Features

Long-form investigative articles covering people, events and issues that affect the student body. If you have an idea for us to cover, contact us at [email protected]

You Bet Your Bottom Dollar

For people who constantly get that itch for games of chance, Las Vegas has always been the ultimate land of opportunity. There isn’t anywhere else in the world where somebody can find so many different places to gamble or so many different ways to gamble. In recent years, Las Vegas has become even more alluring after the building of such world-class resorts as Bellagio and the Venetian. James P. Pascual Guardian Unfortunately for UCSD students, Las Vegas is rarely a reasonable option for quenching their gambling fantasies. The five-hour drive puts a crimp into everybody’s style, especially with gas prices as high as they are right now. Also, more then half of UCSD’s population is under 21. For this group, Las Vegas seems more like a dollar peep show downtown; they let you look but not touch. Well my friends, there is a way to stay local and still find a way to lose your money in a blaze of glory: the Native American reservation casinos. The Law Prior to 1988, Native American tribes were prohibited from having gaming establishments on their reservations. This all changed that year, however, when federal law granted Native Americans this right. The federal rights provided, however, were very limited. The law would not allow the casinos to provide money for card games. Players had to offer an ante to the house and could only bet against each other, meaning the dealers could not play hands. The law also did not allow lotteries. Low limits on slot machines were also enforced. For these reasons, the reservations were forced to innovate some games that were strikingly similar to the Las Vegas classics, but they could not offer the actual games. This problem looked like it was to be settled in 1998 after the overwhelming passing of Proposition 5, which aimed to clear up the wording in the original federal law and also to extend the gambling opportunities Native Americans were allowed to offer in their casinos. This, however, was not what happened. Proposition 5 was held up in courts by lawsuits filed on behalf of Las Vegas casino owners. In 1999, after almost a year of arguments, the courts overturned Proposition 5 based on technicalities in the law. Taxpayers were given another opportunity to fix the squabbling between the government and Native Americans in March 2000. Appearing on this ballot was Proposition 1A, which claimed to fix the confusing wording in the state law. When the smoke cleared on March 8, the tally wasn’t even a close one. A whopping 64.6 percent of voters were for 1A. The effect of Proposition 1A was not clear at the time it was passed, but in retrospect, it is easy to see the differences in the Native American casinos. First of all, the limit on slot machines has been raised to $2,000. For this reason, many of the local casinos are adding new buildings and revamping their old ones. Proposition 1A also allows Native Americans to play house-banked games like blackjack and run lottery-type games. All in all, Proposition 1A made the reservation casinos much more like those of Las Vegas. The Games Although the reservations vary as to which games they offer, the variation is quite small. Most of the favorites from Las Vegas are offered at all the casinos, and some offer the more obscure games. The reservation casinos all offer a wide variety of slot machines for your playing enjoyment. These machines, thanks to Proposition 1A, are now the same types of machines found in Las Vegas. If you like slot machines, any of the casinos in the area should be to your liking. All of the local casinos also offer the old favorite of the gerontology crowd: bingo. Everybody played this game when they were little kids and it doesn’t really need much explaining. They call a number and if you have it on your card, you mark it. The first person to get a straight line of called numbers wins. There are a few variations on this, but that is the basic game. So if you are over 70, you should be very happy with your bingo options around San Diego. Blackjack is also offered at all of the San Diego area casinos. Blackjack is a game in which the players and the dealer each get two cards. The players play solely against the dealer and do not lose simply because another player has a higher total than they do. Face cards are worth 10, an ace is worth either one or 11, and all other cards are worth their face value. The object is to get higher than the dealer without going over 21. The wide allure of blackjack can probably be attributed to the fact that any novice can sit down and win, while there are advanced strategies that make the game interesting for even the most seasoned player. All of the San Diego area casinos offer a poker room where players can match their wits against each other in classic card games such as seven-card stud and Texas hold `em. Some, but not all, also have variations of poker that you can play against the house. These games include Caribbean stud poker, three card poker, let it ride and pai gow poker. The rules of these games are too lengthy to explain in text, but if you enjoy classic poker games, picking up the rules to these games shouldn’t take you very long. The Casinos Pechanga Pechanga is a Native American casino in Temecula. To get there, you take Interstate 15 north for about 40 miles, exit on highway 79, turn right and go one mile to Pala Road, where you again turn right. Stay on Pala Road for about 2 miles and Pechanga is on the right. Pechanga offers blackjack, slots, bingo, Caribbean stud (which they call Pechanga stud, but the rules are the same) and classic poker. Barona Barona is settled right here in the San Diego area, but getting to it can be a challenge if you don’t know exactly where you are going. Take Interstate 8 east to Highway 67 north. Exit on Willows Road, then take a left on Wildcat Canyon Road. If you follow that six miles through a winding mountain road, Barona will be on your left. Barona offers all the games that Pechanga does, but also offers three card poker, pai gow poker and casino war (yes, it is basically the same game you played with your dad when you were five, only this time it’s for money). Viejas Viejas is possibly the easiest of all the area casinos to get to. You take I-8 to Alpine and exit on Willows Road. Turn left and follow the street a mile-and-a-half. The casino is on your left side. The Viejas outlet stores are on the right. Viejas has a similar set of games to Barona’s, but does not offer casino war. It does, however, offer let it ride and baccarat, two games that no other casino in the area offers. Sycuan Sycuan is geogaphically the closest casino to UCSD, but the drive takes about as long as the drive to Viejas. To get to Sycuan, go down I-8 and exit at El Cajon Boulevard. Follow this until you hit Washington, then turn right. Follow this for three miles until it becomes Dehesa. Stay on it for another five miles and it will take you right to the casino. Sycuan offers a somewhat more limited selection of games as compared to the other casinos. In addition to the standard poker, slots and blackjack (which they call Sycuan 21), Sycuan offers pai gow poker and Sycuan stud (which, again, is simply a dressed up name for Caribbean stud). A Good Alternative So for those of you who don’t have the time to go to Las Vegas or aren’t 21 yet, check out the Native American reservation casinos. They don’t have the same glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas resorts, but they are a good substitute if you are in the mood to lose a little money at the tables or sitting behind a one-armed bandit. ...

An Active High School Party Life Can Lead to Apathy in College

I’ve peaked too early. There’s no other way to really describe it. I’m in college and parties are raging every weekend (maybe not here at UCSD, but we do live in San Diego), but all I feel like doing on a Saturday night is sitting at home with some friends. I know that this concept must be foreign to many UCSD students who have been starved of parties throughout their high school careers (and probably throughout college as well), but trust me, you’ll all get there someday. Many of you are probably sitting there right now and speculating about my past. You might be guessing that I’m a fifth-year senior who has seen his share of parties, or perhaps an SDSU transfer student. Well, I’m neither. In fact, I’m a second-year Warren student who could probably count the number of parties he’s gone to here at UCSD on his two hands. Now that I’ve thoroughly confused the hell out of all of you, let me explain. I went to high school in a small Northern California town. It was hell for an adventurous youth like me. Weekend activities were narrowed to bowling, miniature golf, roller skating, laser tag or the mall. While these activities were enough to keep me busy in my younger days, I soon grew bored of them when I entered high school, as did the rest of the kids in town. We quickly learned that the various fields and orchards that filled our quiet little town were great for concealing parties. It wasn’t long before we were drinking almost every weekend. Occasionally, somebody’s parents would go out of town and we would have a house party, but we remained content in the orchards for the most part. As we got older, the parties intensified and grew. The weekends melded together into a single memory of friends, women and free-flowing alcohol. We were thoroughly enjoying our high school years. When we became juniors in high school, we made one of the greatest discoveries of our young lives. We found the Greek system. Situated in our small town was California State University, Stanislaus. This wonderful college had been home to many a football or basketball game in our youth, but it had never crossed our minds that it was also home to some of the greatest parties known to man. Since it was a college that was basically in the middle of nowhere, there was nothing for those poor students to do on the weekends other than party, and party they did. We would have probably remained oblivious to these parties had we not been friends with (and partied constantly with) older people who graduated from high school and went on to “”study”” at CSUS (it was very common for students from our high school to stay in town and go to college there). As they filtered into the college, they embraced the Greek system as something to keep them sane during the long hours of boredom that the town had to offer. The result was our first connections to college parties. At first we were a bit cautious as we entered the new plateau of parties. We were used to hiding in orchards while we drank on weekends. Now we were in houses filled with people, loud music and, most importantly, alcohol. The first few fraternity parties that we went to were very awkward. We were the youngest ones there and only knew a few people. We spent the first few hours of the first party just sitting on the couch and sipping our beers. People would occasionally come and talk to us, but we remained shell-shocked and speechless for the most part. The proverbial ice finally broke during the second party when my friend asked me to mix some drinks for a few of the guys (this was a talent that I had aquired at a young age). After I whipped up some of the best drinks that these guys had ever tasted, we were accepted by pretty much all of the guys (and a lot of the girls as well, but that’s a different story. We soon grew comfortable and were likewise embraced by the college party scene (it helps to hit the beer bong a few times and gain credibility early on). Our popularity around the high school inevitably skyrocketed, and we were soon the kings of the school. We began hosting our own parties at various locations, drawing large crowds on a regular basis. With our popularity came added cockiness. We would start to take stupid risks with our illegal activities. We once tried to sneak alcohol into a movie theater on the night that it opened. It might have worked if we weren’t wearing huge jackets in 90 degree weather. Needless to say, we were busted and had to run from the cops to escape prosecution. Toward the end of my senior year, my house became party central. Even after I left for college, I would be bothered by people to throw a party every time I came back to visit. It was almost expected. As one can imagine (or maybe you can’t), this grew tiresome. The constant barrage of friends, women and alcohol was growing too much for me to handle. Some of my close friends felt my pain. We were getting burned out on the whole party scene. We would sometimes take weekends off and just drink and watch movies at a person’s house. “”Goldeneye”” became a great pastime and an escape from the party scene. That brings me to where I am now, sitting at home on weekends and just enjoying the company of my friends. I’m not saying that I don’t drink or wouldn’t go out to a party if I heard about a good one, but I’m no longer desperately seeking one out every weekend. This attitude has crept into the rest of my life as well. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a player. Back in the day, that title may have fit (but it would have been a stretch). Granted, I can be very flirtatious, but that does not make me a player. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not just looking for a girl to fool around with for a one-night stand (not any more). I guess I’m just looking for something more substantial. I realize that right about now, there are probably a lot of guys out there calling me a “”pansy.”” To that, I can just say “”whatever.”” In years past, being called names and challenging my ego like that would have probably made me go out and find the nearest good-looking girl for a quick score, but I’m over that now, along with the whole party scene. I’m not saying that I’m ready to settle down and become a grandfather tomorrow — I’m sure I have a few parties left in me — but I am ready to calm down. It is unavoidable that we will all hit this point at some time in our lives. For some it will be in a few years. For some it will be in a few decades. For me, it’s now. ...

Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19) Workmates or daily companions may now need to publicly discuss recent events, policies or group projects. This is an excellent time to establish a bond with close colleagues and review common interests. Some Aries natives may also be asked to solve a difficult calculation or scheduling problem. If so, Aries should go slow: The next few weeks may bring unexpected reversals and fast reassignments. After Thursday, a past romantic attraction will be revitalized: Watch for subtle and seductive invitations. Taurus (April 20-May 20) Daily routines may be disrupted early this week, Taurus. You should expect a colleague or close friend to suddenly change his or her approach to ongoing projects or duties. Key areas involved may be compiled information, research, financial paperwork or records. Some Taureans, especially those born prior to 1954, may also experience new money decisions or debts: Go slow and watch for hidden clauses. Later this week older relatives or roommates may be moody and distant: Expect minor home tensions. Gemini (May 21-June 21) Official duties, time schedules and project instructions will now intensify. Over the next few days, expect team dynamics and social outlets to work in your favor. For many Geminis, this is a time when others will offer highly creative ideas and worthwhile solutions. Be optimistic, Gem, but also expect miscalculations or ongoing time restrictions. After Wednesday, new messages and quick decisions will change a key friendship: Social versus romantic priorities may require added discussion. Cancer (June 22-July 22) After a period of social disagreements and competing jealousies, many Cancerians will now find stability in key relationships. Before March 24, expect negative social influences, misinformation or overly sensitive friends to change their attitude. Ongoing criticism and daily restrictions will now fade: Watch for loved ones to be expressive and passionate. After Thursday, money promises will change. For the next three weeks, authority figures will be cautious, Cancer: Remain patient. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) Romance and long-term friendship are accented this week, Leo. Over the next few days many Leos will begin an intense period of emotional growth in close relationships. Long-standing issues of romantic reluctance or divided priorities will now slowly be solved, Leo. Expect loved ones to express a new awareness of freedom, seductive attraction and intimacy. Single Leos may now experience powerful and potentially disruptive flirtations: Be selective and watch for rare social complications. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Social comfort, romantic belonging and shared goals will this week arrive in long-term relationships, Virgo. Loved ones will now rekindle their original feelings of attraction and romantic enjoyment: Expect past memories and old sentiments to soon create a deepening trust. Single Virgos, over the next two weeks, can expect a slowly developing sensuality in a new relationship. Be receptive, Virgo, and explore fresh emotions: New commitments will bring added confidence and renewed vitality. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) Over the next few days, Libra, your practical wisdom will offer solid rewards. Before midweek, watch for a close colleague or friend to introduce new information, social contacts or key proposals. All are positive, Libra, and will soon lead to expanding optimism, fresh work options and renewed faith in long-term career goals. After Thursday, romantic communications may be difficult: Give friends or lovers extra time to settle family or home differences. Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) Dreams and emotional flashes will be a strong theme this week, Scorp: Late Tuesday, a brief but intense period of moody reflection will arrive. For many Scorpios, contemplation and deep thought will now help clarify their long-term needs and beliefs concerning key relationships. Romantic or social commitments may be more involved than previously anticipated: Before next week take extra time for informed, appropriate decisions. This will be an emotionally demanding week, Scorp: Stay focused. Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Early this week, Sage, your creativity and sensitivity are extremely high. Over the next few days, watch loved ones closely for indications of change: Many Sagittarians will now greatly expand their emotional commitments, social promises or daily home activities. Some Sagittarians will also experience improved work relations: Fading power struggles will be an important issue. After Friday, artistic and social insight are accented: Enjoy sudden flashes of awareness and fast invitations from friends. Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Before mid-week, Cap, a brief but intense period of reflection and inward thought arrives. Key issues may involve recent social events or new changes to long-term relationships. For most Capricorns, this period of contemplation will be the precursor for two to three days of quick social changes or highly public emotional discussions. After Thursday, expect lovers or long-term friends to initiate new home ideas or romantic proposals. Be expressive, but sensitive, Cap: Loved ones are now vulnerable. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) The past fights back this week, Aquarius: Late Tuesday, watch for both lovers and close friends to return to old ideals or reintroduce outdated concepts. Some Aquarians may now experience minor conflicts with loved ones concerning family issues, romantic decisions or yesterday’s roles in close relationships. Don’t expect others to make emotional sense over the next few days, Aquarius: Frustration, lagging confidence or regret may be a strong theme. Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) Let romantic partners or long-term friends set the tone this week, Pisces: Before midweek, loved ones will strongly benefit from publicly expressing their views or helping plan group events. Expect others to now adopt a more active and outspoken role in relationships: This is a positive time for displays of social confidence and romantic love. Later this week, a workplace setback may be bothersome: Watch for delayed records, misinformation and revised assignments to disrupt daily duties. If Your Birthday is this Week Social relationships will dramatically change over the next two to three months: Watch for several fresh introductions or a new circle of friends to arrive before the end of March. Many Pisceans will now gain powerful business alliances or rare future career opportunities through new social contacts. After mid-April, family restrictions and misunderstandings with older relatives will temporarily fade: Expect a five- to six-month period of approval and social acceptance from previously cautious loved ones. Romantic commitments will build slowly this year, Pisces: Don’t press for quick or final decisions before mid- to late September. ...

You Bet Your Bottom Dollar

For people who constantly get that itch for games of chance, Las Vegas has always been the ultimate land of opportunity. There isn’t anywhere else in the world where somebody can find so many different places to gamble or so many different ways to gamble. In recent years, Las Vegas has become even more alluring after the building of such world-class resorts as Bellagio and the Venetian. James P. Pascual Guardian Unfortunately for UCSD students, Las Vegas is rarely a reasonable option for quenching their gambling fantasies. The five-hour drive puts a crimp into everybody’s style, especially with gas prices as high as they are right now. Also, more then half of UCSD’s population is under 21. For this group, Las Vegas seems more like a dollar peep show downtown; they let you look but not touch. Well my friends, there is a way to stay local and still find a way to lose your money in a blaze of glory: the Native American reservation casinos. The Law Prior to 1988, Native American tribes were prohibited from having gaming establishments on their reservations. This all changed that year, however, when federal law granted Native Americans this right. The federal rights provided, however, were very limited. The law would not allow the casinos to provide money for card games. Players had to offer an ante to the house and could only bet against each other, meaning the dealers could not play hands. The law also did not allow lotteries. Low limits on slot machines were also enforced. For these reasons, the reservations were forced to innovate some games that were strikingly similar to the Las Vegas classics, but they could not offer the actual games. This problem looked like it was to be settled in 1998 after the overwhelming passing of Proposition 5, which aimed to clear up the wording in the original federal law and also to extend the gambling opportunities Native Americans were allowed to offer in their casinos. This, however, was not what happened. Proposition 5 was held up in courts by lawsuits filed on behalf of Las Vegas casino owners. In 1999, after almost a year of arguments, the courts overturned Proposition 5 based on technicalities in the law. Taxpayers were given another opportunity to fix the squabbling between the government and Native Americans in March 2000. Appearing on this ballot was Proposition 1A, which claimed to fix the confusing wording in the state law. When the smoke cleared on March 8, the tally wasn’t even a close one. A whopping 64.6 percent of voters were for 1A. The effect of Proposition 1A was not clear at the time it was passed, but in retrospect, it is easy to see the differences in the Native American casinos. First of all, the limit on slot machines has been raised to $2,000. For this reason, many of the local casinos are adding new buildings and revamping their old ones. Proposition 1A also allows Native Americans to play house-banked games like blackjack and run lottery-type games. All in all, Proposition 1A made the reservation casinos much more like those of Las Vegas. The Games Although the reservations vary as to which games they offer, the variation is quite small. Most of the favorites from Las Vegas are offered at all the casinos, and some offer the more obscure games. The reservation casinos all offer a wide variety of slot machines for your playing enjoyment. These machines, thanks to Proposition 1A, are now the same types of machines found in Las Vegas. If you like slot machines, any of the casinos in the area should be to your liking. All of the local casinos also offer the old favorite of the gerontology crowd: bingo. Everybody played this game when they were little kids and it doesn’t really need much explaining. They call a number and if you have it on your card, you mark it. The first person to get a straight line of called numbers wins. There are a few variations on this, but that is the basic game. So if you are over 70, you should be very happy with your bingo options around San Diego. Blackjack is also offered at all of the San Diego area casinos. Blackjack is a game in which the players and the dealer each get two cards. The players play solely against the dealer and do not lose simply because another player has a higher total than they do. Face cards are worth 10, an ace is worth either one or 11, and all other cards are worth their face value. The object is to get higher than the dealer without going over 21. The wide allure of blackjack can probably be attributed to the fact that any novice can sit down and win, while there are advanced strategies that make the game interesting for even the most seasoned player. All of the San Diego area casinos offer a poker room where players can match their wits against each other in classic card games such as seven-card stud and Texas hold `em. Some, but not all, also have variations of poker that you can play against the house. These games include Caribbean stud poker, three card poker, let it ride and pai gow poker. The rules of these games are too lengthy to explain in text, but if you enjoy classic poker games, picking up the rules to these games shouldn’t take you very long. The Casinos Pechanga Pechanga is a Native American casino in Temecula. To get there, you take Interstate 15 north for about 40 miles, exit on highway 79, turn right and go one mile to Pala Road, where you again turn right. Stay on Pala Road for about 2 miles and Pechanga is on the right. Pechanga offers blackjack, slots, bingo, Caribbean stud (which they call Pechanga stud, but the rules are the same) and classic poker. Barona Barona is settled right here in the San Diego area, but getting to it can be a challenge if you don’t know exactly where you are going. Take Interstate 8 east to Highway 67 north. Exit on Willows Road, then take a left on Wildcat Canyon Road. If you follow that six miles through a winding mountain road, Barona will be on your left. Barona offers all the games that Pechanga does, but also offers three card poker, pai gow poker and casino war (yes, it is basically the same game you played with your dad when you were five, only this time it’s for money). Viejas Viejas is possibly the easiest of all the area casinos to get to. You take I-8 to Alpine and exit on Willows Road. Turn left and follow the street a mile-and-a-half. The casino is on your left side. The Viejas outlet stores are on the right. Viejas has a similar set of games to Barona’s, but does not offer casino war. It does, however, offer let it ride and baccarat, two games that no other casino in the area offers. Sycuan Sycuan is geogaphically the closest casino to UCSD, but the drive takes about as long as the drive to Viejas. To get to Sycuan, go down I-8 and exit at El Cajon Boulevard. Follow this until you hit Washington, then turn right. Follow this for three miles until it becomes Dehesa. Stay on it for another five miles and it will take you right to the casino. Sycuan offers a somewhat more limited selection of games as compared to the other casinos. In addition to the standard poker, slots and blackjack (which they call Sycuan 21), Sycuan offers pai gow poker and Sycuan stud (which, again, is simply a dressed up name for Caribbean stud). A Good Alternative So for those of you who don’t have the time to go to Las Vegas or aren’t 21 yet, check out the Native American reservation casinos. They don’t have the same glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas resorts, but they are a good substitute if you are in the mood to lose a little money at the tables or sitting behind a one-armed bandit. ...

An Active High School Party Life Can Lead to Apathy in College

I’ve peaked too early. There’s no other way to really describe it. I’m in college and parties are raging every weekend (maybe not here at UCSD, but we do live in San Diego), but all I feel like doing on a Saturday night is sitting at home with some friends. I know that this concept must be foreign to many UCSD students who have been starved of parties throughout their high school careers (and probably throughout college as well), but trust me, you’ll all get there someday. Many of you are probably sitting there right now and speculating about my past. You might be guessing that I’m a fifth-year senior who has seen his share of parties, or perhaps an SDSU transfer student. Well, I’m neither. In fact, I’m a second-year Warren student who could probably count the number of parties he’s gone to here at UCSD on his two hands. Now that I’ve thoroughly confused the hell out of all of you, let me explain. I went to high school in a small Northern California town. It was hell for an adventurous youth like me. Weekend activities were narrowed to bowling, miniature golf, roller skating, laser tag or the mall. While these activities were enough to keep me busy in my younger days, I soon grew bored of them when I entered high school, as did the rest of the kids in town. We quickly learned that the various fields and orchards that filled our quiet little town were great for concealing parties. It wasn’t long before we were drinking almost every weekend. Occasionally, somebody’s parents would go out of town and we would have a house party, but we remained content in the orchards for the most part. As we got older, the parties intensified and grew. The weekends melded together into a single memory of friends, women and free-flowing alcohol. We were thoroughly enjoying our high school years. When we became juniors in high school, we made one of the greatest discoveries of our young lives. We found the Greek system. Situated in our small town was California State University, Stanislaus. This wonderful college had been home to many a football or basketball game in our youth, but it had never crossed our minds that it was also home to some of the greatest parties known to man. Since it was a college that was basically in the middle of nowhere, there was nothing for those poor students to do on the weekends other than party, and party they did. We would have probably remained oblivious to these parties had we not been friends with (and partied constantly with) older people who graduated from high school and went on to “”study”” at CSUS (it was very common for students from our high school to stay in town and go to college there). As they filtered into the college, they embraced the Greek system as something to keep them sane during the long hours of boredom that the town had to offer. The result was our first connections to college parties. At first we were a bit cautious as we entered the new plateau of parties. We were used to hiding in orchards while we drank on weekends. Now we were in houses filled with people, loud music and, most importantly, alcohol. The first few fraternity parties that we went to were very awkward. We were the youngest ones there and only knew a few people. We spent the first few hours of the first party just sitting on the couch and sipping our beers. People would occasionally come and talk to us, but we remained shell-shocked and speechless for the most part. The proverbial ice finally broke during the second party when my friend asked me to mix some drinks for a few of the guys (this was a talent that I had aquired at a young age). After I whipped up some of the best drinks that these guys had ever tasted, we were accepted by pretty much all of the guys (and a lot of the girls as well, but that’s a different story. We soon grew comfortable and were likewise embraced by the college party scene (it helps to hit the beer bong a few times and gain credibility early on). Our popularity around the high school inevitably skyrocketed, and we were soon the kings of the school. We began hosting our own parties at various locations, drawing large crowds on a regular basis. With our popularity came added cockiness. We would start to take stupid risks with our illegal activities. We once tried to sneak alcohol into a movie theater on the night that it opened. It might have worked if we weren’t wearing huge jackets in 90 degree weather. Needless to say, we were busted and had to run from the cops to escape prosecution. Toward the end of my senior year, my house became party central. Even after I left for college, I would be bothered by people to throw a party every time I came back to visit. It was almost expected. As one can imagine (or maybe you can’t), this grew tiresome. The constant barrage of friends, women and alcohol was growing too much for me to handle. Some of my close friends felt my pain. We were getting burned out on the whole party scene. We would sometimes take weekends off and just drink and watch movies at a person’s house. “”Goldeneye”” became a great pastime and an escape from the party scene. That brings me to where I am now, sitting at home on weekends and just enjoying the company of my friends. I’m not saying that I don’t drink or wouldn’t go out to a party if I heard about a good one, but I’m no longer desperately seeking one out every weekend. This attitude has crept into the rest of my life as well. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a player. Back in the day, that title may have fit (but it would have been a stretch). Granted, I can be very flirtatious, but that does not make me a player. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not just looking for a girl to fool around with for a one-night stand (not any more). I guess I’m just looking for something more substantial. I realize that right about now, there are probably a lot of guys out there calling me a “”pansy.”” To that, I can just say “”whatever.”” In years past, being called names and challenging my ego like that would have probably made me go out and find the nearest good-looking girl for a quick score, but I’m over that now, along with the whole party scene. I’m not saying that I’m ready to settle down and become a grandfather tomorrow — I’m sure I have a few parties left in me — but I am ready to calm down. It is unavoidable that we will all hit this point at some time in our lives. For some it will be in a few years. For some it will be in a few decades. For me, it’s now. ...

Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19) Workmates or daily companions may now need to publicly discuss recent events, policies or group projects. This is an excellent time to establish a bond with close colleagues and review common interests. Some Aries natives may also be asked to solve a difficult calculation or scheduling problem. If so, Aries should go slow: The next few weeks may bring unexpected reversals and fast reassignments. After Thursday, a past romantic attraction will be revitalized: Watch for subtle and seductive invitations. Taurus (April 20-May 20) Daily routines may be disrupted early this week, Taurus. You should expect a colleague or close friend to suddenly change his or her approach to ongoing projects or duties. Key areas involved may be compiled information, research, financial paperwork or records. Some Taureans, especially those born prior to 1954, may also experience new money decisions or debts: Go slow and watch for hidden clauses. Later this week older relatives or roommates may be moody and distant: Expect minor home tensions. Gemini (May 21-June 21) Official duties, time schedules and project instructions will now intensify. Over the next few days, expect team dynamics and social outlets to work in your favor. For many Geminis, this is a time when others will offer highly creative ideas and worthwhile solutions. Be optimistic, Gem, but also expect miscalculations or ongoing time restrictions. After Wednesday, new messages and quick decisions will change a key friendship: Social versus romantic priorities may require added discussion. Cancer (June 22-July 22) After a period of social disagreements and competing jealousies, many Cancerians will now find stability in key relationships. Before March 24, expect negative social influences, misinformation or overly sensitive friends to change their attitude. Ongoing criticism and daily restrictions will now fade: Watch for loved ones to be expressive and passionate. After Thursday, money promises will change. For the next three weeks, authority figures will be cautious, Cancer: Remain patient. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) Romance and long-term friendship are accented this week, Leo. Over the next few days many Leos will begin an intense period of emotional growth in close relationships. Long-standing issues of romantic reluctance or divided priorities will now slowly be solved, Leo. Expect loved ones to express a new awareness of freedom, seductive attraction and intimacy. Single Leos may now experience powerful and potentially disruptive flirtations: Be selective and watch for rare social complications. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Social comfort, romantic belonging and shared goals will this week arrive in long-term relationships, Virgo. Loved ones will now rekindle their original feelings of attraction and romantic enjoyment: Expect past memories and old sentiments to soon create a deepening trust. Single Virgos, over the next two weeks, can expect a slowly developing sensuality in a new relationship. Be receptive, Virgo, and explore fresh emotions: New commitments will bring added confidence and renewed vitality. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) Over the next few days, Libra, your practical wisdom will offer solid rewards. Before midweek, watch for a close colleague or friend to introduce new information, social contacts or key proposals. All are positive, Libra, and will soon lead to expanding optimism, fresh work options and renewed faith in long-term career goals. After Thursday, romantic communications may be difficult: Give friends or lovers extra time to settle family or home differences. Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) Dreams and emotional flashes will be a strong theme this week, Scorp: Late Tuesday, a brief but intense period of moody reflection will arrive. For many Scorpios, contemplation and deep thought will now help clarify their long-term needs and beliefs concerning key relationships. Romantic or social commitments may be more involved than previously anticipated: Before next week take extra time for informed, appropriate decisions. This will be an emotionally demanding week, Scorp: Stay focused. Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Early this week, Sage, your creativity and sensitivity are extremely high. Over the next few days, watch loved ones closely for indications of change: Many Sagittarians will now greatly expand their emotional commitments, social promises or daily home activities. Some Sagittarians will also experience improved work relations: Fading power struggles will be an important issue. After Friday, artistic and social insight are accented: Enjoy sudden flashes of awareness and fast invitations from friends. Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Before mid-week, Cap, a brief but intense period of reflection and inward thought arrives. Key issues may involve recent social events or new changes to long-term relationships. For most Capricorns, this period of contemplation will be the precursor for two to three days of quick social changes or highly public emotional discussions. After Thursday, expect lovers or long-term friends to initiate new home ideas or romantic proposals. Be expressive, but sensitive, Cap: Loved ones are now vulnerable. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) The past fights back this week, Aquarius: Late Tuesday, watch for both lovers and close friends to return to old ideals or reintroduce outdated concepts. Some Aquarians may now experience minor conflicts with loved ones concerning family issues, romantic decisions or yesterday’s roles in close relationships. Don’t expect others to make emotional sense over the next few days, Aquarius: Frustration, lagging confidence or regret may be a strong theme. Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) Let romantic partners or long-term friends set the tone this week, Pisces: Before midweek, loved ones will strongly benefit from publicly expressing their views or helping plan group events. Expect others to now adopt a more active and outspoken role in relationships: This is a positive time for displays of social confidence and romantic love. Later this week, a workplace setback may be bothersome: Watch for delayed records, misinformation and revised assignments to disrupt daily duties. If Your Birthday is this Week Social relationships will dramatically change over the next two to three months: Watch for several fresh introductions or a new circle of friends to arrive before the end of March. Many Pisceans will now gain powerful business alliances or rare future career opportunities through new social contacts. After mid-April, family restrictions and misunderstandings with older relatives will temporarily fade: Expect a five- to six-month period of approval and social acceptance from previously cautious loved ones. Romantic commitments will build slowly this year, Pisces: Don’t press for quick or final decisions before mid- to late September. ...

The DUI Price Tag

We all know that driving under the influence, or DUI, is a dangerous proposition. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, on average, one person is injured every two minutes in alcohol-related accidents in the United States. In 1998, the total number of traffic deaths in California was 3,494. A total of 1,324 of those were alcohol-related. That is 37.9 percent, up from 35.6 percent the year before. But what is the actual cost of a DUI for a student in California? Courtney Takashima Guardian Sara’s* Story According to Sara, a UCSD senior, it would be easy for any of us to get into trouble. The night she went out, she only had a few drinks and lived right down the street from the bar where she and her friends were hanging out. She had planned on having a few drinks, waiting a while, and then driving home. “”I’ve driven drunk before; I admit that,”” Sara said. “”But, I totally thought I was fine that night. I’d driven because I had to work the next day. I figured I would be fine, and I would’ve been if my headlight hadn’t been out that night.”” When the officer pulled her over, she hadn’t been weaving or speeding. He pulled her over for a broken headlight. By law, the officer must have cause to pull you over, otherwise a DUI arrest can be thrown out. Sara passed the standard roadside alcohol tests that he administered, but the officer decided to administer a breathalyzer test anyway. Sara’s test exceeded the 0.08 limit and the officer arrested her. Usually, the arresting officer will impound the car of an individual he is arresting. However, in this instance, Sara got lucky. “”He acted like he was doing me this huge favor by not impounding my car,”” Sara said. “”I would have rather he taken my car and let me walk home.”” Sara was arrested and taken to the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Center. “”At the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Center, they make you feel like the biggest loser ever,”” Sara said. “”I seriously had self-esteem issues after that. They take all of your stuff and make you feel like shit. They put you in a cell with everyone else that they picked up that night.”” According to Sara, the guards claimed that it was standard procedure to keep everyone who has been arrested in confinement for a minimum of six hours to give them an opportunity to sober up. The next morning, her roommate had to pick her up. Mike’s* Story Unlike Sara, Mike, an incoming UCSD transfer student, felt fully intoxicated the night of his arrest. He was in a small town in Nevada and his ride had left him at a party. “”My accident happened three days before Christmas in 1999,”” Mike said. “”I went to a Christmas party with my brother and his girlfriend.”” He admits that he was pretty drunk that night. “”It was bad news,”” he said. “”I was really hammered. I was a block from the party and I took a corner way too fast. I don’t know exactly what happened, but all of a sudden, the girl I was with was screaming her head off, and I couldn’t breathe because I got the wind knocked out of me. The people from the party must have heard the accident, because all of a sudden some girl comes up to the window and starts yelling at me. I figure that I must have left to call the police, but when the police pulled up, it looked like I was fleeing the accident.”” Mike admitted to the police that he was intoxicated, and although this was fairly evident by his behavior, most attorneys do not recommend admitting to the police that you have been drinking. Mike wasn’t tested until two hours after the accident. “”I blew a 0.16 two hours after the accident,”” he said. The accident resulted in his own injuries and damage to the car, which cost Mike additional money. He was not detained at a correction facility. “”Because my back was bothering me, they just booked me at the scene and released me to the paramedics. At the time, I thought I was pretty smooth. I kept on hitting on the nurses.”” Drinking and Driving: Statistics According to the Insurance Institute for highway safety, in 1999, 28 percent of fatally injured drivers had blood alcohol contents, or BACs, of at least 0.10 percent. In 1999, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 30 percent of all traffic deaths occurred in crashes in which at least one driver or nonoccupant had a BAC of 0.10 percent or more. The statistics went on to show that there was alcohol present in 38 percent of all fatal crashes in 1999. Such statistics are sometimes cited as proof that between one-third and one-half of all fatal crashes are caused by drunken driving and that none of the crashes that involve alcohol would occur if the alcohol were not present. This is incorrect and misleading because alcohol is only one of several factors that contribute to crashes involving drivers who are drinking. Furthermore, some fatally injured people in alcohol-related crashes are pedestrians with high BACs, and these fatalities would still occur even if every driver were sober. According to the National Commission against Drunk Driving, individuals between the ages of 21 and 34 comprise approximately half of all the drunken drivers involved in alcohol-related fatal crashes and are responsible for more alcohol-related fatal crashes than any other age group. Drivers between the ages of 21 and 34 are also more likely than any other age group to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash. Additionally, they have the highest BACs in fatal crashes. Over the past 10 years, the number of underage drunken drivers has decreased by 40 percent. However, in comparison, the number of 21- to 34-year-old drunken drivers has only decreased by 13 percent. The Law In California, a driver is considered legally drunk when his BAC is a 0.08 or higher. BAC describes the concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood expressed as weight per unit of volume. For example, at 0.10 percent BAC, there is a concentration of 100 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. For most legal purposes, however, a blood sample is not necessary to determine a person’s BAC. It can be measured much more simply by analyzing exhaled breath. In the event that you are pulled over and blow a 0.08 or higher in a breathalyzer, you will most likely be arrested and taken to a police station, where a blood test will be administered. Be aware that submission to field sobriety testing and portable field breath testing is not required by law. However, under a procedure called administrative license suspension, licenses are taken before conviction when a driver fails or refuses to take a chemical test. Procedurally, you should be aware of the few rights that you are entitled to if you’ve been arrested for a DUI. An officer must advise you of your constitutional rights — the Miranda warning — before any further questioning takes place. You must be given a choice of breath or blood testing; if you refuse, you must be advised of the legal consequences (the “”implied consent”” advisement). If a breath test is administered at the police station, since the breath sample is not saved, you must be given a chance to obtain a blood sample for later independent testing by your defense attorney. An officer must have cause to pull you over for drunken driving. DUI evidence falls into five categories, which include driving symptoms such as weaving or lane straddling. According to the Department of Transportation, if you make an unusually wide turn while driving, this is cause to pull you over because there is a 65 percent chance that you are drunk. Additionally, DUI evidence includes personal symptoms such as slurred speech or bloodshot eyes, failure to pass a field sobriety test (which may inlude walking in a straight line or reciting the alphabet) and incriminating statements such as, “”I only had six beers.”” Blood-alcohol evidence or a breath test are used in California to test BACs. Urine tests are now given in California only when breath or blood are not available. Currently, California has two basic drunken driving laws, found in Vehicle Code sections 23152(a) and 23152(b). According to Vehicle code 23152(a), it is a misdemeanor to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Vehicle code 23152(b) states that it is a misdemeanor to drive with 0.08 percent or more alcohol in your blood. In most cases, both the 23152(a) and (b) offenses will result in a person being charged. Though there is only one act, the law states that a defendant can be convicted of both offenses. Although you can be convicted of both offenses, you can only be punished for one. Federal law governs automobile accidents that are the result of drinking and driving. Vehicle Code section 23153 sets forth the felony DUI provisions where an injury results from the drunken driving, while Penal Code sections 191.5 and 192 describe the crime of vehicular manslaughter when a death is the result of the accident. If you want to protest any part of the procedure, or anything else, you must do so within 10 days of your arrest, or you lose out. Sara said that she definitely recommends getting an attorney quickly to figure out what your rights are. She recommends getting an attorney that specializes in DUI cases, or else you may not get the best representation. How Do You Know When You’re Legally Drunk? Impairment is not determined by type of drink. It is measured by the amount of alcohol ingested over a specific period of time. There is an equivalent amount of alcohol in such standard drinks as a 12-ounce glass of beer, a four-ounce glass of wine and 1.25 ounces of 80-proof liquor. Beer is the most common drink consumed by people stopped for alcohol-impaired driving or involved in alcohol-related crashes. The effects of alcoholic drinks vary greatly because the rate that alcohol is absorbed into the blood differs from person to person. Other factors, such as the amount of food in the stomach, also affect alcohol absorption. Nevertheless, various organizations have developed charts intended to help people estimate their BACs based on the number of drinks consumed. These tables can be used to estimate BACs, but they are subject to error. Even after controlling for differences such as age, sex and weight, all of which are known to affect BACs, an individual’s peak BAC may differ markedly from the average indicated on the charts. The Costs The price of a DUI isn’t just the arrest on your record or your parents’ collective wrath. There is a very steep monetary price tag as well. In California, a driver convicted of a DUI will pay thousands of dollars in court fees and fines. This can include $187 for vehicle towing and storage, $156 for booking at your arrest, $100 for license reinstatement, an estimated $2,700 for car insurance increases, $480 for a DUI fine, $816 court assessment, $44 community service fee, $100 for a DUI victims fund, $50 for an alcohol education fund, $550 for DUI classes, $20 for a DUI victim’s impact session and costs for a DMV file search. All totaled, this can cost over $5,200. This number can go up substantially if you decide to contract an attorney, which both Mike and Sara recommend. An attorney can reduce your fines and reduce the amount of time that you lose your license. If the officer commited a procedural error, the entire event can be thrown out if your attorney is particularly competent. According to Mike, because his arrest was the result of his accident, the total cost for the DUI will be at least $20,000. The repairs to the fence that he damaged were $150, plus a DUI fine to the court that totaled $660. The DMV charges separate fines from the court, which include $100 reinstatement fee for his driver’s license and $300 for DUI classes. The most expensive part of receiving a DUI is usually the rise in insurance costs. For Mike, this means that premiums that were less than $100 a month will go up to over $300 a month for the next seven years. In addition to his court fees and fines, he has had to repay the girl $1,500 for the damage done to her car. The punishment in drunk driving cases is set forth by statute and can be incredibly complex. The range of possible sentences is determined by the basic statute, with modifications for such things as having a prior conviction within the past seven years, speeding 20 miles per hour over the limit, having a child under 14 in the car, having a blood-alcohol reading over 0.20, or refusing to submit to chemical testing. Additionally, if you get into an accident or do any property damage, you will be held financially liable, which can significantly increase the cost of a DUI. The actual sentence will also be affected by the facts of the case, any policies of the local court and prosecutors, the weaknesses in the case uncovered by the defense attorney and the reputation of that attorney. Dealing With It For some people, telling their parents is the worst part about getting a DUI. “”I didn’t call my parents for at least four days after my arrest,”” Sara said. “”I didn’t even want to deal with it.”” It is especially difficult when, as a student, your parents are supporting you. A DUI is not just a social burden, it is a financial one as well. “”My parents help me out with school by paying my rent,”” said Mike. “”They are really anti-drinking. Now they think that I am an alcoholic. I screwed up and I admit that. Drinking and driving is just about the stupidest thing you can do. They thought I partied a lot before, but with this they thought that I had reached rock bottom. I still drink occasionally, but I don’t let them know. It gets pretty dramatic with parents.”” The philosophy behind the complicated DUI punishment is that it will serve as a deterrent for those who have to go through the process. A part of this is an educational program, including meetings where participants have to discuss what they did, why they did it, and whether or not they feel like they need help not doing it again. “”Getting through this three-month program will be the worst,”” Mike said. “”It’s such a pain. All the programs want to label you. They talk about helping you, but then they label you, and it doesn’t do anything. You can’t just be some kid who messed up. They have to analyze your family.”” The time that you have to commit in dealing with court dates, meetings, lawyers and classes can be extremely time-consuming as well. “”[Dealing with the DUI] was pretty much all I did fall quarter,”” Sara said. “”The DMV gave me a choice. I could either go without a license for four months, or I could go one month and then have a restricted license for four months.”” The restricted license meant that she could drive to school and to work, but that was it. Additionally, the courts restricted her license for three months. “”My arrest was Sept. 22, 2000,”” said Sara. “”I’m estimating that I’ll be driving again by the middle of June. That means I’ll be driving by summer, which will be cool.”” Decide for Yourself Most of us have been there, or will be some day. Deciding to drive when you’ve been drinking doesn’t make you a bad person, but, according to Mike and Sara, if you get caught, it’s the worst thing in the world. “”The people at the DMV are so rude to me now,”” Mike said. “”I called the other day to ask about my license, and the lady was nice until she pulled up my record. Then she became extremely rude. When I asked to speak to someone else, she agreed and then hung up on me. I couldn’t get anyone to help me.”” Socially, the stigma of having a DUI on your record is difficult. “”The issue of the punishment isn’t so bad,”” Sara said. “”It’s having it on my record. It’s the stigma that is attached to drunk driving.”” Because a DUI arrest and conviction goes on your permanant record, it can hinder you when you apply for jobs and to graduate schools. “”When I apply to graduate school, this is going to be there,”” Mike said. “”If the school I apply to doesn’t look, great. If they do, I’m screwed.”” Altogether, the cost of a DUI really doesn’t measure up to the annoyance of having a designated driver or getting a taxi. Additionally, if you were to accidently inflict damage on someone else, the guilt and the stigma are extremely difficult to live with. “”A taxi ride would have been five bucks. [What I did] was so not worth it,”” Sara said. *Names have been changed. ...

Our Current President Once Again Shows His Complete Incompetence

As with many of my fellow Democratic supporters, I have had to come to terms with the outcome of our recent presidential election. Finding an uncomfortable reassurance in the fabric of American political principles, I am resolved to ride out the Bush presidency without excessive bitterness. This will not, however, prevent me from gently venting my concerns over the current state of the Bush administration, and in particular, the competency of our commander in chief. Last week, many Americans turned on the evening news, or perhaps even opened up a newspaper, to discover the shocking announcement that the United States and Great Britain had conducted an air strike against the lowly nation of Iraq. For those viewers who managed to remain attentive after hearing the words “”air strike”” and “”Iraq”” in the same sentence, the startling headlines were followed by a vague outline of events and last, but not least, a statement by Bush himself. The president, speaking on behalf of his country and in the presence of foreign officials, offered only four sentences on the developing situation in Iraq: “”Since 1991, our country has been enforcing what’s called a no-fly zone. A routine mission was conducted to enforce the no-fly zone. And it is a mission about which I was informed, and I authorized. But I repeat: It’s a routine mission, and we will continue to enforce the no-fly zone until the world is told otherwise.”” I certainly cannot speak for the majority of Americans, but a statement about U.S. military actions that uses “”routine mission”” twice in the course of four brief sentences strikes me as either deceptive or uninformed. Though our dear commander in chief has been known to blunder a syllable on occasion, I believe that his statement demonstrates more a lack of information than a lack of oratory skills. Looking behind the game face that Bush has perfected for the public arena, the eyes of the man more often than not express a wondering panic — as if trying to formulate the correct combination of buzzwords to quell the inquiries of the press. The president’s brief, jumbled statements should not be seen as anything new. Throughout the campaign, even the mainstream media was attracted to Bush’s brief moments of oratory ineptitude (A complete record is kept at http://slate.msn.com/Features/bushisms/bushisms.asp), but these are merely the curtains that line the stage of what ought to concern us. What the public — and the media in particular — should have been concerned with were the moments when it became painfully obvious that Bush lacked substance. During the debates, for instance, the issue of affirmative action was raised. Former Vice President Al Gore repeatedly asked for former Gov. Bush’s position on the issue, refusing to accept Bush’s initial endorsement of a vague “”affirmative access”” program. The vice president pressed Bush on the issue, asking if he agreed with a nonquota-based affirmative action, as the Supreme Court had interpreted it. The silence on the stage was deafening as Bush looked at Gore without answering, and then to moderator Jim Lehrer. Lehrer never made Bush answer the question. The demeanor Bush carried when pressed for an answer by Gore revealed something to everyone paying attention at that moment. Bush’s silence and blank expression were not, as some deliberate, a matter of political prudence or strategy; they were candid proof that Bush simply did not understand what he was being asked. Continually referring to quota-based affirmative action, Bush clearly demonstrated that he was not aware that the Supreme Court has invalidated such practices after the Bakke case in 1978 — something that should be common knowledge for any presidential candidate. Following the debate, I eagerly waited for the media, our trumpeted fourth branch of government, to evaluate each candidate’s performance. Surely, I thought, such an obvious nonresponse on a salient issue would garner the criticism of news anchors and newspaper editors everywhere. Of course, it did not. Herein lies the reason that Bush was able to succeed in “”winning”” the election. The media saw the serious, substantive flaws that Bush presented in becoming the Republican candidate; instead of critically evaluating his qualifications, the debate and his substance, they balked when faced with their duty to report the truth. Lehrer, in acting as moderator for the debates, neglected his duty to make Bush answer a hard question, irrespective of whether it would have made Bush look bad. I believe that the media saw these unsettling occasions that demonstrated a shallow and wholly unqualified knowledge of the issues, but nonetheless chose not to point them out. Was it because it would look like the media were low-blowing a candidate? Did it think the public would criticize it for pointing out such personal flaws? I doubt it was that, either. In reality, I think that the media was hesitant to boldly challenge a major party candidate’s qualifications. In doing so, perhaps it thought it would excessively criticize the system as a whole. Whatever may be true of the media’s action, or lack thereof, the fact remains that Bush has been elected president and our concerns ought to focus on the present. As I gather from his fragmented explanation of the recent intervention in Iraq, the president’s knowledge of such issues appears to be scant. Some have suggested that such vague comments are for the purpose of being politically succinct, but I would lend more credence to the hypothesis that Bush is increasingly becoming the mouthpiece for political players behind the scenes. Experienced politicians and insiders in the Bush camp, such as Vice President Dick Cheney and adviser Karl Rove, have always retained a central position in making key decisions. I believe that given Bush’s actions and statements in his brief number of days in office, these advisors have assumed a tremendous amount of authority within the White House. Bush’s lack of substantive depth over the actions being carried out by his administration would support this idea. All presidents rely on their advisors to guide policy, but it seems quite plausible to suggest that Bush has taken a back seat to his. Most of the public will laugh with amusement in the years to come as Bush’s follies are reported by late-night comedy shows, but few will come to realize that such anecdotes reveal a more troubling picture. Through his charisma, charm and folksy qualities, the public has come to accept Bush’s facade, not caring to examine his ability or, more importantly, those he chooses to entrust with his authority. If we are citizens who value the integrity of representative government, then we must ask the question: Whom does Bush represent? ...

Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19) Romance is now prepared to move rapidly forward: Before mid-week expect both lovers and long-term friends to openly declare their intentions. Passionate expression is positive, Aries: Over the next few weeks expect key relationships to deepen or become highly demanding. Unattached Aries natives can expect several new attractions: Watch for a previously shy lover to soon present ultimatums. Late this week authority figures will challenge your ideas or daily habits: Don’t overreact to small criticisms. Taurus (April 20-May 20) Home relationships now begin a phase of cozy appreciation, Taurus. Over the next few days watch for close friends or relatives to release past stresses and financial worries. A relaxed social atmosphere will now arrive in family matters: Enjoy quiet, meaningful moments with loved ones. After Thursday expect to resolve a recently bothersome ownership disagreement. Areas of concern are property matters, leases or short-term written agreements. Stay alert, Taurus. Gemini (May 21-June 21) Written documents and long-term contracts are now a prime focus. Before mid-week watch for authority figures to recognize your full potential: Use this time to solidify agreements and put group proposals into action. Some Geminis may also develop a secondary income source: Residual payments or new contracts are accented. Later this week romantic discussions will be delicate: Expect loved ones to be moody and unresponsive. Remain patient, Gem: Much is changing. Cancer (June 22-July 22) Late Wednesday watch for a key official or reliable colleague to alter their daily strategy or research methods. Many Cancerians will now encounter new work priorities or a last-minute shift of assignments: Watch for group politics or an unusual power play between officials. Remain balanced, Cancer: Ego battles will fade by early next week. After mid-week also watch for a quick disagreement between friends. Complex romantic issues and willful personalities are involved: Don’t confront. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) Early this week, key officials may question your time schedule or professional habits: Expect unusual communications or messages from authority figures. Thoroughly explain your intentions, Leo: Even though tensions may be high, this is the right time to publicly restate your needs, ideals and plans. After Thursday social relations and new friendships will be particularly rewarding: Expect new acquaintances to be quickly drawn to your charm, wit and humor. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Over the next few days expect loved ones to request more of your time and emotional dedication: Key issues involve minor jealousies over new friendships or long withheld feelings of isolation. Old and new relationships may require delicate attention this week, Virgo: Let others know that you are socially or emotionally available. After Friday an absent relative or forgotten friend may reappear. Remain alert to unusual business proposals or vague property agreements: Avoid financial risk, if at all possible. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) Long-awaited friendships or business contacts will be the theme over the next few days, Libra. Late Tuesday morning watch for both friends and key officials to propose new schedules or increased activities. Some Librans will leave behind past social regrets and outdated career ideals this week: Expect a compelling wave of confidence and life direction to arrive soon. After Thursday watch for a sharp increase in romantic attraction and social flirtation. An exciting few days, Libra: Enjoy! Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) Past resentments will be difficult to avoid this week: Watch for both relatives and authority figures to be moody, self absorbed or overly critical. Some Scorpios will now witness the underlying jealousies of a manager or key official. Areas of concern may involve favored colleagues, career disappointments or highly demanding schedules. Avoid serious discussions, if at all possible: Over the next 16 days private tensions will be deeply felt. An oddly emotional week, Scorp: Stay focused. Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Over the next few days, Sage, a close friend or relative may be particularly nostalgic or sentimental. Key issues are past romantic regrets or family disappointments: Expect loved ones to now be highly focused on past mistakes in important relationships. Be supportive, Sage, but refuse to be emotionally drained. At present, your philosophic outlook or compassion may derail your judgment: Let others work through their own problems. Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Powerful romantic feelings may arrive early this week, Cap: Before Thursday watch for both long-term friends and potential lovers to be strongly focused on bringing greater intimacy into present relationships. For many Capricorns, this period of romantic attraction represents a key turning point in stalled relationships: Expect loved ones and new attractions to demand a more permanent place in your life. Expect a highly charged few days, Cap: Remain open to passionate changes. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Romantic promises and home agreements will now be clarified: Before mid-week expect loved ones to express a powerful need for solid agreements, daily commitments and shared career ambition. Confidence and strong feelings of ownership are now on the rise, Aquarius: Expect romantic partners to make obvious their values, intentions and motivations soon. Remain cautious and take extra time for key decisions: Loved ones are now closely studying your actions and reactions. Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) Financial agreements or new contracts may soon require quick revisions: Late Wednesday watch for authority figures to introduce new procedures or unexpected time restraints. Working relationships may be unclear or confused over the next few days, Pisces: Expect messages, ideas or instructions to be misleading. After mid-week, new friends or social events may compete for your undivided attention. Choose relaxation over hype, Pisces: Energy may be low. If Your Birthday is this Week Opt for romantic security over exciting, seductive affairs. For the next four to five months many Pisceans will experience a test of emotional values or unique social challenge to key relationships. Don’t be derailed, Pisces: Astrologically, this is actually an indication that powerful romantic intimacy and positive life choices will arrive by mid to late July. Later next month watch for a surprising business alliance or career opportunity: Communications, new technologies or unusual forms of marketing, advertising or publicity will soon be an ongoing theme. This year will bring many new challenges, Pisces: Don’t rely on the past for direction. ...

Society's Stereotyping of Asian-American Men Can Lead to Self-Loathing

The opening lines of San Diego’s latest revival of David Henry Hwang’s play “”FOB”” begin with a man’s mean-spirited lecture on all that he hates about FOBs, referring to people who are “”Fresh Off the Boat,”” calling them “”clumsy, stupid, greasy and horny.”” As the lights brighten, the identity of the speaker becomes apparent. The speaker is an Asian male. In truth, this self-loathing among Asian-American males is common enough for me to write a commentary on it. Granted, not all Asian-American males hate themselves, but I would venture to say that most have at one point in their lives. More accurately though, they probably have hated society’s image of them, or the prevailing stereotypes that have plagued Asian-American males for years. Let’s face it: minorities usually get shortchanged by society as far as how they’re represented. Stereotypes and misconceptions thrive in our collective conscience. Asian-American males have been no exception. Most recently, they have been deemed effeminate, nerdy and unattractive. The popular flash-animation “”comic”” character of Mr. Wong remains as one of the saddest examples of how stereotypes of Asian men prevail in our society, with his “”slant-eyed yellow face”” and “”buckteeth”” still persisting even in the 21st century. Not all forms of racism are as obvious. Most are much more subtle, like the media’s constant misrepresentation of Asian-Americans. Growing up Asian-American has not been easy. Along with all the self-doubt and questions of identity that characterize any adolescence, there was the added element of being an Asian-American male in a society that appeared to ignore us. It’s something that most Asian-American males understand but never talk about: a feeling of invisibility. In short, we don’t fit any of the typical definitions of masculinity or maleness. Physically smaller and less threatening than most other males, it was easy to feel less than a man. I, and any of my Asian-American peers no matter how good looking we are to ourselves, know we can never look like the non-Asian romantic leads of your typical Hollywood flick or weekday sitcom. So where did this leave me? Where does it leave most Asian-American males who never see themselves on television or in the movies as anything more than a fleeting extra or the nerd who knows the answer to some ridiculously complex physics problem? It leaves us wondering how society really looks at us and why no one seems to understand why we feel alienated. Over the past 30 years, it has become more socially acceptable for an Asian woman to marry a white male, but the opposite has not been the case. Historically, the role of wives to their husbands has been a submissive one. In other words, it didn’t matter if a white man and a minority woman married, because she would already be deemed subordinate. As long as he was white, he fulfilled the role of the dominant male husband. This also seems to be the same logic behind most television news formats. It is rare to see a minority male, especially an Asian male, opposite a white female anchor. The reason is that our society has always sent the message that Asian males are not the masculine ideal. Obviously, the issue is not black and white or as simple as I present it. I exaggerate. But, ask almost anyone, Asian or not, and they’ll probably know what I’m talking about. Now, before I get some people too riled up, allow me to clarify my point. I’m not trying to call upon some sort of revolution in how people choose their mates, nor am I saying that interracial dating should be the goal of every male and female. To marry or choose a mate based on specific criteria like race would be a terrible mistake. The goal ultimately should be to remain as open as possible and follow what your heart tells you. Trite words, I know, but true just the same. The current trend of interracial marriage simply seems to be an interesting indication of how far our society has come in terms of its perceptions of Asian-American males as a whole. All right, so it’s true that Asian males are featured in countless martial arts films, and yes, they are portrayed as being the strong, Superman type. But how often do you see Bruce Lee getting the girl at the end of the movie? A friend of mine has an interesting view on the situation. According to him, feeling undesirable to white girls was not the only case, but he felt undesirable to all girls of all races in general. In essence, he believes that “”Asian guys are the crap left over,”” at least in the opinion of most girls. In a recent “”Newsweek”” article, a Filipino from San Francisco, Marlon Villa, whose wife happens to be white, elaborated on this common sentiment. “”Black guys are studs, white guys have all the power and Asian guys are the nerdy little wimps that women wouldn’t glance at,”” Villa said. As odd as this may sound, I feel there is truth in these statements. One need not go any further than the local Abercrombie & Fitch to see society’s popular ideal of masculinity — a white male model, complete with chiseled jaw and raging pects, staring you straight in the face. Big surprise, there isn’t a single Asian male among them. It’s as if society keeps reminding us that we, as Asian-American males, do not fit the masculine ideal — so stop trying. All this talk of prevailing stereotypes that surround Asian guys reminds me of a particularly eye-opening experience that happened to me not long ago. At this point, I’ve told it to friends so many times that it’s already become cliche, yet it still never fails to leave my listener speechless, not knowing whether to laugh hysterically or to frown in disgust. Suffice to say, I’ll call this story my “”date from hell.”” For the sake of embarrassment, I prefer to use fake names of people instead of real ones. And yes, this really happened. About a year ago, I frequented a popular eatery in San Diego. Every now and then, I would chat with the servers and waiters. Someone who always seemed to make an effort to talk with me was a server by the name of “”Lisa.”” A friendly girl of 19, Lisa was not terribly bright but sweet just the same. She was blond and aggressive and towered nearly a foot taller than me. Lisa was a force to reckoned with, one that I never in my wildest nightmares thought I would have to encounter. As I was waiting in line one day to buy my food, she asked me for my number. I, being a little more naive back then, was happy to oblige. I thought that all that would come of this casual exchange of personal information was a new friendship. Little did I know, she wanted me. Alas, I was not attracted to her and did not want her. After our “”first date,”” my indifference toward her made the quantum leap to fear and disgust. When she asked to hang out one Friday night, I was under the assumption that it would be a casual affair, one in which at most I would gain a new platonic friend. From the minute I got into her car, however, I knew better. Imagine my horror when I opened the door of her car, only to be knocked out by the stench of cheap perfume and the glaring eyes of her flirtatious face. The moment was truly a poignant one as I could see she was making a real effort to win me over with her overly made-up face and revealing clothes that seemed to show off more of her unsightly flesh than I could ever possibly want to see in one sitting. I felt like I was kidnapped, with no place to go. From that moment on, I knew she considered this a date. To hell with the fact that I was underdressed in shorts, a T-shirt and flip flops; she was determined to give me a “”first date”” I would never forget. That’s when she dropped the bomb and confessed her true feelings for me. “”Man, I’ve seen you every time you’ve walked by to get food and I just think you’re so hot,”” she said with the giddiness of a schoolgirl about her first crush. So far, no problem, I thought. No big problem at least. Sure, I didn’t like her back, but I would soon clarify that. And then she dropped the bomb. I took offense immediately. “”You see,”” she explained. “”All my white girlfriends tell me all the time, ‘Oh, don’t dig those Asian guys, they’re small, slant-eyed and smelly.’ But not me, that’s exactly why I like you so much. I so dig the fact that you’re hairless and foreign. You see, I’m American and you’re foreign and you can teach me all about your country.”” Words do little justice to how sick I felt. Her ignorance was truly frightening and after a long and painful night, I was free from her wrath. But the damage was done, at least to my self-esteem. Is that what people really think when they see my Asian face? I wondered. It’s a question that I think most Asian-Americans ask many times during their lives. The rise of the marriage rate of Asian men to white women, however, can be seen as a sign of how society is changing its views of Asian males. According to demographer Larry Hajime Shinagawa’s book on marriage license data in California, “”Asian Americans: Intermarriage and the Social Construction of Love,”” Asian-American men born in the United States are far more likely to marry women who are white (18.9 percent), of other Asian ethnicity (22.7 percent) or another racial minority (6 percent) than more recent immigrants. Shinagawa expects the trend to continue and sees an even greater speedup in the near future. While many may see interracial marriage as a positive thing, as a clear indication that Asian males are finally being accepted and embraced by the mainstream, others are not as enthusiastic. As my own experience illustrates, Asian males continue to run the risk of becoming the focus of a new form of fetishism with which Asian women have become all too familiar. Nevertheless, things are changing for the better. Slowly but surely, the media is redefining its image of Asian-American men from geeky, unattractive and sexless, to strong, romantic and masculine. A new wave of Asian actors like Chow Yun Fat, Rick Yune and Jet Li are helping to reshape old perceptions and create new ones. The battle is still an uphill one, yet I remain optimistic. I have come to the conclusion, just as many of my peers have, that being an Asian-American male is a very exciting thing. Because we do not fit popular definitions of masculinity, we can forge ahead and create new ones that show Asian-American males as what they truly are: unique and dynamic individuals who like to shake things up a little, in hopes of making a difference. ...