Apparently Lino Graglia was so impressed by student activists' success in overturning anti-affirmative action decisions that he feels the same strategy may miraculously entice the Supreme Court to revisist this issue yet again:
"Surely there must be among today's student activists a group willing to take to the ramparts to fight for racial equality and the end of race preference. Where is the much needed Student Government Anti-racist political party running on a platform of protest against, not encouragement of, the University's racially discriminatory policies? If elected, it would be that rare student government party that can actually accomplish a great good."
You can read the rest of his pathetic and untimely call to arms in today's Daily Texan.
Note to Lino, Ward and the rest of your ilk: isn't it time to move on?
About a month ago I bought a new Powerbook 15" laptop. I'm absolutely enamored with it. However, a few weeks back I started to notice some annoying white spots where the brightness of the LCD was irregular. I'd originally mistaken them as a glare from my window but they never went away. I called last week to see about getting it fixed and was told I could take my computer to a local authorized repair shop for analysis. I haven't done so yet because it soon became appearant that there's nothing a repair shop can do - it's an engineering flaw. Check out all of the postings on Apple's own website about this and, if you're lucky enough to enjoy the same problem, sign the petition to demand that Apple addresses the issue. The petition alone has over 600 signatures...I think there maybe a major recall in Apple's near future.
Don Rumsfeld just doesn’t understand why the world beyond the White House doesn’t see things his way. The solution? Yet another proposal for a U.S. Office of Propaganda aka "21st-century information agency in the government". Rumsfeld hinted at the agency (in response to a leaked memo) in an interview in the Republican-friendly Washington Times.
Deja vu, anyone? The Office of Strategic Influence was tossed out due to public outrage but some folks believe its activities never ceased.
I didn't realize the strength of my powers to predict the future:
"The Selective Service System wants to hear from men and women in the community who might be willing to serve as members of a local draft board."
Elliot Smith died yesterday as the result of a self-inlicted knife wound. I sad end to a seemingly painful life. I saw him play live at Waterloo Records several years ago and it was magical. A few hundred mesmerized people packed the store to hear him play. I've always been partial to his cover of John Lennon's Jealous Guy. He'll be missed.
NPR ran two interesting stories on how the Bush administration is spinning the news on Iraq by carefully controlling media access. You can listen to the first story here or second story here. Newsweek also ran a short piece on this issue.
I've been ignoring my blog lately, partly because of school, partly because the news has been too overwhelming to digest and discuss.
Israel has really stepped up military attacks in the past week, including launching a number of air strikes on the Gaza strip. It seems incomprehensible that this could possibly lead to anything productive and, surprisingly, even Israeli ministers are speaking out about the danger of the attacks.
The war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan continue, without any end in sight. Nevertheless, the neocons, emboldened by their self-righteous worldview and convenient lack of conscious, are already making plans to take on Syria next:
"Perle said he hoped the US would itself take action against Damascus, particularly if it turned out that Syria was acting as a financial or recruiting base for the insurgency in Iraq. "Syria is itself a terrorist organization," he asserted, insisting that Washington would not find it difficult to send troops to Damascus despite its commitment in Iraq. "Syria is militarily very weak," added Perle."
Sometimes I worry that we're headed down a path to another world war. Even if that doesn't happen, comitting American soldiers to war zones all over the world must eventually lead to a draft, especially when half of US soldiers surveyed in Iraq report they don't plan to re-enlist.
Of course, things could get worse. A recent investigation by the Blade newspaper has unearthed a disturbing chapter from U.S. Military history:
"Soldiers of the Tiger Force unit of the Army's 101st Airborne Division dropped grenades into bunkers where villagers -- including women and children -- hid, and shot farmers without warning, the newspaper reported. Soldiers told the Blade that they severed ears from the dead and strung them on shoelaces to wear around their necks."
We went to war on Iraq for similar acts of terrorism; the US military responded to this one by quietly ending the investigation a few decades ago.
"The alternative peace plan is the result of two years of secret negotiations between members of the Israeli opposition and Palestinian representatives. Both sides have hailed the accord as a blueprint for ending the Middle East conflict, but some Middle East observers have doubts..."
Rapid advances in technology have accelerated the capacity of government and business to gather personal information on American citizens. Furthermore, the social shockwaves of September 11th made it politically feasible to rationalize these invasions in the name of national security for the first time since the Cold War. We must act now to come to a consensus about how our society defines the right to privacy, codify its protection through legislation, and guarantee implementation through a federal privacy commission.
“Instantaneous photographs and newspaper enterprise have invaded the sacred precincts of private and domestic life; and numerous mechanical devices threaten to make good the prediction that "what is whispered in the closet shall be proclaimed from the house-tops.”
It was 1890 when Justice Louis D. Brandeis and his colleague Samuel Warren published these words in their well-known Harvard Law Review article “The Right to Privacy”. Concerned that new technologies and changing social mores threatened Americans’ private lives, Warren and Brandeis argued legal protection of “the right to be left alone” is warranted because “political, social, and economic changes entail the recognition of new rights and common law, in its eternal youth, grows to meet the demands of society.”
As in Warren and Brandeis’ era, we are once again faced with dramatic changes that create an opportunity, or as many believe, a mandate, to address privacy protections through U.S. Law.
Our current body of law regarding privacy is pieced together from implied Constitutional protections, disparate legislation, and judicial precedents on a variety of topics. As such, it is controversial, self-conflicting, and insufficient to safeguard the public. Our rapidly evolving society needs a clear privacy standard that is flexible enough to provide guidance on both contemporary issues and unforeseen future events.
Just as the Food and Drug Administration sorts through highly technical information to provide the public with policies to protect our health, creating a commission to monitor privacy protections would be an important safeguard for the public. Every American would benefit from formalizing our privacy rights and establishing a federal oversight commission. Technological innovation revolutionized methods for gathering and sharing private information more quickly than our awareness and ability to understand these methods has matured. Most people have some awareness of security issues relating to personal data, thanks in large part to media accounts of identity. But are Americans fully aware of increasingly common affronts to our privacy?
An October 2003 survey by Bentley College's Center for Business Ethics found that 92% of employers monitor employee’s use of the Internet and email at work. Privacy laws passed in 2001 allow businesses to aggregate and share data with one another, enabling them to create a complete profile of an individual’s financial status, consumption patterns, and demographics that can be accessed by anyone the company chooses – all without notifying consumers. Clearly these issues impact every American.
Without a formal right to privacy, our other rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – are incomplete. Elected officials should take action to guard our privacy though legislation and create of an oversight commission at the federal level to guarantee implementation. Americans must demand privacy protections before our rights are decided for us.
Paul Krugman has an interesting piece on perils created by the U.S. gap between spending and revenue.
USA Today reports that we shouldn't give up on Clark yet. The article states that the General supports reviewing all death-penalty cases and imposing labor and environmental standards on all future trade agreements...perhaps he's finally pulling together a solid policy agenda as well?
My friend Anothony recommends this Globalization Debate between representatives from the Economist and the Nation. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet but it sounds promising.
In today's Times, Matt Bai reports on the Center for American Progress and questions whether the Democratic establishment is truly ready for change.
I think this article on the failure of the American media raises some interesting ideas. My question: can the Internet save journalism from its corporate and partisan stranglehold?
I caught about half of tonight’s Democratic debate…I’m curious what other folks thought. Carol Mosely Braun, Kucinich, and Sharpton were the most engaging speakers and, naturally, unlikely to succeed in the primaries. I thought Clark did better than before and Dean and Kerry were both okay but no one swept me away…
Meanwhile, our president told America today that the situation in Iraq is "a lot better than you probably think". Note to President – don’t underestimate the intelligence of the American people:
1. The UN won’t get involved until the current administration gives up some control in Iraq
2. The Turks are the only ones interested in sending troops under the current situation and the Governing Council of Iraqi opposes their participation
3. At the same time things are better than we think, a suicide bomber killed himself and nine others, injuring 45 people today.
I think the facts speak louder than the spin. Check out Truth, War, and Consequences on PBS this evening if you get a chance.
Well, it looks like the Wesley Clark for President movement maybe falling apart even more quickly than his opponents could have hoped....Donnie Fowler, Clark's Campaign Manager, resigned today, signaling trouble for what has been a lackluster performance anyway.
In the mean time, I'm eagerly awaiting the results of the California recall election. Cali's been on my list of places to consider moving post graduation but the possible election of the Terminator might just change my mind...
My blog promises “rants news politics pop culture” but I feel like the latter is somewhat lacking. This isn’t really a “pop culture” topic, per se, but I invite your participation in deciphering a few puzzles.
My mother grew up in Missouri and Alabama and, over the years, I’ve been forced to recognize that our family’s lexicon is a bit different from my peers’. Laugh, scowl, or sympathize as you will, I present you with the following terms for discussion and hope to learn more about our weird variations through your comments:
1. “her-uh-can”, southern pronunciation of hurricane – my mother refuses to pronounce the “her-ic-cane” version that the national weather service uses and I feel obligated to respect this since she’s survived quite a few…
2. “an-tan-ah”, variation on antenna. This one never showed up until I was 16 and car-worthy but it still haunts me…
3. “Ill-in-noise” – why/when did it become the French “ill-annoy” in my life? I’m not sure. This must be a case of geography teachers that have never left their hometown…
4. “rew-ent” aka “ruint”, mispronunciation of “ruined” that I can’t explain and, with much embarrassment, I avoid using the past tense of ruin at all costs to this day. Non-English speakers always complain about our R-words and this one makes me understand why because, frankly, “ruined” makes me cringe every time.
Maybe I’m making myself a bit too vulnerable to criticism but the pronunciation of these words and many others continues to fascinate me every day. Have similar stories? Let me know about them…
John Ashcroft loves special prosecutors:
"you know, a single allegation can be most worthy of a special prosecutor..."
Check out this transcript from 1997.
Check out these kids at Swarthmore College who've started the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons. They've received notice from Lawrence Lessig and a few dozen other blogs (including BoingBoing, where I found it) after an article in their school paper caught the public's attention. Could this be the rise of some sort of digital commons student movement?
People have really had just about all they can take. I was on the steering committee for a TARAL event last night that broke all previous records by $10k. There's a lot of potential for change...
TrueMajorityACTION's first project is to brand George Bush as a liar. So we're building a 12' high statue of our president with his pants on fire (using artificial flames) which we will drive all over the country on his very own flatbed trailer. It'll take $30,000 from our members to get George and his pants on the road. So if you like this idea, we really need your help. Please click here to donate and become a member in good standing with TrueMajorityACTION.
There are benefits to attending a public policy school - meeting people that have interesting connections is certainly one of them. A friend of mine once worked for a certain Texas Democratic Party bigwig that helped organize an event for John Kerry this afternoon. The event was rumored to be a $750 a head fundraiser but through their generosity (and, I presume, desire to have young folks in the audience) I was invited to attend with a handful of my fellow students, gratis.
Folks that follow this blog regularly know that I’m partial to Clark and Dean but, as of yet, undecided. As with Clark and Dean, I found that I liked Kerry. His policy instincts are correct, he comes across as a sincere guy, and his experience in DC could certainly provide him with an advantage when dealing with Congress. To my surprise, he’s also a bit awkward, almost dorky, in person. He’s a tall guy with wiley grey hair and he rocks on the balls of his feet when he’s speaking like a shy teenager giving a presentation in social studies. It’s quite endearing. But don’t get me wrong – this guy is a polished politician just the same. When I met him he boomed “It’s nice to meet you, Sarah!” having read my nametag before I had a chance to offer my name. That’s precisely why I’d be hesitant to endorse him as a candidate – I’m just not sure he can convince Average Joe and Joelene that he’s in touch.
Kerry gave a brief speech that I enjoyed. Better than Dean and Clark, he’s skilled at the art of attacking Bush with policy points, which was refreshing. He hit on the big issues – health care, social security, Republican cooptation of patriotism, etc. I would have liked him to speak more to social justice issues, especially as one of the wealthiest guys in the Democratic race.
In sharp contrast to the Clark rally I attended Monday, this event was crawling with Democratic who’s-who. Bernard Rappaport, John Sharp, Ben Barnes, Gonzalo Barrientos, and Elliot Naishtat were all there. Those of us who are veterans of the anti-Hopwood era might be surprised that Lowell Leberman – the lone, ornery University of Texas Regent that got stuck addressing student concerns simply because he lived in Austin – was there beaming. I almost felt bad about rousing him from bed at all hours – the guy looks much older to me now but that could be perspective speaking. My biggest kick of the evening was meeting Brewster McCracken. He is – in my limited exposure – a great guy. I’m finally satisfied that I voted for a good guy, not just the candidate that opposed the smoking ban.
All said and done, it was a fun afternoon but I’m still playing the field before I settle on a candidate. At this rate I might as well see them all.
If hard-core right-wingers really hope to convince us all that America is in their pocket, they ought to show a better performance in mainstream media. First there was Michael Savage , who lost his MSNBC position after he made disturbing anti-gay comments. Now it’s Rush Limbaugh, who resigned from ESPN after his incendiary comments about an African-American quarterback put him in an awkward position among America’s most notoriously left-wing subculture: football fans. I can only hope that a reputable news organization hires Ann Coulter next…
Karl Rove is looking more and more like the guilty party in the White House’s illegal leak of intelligence regarding Ambassodor Wilson’s wife. See Molly Ivins’ column this week for more on Rove’s spotless reputation. I’m pleased to announce that this story adds one more notch in my John Ashcroft belt as well. I’m going to have to write a book about the guy at this point.
Today's Talking Points Memo has a very interesting interview with Wes Clark. Clark comes off as a bright guy and, for the first time I've seen, demonstrates that he really has thought through some domestic policy issues. Let's see if he can translate this into soundbites for public consumption...
I'm off to a John Kerry event this afternoon. I'm excited to see how a "Washington insider" compares with Dean and Clark in person...