Monday, March 27, 2006

Chris Dols for ASM Engineering Write-In

Working to rearrange the means of production through the ASM student body?

Information found on Offsides facebook group

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Various Tidbits

Walmart Shrugged

But James Domenico of San Francisco......describing Wal-Mart as a "rapacious and unrelenting competitor that routinely, as company policy, drives smaller competitors out of business."

Sounds like James Taggert instead of James Domenico.

HT: NY Times

Being a Patriot is Pricey
Sick of your blogger domain name and need a address of higher profile, Grant of the Beacon and James (Stanford) are selling their Patriotblog domain name for........$2,500 via Ebay. Sounds a little overpriced to me but I can't say I know a lot about the internet domain market. I wonder how much people would be willing to pay for Timmyscape......any takers???

The Sickening Reality of the Republican Party--from Arlen Specter
One of the few liberal Republicans left in the Senate had something to say about his party colleagues this week:

"The Republican Party is now principally moderate, if not liberal"

This was in response to increase of the debt celing to $9 trillion and the Senate passing a record $2.8 trillion. Sad thing is that Specter's words are true. I hate the reality of our national government and the National Republican Party but what are we suppose to do??

ASM Campaign Folly
The ASM campaign trail is filled with candidates claiming "fiscal responsiblity". This rhetoric is usually claimed by most if not all candidates of all different slates. Whether they are really fiscally responsible though is a legitimate question. Now in 2006, candidates are moving beyond fiscal responsiblity towards making actual claims of returning money to the students. And no, this isn't David Lapidus, Kellie Sanders, or someone that actually could make this claim based on their record....proceed to SAP's candidate Sree Atluru's facebook campaign site and read the following:

3. Being fiscally responsible and making sure to get money back into your pockets.

What?? If SSFC this last year had 17 Sree Atluru's, the students would not be getting any money back this next year and SEG fees would have gone up. She continuously voted with FUSE members (Knox, Edwards) against most if not all cuts, did not propose cuts, and basically sat silent during the last few budgets of the year including UWRCF and CFACT. Unless some dramatic political or fiscal change of philosophy, the only pockets that Sree is fattening are the GSSF groups. Props to Badgerzach, NotQuiteRight, for helping return money to the students for next year.

Shameless Plug for Robin Hood Slate
The one group of students that has a record of standing up to GSSF interests is the Robin Hood Slate and we're against funding excessive student group salaries, trip request, social gathering requests, food requests, etc. The historic model has been to make small pithy cuts or give whatever the student groups want in terms of funding. Our candidates are here to change that. Our candidates understand that ASM Student Government should be used to support practical ventures such as keeping the UW Administration off the backs of students, funding an economical textbook rental plan, etc. Student government's main roles should not include lobbying state and national issues or promoting forms of social justice. You pay $600+ a year in SEG fees and with the election of our candidates, hopefully we can lower these fees and can lead the campus with respect and pragmatism.

Special Advocacy:
1. Vote Craig Nipple in the School of Business. Rath's voting record on Nominations points towards obstructionism and on ASM Council, shows that he's not moderate but rather liberal. Rath should not win in the most conservative school on campus. Nipple assures a solid voice of fiscal responsiblity and small government.
2. Vote Adam Putzer or Amy Reinke in Letters and Science. These 2 candidates especially need our votes where other candidates have enough of backing to surely get on Council (ie Lapidus).

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Republicans Must Not Be Hypocritical On Life

One of the easiest ways to degrade your political opponent on either side of the aisle or whatever point on the spectrum is to accuse them of being hypocritical. For instance, easy points to criticize the left are:

1. Pushing for low-income housing while putting growth controls on development.
2. Not supporting international trade agreements and claiming support for third world poverty efforts.
3. Pushing civil libertarian positions on drugs but then at the same time pushing nanny state positions on tobacco and food/obesity.

These are simply examples and its clear that often positions a political party or member takes can be seen as contradictory. One of the positions the left and the public at large can see as hypocritical is the dominant stance of the Republican Party on life, particularly abortion and the death penalty. The Republican party will most likely in the near future not abandon its stance on abortion (to do so would be political suicide) yet it should should move towards a conclusive pro-personhood stance advocating against the death penalty.

Brad V layed out the major reasons for opposition to the death penalty in terms of its ability deter, punish, or remove a threat. Obviously murderers are not a threat to society if they are sentenced and forced to serve life in prison. While prison is fairly tame in our modern society, who would actually want to sit there for life and is not dying (albeit 10-20 years later) a easy opt out? I'd rather fry for 1 second in an electric chair than spend decades more in prison. The fact is there is no evidence that the death penalty actually prevents homicide, especially when you consider that many of the people who commit murder are not mentally stable. While considering the effectiveness of the death penalty in stopping homicide, we also must consider how much it costs to prosecute and put someone to death. According to the death penalty information center, Texas spends an estimated $2.3 million dollars per case. In other states it costs even more per case due to the extensive legal process involved. From a cost-benefit case, this is not financially intelligent especially when looking at other possible uses such as increased law enforcement. While touching on the determent and financial aspects, another issue that I won't go further into is wrong decisions (check out Northwestern's study) and executing innocent citizens.

The ultimate issue though for Republicans is whether they see justice in the death penalty and do they find it moral and ethical to take someone's life even if they have done a horribly bad thing. Many will take "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" position but is the way our society should run and is this a moral or even Christian position. When someone hurts you physically, mentally, possibly even financially in a wrongful manner, the next move should not be to get back at them or get even. It should be to address their sin openly and ask them for repayment in a "sorry" or other justified manner. If legal issues were violated and can't be settled personally, then the answer is to obviously go to court and find retribution. While a murderer may not ever be able to pay the people they hurt back for killing someone in their family or close friends, compassion and forgiveness should be our main response. In the following passage, Jesus's main point was to expose the hypocrisy of the Pharissees. But I believe this passage is important and strikes a precedent of the kind of compassion and forgiveness we ought to show also.

John 8

1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

While there are passages in the Bible that show pro death penalty tendencies (Genesis 9:6), the Bible does not offer strict guidelines to the procedure. In fact, the Bible does not offer much guidance to what role the government should play in our society. However, the Bible does advocate justice, compassion, forgiveness, etc. and in my opinion, we should let God handle life and death, not society. People can be transformed through hearing the Gospel and time, prison, and grace often does change people. While protecting society and advocating justice, Republicans must also be consistent in promoting pro-life views and supporting the existence of individuals. The hypocrisy on life within conservative circles must end.

Campus Political Posters Are Hilarious

Recent Thread from the Varney article in the Herald:
Anonymous....ie Timmyscape (March 21, 2006 @ 9:24pm):

Thank you Eric Varney for being the leader the campus really needs. Instead of focusing on useless social justice activities and educational lobbying, ASM is actually making a difference on the real issues affecting the campus. The Robin Hood Slate elected an excellent chair and hopefully will again use their power to elect smart and articulate campus leaders this next year.

Anonymous (March 22, 2006 @ 1:05am):

"ASM is actually making a difference on the real issues affecting the campus."

What has Varney done to make a difference on campus?

Textbooks- oh wait, that's Academic Affairs and volunteers.
Bar Age- oh wait, that's Vice Chair Rath and volunteers.
SAFEcab- oh wait, that's Rath and volunteers again.
Military parades- oh wait, that was Sivret and volunteers.

Facilitated worthless council meetings? That's something I'll give him credit for.

"Instead of focusing on useless social justice activities and educational lobbying"

So what you're saying is, students shouldn't know their rights, there shouldn't be diversity (white-only school?), gays should be treated as second-class citizens, poor kids-those most in need of a hand up-should be kept at community colleges where they belong, and students should just put up and shut up, and not try to shape the world they're about to go off into? I guess if we don't like it, we can just move off to France, I hear their students are happy about the new job laws.

All Robin Hood seeks to do is elect more mindless flag-waving McCarthyists and try to cut every program that is valuable to students until only a private university is left. Oh wait, they still want to fund CFACT.

I think there are legitimate criticisms of Varney's chairship but I think he has done a decent job objectively leading Council Meetings, focusing on the few issues that ASM should be taking on, and giving good media bytes. You have to love the crap coming right out of the ass of this anon poster. "Still want to fund CFACT".....um.....CFACT's budget: Lapidus "No", Schulz "No", Harbin "No". "Textbook===Academic Affairs"....wait a second, Varney came up with the financial cash flow statements that will probably actual propel this program forward. Do you think any of the other Academic Affairs staff would have had the knowledge to do this...no way! Have fun reading the rest of the pitiful post.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Every once in a while I spot a bumper sticker that really catches my attention and make me realize how many misguided people there are in our society. Driving back to our condominium in Frisco (CO) after sking in Breckenridge, I was stuck behind a Suburban that had an extremely intelligent sticker reading "CAFTA, NAFTA, SHAFTA". While the goal of freer trade has been promoted by the majority of economists, politicians (Democrats, Republicans) and educated elite, it seems as though public opinion and political actions are moving in the direction of protectionism and antiglobalization. Last summer even with Republican majorities in both Congressional houses, it took a huge push by Bush and Republican leaders to get a very small trade deal passed in CAFTA. This year Schumer and Graham proposed a bill placing tariffs on Chinese imports of 27%. While the antitraders throw out rhetoric about currency valuation, labor standards, environmental standards, etc. , what they really worry about is a neoliberal world in which some American workers and industries might lose their artificial comparative advantage. For instance, one of the main special interests that showed their political strength last summer when CAFTA was up for vote was the Sugar Industry who did not want to lose their artificial advantage (through historic tariffs). They lobbied many house of representatives in southern states into voting against the bill. Sugar tariffs cost the average American family an average of $20 a year and all to benefit an industry of about 38,000 workers ("International Economics" by Krugman). When I wrote my representative Ron Kind in voting in favor of CAFTA, I got a lame response that the deal did not include labor or environmental standards. Does he expect poorer countries such as Honduras or Panama to put in place high air and water quality laws and minimum wage laws when people of these countries simply need jobs in order put food on the table and a roof on their heads? While I clearly wish that developing states were able to put stricter environmental laws in place and had higher average wages, giving them a level playing field especially in terms of the world's largest export market is so much more important to their quality of life and future development. There's also certainly a sense of fear in middle America and the public majority in terms of outsourcing of jobs and Mexican inmigration. It seems that instead of taking the proper actions such as upgrading their job skills, seeking more education, and welcoming hardworking Latinos who keep our economy running, they fear global competition and a larger supply of unskilled workers. This probably should scare the high school drop-outs who fumbled the ball in terms of their education but it should not scare the majority of the American public who have already have a huge advantage in terms of education, language, and skills. The fact is though that overall, these inmigrants are getting paid $8 instead of $1 an hour, have an apartment roof over their head instead of a shack, and are starting to experience the American dream. From a utlitarian perspective, a free global economy with open borders and open trade is clearly the right choice. From an objectivist perspective, for the government to choose favorite industries and constrict people's geographical choices is wrong. Moving the US and the world towards neoliberalism is the fair and ethical choice, contrary to what the America public and paleocons say.