Opinion

Liberals Unfairly Accuse Bush

Editor: It is both shocking and alarming for any fair-minded student to read amid the pages of our university newspaper, the Guardian, the extremely offensive sort of condemnations that are more akin to rabid, journalistic McCarthyism than the articulate arguments that mark quality collegiate newspapers throughout the United States. It seems that Ms. Baharian and Mr. Wikner — for what appears to be a lack of something to write — must turn to pillorying the U.S. president to fill their columns. It would appear to the reader that both writers accrue to the “”tabloid”” school of journalistic thought … concerned more with the entertainment of readers than conveyance of meaningful thought and discussion. I speak now of their articles concerning President George W. Bush on Feb. 20, 2001. Briefly, Baharian condemns Bush for speaking at the infamous Bob Jones University (an institution widely known for its discriminatory policy on interracial dating), and Wikner (apparently never having studied Bush’s resume) pillories him as incompetent, decrying his lack of oratorical skills. I would like to address Wikner’s arguments first. Wikner seems to believe that simple oratorical skills are synonymous with competence, and because the president is not as gifted a speaker as his predecessor, his political competence is brought into question. To this, I might direct Wikner to a rather good book, “”I, Cladius,”” written by Robert Graves, which describes a far worse speaker than Bush (Claudius Caeser) who — despite a speech impediment — rose to become one of the greatest emperors of Rome. Wikner seems to neglect the fact that Bush held a gubernatorial role in the United States … governor of the state of Texas, that he was a graduate of Yale University and is an officer and a pilot of the Air National Guard. Wikner seems to base his entire argument upon rather vague incidents of slips of the tongue. Now turning to Baharian’s article, which describes Bush’s speech at Bob Jones University. To her credit, Baharian presents far more research than Wikner, but with far less substance. Her statement that “”it is clear that a politician must woo Bob Jones’ extremists as a rite of passage into conservative power”” is blatantly unfounded and ridiculously broad. If one is to speak of the “”racial intolerance remaining at the core of the Republican party,”” one should first look to former Vice President Al Gore’s draconian concepts of “”foreign policy,”” which often entail Perry-esque diplomacy. It is an unfortunate indictment of The UCSD Guardian, which remains in my mind a good and faithful newspaper, that its pages must be marred by the shallow and unwarranted attacks by the more rabid of gutter journalism. I leave both Baharian and Wikner with words spoken by Gorgias, which I hope may prove useful to them in future journalistic efforts: “”The measure of discourse is not in the speaker, but in the listener.”” — Kelly Xi Huei Lalith Ranasinghe ...

Ceres Would Not Be Happy

I tried finding something to eat for breakfast today, and I discovered that my newest cereal is an Apple Jacks trial size they sent in the mail last year. Someone had opened it and let it go soft. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished a box of cereal — it either goes soft or I get really sick of it. The worst are those huge three-packs of cereal at Price Club. You eat one box and then you say, “”I really don’t like Frosted Flakes any more. I thought I did, but now I don’t.”” Another thing they have at Price Club are those variety packs of cereal, but then someone ends up eating all the good ones, and you wake up one day, and you’re deciding between Special K and Cheerios. I tried Grape Nuts once because the people eating Grape Nuts on the commercials seemed to be having a good time, and then I discovered that Grape Nuts has no grape flavor and contains no nuts. I seriously should consult my lawyer about that. It was basically just a bunch of wheat health crap; it tasted horrible. I wouldn’t eat another bowl of that if you paid me. Ever notice how some people don’t quite grasp the concept of putting cereal in milk? You go to their house and all they do is eat dry cereal and watch Jerry Springer. “”You want to go see a movie?”” “”Shh, It’s `My Girlfriend is a Demonic Star Wars Freak’ Return Visit. Have some Golden Grahams.”” My favorite is those people that are convinced that their cereal is good for them: “”I eat Wheaties. One day I’ll be able to get into a fight and come out alive!”” One glance at the ingredients would tell them that a bowl fulfills 80 percent of their daily intake of sugar. Take Honey Bunches of Oats, for example. Someone with an IQ under 75 might mistakenly believe that it has some nutritional value. I mean, it tastes pretty good, but I’m not under some delusion that it’s any better than Sugar Coated Sugar Cubes. One cereal I really liked was this one with little ice cream cones. There were actually little ice cream cones with artificial vanilla-flavored ice cream on top. You could only find it at Pic-N-Save though, because the FDA probably pulled it out of the market a week after it came out. I don’t remember what it was called, but it probably had “”Product of Mexico”” stamped all over the box. If you’re ever eating Cookie Crisp and you find four or five of those things melted together, don’t eat it. I’ve had very bad experiences with masses of Cookie Crisp. Cookie Crisp is also a very expensive cereal. It’s something like $4 for a box. But if I was down at Fedco or wherever it is where they have the generic cereals, I’d still get it over “”Cookie-Like Bits.”” It’s hilarious — they have Cheerios right next to “”Oat Loops””, and you know some stupid parent is gonna buy “”Oat Loops”” to save $3, bring it home, and the kid’s gonna say, “”Where’s the Cheerios? What the hell is this crap? I want Cheerios!”” I never realized how much the cereal companies were ripping me off with the prizes until I was about 17. I remember I’d go down the cereal aisle choosing which prizes I wanted. The cereal didn’t matter; I wasn’t going to eat half of it anyway. Then we’d get home and I’d open up the box and dig for the prize. It was always at the very bottom and you got all these crumbs all over your hand while you were digging for it. Wow! A Secret Decoder Ring! That’s why I don’t understand how Kix survived. They actually advertise that they don’t have a prize. That’s almost as stupid as those Sprite commercials. Sprite commercials make fun of all the techniques that their parent company, Coca-Cola, uses. Imagine if they ran both ads in a row. The biggest rip-off I can remember was the time Wheaties had a $1,000,000 contest. Buying Wheaties was like buying a lottery ticket. And we wonder why America has a gambling addiction. Another thing I don’t like about cereal is how soggy it gets. By the time you finish pouring the milk, half the cereal in it can no longer be classified as crispy. Even Chex gets soggy. I distinctly remember leaving a bowl of Chex for about two minutes and coming back very disappointed. And what’s with those people who add sugar to their cereal? That’s like adding MSG to Chinese takeout. The award for worst cereal of all time goes to Shredded Wheat. Don’t get me wrong — Bite-Sized Frosted Shredded Wheat is great — but Shredded Wheat alone is the stupidest cereal I’ve ever seen. How can you expect people to break it into spoon-sized pieces? You know some kid is just going to break it in half and choke trying to swallow one of those things. It’s just a lawsuit waiting to happen. Maybe all of their sales are based on elementary schools dying it green and making it into really cheesy Christmas tree ornaments. Cap’n Crunch sticks to your mouth after eating enough of it. The Crunch berries taste really artificial after a certain period of time and you start to wonder what’s really in them. Then there’s Raisin Bran. If you live in any normal household, by the time you get to the Raisin Bran, someone has painstakingly taken out all of the Raisins and you’re left with crappy bran. Cocoa Pebbles are pretty good, but after a while you look at your milk and you say, “”This isn’t milk. It looks like mud.”” And you start thinking about all the Cocoa Pebbles commercials and for all intensive purposes, when Fred and Barney are in the jungle, it is mud. You’re drinking mud. That’s why I don’t eat Cocoa Pebbles, or any cocoa product for that matter. Is there anyone who actually eats the complete breakfast they always show on the box? On the box, they have eggs and toast and a tall glass of milk. If they’re going to be unrealistic, why don’t they just put onion soup and escargot and a glass of wine? That would look a whole lot better. They could seriously brainwash you on the back of those cereal boxes. What do you do when you’re eating cereal? What can you do? I always end up reading the back and the sides of the cereal box because I’m too lazy to go find a paperback. I can probably recite the nutrition facts for most Post products. I think the real problem is that I rarely eat breakfast any more. Or, I couldn’t really consider what I eat to be breakfast. I dunno, what’s a bowl of cereal, a bagel, a pack of fruit gushers and corned beef brisket at 6 p.m.? That’s about as close to breakfast as the carne asada at Cotixan is to actual meat for human consumption. ...

Paying Time For Committing Crime

It is not a war on youth. It is a battle against the immeasurable loss of human life, personal security and wasted human resources. When juvenile court preservationists label youth punishment initiatives as representative of moral bankruptcy and blame disinterested corporations and white, wealthy communities for disenfranchising the youth, people of color and the poor, they fail to put themselves in the position of the daughters whose Dartmouth parents were brutally stabbed in the head and chest by 16- and 17-year-old boys. They forget the pain of the Columbine shootings. They forget to put themselves in the shoes of a parent whose 5-year-old daughter was killed for her bike. They forget that a crime is a crime, regardless of the offender’s age. They forget that sometimes, the criminal justice system works harder for the criminal than the victim. Kenrick Leung Guardian Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not believe that institutionalization is a solution to America’s social problems. I am a strong advocate of rehabilitation and second chances. There has been many a time in my life, as I’m sure there has been in everyone else’s, that being given the second chance has made the difference. But I do believe, however trite this may sound, that if you do an adult crime, you do adult time. Minors that commit certain serious crimes should be tried as adults. Violent, preventable crimes by minors have long plagued America’s larger cities but have scarcely been punished because of the age of the perpetrators. Protected by a lenient and highly outdated juvenile justice system, violent youth have taken advantage of such benefits and have run rampant in our cities. High profile slayings are quite the norm on the evening news, and every once in a while, disaster strikes and we lose a large number of lives at the hands of young offenders. And sadly, naive America continues to lose more and more lives at the hands of reckless teens and repeat offenders because we choose to give them as many chances as they need so long as they are not legal adults. Unfortuately, we have to lose and destroy more lives because we refuse to punish. Many juvenile court sentences have amounted to nothing but a mere slap on the wrist for many young offenders. The juvenile court is no longer capable of providing the individualized attention that it first sought out to do and can no longer easily help at-risk offenders who are threats even after their juvenile sentences. Laws were first created to handle small cases such as truancy, shoplifting and vandalism. These laws are now archaic, as they do not have the ability to handle today’s violent crimes. Tougher crimes call for tougher measures. Rehab centers have had little influence on youths. The counselors that deal with our youth are inexperienced and do not have the skills to counteract their behavior. For some violent youths, rehabilitation is the easy way out. Some youths are even known to commit crimes without thought because they know they cannot be tried as adults. Eventually, many young offenders who go through juvenile systems do not end up rehabilitated and, as a result, turn back to crime. In many jurisdictions, a child may have to commit 10 to 15 serious crimes before anything is actually done to him. Children are killed by children. Teens are killed by teens. And still we refuse to punish them because “”they are too young to understand that what they are doing is wrong.”” An excuse most heard from parents, it is also an excuse too often heard after lives are lost and ruined. Without a tougher punishment system, society is left with a high percentage of delinquents and a rising percentage of crime victims. For many victims, the juvenile court systems have been a far cry from justice. Families of murder victims, rape targets and victims of other serious crimes have been left abandoned without a sense of closure, a sense of protection. Some feel like their loss was left unacknowledged. Indeed, in such a leniant juvenile system, victims are more often than not left unacknowledged. Most people agree with Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas: “”The only way to treat the victim as a full human being — to fully honor the memory of the victim — is to punish the perpetrator ….”” Trying minors as adults will toughen the system and hold someone responsible. Minors must be fully culpable for their behavior if we are to deter future delinquents from committing violent crimes. Setting this example and making it known that our cities will, indeed, be tough on crimes, will serve as a wake-up call. Like the three strikes law, the threat of a harsh sentence will most certainly make children think twice before they commit violent crimes. Since 1993, at least 43 states have passed laws making it easier for children to be tried as adults. A juvenile justice bill is currently awaiting final Congressional approval and contains similar measures for the federal system. Proposition 21, from last year’s California elections, was passed and, although it has stirred much opposition and controversy, it has molded the image that society will have no tolerance for crime. The cost of implementing such measures will never even reach the immeasurable cost of lives lost. In the words of former California Gov. Pete Wilson, we have to act “”decisively to retake [our] neighborhoods ….”” If we are to sincerely make an effort to keep our cities safer, all of America has to understand that youth may not be adults, but they are certainly capable of committing crimes. The crime that a 16-year-old commits is no different than that of a 60-year-old — thus, there should be no reason to treat them differently. Second chances will come accordingly, but accountability should come first. It is not about giving children second chances. It is about making them responsible for their actions. ...

Liberals Unfairly Accuse Bush

Editor: It is both shocking and alarming for any fair-minded student to read amid the pages of our university newspaper, the Guardian, the extremely offensive sort of condemnations that are more akin to rabid, journalistic McCarthyism than the articulate arguments that mark quality collegiate newspapers throughout the United States. It seems that Ms. Baharian and Mr. Wikner — for what appears to be a lack of something to write — must turn to pillorying the U.S. president to fill their columns. It would appear to the reader that both writers accrue to the “”tabloid”” school of journalistic thought … concerned more with the entertainment of readers than conveyance of meaningful thought and discussion. I speak now of their articles concerning President George W. Bush on Feb. 20, 2001. Briefly, Baharian condemns Bush for speaking at the infamous Bob Jones University (an institution widely known for its discriminatory policy on interracial dating), and Wikner (apparently never having studied Bush’s resume) pillories him as incompetent, decrying his lack of oratorical skills. I would like to address Wikner’s arguments first. Wikner seems to believe that simple oratorical skills are synonymous with competence, and because the president is not as gifted a speaker as his predecessor, his political competence is brought into question. To this, I might direct Wikner to a rather good book, “”I, Cladius,”” written by Robert Graves, which describes a far worse speaker than Bush (Claudius Caeser) who — despite a speech impediment — rose to become one of the greatest emperors of Rome. Wikner seems to neglect the fact that Bush held a gubernatorial role in the United States … governor of the state of Texas, that he was a graduate of Yale University and is an officer and a pilot of the Air National Guard. Wikner seems to base his entire argument upon rather vague incidents of slips of the tongue. Now turning to Baharian’s article, which describes Bush’s speech at Bob Jones University. To her credit, Baharian presents far more research than Wikner, but with far less substance. Her statement that “”it is clear that a politician must woo Bob Jones’ extremists as a rite of passage into conservative power”” is blatantly unfounded and ridiculously broad. If one is to speak of the “”racial intolerance remaining at the core of the Republican party,”” one should first look to former Vice President Al Gore’s draconian concepts of “”foreign policy,”” which often entail Perry-esque diplomacy. It is an unfortunate indictment of The UCSD Guardian, which remains in my mind a good and faithful newspaper, that its pages must be marred by the shallow and unwarranted attacks by the more rabid of gutter journalism. I leave both Baharian and Wikner with words spoken by Gorgias, which I hope may prove useful to them in future journalistic efforts: “”The measure of discourse is not in the speaker, but in the listener.”” — Kelly Xi Huei Lalith Ranasinghe ...

Ceres Would Not Be Happy

I tried finding something to eat for breakfast today, and I discovered that my newest cereal is an Apple Jacks trial size they sent in the mail last year. Someone had opened it and let it go soft. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished a box of cereal — it either goes soft or I get really sick of it. The worst are those huge three-packs of cereal at Price Club. You eat one box and then you say, “”I really don’t like Frosted Flakes any more. I thought I did, but now I don’t.”” Another thing they have at Price Club are those variety packs of cereal, but then someone ends up eating all the good ones, and you wake up one day, and you’re deciding between Special K and Cheerios. I tried Grape Nuts once because the people eating Grape Nuts on the commercials seemed to be having a good time, and then I discovered that Grape Nuts has no grape flavor and contains no nuts. I seriously should consult my lawyer about that. It was basically just a bunch of wheat health crap; it tasted horrible. I wouldn’t eat another bowl of that if you paid me. Ever notice how some people don’t quite grasp the concept of putting cereal in milk? You go to their house and all they do is eat dry cereal and watch Jerry Springer. “”You want to go see a movie?”” “”Shh, It’s `My Girlfriend is a Demonic Star Wars Freak’ Return Visit. Have some Golden Grahams.”” My favorite is those people that are convinced that their cereal is good for them: “”I eat Wheaties. One day I’ll be able to get into a fight and come out alive!”” One glance at the ingredients would tell them that a bowl fulfills 80 percent of their daily intake of sugar. Take Honey Bunches of Oats, for example. Someone with an IQ under 75 might mistakenly believe that it has some nutritional value. I mean, it tastes pretty good, but I’m not under some delusion that it’s any better than Sugar Coated Sugar Cubes. One cereal I really liked was this one with little ice cream cones. There were actually little ice cream cones with artificial vanilla-flavored ice cream on top. You could only find it at Pic-N-Save though, because the FDA probably pulled it out of the market a week after it came out. I don’t remember what it was called, but it probably had “”Product of Mexico”” stamped all over the box. If you’re ever eating Cookie Crisp and you find four or five of those things melted together, don’t eat it. I’ve had very bad experiences with masses of Cookie Crisp. Cookie Crisp is also a very expensive cereal. It’s something like $4 for a box. But if I was down at Fedco or wherever it is where they have the generic cereals, I’d still get it over “”Cookie-Like Bits.”” It’s hilarious — they have Cheerios right next to “”Oat Loops””, and you know some stupid parent is gonna buy “”Oat Loops”” to save $3, bring it home, and the kid’s gonna say, “”Where’s the Cheerios? What the hell is this crap? I want Cheerios!”” I never realized how much the cereal companies were ripping me off with the prizes until I was about 17. I remember I’d go down the cereal aisle choosing which prizes I wanted. The cereal didn’t matter; I wasn’t going to eat half of it anyway. Then we’d get home and I’d open up the box and dig for the prize. It was always at the very bottom and you got all these crumbs all over your hand while you were digging for it. Wow! A Secret Decoder Ring! That’s why I don’t understand how Kix survived. They actually advertise that they don’t have a prize. That’s almost as stupid as those Sprite commercials. Sprite commercials make fun of all the techniques that their parent company, Coca-Cola, uses. Imagine if they ran both ads in a row. The biggest rip-off I can remember was the time Wheaties had a $1,000,000 contest. Buying Wheaties was like buying a lottery ticket. And we wonder why America has a gambling addiction. Another thing I don’t like about cereal is how soggy it gets. By the time you finish pouring the milk, half the cereal in it can no longer be classified as crispy. Even Chex gets soggy. I distinctly remember leaving a bowl of Chex for about two minutes and coming back very disappointed. And what’s with those people who add sugar to their cereal? That’s like adding MSG to Chinese takeout. The award for worst cereal of all time goes to Shredded Wheat. Don’t get me wrong — Bite-Sized Frosted Shredded Wheat is great — but Shredded Wheat alone is the stupidest cereal I’ve ever seen. How can you expect people to break it into spoon-sized pieces? You know some kid is just going to break it in half and choke trying to swallow one of those things. It’s just a lawsuit waiting to happen. Maybe all of their sales are based on elementary schools dying it green and making it into really cheesy Christmas tree ornaments. Cap’n Crunch sticks to your mouth after eating enough of it. The Crunch berries taste really artificial after a certain period of time and you start to wonder what’s really in them. Then there’s Raisin Bran. If you live in any normal household, by the time you get to the Raisin Bran, someone has painstakingly taken out all of the Raisins and you’re left with crappy bran. Cocoa Pebbles are pretty good, but after a while you look at your milk and you say, “”This isn’t milk. It looks like mud.”” And you start thinking about all the Cocoa Pebbles commercials and for all intensive purposes, when Fred and Barney are in the jungle, it is mud. You’re drinking mud. That’s why I don’t eat Cocoa Pebbles, or any cocoa product for that matter. Is there anyone who actually eats the complete breakfast they always show on the box? On the box, they have eggs and toast and a tall glass of milk. If they’re going to be unrealistic, why don’t they just put onion soup and escargot and a glass of wine? That would look a whole lot better. They could seriously brainwash you on the back of those cereal boxes. What do you do when you’re eating cereal? What can you do? I always end up reading the back and the sides of the cereal box because I’m too lazy to go find a paperback. I can probably recite the nutrition facts for most Post products. I think the real problem is that I rarely eat breakfast any more. Or, I couldn’t really consider what I eat to be breakfast. I dunno, what’s a bowl of cereal, a bagel, a pack of fruit gushers and corned beef brisket at 6 p.m.? That’s about as close to breakfast as the carne asada at Cotixan is to actual meat for human consumption. ...

Paying Time For Committing Crime

It is not a war on youth. It is a battle against the immeasurable loss of human life, personal security and wasted human resources. When juvenile court preservationists label youth punishment initiatives as representative of moral bankruptcy and blame disinterested corporations and white, wealthy communities for disenfranchising the youth, people of color and the poor, they fail to put themselves in the position of the daughters whose Dartmouth parents were brutally stabbed in the head and chest by 16- and 17-year-old boys. They forget the pain of the Columbine shootings. They forget to put themselves in the shoes of a parent whose 5-year-old daughter was killed for her bike. They forget that a crime is a crime, regardless of the offender’s age. They forget that sometimes, the criminal justice system works harder for the criminal than the victim. Kenrick Leung Guardian Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not believe that institutionalization is a solution to America’s social problems. I am a strong advocate of rehabilitation and second chances. There has been many a time in my life, as I’m sure there has been in everyone else’s, that being given the second chance has made the difference. But I do believe, however trite this may sound, that if you do an adult crime, you do adult time. Minors that commit certain serious crimes should be tried as adults. Violent, preventable crimes by minors have long plagued America’s larger cities but have scarcely been punished because of the age of the perpetrators. Protected by a lenient and highly outdated juvenile justice system, violent youth have taken advantage of such benefits and have run rampant in our cities. High profile slayings are quite the norm on the evening news, and every once in a while, disaster strikes and we lose a large number of lives at the hands of young offenders. And sadly, naive America continues to lose more and more lives at the hands of reckless teens and repeat offenders because we choose to give them as many chances as they need so long as they are not legal adults. Unfortuately, we have to lose and destroy more lives because we refuse to punish. Many juvenile court sentences have amounted to nothing but a mere slap on the wrist for many young offenders. The juvenile court is no longer capable of providing the individualized attention that it first sought out to do and can no longer easily help at-risk offenders who are threats even after their juvenile sentences. Laws were first created to handle small cases such as truancy, shoplifting and vandalism. These laws are now archaic, as they do not have the ability to handle today’s violent crimes. Tougher crimes call for tougher measures. Rehab centers have had little influence on youths. The counselors that deal with our youth are inexperienced and do not have the skills to counteract their behavior. For some violent youths, rehabilitation is the easy way out. Some youths are even known to commit crimes without thought because they know they cannot be tried as adults. Eventually, many young offenders who go through juvenile systems do not end up rehabilitated and, as a result, turn back to crime. In many jurisdictions, a child may have to commit 10 to 15 serious crimes before anything is actually done to him. Children are killed by children. Teens are killed by teens. And still we refuse to punish them because “”they are too young to understand that what they are doing is wrong.”” An excuse most heard from parents, it is also an excuse too often heard after lives are lost and ruined. Without a tougher punishment system, society is left with a high percentage of delinquents and a rising percentage of crime victims. For many victims, the juvenile court systems have been a far cry from justice. Families of murder victims, rape targets and victims of other serious crimes have been left abandoned without a sense of closure, a sense of protection. Some feel like their loss was left unacknowledged. Indeed, in such a leniant juvenile system, victims are more often than not left unacknowledged. Most people agree with Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas: “”The only way to treat the victim as a full human being — to fully honor the memory of the victim — is to punish the perpetrator ….”” Trying minors as adults will toughen the system and hold someone responsible. Minors must be fully culpable for their behavior if we are to deter future delinquents from committing violent crimes. Setting this example and making it known that our cities will, indeed, be tough on crimes, will serve as a wake-up call. Like the three strikes law, the threat of a harsh sentence will most certainly make children think twice before they commit violent crimes. Since 1993, at least 43 states have passed laws making it easier for children to be tried as adults. A juvenile justice bill is currently awaiting final Congressional approval and contains similar measures for the federal system. Proposition 21, from last year’s California elections, was passed and, although it has stirred much opposition and controversy, it has molded the image that society will have no tolerance for crime. The cost of implementing such measures will never even reach the immeasurable cost of lives lost. In the words of former California Gov. Pete Wilson, we have to act “”decisively to retake [our] neighborhoods ….”” If we are to sincerely make an effort to keep our cities safer, all of America has to understand that youth may not be adults, but they are certainly capable of committing crimes. The crime that a 16-year-old commits is no different than that of a 60-year-old — thus, there should be no reason to treat them differently. Second chances will come accordingly, but accountability should come first. It is not about giving children second chances. It is about making them responsible for their actions. ...

Jackson's Inaugural Absence Welcome

Inauguration Day 2001, when Republicans rejoiced after eight years of Clintonian despotism, wasn’t without its problems. An intruder shaking the new president’s hand, a protest along Pennsylvania Avenue, biting cold weather, and Ricky Martin all put a damper on the otherwise joyous occasion. One thing, however, made it especially delightful: Jesse Jackson was nowhere in sight. Of course, Jackson spent the day “”reconciling with his family in an undisclosed location”” — i.e. hiding from the media — because of the child he fathered out of wedlock. Some people were surprised, and others were shocked, yet some of us already knew that Jackson is human slime. We must go far beyond his affair, to when he was acting as Bill Clinton’s “”spiritual advisor,”” for us to see his true colors. Let’s examine his status as “”reverend.”” This is a taboo topic, because Jackson has no congregation to speak of and no church to name. His only following is the faceless string of protesters who trail him wherever he wanders. Apparently, he is a self-proclaimed minister who uses his title to immunize himself from all the steep, unfounded allegations he wields like a sword. The protests and allegations immediately following the presidential election were just the latest examples of Jackson’s preposterous behavior. Think about it. Shortly after Al Gore retracted his concession, Jackson arrived in West Palm Beach, Fla. with hundreds of protesters. Whether Jackson and his protesters had been briefed on the object of their protest is unknown; all that is clear is that they were ready for action and eager to cause trouble. I was shocked when I woke up that morning. It was as though the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse had arrived in Florida. There were protests everywhere, there were citizens who claimed they voted for the wrong candidate, there were minorities angry because they were turned away from polling booths, there were people calling for a revote, and every reporter in the country flocked to participate in that circus. They were also mad about some guy named Chad. It was a nightmare. George W. Bush won the election fair and square. The voters, the Florida legislature, the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress, time and the Constitution have already established that firmly. What I find curious, however, is how Action Jackson and his fan club arrived in Florida so quickly. They had mere hours to mobilize and organize, but they did, and they did it well. The Democrats were building this storm before any electoral votes had been called for either candidate. With thousands of Floridian Democrats angrily claiming to have voted for Pat Buchanan — even though most of them had, in fact, voted for Gore — this was definitely a battleground ripe for the picking for Jesse “”Rent-a-Mob”” Jackson. That’s right: “”Rent-a-Mob”” is my favorite nickname for Jackson. I don’t believe he has ever worked a day in his life. All he does is protest. How do you think he supports himself and his family? Through protesting. How can you possibly respect a professional protester? And as I mentioned earlier, he’s always ready for action, and he certainly loves publicity. You need an angry mob to protest something? Call Jackson: He’s always open for business. The problem I have with his behavior in Florida is his baseless accusations that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris were responsible for disenfranchising African American and Jewish voters statewide. I can handle accusations that they favored Bush in the election but I don’t believe it had any influence on the outcome of the election. Jackson’s claim, however, is simply unbelievable. It just shows that the man has no ethics. Claiming that police were sent to prevent minorities from voting might have been justified in the 1960s, but without some hard evidence this is nothing more than slander, for which Jeb Bush and Harris could file substantial lawsuits against Jackson. Mostly, I wish they would let the issue rest, but part of me wants him sued. Don’t misunderstand me. I advocate civil rights as much as the next guy. I cannot, however, condone Jackson’s obviously unacceptable, underhanded methods. I can’t go into much more detail here without a Kenneth Starr-sized report to justify all my claims. What I can tell you, however, is that this man is bad news. In his youth, Jackson was friends with Martin Luther King, Jr. If you don’t remember anything else from this article, remember this: King was a great man who dedicated his life to fighting for civil rights and succeeded, but Jackson leeches off the African American community to serve his personal goals. Jackson has been out of the spotlight for more than two months now. I can only hope he stays out. ...

NATO is Still Needed Despite the EU's Presence

After the Cold War, many believed NATO was dead. After all, the Russians are no longer a threat and the Cold War is over. Many wonder why the alliance is still around and criticize NATO’s presence in recent crises in Bosnia and Kosovo. Many say that the alliance is a military organization with no political concerns whatsoever. NATO has always been misunderstood: The alliance is more important now than ever before. While we no longer have to worry about doomsday scenarios that were the reason for NATO’s formation, the alliance is striving to make the “”best case”” scenario. The purpose of the alliance has always been to maintain the status quo and form solidarity against the Soviet threat. But the status quo is no longer on the agenda; NATO has survived because of its ability to respond to change. This versatility is why the alliance is an important and relevant part of not only Northern European security, but global security as well. To understand the importance of NATO’s presence, one must look at the overall effects of its current operations. But first, the misconceptions of what NATO is and what it stands for must be dispelled. The most common misunderstanding is that NATO is merely a military alliance. Like the alliances that started wars before NATO’s establishment, NATO is seen as a gang of countries that pledge support for each other should any member encounter a hostile situation with a nonmember country. NATO is more than just a military alliance or a counterthreat to warring countries. It is a community of nations, striving to foster security and peace throughout not only its member countries, but other countries as well. Another myth is that the alliance’s purpose is not limited to keeping the status quo. Much to the contrary, NATO’s purpose has changed as often as the political climate in most countries has changed. NATO’s goals change from defending its member countries against nuclear threats to proactively fostering security. The most important point in NATO’s current agenda is partnership. As a basic element to European stability, NATO has founded the Partnership for Peace Program and Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Many critics do not know about this council, which boasts 46 member countries. Among them are NATO members, former Warsaw Pact countries and neutral nations. The Partnership for Peace Program allows participating countries to discuss security issues, and train and carry out peacekeeping operations jointly, thus opening communication with countries that have not previously been open to NATO’s initiatives. In fostering inclusion and cooperation, NATO has been able to achieve the first step to global security. NATO is also enhancing security for its existing members. Increased security in unstable countries sets a prime example for those who seek NATO membership. Other countries have seen possible NATO membership as an incentive to organize their country and resolve long-standing social, political or economic conflicts. As a result of NATO’s open membership, many bilateral treaties have been signed and border agreements settled. While the day that Russia joins the alliance is nowhere in sight and the Russia-NATO relationship could be better, NATO-initiated consultations are occurring regularly. NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson hopes to establish a NATO information office in Moscow as a step toward better communication and dispelling lingering Cold War sentiments. NATO’s presence in Kosovo has also been under scrutiny. Popular opinion does not consider NATO’s war. On the contrary, it is. Defending democracy and peace where diplomacy failed, NATO’s presence in Kosovo stands in accordance with NATO’s goals. The crisis affected members’ security. Indifference to the situation meant supporting ethnic cleansing and martial law. The alliance’s presence in Kosovo has proved fruitful as refugees have returned to a more stable country. NATO affects the overall stability of the continent because, slowly but surely, it is working with countries that were once the source of instability, violence and aggression. It is enhancing European capabilities and relations that will make them better partners with their North American counterparts. Because it is bound by democratic values, NATO will defend the peace for future generations and will be important to global security as long as a need for economic and political assistance exists. ...

America's International Actions Brings Doubt to Patriotism

Sometimes I wonder about being an American citizen. I don’t always feel the pride that I think I should feel. Hearing the national anthem doesn’t fill me with patriotic fervor. I prefer meeting people from other countries rather than my fellow Americans. I fully appreciate the rights and privileges that I have in America. Yet, sometimes I cringe upon learning of our government’s actions. I am most concerned with our country’s role in international affairs. In many instances, I am not educated enough to take a side and may not have a full understanding of the problems, but I know enough to question what goes on. Some problems in this world have no sure, noncontroversial solutions, but it is possible to reduce U.S. involvement. In a recent article I read, the Bush administration discussed its stance on Iraq. The Bush team was split on strategy and the degree of support the United States should give to forces opposing Saddam Hussein. Some wanted an aggressive strategy to oust Hussein, while others were for a more moderate strategy of sanctions and limited support for the opposition groups. It seemed it would be a while before a consensus could be reached, but less than a day after the article was published, the United States was leading air strikes against Iraq. Was this the proper decision for us? The opposition forces wanted and needed the support from us, but should we have given it to them? What position are Americans in now? Air strikes are terrifying. During air strikes on Belgrade, my Yugoslavian friend was in the United States and her family stayed behind, scared and vulnerable. Such fear is unknown to me and most other Americans. Walking around at a posh university, it is difficult to understand the magnitude of the situation. Regardless, it is understood that decisions must be made by our government that gravely affect the rest of the nation, and the world for that matter. But one must at least question those decisions. It is too idealistic to think dramatic change can come instantly. World peace will not exist tomorrow, but there can be more serious effort to move in that direction. Does the United States need to be part of every world conflict? There will never be a consensus on any issue involving international affairs, and U.S. involvement may perpetuate the problems. But then the United States also does a lot to support those in need. The “”world police force”” (the U.S. military) will be called often, but it does not have to respond the same way every time. To what extent will the involvement of the United States help the problem, and to what extent will we add to it? I don’t want the rest of the world to glare at the policemen and mutter “”pig”” when they pass, but it already happens now. My concern is that our government’s decisions are seen by the rest of the world as representative of U.S. citizens, and I hate that. Even if one should think to openly oppose the decisions of the government, the shouts of that citizen are lost in the roar of the governing power. There are no concrete solutions to this problem, but that is incentive to delve further into the problems on an individual level. We cannot deny the resources we have, and since it is easier to talk about change the world than actually changing it, why not form an educated opinion? I do not regret my U.S. citizenship, but I am pessimistic in the midst of the problems involving my country. For now, it is enough to know that regardless of the situation, I am free to speak and to oppose openly in this country. ...

Editorial

Many people realize that the process for admitting students to the University of California discriminates against impoverished students from less-privileged socioeconomic backgrounds or disadvantaged schools. In an attempt to level the playing field for such students, UC President Richard Atkinson is ready to unveil a plan that will eliminate SAT I scores from UC admissions criteria. In a day when expensive preparatory courses promise to raise students’ scores by hundreds of points, the Guardian feels that Atkinson’s move is a smart one that will keep students from buying their way into the UC system. At the very least, his plan will reduce applicants’ use of personal finances as a way of developing advantages over students whose financial circumstances do not allow them to enroll in expensive preparatory courses. In addition, eliminating the outdated standardized exam will allow students who come from below-par high schools to have a better chance at gaining admission to the college of their choice. Importantly, Atkinson’s proposal is not one that eliminates standardized tests altogether. Instead, it proposes that UC admissions boards continue to take into account SAT II test scores, because these are believed to be a better measure of what students have learned in high school. For example, the SAT II contains diverse subjects such as English, math, history, social studies, science and languages. All of these are areas of study that college students typically encounter in their majors and general education requirements, whereas the SAT I is highly generalized and reflects only two possible subjects. Atkinson has argued that because the SAT II is based on many subjects that are often included in university curricula, it is a better indicator of how a student will perform in college. The university currently admits 60 percent of its students based solely on grade point averages and SAT scores. The remaining 40 percent are admitted after a review of supplemental information, such as personal statements, letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities. The Guardian realizes that simply dropping SAT scores will not completely level the playing field for underprivileged students, but we feel that Atkinson’s plan is a positive move and deserves our support. ...