May 28, 2007

Barack Obama Is A Rockstar

As the event ran yet later and later, the sun beat down on an increasingly restless crowd, and still, no sign of Obama. The crowd had endured the strange choice of location (off the side of the Rocky overhang), being herded together with the usual masses of geriatric townies, the searing heat, and a few rounds of live easy-listening music. Finally, a respite. The Aires took the stage. As every delightfully un-instrumented melody drew to a close, one could see the crowd tensely anticipate what might follow. "What? Are they going to stop singing? No! I don't want politics. I came here to listen to a capella!" Soon, it was obvious Obama would be upstaged before even making an appearance.
Seriously, even for those of us that might still have a soft spot in our hearts for a capella (and after three years of college, I don't), there is a time and a place for it, and this was not it. Perhaps they were just stalling for time, but about an hour deep into listening to the Aires, even the toddlers around me looked bored.

Still, if the College Democrats were trying to prove that Obama is a rockstar, they did it. Though the crowd dwindled a bit during the sing-a-thon, an impressive number stuck it out to hear the man. Freshman Congressman Paul Hodes stepped up to reinvigorate the crowd and introduce Barry, who was in full form. Obama did what he does best, saying very little, yet somehow being inspiring. Obama spoke largely in platitudes, but without sounding like a politician. Though he may not have touched on anything more controversial than Hillary has in weeks past, he left the audience with the impression of a no-nonsense, above-the-fray, charismatic leader. In the months leading up to the primary, we'll get our fair share of political celebrity facetime, but I doubt any candidate can come close to matching Obama's appeal. I guess we'll find out next time the spectacle rolls into town. Until then, back to the library with me.

May 16, 2007

Student Governance Task Force

So I'm a little late on the uptake, but yesterday, the Student Government Review Task Force issued its recommendations. The full version was blitzed out to campus, and if it becomes available online, I'll update with a link. In the meantime, DartWire has a pretty comprehensive guide to look at, and Dave Nachman '10 chimes in on his new SuperDartmouth blog.

While Nachman pines for the radical Shpeen-revolution that never was, the strength of this report actually lies in its painfully boring pragmatism and attention to bureaucratic nuance. It calls for streamlining and coordinating funding allocation, changing voting and candidacy requirements, instituting campus referenda, direct election of certain committee chairs, and an overall reorganization and redistribution of responsibilities and committee structure. In it's most ambitious proposal, instead of pushing for a young trustee (an unsuccesful campaign of numerous SAs past), they advocate a formal liason and gradual re-evaluation and, ideally, expansion of the significance of this role.

Of course, it's still SA, and so painstaking research doesn't always equate to reasonable expectations. The centralized online calendar thing has been tried before, and though making funding contingent on its use could force groups to post, it's not going to make campus use the thing. The plan to "Advertise happenings every fortnight in The Dartmouth and send out campus update blitzes every full moon," besides being absolutely bizarrely phrased, gets to the point. SA, as I have opined, is at its best when dealing with campuswide minor issues. For SA to fulfill this purpose more efficiently and visibly might decrease our collective disdain for the organization, but its pretty unlikely to stir up more interest.

So, once again, no revolution will appear to save the day and shake us all from the terrible apathy in which we disregard the great things SA has done for us. Still, while it's hardly inspiring, we probably will all benefit from an SA that is more introspective, realistic, and marginally more efficient each year.

On Sleep Deprivation

I apologize for the brief hiatus here on LGB. Seal, unfortunately, has insisted on finishing his thesis, and with the whole graduation thing coming up, he's got all these plans to move on to bigger and better things. As for myself, eh, I've had a couple of late nights getting work done. It's the sort of thing that can really take the wind out of one's blogging sails. Sleep deprivation is nothing new to most of us, however, and we're all familiar enough with the resulting haze and delirium to avoid such situations whenever possible.

Tony Wright, apparently a sleep researcher of some kind, lacks our aversion to the masochistic. He is currently attempting to break the world record for sleep deprivation. He's got a website and, if you can get it to work, even a webcam. Wright is trying to best the record of Randy Gardner, who, in 1964, at the age of 17, stayed awake for 264 hours, or 11 days. Gardner was himself trying to beat an earlier record, Peter Tripp's 8 day session in 1959. (In an aside maybe yet more familiar to some of our readers, Tripp's 'wakeathon' was apparently entirely fueled by Ritalin, and ended in psychotic hallucinations and paranoid delusions).

Anyway, consider the hiatus over, and good luck in all your insomniac endeavors.

May 8, 2007

SA Elections: Travis Green Wins

Travis Green will be Student Body President, with his "running mate" Ian Tapu serving as Vice President. The full results, in somewhat messy form (all 12 "rounds" of runoff), can be found here.
Overall, Nova had a far stronger showing and broader appeal than I think many expected, coming in second place, benefiting about as much as Green from Carlos being eliminated, and being the largest beneficiary of Raj's elimination. For VP, Tapu pretty much dominated off the bat.

Also worth noting, three people writing in our beloved DFP chief Travis Mushett for '08 SA Class Rep was enough to get him elected. Thanks, whoever the other two of you are, Travis is thrilled to serve alongside his fellow luminaries. My consolations to Carlos for not getting the spot, despite having the same exact number of votes.

So, another year, another SA. Let us all rejoice.
(More election results in the comments section).

May 7, 2007

New Dartmouth Group Blog

Three '10s have started a group blog called Dartwire. I know one of them, Adi, and have been impressed by his measured writing and eagerness to look at things squarely. I imagine (and hope) his friends are similarly minded.

Click on over to check them out.

May 6, 2007

The DFP Isn't Much Better at Endorsements

I kid, I kid. There's a difference between lacking the chutzpah to brave political controversy and acknowledging the relatively inconsequential nature of an election. Or maybe The D was on the right track the first time, choosing not to endorse someone over choosing someone thoroughly unqualified and incapable just for the sake of endorsing someone. Or maybe this is all self-serving justification. But you all know I'd never speak poorly of the DFP, and so with that, I present this year's DFP Student Assembly Elections Issue, and the Editorial Board's (non)endorsement.

May 4, 2007

The D Sucks at Endorsements

After a weak and equivocating failure to endorse anyone in the Trustee race, The D editorial board summoned up its consensus-building powers (political fallout be damned, because SA matters!) to make a laughably idiotic suggestion: Voting for Jaromy Siporen.

Clearly swayed by the polished rhetoric of a candidate who advocates massive, radical change, but lacks a plan more substantive than the restoration of crosswalks, The D wants you to vote for Siporen. Or maybe The D is just incensed by the consumer-gouging injustice of Sunja's sushi monopoly. In hopes of restoring a competitive free-market in locally produced, northern New England mock-Japanese food, they are willing to endorse someone who is the (maybe 2nd) least serious and (by a hair) the most toolish candidate in a crowded field of sub-par options.

One might inquire, "Why do this?" Having made their distaste for Carlos evident (the editorial is as much an anti-endorsement of Carlos as it is an endorsement of J. Sip), the D was still left with a few respectable options. But passing up Travis Green as too SA status-quo in favor of Siporen, the defender of inane rules and arcane practice (he was SA Parliamentarian for three years), would suggest this isn't really about who The D thinks is best. For reasons completely beyond me, Siporen has managed to play well with the freshman crowd, and sadly does have a reasonable shot at winning, especially when one considers that Raj and Nova will be splitting votes out of the same demographic. (Can you actually split votes in IRV?) Failing a convincing rationale to endorse anyone, The D just wants to bet on a winning horse.

Well, way to make a well-reasoned decision guys. As SA continues to become yet more of an irrelevant joke, you can all be comforted in knowing that The D gets to march down that road right alongside its candidate.

May 3, 2007

Old White Men Love Reagan, Fetuses

In tonight's GOP debates, the ten candidates waxed patriotic about the state of our union. Ronald Reagan was mentioned 16 times, strict constructionism was applauded, and Roe v. Wade was derided. With the notable exception of Rudy Giuliani, the candidates were unanimous in their condemnation of the landmark 1973 abortion ruling.

Some quotes from tonight's debate:

McCain: I Think The War Is "On The Right Track"...

Huckabee: I Would Have Fired Rumsfeld "Before The Election"...

Giuliani: A Nuclear Iran "Is The Worst Nightmare Of The Cold War, Isn't It?"...

Romney: Bin Laden Is Going To Pay And "He Will Die"...

McCain: I'll Follow Bin Laden "To The Gates Of Hell"...

Brownback: Banning Roe v. Wade Would Be A "Glorious Day Of Human Liberty And Freedom"..."The Life Issue Is What Separates Us From Islamic Fascists...

Tancredo: "Karl Rove Would Certainly Not Be In The White House
That I Inhabited"...

Thompson: "Several Thousand" Injured In Iraq...

Romney: Fitzgerald Was "Outrageous" For Going After Scooter

Farewell Pending

I've realized that I have about two weeks left before my thesis is due. After that, I won't want to do anything. I definitely won't want to blog, and for the next two weeks I almost assuredly won't be blogging (or shouldn't, at least, if I want to get my thesis done). And I hope you all will ridicule me if I blog here after I've graduated.

So that leaves me sort of saying goodbye. I may post intermittently over the next few weeks if something strange or terrible happens, but I hope I'm pretty much done. There will definitely still be posts coming from the others, of course; Niral and the other 08s will see to that.

Thanks for reading.