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Nap Time!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Joe Garofoli strikes again. Garofoli is the Chron writer who also decided that the only people whose opinion mattered on why anti-war movies suck were anti-war activists. He has a long list of such stories. Here, we get, on the Republican YouTube debate:
However, considerable time was spent talking about guns and abortion, and candidates heard from a gay retired brigadier general from Santa Rosa, who also appeared live at the debate to chastise them for not answering his question about why gays shouldn't serve in the military.

While political analysts praised the first YouTube/CNN debate for its attempts at innovation, this time they questioned the degree to which this melding of old and new media is progressing. If soliciting videos online was supposed to be a way for "ordinary people" to directly question the candidates, then why did Grover Norquist, a leading anti-tax conservative with a Rolodex full of A-list Republicans, get to ask his question?
Good question about Norquist. Maybe he should ask the same question about that general.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/29/2007 07:53:00 AM #
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Well spent

What does the ASUC Senate do with our money?
Ms. Duong said she wanted to wish Sen. Wu a happy birthday.

Mr. Rhoads said he just wanted to say that he was glad to see everybody that evening, and to say that he was happy.
I hope there's a really funny joke behind this.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/27/2007 07:16:00 PM #
Comments (11)
. . .

Seriously, what? What am I supposed to take away from this editorial? I don't see a plan or anything.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/27/2007 03:16:00 PM #
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. . .

There's something disconcerting about this statement by some medical director named Steve O'Brien:
O'Brien said he is pleased to see the government fulfilling its promise to allocate funding to the region to increase screening for HIV.

"It's exciting to see the government put money where its mouth is," he said.
Typically, when we talk about putting money where your mouth is, it's your money. It's often much easier to put other people's money where your mouth is. Government, though, uses nothing but other people's money, and I don't think those kinds of comments are really appropriate.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/27/2007 03:06:00 PM #
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. . .
I wasn't humbled at all

I wonder...
"I was a bit surprised because I knew how many competitors there were for the position," he said. "I'm very honored and quite humbled given how competitive it was."
Wouldn't getting a position that was more competitive be the opposite of humbling?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/27/2007 03:01:00 PM #
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. . .
Canada sucks

Holy shit! If you want some comedy, check out a Canadian court finding someone guilty of defamation for calling someone an enemy of free speech. There's no Berkeley link, but the perfect metahumor of the situation required me to link it.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/27/2007 02:43:00 PM #
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Finally, the new millenium

According to Blogger, this is my 3000th post. Yay. (It's actually somewhat more than that, but this incarnation is now 3000 posts old, so meh) In celebration:


posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/27/2007 02:22:00 PM #
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Grandma sure looks different

The Daily Planet says: Grandmothers Break Oak Grove Siege. Let's take a look at that picture. Somehow, I'm just not convinced that those are a bunch of grandmothers.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/27/2007 02:17:00 PM #
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. . .
Next week, ASUC, stuff about

A Resolution Supporting Bangladesh Cyclone Relief: The notable thing about this isn't the bill, but the allocation of $____ to support an undefined budget. I don't think this really complies with public notice requirements, but of course, this was the last chance to propose a bill that does if it's to be passed this semester.

A Bill In Support of Student Participation in Faculty Hiring Committees: This bill is mysteriously co-sponsored by "CAVP Miguel Daal." Daal is the Campus Affairs Vice President of the Graduate Assembly, and has no power to sponsor bills in the Senate. For a GA that was bitching about autonomy not that long ago, it sure seems to be pretty interested in injecting itself into Senate business. The bill also includes a violation of free speech:
President of the ASUC is empowered to sign the attached letter (or a similar version), on behalf of all students, requesting greater student involvement in the faculty hiring process.
The President cannot sign a bill "on behalf of all students" without actually getting permission from all students. He can sign one on behalf of the student government, but if it passes as read, I will probably file suit to stop it. The letter includes this funny detail:
As the primary participants in classroom instruction on our campus, students can assure that a candidate's teaching ability will not be overlooked in the faculty hiring process. Students remember that whereas the faculty live with the hire for the rest of their careers, the student body must live with the hire for the rest of the hire's career. Therefore, students have an interest in ensuring that the University invites exceptional educators to join its faculty.
What? Students will only have to live with the hire for the rest of their student careers, which are typically much shorter than the remaining careers of faculty members.
The student perspective would provide a safeguard against the homogeneity of ideas, interests, and the composition of the University's faculty, ensuring that California's diverse intellectual reservoir can be summoned to tackle our state's most pressing challenges.
Ha! What a joke. While faculty diversity is protected by academic freedom, there is no such protection for student diversity. Since "student perspective" will likely be included through structured processes (e.g. student government), only those with prevailing views will be allowed to participate, as opposed to faculty. So student involvement, if anything, will increase homogeneity in the process. For example:
In the interest of selecting non-biased and representative students to be involved in faculty searches, we propose that departmental students associations nominate interested students to this duty. For example, students might be screened and interviewed by their peers in such associations prior to being submitted to the department for approval. In the absence of a departmental student association, the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) or the Graduate Assembly (GA) could provide this service.
All student reps, therefore, will have to be viewed as acceptable by their peers, rather than having the diversity that comes from academic freedom-protected faculty.
By including students in the faculty hiring process, candidates recommended for hire would benefit from the unified support of the entire campus community. Student support could potentially help the nomination stand up to scrutiny as it moves through the administration for ultimate approval.
Of course, the total opposite could occur... students opposed for political reasons who don't have to worry about any kind of accountability could potentially harm a legitimate nomination because it doesn't march in lockstep with student views. If you aren't concerned yet, check this out:
We recognize the need for training to prepare students for involvement in faculty searches. As such, the ASUC and the GA propose to conduct orientation sessions for all interested students involved in faculty hiring. These sessions may be taught with help from the Office of the Provost and/or the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, for example.
Why the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion? Essentially, the student viewpoint should be that approved of by both dominant governing forces on campus, and then further indoctrinated by those governing forces. If I was going to come up with a method to reduce diversity and increase homogeneity as much as possible, this would be it.

A Bill In Support of the December Convocation Relocation: Uh... a little late, guys? This bill would be passed only three days before the actual event.

A Bill in Support of the Californians Student Group as they Transition to ASUC Sponsorship: This will try to move the Californians to an ASUC-Sponsored group through a Memorandum of Understanding, apparently to be added to the section on "Student Objections" of the By-Laws for some reason. Among the requirements of the Memorandum is that the Californians "Remain a dully registered student organization under the campus guidelines..." Don't get too shiny, guys!


A Resolution in Support of UC Education Abroad Programs (UC EAP) to Philippines and Israel: This has been passed before. I don't think the Regents really care.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/27/2007 01:15:00 PM #
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Some interesting censorship approaches at the SF Chronicle. Noted at Instapundit.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/24/2007 12:37:00 PM #
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Friday, November 23, 2007
What are these "conservatives"?

If you're writing a front page story on how anti-war films seem to suck in terms of getting viewers, perhaps you should ask more than just anti-war activists to come up with explanations. Maybe folks just aren't too keen on Hollywood elitist types shitting on America and its troops.

But here's a story that notes that the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce supports same sex marriage. Anyone familiar with capitalistic conservativism sees this as the obvious position. But to the Chron, all conservatives look the same, and they see this as "surprising" and a "shocker" according to the front page. Perhaps the Chron suffers from a diversity problem.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/23/2007 11:38:00 PM #
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Haha, you lose!

Reuben Duarte's whining about ASUC Senators Kunert and Jackson was dismissed today after settlements were reached with both. The settlement with Jackson essentially says "Whoops, my bad!" Apparently, Duarte was pissed about some completely different comment about somebody totally different. Or something.

The settlement with Kunert includes, essentially, an apology. That's right, Duarte went to the Judicial Council in order to get an apology. And not even a real apology.
KUNERT accepts responsibility for making a comment in the ASUC lobby to DUARTE before his second Judicial Council interview. KUNERT apologizes for any negative feelings DUARTE may have experienced as a result.
I'm sorry you felt bad.

At the settlement meeting, I laughed my ass off at Duarte's ignorance. He was pretty protective of his evidence and sources, insisting that he didn't have to reveal anything until the trial. He was, of course, demanding settlements based on this unknown evidence (which, in Jackson's case, wasn't even related to him). Among his comments:

"If you guys admit you did anything wrong, that pretty much ends your ASUC career, right?"

Oh, man. Previous ASUC Executives have lied to the Judicial Council and tampered with evidence. One current ASUC executive voted to give his own party's attorney over $20,000. Other errors include "Whoops, sorry we forgot to appoint an Attorney General, I guess most of what we've been doing is illegal" and "Hey, where'd the bookswap money go?" And Duarte thought an admission that Senators had pre-existing, biased opinions about a Judicial Council nominee would bring their careers to a screeching halt?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/21/2007 11:06:00 PM #
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News you can use

Beetle Beat is the number 6 search result for
suicide viewpoints or opposing arguments about sucide or something that can just help with this paper i have to right in school
Just so you know.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/21/2007 06:06:00 PM #
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. . .

For those of you looking for your Cal Patriot Blog fix, it's chilling over at its emergency site for now.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/21/2007 12:19:00 PM #
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Jolly Good

My favorite quote from the Daily Cal today, from Yvonne Ridley, some Brit held in Afghanistan by the Taliban who then converted to Islam or some such:
They were decent, they were honourable, they were kind to me.
I'm not sure there are any situations where you can describe the folks who hold you against your will as "kind." Still, the really interesting detail here is the spelling of "honourable." If this is a spoken quote, as suggested by the Daily Cal, did the Daily Cal actually edit the spelling to be British to match the speaker? Or is it a different word than "honorable," which is somehow listed as its synonym at dictionary.com?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/21/2007 12:11:00 PM #
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Exclamation mark

Tuition increase bad! Therefore, measure to stop it good! We shouldn't stop to wonder about the justice of the tax increase that accompanies the measure. It only taxes millionaires, so who gives a fuck about them? They don't have enough votes to protect their rights, so let's knock ourselves out! Why should everyone have to share the cost of something that benefits everyone?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/20/2007 12:02:00 AM #
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Water good!

Something seems to be missing in this op-ed about the scariness of oil tankers in water where fish and stuff live. There's no byline, but maybe that's another of the Daily Cal's web screw-ups.

What's really missing is any semblance of a solution or alternative to sea commerce as it works now. The op-ed says "Oh, no, bad, danger, scary, people should do something about it" but doesn't really have any ideas at all as to what that "something" is.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/20/2007 12:01:00 AM #
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

The title of this piece on the front page:
Rudy Giuliani Lauds Supremes
My first thought: Is Rudy's opinion on The Supremes really news?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/17/2007 08:09:00 PM #
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Friday, November 16, 2007
It breaks itself?

The Daily Cal is teh angri3s about the BP deal which was just signed. The title refers to "it" as a "dealbreaker." What is that "it"?

Well, since the deal was just made, it would be oddly contradictory to describe some property of the deal as a "dealbreaker." But that seems to be the topic of the editorial.

Antecedents are important!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/16/2007 01:03:00 AM #
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Thursday, November 15, 2007
That'll help you

The tree-sitters have taken to attacking police. That'll definitely help their position immensely.

Update: A more informative article mentioning hospital visits and mysterious eye-burning liquids here.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/15/2007 02:39:00 PM #
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. . .
Obama hates unions

"I think it is about time we make college affordable and accessible," Obama said. "I will also reward teachers for their greatness by paying them more."
Isn't that the kind of idea that gets folks skewered by teachers' unions? Or does he only mean their collective greatness, so that they won't have to be held accountable.

The Daily Cal in its impartial wisdom, interviewed two members of the Obama campaign to comment on Obama's speech. Guess what? They liked it. Go figure.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/15/2007 02:34:00 PM #
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You lose!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/14/2007 07:20:00 PM #
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. . .

Unbelievably, the Judicial Council has accepted Duarte v. Jackson, Kunert, which means I'm going to have to take a closer look at it, maybe this weekend, to more specifically rip it to shreds. There are a bunch of depositions and such, so the hearing has been scheduled for December 6.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/14/2007 06:59:00 PM #
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More charges

Alex Kozak is planning to file a charge sheet to get an advisory opinion on some of the issues surrounding the presidential veto, particularly the extent of it (what actions can and cannot the president veto) and the timeline (does the veto prevent bills from becoming law, or undo them).

More specific questions raised in the charge sheet:
What constitutes legislative action? Do bills dealing with external matters (such as advocacy of a particular political cause) constitute a legislative action? Is the affirmation of a statement in a bill ("Therefore be it resolved, that the ASUC affirms...") a legislative action?
My initial interpretation is that the answer to this question is "yes." A more interesting question is whether a statement such as "Therefore be it resolved, that the ASUC Senate affirms..." is legislative action, and can be vetoed. Another question is whether parts of a bill can be vetoed (not so much in the "line item veto" sense as in the "limited veto power" sense. Can the Senate call its "whereas" clauses veto-proof, because they aren't action at all?)

The other point is, in regards to the By-Law claim that bills take effect immediately upon passage (with some editing by me):
Vetos are not commonly thought to confer power to retroactively nullify existing law, but to prevent bills from becoming law. And unlike the US Government, the ASUC President does not "approve" bills by signing them. Does the power of veto as conceived in the ASUC Constitution grant the President power to "un-do" or nullify a legislative action that has already taken effect?
Related is whether the claim of immediate effect is unconstitutional. In a particular case, when the Senate just makes a statement, doesn't it take effect immediately? ("We said this!")

It looks like fun, though, given the lack of precedent in the Judicial Council, it also seems almost irrelevant. I wonder if folks are hoping to apply the ruling to the Israel bill.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/14/2007 04:29:00 PM #
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Next week and all

The only interesting bill for next week is a Chad Kunert bill to have every Senate meeting begin with the pledge of allegiance, and buy some flags for the Senate chambers.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/13/2007 02:05:00 PM #
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. . .

Reuben Duarte, failed Judicial Council candidate, was really pissed off at his interview process and has filed a Judicial Couoncil suit against Senators Chad Kunert and Corey Jackson because they were mean and biased and unprofessional, or something.

Duarte looks like a law student, because the whole thing is written as if he was writing a brief for a court case. He's not, and he probably needs to realize that.

He doesn't appear to be requesting any reasonable remedy, although he is demanding the removal of the Senators, and there's no fucking way the Judicial Council has that authority.

His complaints seem to be:

The interview process was unprofessional (Ha! At least you got an interview)

People had pre-existing opinions about his nomination (Uh... welcome to the ASUC?)

People were badmouthing him (Ditto)

The door wasn't closed to protect his privacy (He had no such right under the Constitution)

I've only had a cursory look over the charges, so maybe I'll have more later. But it looks pretty frivolous to me, so far.

As a side note, for a person who supposedly studied the By-Laws and Constitution, he doesn't seem to know what the ASUC is. He wants Kunert removed "from the ASUC" and identified himself as a non-member (which would mean he wasn't eligible for the Judicial Council post in the first place).

I'm not even sure the Judicial Council will accept the case, though he has made hints of going to "big people court."

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/13/2007 01:22:00 PM #
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Oh, noes!

Languages! Everyone needs to know more languages!
Although less than half the student body reports learning only English as their first language, many say that their non-English native languages have somehow become foreign as they have grown older.
Yes, when you live in an English-speaking country, other languages are foreign. The longer you live there, the more foreign those languages become to you. Check this out from "Meghan":
English taught me rules. Spanish made me a revolutionary. In English I can clearly express myself. Words flow out in essays of sound, and just as I can speak to a professor about politics I can drawl to a friend about Friday night plans. My English is a tyrant. It is regulated. Controlled. Divided and conquered until every piece is analyzed and stripped of meaning: patriotism, morality, freedom. My Spanish is raw and changing. It is a rebel fighter. In Spanish the words tumble out. Sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow, sometimes words that I don't even know the meanings of in English. Spanish lets me into a world where otherwise I could not be.
I would suggest that Meghan learn some English, then, to discover that conversational English need not be regulated, controlled, divided and conquered until every piece is... (how does someone write that with a straight face?) Obviously, if you spend your entire life seeing Spanish as your language of casual, unstructured communication, then English will seem rather rule-bound. For me, as a native English speaker, English is my "rebel fighter." Spanish is extremely rule-bound to me, because the only place it has in my life is "that extra language you're supposed to learn so people think you're smart." I certainly didn't gain any communication ability by learning Spanish, as any attitude or persona I could communicate in Spanish I could communicate far better in English because I'm proficient with it. Every language has its versions for various settings, and you aren't going to gain anything by learning another one, besides an ability to communicate with people who speak it. Meghan's Spanish "rebel fighter" came at the cost of an English one.

Point being, it's not like being multilingual gives you more humanity, puts deeper meaning in your life, or any of that crap. It gives you the ability to communicate with people who speak a different language. No more and no less.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/13/2007 12:03:00 AM #
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Left turn only

Tom Pessah has what strikes me as an odd criticism about the Israel bill thingie:
Let's say you were concerned about the 6.5 million Californians who lack medical insurance. You try and raise awareness about this issue. You start discussions with those around you. And here are some of the answers you get: "What you really want to do is to destroy California!" "But California has produced some of the world's best music, and also has great beaches;" "We don't oppose health care for Californians—we just don't have a position on it." Anything but the reaction you were hoping for, which would be to admit there is a problem, and to try and discuss ways of fixing it.
It seems those complaints are equally valid against those who didn't want the bill to pass because it didn't mention stuff they wanted mentioned. After all, the people "start"ing the discussion here were the pro-Israel folks.

Let's say you wanted to raise awareness about how California has produced some of the world's best music, and also has great beaches. And here is one of the answers you get: "6.5 million Californians lack medical insurance!"

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/13/2007 12:02:00 AM #
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Taking orders from the Daily Cal

So it's okay to not be cool with Chancelloric pay raises. But when you title your piece "Forget the Pay Raise," as if you're dismissing something beyond consideration, you look extremely stupid if it happens anyway.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/13/2007 12:01:00 AM #
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Monday, November 12, 2007

Hahahaha! Haha! Hah! *sigh*

In other news, the university will get sued and will pay out a settlement.

Thanks, Livejournal.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/12/2007 02:14:00 PM #
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Saturday, November 10, 2007
Curved lines

The SF Weekly has an article about how BART maps are confusing because they don't have enough straight lines or something. Does anyone else find them confusing? I had no trouble with it when I first saw them. Admittedly, my father was a transit map designer, my grandfather was a cartographer, all the way back to my distant ancestors who were the artists who wrote "Here be Dragons" on maps. I have the benefit of a great oral tradition passed down through the generations of my family which allows me to follow curved lines on maps. What a gift!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/10/2007 01:21:00 PM #
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Friday, November 09, 2007
Try walking a bit

Chelsea Collonge is at it again. Recall that Collonge "can't even imagine walking for an hour." This time, she argues that protesting and refusing to leave at a Regents meeting was community service, and she shouldn't have to do further community service as punishment, unless it's more of the same kind. The following implications are included, and are totally safe and would never lead to any kind of oppressive government if applied generally:

1) If law enforcement officials agree with your cause, they should not enforce the law against you.

2) Criminals should be able to set the terms of their own punishment if doing so agrees with the ideology of law enforcement officials.

I wonder if these folks ever abstract at all to recognize the consequences of their approach. Do we really want law enforcement to be done in an arbitrary way in accordance with the personal ideologies of government officials?

In a letter to the District Attorney:
I refused to leave because the regents had not sufficiently considered the students' proposal to sever ties from the weapons labs.
... so? What the hell does that have to do with criminality or punishment? In fact, what does refusing the leave have to do with ties to weapons labs? It's not like she accomplished anything, so I have a hard time seeing how it could be considered "community service."
In fact, the nuclear weapons program has already had horrific consequences. Just ask the hundreds of thousands of Japanese who were incinerated, or the countless thousands who've suffered from cancer and death due to prolonged nuclear weapons testing.
I think I see a feasibility problem with that suggestion.
I can imagine few more significant forms of community service than actions aimed at the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Perhaps actions that actually contribute to the abolition of nuclear weapons? The fact that you want to do something doesn't make your actions service towards that goal unless you accomplish things.
To the reader of this letter, I ask: Do you want a world free of nuclear weapons? Do you want your children and grandchildren to grow up in a world without the fear of nuclear holocaust? If so, if you agree that this is the goal, then I implore you to recognize the action we took as laudable and legitimate community service.

If, however, you believe that there is anything legitimate at all about the existence of nuclear weapons; and if you believe that the University of California, a "public" institution of higher learning should be managing nuclear weapons development, and if you think that the purpose of education is compatible with the purpose of nuclear weapons laboratories then I believe you have no choice but to attempt to prosecute and punish me for my actions, given the flawed nature of our dysfunctional retributive justice system.
The flawed nature is that people are prosecuted for crimes independent of the opinions expressed. This flawed nature is often referred to as "respect for free speech."
If you desire, I am willing to attend community court or other venue to discuss the matter. If you desire, I will continue my community service work toward the goal of nuclear weapon abolition. However, I am unwilling to do any further community service as a form of "punishment" for the community service already done.
A criminal unwilling to be punished? Stop the presses.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/09/2007 11:06:00 AM #
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

According to this:
Zachary RunningWolf, one of the protest's leaders, condemned the university again today for violating what he says is a sacred Native American burial ground.

"Guantanamo Berkeley is expanding," he said.
Guantanamo Bay must be pretty pleasant, where folks can leave whenever they want to.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/08/2007 04:51:00 PM #
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I, too, hate academic freedom

Let's turn it about, then:
The Graduate Assembly voted at its meeting last week to administer a poll to gauge student opinions on the university’s relationship to the research and development of nuclear weapons.

The resolution calling for a poll was authored by Astronomy delegate Pancho Ramos-Stierle, who said the university’s involvement in the development of nuclear weapons should be determined by the desires of the majority of the community.

"I think it is very important to demonstrate the University of California is a democratic institution," he said.
Shall we subject Pancho's research to majority vote, too? Or does he get academic freedom?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/08/2007 07:08:00 AM #
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. . .

I's confuzzled:
The demonstration started with three students speaking with Boxer's Senior Field Representative Jennifer Tang. Although Boxer has expressed her support for the act, she did not vote on Oct. 24.


Participants spoke with neither Pelosi, Feinstein, nor any of their representatives at the time of the demonstration.

Update: Uh... oops? Important lesson: Don't blog while still half-asleep.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/08/2007 07:07:00 AM #
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Diverse your mom

U.S. graduate programs are becoming more diverse as international student enrollment is on the rise, according to a report released Monday by the Council of Graduate Schools.
For some programs, the addition of American students is what's needed to make them more diverse.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/08/2007 07:01:00 AM #
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No, you're a racist

Oh, affirmative action debates. Retread. Star Parker v. Shanta Driver. From Driver:
"There isn't a single black or Latino person (at UC Berkeley) that hasn't worked harder than any white student," she said.
Two points.

First, the lack of an affirmative action program at Cal likely makes that claim more credible, which is one of the arguments against affirmative action.

Second, yes, there are such students. It's one of the consequences of people not being clones of each other.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/08/2007 06:58:00 AM #
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. . .

Van Nguyen vetoed that "Hey, we still like Israel" bill because it didn't adequately describe the nuance or some such. Which is funny, considering the other ridiculously one-sided bills that make absurd, unsupported claims that have passed, such as the DREAM Act or Jena 6 bills, which somehow didn't earn the veto.

A more interesting topic now is the use of the ASUC letterhead in press releases and ads. There is already a great deal of tension in how the president has been using the ASUC's ad space to push his own political goals, without concern for whether or not they are in line with the Senate's views. The Office of the President released a press release that called the bill conceived through a "flawed process."

The ASUC website, on the other hand, already has a press release up titled "Student Government Affirms US-Israel Relationship," which turns out to be false. This is an issue I've noted before to the ASUC folks, which is that Senate bills take effect instantly, but vetoes can come up to a week later, which means bills take effect, and then untake effect when vetoed. What happens if the consequences of actions taken before the veto can't be undone? Has the president lost veto power?

Daily Cal story here.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/08/2007 06:38:00 AM #
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Seattle Report

I just got back from a conference in Seattle. Some observations:

Despite my plans to bring back a bucket of rain as a souvenir symbolic of Seattle, it didn't rain once while I was there. I brought back a Starbucks coffee cup instead.

Speaking of which, all locations in downtown Seattle have a line of sight path to a Starbucks.

They have good croissants.

The airport's second language was Japanese.

I can only assume, then, that the Japanese word for "Main Terminal" is "Main Terminal."

There was a guy on a street corner shouting about how everyone was going to hell for some sin or another. A street punk was yelling at that guy. A Ron Paul sign holder was having his own verbal altercation with some folks. It felt just like home.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/07/2007 05:54:00 PM #
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Sometime on ASUC

So, I've been a bit busy to take care of reporting from minutes (which have themselves been late recently), but I figure no one reads those, anyway. The agenda packet:

A Bill in Support of the Greek Opportunity Fund: $10,000 from the ASUC Commercial Revenue Holding Fund to the Greek Opportunity Fund.

A Bill in Support of Spring Welcome Week: $10,000 from the ASUC Commercial Revenue Holding Fund to Spring Welcome Week.

A Resolution In Support Of Promoting Hepatitis B Prevention and Awareness at Cal: The ASUC says "Hey, stop getting Hepatitis B!" or something. I think there might be some federal bills floating around they want to throw the ASUC's weighty support behind.

A Bill In Support Of the ASUC Grants Program: $30,000 from the Carry Forward Holding Fund to a bunch of grant funds. It looks like the ASUC just discovered a box of money laying around or something.

A Bill in Support of Amending Title II: Sponsorship of the ASUC By-laws: Ah, a real bill. This establishes a more specific formula for dealing with student groups that break ASUC rules. The Senate can recommend charges be filed against a group by 2/3 vote through a main motion, and the Attorney General can do so himself. Student groups have to be convicted in the Judicial Council to get their funding revoked.

It also cuts in half the amount of time folks can object to the use of their funds, and makes it so that they can only object to student groups or activities who are political, religious, etc. in accordance with their constitution, rather than "in nature." Of course, activities don't have constitutions, so I don't see how that works. Similarly, it seems that, under this by-law, student groups can immunize themselves from having to provide refunds for ideological activities so long as they claim they won't engage in them in their constitution.

In any case, it doesn't fix the problem that allocations are made in ways other than "publication of funded groups," in which case students have no apparent recourse.

A Bill in Support of a new Senate Chambers Webcam: I have no idea what happened to the last webcam plan. Here's $100 to get a new webcam.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/06/2007 09:42:00 PM #
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Those evil pharmaceutical companies

They should just go out of business because of things like this. Not offering the drugs to the placebo folks after the study? Sick people would be so much better off without drugs at all.

I believe this is one of those "better than nothing" situations.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/06/2007 04:41:00 PM #
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Damn you, Berkeley!

Berkeley continues to promote sex in parks.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/06/2007 04:36:00 PM #
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I would imagine so

Oh, Daily Cal, don't make me cry so much:
Currently, there are more people in the U.S. who have voluntarily immigrated from Africa than were transported during the slave trade, Winters said. Because of this shift, the meaning of being black or African-American is changing.
Most quantities are indeed larger than zero.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/06/2007 04:34:00 PM #
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That's someone else's United States

I'm taking a look at the front page graphic of the Daily Cal (Link good for one day only!) accompanying this story, and can't help but wonder when Missouri moved to the Gulf Coast, where Mississippi used to be.

Is 'geeze' really spelled right? I always say "geez."

Update: After careful review, I have determined that Ward Connerly was indeed saying "geeze," which is the plural of "geese," which is the plural of "goose." "Geeze" is the bidimensional plural of "goose." (like "peoples" is the bidimensional plural of "person") Within 10 years, large flocks of geese are going to band together to take control of all history scholarship in the United States, and any discussion of history will have to be directed towards geeze.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/06/2007 04:29:00 PM #
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Max Anderson opposes centralized federal governmental power. If I learned anything from discussions of code words and states' rights, that makes him a racist.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/06/2007 04:27:00 PM #
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Okay, I'll bite

But John Simpson, consumer advocate for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, said he is concerned the final contractual terms could let corporate interests taint UC Berkeley research.

"We feel it was done with too much behind closed doors, when you have something like this which has the potential of completely altering the face of public education," Simpson said. "There's the notion that 50 BP scientists are going to be able to come onto campus and public facilities and do secret propriety research that they won't share with anybody."
Is that really going to change the face of public education? How different is education if there are some folks in a corner of campus doing unshared work, compared to if they weren't there?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/06/2007 04:24:00 PM #
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Monday, November 05, 2007

I think Scott Lucas needs to stop drinking while writing his columns. Or, if he writes them sober, he needs to start.
A team of physicists on campus built a radio out of a single carbon nanotube one-ten-thousandth the size of a human hair. One of the first songs they beamed through it was, of course, "Good Vibrations." Also last week, a national newspaper announced that a team of political scientists discovered a new form of government. They called it a megolocracy, but it's extremely unstable and decays quickly into anarchy.

The first story is entirely true. The second one, not so much. Well, unless you think The Onion counts as a trustworthy source. The juxtaposition of the two raises the question: What is the relationship between science and politics?
Does it? Does it really?
In contemporary society, we tend to value the first over the second. Put it this way: In every action movie you've ever seen, who saves the day? Is it the ineffective politicians, or is it the underappreciated scientist in a lab coat?
It's usually the Austrian who goes on to become governor of California, actually.
I know who I want on my side when Godzilla comes knocking.
The French insurance agent, if I recall correctly. It's been a while since I saw that movie, though.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/05/2007 03:54:00 PM #
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Friday, November 02, 2007

On cue, here I go:
There’s usually a lot of grumbling when the ASUC is mentioned. The association has the unfortunate reputation of being a student government disconnected from the campus population and ineffective against decreasing student costs. However, the Class Pass fee reduction demonstrates how the ASUC possesses the potential and capacity to act in the interests of students.
It also has the potential and capacity to increase student fees, a capacity it has used to a far greater extent than this tiny reduction. Hence, the grumbling will continue until the ASUC stops.
Yes, the fee reduction for each individual student is quite small—$1.50 won’t even get you a decent, filling snack around here. However, though the amount may not be much, students, who are already burdened by heavy costs, should not have to pay a cent for a service that doesn't deliver.
The Daily Cal endorsed the Health Care fee, to make the old useless Tang Center into the grand health care facility it is today. It also endorsed the subsidy for the RSF, which by its very terms doesn't deliver to anyone who manages to exercise without fancy expensive toys.
If the ASUC and Graduate Assembly had not exposed this issue, students would still be contributing more than $66,000 a year for some phantom public transportation feature.
Remember when the ASUC and Graduate Assembly tried to get us to pay a fee six times as large as this for a vague promise of maybe having something to say in the future? I think I'll save my praise for now.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/02/2007 12:52:00 AM #
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That doesn't make sense

I find the idea of buying water bottles for the water kind of silly, too, but...:
And here in Berkeley where tap water is one of the safest in the world, eliminating all bottled water (including flavored and vitamin) from your life should not be a difficult choice.
If you're including flavored and vitamin water, can you really use the safeness of tap water as an argument for elimination?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/02/2007 12:47:00 AM #
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That makes sense

Run! It's Zachary RunningWolf! What's his take on that court order saying them tree folk need to leave?
Protest leader Zachary RunningWolf said he considers the ruling to be "political payback" for his bid to recall Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates.
So the university, on the opposite side of Bates on this, took the protesters to court in order to pay him back for trying to recall their political opponent...?

Anyway, it looks like the reason the university sought the order was so they could hit the protesters with contempt of court cases.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 11/02/2007 12:36:00 AM #
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