue to recommend a collective "fuck you" to them and laugh every time one of them gets hauled off to jail.

The argument that "Our job is really really important, and we wouldn't be able to do it without using and covering for criminals" is a fascinating one, but I feel strangely unmoved. Would they also support kidnappings and beatings in order to get valuable information for the public? Without them, we may never hear about these important stories. The rules of criminal behavior should thus be suspended for such actions, right?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/29/2006 10:17:00 AM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Did you forget to blog?

Chris Smyr points us to a blogging DeCal. I dunno how well blogging can thrive in a structured class, but meh.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/24/2006 10:48:00 AM #
Comments (5)
. . .
Saturday, December 23, 2006

Oh, noes! The tree-hugger faction certainly doesn't hesitate to try to take advantage, but unfortunately, we all know that they don't really give a crap about safety. That's just a tool to make suing easier.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/23/2006 11:57:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Good call

Some dude tells us that the ASE union voted almost unanimously to approve a strike for no reason. Good job, guys!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/19/2006 11:03:00 AM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Sunday, December 17, 2006

Some dude says:
i've always wondered how the asuc can not fund discrimination, but fund the rrc's, who all discriminate based on race, at least implicitly
I wish people would use capital letters when typing on the interwebs. You're writing stuff down, and people are going to read it. English uses capital letters when written for people to read. Keyboard manufacturers give us two 'shift' keys.

A less important issue raised by this comment is ASUC funding of race-based Recruitment and Retention Centers (RRCs). The constitution says this thingie:
The Senate shall not fund any activity or group which discriminates against any student by race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, physical disability, or political activity or belief in its method or recruitment and acceptance for membership.
This is actually the extent to which discrimination is prohibited by the ASUC. It could pass a bill that says "White people are vastly superior to all other races," and there's no constitutional issue with that. That is to say, the ASUC only prohibits the groups it funds from being discriminatory. It doesn't actually have such a prohibition against itself.

Also, I think that last 'or' is a typo. In our constitution.

Anyway, the simple answer to that anonymous dude's question is that "Nobody proved discrimination in front of the Judicial Council," which is the manner in which this Constitutional provision is enforced.

The longer answer has two parts:

First, it appears that the non-disscrimination requirement is limited to recrutiment and membership issues. This seems odd since the provision discusses not only groups but 'activit[ies],' which normally don't themselves recruit/have membership. So a group could provide services to white people only, and as long as you don't have to be white to join this group providing services, it'd be okay. It's my understanding that you don't need to belong to the relevant race to work at one of these RRCs (not that I'd know).

Second, even if this interpretation is wrong, the recruitment services which target particular races outside of the university probably wouldn't qualify as discriminating against 'student[s],' assuming the proper interpretation is "Cal students."

That said, these interpretational issues are issues. The first, in particular, seems a bit off. And one may be able to argue that the RRCs target only those of their own race when recruiting members, though I wouldn't know if this is true. It may be beneficial for the ASUC for someone to bring the case so that the Judicial Council can rule on the issue. Since it's almost certain to rule that the RRCs are not discriminatory under this section of the Constitution, it may be in the RRCs' own interests to see such a case brought, just so that they can settle these complaints. As usual, I'm happy to help out.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/17/2006 11:56:00 AM #
Comments (3)
. . .
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Still soliciting evil plans

Just a reminder, folks. Winter break is a great time to come up with evil plans for bringing the ASUC crashing up. If you've got ideas, send them my way and I'll be happy to help. I've already got four in the works, and one of them is teh awesome.

Also, I need a volunteer or ten to start preparing to fight the fee increases that are going to be pitched to us next election. There are at least four of those in the works, too, and the total will probably exceed $100 a semester, with no tangible benefit for the vast majority of students.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/16/2006 10:33:00 PM #
Comments (4)
. . .
Yay! Finally some recognition

I'm Time's person of the year, and totally deserve it.

But seriously, dudes, that's just fucking lazy. "Well, we could choose a person of the year, but that's hard. Instead, let's just broaden the category to 'some people vaguely related to some activity that happened during the year and was important.' That'll be a worthwhile category." They did it with them whistleblower folks a few years back, too. And them rich folks last year. Maybe it's time to fire this selection committee. And it's not like they're trying to hide their incompetence:
"If you choose an individual, you have to justify how that person affected millions of people," said Richard Stengel, who took over as Time's managing editor earlier this year. "But if you choose millions of people, you don't have to justify it to anyone."
And boy, that's a weight off our shoulders. Plus, we won't have to deal with people bitching about how our pick was an unpopular dude:
And Stengel said if the magazine had decided to go with an individual, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the likely choice. "It just felt to me a little off selecting him," Stengel said.
Well, look, if you folks don't have the stomach to actually pick a "person" for "Person of the Year," maybe you should just give it up. America will live on without you. Don't worry.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/16/2006 10:09:00 PM #
Comments (8)
. . .
Friday, December 15, 2006
Redo! Redo!

The Landmark Nutjob Association wants a do-over in terms of the Landmark Preservation Ordinance. See, the City Council decided to wait until the election so folks could vote on whether they wanted to keep the old LPO. They said no. So the City Council passed a new one, and now folks are trying to get that halted so it, too, can go on the ballot. And they'll succeed.
Since the new law allows this "safe harbor" provision to be used by property owners before their permit applications for new developments are filed, critics like [Laurie Bright] and co-sponsor Roger Marquis contend that neighbors could be stuck with unwanted projects they didn't know were coming when it's too late to landmark the buildings already on the site.
Well, at least they admit it isn't about the landmarks, but about stopping their neighbors. See, you'd think that a landmark would be a landmark regardless of what some guy might plan on replacing it with after tearing it down. I guess not.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/15/2006 12:49:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
You can thank me later

Judging from this, Beetle Beat has picked up a lot of readers who just don't get the humor of Beetle Beat. These people hate fun and joy and laughter, I think. In my infinite generosity, I'll indulge folks with an explanation of the joke.

The first fundamental joke is the idea of taking what folks say at face value, especially when dealing with Student Action and those related to it. Obviously, if you're familiar with Student Action, you already get why this is funny, but if you don't, here's a hint: Student Action lies, and doesn't feel the slightest bit of shame about it. Here's an example, if you want it, particularly in terms of "one-day chalk."

The second fundamental joke is that, as a dude, I brag about my awesomeness in situations where I probably shouldn't. The fact that I even feel obligated to explain this troubles me, but I guess in our highly feminized school system, folks miss this.

So, in the case at hand, we have the following facts:

A person has "heard" that I spend a lot of time "attacking" student government.
This person is not an avid Beetle Beat reader.
This person's opinions reflect "an aggregation of the negative views" of friends.
This person says that I blog about Student Action all the time.
There are no posts about Student Action on my front page at the time.

If you take all this at face value, this person has to have heard Student Action folks bitching about me, because how else would my blogging on Student Action come to light? Again, taking it at face value is part of the joke.

Further, (taking statements at face value) I was part of the information effort earlier this semester when a bunch of us derailed the plan to pay Student Action for their lawyers. They hired the lawyers also in part because of our efforts over the summer. Therefore, if Student Action is to be believed (haha), I helped cost each Student Action executive $5669.75, giving them plenty of reason to hate me. (This is, by the way, hilarious in its own right)

Pat gets that, despite my complete unimportance, for any Student Action folks to even go through the effort of badmouthing me is a fairly sad commentary on their status, and positive commentary on my awesomeness.

Thus, as a dude, it is my responsibility to trump this up far beyond what makes reasonable sense, and claim that I am totally awesome.

Again, if you don't understand why this is funny, it's because your sense of humor is puny. That's okay. We all have our shortcomings. But if you don't get the humor, you don't need to stick around, you know.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/15/2006 12:15:00 PM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The Best Joke in the Universe...

...is the one that only you are in on. When you laugh and others don't, that's simply a sign of your vastly superior sense of humor. That doesn't really explain why that joke is the "best," though. Thoughts?

(Posts will be a bit more... uh... "philosophical," pending actual news)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/14/2006 11:21:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Apparently, Student Action hates me so much they even bitch about me to their friends. Luckily, their friends don't take the time to actually investigate and note my past critcisms of CalSERVE and co., or even the absence of Student Action criticism on the front page of my blog, because this lets me mark another one in the "victory" column. How DARE I actually criticize them and hold them to account? They won the election, and they should have free reign to do whatever the hell they want with our money and in our name, right?

Oh, they're just so precious.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/14/2006 07:07:00 PM #
Comments (3)
. . .
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Berkeley News

That crazy Zachary RunningWolf got all cited and such on the tree-sitting thingamabober. (You can tell it's an important issue to me.)
Earlier today, RunningWolf repeatedly "kept coming up and down and in and out of the tree," [UCPD Sgt. Lou Milani] said. The officers told him that he was subject to arrest, saying, "If your cause is important, you need to stay up there," Milani said.
I wonder where that's written in the rules.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/13/2006 11:42:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .

Mitch Turitz asks an interesting question:
Editor -- What is the difference between "showers," and "rain"? In your weather section, there is no explanation of the two words. I know some consecutive days are described as "rain, few showers, and showers." What does that mean?

I'm from Kansas, where the weather is a lot more interesting. Flash floods occur not because city maintenance can't keep drains clear, but because it literally rains harder than gravity can handle. We also get lightning and such, and it's fun to watch. Hail, too, sometimes. The big thing, though, is that the weather isn't nearly as predictable. You can't mark up a calendar in Kansas with "Seven months of sun, five months of rain" like you can here. Ah, the good old days...

I don't know what that has to do with rain and showers, though. I'm just a bit short on topics.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/13/2006 10:49:00 AM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm pretty low on material now that The Daily Cal is on break. (Its website is, too) I'm down to The SF Examiner, and columnist Ken Garcia. Garcia usually complains about the stupid things that the SF Board of Supervisors does (and there's rarely a shortage of material for him), and is one of the more sensible folks. Today, though, his dictatorial tendencies are showing.

For those of you unfamiliar, San Francisco's attorney filed for a civil injunction against a gang prohibiting them from "congregating" and such, essentially saying "Hey, you can't do illegal stuff, or even hang out in your territory."

A person with dictatorial tendencies won't mind the issue of rights, because the result is good:
And only a myopic advocacy group could possibly object to curtailing the gang's behavior — unless you think that reducing criminal activity shouldn't be The City's key priorities.
Right. Well, this is one of the few cases where I agree with the ACLU. (i.e. this is different from their views on religion, where the presence of a religious symbol on government property is the END OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!!!) Giving these folks freedom is bad for the city, probably, but to put such a standard on it completely misses the point of rights.

If we say "you have rights, but they are only valid when your exercise of them doesn't hurt society," are we really talking about rights, or just allowances? This formulation of rights suggests that once those rights become harmful, they no longer apply. And, of course, it's the government which gets to decide when they become harmful. So here, the government is once again the final arbiter of what people can and cannot do, and supporting this view is pretty dictatorial.

I've made the point before, though, and I guess it's a minority view in most places.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/12/2006 12:38:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Monday, December 11, 2006
Is that really a material?

Save us from nanotechnology!
The use of subatomic materials as microscopic building blocks for thousands of consumer products has turned into a big business so quickly that few are monitoring the so-called nanotechnology's effects on health and the environment.
Subatomic materials? Really?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/11/2006 05:04:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Good luck with that!

Impeach the president! It'll be great! The piece doesn't actually say who's being impeached. Is it a federal judge somewhere? Judging from the signs, it's the lady in sunglasses here.
"If [Nancy Pelosi] puts impeachment back on the table, I'm confident Bush and Cheney will resign within four months," [Norah Foster] said during the rally.
That's some impressive confidence.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/10/2006 04:44:00 PM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Friday, December 08, 2006
The Daily Cal Stamp of Approval

Stadium Plan GOOD! Important notes:
The southeast development plan is a boon for anyone concerned with keeping UC Berkeley at the top of everyone's list of destinations. In a week when the name of UC President Robert Dynes was leaked as a potential candidate for President of Harvard University, the level of prestige and commitment to success at the flagship UC campus should be on everyone's mind. And it is hard to argue that the new developments will bring changes that make UC Berkeley a significantly more attractive school.
Be sure to read that last sentence carefully.
Whatever the outcome, the city and university should try to settle the dispute through bargaining rather than litigation. If the 2005 settlement is a model, this will likely produce an outcome with fewer hard feelings and less wasted time.
If you read the Daily Planet, you know that there are still hard feelings over the 2005 settlement. I dunno how effective it'd be as a model.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/08/2006 01:52:00 AM #
Comments (1)
. . .

Darren Zook is not teaching his popular classes, after decisions in the political science department, led by Pradeep Chhibber. Zook and Chhibber are funny names. That's about the extent of my opinion on the topic.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/08/2006 01:48:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .

This is awesome. Some Chinese dudes threw a Moon Festival thingie and some black chick who controls money felt "excluded." Sensitivity training!
[Stefanie Stevens] also said she felt excluded because the entire event was conducted in Chinese with no English subtitles. Most events conducted in foreign languages have English subtitles, she said.
Why can't they just learn English!!! It's such an odd complaint on this campus, but I guess when it's the Chinese we're bitching about, it's all good.
"I have the feeling that this is the first event she has attended based so intensely on Chinese culture," said Jane Qi, the association's treasurer. "We've been on campus for only a couple of months."
Oh, well. At least someone's covering the Graduate Assembly for once.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/08/2006 01:40:00 AM #
Comments (1)
. . .

In my defense, the Daily Cal dude called in the middle of a nap I was enjoying, so I wasn't able to speak all that... uh... coherently. Do non-union members even have the right to vote in such things? That would seem sort of odd, though not entirely odd, since we do pay dues for negotiation and such, even if we don't join. Then again, another dude quoted wasn't even currently working as a GSI, though maybe he/she might be some other kind of ASE. That's the kind of relevant detail you'd expect to see left off in a Daily Cal article.

Anyway, the point I tried to get across was that the ASE union here has a reputation for being fairly out of touch with its members. I recall that when the strike took place in 2003, a lot of grad students were concerned that they didn't even know what they were striking for, and felt the union didn't really reach out to them and such.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/08/2006 01:34:00 AM #
Comments (3)
. . .
Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I was skimming the minutes for last week's Senate meeting, and it looks like there are plans to "streamline" the fee structure process. It also looks like this will come with efforts to raise student fees (the generic ones). Taylor Allbright suggested raising our fees as an alternative to bringing more profitable businesses to campus.

Folks who don't like fee increases to give more power to a generally corrupt and incompetent student government might want to start organizing now, rather than doing the usual "wait until the week before the election when we finally figure out what the fee increase is, and then watch as the PRO argument goes right on the ballot" thing.

For those of you in positions of power, is there anyone on these student fee committees who actually worries about keeping fees low? Does anyone ever say "Hey, we shouldn't raise fees"?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/06/2006 08:47:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Oh, hey

The Patriot blog is back up. It was also on the cover of the written version of The Patriot. That was cutting it a bit close...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/06/2006 08:36:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
I walk by them, dude!

A compelling reason to save the trees:
"You can't replace these trees," said [Karen Dabrusin], who graduated from UC Berkeley in 1966. "We walked by these on our way to the football games. You can put a building somewhere else."
Sure, that makes sense. I walk by my door jam on a daily basis. Heck, even more than once a day, sometimes! It's irreplaceable! If anyone tries to tear it down, or replace it with something else, it'll be a travesty!

But that's silly. There are better reasons:
"We are concerned because the oak trees represent one of the last coastal live oak groves in the city of Berkeley," said Ellen Gunther, member of the Alameda County Sierra Club.
It's the last one! We can't get rid of it! If we do, then... then... uh... there'll be... you know... consequences... and stuff. I hope we show the same concern for removing the last of other things, like murderers.

The Daily Clog takes a view that shows that its staff hasn't spent a whole lot of time following University-City relations.
Of course there would have been a couple of ways to avoid all of this [controversy]. The university could have, during the planning stages, let the city know what it was doing. (Yeah right).

The university could have also asked for community input during planning stages. (Pleeeaasse)

The university will never do that. It didn't do that and now its plans for future renovations are going to be stalled. Great.
Riiiight. And after talking with them, they'd say "Hey, sure, if you put it that way, we're all for helping the university out, and things will go smoother." It's a little disturbing that our news organization apparently believes this is the way the city treats the university, and that this backlash could have been avoided.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/06/2006 07:27:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Current Blaring SFGate Headline:

"Pants Found In Ravine."

For folks who haven't been keeping up, some dudes got lost. And some of them were found. But some other dude still hasn't been found. But his pants have, I guess.

Actually, I'm one of those folks who hasn't been keeping up. See, the fact that some completely unimportant family somewhere has some problem doesn't strike me as huge news.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/05/2006 07:29:00 PM #
Comments (9)
. . .
Call your city council!

Would this mean that if we use household products that have nanoparticles, we'd have to tell the city government?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/05/2006 02:57:00 PM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Take a stand! But it's okay if you don't

The Daily Cal opines that the folks at the Daily Trojan should have staged a walkout from their newspaper when the university administration at USC denied the dude they elected the Editor-in-Chief position.

Strangely, though, even though those students didn't seem to have the committment to an independent press that one should expect from student journalists, The Daily Cal still signed a letter of support. Talk is cheap. If you're going to stand up for those who won't stand up for themselves, why would they ever stand up for themselves?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/05/2006 02:51:00 PM #
Comments (4)
. . .
Stop here for fun

Oh, hey, I went on vacation. I forgot to tell you bums, though. But you know what I say.

Anyway, today I stopped by a Palestinian protest thingie. No violence. I was so sad.

It was a play, I guess, where some dudes dressed up as military folks and did a mock checkpoint or some such. They were waving around fake rifles (with the little orange thingie on the end so they don't get shot by the police), and someone suggested that there are rules against that sort of thing, though I don't see the university caring enough to take action.

I dunno what I was supposed to take from it. I've seen plays before.

There were also heated discussions about Israel and Palestine and racism and whatnot. I got the feeling a lot of minds were changed.

The BCR folks put up a sign reading "No Terror, No Checkpoints." The Socialist Worker dudes put up one reading "No Republicans, No Problem." Are there Republicans in Israel? Are there problems in Israel?

Anyway, whee. I found I don't have the tolerance for pointless idiocy I used to have, and couldn't stand by those heated discussions like I used to back when Palestinian protests were building-occupying, ear-biting fun.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 12/05/2006 02:46:00 PM #
Comments (3)
. . .

. . .