What exactly were you thinking before I stopped you?
I was thinking about what I'm going to eat for lunch today.
If you could go to another university, where would you go and why?
I would go to UCSB because it's almost as beautiful as San Diego.
Has there been any improvement in student events since you started UCSD?
I don't know -- I'm not much of a participant.
How many times have you been to Tijuana?
What do you think the biggest slacker major is? Why?
Undeclared, because you don't have to make any commitments. In any major there will be slackers, though.
Who would win in a street fight between Peter Jennings and Dan Rather?
Dan Rather. Actually, I don't know who either one of them are. Are they football players?
If you could go anywhere for spring break, where would you go?
Mallorca -- it's an island off Spain. Although Jamaica would be cool too; I can't decide.
What radio station is your radio tuned to right now?
If you had a hot cousin, would you hook up with him or her?
No. If I didn't know they were my cousin, it would be OK, but I just wouldn't do that.
If your partner wanted to give you an olive oil massage, would you be down for it?
Tuesday evening started out as every other Tuesday does. I went to my three classes and then stopped by the Guardian to see how everything was looking. Everything after that point, however, was far from ordinary. I am sure by this point everybody has been informed about what transpired on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. What isn't as well known is the ramifications of the events.
When looked at in retrospect, Nov. 7 raised two very poignant questions that will have to be answered before the next presidential election.
First of all, there is the question of the media's erroneous reporting. I have had a few quarters of statistics and econometrics, so I understand how the media use samples to predict the winner in specific states. If the sample is large enough, it is possible to run studies where you can be all but sure about the overall results. This is not what I have a problem with.
The problem I have is how they factor in previous results into their prognostication. In a nutshell, what they are doing is using previous results and comparing them to the results that they get from their exit polls, and making a prediction based on those numbers. Theoretically, this would be a good practice, but the problem is that populations in certain areas change drastically between elections.
Take Florida, the primary contentious state for this election, for example. Florida's population is growing at one of the fastest rates of any state in the union. Also, the makeup of the different counties in Florida has been altered greatly of late. This caused the media a great many problems because they assumed that they were polling a representative sample of last election's voting population in each county of Florida. This turned out to be far from true, and the inaccuracy of their polls caused them to call Florida for Vice President Al Gore way before they should have.
This problem only caused confusion among the American population and may have changed the voting patterns of people in states other than Florida. I figured the race was over when Florida was given to Gore, and if I hadn't already voted I may have decided to stay home rather then waste my time on a hopeless cause. If there were enough people like me in the Western states, this mistake by the media may have altered the results of the election.
Even though this mistake seems extraordinarily unprofessional and damaging to the electoral process, the media made another mistake Tuesday night that may have been even more damaging.
The media is not allowed to announce their predictions for a particular state before all the polls in that state are closed. Florida was announced for Gore after most of the state's polls were closed, however there was a section that was still accepting votes. The panhandle of Florida is in the Central time zone, and its polls closed an hour after the majority of Florida's polls. As a result, prospective voters in Florida's panhandle region saw that Florida had gone to Gore, and consequently, many of the voters that were going to vote for Bush may have stayed home rather than voting.
Therefore, as a result of the media's wrongful announcements, the legitimacy of Florida's vote count may have been jeopardized. CNN and NBC had better hope Bush wins, or they may have serious lawsuits on their hands.
The other problem that was revealed by the events of election 2000 revolves around the possible discrepancy between the popular vote and the electoral vote counts. Although it isn't a sure thing yet, it appears as though Bush is going to win the electoral vote and the election, while losing the popular vote to Gore. Although reports that this will cause upheaval throughout the nation and lock the president-elect in endless red tape are erroneous, this discrepancy does beg the question of whether the electoral college is consistent with democratic ideals.
How can the will of the people be thwarted in this way? How can the majority of the people vote for one candidate while another one is chosen? The answer to these questions is simple: This is our system.
It was originally set up because a national election was not feasible in the 18th and early 19th centuries, so people voted for a delegate and that delegate voted for the president. Many people argue that with the Internet and altogether improved communications networks, a popular vote would be optimum. The 2000 election has affirmed that belief for many people.
The problem is that the electoral college now functions to protect the rights of smaller states. Alaska and South Dakota would never receive any concessions in a popular vote because of their relatively small populations. But because they each have three electoral votes, which are actually much more than representative of their population relative to the rest of the country, they are visited by the candidates and given promises if they elect that candidate.
When this is considered, a switch to a pure popular vote may not be the best path for the entire country. What should be done? Got me! All I know is that we are now aware of the problem and can no longer consider these problems hypothetical and ignore them. This election has made them all too real and put them in the forefront of our minds.
Something must be done about the media and the issue of the electoral college must be addressed before the next election so these problems don't manifest themselves again.
Although the recent fires charred close to 350,000 acres and
destroyed well over a thousand homes, San Diegans still have much to be
When the disaster started over a week ago, many worried that
the mass evacuations might induce a Hurricane Katrina-like chaos, but things
remained exceptionally calm as the number of evacuees soared over 500,000.
Qualcomm Stadium was almost picturesque — a far cry from the
disorderly nature of the Louisiana Superdome at the height of Katrina. Instead
of violence, drug deals and suicide attempts there were activities for the kids
along with musical performances, massages and buffets for the adults.
Volunteers came in droves to aid evacuees as the National
Guard stood watch to prevent any possible outbreak of violence. Their weapons,
however, were never needed thanks to the efforts of disaster-response officials
who were quick to meet the needs of evacuated citizens.
But Qualcomm was not the only success. In fact, evacuation
centers across the county have done an equally impressive job housing hoards of homeowners and pets that flocked to
their facilities in search of shelter from the fire.
What many expected to be a political hot potato for state
and national officials turned out to be a showing of their commitment to
improving disaster-response procedue.
The president, especially, had learned Katrina’s lesson
well. Whereas congressional leaders complained of slow federal response for the
2005 hurricane, the president promptly declared a state of emergency in Southern
California on Oct. 23. The action allowed Federal Emergency Management Agency
officials to begin dispersing aid to those most affected by the fires — which
caused more than $1 billion in damage to San Diego County.
With FEMA able to distribute grants, local officials
throughout the county, along with members of the state’s Office of Emergency
Services, were quick to establish relief centers that fire victims could visit
for a bevy of services.
Given the necessity of these centers in the rebuilding of San
Diego, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s efforts to speed their development should
Even localized efforts to cope with the fire’s aftermath
have been executed without a hitch. UCSD, for example, acted quickly to notify
students of school closures.
In order to allow affected students and faculty the proper
recovery time, they have delayed class deadlines, billing dates and Winter
Quarter enrollment; reduced instruction days, established counseling services
and donation programs; offered $3,000 loans to faculty and staff who are
victims of the fire and encouraged professors to modify or reduce syllabi to
manage the lost days.
However, the most impressive response by far has come from
San Diegans themselves — friends and families that opened their homes to
evacuees, that stood in line for hours to donate food, blankets and cots at the
shelters and that helped elderly neighbors pack their cars and leave their
homes. We also cannot forget the courageous fire fighters — many of which were
evacuated from their own homes — who toiled around the clock to save homes and
extinguish the fire.Even during disaster, these men and women displayed
kindness and concern.
And so, despite the losses that many face in the coming
days, San Diegans can feel comfort in knowing the strength of their community
and the determination of its people.
I was walking to my Tuesday afternoon political science class at Peterson Hall the other day when I saw something truly amusing. As I made my way across the winding cement paths in front of the Sun God, I saw what appeared to be a life-sized paper mache army figure toting a bazooka over its shoulder. It appeared to be taking aim at the Sun God and was sporting a T-shirt with something to the effect of ""UCSD Administration"" painted on the back.
Surrounding the figure was a series of golf tees and holes, essentially trying to convey that student fees are being funneled into the already rich pockets of the regents and administration.
A similar anti-administration protest took place during Admit Day. I was showing my brother around the campus and decided to attend the ""Welcome to UCSD"" lecture offered on the hour. Just before Vice Chancellor Joseph Watson and others were set to begin speaking, the stage was rushed by a protester. Before a crowd of hundreds of potential students and their families, he explained that the administration was a greedy, cold-hearted beast that cared only for its corporate interests and not for students. He also asserted that UCSD was a ""very political campus."" I had trouble containing my laughter.
This diatribe was followed by a brief chant with fellow protesters scattered throughout the audience. ""UCSD equals corporate greed,"" they half-heartedly repeated, sensing that the crowd of anxious parents was getting agitated by the outburst. They eventually left, allowing the lecture to continue.
So why do I bring these two instances up? Is it because it's the most political activity UCSD has seen since the 1960s? No. Is it because paper mache army men give you something fun to look at on the walk to Peterson? Not exactly.
More than anything, I'm prompted to write and address the idiocy of these events. Over the past month, there have been protests and articles in this newspaper damning the administration and any form of bureaucracy as the tool of capitalist greed and corporate manipulation. Come on, are we really that foolish?
Let's take a look at where this all begins -- Marxism and the undeniably profound work of ""The Communist Manifesto."" The 1848 treatise is effectively Marx and Engel's critique of 19th century European society. The manifesto was written in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, when the interests of the manufacturing elite were continually adverse to those of the workers. It was, as Marx put it ""shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.""
It seems, however, that these modern readers of the manifesto have discounted the context of the work. Taken aback by the passionate prose that invokes a spirit of indignation and self-righteousness, they have effectively attempted to transpose Marx's world to the one we live in.
This isn't to say that we should walk through life with the naive belief that corporate interests serve those of the population. A cautious skepticism of all faceless, power-welding entities -- whether corporations or government -- is a healthy practice in any free-thinking society.
What these protests illustrate is the tendency of anti-corporate leftists to adopt a catch-all ideology, such as class struggle, in place of critical thought. Clearly, it is easier to demonize capitalism than to search for explanations that more effectively address the issue.
Instead of rudely disrupting hundreds of parents and students on Admit Day and discouraging enrollment at UCSD, these protesters could have found a more rational and credible approach. If you want to be mindful of the administration, form a watchdog group of concerned students and monitor the cash flow of the university -- UCSD is a public institution and all records have to be disclosed.
If there is something fishy going on, write a letter to the Guardian and create some commotion with your evidence. Sure, it's not as easy as making paper mache dolls and a nine-hole golf course in front of Muir college, but researching the hard truth shouldn't be.
I respect Ralph Nader for this very reason. I can't recall a TV or radio appearance where Nader unleashed a criticism of corporate America using archaic, Marxist maxims. His concerns over the excessive money and corporate interests in our political system have always been based on solid, well-reasoned arguments. Say what you will about his politics, at least his criticisms go deeper than an ingrained hatred of the establishment.
This contrasts what happened during Admit Day. Upon interrupting one of the speakers, a protester was told that he could address the audience at the conclusion of the current speech. Rather than articulate the position of the protest in a credible and diplomatic manner, the protester denied the invitation and shouted anti-administration slurs as he was booed out of the Price Center Ballroom. Not only did the protest fail to garner support, it created a backlash against it and its fundamental ideological base.
Marx's critique of 19th-century Europe was an innovative and thoughtful examination of a society amid rapid change. The criticisms recently expressed against the administration embody a similar form, but lack the substance and circumstance of their predecessors.
These pseudo-Marxists scream to the heavens against corporate evils, administrative greed and the exploitation of students, but denounce the opportunity to engage in discourse over these concerns. Instead, they formulate arguments composed of lofty rhetoric and simpleton art projects.
Because I am an employee of the Guardian, these people are likely to write off anything I say about their activities. After all, the check I receive for this article will come from the university, the oppressive and malicious entity that has been keeping us all down. I'm just a propagandist of the administration.
Let me offer a more thoughtful explanation. This Editor's Soapbox is a contribution to the dialogue and free exchange of ideas on this campus, not a four-word protest chant or an oversimplified view of a complex issue. I'm not writing this because I'm a ""wage slave,"" or because I'm being exploited by the university. It's a matter of expressing ideas in a constructive and thoughtful way.
If you disagree with what I've said, write a letter to the editor; don't just show up at the Guardian office with a paper mache effigy of me with ""dumb"" written on it in crayon. This is a university -- we should be able to do better than that.