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Archive for May, 2004

I Hate You Reuters

Monday, May 31st, 2004

Why is this:

Bush, who avoided combat in Vietnam while serving as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, calls himself a war president for his re-election campaign against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran.

even in this story? It has exactly nothing to do with the rest of the item and is completely irrelevant to the story at hand. There’s also this:

However, Iraq has become a political liability for the president in recent months, with the approaching June 30 handover to an Iraqi interim government overshadowed by insurgent violence and a scandal over abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

I’ll agree that Iraq might be a good place for Bush’s opponents to talk about how their policy would be better, but that whole paragraph is an opinion. I’m so sick of bad news writing that I don’t even want to bother reading news anymore, and that’s quite sad.

UPDATE: A hugely long Den Beste piece on news coverage here

HATE

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

That’s right folks, it is finally here. The long-awaited HATE 2K4 has arrived! And before its scheduled press date. Take it in, HATE it up, wait for the paper copies that will look so extremely awesome it should be illegal! They’ll be on stands next week.

Torture As A Sort Of Metaphor

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Something very strange is happening. Usually I find Andrew Sullivan to be strident and unpersuasive – or rather, only persuasive when I already agree with him to begin with, as with gay marriage. But this is entirely on point. Good job, that interestingly-bearded expat.

Maybe he just seems muted in comparison to the Susan Sontag essay he’s critiquing:

It is hard to measure the increasing acceptance of brutality in American life, but its evidence is everywhere, starting with the games of killing that are the principal entertainment of young males to the violence that has become endemic in the group rites of youth on an exuberant kick. From the harsh torments inflicted on incoming students in many American suburban high schools–depicted in Richard Linklater’s film Dazed and Confused (1993)–to the rituals of physical brutality and sexual humiliation to be found in working-class bar culture, and institutionalised in our colleges and universities as hazing–America has become a country in which the fantasies and the practice of violence are, increasingly, seen as good entertainment, fun.

Jesus. Sullivan’s response to this paragraph is about as charitable as it could possibly be:

The leaps of logic here are unfathomable… Why not [blame] Eminem, while we’re at it?

Sontag’s piece, like the Robert Reich piece Tim linked to yesterday, starts off by assuming the absolute worst of as many people as possible, then wrings its hands over their various iniquities:

It’s likely that quite a large number of Americans would rather think that it is all right to torture and humiliate other human beings–who, as our putative or suspected enemies, have forfeited all their rights–than to acknowledge the folly and ineptitude and fraud of the American venture in Iraq.

Ah, scaremongering. There’ll be a lot more of this to come (from the right, too, God knows) this year.

(And Sullivan’s last paragraph is right on.)

“It’s the Jews, stupid.”

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

I should have linked to this earlier this week, but I didn’t get to reading it until yesterday. Portland political blogger Michael Totten says he’s glad he got the hell out of Eugene, especially if it is following the lead of Berkeley (Totten is a UO alum). He links to an long but interesting article about the rise of anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism at Cal, and the lack of interest in any rational debate on Palestine by people on both sides of the issue.

Commence This, MOFO!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

David Bernstein over at the VC posts about his own undergraduate commencement, apropos this little incident from Hofstra earlier this week. Got me thinking, so I thought Id share a little bit about last years Honors College commencement.

There were three speakers, all students, and each one delivered no less than five minutes of pure leftist agit-prop. Okay, to be perfectly fair, two were hard-left propaganda and the other was mostly just annoying liberal bleating. From what I understand, the denizens of Chapman hall approved the speeches beforehand. They were all about the Iraq War, the War on Terror, or the USA PATRIOT act, not a damn word about graduation or going forward into the future, or whatever the hell commencement speeches are supposed to be about in the lot of them. The Frohns mediocre dissembling about graduates being the future of America was, quite honestly, a welcome reprieve from the obnoxious political tripe. Now, before you get all antsy and say that Id be just fine with it had it been moderate-libertarian propaganda, let me just say for the record that no, that is not the case. A graduation ceremony is not an appropriate forum for political expression to a captive audience. Incidents like last years HC graduation, and what Im sure will be the fiasco at my own commencement in June, are enough to make me never want to donate money to this school.

He Be Jammin’

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

This is a story that’s more than a week old but was brought to my attention by the tech blog Gizmodo.

A University of Wisconsin graduate student was sentenced to eight years in prison for jamming the radio frequencies of Madison’s emergency services.

From Gizmodo’s Joel Johnson:

Eight years, they gave him, for a series of disruptions between January and October of last year that included a 3 hour Halloween night disruption and a November 11th episode where pornographic sound files were played over the police band, causing most officers to turn down their radios when in earshot of the public. The guy sounds like a punk, but does 8 years in prison fit the crime? Disrupting emergency service is a serious screw up, but 8 years in the big house will ruin this kid’s life.

Fisk Me! And Me!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

Steve Antler over at Econopundit gives a pretty good fisking to this horribly misguided Robert Reich column. I don’t have much to add, other than to really go after the paragraph below.

Yet many liberals have been silent about patriotism. They seem wary of it or, at best, embarrassed by it. Perhaps that’s because, in recent decades, patriotism has so easily morphed into crass “America first” chauvinism. But that’s not the only form patriotism can take. Liberals must promote a “positive patriotism” that stands tough against terrorism and genocide, yet doesn’t need a foreign enemy to define itself or in order for it to flourish. At its best, the American tradition of liberal internationalism has reflected our drive to expand our founding ideals of liberty, equality, and democracy.[emphasis mine]

Let me get this straight, it’s chauvanism for our leaders to put the concerns of America before all other concerns? We should let the concerns of the rest of the world bend our policy and keep us from making decisions that are the best choice for America? Apparently Reich has no concept of the social contract, nor the obligations and duties of government. The American government is elected by and for Americans and as such has exactly no duty to citizens of other nations. This transnational progressivism will not stand!

In Case You Didn’t Get The E-mail

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

From Assistant Dean Greg Kerber of the School of Journalism:

The School of Journalism and Communication is seeking submissions for two awards to be given at Commencement 2004:

The Warren C. Price Award for best journalism history paper

The Eric W. Allen Award for Opinion Writing

Deadline for submissions for either award is Tuesday, June 1, 2004. Papers should be clearly labeled as submissions for the Price or Allen award and left in the Duniway Resource Center reserve room in Allen Hall.

Include your name, student number, address, telephone and email address.

The winners will be announced at the School’s commencement ceremony June 12.

Price Award:
The School of Journalism and Communication is seeking nominations for the Warren C. Price Award for best journalism/communication history paper. Papers on a communication history topic written for any graduate or undergraduate SOJC class in the 2003-04 academic year are eligible for submission.

Allen Award:
Each spring, the School of Journalism and Communication presents the Eric W. Allen Award for Editorial and Opinion Writing. The winning student receives a $100 prize.

To be eligible for the award to be given in June 2004, entries must either have appeared in a UO campus publication or been written for a class in the School of Journalism during the 2003-04 academic year.

(If it is submitted, my money would be on “Man, do I love tits!!!” from the latest issue.)

In Honor Of The Upcoming Hate Issue

Monday, May 24th, 2004

I present you with something completely inane and stupid:

Your Homicidal Rampage! by crash_and_burn
Your name:
Weapon of Choice: Plastic bag
Your Favorite Target: People from Florida
Your Kill Count: 1,950,100,679
Your Battle Cry: “Beans.”
Years You Spend in Jail: 25
How Much Money In Damages You Cause: $257,928,404,916,212
Your Homocidal Insanity Level:: 80%
Created with the ORIGINAL MemeGen!

Dan Wieden Is My New Hero

Monday, May 24th, 2004

Why? Because he’s not only rich and successful, but also gives the best assignments ever. At least, according to the accounts of the seminar he’s teaching this term. Run naked through a golf course? Crash a stranger’s wedding? Man, I wish my Econ classes had assignments like that.

It seems a lot of the J-school kids have objections to this sort of thing, but my feeling is that 1) this class isn’t required and 2) they should stop being wusses and just find creative solutions to these problems. The golf-course one is pretty easy, you see, if you go outside of the city limits into Lane County, it is technically legal to be naked in public (at least on certain public lands). So, find a municipal golf course that’s outside of city limits. I’ll admit that I wouldn’t steal a wedding gift, not because it would ruin the wedding but because that’s theft, but I’d certainly object at some wedding. The reason? I had to for a class.

Last year kids had to interview for jobs for which they had no qualifications, I think that’s also a pretty awesome assignment. Many felt that they were being asked to lie, but that wasn’t actually part of the assignment. I think the point was probably learning to sell your qualifications regardless of the job. Toughen up, J-school kids, and learn to have some fun with this sort of stuff.

Should Kerry Be Allowed To Eat Human Flesh?

Friday, May 21st, 2004

Interesting opinion piece in the Register-Guard here.

Is God so judgmental that God will withhold grace from someone who votes the wrong way?

Well, that would depend on who you asked, I suppose.

The author is clearly a decent guy, but I don’t think I agree. The thing is, I’d love to see the Church take a hard line on this issue, because I think it would ultimately lose. Western culture is – mercifully, in my opinion – as secular today as it ever has been. The Church (Catholic or Anglican or whichever) is no longer making the culture happen. I look forward to seeing some influence shift back the other way.

Yet in this time of war and religious conflicts, I believe that all religious sects need to realize that they do not have a monopoly on the absolute truth or salvation. No social or political issue of consequence is black and white. Individuals within any congregation must have the freedom to make up their own minds and trust their heart, lest they lose their living faith.

Salvation. Damnation. Sounds pretty simple to me! If, that is, you believe in it. I’m not sure there’s any way out of this one: if the burning lake of unfalsifiable fire exists, and awaits, then one is doing people a service by pointing out to them that they’re heading in that direction – and if you belong to an evangelical sect it’s not just a mitzvah, it’s an obligation. The people are not, of course, obliged to listen.

If I Never Hear The Word “Hipublican” Again, It’ll Be Too Soon

Friday, May 21st, 2004

Bryan at the CN links to this piece at the PSU Vanguard, which features a front cover that you may recognize. (The Spectator doesn’t even get top billing at their own university, the poor dears. Although if they’re going to keep running headlines like “The Political Problem Of Islam”, it might be for the best.)

Robots Protest

Friday, May 21st, 2004

bhrobots.jpg

GTF union protests would be a lot more interesting if they included sign-wielding robots in the demonstrations.

Charlottesville On My Mind

Thursday, May 20th, 2004

My excuse for lack of comment on the burning issues of the day? Um, I’m in Virginia, where there are… no newspapers? No computers? Distracting swarms of giant killer bees? I don’t suppose any of those seem that convincing. UVa is very pleasant, though. Apparently Edgar Allen Poe once moped here.

I think that this is my favorite story of the week.

(Off now for some southern hospitality. I am assuming that someone around here will know how to make a mint julep.)

It’s All About OIL!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

At least this post by Tyler Cowen over at Marginal Revolution is. He links to a post by Arnold Kling about oil prices over time. It’s all pretty interesting, but confusing as hell.