Monday, May 12, 2008
Best Post Ever
Because it's my last one!
As I mentioned in February, this was the last year of Beetle Beat. Having run out of things to say, the only reasonable thing to do is to stop saying things.
The fact that this blog had the most in depth coverage of the ASUC is not a boast on my part, but a condemnation of the state of Cal media. How is it that an actual news organization, with a large staff, a dedication to Cal news, and representatives at every Senate meeting for hours upon hours, can be outdone by some uninvolved bored guy when it comes to covering the student government of Cal? Did you know that the Daily Cal still hasn't even told its readers who next year's Senators are?
The reason I harp on the Daily Cal so much is not because I have some kind of animosity towards the newspaper. On the contrary, I want to see the Daily Cal actually do that thing we often refer to "journalism." I want them to actually investigate things that go on around campus, rather than ask random people about stuff and hope one of them knows what's going on. I want them to do more than just mouth press releases without actually checking the facts behind them. I want them to stray from countless fluff pieces and actually print news that some people might find portrays them in a negative light. I want them to do away with their meaningless and at times comically ignorant editorials. In short, I want a Daily Cal that actually adds something to the lives of the student body.
As far as the ASUC goes, I think the fact that the people who would bitch about how I paid too much attention to what the ASUC does were themselves ASUC Senators or otherwise deeply involved in the ASUC speaks for itself. An organization which demands hundreds of dollars from each student but asks that those students not actually follow what it does with that money was practically begging for someone to take my role. It shouldn't have been just me, but on a campus full of people who pretend to care about injustice and misgovernance in the world, when it comes to a scale small enough for them to actually take action and make change, they decide they have better things to do. Why actually try to improve things locally, when you can fail to tackle much larger problems by proposing simplistic solutions and say "I told you so, but nobody listened to me" when events beyond your control happen? Failing to make change means never having to deal with the consequences of your efforts.
I never intended to become a minor celebrity in the ASUC, or to be a go-to location for its news. I was far more interested in comedy like AlcoholEdu and the subsequent "desperate college student" Google hits. I never particularly cared about the ASUC, but I love coming up with solutions to problems, and the ASUC presented a target-rich environment. I still have a ridiculously long list of issues with the ASUC By-Laws from when I went through them last summer and was floored by the jaw-dropping contradictions and comfort with which the Senate ignored inconvenient rules. I hope somebody steps up to keep an eye on them, because you can be sure they have no motivation to keep themselves in check, and they've shown little interest in actually engaging in two-way communication with the student body about what they do. I would love to see ASUC insiders get up and proudly blog under their own name about how awesome their work is, but such pride doesn't exist. (They have the time for it, though: See ASUC Election Anonybots)
Finally, I'll just leave you folks with a reminder: Blogging is really, really easy. If you have opinions, and like to tell people what they are, blogging is just a slightly different medium for it. If you actually want your ideas to be challenged, defended, and developed, blogging is excellent for achieving those goals.
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Sunday, May 11, 2008
Ever notice how different events with different circumstances get covered differently by newspapers? That's because of racism. Never mind that a killing that happens in Berkeley, where pretty much all Cal students spend time, is more relevant to the Cal community than a killing that happens where a Cal student lives when not being a Cal student. It's all because of racism.
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Don't like the loyalty oath?
Ideally, both the UC and CSU systems would abandon the oath entirely. It has no practical purpose, serving only to reveal the McCarthyist nostalgia of administrations that actually persist in using them to filter through potential employees.Yeah, UC and CSU and those damn administrators. What's their problem? Why don't they just ditch the loyalty oath specified in the California Constitution?
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The picture associated with this story on protests against cuts in East Asian Language classes includes a sign which has "Monolingual California" crossed out. It seems like an odd choice, since the advocates of the language classes are saying they'll be useful for people who communicate with other countries to do work, not those who just deal with California. When I think of California becoming "not Monolingual," the language that comes to mind is not East Asian.
In any case, since they used a "Hey hey, ho ho" chant, I hope their cause fails miserably and East Asian Languages are entirely eliminated.
Coordinators of the rally said they were impressed by the large turnout, especially since finals are approaching.Alternative Explanation: "I don't want to study, but I know I have to, so I should do something else that I can claim is useful. I already cleaned my apartment, twice... Aha! Save East Asian Languages!"
"The fact that these students would come out at a time when they are so pressed for time, it just speaks volumes about how much this issue matters to them," said Christine Hong, a postdoctoral fellow and core member of the Committee to Save Korean Studies.
The Daily Cal's alternative appears to be to eliminate most upper division and graduate courses:
There are alternatives. While students might feel as if all classes begins the semester with a waitlist, some courses are consistently under-enrolled. The campus should look to theese classes and departments-as well as those that consistently underperform-when deciding where to make cuts nobody deserves.Watch as departments suddenly make many fewer seats available in their specialty classes.
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Thursday, May 08, 2008
Becky O'Malley has a pretty funny editorial today. Let me see if I can summarize it.
The reason that guy got stabbed was because he's in a frat. Frats are the same as gangs, but white. They also deal drugs like gangs, because there were some frats somewhere that dealt drugs.
By the way, violence surrounding drug crime occurs because of capitalism. Allowing people to buy and sell drugs (capitalism) is why violence occurs. The fact that the government has disallowed the use of capitalism to distribute drugs doesn't detract from this.
But since frats are officially recognized, the university should just ban them. By making them illegal, no one will join organizations like that, in much the same way that nobody joins illegal gangs. This despite the desire for gang-like groups by young men.
It's almost boilerplate "I see a problem related to something, so let's get rid of it, and no one will ever change their behavior in response to the changes we make besides simply not participating in what we got rid of" policy argumentation.
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Attention Student Action Senators
If you don't want to become irrelevant next year, please be aware of the following comment from Shawn Jain, as CalSERVE opposed putting caps on funding for SISGs:
He never said he was willing to compromise on the bill because he didn't think the side that wanted caps had the votes to pass caps.Student Action has enough votes to block any financial bill. I hope they take the lesson.
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Last week on ASUC
So, the effort to make elections results available to students before tabulation failed, because CalSERVE opposed it. CalSERVE, being very good at screaming in the face of their vanquished opponents, really, really wants tabulation, I guess. Consider this logic from Shawn Jain:
Mr. Jain said he proposed this amendment because he thought having tabulation in a public place was important. He would acknowledge that the vote file, after it was released to the public, would allow people to do the tabulation in the comfort of their own homes, but there was something about it being a lot more transparent when it was done in a public space that anyone could go to and watch what was going on. That was still really, really important. The amendment kept things as they were at that time. As far as he knew, the vote file was released immediately at tabulation.Yes, he argued that having the vote file out of the hands of the people viewing and instead merely spit out a bunch of numbers in a room full of people who can't actually see the program being used is more transparent than giving both the voter files and the software to count them to everyone.
Eliminating the Solicitor General also failed on a similar vote.
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Wednesday, May 07, 2008
The ASUC budget meeting was scheduled for today, and should still be going on. Any reports? How many people have been shot?
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Go blow yourself up or something
SJP had one of their checkpoints today. Those SJP folks suck at making checkpoints, because it was trivially easy to just ignore it completely, as they only blocked the tiny sidepath of Sather Gate. They won't be successfully oppressing Palestinians like that.
At one point, a girl tried to sound like an angry and violent Israeli soldier, but the effort was so hilariously pathetic that even the protesters were laughing.
As usual, they brought out their fake guns, but they vanished at some point during the protest. Overheard conversations vaguely suggested that the university stepped in to see them removed.
Overall, it was fairly sad compared to some I've seen in the past. Where's the screaming, building-occupying, police-officer-biting SJP I remember?
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Tuesday, May 06, 2008
All of you oversimplify
In an editorial bitching about how newspapers oversimplify things in regards to killing frat guys, they write
The Times is not alone in pushing too-tidy versions of the tragedy. The Berkeley College Republicans' blog-ever a model of insight and good taste-chalked the murder up to Berkeley's failed "liberal utopian" vision. We don't know what that's supposed to mean, and we aren't sure the author knows, either.I've never heard of the Berkeley College Republicans' blog. I do know of a California Patriot blog which has the quote in question, though. Sure, all conservative organizations probably look the same to newsfolk, but considering the topic, they might have shown a bit more care before oversimplifying.
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Friday, May 02, 2008
What a boring picture to pick. Show the guy holding a sign that insists that someone born in Mexico can call California his homeland because some dead people he's vaguely related to lived there.
I've always found the superposition of advocates for illegal immigrants (who come because capitalism creates a place for them) and communists (who advocate the destruction of capitalism) on May 1 to be amusing.
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I need some help with this one:
Of the $250,000 set aside in the reserves, $25,000 will be allocated as a gift to campus administration.The university requires that all students pay money to the ASUC, which then allocates money to the Graduate Assembly, which then gives a tiny amount of that money to the university. And somehow autonomy has been demonstrated. Um. Question mark?
The assembly's gift is meant to demonstrate good campus citizenship and the assembly's autonomy from the campus.
"This friendly donation will ultimately show that the assembly is independent from the university and the administration but still an integral part of the campus," Daniels said.
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Thursday, May 01, 2008
Yeah, that seems reasonable
Chan and Hancock also said they thought the two thirds majority that is needed to pass the state budget is problematic and needed to be changed to a simple majority.Uh... I'm almost afraid to investigate what meaning of "dialogue" this is. Perhaps she defines "dialogue" as "Republicans begging Democrats without any power."
"This would create more dialogue between the two parties," Chan said.
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But Zanne Joi of Code Pink told the Planet that, while she supports the College Republicans' right to protest, Code Pink was accorded the parking space because the group is in sync with the city's consistent pro-peace positions and because, without the parking space, the numerous Code Pink demonstrators would block the sidewalk.I'm continually astounded that these people are willing to be so openly contemptuous of any concept of free speech. "It's okay if we get special benefits from the government because we agree with the government!"
"The council determined we should have a parking space because this is a city of peace," Joi said, "It's not a city of war."
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I guess that's one way of putting it
This elections season also saw improved communication between all party leaders, resulting in no reported violation allegations from both CalSERVE and Student Action."Improved communication" is an odd choice of phrase. I'd imagine if you were a person who didn't think very highly of major parties getting together and agreeing to allow each other to break the rules, it doesn't seem like an improvement at all.
Gupta and Jain shared similar views that disqualifying candidates for unintentional violations of elections bylaws was unnecessary unless the violation created an unfair advantage.It's an interesting view, and might be plausible if we were talking about a pair of third parties or some such. Instead, though, we're talking about the major parties, who have the power to change the by-laws as appropriate. So if they really believed in limiting violations as they describe, they could easily actually change the rules to reflect this limitation. Instead, they prefer to function through no-file agreements, so that third parties can still be subject to campaign restrictions at the discretion of those with the manpower to find violations. (See Tregub, Igor)
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