9.30.2005

Celebrating the U.N.'s 60th Anniversary

This should be fun.
The Official Wisocnsin public celebration of the United Nations' 60th Anniversary will be held in the Capitol Rotunda in Madison, on Monday, October 24th, starting at noon. The honorary Chair of the event, and principle speaker, will be State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elizabeth Burmaster.
I think I would rather celebrate "Protect and Uphold U.S. Sovereignty Day" myself.

Moving Up

A quote from this blog topped the list today in Wispolitics weekly report.

The excerpt came from our piece on Diane Sykes - a post which has drawn visitors to the site from such places as (based on the visitor details) the House of Representatives, Centers for Disease Control, and U.S. Department of Justice.

We are deeply humbled.

UW Roman Catholic Denied Funding - Again

The UW Roman Catholic Foundation tried once more for funding eligibility last night before the student government. The group was again denied.
In the end, SSFC members voted to deny funding eligibility because representatives argued that the application, as it stood, was not complete because the UWRCF’s bylaws did not coincide with its practices.

SSFC members remain confident with their decision even after such intense debate.
The decision was not predicated on a consistent policy of not funding religious groups; the committee granted eligibility last week to the Jewish Cultural Collective, which runs programming at Hillel, the campus Jewish center.

A few student representatives switched votes, and the chair did not even have to vote in the end, as the votes were not present for support.

I have no problem with the textualist argument of some committee members regarding the bylaws of the organization. I do, however, feel the committee missed the crux of the argument. If seg. fees are meant to fund programming that is open to all students, it does not matter if voting members of the Catholic Foundation must be Catholic (an association right under the 1st Amendment), so long as all programming and services provided by the group are open to any student.

Also, the group proved quite effectively that its interpretation of its own bylaws for the last four decades has been very loose; Catholic was used in its root sense, namely "universal." A variety of non-Roman Catholics provided testimony that confirmed this fact. It is also strange that the word Catholic would suddenly become an issue this year, since it did not preclude funding last year. If it really was against UW System policy, it would have.

The committee, after overturning an earlier denial of an Asian Pacific American group, seemed, by most accounts, to apply greater scrutiny to the Roman Catholic Foundation. Until the current seg. fee system is modified (and I really hope it is), this higher bar -
“Everybody took a really close look at the eligibility criteria,” said SSFC member Zach Frey.
- is regrettable.

9.29.2005

Which Donkey Shirt Came First?


GOP3 reports on the new t-shirt design for the Marquette College Democrats - which, oddly enough, has the exact same slogan as the University of Wisconsin - Madison College Democrats' shirt.

The Madison version is yellow with a blue donkey on front, which I have to say looks a bit more lively than the Marquette edition. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a good picture of it with the text displayed. There are a few photos , like the one above with Tammy Baldwin, on the Dems' site that show them piled up on tables.

But here's a blurb from a Madison student's journal, which appears to have been written last year, which points to the Madison Dems as the first to use the slogan:
On a completely different (and insanely cool) note, I was wearing my College Dems shirt today. On the front it says "Team Democrat" and says UW-Madison on it and the back says "Who ever heard of getting a nice piece of elephant?" which is awesome.

Bye Bye Busch

Busch Stadium in St. Louis is set to bite the dust in the near future. The distinctive white arcade of arches around the top will be no more.

A few years back on a trip to the city of the arch, a few of us managed to get into the stadium for free late in a Cardinals night game (thanks to a sympathetic usher). My verdict after a brief time in the nosebleed seats: a classic baseball stadium right up there with County Stadium.

Feint of Heart or Faint of Heart

I was looking up which term was proper earlier today. It turns out the latter phrase is correct. But it turns out I'm not the only one who thought it might have been the former. Others:
Reigns of power vs. Reins of power

Inclimate weather vs. Inclement weather
An interesting convergence of technology, language, and people.

Peruse the Carnival

Lucky number 7 is up here and it's chock full of good material.

Roberts Confirmed: Insert Cliche Here

"I'm Cautiously Optimistic"

That's how I would have to characterize my thoughts on the new Chief Justice of the United States.

Bush did it; as a presidential voter in 2004, the future composition Supreme Court was the overriding issue in my political calculus. The court's current power is so broad and deep that it had to be a factor in the decision.

While Bush did not put up a true-blue footsoldier in the Scalia-Thomas mold, he put up a brilliant nominee as far as confirmation realities were concerned. And, by most indications, Roberts will fit right into Rhenquist's spot on the bench, fitting given his work with the late Chief Justice. The President, as best as he could, delivered.

But the latest man to wear the black robe with golden bands leaves many questions unanswered. Where, indeed, is the paper trail? Why is Roberts different from many other Republican appointees who "went liberal" over the course of their term? Really, when in American history has a justice become more "conservative" in judicial philosophy while on the court (Donald Downs would probably note Justice Black on free speech issues)? Can we hope for a Kennedy at least? How will the new CJ interact with the Scalia-Thomas camp?

Yes, Roberts' deft handling of Judiciary Committee interrogation and general competence were impressive. But was that the only consideration Democratic Senators were making when deciding to put out a press release announcing support of the nominee? I tend to think it was not. The approving vote of Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold in committee is troublesome - when the man who wore his Patriot Act vote martyrdom on his sleeve votes in favor, he must know something more. Indeed, many of Roberts' actions in various capacities over the past decades begged questions about his willingness to subordinate many of his decisions to a desire to get ahead before all else.

Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl "voted his hopes" in forwarding Roberts to the floor. I will do the same in expressing my support of the new Chief Justice. But the fact that Kohl felt comfortable doing so, is precisely why I still have reservations. I shouldn't have to resort to hoping about the future decisions of a judge. That's been done before. And it hasn't exactly been pretty for the state of American jurisprudence.

9.28.2005

Say No to Higher Seg. Fees

Here's a chance to voice opposition to increased student fees to fund union building upgrades:
Officers of the Wisconsin Union Directorate will discuss the need to upgrade services and accessibility in Memorial Union and to renovate and expand Union South. Students -- who will fund any improvement through segregated fees -- are invited to comment on how to improve the student unions at 6:30 p.m. forums on Monday, Oct. 3, at Union South or Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Memorial Union. Check Today in the Union listings for exact location. Refreshments will be served. Students can also comment online at http://www.union.wisc.edu/fip/feedback.html
Tell the Union that students already pay too much in segregated fees. A better plan would involve soliciting donations from alumni before resorting to taxation. Saving the Rathskellar, Paul Bunyan Room, and Great Hall should be great causes to rally a few wallets around. Heck, I would even donate a bit if they made the bold and noble decision to forego seg. fees.

The Real Face of Multiculturalism?

Take a look at this interesting dissection of a MSM photo from a recent anti-war rally in San Francisco. Kind of scary when it's put in context.

HT: RGTIII

9.27.2005

New Edition - The Mendota Beacon

Check out the latest at UW-Madison in the latest installment of The Mendota Beacon.

You'll find pieces on affirmative action, the anti-war referendum, and both a pro and con on the smoking ban.

9.26.2005

A 'Sconnie for the High Court?

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Diane Sykes is being chatted up again as the possible O'Connor replacement. Some are calling her a stealth candidate.

She would be great. A very Robertsian figure with talents and personality that are hard to defame or deny. But a bit more textualist when it comes to the Constitution; she might fit nicely in the battlements of the Scalia-Thomas redoubt.

I saw Sykes on the bench when watching a trial three years ago involving the Wisconsin legislative caucus scandal. She came off as professional and astute.

As Justin points out, her Wisconsin connections would help get her through the Senate judiciary committee, where both Kohl and Feingold sit. It would be a pretty little pickle for Feingold especially, given the flack he's taken from "progressive" groups for voting Roberts through, like this snippet from TheBlueState.com:
"Russ Feingold -- a well-known left-progressive that was the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act shortly after 9/11 -- is choosing to vote in favor of Roberts. What is going on?"
HT: The Appletonian

A Boy and His Badger

Never try to part a boy and his Badger.

Especially in Wisconsin.

(HT: FH in England)

Up for Election or Not?

Last week, the campus Student Election Commission (SEC) had a guest piece in the Badger Herald encouraging people to run for seats in student government this fall. One such seat listed in the guest column was a seat on the SSFC, the committee that oversees the distribution of over $20 million in student fees annually. Hopefully a spot on this committee will become less powerful in the near future. Seg fees costs for students need to be reduced.

Now, one student trying to run for that position tells me that the SEC has informed him that it is no longer sure whether that seat will be elected or appointed. Smells fishy to me.

An appointed student is a lot more likely to be a friend of those with their hands in the seg. fee cookie jar than someone who is elected outright.

If the SEC publicly announced in a well-read forum that the seat was up for election and it suddenly is not, they must either: A) admit they were negligent and be reprimanded, or B) allow candidates to run for the seat described.

Cool new blog

Doing research for a story, I stumbled across video footage of the riots, as well as a blog dedicated to making sure the police do things right this year.

I doubt they will, but it's worth a shot. And hopefully Greg will be posting more often - there's a lot to talk about!

Justified

Look for me on the news tonight (I think - the interview is in 5 minutes), talking about ASM's plan to break away from the University. Hopefully we'll be able to put across that we cracked that story, and the other papers just got lucky.

Bonus points if you get the reference on my shirt, if they show it.

Update: As I hit "publish", our own Brad calls me up to say that the interview is being pushed back to another time. Hopefully I'll still be wearing my awesome "Clap Your Hands Say Yeah" shirt for the interview - those guys are so cool.

Class blogging

Class got off to a pretty boring start, so I began poking around the blogosphere. I came across a piece in democracy arsenal about the controversial September 11 memorial:
What happened here? How, in New York City of all places, did a group of savvy, well-intentioned and thoughtful progressives wind up on the wrong side of a debate over the meaning and legacy of 9/11. It may be unfair to examine the IFC project through the lens of progressive strategy; its organizers were focused on building an institution rather than a movement. But their rocky journey to engage the public in their project may shed light on progressives' larger struggle to put their ideas across to people.

It's an interesting take, and for a minute, I thought it would lead the good Dems of that site to reconsider their position on the issue. After all, wouldn't it signal that perhaps they have the wrong take on the situation, and should be listening to "the people" more?

Well, dig the next graph:
Overriding the IFC debate seems to be the quite understandable refusal of those affected most directly by 9/11 to see their personal heartbreaks folded into a more universal, more abstract, narrative. The suggestion that 9/11 may not stand "the test of time" on its own -- that it must be placed in a broader context to remain relevant-- may be true as a matter of foreign policy or US history, but not as far as human experience is concerned.

The IFC in its current, liberal incarnation would serve as a temple of guilt. It would serve as a permanent reminder: "You are guilty. You have decimated Indians, kept slaves. You, in some sense, deserved this."

What the liberals don't realize is that most Americans don't buy into that idea. Collective guilt is at heart not an American ideal - we believe that we are only responsible for improving the future. More specifically, we don't buy that we are responsible for what happened on 9/11.

This isn't to say that the US is flawless. We've done our fair share of dirty deeds in the world. But the idea of collective guilt justifies an attack - don't we all need to prostrate ourselves forever because the US has had relations with dictators?

But everyone gets it eventually:
The obvious answer is that there's a proper balance to be struck, but when dealing with a site as sensitive as Ground Zero, it makes sense to err on the side of the immediate and human rather than the abstract and intellectual. I don't know that the project's opponents have made this argument, but there's a case that visitors - perhaps with the help of some provocative questions and suggestions embedded in the exhibits - will be capable of connecting the personal experience of 9/11 victims to larger questions of freedom and America's purpose on their own.

The article is a lot longer, and there's a lot more there, especially about about the necessity of disabusing Americans of their sense of uniqueness (which, of course, I'd argue is wrongheaded - America is a unique country, and should seek to spread its ideals rather than throw them away). So go read it while I take notes!

Long story short

I've just gotten back from an amazing show. For the record, wonder no more whether or not a band called Canasta - ostensibly named for a card game played by the elderly - can rock. They most certainly can.

Of course, you never had to wonder whether or not a band called Clap Your Hands Say Yeah can rock. Because the answer is obvious - hells yes. (And yes, there was much clapping and saying of "yeah".)

On Tuesday, you might perhaps check out a copy of the Beacon for a longer review.

Update:(11.40 am) Word to the wise, though: maybe it's a good idea to leave your big ol' laptop at home. It probably won't break, but it does make it hard to dance - really hard - which is a crime. And also, your shoulders will be dang sore tomorrow.

9.25.2005

Badger Victory Roundup


Brian Calhoun for Heisman. There's not much more to say.

But the Upper Midwest blogosphere is abuzz with celebration over the Badger win. See the good folks over at Badger Blog Alliance, The American Mind and Blog Focus.

Kris at Dummocrats has a report on the game and some pics from Camp Randall.

There's a great picture of a triumphant BARRY here.

The Cap Times and State Journal have good wraps, too.

What a game. It truly is "one for the ages." Now, let's take down Indiana next weekend and break the school record winning streak by getting number 10.

9.24.2005

BADGERS WIN!!!!!!

Unbelievable! Stocco puts it in with less than 30 seconds to go.

And the kick is goooood!

ON WISCONSIN!

23-20

UPDATE: Check out The Mendota Beacon for new stories on the game.

Wolverines Up Again

One touchdown and the Badgers trail by four points. The crowd is eerily silent.

Moths are flying past the press box windows toward the floodlights up above.

Wisconsin Recovers Fumble

The crowd is going wild. It appears as if the Badgers have just recovered a fumble. AND THERE's a PENALTY! Wisconsin is at the 12 yard line facing the goal line. This is huge.

UPDATE: Calhoun is in! Wait. Official timeout to review the play...

UPDATE: WI touchdown! Kick is good. Wisconsin 16, Michigan 13.

Check Out: Homesite.org

Jump Around!

The press box is literally swaying!

Why I Love Badger Night Games

Ohio State two years ago. That was the last night game I can recall in Badger football, and, like this game, there's just something different. The crowd is louder. Every play is more dramatic. Maybe it's the tie back to one's first experience with football in high school on Friday nights. There's really something in the air.

The Badgers put up another field goal awhile ago. That puts Wisconsin within one touchdown.

The girl sitting next to me writes for the Michigan student newspaper; she complimented the energy and enthusiasm of our crowd. Tonight's crowd of 83,022 is the second largest ever in Camp Randall history.

Note: Defensive back Joe Stellmacher, who has been responsible for a number of great tackles, is out with a shoulder injury and will not return.

Half Time Report



Check out the Beacon half-time review of the Badger vs. Wolverine football game here.

The UW Marching Band is doing a grand rendition of Phantom of the Opera songs right now. I'm sitting next to a few guys from the Capital One Bowl, who have been quite amused with all the tradition and quirks of our game day here in Wisconsin.

Have to go. They've started VARSITY...

Michigan Strikes First

After a failed Wolverine field goal attempt, Michigan got another crack at putting points on the board when a Badger player ran into the kicker. The penalty moved the attempt up to the 44 yardline; it was good. Michigan 3, Wisconsin 0.

Brandon Williams opened up with a nice 38 yard return on the kick; the Badgers take another penalty on the play.

Badgers will kick, ending the drive.

Badger Zach Hampton bursts downfield and makes a nice tackle on the return.

A solid Michigan pass puts the Wolverines back in WI territory with a first down.

Time out Michigan.

Stocco's passing game is still not up to par. With only 7 yards completed passing in the 1st quarter, it's not looking pretty as far as connecting with receivers.

Badgers Hold the Line!

Wolverines - no td from the 1 yard line on fourth down. Uh oh, officials time out to review the play.

UPDATE: The play stands!

Wolverines stalled at midfield

A nice kick by the Badgers put Michigan at the 5 yard line with their backs against the end zone just a few minutes ago, but a 28 yard break out by Max Martin changed the dynamic. Brian Calhoun was doing all the heavy lifting for the Badgers on their first drive down the field, but it wasn't enough. Stocco's passing seems to be off; wet conditions?

The crowd is roaring for defense. Michigan QB Chad Henne goes for it, gets a few yards. And there's a flag on the play. Holding offensive line. Repeat third down. Michigan first down just shy of the 50 yard line.

Badger Pre-Game Buzz

The UW Marching Band is about to take the field. The student section is electric - or the parts of it that are here already. The sections now fill from the bottom up with the new ticket policy. O always seems to fill the fastest, and that's true again today.

The view from the press box is pretty sweet; the historic space of Camp Randall unfolds below, flanked on the right by the venerable old Field House and on the left by the red cloud of the student section. I can see the state capitol, the university carillon, and even a speck of Lake Mendota.

The crowd is full of ponchos. Hopefully the rain will hold off.

I'll be updating at The Mendota Beacon, too, as we go along.

Live Blog from Camp Randall

I'll be up in the press box for the Mendota Beacon later on, covering the big Michigan game today. I'm hoping to do some live blogging throughout, so feel free to stop back once in awhile.

The tailgating has been hot and heavy in the greater Regent Street area despite a few sprinkles. In fact, we got a head start on the festivities last night; Timmyscape, Opiate of the Masses, and Daily Perspective were all there. A late game is a welcome change of pace.

Go Badgers!

9.23.2005

Reynolds Memos = Laughter

The Reynolds memos that broke recently are hilarious. Whether you're looking for a private autobahn, access to the dunes, illegal aliens, or a drug dealer list, it's all there.

Leif Jorgenson, the intern who wrote some of the pieces, is a friend, and I talked to him about the recent revelation. He was amused by his sudden celebrity.

I'm actually glad he wrote the memos instead of someone else - he has a great sense of humor (even if unintentional in the memos), knows how to turn a good phrase, and comes up with some comically eloquent lines.

9.22.2005

Religion on Campus


Just heard news that the UW Roman Catholic Foundation was denied eligibility for receiving segregated student fees by a 1 vote margin. The last meeting of the student service finance committee showed the general hostility toward organized religion, and Catholicism particularly, in this "viewpoint neutral" marketplace.

The group's supporters were grilled in open forum with greater scrutiny than those of any previous group this year. At one point, a representative on the committee held up a sign to a conservative white male member of the committee with the words "R U Catholic?" on it (he is not). Anti-Catholicism, at least by the indicators on this campus, remains fashionable in the academy.

A brilliant Harvard acquaintance I met at Boys Nation in 2001, Travis Kavulla, has a piece at the Claremont Review that touches on the lamentable status of religion on the quad:

In short, religion at Harvard now suffers from the same
disease as the school's curriculum does--hopelessly lost in
multi-denominational pageantry, it lacks a common bond. Indeed, religion is
so far under the radar at Harvard today that even a conservative like
Douthat doesn't seriously broach the subject.

Friends at other traditionally religious schools, like Georgetown and The Catholic University, have told me repeatedly of the hollow nods their schools make to their heritage. Marquette University in Milwaukee also suffers from a similar retreat from it's Catholic origin, as chronicled in a number of pieces at GOP3 and the Marquette Warrior.

It's bad enough that religious discrimination is alive on public campuses. Its presence on historically religious schools is doubly disheartening.

Update: It appears the UW Aministration was gunning to stop UW Roman Catholic from receiving funds. The Chancellor's appointee to the committee told the Chair, Rachelle Stone, that it would be against UW policy to fund the organization. This influenced her vote, as well as that of others in a 6-6 vote, chair breaking the tie.

Heh

Jib is talking about starting a talk like a Yooper Day. Fantastic!

Ah, Madison

Surprise, surprise. Somebody's been vandalizing the Howard Temin Lakeshore Path. Even nature cannot escape the rampant politicization spilling out of campus.

The little overlook shown in the picture (HT Wigderson Library and Pub and Althouse) is near the area where I go fishing along Lake Mendota. It's a nice natural oasis in the city right at the base of Muir Woods.

If the blogosphere wants pictures of loopy leftist public scrawlings, this city is the place to find them.

9.21.2005

Some lines one shouldn't cross

Today there are is a group of anti-abortion folks on Library Mall. Normally this doesn't bother me much - I may have my differences, but it's their right to be there.

But something really got me today: these people played Taps at one point.

Look: I don't like it when people hold up big signs with pictures of aborted fetuses. Tacky is an understatement. But I get it, and I accept it. But Taps is for the memorial of soldiers. Taps is for the rememberance of those who gave their lives for this country. It is not to promote your agenda. That's just crass.

Madison Chancellor Wiley Offers UW Free Lunch

I received this e-mail from Chancellor Wiley yesterday inviting me to a session trying to sell Plan 2028, the campus' effort to import people to the university based on the color of their skin color, or as the UW System calls it: "a blueprint to achieve racial and ethnic diversity throughout the UW System."

He tells faculty to encourage students to skip class and replace it with the sales pitch. He's also literally offering folks a free lunch as enticement (see last two lines of the e-mail text). I thought the UW was going through hard times fiscally?
Members of the Campus Community,

I would like to personally invite you to the sixth annual
Campus Plan 2008 Forum, which will be held over two days,
Thursday, Sept. 29 and Thursday, Nov. 3, both at Memorial Union.

Each day will feature a program of speakers, multicultural
performances, discussion sessions and exhibits, starting
at 8:30 a.m. and running into the evening.

Both sessions are designed as inclusive, interactive celebrations
of our diversity. One particular effort this year will center
around "Creating Community," our focus on building a campus
community more sensitive to the challenges posed by social bias
and exclusion.

Faculty members are encouraged to allow classes to attend forum
sessions as a substitute for a normal class meeting, where
possible. Unit supervisors are encouraged to stagger attendance
by staff to allow for everyone to attend part of the forum.
Classified staff members can attend without loss of pay, after
getting approval from their supervisor.

This campus has created its Plan 2008 as the blueprint to
increase the diversity of UW-Madison's students, faculty, staff,
curriculum and campus life. As the plan's end date of 2008
quickly approaches, we need to redouble our efforts to achieve
diversity as one of our highest priorities.

I urge all students, faculty and staff to attend the campus forum,
if only for an hour or two, to energize our community building
efforts.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Sincerely,

Chancellor John D. Wiley

To receive a free bag lunch, register for the forum:
http://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/reg/catalog_course.aspx?groupcoursekey=11816

9.19.2005

Why our two-party system isn't all that bad

Have fun working this one out.

"He makes everything into a crisis."

Not Bush. Nope. Mao.

Professor Ed Friedman delved into the roots of Mao's power today in lecture. He outlined the "crazy" attempts to maintain power, usually provoking international crises on his borders to leverage domestic control. Exhibits: Korean War, Taiwan Straits Crisis, and the 1962 war with India. When those weren't enough, he incited his own; see the Cultural Revolution. Always, Mao alone had the strength to act as savior from imperialists.

Even the Russians, Friedman said, eventually thought Mao crazy when he proposed luring the Americans into the Chinese interior and nuking them, with his consent, on Chinese soil.

Mao's nationalism is different than the Chinese nationalism propping up the Chinese Communist Party today, I'm sure. But it could hold lessons about potential destabilization when the regime needs control. Taiwan, North Korea, and Muslims in the west are all potential showdowns.

Bush's Double Edged Sword

Powerline talks about Bush's recovery bill speech and takes a look at the ironies facing conservatives voting on Katrina relief legislation:
This conservative sees the speech as essentially the same bad news-good news story that characterizes so much of the president's domestic policy (think of education and prescription drugs). The bad news is that the president has proposed what looks like a super-expensive, super-intrusive federal program. The good news is that he wants to build-in conservative agenda items and an overall conservative approach. The agenda items include enterprise zones, tax incentives, reliance on private institutions, private accounts, home ownership, and so forth.

The problem, as John has said, is that the bad news is real -- what Bush proposes will be expensive and intrusive. And much money will be wasted[...]because all big government programs result in massive waste, all the more so when a corrupt locality like New Orleans is involved.
The conundrum is a familiar one. Having just retired from over three years of active participation in the University of Wisconsin's student government, I'm well aware of the tendency of bureaucracies to swell and self-corrupt, regardless of the wonderful initial intentions. Can't say I'm a fan of starting them in the first place as a result.

Relief, or Reconstruction, as the efforts seem to resemble more and more, has at least raised theoretical debates about states' rights. The 10th Amendment has largely been gutted, so talk in the last month about violating Posse Comitatus seemed a quaint, anachronistic point of discussion. This is unfortunate for our system of sovereign states. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit thinks much the same. Really, what would Goldwater say?

Bad Call by The Daily Cardinal

Madison's oldest campus newspaper, The Daily Cardinal, has not traditionally been a favorite news source. Historically, it has provided a perspective from the left in the editorial arena.

A new addition to its inside page this year, a feature called "Hangovers", represents a poor judgment call by the paper's management. In today's print version of the paper, the submissions, in crude detail, recall the sexual exploits of students over the weekend. Come on, folks. Not a wise decision.

At the least The Badger Herald's much beloved "Shoutouts" are pretty much restricted to obtuse references and inside jokes. The pornographic blurbs in the Cardinal today don't speak well of the university, especially the common sense of its aspiring journalism students; it's one thing to talk about such things at parties in a private home, another entirely to publish it in a daily paper that represents the university - yes, the Cardinal does have rent free digs in a University building.

The contents of "Hangovers" may be entirely legal and constitutional under the First Amendment. That doesn't mean it's a smart move. It's certainly not indicative of good taste on the part of the paper's editors.

9.18.2005

She Didn't Show

Jane Fonda didn't make it to Madison tonight for her planned introduction of British Socialist George Galloway. Why? Hip replacement surgery. Hmmm. Did she finally hire a publicist?

The Madison college republicans protested the event and provided a counterpoint in local media.

Should be posting a bit more this week than over the last few days; I was out east helping to run a conference. I saw my good friend from Louisiana and heard many harrowing personal accounts from Katrina. I also managed to visit Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Some of my favorite hangouts in the campus area: The Anchor, Toads, and Zinc. The building that houses Skull and Bones, the secret society which both Bush and Kerry belonged to, was pretty forboding, even in the daylight.

Oh yeah - I heard Rabbi Dallin speak on his book, The Myth of Hitler's Pope. Fascinating stuff - I can't wait to read the work of a Jewish apologist for Catholic Pope Pius XII.

Rand among the indie rockers

I try live according to my principcles, and I generally do a good job of it. There's one real sticking point, though - I'm a bit of a hipster, and I hate it when my favorite bands "sell out". But, shouldn't I love it when they make tons o' money for being good at what they do? So instead of thinking about my classes, I'm looking today for a way to justify my hipsterdom.

I don't really have a libertarian way of doing it, but I think I may have found an Objectivist way, which is nearly as good. Specifically, my answer lies in Rand's description of Richard Halley's music.

Halley, in Atlas Shrugged, was by no means popular. At best, at first seems like a "one-hit wonder" who then vanished from the scene. However, he actually shunned popularity, because he knew people didn't properly appreciate his music.

Rand celebrates Halley's toiling in obscurity. His obscurity is one of his virtues.

Pop radio does not focus on excellence - it takes a shortcut to focus on popularity. And so it becomes a purveyor of schlock. It panders to the cheapest mass-produced trash Hollywood hacks can put out.

On the other hand, like Halley, indie rockers refuse to simply cut a record that will sell - they cut records that they believe in. They work up to the best of their ability, to their highest creativity. That's why I cringe every time I hear Modest Mouse on the radio - listen to their old stuff, and you'll see that it's far better than Good News for People who Love Bad News. The creativity is lacking.

So, the point of all this is that, at least in an Objectivist sense, money isn't always the point. Working up to the best you can do is. And that's why hating sellouts isn't necessarily a bad thing.

9.16.2005

Now it's on

Thanks to your help, we've won one contest, so now it's time for another!

MKE online is holding a semi-final "best blog" contest - and we need your help to win it! Go here and place your vote for Letters in Bottles!

9.15.2005

Sinners all

Well, that clinches it: I'm going to hell. Thanks to Nick, I find out that:

You Are an Emo Rocker!

Expressive and deep, lyrics are really your thing.
That doesn't mean you don't rock out...
You just rock out with meaning.
For you, rock is more about connecting than grandstanding.


That comes on the heels of the guy yesterday on Library Mall, who told me that among other things, "rock 'n' rollers" are going to hell.

Incidentally, Nick is a freedom rocker, but he isn't Tommy Lee!

Carnival of the Badger, mark V

Okay, kids, grab the sausage and beer, and get ready for a whole bunch o' Wisconsin-y goodness. It's the Carnival of the Badger!

Because I can, let's start with a little something from this blog. Brad is calling the university for not doing a whole lot for Constitution Day, while I'm still looking for a label.

Jay Bullock at Folkbum's Rambles and Rants says that State Sen. Zien needs a smack with the clue stick. I'd stay clear of the capitol for a little while, Jay. Just in case.

Meanwhile, Belle at Leaning Blue is busy looking at journalists' vocabulary. She doesn't think refugee is the right word for the Katrina victims. I don't think Americans do enough skedaddling.

Sean at The American Mind has an interesting spot on ESPN reporter Adrian Karsten.


Ben of Badger Blues had a tussle not long ago with our own Brad V over the wealth of nations. It's long, but very much worth the read. Real Debate Wisconsin is thinking about similar things, with a post about the happy poor.

Paul Brewer is talking math at the Public Brewery: he called John Podhoretz on some fuzzy math.

Random 10 is looking at events across the pond: he's worried about cloning in Britain.

9.14.2005

University Cop Out?

Found this today on my personal University of Wisconsin - Madison page:
Educate yourself about the U.S. Constitution
09/14/05 11:55 PM CDT

In accordance with a federal law that requires federally funded institutions of higher education to educate students about the U.S. Constitution in conjunction with Constitution Day on Sept. 17, the Office of the Provost has produced a video featuring political science faculty member and constitutional law expert Donald Downs being interviewed about the history and context of the U.S. Constitution.

View the streaming video
I'm not sure if this will be disseminated widely enough throughout the student body to make a dent. I just stumbled across it randomly; there's no need to check one's MyUW account even once a week, really. Downs is a great professor, though, as I can now say from personal experience. One of his pithy comments on the Constitution from the transcript of the video mentioned above:
"If it simply adapts to present circumstances without providing it’s own kind of compass, then it’s not a constitution.
I'm surprised he didn't mention anything about the Oakland Raiders or how bad the smoking ban in Madison is in the course of the video - both seem to be tangential obsessions in lecture.

The Sen. Robert Byrd-authored law that forced the UW to come up with something? (Not exactly sure the video is a program as required in the legislation...one source says 'instruction' is needed)
President George W. Bush signed a bill on December 8th, 2004 (public law 108-447) which designates every September 17th as Constitution Day. All institutions of higher education that receive federal funding are required to prepare a program to inform students about the U.S. Constitution.

Name That Artist


He's Belgian...

Still Running on a Tank of Pre-Katrina Gas

Lots of biking these days.

Roberts Terrified No More

Althouse comments about John Roberts looking terrified yesterday during the hearings. While his eyes are certainly unique, as she points out, he certainly wasn't afraid this morning.

At one point, the Fox News Live Coverage showed Roberts and Senator Leahy concurrently; Roberts was literally smiling triumphantly at one point when Leahy claimed that as a government solicitor in the Reagan Administration, Roberts was a "client of the government," which really didn't make a whole lot of sense. It was funny to see Leahy scrambling and fumbling in his papers, head down, avoiding Roberts' confident response.

It's refreshing to see Roberts speaking and thinking on his feet in public. The silent figure with blazing blue eyes was getting old.

Running Mascots Through the PC Screen

No, I'm not talking about Bucky Badger smashing through the glass of your monitor. I'm talking about the general tendency in the last decade or so to de-claw, de-tooth, disarm, and water down traditional school sports mascots. The issue just doesn't want to die down; the NCAA this summer laid the smack down on what it deems offensive mascots in the college basketball post season.

Exhibit A, of course, is Marquette University's Gold rollercoaster, covered in a number of posts over at GOP3.

Kevin at Lakeshore Laments also has a post on the conundrum of the old Kiel Raider mascot, a topic close to my heart:
Finally, I’ve often found it ludicrous in my former high schools’ history that we jumped the gun in the entire topic of Indian Mascots. Our school’s nickname is the Raiders and growing up we had a cartoon Indian warrior with a tomahawk as the mascot. When the PC-police were making noise, the school board jumped in the mid-90’s and changed the mascot to a Viking warrior in mid yelp.

Countless mascot changes later (we went from Viking Warrior, to a “K”, to a cat-like creature no one knows what to call, back to a “K”), the school seems to stuck with a rip-off of the Texas Tech “Red Raiders” logo - a “Zorro” like figure galloping toward you on a horse.

In the meanwhile, every year in football, the school plays the Kewaunee Indians and the conference still has the Kewaskum Indians. Can someone explain to be what the entire hubbub was about a decade or so ago in the Kiel School District?
Folks in Kiel were understandably sad to see the traditional mascot go. The lame attempts at replacing it never worked. Tim Laun created the barbarian, later calling it:

"a new mascot probably as dubious as the one it replaced"

The "cat-like creature which no one knows what to call" Kevin referenced was the ultimate in neutering a mascot of any meaning. Back in high school, we tried to guess what it was. A wombat? A lynx? A chipmunk? A chinchilla? A guinea pig?

The funny thing is, the old "non-PC" Native American brave mascot actually had a basis in Kiel's literary history. An early book by one of the town's first settlers, YELLOWBIRD, featured a rather brutish Indian brave named Cacqua, which translates roughly to "monster."

There are many high schools across the state that have stopped using their Indian mascot. UWM has a list of high schools that have retained theirs.

One noticeable exception is the Mishicot High School Indians in northern Manitowoc County. The tribe their mascot is based on has fully supported the publicity as a positive reminder of the tribe's early heritage in the area. Their revised mascot, too, has a local historical basis.

Here's what Kiel High's logo looks like now.

Comprehensive Memorial Pics

Here's JWick's clearinghouse of photos of the Bascom Hill 911 Memorial.

Academic freedom

At the CR kickoff, somebody raised the topic of academic freedom.

We here at the UW love to bitch about how put down we are - the travails of being a political minority. And generally, it's true.

But sometimes it helps to remember that it isn't this way everywhere. The Phantom Professor has a good reminder that the tyranny of the majority is a problem everywhere:
I'll never forget the day a young man stood outside my office door after the first meeting of the writing class. "I need to tell you something," he said in a nervous stage whisper. "I think you should know because it might have an effect on how other students react to things I say in class."

I imagined speech impediments or seizures. But no.

"I just think you should know," he said, "that I'm a
liberal."

Taking some advice

Being intelligent chaps, we here at Letters in Bottles know good advice when we see it. So we are very thankful for Ray's advice - "Ray knows you one the Blog of the week from MKE. Why don't you brag about that. Seriously, it is quite an achievement."

So. HA HA! WE WON! HOORAY!

Thanks to all those that voted for us!

Labels

The Uncredible Hallq is looking for a label. He points to a Michael Reynolds post:
As to those core moral beliefs, I start with as few as I can reasonably manage: freedom is better than tyranny, life better than death, truth better than lies, knowledge better than ignorance. Those would be my general principles. Nothing remotely original there. Nothing controversial. You can't get together much of a crowd in support of tyranny, death, lies and ignorance. (Except in certain areas of Pakistan. Iran. Saudi Arabia. Okay, but nowhere I'm likely to vacation.)

I have the same problem. I dislike "moderate" for the same reasons Chris does - it sounds too squishy. But even "independent" doesn't quite do it for me - generally because "independents" tend to be swing voters. I don't identify that way, because it seems to imply a lack of firm convictions - these voters swing depending on the issue du jour.

I used to go with "Republican-leaning libertarian" or some variant of that, but people only hear "republican" (if they're from Madison) or "libertarian", so I don't usually get my point across. Lately, I've favored "classical liberal", but most people's political education (or historical education, for that matter) isn't good enough to really grasp what that means - support for free markets and democracy, and enough of a believe in individual freedom and privacy to argue for allowing at least civil unions for gays and for keeping abortion legal.

So for the moment, I'll call myself a classical liberal. Until something better comes along...

9.13.2005

Wonder if he turns green?

The Uncredible Hallq is out there.

And he has a post involving the Third Amendment, of all things.

Bush Needs to Be Firm, Realistic with Chinese

Hu is in the house. President Bush needs to make it very clear to the top Chinese leader that America is alert, aware, and confident about its place in the world. Anything less signals weakness to a China that wants to replace us as king of the hill.

But with his poll numbers down in the 30s, an insurgency overseas, and a plate full of toxic hurricane goop, it's going to be difficult to focus and present a strong America to the fastest rising power on the globe. Unfortunate.

The Story Behind the Story: Uncovering ASM's Plan for Independence

This morning, three UW-Madison student papers have stories on ASM, the student government, planning for a possible break with the university administration by forming its own corporation to handle the pay and oversight of full time organizers.

Why were the Badger Herald and Daily Cardinal suddenly contacted yesterday by ASM about this development?

Because The Mendota Beacon cracked the ASM nut first. The enterprising Woodsteins at the Beacon stumbled onto the story and began inquiring at ASM for more information yesterday; this no doubt prompted ASM to try to preempt other negative reactions to what were undisclosed discussions of some significance.

Here are the articles, the first coming straight from a brand new edition of the Beacon out today:

Mendota Beacon Badger Herald Daily Cardinal

9.12.2005

Carnival prep

Hey, in case you've forgotten, the Carnival of the Badger is migrating to sand shores this week! Send you favorite post in soon.

View from the mall

Walking to Library Mall this afternoon, the scene strikes me. Half a dozen mangy socialist types are protesting. It's pretty lackluster, really - they hold signs saying things like "no blood for oil" (isn't that one passe by now? Although I guess they are still using '60s chants) and linking Katrina and the Iraq war.

Farther down, on the grassy area by the fountain, is a group of cheerleaders. The men are holding 3 women aloft, as the women pump their fists into the air. Pretty cool!

Bascom 911 Memorial Picks Up Press, Activists

The flags remain on Bascom Hill today as hordes of students travel to and from classes. It appears as if the field of stars and stripes was left relatively untouched overnight.

However, a grouping of flags off on the side of the main body was rearranged before morning classes started. The flag formation of letters that said "9-11-01" yesterday has transformed into a red, white, and blue sign. Nothing malicious, but definitely part of the debate that Bascom Hill displays always entail, as I mentioned yesterday.

The memorial drew quite a bit of press coverage. Here's the video piece from NBC 15. The flags also graced the cover of this morning's Badger Herald, one of the campus dailies. Not surprisingly, the caption had no mention of The Mendota Beacon.

9.11.2005

Bascom Live Blog #3

A small crew from Channel 15 is here interviewing Jeremy Wick, the sophomore Beacon writer who spearheaded the flag memorial. The flags are all in place. A few hecklers have slowed to a halt on Park Street in front of the hill and shouted about Iraq and Vietnam casualties. Somehow, I don't see the connection; this memorial is to remember the victims of the 2001 Terrorist Attacks in NYC, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

Wow - here's news crew number two! More later.

More Live Blogging From Bascom Hill




The Mendota Beacon's 9/11 Memorial on Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Live Blogging from Bascom Hill

I'm here at Bascom Hill in the heart of the University of Wisconsin campus assisting with the effort to install 3,000 small American flags on the green slope as a September 11th Memorial.

A crowd of about 20 is here working slowly up the hill in the morning sunlight. The flags are already stretching off row on row, covering quite a large portion of the lower hill. The white pillars of Bascom Hall are gleaming up on the horizon and its flags are lowered to half mast for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Two great tragedies for our nation, two symbols of remembrance.

We've already had one passerby on bike stop to "debate" at the foot of the hill. Something about the dangers of unilateralism.

Down on the end of Library Mall, a few runners are rounding the orange cones. The Ironman Triathlon is in town today, and the proximity should provide some good exposure for our efforts.

It's interesting to think of how much more of a political statement this memorial is here in Madison than it would be anywhere else in the state. Here the American Flag is taken far too often as an Orwellian icon of blind allegiance to the state. How wrong that notion is.

I'll try to blog some more as we move along this morning. Hopefully I can get a few pictures up too.

Lest we forget.

9.10.2005

Bascom Hill 9/11 Memorial Update

We're busy making signs for the September 11th Terrorist Attacks Memorial tomorrow on Bascom Hill.

Stop by from 8:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. and you'll find people putting in flags/available for comment.

Can You Say Scoreboard? Badgers Annihilate Owls



The scoreboard showing Temple with 1 yard rushing and passing combined. 65-0; not half bad.



The new look of the southern end of Camp Randall. Notice the new Kellner Hall and the nearly covered Field House.










Cheeseheads? More like Badgerheads.

Time for Badger Football!

Given Temple's terrible performance so far this year and Brian Calhoun's stellar offensive prospects, I'm really looking forward to the Badger game today. For me, no ushering today at Camp Randall, just straight up fan status. It's looking like a hot one, though.

But on to the tailgating...these 11 o'clock games make for a strange pre-game timeline; it feels like we should be downing pancakes and orange juice, not brats and beer.

9.09.2005

9/11 Observance Inside the Bubble

The talented gentlemen over at GOP3 beat us to the punch, reporting the University of Wisconsin's interesting attempt to claim credit for a patriotic September 11 observance planned by The Mendota Beacon for Bascom Hill. I guess the administration is desperate for any tidbit of good, down-home, patriotic press given the absolute shellacking they've taken over the last few months.
Now, with that rabble dispensed with, let me give a huge Congratulatory shout-out to GOP3’s dear friends at the fine UW-Madison independent student publication The Mendota Beacon. In a shocking development, the University press office is publicizing (and to some extent in my opinion attempting to claim credit for) the Beacon’s 9/11 Remembrance plans, detailed below:

Some 3,000 flags on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Bascom Hill will pay poignant honor this weekend to the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and aboard an aircraft over Pennsylvania in on Sept. 11, 2001.

An initiative of the Mendota Beacon, one the student newspapers at UW-Madison, the effort is being organized by Jeremy Wick, a sophomore majoring in economics. “I hope that people who walk past the flags will reflect on the tragedies,” he says. “The situations that caused them still haven’t been resolved. It’s important that we don’t forget that.”

BRAVO!!!
The press release is available on students' personal MyUW homepage. I've heard through the grapevine that Mr. Wick has been taking quite a few press calls already. The Ironman triathlon will also be in town Sunday, maximizing exposure.

The Beacon is gearing up for a bold initial release on September 13.

If Wisconsin Had It's Own Money, Who Would Be On It?

Journalism Professor James Baughmann asked this question today in lecture and mused about the answer. His guesses at surefire Cheeseheads who would get their mugs on any Badger State bills: Fightin' Bob LaFollette and Badgers Great Don Ameche.

My picks for who Wisconsin should put on its own monetary notes:

$1 - Tommy Thompson - The man is Wisconsin.

$2 - Old Abe the War Eagle - A unifying figure from the Civil War Era.

$5 - Fightin' Bob LaFollette - I have to agree with Baughmann on this one.

$10 - Bart Starr - More popular with the masses here than most politicians ever will be.

$20 - Henry Dodge - Territorial Governor started it all off.

$50 - Chief Oshkosh - A pivotal figure in the early relations with the state's natives.

$100 - Captain Frederick Pabst - A nod to Milwaukee, Germanic heritage, and the crucial brewing industry.

$500 - Stephen M. Babcock - The UW-Madison professor who made the Dairy State possible.

$1000 - William Rehnquist - The only U.S. Chief Justice - or Justice, for that matter - from Wisconsin.

As for the landmarks on the back, I'm sure we'd have to include Lambeau Field, the State Capitol, Milwaukee's Calatrava Art Museum, The Mississippi River, an Up North forest Scene, a dairy farm, and perhaps some lead miners in a hillside somewhere in southwest Wisconsin.

A neat question to ponder. Any other ideas?

9.08.2005

That didn't take long

About a week ago, I was telling a friend that the Israeli pullout wouldn't do much, if anything at all, to quell the leftist anti-Israel rhetoric.

This is one of those times I'd rather be wrong, but I'm not. It turns out, according to the lefties, that the pullout "hurts Palestinians". Mostly because they have even fewer excuses to use when the set off the next car bomb or suicide attack.
By creating an illusion of reasonableness and political compromise, the plan de-rationalizes Palestinian resistance.

Notice that our fine writer uses the word "resistance". I was going to say something sarcastic here, but the depravity of that sentence alone is too great. Resistance. That word sums up the whole debate about Israel/Palestine - one side says "resistance", the other says "terrorism".

9.07.2005

"Conservative Coming Out Day" Goes Too Far

Just got this in an e-update from the Campus Leadership Program. Have to say - I'm not a fan.
National Conservative Coming Out Day
On September 21, 2005, students across the country will proudly declare their conservative beliefs. Too often, universities create hostile environments for conservative students, all the while claiming they are bastions of debate and free inquiry. Host Conservative Coming Out Day on your campus and send an important message to professors, administrators, and students: It’s okay to be conservative! Because this event will identify conservative students, it is also a great recruitment event for your organization.
While I enjoy a good spoof of leftist activities now and then, this is a bit overboard. It may send undesirable mixed messages, much like the confusing Protestwarrior signs down at Camp Casey. It also concedes ground to the radicalized LGBT movement, which gives the political effort from that camp more credit and attention than necessary.

Madison's Print Media Glut

Justin over at The Appletonian has some great pictures from a trip to Philadelphia. Some are from Ben Franklin's home.

Funny, seeing as I'm reading Ben Franklin's autobiography right now, and he is just about to start his printing business. It's interesting to see the conditions at the time; Franklin's brother's newspaper in Boston was shut down by the Massachusetts authorities. The account of that event really personalizes the free press clause of the Constitution; Franklin, as the oldest delegate at the convention, had plenty of actual firsthand experience with government censorship.

Today, thankfully, such things are unheard of. The University of Wisconsin campus is a lively case in point; we have four campus newspapers: The Badger Herald, The Daily Cardinal, The Mendota Beacon, and (I guess we'll count it) The Madison Observer. These are agumented by a host of city publications, including but not limited to The State Journal, The Capital Times, The Simpson Street Free Press, The Madison Times, Isthmus, and Core Weekly. Just looking at the racks in State Street stores is exhausting sometimes.

Now, if only all the papers besides The Mendota Beacon weren't all saying pretty much the same thing politically...

Last Chance to Vote For Us

Go here.

Wick Lights Up for the School Year

Looks like campus conservative Jeremy Wick is back in town with his Daily Perspective.

Wick casts his political eye at the Katrina mess and lasers in on the culprit:
It was never necessary for the federal government to take control of the evacuation and rescue missions. Had Gov. Blanco done her job and called in the LA National Guard to be prepared in advance, the situation would be much better in New Orleans.

Out of the Frying Pan and Into...Allied Drive?

NBC 15 has a story about an effort to relocate Hurricane Katrina victims to Allied Drive. This says one of two things: 1. Somebody wants put the displaced disaster victims in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. 2. Somebody thinks the refugees are of a certain class that would fit right in on Allied Drive.

Herding the new arrivals into the Allied Drive hood is just a bad idea all around. Putting displaced families with host families temporarily would be far more productive in the long run.

9.06.2005

Changing attitudes

Abu Aardvark just returned from an APSA (American Political Science Association) conference, and he has something interesting to say:
But the really interesting part was this: he ran regressions on nine different families of variables - everything from education to gender to religiosity to income - to find out what best explained expressions of support for terrorism. None of these shows any stasticially significant relationship. The only independent variables significantly correlated with support for terrorism were "negative views of U.S. foreign policy" and - and here's the interesting part - [emphasis original]

now so far, you could read this as "it's America's own darn fault that we're targeted". But here's the "and":
"negative views of one's own political system."

I'd say that's a strong argument for a lot of things the Bush administration has been doing in the war on terrorism. Not the whole solution, but a very important part of it.

'Don’t “Drink & Walk”'

This sage advice coming to you from the Madison University Police's newsletter, The Badger Beat. I suppose they have to shrug off the recent press on campus drinking and at least show they're trying to minimize harm.
"...walking will probably not result in the death or injury
of someone else—but it could very well result in yours."
One could abandon principle and use segregated student fees to fund a cab ride home. But if you choose to take the moral high road and walk home from the bars, I'd recommend getting a few slices of Ian's for the trek.

A post from the battlefield

...of Madison, that is. Former Beacon editorial writer Darryn Beckstrom is now writing for the Badger Herald, and is already taking really nasty assaults in her first article:
Conservative graduate students and professors are a rare breed in the halls of our nation’s ivory towers. Nonetheless, I find myself in the peculiar position of being both a second-year doctoral student in political science and a fervent supporter of George W. Bush. The two don’t exactly go together like Ben and Jerry.
[snip]
Robert George, a conservative political science professor at Princeton University, remarked, “If [a conservative] kid applies to one of the top graduate schools, he’s likely to be not admitted. Say he gets past that first screen. He’s going to face pressure to conform or he’ll be the victim of discrimination. It’s a lot harder to hide then than it was as an undergrad.”
[snip]
Given I have written this column, I have reported for my semester of active duty. The battlefield will be the UW campus.

She's facing an uphill battle. And the comments she's gotten have been pretty nasty, indeed (turn on the "show all comments feature" - most of the attacks are anonymous). But let's give some applause to Rajen Subramanian, who writes:
Colleagues,

I am deeply disappointed to see the cowardly and unthoughtful responses to a courageous colleague's willingness to discuss an issue of vital importance to the notions of free-speech and intellectual diversity in not just UW Polisci but also in broader academia. The majority of the above comments appear to soundly validate and strengthen Darryn's arguments (note: her name is spelled Darryn not Darren or Darrin or something else). The majority of the responses speak from the same viewpoint that Darryn is inciting. It is the viewpoint of the majority on this campus and in academia: the left-liberal viewpoint.
First, if you are in the department you probably know my political views. I am a classic libertarian with a few conservative views thrown in. I agree whole heartedly with Darryn's views in the above essay because she is speaking from a different viewpoint from that of the majority. I will refrain from saying that I have been ostarcized etc etc in the department for my political views because I really don't care much about my political views and I tend to ignore a lot of things when they begin to affect my work. If I wanted to rant about being ostarcized I would discuss something completely different and apolitical but that is another matter.

To understand her critiques you need to take a second to step out of your box and try to understand where she is coming from. Try the following:

Take a second and imagine yourself as a liberal at some extreme right wing school such as Bob Jones U. You might be one of a few people who are liberals or are atleast not extreme right and for that reason everyone around you calls you names or makes you feel outcast from the majority because you do not agree with them. As a result you tend to shut up and try not think about it. Try this mental exercise for a second. Or maybe think about a situation in your own life when you have been the absolute (not relative) minority on an issue of concern to you. It may be political, philosophical, moral, social, whatever you choose. Now, thinking about that same issue that you just thought of try to think about Darryn's position. She's is one of very few outspoken and active conservatives in our department. Now before you start reeling off about how political scientists must not disclose their partisan views just think about how many active liberals there are in our department. The TAA and all active members, people who work for liberal political coalitions and remember the arguments last year over emails about putting "Bush to pasture". The great majority of people in our department and academia are very liberal. As a result the vast number of conservatives in our department are silent conservatives. Most of the above responses simply clarify her criticisms by talking about the silent inactive conservatives who claim to have no issues with the department. Put yourself in her shoes and try to think. Maybe you might understand her point. In academia there is a liberal bias and nobody can deny that.

People who are socially conservative, religious or just different from the mainstream are either forced to stay silent or attacked with senseless critiques when they choose to voice their views. Darryn is not the only person to feel outside the spectrum. I know of other individuals on this campus and several of them do not share Darryn's political views. I will not disclose names here to protect their identities. But the truth is that the beautiful image of diversity we like to conjure up in our minds is simply not true. We do promote intellectual diversity, but we tend to promote it when it fits within one particular intellectual category. We need to promote more diversity but allowing individuals who we do not aggree with to voice their views. The conservatives on this campus are perceived as whiny because the liberals have developed a herd mentality with an excellent system of organized attack. Their sheer numbers allow them to do and say things that conservatives cannot imagine doing. Speech codes, viewpoint discrimination, you name it happens here. If we want intellectual diversity we need to discard these forms of formal and informal restrictions and allow people with different views to fearlessly voice their opinions.

Some of you have attacked Darryn's intelligence and let me ask you something. How many of you have actually taken the time to sit down and have an intelligent conversation with her? She is far more intelligent than her age or your opinions of her give credit. I do not know her as well as I wish I did but having been in class with her and having discussed ideas with her she is far more intelligent than most people I know. I've met smart people in academia from five continents and she's probably in the top 1% of people I have ever met. She's accomplished more in her years than most of us did at that age and it is only fair that we give her the intellectual respect accorded to our peers.

Finally, she's had the courage to publicly write this and sign her name to it. Why don't all you anonymous critics get some courage and sign your names to your statements. Stop being cowards and engage her intellectual arguments on that position rather than using ad hominem attacks and stop cloaking your intellectual shallowness in statements about her grammar and choice of language.

Sincerely,
Rajen Subramanian

PS: Don't bother telling me that my writing in this note was not that great. I don't give a fig about that instead think about what Darryn has written in her essay and where she is coming from.

On the contrary, Mr. Subramanian, your writing was eloquent. Thank you for having the intellectual honesty to admit other points of view, and welcome them into the fold. Hopefully, although doubtfully, we'll have more like you who are open to true diversity on this campus.

Also, welcome to the big time, Darryn. We miss you at the Beacon, but we're still rooting for ya!

BVNote: RS has his own blog, though it hasn't been updated lately.

A terribly Freshman moment

Ah, the joys of being back in school, where on some days, classes don't start 'till noon! As I walked out the door at 11.45 this morning, I was actually looking forward to going to class. So I hopped on my trusty (and free!) red bike.

Then I realized that I had to go to the Social Sciences building, which is at the top of Bascom Hill. But no matter, I've been biking all summer - I can take a little hill. So up I rode. Then I marched down into the bowels of Soc Sci to get to my class.

Then I realized that I actually had to go to one of my favorite buildings - Humanities! But for some reason, I had that mixed up with Van Hise.

The upside to all this nonsense was a nice ride down Bascom Hill - much fun indeed!

Bring Out the Catafalque

It looks like Chief Justice Rehnquist will lie in state on the Lincoln Catafalque. What's a catafalque, you say? During my stint as an intern and tour guide at the U.S. Capitol, I always enjoyed the eerie excitement of descending deep into the bowels of the building to Washington's Tomb to see the almost Poe-like catafalque lying in its crypt.
The catafalque was hastily constructed in 1865 to support the casket of Abraham Lincoln while the president's body lay in state in the Rotunda. The catafalque has since been used for all those who have lain in state in the Capitol Rotunda, as listed below. When not in use, the catafalque is kept below the Crypt in a small vaulted chamber called Washington's Tomb, which was originally intended, but never used, as the burial place for the first president.
President Reagan was the last public figure to lie in state on the catafalque. A sampling of those figures is quite awe-inspiring; Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, Garfield, McKinley, JFK, General MacArthur, Earl Warren - overall:
Twenty-six distinguished Americans have lain in state on Lincoln's catafalque, including 10 presidents—from Lincoln himself through Kennedy
The concept of the structure originated in the Roman Catholic Church.The mortuary structure is a long, low wooden platform with ornate black pall draperies. It is used either in the capitol rotunda or the Supreme Court Building. If I remember correctly, the original architect of the capitol intended for a central hole opening in the floor of the capitol rotunda so one could see all the way down to the tomb where Washington was to be buried.

"New Orleans: Racist Atrocity"

Just a snippet of the extreme Katrina rhetoric sprouting on campus. This enlightening quote could be seen on UW's Library Mall during a student involvement fair yesterday afternoon. The sign was part of a display by a few people handing out "The Socialist Worker" newspaper.


Update: My good friend down in Vacherie, LA has reported in. He is fine, but his family and friends were devastated, as his hometown took a greater hit than the city where he attends university.

9.05.2005

Mac Blog

Mac VerStandig, Editor in Chief of the Badger Herald, that is. The colorful, cigar smoking character himself has begun posting again on his blog, Right Side of the Road.

(HT Timmyscape)

Carnival Time

We'll be hosting a Carnival of the Badger here on September 15. Send us your posts when the time comes - we're looking for anything about politics and life here in Cheddardom.

9.04.2005

Sheehan's Bus Tour - An Anticlimactic Stop in Madison





Cindy Sheehan's followers were out at the Barrymore Theater on the east side of Madison tonight; the theater was full, but people weren't overflowing into the aisles. One speaker: "Our country had reached a point of Iraq Fatique. Cindy Sheehan got this story back on the front page, right where it needs to be." A few folks hawked propaganda in the vestibule and outside on the sidewalk - including special advance tickets to the Jane Fonda/George Galloway event on September 18 at the Memorial Union.

9.03.2005

R.I.P., Mr. Chief Justice

We remember a great jurist, a fellow Wisconsinite. Godspeed, Rehnquist.

Drinking on the UW Campus

So I've been taking some flack here and elsewhere for my earlier post praising the current UW-Madison chair of student government. There seems to be a lot of huffing and puffing about supporting illegal drug use. Well, some clarification is in order.

First, the post's praise was confined to Varney's comments regarding alcohol. While I lived a rather - and to some friends, annoying - puritanical life in the realm of drinking before I turned 21, I believed all along that the drinking age should not be 21. Such an age does not jibe with the heritage and culture of this state. Parents, having lived with an 18 year-old drinking age, are often sympathetic to underagers who try to flaunt the law; this breeds disrespect of the law generally. The limit's highway funding blackmail mechanism also impinges on 10th Amendment states' rights.

Second, I praised Varney largely for his political shrewdness, not necessarily based on whether I agree with the value judgments inherent in his statements. He is with the vast majority of campus on this.

Personally, I do not condone illegal drug use or the illegal use of alcohol. I do, however, appreciate Varney's honesty. These activities, especially drinking, do happen here. The school's reputation preceeds it - no incoming freshman can say they didn't know they would be entering this type of environment. This campus culture will not change in the near future; city and university efforts to curb imbibing go back to the 1880s at least. Success has continually eluded authorities; the struggle is Madison's little Palestine vs. Israel. Varney has realized this, acknowledged it, and fallen back to hold the inner trenches on other conservative issues. And personally, given my experience here, that's probably a smart move.

9.02.2005

UW Alum Requests Katrina Help in Baton Rouge

Looking for a reliable way to help the hurricane recovery without questioning if your efforts will actually impact refugees directly? Here's an e-mail from an old member of the UW-Madison student government who teaches down in Baton Rouge:

For those of you who don't know (or remember) me, my name is Rob Welygan, and I was the Finance Committee Chair for the 9th session. I graduated in 2004, joined Teach for America, and have since been teaching high school math down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

As you have probably no doubt heard on the news, the results of Hurricane Katrina have been disasterous to the region. We are experiencing problems and conditons that many, myself included, never believed were possible in the society of a global superpower. I spent the last several days volunteering in shelters around Baton Rouge, meeting individuals who after spending nearly 48 hours on their rooftops, were ecstatic to be given nothing more than drinking water and food. There is so much devastation, and it is not something that we can rebuild on our own.

Beginning next week, the evacuee children from New Orleans will be enrolled into the Baton Rouge school districts. Although most of these students will have no homes, and will return each day to parents that have no jobs, we as teachers will be doing our best to accommadate their situation, and provide them with the education that they rightfully deserve. However, in order to receive a proper education, these students will need the school supplies that most every other high school student takes for granted.

This is where your assistance would be greatly appreciated. I know that the Associated Students of Madison has always been filled with concerned and passionate leaders. The citizens of Baton Rouge are already stretched at the seems doing everything that they can to accommodate the increased population of their city. It is for this reason that I turn back towards my alma matter, in hopes of your generosity and support. I would like to imagine that there are thousands of students who would like to help the hurricane surviors, but are uncertain how. Here's an important way: send school supplies to Baton Rouge for evacuee children. We need them badly. Everything including backpacks, paper, pencils, pens, binders . . . any sort of supply that students need to learn at school, we can use it. These supplies will not be put to waste; they will go directly to hurricane victims who are seeking a sense of normalcy after a horrific disruption.

Supplies can be sent to:

Rob Welygan
Captiol High School
1000 N. 23rd St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Atta Boy

The new Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Chair, Eric Varney, has done it again. Not only he is the first student government chair coming from right of the center line in recent campus history, but he's representing the campus well.

At the Chancellor's convocation, he was frank about drinking on campus, but not unreasonable. When Madison took top honors nationwide for drinking, he put forward the apt quote to the AP: "It just goes to show that we work hard and we play hard." Varney, who used to write sports for The Mendota Beacon, is someone who truly speaks for the campus. Any of his predecessors in the last five years would have wrung his or her hands profusely and responded with a lame, unrepresentative answer to the effect of "Drinking is a serious concern on campus, and we are working to address it."

Eric Varney is a perfect fit for the job - and he's started out on the right foot. Well done, buddy.

Scott Walker

He sings! And he has a song on the Life Aquatic soundtrack? Who'dve thunk it?

9.01.2005

Vote for Letters in Bottles!

Vote for us over at MKE - we're one of five blogs up this week for "Blog of the Week"!

Tune in Saturday for Badger Football

The Mendota Beacon will have live updates from Camp Randall during the home Badger game against Bowling Green on Saturday.

"It's Lord of the Flies."

Wow. This is crazy.

Catholic Charities.

Just checkin' in

I'm up in the Northwoods right now, without even a car, but I made the 45-minute bike ride into town today to use the Internet. Best part of the ride? The sign over one of the bait shops that read "Live nude minnows and other sexy bait".

Looks like Brad has things covered, though, so I'll be back on Monday night. Hopefully I'll have a post on Republicanism and intellectualism ready as a follow-up to Brad's post.

Meanwhile, I'm finishing up reading The Brothers Karamazov. (But I'm reading a print copy, not an electronic copy! I like being able to mark up books I read.)

Update: Good luck with all the riffraff coming to Mad-town. Maybe the city's tring to move back up in the Most Liberal City rankings?

Northern Hospitality

Come on up!

A New Orleans Poem

Here's a poem I wrote back in March of 2003 about my visit to The Crescent City:

New Orleans – French Quarter

The rain cannot discriminate
Between wrought rococo balconies
And the spinning heads of vagabonds;
We are all drenched alike.
It falls in beads, glistening
Like those which choke the trees,
Parade watchers branched serpentine,
Waxy magnolias resplendent in green,
Reflecting this masterwork, bone
Of antiquity grafted into the
Body of today, into the New World.
Wrinkled facings of brick and plaster,
Mixed with the grit of so much
Bacchanalia, laugh in jazz; but the downpour
Cannot distinguish me from
Filigreed French facades or
A revolving red plank of that
Steamboat, marking again the heyday
Of this lively labyrinth where
Hues hopscotch oyster bars and
I trickle merrily down to the Big Muddy
In streets paved so many different ways.

Copyright 2005 Letters in Bottles