Opinion

Why Female Friends Suck

How many of you girls out there have more male friends than female friends? How many of you girls would absolutely die if you weren’t surrounded by your gaggle of girlfriends? Well, go ahead. The world would be better off with fewer of you, anyway. Most of my friends are guys. This is no accident. After years of making painful discoveries, I’ve come to the conclusion that girls are bitches. Not all of you, but a very large percentage. If you are female, you are now reacting in one of three ways: 1. You agree with me. 2. You don’t necessarily agree with me, but you’re interested in what evidence I have to back up my claim. 3. You are puffing in indignation. To all you Number Threes, I dare you to look into the mirror I will now hold to your face. How many times have you bad-mouthed a friend to other people, only to receive her in your open arms the next time you bump into each other? This is the paramount difference between male and female friends. A guy will never bad-mouth someone and then pretend to be his friend, unless he is under the influence of a girl. Men are simply unwilling to exert the effort necessary to be two-faced. Besides, they do not see a point in pretending to be friends with someone they don’t like. If a guy meets someone he doesn’t like, he doesn’t become friends with that person. No hard feelings — unless, of course, the person he doesn’t like and refuses to be friends with is a girl, who will often take it as a personal insult whenever someone doesn’t want to be her friend, because everyone should want to be her friend, whether they like her or not. Why does this girl have such an illogical line of reasoning? Because she’s “”friends”” with everyone, whether or not she likes them. Right, Number Threes? The next step (if you are a Number Three) is to deny that you talk smack about your friends. You say you only “”discuss”” your friends’ personal lives out of concern for them. Such “”discussions”” often fall along these lines: “”Did you see what she was wearing today? Oh my God, her boobs were totally hanging out of her top! Have you noticed that they look bigger? I hope she didn’t get them done just to please that nasty-ass guy she’s been going out with. I don’t think he’s good for her — look at all the weight she’s gained ever since they started going out. And someone should tell her that her hair color looks totally fake. Poor girl, she probably doesn’t even realize how skanky she looks with all that makeup.”” But why should Number Threes concern themselves with the size or authenticity of her friend’s various body parts, or what she wears, or how she chooses to wear her hair and makeup? Chances are, Number Three wouldn’t talk this way about a friend if that friend were really that unattractive. If the friend was really that ugly, then everyone would know it, and Number Threes wouldn’t have to convince anyone — least of all themselves. Do I detect a bit of competition or jealousy, Number Threes? Granted, guys are very competitive as well, and this often leads to jealousy, but at least guys are much more up-front about it. They don’t play an elaborate game of trying to sabotage a friend’s reputation, all in the guise of friendly concern. Plus, since most of my friends are of the opposite sex, they have very little to envy me for, unless one of them is gay and happens to like my boyfriend (this scenario has yet to take place). So what happened to me to make me so wary of women? It was the discovery in my senior year of high school that one of my best friends was a Number Three. Actually, most of my female friends in high school turned out to be Number Threes. As a result, I have fewer female friends in college, but the ones I do have are real. I realize the futility of my attempt to get through to all you Number Threes out there. If you’re a two-faced bitch who’s jealous of all your other friends, then you’re not going to listen to some other bitch tell you so in her stupid newspaper column. So be it. But perhaps all the non-Number Threes will start to see you as you really are. Or perhaps I just wanted to tell you you’re a bitch. ...

Picturing Innocence: Art or Exploitation of Children

Child pornography is not a very popular subject these days. For example, you would not be sitting at dinner with a couple friends, lean back in your chair and say, “”I rather like child pornography.”” And one of your friends isn’t going to reply, “”Yeah, I picked up some of that the other day. It was quite enjoyable.”” Everybody seems to be against it, and who wouldn’t be? Who would try to defend child pornography? Who could defend child pornography without looking like a damn fool and possibly a pervert? The American Civil Liberties Union? But the ACLU let the Ku Klux Klan march in Washington. We can’t necessarily agree with everything the ACLU does, nor can we use it as a deciding factor on what we should defend. I think the real problem here is the definition of child pornography. Many people have different views on what child pornography is, but what really matters in the end is how the courts view it. And unfortunately, their interpretation is a bit broad. The Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 outlaws images that appear to be of minors, even if they are not, or if they “”convey the impression … of a minor engaged in sexually explicit activity.”” Now this is going a bit too far. The reason we have laws against child pornography is to prevent the sexual exploitation of minors. But here critics are just banning the idea of child pornography, even if minors are not used to create it or there isn’t actually any sex going on. This would mean that everything from renditions of “”Romeo and Juliet”” to Vladimir Nabakov’s “”Lolita”” could be construed as illegal. The court is basically forcing film processing centers, bookstores, museums, video stores and anybody that comes across visual media to determine what child pornography is, or else they are subject to fines and liabilities. This is ridiculous. There is no litmus test for determining whether pictures of naked children deserve a call to the local police department. They’re asking clerks — normal people like you and me (or maybe just me) — whether they can fathom someone getting off on these pictures. Next they’ll ask the cops that come down to check it out the same question. If you ask me, in this society, there’s always someone out there who can get off on anything. There is no happy median of getting-off-ness. There are people that think sneezing is erotic. Another thing I don’t like about the current laws on child pornography is that they have no explicit exceptions. There is nothing to be said about historical or artistic pieces, so you can find pictures on http://www.whitehouse.gov in violation of the law. For example, I found several sexually explicit pictures of statues of young boys urinating. Really, I think if pedophiles can get off on stuff like that, all the more power to them. Think of how much money you would save on porn if you got off on history books. The library should install beat-it stalls like at F-Street. Here’s another idea I’ve been throwing around – you know how the Library of Congress is supposed to keep a copy of everything that’s ever been printed, and you’re allowed to look at it but not actually check it out? Doesn’t that mean that in Washington there’s a room in the Library of Congress with more porn than in your wildest dreams? Well, maybe not your wildest dreams, but definitely mine. If so, I’m taking collections for a plane ticket. But the biggest point is that these laws are directed against a lot of pictures and movies because they encourage pedophilia. When was the last time you heard of a law that banned stuff entirely — not just restricted access — because it encouraged anything? That’s right, you probably haven’t because of silly little restrictions like the First Amendment. For example, I personally believe that the new state quarters encourage underage drinking, but every time I write to my congressman, he always gets back to me with this First Amendment crap. What I find particularly disturbing is that I’ve read reports of right-wing activists storming into various Barnes & Noble and ripping pages out of Jock Sturges’ photography books, which include (in my opinion) tasteful photographs of underage models. There’s really nothing sexual about any of it — I suggest a trip down to the bookstore to judge for yourself. If we’re allowed to rip pages out of books, why stop at photographs? To be really efficient, we should just have a big bonfire in the middle of Barnes & Noble and burn everything anybody ever found offensive. Then all you’d have left on the shelves are a few select Dr. Seuss books, “”Watership Down,”” and the script to “”Shawshank Redemption,”” because hey, everybody likes “”Shawshank Redemption.”” ...

Guardian Should Have Run Reparations Ad

Editor: I think it is utterly detestable that you censored David Horowitz’s ad, “”Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery are a Bad Idea — and Racist Too.”” When did editors of college papers become the ultimate arbiters of the decision on what political opinions are valid to print? The Guardian has no qualms printing ad hominem assaults on President Bush for free, but when Horowitz asks to pay to print his legitimate viewpoints, which may enrage some on the left, the editorial staff censors it. Nor does the Guardian have any problem with picking and choosing which political advertisements to print. What is this but blatant censorship? Additionally, this is an assault on free speech rights entitled to all Americans by the Constitution. Simply because an ad may express opinions considered to be very politically incorrect, that does not invalidate its right to be heard. I sincerely hope you will reconsider your decision and print the ad. –Lucas Simmons Chairman, College Republicans at UCSD Concerning the April 9 article titled “”UCSD Admits More Underrepresented Students,”” the California State-wide Affirmative Action Coalition disagrees. With regards to affirmative action, the article is constructed to portray so-called minorities as benefactors of the American system, which stands in opposition to the logic behind affirmative action. Defining students of color as “”students of ethnic backgrounds”” hides the reality that white people have ethnic backgrounds. The expressions “”given advantages”” and “”awards”” distort the reality of affirmative action, which is a program to counteract the systems of advantages set up to privilege white males. Statements such as “”Students are becoming better prepared for a UCSD education,”” other than being completely incoherent logistically, offer no substance or reality to the issue of underrepresented student acceptance at UCSD. The rise of underrepresented student admission is in correlation with increased applications overall. The reasons that enrollments of so-called minorities have continually decreased are many, with an emphasis on the quality campus life. Students who come to UCSD are overwhelmed by the lack of community support for them. Student communities are small and over-worked on campus and students don’t see themselves represented in faculty or staff. With regards to life on campus, the article quoted Assistant Vice Chancellor Richard Backer stating, “”We get so many applications because we are a great university… that provides a first-rate … social experience.”” If the measure of this university was based on the social experience lived by students of color, then the first-rate status rests within the comfort-zone of white-norm politics. This campus is extremely apathetic to the racial oppression that affects people of color in every way. Either it’s nobody sitting next to you in lecture, ignorant professors, or Ralph Nader attributing the lack of so-called minority turn-out to a lack of personal drive. Just ask Ward Connerly or Peter Preuss, and I’m sure they would agree with Nader that there are no signs posted saying “”No Black People Allowed”” or “”Hispanics [ahem!] Not Welcome.”” But the signs don’t need to be posted; their message is broadcast loud and clear. So it seems UCSD is the “”best-kept secret in Southern California,”” when you attribute the lack of public knowledge on the workings of racism to the construction of UCSD as a public body. And if the current trajectory of UCSD is now the backbone of goals such as “”[making] the quality of campus life as strong as possible,”” then I have some encouraging statistics for prospective white students that might shed some light on the reality of the statistical propaganda churned out by UCSD admissions. If you look at UCSD’s past ten-year history you may see something “”to be alarmed about,”” as first-year Native American enrollment has decreased by 46 percent and African-Americans haven’t hit 3 percent of UCSD’s first-year population since 1990, dropping 67 percent. Maybe you would argue with Assistant Vice Chancellor Backer, whose logic would suggest UCSD isn’t academically enriched enough to draw in more people of color, but I would argue that UCSD isn’t quite the utopia of racial equality that this institution would have you believe. — Stephen Klass Editor: On behalf of the Office of Admissions and Relations with Schools, I offer my sincerest thanks to all of you who enthusiastically gave your time and energy to help with our spring admission programs, projects and events. Again this year, UCSD’s number of applications soared to a record height. As soon as the students received their admission packets, our office launched into a number of “”yield”” activities to ensure that they visited the UCSD campus and that they made the right choice of university. Not only do we have a goal to admit the top students in California to UCSD, we also work hard to achieve a diverse campus. Your dedication to helping us enroll those admitted students from traditionally underrepresented ethnic groups means so much to us. You participated in the largest and most successful Admit Day in UCSD history as you greeted, directed, led, chatted with and answered the questions of approximately 13,000 visitors, despite the pouring rain. You generously shared your “”UCSD experience”” (and residence hall rooms!) with our Admit Day “”overnight”” visitors. UCSD’s first Scholars’ Day event was a great success, thanks to your participation and hosting of these high-achieving students. Nearly 1,700 admitted freshmen received telephone calls from you, as you answered their questions and encouraged their enrollment for the fall. You led campus tours for thousands of students and their families. You received rave reviews from students and parents alike as you served on student panels and spoke before audiences at admission receptions and presentations. Our partnership with you is invaluable. Together we can make a difference on this campus because we know that UCSD is its students. — Mae W. Brown Director, Office of Admissions and Relations with Schools ...

A Delicious Recipe for a Perfect World

As I was floating through Disneyland’s famous attraction “”It’s a Small World”” this weekend, the message it proudly sung — of awareness of all that we have in common as the key to cultural unity and a more perfect world — hit me as overly simplistic and not at all realistic. After experiencing the entire ride, I was convinced it was a very poor attempt to brainwash people into cultural appreciation and unity. The ride began by displaying the cultural pride of many different ethnic groups through the media of song, dance and dress. It was evident that the intent of the first part of the ride was to build up one’s cultural pride by the fact that the different ethnic groups were displayed separately from each other. Yet as we floated through the ride, the focus shifted. By the end, there was a massive display of cultural integration and a show of superficial unity that was supposedly achieved by the awareness of all our similarities, making it a “”small world after all.”” What bothered me most about the ride was the message that was played over and over: “”There’s so much that we share, that it’s time we’re aware, it’s a small world after all.”” This overly simplistic message — that cultural unity is easily achievable once we all have an awareness of how much we all have in common and that it is a small world in which we’ll all live happily ever after — is merely a false build-up with a hard fall once the realities of the world are taken into account. Thus I rate the “”Small World”” exhibit as a poor attempt to brainwash people to become more peace loving, nonviolent and tolerant. It failed to dig beneath the surface to discover and address the true roots as to why there is so much racially motivated violence in our world. Why was an African-American tow truck driver beaten within an inch of his life in my hometown of Concord,California? Why did a person or group of people on our campus deface the property of the MEChA student organization with messages of hate last week? Why did the Cincinnati police shoot an unarmed 19-year-old African-American student to death last week? The list of hate crimes and police brutality is endless, yet there doesn’t seem to be any clear or easy answer to the question of why there is hate in our world. The question that’s been gnawing at me is: How does this hate form? I offer this idea: Many times hate stems from ignorance of others’ lifestyles and cultures. Because of this ignorance, attitudes toward others who are perceived to be different by either skin color or culture, for instance, are then formed by judgments based solely on stereotypes. I see ignorance as the foundation of hate, and our society’s silence in stamping it out is the spark by which hate spreads. Since I was extremely disappointed that the “”It’s a Small World”” exhibit didn’t probe very deeply, and instead just glossed the realities of our world over with a happy tune and an unrealistic and unattainable happy ending to bringing our world together, I decided I would try to create a recipe by which our society can form a more perfect world. The following is a recipe for a perfect world: First step — Dissolve all ignorance, judgmental attitudes, hate, intolerance and violence into four cups of water. Second step — Heat large cauldron on stove. Third step — Pour polluted water into hot cauldron. Fourth step — Turn stove up to highest level and let polluted water boil. Fifth step — Let cauldron boil until water bubbles and simmers over. Sixth step — Turn stove off and pour the now-pure water into a large bowl. Seventh step — Mix in: a) one tablespoon desire to learn about others’ cultures and ways of life b) one tablespoon understanding of others’ cultures, lifestyle choices and beliefs c) one tablespoon respect for others’ cultures and lifestyle and religious choices d) one tablespoon acceptance of others’ cultures and lifestyles and religious choices e) one tablespoon loving spirit for humanity. Eighth step — Pour purifying concoction into pitcher. Ninth step — Serve to all of your friends and family. Drink this potion three times a day for reinforcement of the perfect world. Product disclaimer: I do not pretend to know the perfect recipe to cure the ills of the world. My only intention in creating this recipe is to start a dialogue of what we, as a community, want our world to be like and how we think we can achieve those ideals. So the question remains: What is your recipe for a perfect world? ...

Editorial

Special election voting for the Campus Life Fee Referendum will begin Monday, April 23, and end Friday, April 27. The fee is intended to improve student life at UCSD through the expansion of the University Centers, and to increase funding of student services, student organizations, NCAA athletics, sports facilities, the A.S. Council and the individual colleges. Like all UCSD referendums before it, and any that may come in the future, this referendum and the process by which it was drafted are not perfect. The Guardian, however, thinks that the potential benefits of the referendum far outweigh its cost — and at $71.40 per student per quarter, the cost is certainly not small. UCSD will expand its undergraduate enrollment to around 30,000 by 2010, which is about a 50 percent increase from today’s numbers. Each year, more student organizations request funding, the Price Center and Student Center become more crowded during peak hours, seats are harder to find in study lounges and libraries, and meeting spaces become more difficult to reserve. These problems will only worsen unless they are addressed now. Simply put, any remedy for these problems costs money — a lot of it. It is the position of the Guardian that the proposed Campus Life Fee would address these problems in a timely, fair and effective manner. Specifically, the Campus Life Fee proposes increased funding for the International Center, the Women’s Center, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Resource Office and the Graduate Student Organization. These student services need the fee to even maintain, let alone improve their level of service to students. Almost 40 percent of the proposed fee would go to expanding the University Centers. This is by far the biggest chunk of change allocated to any one item. This money would fund the expansion of the Price Center and renovation of the Student Center, both of which would begin immediately following the referendum, should it pass. It is crucial to expand and improve these spaces to better serve the growing UCSD community, and the proposed plans for the expansion are extremely well-thought-out. Another item receiving a large portion of the proposed fee is NCAA intercollegiate athletics. Because of UCSD’s immensely popular move to Division II, the athletics department needs to expand its resources to duplicate the success UCSD achieved in Division III. Without extra funding, this cannot be a reality. The fee is expensive. However, despite what the proposed fee’s opponents say, it is imperative to understand that the fee would be fully covered by additional financial aid offerings. This fact is confirmed in writing from the Office of Financial Aid. The Guardian has mixed feelings about the process by which the referendum was drafted. Ideally, it would have not been initiated by the administration. However, the quality of the final product far outweighs this concern. ...

Revisiting Old Wounds: The Tragedy of the Oklahoma City Bombing

It only seems fitting that as April 19 arrives, an article is written to observe one of the most tragic events in our country’s history: the Oklahoma City bombing. It has been six years since the terrorist bombing killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children, and still the scars have not healed. In fact, some have professed that the wounds have been reopened for a few reasons. The first is that the scheduled execution of Timothy McVeigh is arriving soon; the day of emotional release for those murdered and their families is set at May 16. The second reason is the recent release of a new book about the bombing, which also includes interviews with McVeigh. The controversy surrounding the book, titled “”American Terrorist,”” and the interviews in it is that it presents McVeigh’s story of the crime and his embittered life. Tom Morganthau of Newsweek writes, “”[McVeigh] claims total responsibility for the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history”” in the book. Families of those killed are angered by how the book approaches this still-painful subject. “”[Lou] Michel and [Dan] Herbeck have been denounced by some for exploiting tragedy, for being too willing to accept McVeigh’s version of events and for providing McVeigh with a national platform from which to advance his claim to political martyrdom,”” Morganthau stated. Indeed, the sixth anniversary of the bombing has scratched at an unhealed wound, hurting not only the families of those killed, but all Americans. Rarely before the bombing did we consider a terrorist attack within our own borders and by our own citizens a possibility, but the explosion that ripped apart the Murrah Federal Building likewise ripped apart America’s innocence. It was a hard slap of reality for a country that had considered itself above the terrorist violence that has plagued Israel and Northern Ireland. The memory of the Oklahoma City bombing has burned itself into the fabric of American society. The writers of the book compare speaking to McVeigh with sitting down with Lee Harvey Oswald or John Wilkes Booth. This being the case, it can be easily argued that the bombing was an important and course-changing part of our history, just as integral as the assassinations of presidents John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. Many older Americans often say that they remember distinctly what they were doing when they heard over their radios that Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. So, too, I think, can people recall what they were doing when the news of the bombing was first broadcast. I can remember exactly what I was doing on April 19, 1995. I was still in the 10th grade and had just come home from school. I stepped in and my mom, who was starting to cook dinner at the time, told me that there was a bombing. “”No, it must’ve been in Israel or something,”” I said, looking briefly at the news coverage on the television, not even thinking that a terrorist attack of such a magnitude was possible in this country. But my mother was correct. I stood silently as the camera panned over the devastation and confusion, the crowds of people around the area and what was left of the building after half of it, along with 168 men, women and children, was blown to oblivion. The pictures left to us are likewise ingrained in our memories. Who can forget the now world-famous Newsweek cover of the firefighter cradling the body of a dead child, one of the 19 children who died? “”American Terrorist”” is another chapter in a book many Americans had originally thought to be closed. Some people are afraid that this exposure will only give McVeigh the attention that he craves and transform him into a martyr. I don’t think such a thing will come close to happening. In fact, the exact opposite will happen: The book will amplify how insane McVeigh is NOT, but rather how cold and calculating he is. People will see how remorseless this man, who views the death of the children as “”collateral damage,”” truly is. And when he is executed, he will simply fade into history. Nothing more, nothing less. The scare and hype over the rise of militias has similarly come and gone. The bombing gave the militias exactly what they, like little kids, wanted: attention. And now, more than half a decade later, militias are a thing of the past after achieving their 15 minutes of fame. Good-bye and good riddance. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright wrote in an article after the Aug. 7, 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, “”Let [the terrorists] have no illusions. We will not be intimidated.”” As a country, we have survived tragedy after tragedy and we have not been intimidated. We have stared down the petty and paranoid groups that try to bully the nation into seeing the world through their own myopic eyes. What does not tear us apart can only make us stronger, can only open our eyes to reality. We are not any more safe from the IRA, Hezbolah or Hamas. Unfortunately, it took the deaths of 168 people to learn this. But, as Albright continued, “”To give in to terror, or hide from it, is not an option.”” The bombing — now six years in the past — and the people that tried to terrorize the nation are merely an insubstantial premonition of the past. With McVeigh’s execution date arriving in less than a month, perhaps the final chapter can at last be written. Ever since he committed his heinous crime, McVeigh’s existence has been a stain on the fabric of American society. Good-bye and good riddance. The sooner he starts burning in hell, the better. ...

Forks in the Road of Grades and GPAs

The acronym “”GPA”” is so trite, yet so intertwined in our lives as college students. Upon arriving at UCSD, a place most of us worked so hard to get to, one might ask if we should continue our Protestant work ethic or decide to continue our education alternatively. James Pascual Guardian It is widely thought that the best lessons learned in college happen outside the classroom. It is also well-known that in order to get into an affordable graduate school, GPA is half the battle and therefore extremely important to potential grad students. On the whole at UCSD, there seem to be three different routes taken by students with respect to GPA: The “”C equals degree”” route, the graduate school route and one nestled between the two. Many students I have encountered at UCSD have chosen to go the “”C equals degree”” route and therefore don’t stress excessively about squeezing every drop out of their GPA capability. In all honesty, UCSD is a hard school, and there are some classes where C’s are hard to get. On the whole, however, I have found C’s require little work or class attendance. I mean, if you’re drinking three to four nights a week and smoking large amounts of marijuana, I could see where one could justify this route. Otherwise, it seems very slackerish to take your parents’ money — let’s be honest, that’s most of us — and turn right back and around and say “”screw you”” to them. It is easy to mask the “”C equals degree”” route with such a negative connotation because our society puts such a large emphasis on “”being all you can be.”” In many ways, this slackerish route has positive effects. If more people subscribe to this way of thinking, the number of people considering suicide during finals week will surely decrease. Let’s not pretend we haven’t met people at this school that have expressed such scary ideas. I’m sure all of us know at least one person who we feared actually meant what he said. The “”C equals degree”” route also can be analyzed more abstractly. In a way, it is flipping off society in general, as well as the intellectual elitist establishment. If a large number of UCSD students began to take less interest in their GPA, the results would shed negative light on UCSD because our graduate school acceptance rate would be much lower. Statistics like these are often used to show the caliber of major universities such as UCSD. It should be kept in mind that the “”C equals degree”” route is riding dangerously close to the academic probation border, and for all you practicing slackers, you might want to sneak a few B’s in there. The graduate school route is the other prominent route taken. Everyone planning to continue education after college realizes the importance GPA plays in their acceptance to graduate school. Since I am a student at Revelle college, the majority of my peers, whether they are liberal arts or science majors, are not ending their education at UCSD. For Revelle at least, it seems that most students are merely beginning at UCSD because of the high number of pre-med we have. UCSD as a whole has a disproportionately high number of future graduate students. With this huge stress added to what most of us give ourselves, the looming expectations of graduate schools can often be overwhelming to students. Why does it seem like everyone at UCSD is cracked out during finals week? The matter on our minds is not just “”I have to pass this class.”” It’s not just “”I have to get a B.”” It’s “”If I want to get into a cheap graduate school, I need an A in this class and a recommendation from the professor.”” I would be willing to bet money the climbing rate of UCSD students with graduate school aspirations is parallel to the growing number of coffee carts on campus. It seems as if our peers are constantly a little wired or drug affected. All those late-night study sessions for the MCAT, LSAT and GRE create a market for the new Peabodys’ to wake us up before our 8 a.m. classes. And why do you think the General Store insists on its right to sell cigarettes on campus? Because it has the monopoly on supply over an endless demand. Being surrounded by constantly stressed peers makes me want to find a happy medium in the jungle that the GPA hubbub creates. I’ve found that the easiest way to relax is to obtain perspective. How important are those last 50 pages of my poli sci reader to my education as a whole? Will I understand the material so much that it will actually change my life dramatically in the future? Lately I have been able to answer these questions easily with a “”not very”” and a “”no.”” As a student with hopes for law school or graduate school in political science, I try not to increase my stress level too much. I am still deciding how I will do this. Not to be cocky, but I feel like I pretty much have college down. Last quarter I had 11 papers to write. No, I didn’t get perfect grades on all of them, but I wrote them. The key is not to freak out. Do your work. The GPA will come. And for a cute little anecdote to end this, the hopeless attempt of a second-year student to give student population advice on one of the most important things in its lives right now: relax. Hey, if you feel like you’re ready for that final, go to the kegger the night before. Have a few beers. Wake up drunk, have a mocha, take your freakin’ final and chill out. I did it fall quarter and everything came out cool. And it’s a nice story to tell your grandkids. ...

Three Cents Per Word Goes a Long Way

I went into the Guardian offices a couple weeks ago out of boredom and stumbled into one of the rooms. The nice people from the business office found three checks for me at about $20 each and I thought to myself, “”Whoa! $60!”” I quickly deposited them into my bank account and treated myself to a Jamba Juice. But now that I’ve had some time to reflect on it, if I had no journalistic integrity whatsoever, I could just write random words and get paid for them. Luckily for me, I have no journalistic integrity. I did some quick math calculations and I get paid approximately $0.03 for each word that I write. Now, $0.03 might not seem like a lot of money, but this sentence is worth $0.48. And this paragraph is worth $3.99. I think the irony is that the people who write letters to the editor about me spend at least as much time as I did writing the columns, if not more, and they don’t get paid anything for those. I don’t really think they want to get paid, though. They’d just like their names up there next to their opinion so they can show their friends and say, “”Look, they published my response to that garbage column they printed last week.”” Now you might be thinking to yourself, “”This columnist is just writing a lot of crap because he’s getting paid $0.03 a word.”” Well, you’re right! I couldn’t have expressed it better myself (considering I did express it myself, but with the little thought bubble coming out of your head). But now you’re really thinking fast, wondering if those parentheses were thrown in at the last minute just to snag an extra quarter. Or even that last sentence. You might be a bit insulted that I’m wasting your time just for quarters. Well, I need those quarters. I’ve got bills to pay just like everyone else. I’ve got a stack of parking tickets on my desk and those things double after 21 days. If I were you, I’d be expecting a kickback for having to read this column. As luck would have it, I’m not you, and I am getting a kickback. But don’t act so surprised. You don’t think Bob Dole is talking about erectile dysfunction because he thinks it’s an amusing anecdote to share with the world? No, he’s doing it because Pfizer is paying him off. And you don’t expect Bob Dole to pay you for watching his silly erectile dysfunction commercial, do you? Well, then stop complaining. Did you think this column would be over by now? Have you stopped reading yet? I think the beauty of the situation is that every single person that picked up the Guardian and was unfortunate enough to stop at this column can stop reading it right now, and I’ll still get paid for it. I don’t think the advertisers would mind either; chances are, when you stop reading this column, you’ll start reading the advertisements near it. That being the case, I could start writing shopping lists of groceries and most people wouldn’t mind. Lettuce. Tomatoes. I grilled a hamburger today and I only had relish and mayo. Can you imagine eating a hamburger with only relish and mayo? So, that being the case, I need lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, pickles and onions. Actually, I don’t really need onions, but $0.03 is $0.03. I actually hate onions in my burgers unless they’re grilled. I’ve also got to buy some bagels and cream cheese as well. Cream cheese is a vital part of bagels; it’s almost always a mistake to buy a bagel without also getting cream cheese. Most people understand this idea, but the one everyone usually screws up is the donuts and whole milk combination. Donuts and whole milk together is one of the greatest combinations of food products I can think of. It’s right up there with corned beef and cabbage. Or marijuana and In-N-Out. Whenever I go to In-N-Out, I usually get a Double-Double with cheese and grilled onions, a fries, a drink and a vanilla shake. And a spoon. You can’t forget the spoon, otherwise you’ll be trying to suck through a straw with a 1 mm diameter. My girlfriend always gets a grilled cheese at In-N-Out. It’s not on the menu, but you can request it. It is, quite frankly, one of the stupidest byproducts of the vegetarian revolution. Basically, it’s a cheeseburger without the hamburger meat. I was at Costco yesterday and I was going over my receipt, and they charged me $8.00 for a two-pack of A1 sauce. Can you believe that? As an impulse buyer, I’m very insulted. I can’t imagine Ralphs charging me $4.00 for a bottle of A1 sauce. And the sick, sad truth of it all is that I don’t even like A1 sauce. I just bought it because I needed a steak sauce. Lea and Perrins used to make a really good steak sauce, but they changed the formula, so it’s sweeter now and nowhere near as good. In fact, it’s rather bad. What’s good at Costco is smoked oysters. They sell them in packs of three but I finish a pack of three pretty damn fast. They also sell them at Trader Joe’s but I’d imagine they’re more expensive there. I think Costco is just one big psychological game of buying in bulk. Cans of Coke are sold at Costco in packs of 24, but they’re the same price in Ralphs with the Ralphs Club discount. The thing I don’t like about Coke is that California Redemption Value thing they tag on you at the last minute — that’s such a load of crap. Because even if I were to take the trouble to recycle my cans, I’m not going to go to one of those machines where I have to manually put in two cans and get a nickel. It’s not worth it. It’s not even worth it to bring big trash bags to recycling centers and have them pay me by the pound. But back to Ralphs: What’s the deal with stocking every product known to man? How come I can buy a 13-inch TV, a lawn chair, a cordless phone, matzo balls and flowers all in the same store? How many TVs has Ralphs sold, considering there are real appliance stores 100 feet from it? More importantly, why doesn’t Ralphs sell drugs? Yes, I know they have a pharmacy, but I’m talking about real drugs. Over the counter crack and the like. Don’t you wish designer drugs were really designer drugs? Like you could go up to your designer drug dealer and say, “”Hey, man, first I want my entire vision to turn bright orange, and then I want to trip out on the fact that I’m standing up and my feet are touching the ground, and then I want to be able to see and create objects that I imagine in my mind and touch them, and then I want a really cool body high and I want it to be one really long orgasm the whole time.”” $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. $0.03. = $3.00. Thanks for your support. ...

More Bite Than Bark

On Jan. 26, Diane Whipple was viciously attacked and killed by a pair of dogs in the halls of her San Francisco apartment building as the presa canarios’ owner, Marjorie Knoller, looked on. Knoller later told police that she did her best to stop the attack, yet the dogs spent approximately half an hour tearing the victim apart. By the time they were finished, her entire body was ravaged with holes and her throat had been ripped out. Kenrick Leung Guardian Knoller and her husband, Robert Noel, claim the attack was an accident and that they should not face criminal charges. Wrong. Spilling coffee on your keyboard is an accident. Owning two animals of a notoriously vicious breed and watching them take the life of a human being is murder. Appropriately, the couple has been indicted on charges of manslaughter and of keeping a mischievous animal that has killed a human being. Knoller is also charged with second-degree murder, and I hope the jury convicts this woman and sentences her to life in prison. Proving that the owner of a killer dog is guilty of second-degree murder can be difficult; the prosecution must prove that the defendant acted with malice or a blatant disregard for human life. It seems obvious to me that anyone who owns such an animal fits both criteria. The dogs that killed Knoller were previously owned by a pair of Pelican Bay State Prison convicts who trained the dogs to defend criminal operations, such as methamphetamine labs. These dogs were born, bred and trained to kill. The only reason for owning such an animal is for protection or assault. Clearly, these dogs have acted as the latter of the two. Whether the owners had intended for that attack to occur is insignificant; if you own a dog trained to kill, then you should not be surprised if it does so. Most people do not know just how vicious these dogs are when they attack. They weigh over 100 pounds and are stronger and more ferocious than we could possibly be. There have been incidents in which they have completely destroyed cars trying to reach the people inside. What makes them especially deadly is their bite. Most dogs will bite and then release. Some, however, do not let go; they will rip their victims to shreds. There are countless horror stories of vicious dogs attacking little children and tossing them around like rag dolls. Even scarier is that these dogs are so difficult to kill. When one man’s cocker spaniel was attacked by a pit bull in my home town of San Mateo, Calif., the man pounded on the pit bull’s skull with a hammer for more than 20 minutes before it would let go. When a Baltimore man’s daughter was attacked, he spent several minutes clubbing the animal with a baseball bat — the dog would not release the girl until it was dead. So what should be done? I don’t think banning people from owning possibly vicious dogs is the answer. By nature, I’m leery of banning things outright. Besides, what would be done with the countless ones already existing? Should we set aside a wildlife preserve for them so they can roam free? Sorry, but our federal government is too large and oppressive as it is, and we already pay too much in taxes to support a further swollen bureaucracy charged with overseeing this ludicrous idea. There are better solutions. First of all, if a dog violently attacks an innocent human being, then it should be put to sleep. Period. If a dog attacks once, there is nothing to prevent it from doing so again. It is a menace to society and it should receive no second chance. The second, more important solution is stiff punishment for the owners of killer dogs. If someone wants to buy a pit bull, then more power to him. But it better be nailed straight into that person’s brain that if that dog attacks a human being, then it will be put to death, and he will be indicted with a minimum charge of second-degree murder and then go to jail for a long, long time — if not for the rest of his life. Not prosecuting such individuals to the full extent of the law is condoning such behavior in the legal sense. The trial of the killer dogs occuring right now in San Francisco is garnering national attention; everyone is waiting to see whether Knoller will be convicted of second-degree murder. If she is, then hopefully dog owners nationwide will be more leery of their dogs. If she’s exonerated, then they can breathe a sigh of relief and not think twice. Think of all the lives that could be saved. This is not to say that there are not responsible dog-owners who have tamed their dogs. But then again, who is to say that one of these creatures is perfectly tame? There is no indication other than sustained docility. But it only takes one incident to prove that this is a vicious dog, and by that time, deadly harm may have been inflicted upon a victim, and the owner is on his way to prison. The owner may have been responsible enough to attempt training the dog, but if that training fails, then he is accountable for the actions of an animal he knew to be dangerous when he purchased it. If any of you own such dogs, please take this article to heart. Hopefully, yours is a truly docile creature trained to not harm a flea. If, however, it is clearly a menacing beast that has, at the very least, attempted to lash out at humans in the past, then you had better do something, because you have a major problem on your hands. Either way, seemingly docile or blatantly dangerous, if your dog attacks, injures, or kills a human being, then you should be held responsible. ...

Article on Amendment Lacked Important Info

Editor: Regarding the Guardian’s recent article against the University of California Student Association and the United States Student Association referendum: The Guardian is entitled to its opinion, but I fundamentally disagree with the assumptions that formed that opinion. If you had called either the A.S. external office or USSA, you would have discovered that the USSA is not an independent lobbying organization, but a democratically run coalition of college and university students, run by and accountable to its all-student membership. Each year, USSA member schools set the organization’s action agenda, elect a president and vice president and an all-student board of directors, which meets every other month to run the organization. For 53 years, USSA members have worked to expand access to students’ lives. In the past year, the organization won a $450 increase to the maximum amount awarded by the Pell Grant, the largest increase in history, and quintupled funding for campus childcare programs. USSA students are currently working to get the interest that recent graduates pay on their student loans declared a tax credit, which would triple savings for the average student. In addition to making college possible for thousands of low-income people, these successes mean money in students’ pockets and are well worth 90 cents per academic quarter. The Guardian’s primary reason for supporting a UCSA fee, but not a USSA fee, is that the UC Regents do not officially endorse USSA. I would argue this is actually a point that favors voting yes to USSA membership. Students and regents have different interests, so they should have different organizations working for them. For example, students have a direct interest in knowing accurate information about violent crimes committed on or near campus. Campus and system administrations, however, may want to suppress this information to maintain a good image. We agree and help each other on issues like increasing federal financial aid, but our separate status only makes it more legitimate when we work together. Large university systems like the University of California pay dues to lobbying groups representing everyone from university presidents to financial aid administrators to admissions officers. There is one voice that speaks for students. UCSD students should choose to make their voices heard and vote yes on membership in the USSA. — Eugene Mahmoud A.S. Vice President External Editor: This letter is in response to the negative endorsement of Amendment One of the A.S. Constitution that students are voting on this week. It scares me that more research was not done on this topic; for instance, by talking to A.S. senators who supported this bill by consensus when it was discussed in the A.S. Senate meeting, or by talking with the author — me — who had explicit reasons for writing this amendment. The currently defined elegibility requirements of senator positions are not being followed, either by the A.S Council or by the colleges. Why? The standards are vague and undefined. For instance, senators are supposed to be chosen on the number of completed quarters at a university. But the wording does not indicate how many quarters are considered “”freshman,”” “”sophomore,”” etc. So, a fourth-year senior could run for sophomore senator perfectly legally. I wrote this amendment to leave it up to the colleges to set their standards for selecting their senators. This is for three reasons: First, it implies that the senators represent the colleges, and in A.S. Judicial Board hearings when a college is trying to impeach a college senator with A.S. opposition, this helps define whose senator it really is. Second, with the colleges setting their own standards of senator classification, it allows for each college to determine the representative nature of their senator. Third, appointments of senators would become standardized: With the implementation of this amendment, colleges would make appointments based on a standard, instead of on ambiguous A.S. constitutional outlines which are not followed in the least. If this amendment fails, I encourage anyone to run in next year’s election for any senator position. Even if you are told that elgibility depends on your “”class standing with the university,”” that is not what the current A.S. Constitution states, and that’s exactly what I intended to change. I have previously sent letters to the editor being constructively critical of Guardian reporting, each letter done in fairness, but lazy reporting should be brought to the student body’s attention, especially when the Guardian claims it is providing a “”service”” to the student body by affirmatively or negatively endorsing candidates and amendments. Thank you, and I challenge you to print this letter and let the students decide for themselves. — Christina Villegas Muir College Council and author of Amendment One ...