April 30, 2005

"Too Young to Choose"

The BBC reports that a 13-year-old Florida girl under the care of the state has been blocked from getting an abortion on the grounds that she is too young and immature to make the decision. The ACLU intends to pursue a legal battle in the case. I bet all of the "culture of life" people still hanging out in FLA are ecstatic to have once again found another meaningful battle for their right to make other people's choices for them.

The Passion of Quahog

For those of you who can't wait until Sunday, here's a sneak peak of the first new Family Guy to air since it's 2002 cancellation. The episode centers around Peter impersonating Mel Gibson and finding a copy of the sequel to evangelist blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ." In a Christ-like resurrection almost unheard of in TV (the inspiration for the plot of the episode?), Family Guy comes back on the air tomorrow at 9PM. Watch the Griffin's so we don't have to go through another cancellation scare.

April 29, 2005

Ceremonial Planting

Continuing his hypocritical environmental policy, Bush celebrated Arbor day by participating in the planting of an American chestnut tree. He declared that planting trees is good for the economy. He didn't elaborate whether it was better for the economy than bulldozing the trees in Alaska though. Bush only contributed to the effort by tossing a couple of shovelfuls of dirt onto the tree in what the White House referred to as a "ceremonial planting." Bush was quick to point out that, much like an genuine commitment to environmentalism, "We don't want to get carried away."

Bush Doctrine not working

U.S. Foreign Policy Hurting American Students' Chances of Getting Laid Abroad

"I've been in Amsterdam for two months and have yet to begin a conversation with a cute girl that hasn't ended in a lecture about how big, evil America is taking everyone's oil," said college sophomore Brad Higgs, a participant in Johns Hopkins University's study-abroad program. "I offer to buy them a drink, and they tell me I shouldn't just stand by and watch Bush destroy the world. Look, if I had that type of pull with the president, I obviously wouldn't be out trolling for anonymous Dutch pussy."

Ah who wants those Europeans with their premarital safe sex anyway?

Joe Malchow's virile buddies at The Editorial Board should take heed.

Jeff Gannon snubbed

The New York Post reports,

DISGRACED former White House reporter/male escort Jeff Gannon can't believe no one has invited him to tomorrow's White House Correspondents Dinner. "It seems to me to be odd to exclude the one person who has brought more attention to the White House press corps than anyone else in years," Gannon tells PAGE SIX's Jared Paul Stern.

I've posted this before, but I just can't pass up the opportunity to post it again: Jeff Gannon pics (contains nudity).

Ha ha

Fuck Clear Channel. From Boston.com:

Clear Channel Communications Inc., the nation's largest radio broadcaster, on Friday reported a 59 percent drop in earnings in the first quarter while also announcing it will split up its media empire by spinning off its live-entertainment division.

Let's hope the downward trend continues, and that the hypotheses are correct that bloated media uber-conglomerates will deteriorate on account of their own inefficiency and the rise of smaller Internet media.

April 28, 2005

The South

Wow. Just Wow:

Republican Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters.

Think about people like this guy the next time you talk about reaching out to "values voters." Seriously, I find this motherfucker absolutely disgusting. People like this are the enemy of anyone who believes in freedom and tolerance, and they should be regarded as such. As a preface to the opposition's response: yes, this guy is obviously an extremist and a bit of a strawman, but he is also an elected representative of American citizens (yeah let that shit wash over you for a bit, just take it in, absorb it into your consciousness, allow it to become a part of your conception of reality). Okay, I'm done. And if this bill had passed, Tennessee Williams would also be done.

Here's a link to the original article.

Weezer's Weird World



So Weezer is coming out with a new album, which may not seem like a big deal, but it is. It's a really big deal and this is why. Rolling Stone interviewed Rivers Cuomo and we all get to find out just how fucking warped his head is. I encourage you all to read this interview in Rolling Stone to find out how sick, melodramatic, and pathetic he actually is. Its unreal. Two memorable quotes from the article:

"When that record (Pinkerton) proved less critically and commercially successful than the Blue Album, Cuomo went back into his shell. Living in a Culver City apartment building under a Los Angeles freeway, he put fiberglass insulation over the windows and hung black sheets over the insulation. Then he painted all the walls black, disconnected his phone and spent a lot of time with his pet gecko."

He gets off on deprivation. Cuomo doesn't own a car, even though he lives mostly in L.A. ("I don't have a parking space," he says, by way of explanation). He rarely listens to music. But one song he cued up recently was Kiss' "Goin' Blind": "Little lady, can't you see/You're so young and so much different than I/I'm ninety-three, you're sixteen/ Can't you see I'm goin' blind?"

"I'm so moved by those lyrics," says Cuomo. "I can't believe they came up with that."


Presidential Press Conference Transcript Digest

If you missed the press conference and don't have time to read the full transcript, you may find the following transcript digest helpful:

Bush: "Lies. Nucular. Terrsts. Lies."

That's right folks, the president is a fucking idiot, and all that he is capable of is mispronouncing words and laying the bullshit on real heavy.

President Bush, Not a Lawyer

President Bush held his first press conference of his second term tonight to mainly address social security and energy policy, which I posted about earlier today. That being said, here's my immediate reactions-

What I liked

Graduated social security: Bush talked about a means based social security program, which I think is a good partial solution to the solvency problem. I found it really refreshing for the President to back a policy which benefits the poor at the expense of the rich.

Backing off on faith in politics: Faith is a personal matter, what a revolutionary concept for the Republicans. This really caught me off guard. I would venture this is a response to the whole Terri Schiavo backlash (an attempt to distance himself from Congressional Republicans).

North Korea: I liked Bush's apparent endorsement of multilateralism in dealing with North Korea. His support of the six-party talks shows that he at least sometimes can come through on his campaign promise to be more of an internationalist this term.

Red, white and blue suit: Nice touch. Very Patriotism meets GQ

What I didn't like

Discussion of public opinion: One reporter asked Bush what his response was to tepid public support for his social security reform. He replied (I'm paraphrasing) that his job was to do what's best for America regardless of what the public thinks. I feel this is a grave misunderstanding on his part of how to solve future social security insolvency. It's ultimately up to Congress to legislate on social security and congressmen, unlike him, must be very responsive to their constituents to win re-election. Hence, no support from public= no support from Congress.

Personal investment accounts: Bush did very little to support his claim that personal investment accounts will save social security and rebut claims that they will simply grease the pockets of his Wall Street cronies.

Energy plan: I was not happy about his support for nuclear energy and the lack of a discussion on funding for alternative sources of energy.

Torture: Did anyone else find his comment that insurgents in Iraq wanted to return to the time when torture chambers were present? Also, his statement regarding rendition was very troubling. President Bush seems to be under the assumption that a pledge from the Syrias and Pakistans that they won't torture detainees that the US sends them will be carried out by them. Maybe he forgot that it's public knowledge that they have indeed tortured terrorist suspects expatriated to them.

No Child Left Behind: "I don't know about the lawsuit, I'm not a lawyer." This was Bush's response to questioning regarding the Connecticut lawsuit against his signature education reform. His ignorance regarding the unduly costs this law saddles states with was frankly depressing. I'm a firm believer that the Constitution gives states primacy over education. The federally mandated testing is not helping improve education and racking up debt for states already troubled by a sagging national economy.

Well, that's my two cents. I'd be interested to hear what my fellow bloggers thought about this press pow wow.

GE to grace Dartmouth Commencement again


Tom Brokaw will deliver the main address at the 2005 Dartmouth Commencement. Read the official Dartmouth news release.

In all seriousness though, my first reaction is that this is much better than having General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, last year's speaker. Brokaw has had a remarkable career in journalism and will surely have some interesting things to say.

We'll likely have more thoughts on this to come, as I take the matter of who speaks at my graduation pretty seriously.

Senator Franken?


Now here is someone who'd be capable of a good filibuster. Al Franken, SNL legend, Air America anchor, best-selling author, and all-around bad-ass, is considering a run for Senate in his home state of Minnesota in 2008 against Republican freshman Sen. Norm Coleman. Read about it at Salon.

A Smart Investment?

Social Security reform is no Operation Iraqi Freedom. After weeks of stumping across the country in an attempt to build support for one of his key domestic policy issues this term, social security, Bush has failed to make significant gains in approval for his private accounts initiative. I, along with the majority of Americans, agree that Social Security needs to be carefully reexamined and tweaked in the coming years. However, few have bought into Bush’s murkily defined investment accounts which appear convoluted and esoteric to the common American. The public seems more concerned with the facts and a clearly defined strategy when it involves their own social welfare than when it involves that of people they don’t have to see every day and will probably never have to.

Pundits often refer to social security of the “third rail” of politics. The President, starting to realize the truth of this aphorism, is holding a press conference tonight to discuss social security reform and energy policy among other issues. White House mouthpiece Scott McClellan declared that Bush is ready to ''talk in more specific ways about his ideas for making Social Security permanently sound,'' in an attempt to save what is rapidly becoming one of his party’s most visible domestic policy failures since taking office is 2000.

Condi and all the erroneous intelligence reports in the world won’t be able to save this sinking ship. I hope for his sake and the future social security of millions of Americans including myself that we hear a solid and lucid strategy for tackling this problem tonight rather then the claptrap offered in the last State of the Union address.

April 27, 2005

Re: "Nuclear Fission"

A friend of mine who's at Princeton posts the following comment re: "Nuclear Fission":

...I have a particular interest in judicial nominations and the filibuster thereof. I actually worked on the issue during the summer of 2003 in the Majority Leader's Office. I would like to make a few predictions. 1) Various interest groups will start a large scale campaign of advertisements in order to move public opinion in a direction favorable to the nuclear/constitutional option. This will begin quite soon. 2) Republicans will successfully exercise the nuclear/constitutional option with 51-52 Senators voting for it. 2) They will do so relatively soon, likely by the end of May. 3) Democratic retaliation will be loud but ultimately irrelevant. If they attempt a total shutdown, they will end up looking like Newt redux. If they attempt a partial shutdown, they will look petulant. The reporting of Michael Crowley in The New Republic ("The Day After," 4/18/05) is particularly interesting on this count. 4) Rehnquist will retire this summer and Bush will appoint a judge who Ted Kennedy and Chuck Schumer consider "outside the mainstream." He/she will eventually be approved with less than 60 votes.
I would love to see any comments you have.
Stephen


I've been following the developments on Liberal Oasis and other web sites, and the plot is definitely thickening. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid offered a compromise to Majority Leader Bill Frist that would have allowed two of the less extreme of Bush's nominees through in exchange for dropping the Nuclear Option. Frist rejected it. Liberal Oasis speculates Reid might have been "going through the motions" of a compromise so Democrats would be able to say they tried to compromise when shit goes down.

Polling by and large shows the American public to be against the Nuclear Option, and even to side with Democrats on taking a stand against the nominees, though one cleverly worded GOP poll produced different results. Such is the flexible nature of polling, but I think the evidence shows Americans are against the Republicans here.

So to respond to your comments, Stephen, I believe though you might be right on predictions (1), (2), and (4), you're off on (3), which is the one that'll have big ramifications for midterm elections. This situation is clearly not analagous to the government shutdown over the budget in '95. Republicans are trying to pull a completely unprecedented, absolute takeover of power here, and it's not going to sit well with people. The noise Democrats make will indeed be relevant, because Republicans will lose (even more) seats in 2006. Perhaps you Republicans have concluded the risks/costs in the legislature are worth the benefits of the power gained in the judiciary. I think that's a reasonable analysis, but I'm betting it's ultimately wrong. I'll take a Democratic House and the initiative of agenda that comes with it -- in fact, I think that might be Democrats' best bet.

April 26, 2005

Maggie Gyllenhaal = New Celebrity Martyr



That's right Dixie Chicks, you're off the hook. Maggie Gyllenhaal (of Secretary and Donnie Darko fame) made the following statements on NY1 while being interviewed about her new film The Great New Wonderful:

I think it allows it to be more complicated than just 'Oh, look at these poor New Yorkers and how hard it was for them,' because I think America has done reprehensible things and is responsible in some way, and so I think the delicacy with which it's dealt with allows that to sort of creep in.

Wow, she sure could have put that better. Still, she is right that U.S. Foreign Policy is a contributing factor in the successful recruiting efforts of terrorist organizations. Here's the thing folks: we do some pretty fucked up things overseas, and we largely do these things to further our economic interest. Many of these things come with a body count attached. Desperate people do desparate things. Still, Maggie Gyllenhaal is fast becoming a pariah. You can read the opinions of all of her persecutors and defenders here. My only advice to Ms. Gyllenhaal is to read this book and remember, "They'll probably never hate you as much as many of them still hate her."

That War on Terror

Reuters: World Terror Attacks Tripled in 2004 by U.S. Count

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." — George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 13, 2001

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." — George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002

Paleocon, Neocon, Beacon



You may have seen The Dartmouth Beacon around campus by now; it has five issues to its name. It's a sly little publication. And it might well be the future of conservative journalism on campus.

The Dartmouth Review is past its prime. Several of its staff members have told me as much, even going so far as to speculate it'll fold in the next few years. I don't know about that, but I do know TDR represents the old guard of conservatism -- what is now often referred to as paleoconservatism. Libertarian small-government Classical humanist skeptic with a hint of Old Testament moral electness. It's a kind of conservatism the Bush administration has made seem quaint, and, well, liberal. As we're all aware, the new order equals neocons and fundamentalists.

The Dartmouth Beacon pretty much fits the mold of the new order. You wouldn't think so at first, just by glancing at the cover, with its homely layout and unremarkable article titles. But the signs are all there.

Take the naïve March article by Jim Throckmorton '06 on the Iraqi elections:

Of course, despite the best arguments for hope, responsibility, and a strong society, the Iraqi elections are no panacea. It won’t be long before they too are talking about soft money, special interests, and the like. But for now, hope reigns.

While America may be the most conspicuous democracy in the world, it still has much to learn from places like Iraq, where freedom and self-determinism have not always existed. We can learn to hope that the fate of tomorrow depends on our decisions today. We can grasp that hope, and take responsibility to ensure it is nurtured to fruition. And we can find an appropriate place in public affairs for such an intensely private thing as religion.

When the dust settles, the situation in Iraq is not unlike many situations faced here during America’s younger days. Divided and war-wearied, the people and leaders of Iraq are stepping up to a far greater degree than those here at home. In such an environment, it is Iraqi leaders who sound more like Lincoln when he called for our country to act, “With malice towards none...With Charity for all; With Firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right”. With hope, Iraq will follow that call.


The Beacon is replete with this kind of righteous romantic rhetoric, which sounds like a scrapped first draft of Bush's inauguration speech. It's hard to find any substance behind it. Jim Baehr's coverage of the actual inauguration speech is even more fluffy, to the point of being highly misleading and insidious: "If past is prologue, Bush’s second term will continue to bolster his place among the most audacious and idealistic of American Presidents. As the years pass, increasingly free peoples from Florida to Fallujah will come to remember him with the respect his ideals and conviction demand." Florida, world symbol of democracy -- epicenter of Bush v. Gore and the Terri Shiavo intervention, the two most glaring breaches of the Constitution's separation of powers in our time, both by the Right. It's unfortunate, because I know Jim and he's a great guy. (In all fairnesss, he wrote that piece before the Schiavo spectacle, and surely he respects both the Constitution and the right to die just as much as those sacrosanct cultures of life.) He just needs to step back and examine his stances critically. We really don't need the Right's echo chamber to spread here.

Two really salient examples of the Beacon's strange mixture of journalistic amateurism and strategic spin -- some would call this the recipe for propaganda -- are the February cover photo and the most recent back-cover "Face-Off" (point-counterpoint) feature. I looked and found no credit for the February photo:



That and the thorough Photoshoped-ness of the image made me wonder, what exactly is this? If it's not a real image, it's essentially a caricature, an exploitive simulation playing on the most visible and reductive stereotypes many Americans have of an incredibly complex set of cultural and historical circumstances. Veiled women: this is what Islam is; purple finger: this is what freedom is. Even if the image were real (would anyone care to answer?), I believe my point would still stand -- this is simplistic sensationalism.

And now my favorite Dartmouth Beacon moment: the April "Face-Off" feature, titled "Terri Schiavo and the Right to Life: Should judges be permitted to make the decision?" Talk about framing -- this is the stuff of "Hannity and Colmes," pulled straight from the Republican Playbook. Might as well skip what the liberal has to say, because she's not going to be able to argue her way out of the trap set for her. Or just bring in Baxter Jones.

That's the Beacon for you, and I'm worried that's the future of conservative media -- and, let's hope I'm wrong, mainstream. Part Fox News, part Bush administration educational video, part carelessness, part calculation, wholly irresponsible, kind of disturbing. But, hey, that's why blogs are here: to do all the dirty work of cleaning the mess up.

April 25, 2005

New Revue issue

Alas, I won't be covering the new Dartmouth Review issue, at least not yet. That's because I'll be reading the new Dartmouth Revue issue out, 'The Decline of Everything'. Fartlog sums up the highlights.

Big Media Hall of Shame


Free Press, a "nonpartisan organization working to involve the public in media policymaking and to craft policies for more democratic media," is holding a contest to determine who is the most reprehensible figure in America's Big Media culture. The whole thing's a little heavy-handed, but the powers-that-be still deserve all the criticism possible, plus it's pretty funny and informative. Go watch the video and cast your vote for who should be the sixth nominee, in addition to Rupert Murdock and Michael Powell, among others.

April 23, 2005

And it's SENATOR thank you very much

For the last few months, I've noticed several instances where the New York Times referred to Senator Clinton as "Mrs. Clinton." Quite frankly, I was peeved. Why? At first I thought that in my own recollection, other Senators were always referred to as "Sen. ____" in NYT articles. A quick check proved me wrong, as other Senators are in fact often referred to as "Mr. Kerry" or "Mr. Hagel" in the main text of articles. Even President Bush becomes "Mr. Bush." (Though I would add that they tend to keep their titles in headlines, while Sen. Clinton often loses hers.)

So this raises a larger question. Why erase the title? I spent a fair amount of time at journalism camp (YES DORKY) in high school and learned that neglecting a proper title for any person was a serious error. Why do Senators, House Reps, even Presidents lose their titles and become plain old Mr. or Mrs. after a few paragraphs in the Times? I'd love some feedback on this one. Does it really improve the readability of an article?

Also, if I'm just nitpicking, go ahead and say so. But it still bugs me.

Different Religious Perspective

I was supposed to be in Montreal this weekend as well, but was beset by illness. After lots of bedrest, I'm up and at 'em and figured I would step up and post while my fellow bloggers are out of town.

The Christian Right gets a lot of press, but not nearly as much is known about the Christian left - the folks who say "what would Jesus do?" and don't reply "start a war with Iraq!" or "force mothers on welfare into marriage!" Some would rightly argue that Jesus would expand welfare and shut down the School of the Americas (pardon me, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation).

Sojourners is, in its own words, "a Christian ministry whose mission is to proclaim and practice the biblical call to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice." They caught my eye last fall for their continuing opposition to war with Iraq, and outspoken criticism of the way President Bush was sometimes treated as the mouthpiece of all Christianity.

I'm a person of faith, and was happy to find Sojourners but definitely don't agree with everything they say (I'm not advocating a Jim Wallis cult of followers - we differ on some important issues). But if you have only seen one face of Christianity since Bush was elected, take the time to see another one. Their current action asks for support for small farmers in America. Other recent actions have advocated debt cancellation for African nations and a censure of Sen. Bill Frist for his skewed representaion of Christianity.

Montreal

George Bennat and I will be rolling deep in Montreal tonight with a bunch of other people. :) Keep it real here.

Alumni Magazine errata :(

Just received my first Dartmouth Alumni Magazine in the mail. Kinda strange feeling. Anyway, I noticed they have a small "Blogs to Log" feature on page 27. The five blogs mentioned are Dartlog, Free Dartmouth, Vox Baby, Dartblogs, and Joe's Dartblog. That's three conservative blogs, one liberal, and one community blog. The Little Green Blog does not get mentioned. :(

The feature was composed by Sue DuBois '05, who George says is actually a liberal. Interesting.

Also, the article on the War and Peace Studies Program is titled "More than Dostoevsky".

:(

April 22, 2005

Finally, a magazine for most Dartmouth students


Introducing New England Home, a luxury homes magazine targeting the "super affluent," to be launched in August.

Love Will Tear Us Apart



ATTENCION: The Baker Tower bells played "Love Will Tear Us Apart" right before 11s today. I don't know what exactly this means but holy fucking shit.

Nuclear fission

Liberal Oasis sums up reports that Congressional Republicans are uncertain about proceeding with the "Nuclear Option" of ending Democratic filibusters on Bush's judicial nominees in light of new poll numbers that show Americans to be wary of the tactic and even Senate Republicans to be hesitant. However, certain Democrats, including Harry Reid and Joe Lieberman, are showing signs of weakness, i.e. compromise on this issue where Democrats, as is true with the Social Security debate, should not budge, both as a matter of principle and good politics, I believe.

The developments are worth following, as this is a pivotal political moment.

April 21, 2005

BFF! . . . Not!

Looks like Paris and Nicole have broken up. (I decided not to post a picture for this because the Hassidic reggae singer below deserves a lot of attention.) Click here for details on Paris and Nicole.

Hasidic Reggae



Is there anything as cool as a Hasidic Jew who performs awesome reggae in front of sold out crowds? I don't know . . . I just don't know. Whether it's the beard, or the black and white ensemble, or the star of David stage decorations, there is no question that Matisyahu is one of the most bad ass new musicians around. Check out this article about his origins and click here to see his web site and to get a better understand of how cool this guy really is. Also, he is a truly wonderful singer/performer. Click here to listen to a free stream of his new album.

Hypocritical Fucking Quote of the Day

"I urge the Senate to put aside politics and confirm John Bolton to the United Nations." - George Dubya Bush

April 20, 2005

Heritage Foundation corrupt?!?


I was alerted to this story through Think Progress and Liberal Oasis. The Washington Post reports,
For years, the Heritage Foundation sharply criticized the autocratic rule of former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, denouncing his anti-Semitism, his jailing of political opponents and his "anti-free market currency controls."

Then, late in the summer of 2001, the conservative nonprofit Washington think tank began to change its assessment: Heritage financed an Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2001, trip to Malaysia for three House members and their spouses. Heritage put on briefings for the congressional delegation titled "Malaysia: Standing Up for Democracy" and "U.S. and Malaysia: Ways to Cooperate in Order to Influence Peace and Stability in Southeast Asia."

Heritage's new, pro-Malaysian outlook emerged at the same time a Hong Kong consulting firm co-founded by Edwin J. Feulner, Heritage's president, began representing Malaysian business interests.

I'm curious to know what the Dartmouth Reviewers and College Republicans who have worked at the Heritage Foundation think about this. Just business as usual?

Computers, Evolution, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy



Great little editorial over at the Independent on the new Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy film. I've never actually read the book, or anything by Douglas Adams, for that matter... yet I somehow remain fascinated by its popularity and success. I suppose I just sort of "missed the boat" on the whole affair. The book, published in 1979, seems to be trapped in that hazy period just before my birth, a time of Dungeons & Dragons, E.T., and the Amiga Computer. Stuff I can't claim as my own- and probably wouldn't want to- but nevertheless feel affected by.

I don't suppose I'll ever wind up seeing the film, either. To my mind it would feel just a wee bit like grave-digging, now- and I'll leave the nostalgia to those who were actually alive to experience it in the first place.

Self-promotion

The Dartmouth Independent just posted a nice little interview with Friday Night Rock management. Of interest to anyone who is generally uninterested.

In other news, the first serious gathering of campus music here at Dartmouth in nearly a year will be held this Friday in Fuel, sponsored by FNR. We're calling it "Spring 2004!" because its basically the same fucking show we did in, uh, Spring of 2004.

Details 4/22:
Oh No Dinosaur 10:15pm
Fashion Fashion! 10:45pm
Reaction Speaks 11:30pm

War on Drugs and Marginal Religions

In honor of 4/20, here's an interesting story from yesterday's New York Times about a case the Supreme Court added to its docket Monday, Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal, in which the Justice Department is arguing for the right of the federal government to "ban the importation of a hallucinogenic tea that is central to the religious rituals of a small Brazil-based church":

The case is an appeal by the Bush administration of a federal court injunction won by the 130 members of the church's American branch, who brought a lawsuit five years ago to prohibit the government from invoking the Controlled Substances Act to block the importation of their tea and from seizing the sacred drink. The church, which combines elements of Christianity and indigenous Brazilian religion, opened its American branch in Santa Fe, N.M., in 1993.

The Bush administration's appeal sums up a nice sliver of its deranged set of priorities: taking an agenda, the War on Drugs, that is both a dubious moral crusade and a proven pragmatic failure to begin with, directing it in such a way as to needlessly target some minority culture and trash their rights, and wasting resources on the entire fiasco.

April 19, 2005

New Pope=Fucking Creepy as Shit



So George just made some points about the man's life history that should absolutely be considered. But I feel like one major detail was glossed over: the dude looks fucking horrendous. Just look at this picture. Or any picture, for that matter. Who on Earth thought some creepy as shit Necromancer would make a good new face for the Catholic church? Pure evil, I shit you not.

New Pope=Former Hitler Youth


From this story from the Times of London (which predates the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the Papacy):

Unknown to many members of the church, however, Ratzinger’s past includes brief membership of the Hitler Youth movement and wartime service with a German army anti- aircraft unit.

Although there is no suggestion that he was involved in any atrocities, his service may be contrasted by opponents with the attitude of John Paul II, who took part in anti-Nazi theatre performances in his native Poland and in 1986 became the first pope to visit Rome’s synagogue.
...
He upset many Jews with a statement in 1987 that Jewish history and scripture reach fulfilment only in Christ — a position denounced by critics as “theological anti-semitism”.

Photo from AFP.

FAIR

Although I would like to post my opinion and voting preference for the SA election, I am actually a member of EPAC so I have to keep quiet on this one.

So insteadI offer up a link to one of my favorite media watchdog organizations! I found FAIR a few years ago. They publish a magazine called Extra! which I subscribed to and never received any issues, which made me a little angry, but they offer a lot of content on their site.

This week they sent out a great piece about the Washington Post's article covering up Trent Lott's racist record and praising him for sticking around despite a fall from grace. Here it is - it asks for readers to contact the Post and comment, if you feel so inclined.

Endorsements by bloggers

How the people of the Dartmouth blog-o-bubble, mostly at Dartlog, are casting their ballots in the SA election:

Joe Rago: Paul Heintz

Stethers White: Paul Heintz

Scott Glabe: Noah Riner

Kale Bongers: Brian Martin

Joe Malchow: Who cares what Joe Malchow thinks

Fartlog: Michael Ellis ("Although he is the editor-in-chief of Fartlog parody and neo-conservative rag The Dartmouth Review, he is a close associate of the revered William F. Buckley, Jr. ... He has absolutely fabulous command of the game of wickets, and is a breath-taking prodigy at draughts. While he could further develop his polo game, we will not count it against him. And his appreciation for fine port is unparalleled.")

Student Assembly voting

Wow, I'm up early today. Looks like Joe Malchow beat me to the punch by 2.5 hours though. That's one thing about our blog, definitely late-night oriented.

SA voting starts at 9 a.m. I'm so excited! Go vote here:

https://sa.dartmouth.edu/elections/

Update: Link fixed

April 18, 2005

In honor of Newt

--- Forwarded message from College Republicans ---

>Date: 18 Apr 2005 14:38:18 EDT
>From: College Republicans
>Subject: Newt tomorrow!
>To: (Recipient list suppressed)

******************************

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center, in Association with
The Dartmouth College Republicans Present:

Newt Gingrich
Chairman, Gingrich Group
Fmr. U.S. Congressman and Speaker of the House of Representatives (R-Georgia)

Guest Speaker from 11:00-11:50 am during

"CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN AMERICAN POLITICS"
Government 083

Filene Auditorium, Moore Hall
Class from 10:00 - 11:50 am
Faculty and Students Only

Don't miss it: Newt Gingrich, potential Presidential hopeful, signing books at the Dartmouth Bookstore, tomorrow from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m., then lecturing in Moore Hall at 11.

Get acquainted with Newt with this biographical info if you don't know much about him already:
L.H. Carter was one of Gingrich's closest friends and advisers until 1979. "It doesn't matter how much good I do the rest of my life," says Carter. "I can't ever outweigh the evil that I've caused by helping [Gingrich] be elected to Congress."

The Nuge in Houston


Tom DeLay isn't the only one hanging at the NRA's annual convention in Houston. Ted Nugent got some facetime too, and he made sure to use it to urge members to be even more fucking insane than we all know they already are:

With an assault weapon in each hand, rocker and gun rights advocate Ted Nugent urged National Rifle Association members to be "hardcore, radical extremists demanding the right to self defense."

...

"Remember the Alamo! Shoot 'em!" he screamed to applause. "To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead. Get a gun and when they attack you, shoot 'em."

Paul Heintz: my pick for SA President



Three years ago, this campus rallied around Janos Marton '04 and elected him Student Assembly President. Everyone from Dartmouth Reviewers to Free Pressers, Psi U's to Panarchists to people who actually have lives and don't need pong voted for Janos, who brought a campus not without unrest over Greek life, the adminstration, and the SLI to some kind of accord, and a new beginning. The Greek system is arguably stronger than ever now, the adminstration actually does listen, and though Dartmouth has its controversies as always, I'd say it's a pretty dynamic, balanced, thriving place right now.

This time around, Paul Heintz has Janos' endorsement, and he has mine, too, for what little the latter is worth. I'm hoping people rally around Paul as they did Janos. I know Paul personally and through working with him on Young Dems, of which he served as president during the 2004 national elections, organizing a hell of an effort in Hanover which helped Kerry win New Hampshire. I respect him highly on both levels. He's a great person to work with, a proven leader who is still easy-going and open to all ideas from all kinds of people. He's an AD and stands up for the rights of the Greek system, but he doesn't see things at Dartmouth in Manichean terms of fraternity vs. anti-fraternity. In some hard-to-define way, he comes across as the most inclusive and energetic of the candidates, much as Janos was.

Though the SA seems to be marginally more productive than when I first arrived at Dartmouth in 2001, it's been plagued by petty internal strife recently, and, from what I understand, attendance numbers at the meetings are woefully low. I can promise you Paul Heintz is the best candidate to turn these trends around: he'll make the SA vibrant, and, well, less childish; and he'll get things done that Dartmouth students want done.

As George W. Bush would say, Paul Heintz is a "stand-up kinda guy" -- the kinda guy I'd trust to house-sit and water my plant, for example, and also to represent Dartmouth's student body.

April 17, 2005

Not for yuppies

David Gates has a pretty entertaining book review of The Outlaw Bible of American Literature in the NY Times. The book's about William Burroughs, Henry Miller, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski -- the usual suspects, but also some more unusual choices like Dave Eggers. Bret Easton Ellis does not make the cut. Here's an amusing excerpt:
Kaufman and his fellow editors seem to be fighting battles that were over with half a century ago -- in romantic-sentimental language that should have been over with half a century ago. ''Some of our best, our fiercest, our most volcanic prose,'' they write, ''is not a tongue-twisted Henry Jamesian labyrinth of 'creative writing' but an outraged American songline of tear-stained revelation.'' I can't sit still for James either -- who the hell can? -- but the editors ought to visit some creative writing classes: these days, both Jamesian maundering and Vesuvian spewing get the red pencil. And the attempt to transplant bebop-era grievances to a hip-hop world -- ''in the grip of Google and Wal-Mart'' -- only makes them sound clueless. This alternative canon, they write, springs ''not from reality shows, Botox or I.P.O.'s, but the streets, prisons, highways, trailer parks and back alleys of the American dream.'' Jeez, why pick on Google, the most useful tool since the stone ax? (That's how I found out it was Rahv and not Lionel Trilling or somebody who'd thought up the paleface/redskin thing. Took me 30 seconds.) And if you're all about the trailer park and the prison, why dis Wal-Mart, which melds the two so perfectly that writers should stop wishing it away and start hanging out there and taking notes?

April 16, 2005

Not exactly heroin chic

Some writers make their addictions look glamorous - definitely not the case here. This tale of a so-called "Ebay Opium Addict" was pretty disturbing. Sadly, it fails to really offer any insight or commentary on the issue of online drug acquisition, but it is definitely worth a read. If you really have time go for the long haul and read the comments too.

April 15, 2005

Basic knowledge 101

Joe Malchow '08 reveals his ignorance and presumptuousness again, getting peeved about the word 'gender' again:

The word gender is a pet peeve of mine. Hark. The word 'gender' does not refer to the classification of a human being as a man or woman.

'Sex' is the only English word that means that. 'Gender' exists to classify male and female nouns in romance languages. It has, for a reason uncomprehensible by me, been co-opted by feminists and PC'ers who don't want to use the proper term.


OK, Joe, I will try to make this extremely clear for you. Let's say you called some guy 'effeminate' because he was a liberal, and because you're conservative and by extension very manly. What about him made you call him 'effeminate'? (You know he has male genitalia.) It's not a matter of sex, it's a matter of GENDER that made you do that. Gender is a word that refers not to biological sex, but to cultural ideas and norms held by everyone in some form or another, deriving ultimately (but not wholly) from biological sex. Male and female have to do with peepees and vaginas. Masculine and feminine have to do with gender. Think hard, Joe, and recall if you have ever used the words 'masculine' or 'feminine' in reference to something other than Indo-European noun-classification systems. (BTW, Romance languages are not the only ones in the world, not even the only ones with gender!) If you have, you've already been talking about 'gender', you just didn't know it! Isn't that something.

This dictionary entry should help, too:

gen·der
2. Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture.


If you don't know what you're talking about, don't talk about it, and for God's sake, don't blog to the world about it.

Blog post of the day

Well, yesterday technically. From Fartlog, "[Nathaniel] Ward '05 Beaten Up By Girl." An excerpt:

...Ward '05 entered a rousing rendition of "Men of Dartmouth," complete with faux-Indian Rain Dance and accompanying gesticulations, attracting the attention of members of the fairer sex supping on the lawn nearby. They proceeded to surround him; the grinding and gnashing of teeth followed. Ward broke his fear-induced paralysis and backed up, reciting lines from The Quotable Ronald Reagan which stopped the feminists in their steps...

Let's hope the priceless parody keeps coming from there, with the addition of W. Thurston Stanfordshiresbury as a contributor. And that I can return to blogging more after straggling through this thesis chapter ("nothing to express, nothing with which to express, nothing from which to express, no power to express, no desire to express, together with the obligation to express" --Samuel Beckett).

April 14, 2005

The Loneliest Republican


The Washington Post reports on Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), who has called for DeLay's resignation. He's the only Republican to make such a call. For this reason, the article is titled "The Loneliest Republican." I clicked on the article wondering who had been able to outdo the fellow we previously reported on.

Do find out about this fellow. His views are interesting and he's very critical not only of the Republican leadership in the House but also of the administration. Keep in mind, though, that this particular article veers towards mockery, especially near the end.

April 13, 2005

Bits from all over

I just found out a friend of mine from high school has started working at an online news source called the Epoch Times. It started as a Chinese newspaper covering stories that were smothered by Chinese media: SARS, persecution of Falun Gong, etc.

However, it has expanded and is actually one of the largest Chinese newspapers outside China and Taiwain. There is also an English language edition (or alas I would not have been able to read it and tell you about it).

It has an interesting collection of news stories, with a heavy China focus but lots of news from all over the world. If you ever wake up and are tired of your other news outlets take a look here.

Honest sexual frustration, chauvinism, preadolescent fantasizing

Over at Joe Malchow's new intercollegiate conservative blog Editorial Board, Ilya Laskin of Boston Univ. has a post called "Conservatism--A C*%k-Block" lamenting,

Alas, I am without female companionship. Unless, of course, the girl I've been religiously stalking qualifies as a partner. But being a self-proclaimed conservative, I've found dating to be particularly difficult at college. As if it wasn't bad enough having to overcome insecurity and overwhelming self-conciousness, I now have to deal with political differences. Case and point [sic]: A girl who, for sake of anonymity, shall be henceforth known as Unsuccesful Hook-Up Attempt #7, expressed to me her fear of what she felt was an inevitable draft. I sent her a nice article from Slate explaining how the controversy over a military draft was nothing more than a democratic ploy to garner opposition to the war in Iraq. Her response? "You're so naiive." I was astounded. I didn't know how to respond to her. From what I gathered of her intellect, hand puppets seemed like the only method of teaching that would have any effect on her. Oh well....She's probably a lesbian anyway.

Meanwhile Jason Broander of U Chicago, in his post "On Republican Girlfriends", writes that

Mine, alas, is staunchly liberal. The advantage of this, though, is that I have to keep my wit sharp and my arguments sound. But one day, I'll assimilate her...

You can also find them fawning over a picture of Natalie Portman posted on there -- good look with that, lads.

No women contribute to the Editorial Board.

New Dartmouth Free Press website



The DFP's website has gotten a much-needed update and nice makeover to boot. The latest issues can now be found online at dfp.dartmouth.edu. The revamped site, designed by Nick Santos '06 and up since March, looks pretty good, though they're still working on updating the archives. An update of the Free Dartmouth blog and a link to it from the new DFP site would be nice, too.

I've added the DFP site to our permanent links section.

Fartlog



This is an absolutely hilarious parody of dartlog. I got it from Joe who got it from Julia. I really want to know who writes this "fartlog," and you will too. Here's a sample post of the top-notch satire that awaits:

Dartmouth Was Better in the 1930s By Virtue of Being in the 1930s

There's just something so charming about Dartmouth in the 1930s, that makes it so much better than the Dartmouth of the beginning of the 21st century.

First of all, there were only men, and there were very few automobiles and buses, so transportation from Hanover was difficult. This was better than it is today because it was old-fashioned and traditional.

Secondly, all of the men wore suit-jackets. This added a very aristocratic flair to the campus that was pleasing and nice.

Thirdly, there were only white people. This handled all of the problems of discrimination, because there were no non-white people to be discriminated against.

Fourthly, all of the men smoked cigars, drank port, and talked about cribbage and croquet.

Fifthly, football was played with real leather-style footballs.

Sixthly, Indians, with their big silly headdresses and animal savagery, were our mascots.

And lastly, everything was in black and white. I deal with things much better when they're black and white. That's why I work so hard to bring back all of the great things about the Dartmouth That Used To Be, the way it was when my great-grandfather Theodore Herbert Dexterhouse was on the Board of Trustees.

April 12, 2005

Fiery Furnaces live

I've been looking for some sort of recording of a live performance for a while now and the best that I can come up with is this. Someone, please, find a full set! Please!

April 11, 2005

SA elections are stranger than Alexander Payne's "Election"

In today's D: the Student Assembly presidential election is off to immediate controversy, with Paul Heintz's campaign -- which I'm loosely a part of -- getting a warning from the Elections Planning and Advisory Committee about an illegal BlitzMail message sent out by a supporter, and with an EPAC investigation into postering by Noah Riner's campaign, which has been absolved, claiming the allegations were a smear tactic by an unspecified opponent. Serious shit! Makes the trustee election look like a silly high-school affair, doesn't it?

Best of all, the posters in question featured Noah arms crossed looking fairly buffoonish, with the large message

NOAH
STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT
Vice President '04
Tucker Intern
Varsity Athlete

Shteak! Who could be the ad wizard behind this ad wizardry? Riner's campaign manager, one James S. C. Baehr?

Already too good to be true.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates on this election. And vote Paul Heintz for SA President.

American High

CNN's education section has been absolutely brilliant lately. All sorts of great stories about creepy school practices, nationwide. This time around its a new AP article from Georgia, titled "School to pay students for tips on campus crime":

ROME, Georgia (AP) -- A high school is looking for a few good snitches.
Using revenue from its candy and soda sales, Model High School plans to pay up to $100 for information about thefts and drug or gun possession on campus.

Normally I'd make some apocalyptic comment about Youth Leagues, or Big Brother... but right now I'm pretty damn broke and need money for drugs, SO! Sign me the fuck up? Find the rest here.

Newt



Newt Gingrich is coming to Dartmouth. He's speaking to a Govy class and doing a booksigning at the Dartmouth Bookstore on April 19. My first question: "Just how does it feel, Mr. Gingrich, to be awarded the number three spot of Ruthless Reviews'"10 Biggest Pricks in American Political History?"

Image courtesy of Ruthless Reviews.

"Report from the Upper West Bank"

If The Daily Dartmouth's coverage of the Columbia University Palestine-Israel conflict left you wanting something slightly more in-depth, check out "Report from the Upper West Bank: How Columbia University became the latest mideast battleground" by John Giuffo in the most recent Village Voice. Of particular note is the analysis of the various kinds of inflammatory spin the controversy has received in less-distinguished New York press:
This is also a story of how some reporters and news organizations are suckers for a good controversy, and a case study of how advocacy journalism can drive and shape events. No news organization has been more of an advocate than The New York Sun, which first wrote on October 20 about Columbia Unbecoming and has played a major role in framing the debate, covering the story aggressively and sympathizing with the pro-Israeli students, and making itself part of the narrative in the process, with students repeatedly singling it out to the Voice as a primary player in the dustup. The Sun has pursued its crusade against Columbia's supposed brownshirts with a steady stream of more than 30 news and opinion pieces with headlines like "Farrakhan for Columbia?," "Dershowitz Says Faculty Members Work to Encourage Islamic Terrorism," and "Ex-Prosecutor Likens Massad Speech to a 'Neo-Nazi Rally.' " Together these pieces have drawn a picture of a campus awash in anti-Semitism, and of an administration that has been hell-bent trying to deny and manipulate events. They are all marked by hyperbole, and they all consistently eschew contradictory statements and testimonies from other students. Editors followed up by publishing on Friday an outraged editorial reaction to the report, goading Columbia's trustees and naming some of those with connections to the Jewish community: "We invite our readers to study the list above. Has the cat got all their tongues? Do these individuals know where—at a time when their country is at war—the funding is coming from for Columbia's Middle East studies programs?"

Jacob Gershman, the Sun reporter most often dispatched to Columbia's trenches, defends his paper's flame-fanning. In an e-mail to the Voice, he writes, "The editor of the Sun tells us that a reporter never has to apologize for covering the hotel that's on fire instead of the ones that are not."

While the Sun has been rabbit-punching the story, the New York Post has been busy throwing around sensational headlines like steamy blocks of leaden hackshit, such as "Soft on Anti-Semitism" and "Columbia's Anti-Semites." The Daily News has shown characteristic restraint with scareheads like "HATE 101" and "This Nut Teaches at Columbia?" Even the Voice's Nat Hentoff, while more balanced, has backed the Columbia Unbecoming students, advocating for their academic freedoms, at one point offering his services to moderate a panel discussion of the events at Columbia.

Something ironic

Salon's site pass ad is currently for an NBC movie about the apocalypse loosely inspired by the "Left Behind" series of books for religious wackos. Salon's two cover stories are about the growing political clout of said wackos and the impending theocracy. That's funny, right? Yes, and deeply disturbing.

EDIT: Had to add this quote. It's from the article I linked to first:

One conference speaker was Howard Phillips, the hulking former Nixon staffer who helped midwife the new right. Years ago, Phillips, along with Richard Viguerie and Paul Weyrich, recruited a little-known Baptist preacher named Jerry Falwell to start the Moral Majority. Though he was raised Jewish, Phillips is now an evangelical Christian who told me he was profoundly influenced by the late R.J. Rushdoony, the founder of Christian Reconstructionism. "Rushdoony had a tremendous impact on my thinking," Phillips said. As time goes on, he said, Rushdoony's influence is growing.


Christian Reconstructionism calls for a system that is both radically decentralized, with most government functions devolved to the county level, and socially totalitarian. It calls for the death penalty for homosexuals, abortion doctors and women guilty of "unchastity before marriage," among other moral crimes. To be fair, Phillips told me that "just because a crime is capital doesn't mean you must impose the death penalty. It means it's an option." Public humiliation, he said, could sometimes be used instead.

Conservatives for Liberal Bias

Another issue of The Review and more of the same on "intellectual diversity" and the preponderance of liberals at universities. But J. Stethers White (Whither the first name, Mr. White? Doesn't quite ring Anglo?) actually has an interesting take on this matter, so belabored at Dartmouth, in his article "Hold Yer Horowitz". I credit him for condemning David Horowitz's "Academic Bill of Rights" antics, which would be funny if they weren't so seditious and even occasionally successful. White likes the argument made by New Criterion editor Stefan Beck '04 and other conservatives that liberal bias only hurts liberals, writing:

The Right should not resort to diversity mongering, and in doing so, sacrifice its principles for a small tactical victory. The proper response to liberal bias—the truly conservative response—is a stiff upper-lip. Since William F. Buckley Jr.’s God and Man at Yale, conservatives have been quite clearly out of place on campus. But with constant access to the inner workings of the hard left, they have an opportunity to firm their own ideological grounding and to critique that of the Left. It is an opportunity conservatives ought gladly take, rather than adopting some their opponents’ most craven tactics.

I believe the Left has suffered to an extent because some liberal professors, in the humanities especially, have gotten removed from American political reality, partly for having such radically reality-based worldviews, but also partly because of an over-ambitious, 1960s-rooted philosophical idealism that has become at times quixotic with the erosion of the very foundations of progressive ideals by neo-conservatism (broadly conceived, with its strange bedfellows) -- a subject I have a lot of thoughts on. That said, I do not fully buy White's line of reasoning; I think having lots of liberal professors can be and is generally a good thing for the Left and for everyone else. I can't speak for all universities, but the faculties of Dartmouth and its peer institutions are pretty healthy as is, and certainly need no tampering from jerks like Horowitz.

Mr. White's supercilious stoicism is welcome by me. If he really means what he says, he would agree with me that zealous trustee candidates like Zywkci and Robinson would also have no place in interfering with the vibrant faculty we have here, say, by pressuring hiring processes.

White's article, and the new TDR issue in general, are worth reading if, like me, you thrist for the edification only conservatives can provide.

Re: "Jumping the shark"



It seems Frank Rich of The New York Times has been reading our blog. After George's post on the phrase's rise to meta-significance below, Rich ends his latest op-ed article by writing:

We don't know the identity of the corpse that will follow the pope in riveting the nation's attention. What we do know is that the reality show we've made of death has jumped the shark, turning from a soporific television diversion into the cultural embodiment of the apocalyptic right's growing theocratic crusade.

And I had never even heard the phrase till George informed me of it. Then again, I've never seen "Jaws," either.

Oh and the op-ed is, not surprisingly, amazing. Rich continues to take on and take apart the perverse culture of the far right better than other, whinier liberals out there do.

A new low in bad ideas

I have an idea. Let's prevent same sex couples from being married under any circumstances, and instead push single mothers into marriage with the threat of reduced welfare money for staying single. Oh wait! The Healthy Marriage Initiative is already being pushed around Congress.

Pardon the sarcasm, but this is far worse than I realized when I first heard about this move. Read about it here. You can skip the story in the first few paragraphs to get to the meat of the legislation.

Oh Charlie

At least three people have sent me links to stories about Prince Charles shaking Robert Mugabe's hand at the Pope's funeral. This particular Guardian article sums up some of the other political tensions at this gathering of world leaders.

April 10, 2005

The Great Crane Game



According to a new article from the Associated Press, found at CNN:

"Enrollment has been dropping steadily as timber jobs have dried up, and Oregon's budget cuts have left Myrtle Point facing a $675,000 gap for next year. Since Oregon bases its state school funding on enrollment, every home-schooled child Myrtle Point can woo means an extra $5,000 or so. An estimated 100 youngsters living in the district are home-schooled."

From grades 7 through 12 I learned at home. According to an Education Department Survey conducted in 2003 I was one of 1.1 million home-schoolers, nationwide. But this figure is misleading; for I never even bothered to tell the state of Illinois that I was home-schooling in the first place. Rather, my family set up a nice little "Private" school, had my records transferred home to our address, and I enrolled as the first (and only) student of "Redwall Learning Academy." Illinois, like many states, has no specific statute to govern home-schooling; instead home-schoolers have been granted the right to operate trouble free by various court rulings that categorize them as privately schooled. As home-schoolers in the state of Illinois are thus most often classified as enrolled in Private schools (as I was), The Education department's figures, which work out to around one home-schooled child in forty-five school-aged youngsters, rest more than likely far below the actual number of students currently not enrolled in Public, Private, or Charter schools.

For home-schoolers, used to flying under the radar for fear of harassment from the very people now attempting to court them back into the fold, this sort of stat dodging is all part of the game; like any counter-culture, the homeschooling movement takes its cues more from "what not to do" than from any set pattern or formula for success. It is this last point that school authorities have failed so consistently to understand. Take for instance the exhortations of Dal King, local school board member in Myrtle Point:

"Families who home school or choose to send their kids to other districts, we need your full support, not just what's convenient for you," King wrote. "While you may have good reasons, please do your part by enrolling your kids full-time in the district and don't just 'cherry-pick' music or sports."

Some simple allusions: Rowboats; sinking ships. Fire escapes; burning buildings. You don't jump back into the shit pile just because it asks you to. That seems like one hell of a big "what not to do" to me.

So if Dal King is allowed to be a bit naive when dealing with a movement he does not understand, then perhaps I am allowed to be a bit naive when I ask: why the fuck do our institutions exist if not to serve us? I've sunk enough cash into those jury-rigged crane games at Bennigan's to know that you don't get shit back from something inherently broken. "Learning Centers" are not less-school like by virtue of the fact that they are no longer called "schools," just as my "home-school" was not more-school like for being classified as "private." It's different clothing on the same ailing body, it's the crane game without any prizes. It is the state of "american public education." And it is an idea most home-schoolers gave up on long ago.

April 8, 2005

Jeff Gannon and journalists on CSpan now

Well, there he is, on a panel beside journalists and bloggers including Ana Marie Cox, a k a Wonkette. Gannon, who comes across as a real shifty-eyed bastard, just used the argument that drawing the line between what's journalism and what's not journalism is dangerous to justify being paid by Texas Republican operatives to pose softball questions to Scott McLellan at White House press conferences.

Now that takes balls, which we all know Jeff "Bulldog" Gannnon has (contains nudity).

Vegans like Cookies, too.



From CNN:

Truglio said "Sesame Street" also will introduce new characters, such as talking eggplants and carrots, and offer parodies, such as "American Fruit Stand."

For a while now I have felt Sesame Street's singular dominance of children's educational programming to stem more from its clever appeal to the parents of young children (i.e. the controllers of remote controls), than from any specific genius engagement, through the content of the show, of the children themselves. For Sesame Street, though lacking any unique brilliance in content (as opposed to, say, Teletubbies, which deliberately structured its format entirely around an understanding of the developing child mind), has never lacked popularity in American homes. Do kids have the cultural context for REM, or "American Fruit Stand" (presumably a parody of American Band Stand)? No, and I really doubt they give a shit. Yet Sesame Street continually places an emphasis on these sort of nostalgic cameos in its format; it seems like everytime I turn on the fucking show I get bombarded by baby-boomer irony, and that generation's unique brand of totally unfun sensibility.

Case in point for today: this article. I am sorry- but even though I liked cookies as a child, and even though I liked cookie monster as a child, I don't remember ever conspiring to eat cookies all day, speak in a retarded voice, or turn blue. Well, whatever. Chalk another one up for the folks over at Sesame Street, and the rest of the god damned baby boomer generation that has enabled their rise to power: They've created a playground where my parents can once again find their youth, by paving wholly over those little eccentricities that made my own childhood worthwhile.

To the children of today I can only say: hang in there. You parents may be playing with your toys, throwing out the cookies to reduce their own middle-aged paunches, and leaving you daily in the hands of a cold corporate empire hellbent on retreading a pitiful fascimile of mom and dad's faded ideologies and cultural heroes back to you... (whew) but I'm pretty sure they'll all be gone soon.

Because they're old. And old people are pretty good at dying.

Complaints with today's D



This whole issue just sucks. From an awkward but still way-too-flattering front-page intro for J.C. Watts, one of the fakest politicians around ("Thrilling the audience like a football player, philosophizing like a preacher and gesticulating like a politician"), to Steph's latest slaver (not link-worthy; I couldn't force myself to read more than half of it this time), to the various mechanical errors throughout ("Alumni model held" [p. 5], three missing paragraph indentions [p. 5]), to Lindsay Barnes' conclusion that the worn-out classic rock at Phi Delt, let alone anything at Phi Delt, is "A-" cool, to the proliferation of the word "sweet" in the Mirror ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]), to the vacuous, self-congratulatory note from the new editor of the Mirror....Fuck, I give up.

Tell a friend

Well this will come across as incredibly self-promotional, but yeah, it is. Seriously though, I feel like this blog has become a semi-legitimate forum for liberal ideas, probably the best such forum for Dartmouth students to be found online, with Free Dartmouth still floundering. But even after our two-day facebook.com advertising campaign, which cost us $ 26 and put us $ 9 in debt, we get an average of just 150 visitors daily and 70 people who actually read the posts. I'd say a good estimate is that we have a core readership of 100-150 people. If you're one of them, well then you're sweet. But I'd definitely like to see more. And it would only make the forum more interesting, with more comments and more outreach for all the ideas/causes we try to cover (in addition to the laughs Wuk provides), the Darfur humanitarian effort being a good example.

Mass blitzes suck, and word-of-mouth does not. So I would like to ask each of you core readers to tell a friend about us if you could be so kind. A friend who would like it and keep visiting, if possible. Just give them a blitz or drop the name of your blog in conversation -- the latter will make you sound really cool, trust me. It's that easy.

Cool, I did it. Thanks and keep on reading. I expect 300 visitors Monday.

Straight shooter

From the Personals of It's Classified: A Buyers' and Sellers' Weekly for the Upper Valley, April 1, 2005:

"Male, 49 looking for a female friend, 36 to 49, within 25 miles of Lebanon. Race, creed, color does not matter. I smoke. I smoke. I don't drink."

April 7, 2005

The D sucks.

Sensationalism at The Dartmouth has passed the point of irresponsibility and become just silly and pathetic.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Thoughts?

As an activist and outspoken liberal on the Dartmouth campus for the last three and a half years, I have participated in many different forms of protest in Hanover and other cities in the U.S. I am a person deeply disturbed by the events in Darfur and have joined the week of fasting, in which participants all give up something (coffee, cigarettes, etc.) for a week, garner sponsors, and donate whatever they can to the Genocide Intervention Fund while simultaneously raising awareness about current events in Darfur. My colleague on this blog, Ariel, is also part of this action. I hate to admit it, but perhaps I am jaded in wondering whether this will do any good for raising awareness? Any money raised will be put to use by reliable sources, but if I walk around with a green armband for a week will people actually take five minutes out of their day to care about what is happening a world away from them?

April 6, 2005

Brit's back!

Pop diva Britney Spears is back with plans for an all new reality show on the one and only UPN. Unfortunately, the show is going to be PG rated, but that wont stop me from tuning in every week to watch, what Yahoo news calls, "The trucker hat-favoring, Cheetos-noshing pair." My favorite quote in the whole article, far and away, is this (in reference to the new show), "As I mentioned before, I am now going to be expressing my personal life through art." Check out all the details here:

Hit me baby one more time!

Lieberman well-liked

... by Republicans, according to a Quinnipiac poll.

72% of Connecticut Republicans approve of Lieberman; 66% of CT Democrats.

And, apparently, his primary run won't be the smoothest sailing (also via Kos).

Double standard for American Idol?







From Feministing: "Fun fact: You can be an 'American Idol' if you beat up your girlfriend, but not if you pose for topless photos."

(Via Liberal Oasis)

Great NYT Editorial

About Cornyn. Read it.

SA grills trustee candidates

Student Assembly sent out questionnaires to the six trustee candidates, and responses from four of them can be found on a weblog SA has set up, Dartmouth Future: Sheila C. Cheston '80; Peter Robinson '79; Curtis R. Welling '71, Tuck '77; and Todd J. Zywicki '88.

But I don't recall ever seeing that building in the header graphic on campus...

The New Yorker exposed

The New Yorker is a shadowy operation. Downright sketchy, even. The New York Observer tries to answer the question, "Who is running The New Yorker?"

Their masthead approximation, in PDF form.

April 5, 2005

Right now



On FNC, Brit Hume just used Peter Jenning's cancer announcement as a way to segue into a discussion of the waning influence of the liberal broadcast media. They did, however, make a quick (and I'm sure heartfelt) comment that it was terrible news. That's compassionate conservatism.

"Jumping the shark"



The term "Jumping the shark" has finally "jumped the shark." Kos jokes in the announement of an open thread that,

Hey, with C&J on the front page today, this site has so jumped the shark.

It's not that I don't like this blog (I fucking love it), but there's something about this particular usage of this already quite annoying phrase that just finally rendered it more bad than good. Perhaps it's the italicized 'so.' Feel free to use the comments section to describe the moment at which your favorite TV show/your life "jumped the shark."

Thanks to Jon Hein for the image.

Fox Reality Channel

Under monopoly all mass culture is identical, and the lines of its artificial framework begin to show through. The people at the top are no longer so interested in concealing monopoly: as its violence becomes more open, so its power grows. Movies and radio need no longer pretend to be art. The truth that they are just business is made into an ideology in order to justify the rubbish they deliberately produce. They call themselves industries; and when their directors’ incomes are published, any doubt about the social utility of the finished products is removed. But reality TV is different. It's sweet. We like to watch it and throw pepperonies at the screen when things don't go right. -- Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment As Mass Deception"*

Coming early next year...

American Idol. The Simple Life. Joe Millionaire. Temptation Island. Over and over. Plus all new reality programming.

Fox Reality Channel will join Reality Central, to begin later this year, and Reality TV (Dish Network only).
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*Quoted slightly liberally. Thanks to Zooperville, legendary Daily Dartmouth comic, for the pepperonies inspiration.

April 4, 2005

Re: Best News Ever

Earlier today, one of my colleagues posted a link to this article and called it "the best news ever." This article explains the United Nation’s decision to bring Sudanese war criminals to the International Criminal Court. Not to rain on anyone's parade, but I strongly disagree that we are in any position to pass judgment on this action brought by the United Nations. I understand that this news, if nothing at all, seems to be an important achievement in the long road to justice for the Sudanese, but in fact, I fear that this may not be the case at all.

I'd like to point out that the international community decided to treat Nazi war criminals the sam way after the Holocaust, and you know what, 90% of the SS was never brought to trial. The problem with this precedent, aside from the failure to prosecute 90% of the war criminals who took part in the Holocaust, is that it perpetuates the mindset that says if you’re involved in genocide, in crimes against humanity (if we assume that most crimes the SS committed fit into this category) you probably won’t be brought to trial/prosecuted. The reason that they do not prosecute most of the war criminals is that most foreign leaders are apathetic in so far as they have other things to deal with, which they consider to be of more pertinence to the well being of their country. It’s not like the UN, or International Criminal Court, has the resources to search out these suspects on their own. Until I start to see a great deal of effort out of the international community to apprehend the monsters that commit crimes against humanity, I will not be convinced that this move is anything more than a motion meant to appease the general public (or at least those of us who care). This is the reason why we have to be careful in dealing with this news story. 11 countries were in favor of sending war criminals to World Court, while the two most powerful countries in the world abstained: the US and China. I imagine that we were forced to abstain since we torture our prisoners, and some of our military officers are guilty against crimes against humanity themselves, but really, why in God's name do we not support the prosecution of such evil men?

According to the article and the PR people on Capital Hill (we all know how much we can trust them), "American objections to the court are based on the view that it is unaccountable and could become a forum for politically motivated prosecutions against Americans abroad." Before today, we had been opposed to the action, and today we are abstainers. Since we knew the thing was going to pass anyway, why not abstain instead of object; we don’t look nearly as bad, or do we? "The vote followed days of trans-Atlantic negotiation involving Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and France's foreign minister, Michel Barnier, and produced an 11th- hour maneuver that secured agreement when Britain replaced France as the sponsor of the measure. The outcome spared the United States the onus of casting a veto and seeming to block the arrest and prosecution of war crimes suspects." And the ironic part about this is, according to the article, "The United States has been in the forefront of calling for action in Darfur," and according to our deputy ambassador to the UN, Anne W. Patterson, "We decided not to oppose the resolution because of the need of the international community to work together in order to end the climate of impunity in Sudan." Yes, its very important that the world community work together on this, so long as we're not part of it.

The bottom line is that we cannot be satisfied with this motion by the UN, and we should be appalled by the apathy of our government (what's new?). Just because the international community, or part of it, wants to send these men to world court, does not mean that many of these men are going to be found and brought there. Unless all these countries who voted in favor of the motion put great effort into their Sudanese intelligence and send police/military to find the creeps who killed their fellow countrymen, then what does this action actually mean?

If nothing does come of this decision, then we have to hope that it isn't just a ploy to get the concerned public to lose interest in the matter and trust that the World Court will take care of this mess. Nowhere in the article is it specified who is supposed to apprehend these criminals, nor who is going to find them. According to the Econmist, "Human-rights groups have hailed as “historic” the UN Security Council’s resolution to refer 51 people suspected of war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region to the International Criminal Court. But without a larger and more robust foreign intervention in Darfur, the murders and other abuses are unlikely to end soon." In the previous draft of this post I said that I didn't think many people had been, or were going to be arrested. Now that I know that 51 people have been arrested, I am vindicated, much to my dismay. I also imagine that few countries are willing to send their citizens into an African country to search for war criminals. After all, no one cared to search after the Holocaust and that took place in the middle of Europe where there was an already established military presence. And like the Holocaust, the Sudanese government, like the Nazi party, was responsible for the killing that occurred.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): "Kill Activist Judges!"

He didn't literally say this, but the quote taken from this Talking Points Memo post does suggest that recent courtroom violence is a political reaction to excessive judicial activism:

I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence.

Never mind that the most notable example took place in a criminal court during sentencing.

Light on up!

My friend Hunter sent this story along to me and other folks and now I pass it to you....

If you're a smoker plagued by pangs of conscience for supporting Big Tobacco, these are the cigarettes for you. The Squaxin tribe of Washington (pop. 850) is starting up its own cigarette company, "Complete," to "diversify its income for tribal members." They will be able to sell their brand at an extremely low price compared to mainstream cigarettes, $16 for a carton of 10 packs, because the tribe is not obligated to pay the taxes paid by tobacco companies.

Centrist Dem Stephanie Herseth visits



Stephanie Herseth, Democratic House Representative from South Dakota, is visiting campus today. Ms. Herseth will be giving a public lecture at 4:30 PM -- "Securing Quality Education and Healthcare in America" -- in 3 Rockefeller Hall, and the Young Democrats are holding a lunch with her at 12:30.

Herseth is a Dem from a blood-red state, and her stances and political tactics have been criticized by some Democrats. A summary of their qualms with her:

- is anti-gun control
- supports a flag-burning amendment
- said she'd vote for W if the election went to the House of Reps
- voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment
- targeted her get out the vote effort at Thune-Herseth supporters, i.e. directly working against Tom Daschle, the Democratic majority leader who was defeated by fewer than 10,000 votes in a major victory for the GOP

According to South Dakota Politics, "Herseth deserves much of the credit for Daschle's defeat." And Sam Hurst of the Rapid City Journal writes, "Stephanie Herseth is too young and too bright to have lost her backbone. At an age when she should be known for brash idealism, she has chosen instead to pander to the dark voices of discrimination. Such is the cynical calculus of electoral campaigns."

Daily Kos, however, has taken a sympathetic stand towards Herseth, arguing in June that "Some of you may not like it, but we're going to see some Republican-lite out of Herseth in the coming months. It's the only chance we'll have to hold the seat."

Herseth embodies the kind of tug-of-war of ideology and strategy going on within the Democratic Party right now. It will be interesting to see how Dartmouth Democrats respond to her and what kind of message she'll have for us. We'll have updates later.

April 3, 2005

Cut down by the Tree of Knowledge



You know how Einstein got hit by that apple from the tree and then felt like an idiot? The tree was the Tree of Knowledge, a k a Google. Now I have had a few ideas in my life so far, only to find out they were all already thought up. You probably know what I'm talking about. My most recent example: feeling an affront at seeing "ridiculous" yet again spelled "rediculous," stopping myself from breaking something, and channelling the anger into positive creativity by coining, insofar as my knowledge went, the word "bluediculous" and insulting the intelligence of my friend who wrote "rediculous."

Predictably by now, "bluediculous" was used on like a dozen separate occasions before I ever used it. And, yes, you guessed it again, even "blackdiculous" is attested, though I hesitate to learn in what context.

List of most sexually active popes



Here

Pope Alexander VI kept many mistresses, and prostitutes were called to dance naked before the assembly, after which prizes were offered to those men who, in the opinion of the spectators, managed to copulate with the greatest number of prostitutes.

Let's get some angry comments...

Image courtesy of This Noble College of Aberdeen University.

Daylight Savings Time: Good or Evil?


If you're like me, last night's imposition of "Daylight Savings Time" (hereafter referred to as DST) caught you somewhat by surprise, disrupting your life and angering you. Concerned over whether DST is a good thing or an evil thing, I decided to consult the "Internet". This "Internet", however, was unable to offer me a definitive answer. It seems that the debate over the goodness of DST is a lively one. The most concise survey of the highly contentious DST debate can be found in this Wikipedia article. Though you should really read the article, I'll outline its description of the cases for and against DST for your convenience:

CASE FOR GOOD
- Conserves energy.
- Encourages outdoor activities.
- Prevents traffic injuries and crime (because it's lighter later).

CASE FOR EVIL
- Disruption of sleep patterns causes spike in severe auto accidents.
- Decrease in lighting costs offset by increase in summertime air conditioning costs (this also invalidates studies done before the wide availability of air conditioning).
- Discriminates against agricultural workers "because the animals do not observe it, and thus the people are placed out of synchronization with the rest of the community."

DST is not universally observed. The Wikipedia article describes the complicated case of Indiana, where the legacy of DST controversy has prompted a fragile compromise between opposing factions that functions as follows:

"77 counties, most of the state, are on Eastern Standard Time but do not use DST;

5 counties near Chicago and 5 counties in the southwestern corner of the state are on Central Standard Time and do use DST; and

2 counties near Cincinnati, Ohio and 3 counties near Louisville, Kentucky are on Eastern Standard time but do observe DST. Their observance of DST is unofficial in this case, as a strict reading of the Uniform Time Act would not allow for this situation, but by observing DST they remain synchronized with the greater Louisville and Cincinnati metropolitan areas."


Another Wikipedia article describes a not entirely dissimilar "complex web of alliances and counterbalances" that, according to the conventional wisdom, scored the assist for World War I.

Illustration courtesy of the Courier Journal (Louisville, Kentucky).