Archive for the ‘Serious Business’ Category

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Divestment: An Alternative Viewpoint

April 16, 2010

Let me say up front that this is not a polemic. I come here today not to demonize anyone, nor to call into question the righteousness of anybody’s cause. I merely feel that in all the hullabaloo about the proposed divestment from Israel, some perspective has been lost. I understand that those in favor feel that we should do all we can to pressure the Israeli government to moderate its policies toward the Palestinians in order to facilitate the peace process, and I understand that opponents feel that divestment would unfairly punish Israelis for the deeds of their leaders. The debate has been rigorous, to say the least. But in the end I  must side with opponents of divestment, for this reason:

Israelis need their vests.

I don’t think the proponents of divestment are unfeeling towards Israelis. They just haven’t stopped to think about the sartorial damage the action would cause to the nation’s fashionable citizenry. Israelis use vests for numerous occasions: black tie galas, chilly days, Wacky Vest Day at Jerusalem High. Do we really want to take all that away from them for the sake of making a political point?

Do we really want Israelis never to look this badass? (If you can't see the picture, it's a guy in a great vest.)

Vests serve many important functions in society, not just in Israel but everywhere. They keep our police officers safe from bandits, our dress shirts unstained, and our cabaret singers dapper. No society should be deprived of its vests, no matter how much we may dislike its foreign policy. Therefore, instead of divestment from Israel, I propose a revestment of Palestine.

Isn't this Palestinian vest nice?

Let us send more vests to the Palestinian people. Let us shower them with comfortably-fitting three-piece suits and jaunty old-timey wear. We cannot let Hamas be the group people depend on for their vest supply. Even better, why not convince Israel to begin a program of vest exchange? A people who would share their vests are clearly a people who can be negotiated with in confidence. I look forward to a world in which Israelis and Palestinians can live as neighbors in peace and harmony, secure in the knowledge that they will never again be under fire, underfed, or underdressed.

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“Serious” Business: MoveOn The Movie

August 4, 2009

Finally! Accomplished spammers and sometime political activists MoveOn.Org have given the American public what it craves: a movie about MoveOn.Org! Yes, they’ve gone and made a feature-length documentary about what MoveOn.Org calls “the biggest progressive grass-roots movement seen in the United States since the 1960s!” Can you believe it?! For only twenty freakin’ dollars you! can become the proud owner of the first-ever feature-length movie by MoveOn, for MoveOn! Ah, but fellas, fellas, don’t take my word for it. Just go ahead and suck some trailer up in your eye sockets!

Is this gonna be the most blatantly masturbatory film since The Brown Bunny? The most transparently self-congratulatory work since the Sqlog? The stupidest conceivable waste of donor money? Yes! Yes! GOD yes!

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Serious Business: A preemptive eulogy for UCB? No one’s listening.

August 2, 2009

seriousbusiness

Two days ago, my favorite source of sudoku puzzles ran an article where Birgeneau responded to the allegedly “widely-circulated blog post on the Atlantic Magazine Web site.” Man, I can’t believe I missed seeing that! Maybe I should check out the Atlantic site more often, or maybe read the Daily Cal Blog regularly for Berkeley-related internet news.

Dickish sarcasm aside, I’m sure I would have caught this blog post if I bothered to check Twitter, ever.

Here’s the blog post in question. Here is an excerpt:

The damage to the university is likely to be irreversible. It will be less able to compete with other institutions in the hiring of distinguished faculty. Funding for complex research will be less accessible. Tuition fees will inevitably rise, as they’ve already risen, putting the place out of reach for the underprivileged. Staff will be let go. Programs will be zeroed out. No doubt Berkeley will remain an estimable institution, and a significant player in the intellectual and economic life of the state. But its days as one of the very greatest universities in the country are clearly numbered.

Birgeneau’s solution? More private funding!

Daily Cal commenters band together to make me agree with them, and therefore feel bad about myself:

As long as the Top Cop at Cal hauls in a cool $200k per year *I* will not give one blue dime to this school.

This is the wrong path to go down. A lot of our brightest students (those in the middle to upper middle income range) turn down top privates in order to go here because they can save tens of thousands of dollars a year. Once that incentive is gone, you may well see a brain drain on our university. Who wants to go to a school that can’t retain top profs and offers few student services? If Birgenau actually wants to make this work he needs to increase Berkeley’s appeal FIRST. If you’re going to ask for market value, you need to make sure that market value is high and increasing not plummeting as it currently is.

My advice to students: graduate quickly because soon the diploma will be about as meaningful as one from CSU.

But then again, the Daily Cal comments section is still the Daily Cal comments section:

I would also like to point out, if it were not for those hippies, the draft would still be around and you would probably be overseas being shot at.

Moreso than the budget crisis, etcetera, etcetera, the Daily Cal comments section gives me anxiety about getting a degree from Berkeley, out of all institutions.

On the other hand, I shouldn’t worry too much about it. It’s a small minority of the campus that bothers to comment on dailycal.org. (Sometimes I like to imagine what their lives are like. *thoughtful silence*)

In reality, no one else is listening. This is because students are stupid and pretty much useless. Good riddance, I say.

*takes a dump on a student’s chest; increases pay for UC execs*

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Serious Business: “Bleaching” the UC; or, Fuck those Whiteys

July 20, 2009

seriousbusiness

I know our readership prefers videos of farts and poops to “sober, thoughtful commentary”, but unfortunately I only have so many farts and poops to offer you.

I’ve been fairly out of the Berkeley news loop, given that I’ve been spending about 60% of the last two weeks not in Berkeley. Also someone other than Andrew Sullivan is blogging over at the Daily Dish for the time being and that’s enough anti-incentive to keep me away from blogosphere. So to speak.

The last sober, thoughtful commentative post was put up about four days too late, and now that I’ve spend the last hour or so reading up on the recent queef in the face that the UC administration has offered up to the student body, my blogging Tourette’s forces me to comment on this particular op ed.

The writers (Christine Hong, Catherine Lee, and Andrew Leong; incidentally, it’s also illustrated by Alan Chen) complain that the administration has been brutally dismissive of the impact of new admissions policy as well as the UC Berkeley cuts on the Asian (and APA) population.

Although intended to promote greater African American, Chicano/Latino and Native American admissions, the new policy, as the UC’s own commissioned study and data indicate, will have negligible impact on the designated target populations while decreasing Asian and APA admissions rates by 10-20 percent. At the same time, white admissions are projected to increase by 20 percent or more. Far from diversifying the UC student body, this misguided policy will result in the latter’s dramatic bleaching. As Professor Emeritus of ethnic studies Ling-Chi Wang, notes, the new admissions policy is essentially “affirmative action for whites … extremely unfair to Asian-Americans on the one hand and underrepresented minorities on the other.”

Oh wait, just in case you didn’t catch it the first time:

…white admissions are projected to increase by 20 percent or more.

What? I didn’t quite hear you.

…white admissions are projected to increase by 20 percent or more.

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