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by Jason Overman
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005
CalStuff No Longer Resides Here:
CalStuff.blogsome.com Site Goes Live
Please access CalStuff at calstuff.blogsome.com. Withing a day or so, www.calstuff.com will also point to that new site. Information about how things will be different and some of the new features can be found here: http://calstuff.blogsome.com/2005/06/15/welcome-to-the-new-calstuff/Email This Post!
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Article About Berkeley Researcher Who Explores Clandestine Areas
This SF BayGuardian article is from a while ago. It has the story of Trevor Paglen, "A UC Berkeley geographer [who] maps the secret military bases of the American West – where billions of dollars disappear into creepy clandestine projects."
The article is lengthy, but has all sorts of interesting information about what Paglen thinks is going on. For instance, he thinks that the UFO rumors about Area 51 were spread by the CIA to divert attention away from the military experiments and technology that was being developed there. Here is a brief bio of Paglen and explanation of his work from the article:
I met Paglen about 10 years ago when we were both hanging out at East Bay punk gigs. He's still got a punkish edge, favoring dark jeans and cowboy boots and punctuating many of his comments with slang and obscenities. All this camouflages, to some degree, his eclectic braininess: Before pursuing geography, Paglen earned degrees in religious studies (with a minor in musical composition) and art. As you read this, the Lab, a San Francisco gallery, is displaying Paglen's solo show "Recording Carceral Landscapes," a chilling commentary on California's leviathan prison system.
Go read the whole thing.Email This Post!
Monday, June 13, 2005
Have Too Much Time On Your Hands Next Semester?
The ASUC executives have put application forms up for their offices. Mid-level positions (with stipends) should still be available if anyone is interested.Email This Post!
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Old Buried Part of Berkeley to Be Unburied, Viewed by Public
At the foot of an oak-studded hillside facing Doe Library on the UC Berkeley campus, a team of UC students is hard at work this month unearthing the remains of what was once one of the most prominent and distinctive buildings in the Berkeley landscape.The article is quite lengthy, and has a bunch more information on the building and archaelogical effort. I'll be out of Berkeley for the next week, which means I'll be missing both the strike and this, but hopefully some Berkeley bloggers can show up and take some pictures at those two events.
Update: From Allen-Beast Blog posted up some pictures of the dig.Email This Post!
More Striking! (CUE This Time)
Berkeley NewsCenter: (links to previous articles about the issues that led to this strike at the previous link)
The Coalition of University Employees (CUE) union, representing clerical workers at the University of California, has announced a three-day strike at UC Berkeley and other University of California campuses beginning Monday, June 13.I tried to follow the AFSCME negotations pretty closely, reading over their demands and the university offers. This is like the third strike in the last couple of months, and I haven't been following what has been happening with CUE, so I have no idea who is being more unreasonable here.Email This Post!
Friday, June 10, 2005
*UPDATE* Whistlerblower Beat Down Not Related to Whisteblowing
When I originally posted about this rather odd story, I expressed extreme doubt that an employee of the Los Alamos lab had been jumped in order to persuade him not to testify against the government, and now an investigation has determined that the fight that occurred was not related to the lab. Here is the AP update:
An attack on a Los Alamos nuclear lab auditor outside a bar was unrelated to his status as a whistleblower, authorities said Thursday, calling into question the man's allegation that he was beaten to ensure his silence.If this new account is accurate, and my belief is that it is substantially true, then I have nothing but contempt for Mr. Hook. Lying about the reason he visited a strip club was bad enough, but that he did it in a way that tarnishes the credibility of whistleblowers is quite shameful.Email This Post!
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Anything We Can Do, Stanfurd Does Better?
Berkeley has seemingly been the butt of media attention lately, especially following the poor news with the Greeks, Los Alamos, etc. But now, Berkeley is being put to shame over, of all things, its stalling stadium renovation plans. New plans are in the works to put a $85 million new stadium in Palo Alto by the 2006 season - and they're just starting now. I guess there's something to be said about having a strong donor program and a fraction of Cal's bureaucracy. Compare the facts:
Cal has only raised $25 million - Stanford needs almost $25 million to finish
Cal has spent five years in preliminary stages - Stanford will finish in three
Cal has won the last three Big Games - Stanford won around 3 games in 2004
Two out of three ain't bad I guess.
The San Jose Mercury News elaborates on this in a decent article while pointing out that the new Cardinal Stadium will have 30,000 less seats than the current venue. This means one of two things: either the Big Game will have to be moved during away years, or Cal students will be screwed out of a large percentage of its seating bloc it usually receives for the rivalry game. Neither scenario is very promising.Email This Post!
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Warren Beatty Speech at Berkeley Spawns Draft Beatty for Governor Effort
Famed actor Warren Beatty gave a very well received speech before the Goldman School of Public Policy for their graduation. The speech attracted much media attention because of the sharp criticisms of Governor Schwarzenegger and the hints it provided that Beatty might be eyeing a run for the Governor's mansion. [Most memorable line of the speech: "It's become time to define a Schwarzenegger Republican. A Schwarzenegger Republican is a Bush Republican who says he's a Schwarzenegger Republican."]
Following that speech, a blog post by Ezra Klein inspired an effort by some people (largely living and working in SF) to encourage Beatty to run for Governor, which I became involved with. There is now a website for the Draft Beatty campaign, and I've addded that button which links to the site over on the right sidebar. [It's for free, I'm not being paid for it.]
I've been helping out with the effort, and when the semester rolls around I will be starting a "Draft Beatty" group on campus. You can read my comments on Beatty's time freeing up after a lawsuit interfered with his latest movie plans, why we shouldn't dismiss Beatty just because he's a celebrity, and general comments on the ability of citizens to draft our leaders. So if we end up with Beatty as our replacement for Schwarzenegger, it will be his speech here at Berkeley that made that possible. If anyone wants to get involved in the Draft Warren effort, shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you some more information.
[For the record, my support for Beatty or the ad doesn't mean that Ben or Allen or CalStuff supports him also.]Email This Post!
Professor Bruce Cain Receives New DC Post
Professor Bruce Cain has been chosen to be the new director of the UC Washington Center, which hosts the UCDC program as well as special debates and symposiums promoted by the UC system.
For those of you not familiar with Cain, he is one of those professors who always gives choice quotes to newspapers on anything "political" in the news. I guess all the publicity finally paid off for him. Additionally, Cain has been the director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at Berkeley since 1999, and according to the article, will remain at that post for at least one more year. He is also supposed to be a decent lecturer - most of the feedback I hear about him is pretty positive. Hopefully, this isn't one more administrator/faculty member leaving the Berkeley campus.Email This Post!
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Los Alamos Employee Gets a Beat Down (Literally)
A Los Alamos lab whistle-blower scheduled to testify before Congress was badly beaten in an attack outside a Santa Fe bar.More information in the article about the details of the incident, and a picture of the victim looking substantially worse for the wear. For more information on possible intimidation against whisteblowers at the lab, see this post on Tommy Hook and Chuck Montano from Politech. For a round up of recent details about this case and links to other information, see this blog post at Defense Tech.
Something like this seems too crazy to be true. I can't imagine that some lab or UC employee actually ordered that someone suing them should be jumped. With the Feds investigating, I assume we'll hear more about the details of what happened.
[Thanks to CalStuff bro E.W. for the tip.]Email This Post!
The Oakland Tribune reports Maria C. Ledesma, a grad student at UCLA who recieved her Bachelor's degree at Berkeley, has been named a UC regent. She has researched race and admissions, and has been involved with the minority recuritment, particuarly hispanics. Ledesma was an author of a study on education of Latinas. While at Berkeley, she worked with the Early Academic Outreach Program. Previous regents have had similar positions, as is the case with outgoing regent Adam Rosenthal.Email This Post!
Charity Money Going to AIDS Walk SF
This was certainly a good suggestion though:
I propose that I form a loosely-defined charity group which will promptly funnel all of this money into something completely useless and very fun. Currently I am thinking a bunch of 10 cent feeder fish for Sproul Fountain.[If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's something from the Facebook group, which you should join so that you can be in the know too.]Email This Post!
Monday, June 06, 2005
(Wrongly Convicted?) Sex Offender in Berkeley Facing Harasment
I came across a very interesting story in the Contra Costa Times about UC Berkeley student Arvind Balu. You should really read the whole thing, but here is a brief description of what is happening:
*"Arvind Balu's friend was said to have raped a 14-year-old girl while Balu cut her arm and licked the blood from it. They were convicted in a Lake County courtroom in 1998." Information about him was then placed on the Megan's Law website, where his neighbors found out about his conviction.Like I said, go read the whole thing. There is information in the article about how the mentally ill are treated by our justice system. (Balu was diagnosed after the trial). Also, for those unaware, Megan's Law has created an online database where you can search for sex offenders by location. It's kind of creepy to use the website to search for those convicted of sex offenses who live nearby you.
During my time on the debate team, we always delighted in coming up with cases that seemed intuitively like a bad idea, but which we could show actually created a bunch of good. One example of this was attacking the Megan's Law database, which most people assume allows parents to keep track of molesters in their neighborhood, but which ends up having some negative effects. If we were to assume that Balu might have actually been guilty (and the article heavily suggests he isn't) then read the last paragraph, and try to figure out whether the Megan's Law database is making it more or less likely that he will get his life back in order and reintegrate into society without molesting again.Email This Post!
More Blogs for The Roll
A while back I added a new category on the left sidebar (Personal as Public) to categorize blogs written by Berkeley students about their lives that should be of interest to people who might not know them personally. I recently ran across someone discussing the difference between blogs like CalStuff ("an unabashedly, overtly, conventionally political opinion site") and that other category of blogs that have "broader topic choice that zig-zags along that fuzzy line separating the personal from the political."
So far Soft Boiled Life is the only blog we have listed, but I'm curious if anyone has any suggestions of students writing about life here in Berkeley that people might be interested in. Feel free to e-mail with any suggestions, including LiveJournals and Xanga's, and we'll be sure to ask the person before we add a link to their site here at CalStuff.Email This Post!
If you were planning to watch ABC's "The Scholar," a summer reality show (read: network filler show) depicting 10 kids competing for a complete scholarship to school (*sarcasm*:now that sounds exciting), one of the judges works for Berkeley admissions. Newscenter features Marquesa Lawrence, who works in outreach and talks to kids in Southern California about Berkeley. The show will air tonight at 8 PM on ABC.
Berkeley admissions is no stranger to TV. Years ago, Frontline on PBS had an episode on the SAT that prominetly featured Berkeley. There were even sample applications from students who applied, telling who got in and who didn't.Email This Post!
Saturday, June 04, 2005
New CalStuff Coming Soon!
Rather soon CalStuff will be switching to a new blogging platform with some new features that I'm really excited about. In order to make this move as painless as possible, I would recommend that all of you begin visiting CalStuff by directing your browsers to www.calstuff.com. That way, when we move off of blogger we can redirect www.calstuff.com to point to the new site. If anyone reading this has a link to CalStuff in a website or an AIM profile (and if you don't, then you should!), please point that at www.calstuff.com also.
We should be able to switch over sometime next week as soon as we are done with the new template. (And by "we", I mean Allen, as he is the genius behind all of this. I just kind of poke my head around and break things and then he fixes them and makes it awesome.)Email This Post!
Friday, June 03, 2005
Movin' On Up to Sequoia Elementary School
The elementary school formerly known as Jefferson Elementary has been mired in controversy over accusations that a school shouldn't be named after a slave holder. The Daily Cal article has more background on the dispute, and the details of the vote (parents, students, and staff all voted in favor of the change).
CalPatriot Blog is unhappy about the news, Beetle is mocking, and CalPatriotWatch says ignore these stupid trivialties and and concentrate on how our Governor is destroying our educational system.
I can't really muster up any enthusiasm about this, although I would have voted not to change the name of the school if given the chance. All I will say is if Jefferson is too offensive or discomforting a name, then Berkeley should consider renamed Malcom X Elementary also.Email This Post!
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Reflections on the Close of Le Chateau from a Former Resident
The Berkeley Daily Planet has comments from someone who lived in Chateau from 1993 to 1995. Read the whole thing, or an excerpt:
We got lice. We got staph. We were temporarily brainwashed by an amateur cult leader. We paid our own way, took semesters off to travel and took in homeless veterans. We learned that, sadly, sometimes things do need to get worse before they get better...Email This Post!
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