Keeping Out the Undesireables — The Students

The mayor of Waukesha, Wisconsin, is against an expansion of the local University of Wisconsin (Mayor backs UW-Waukesha: Lombardi wants Doyle to veto UWM merger proposal):

    Mayor Carol Lombardi has urged Gov. Jim Doyle to veto a plan for merging two college campuses in the Milwaukee area, saying that the move toward consolidation stems from “more politics than practical study.”

    Lombardi also said that making the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha part of UW-Milwaukee would strain her city’s police force and other resources if the suburban campus must be expanded.

Gentle reader, what motivation for this position would be the least odious?

  • She doesn’t want the urban people who go to UWM to infect Waukesha. Since she brings up the cost of police protection, I think this is probably her motive.
  • She’s holding the state up for more money, grants, and so on for her fiefdom to spend.
  • She doesn’t think government consolidation and efficiency are worthwhile goals if they cut into her pork.
  • She fears the loss of prestige for Waukesha if there’s not a University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. Come to think of it, that’s all the prestige Waukesha might have. In the right light.

Des Moines Columnist Thinks Media Does Not Focus On Important Things, Like How Bush Sucks

It’s the only thing I can get from this piece entitled "Little room for real news" by Rob Borsellino of the Des Moines Register. He intersperses the trivia covered by new media with things the media doesn’t cover, like the badness of the current administration:

    I knew the exact time Terri Schiavo collapsed 15 years ago, and I could tell you that the runaway bride got a half-million-dollar advance to tell her story.

    But I had lost track of how many U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq.

And:


    I listen to the president making a speech about how much better the world is without Saddam Hussein in power and how much progress we’re making in Iraq. That’s followed by news stories about a car bomb killing dozens in Baghdad, U.S. recruitment going into the tank, Iran and North Korea getting nuke savvy.

    So I’ve got to wonder if the commander in chief is dealing with reality.

    I listen to the vice president calling Guantanamo Bay critics a bunch of anti-American crybabies with nothing better to do with their time, and then I hear those left-wing radicals from the Red Cross talking how the U.S. is using tactics “tantamount to torture.”

    So how much attention should I pay when the V.P. speaks?

Finally:


    The Bolton nomination and “the deadlock that has centered on Democratic demands to see draft testimony that Bolton’s office prepared on Syria for a House committee hearing two years ago and insistence on seeing 36 names Bolton requested and was allowed to see from blacked-out National Security Agency reports.”

    Or news that “Jennifer Wilbanks, the runaway bride, was found to have prior records for shoplifting in two separate cases.”

Given the choice between innocuous fluff and the common funeral drumbeating of “serious” journalists, I choose….

Not to watch the news or read the newspaper. Duh.

(Submitted to the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam.)

Wild Day

A message from the President of Marquette University, anouncing the name-change-back-to-the-name-before-the-name-change:


    I am pleased to announce that our athletics nickname effective July 1st will be the Golden Eagles. This decision was made by you, the Marquette community, through the “MU Voice” voting process. I want to thank all of you who participated in “MU Voice” for taking the time to vote for the nickname that we will use as we enter the Big East Conference on July 1st.

The decision, had it been left to the Marquette Community, would have been Marquette Warriors, but Marquette University is a European democracy. You can choose from amongst the choices your betters put before you, of which the most popular choice will not be allowed.


    The name Golden Eagles has a proud association in Marquette’s history since it was our name from 1994 to the present. I am pleased that this tradition will continue in the Big East Conference, one of the most prestigious and competitive conferences in the nation. The Big East is also known for the academic quality of its student-athletes, and our Marquette student-athletes will be no exception. They excel both in the classroom and in athletic competition.

Marquette shows its committment to academic evidence by finding the last ten years indicative of history.


    Ultimately, more than one-third of the Marquette community eligible to vote participated in either phase one or phase two of the voting process, with 35,777 total individuals casting votes. Thank you for your passion and enthusiasm for Marquette University. Your dedication is vital to ensuring our future progress and success.

Clicking a radio button and typing in a secret code number is not dedication. Volunteering, financial support, and whatnot are. I’ve done one of the above. Guess which, and you wouldn’t necessarily thank me.


    Let me also thank Advantage Research, Inc., the independent firm that administered “MU Voice,” for creating and executing an honest, fair and scientific process. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the work of the Nickname Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from the Marquette community, for ensuring the integrity and transparency of this process.

No, no, thank you, Marquette, for expending a large sum of money on a farce that didn’t address anything but an ill-conceived name change on your part. Advantage Research just sucked up some dollars from students and those alumni who are dedicated and passionate, or at least just dedicated, to go back to a slightly less ill-conceived.


    Of course, we know that Marquette is first and foremost an academic institution committed to educating men and women to be a leaven for good in our society. We must not lose sight of this important mission rooted in our 450-year Jesuit tradition. Thank you for your care and concern and for the pride we share in the values of this wonderful university. We Are Marquette!

You are Marquette. Me, I am just a guy who graduated there and managed to find a series of jobs in the private sector.

Another Movie Review, Another Parable About Republicans

Last week, Land of the Dead exemplified something bad about Republicans. Now, Joe Williams explains how War of the Worlds symbolizes 9/11:

    It’s a thrilling ride, but even those viewers who aren’t troubled that the most expensive film ever made is a parable of American victimhood may grow weary of the family’s close-call heroics.

There you have it, you crude reader of this blog. 9/11 is a parable of American victimhood, not a trespass to which America responded. If you’re reading this blog, you wouldn’t be troubled to equate something with 9/11, although victimhood would be another matter. But you’re not a cognac-swilling intellectual paid to write criticism of cinema in a dwindling major paper in a diminishing city in the middle America.

I didn’t catch his review, gentle reader, of Herbie Fully Loaded, but I surmise it was a parable of environmentally-conscious and fuel-efficient small cars fighting pluckily against the Republican Big Oil machine.

Former Television Critic Wants To Send Social Security Checks to China

Well, one could assume that when one reads the latest column from Eric Mink, the television critic turned commentary editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Writing a rather standard piece attacking Cheney for Guantanamo Bay, Mink madlibs:

    “They got a brand new facility down at Guantanamo,” Cheney told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last Thursday. “We spent a lot of money to build it. They’re very well-treated down there. They’re living in the tropics. They’re well fed. They’ve got everything they could possibly want.”

    I kind of wish the ever-dizzy Blitzer had asked a couple of follow-ups: “Everything they could possibly want, Mr. Vice President? Like a fair and impartial process to see if they even belong there?

I assume that Mink means right to the United States court system (since military tribunals and so on would not be impartial enough). Of course, the people at Gunatanamo Bay are (everybody sing the chorus) illegal combatants, not even covered under the Geneva Conventions, but Mink wants to convey the benefits of U.S. citizenship upon people who dedicated themselves to killing American soldiers and , aside from the concrete practice of shooting American soldiers (not like killing citizens), who dedicated themselves in theory to destroying Christendom or the United States (great Satan and so forth).

No word on whether Mink would convey other benefits of citizenship upon other citizens of the world, such as sending Social Security checks to China (think how it would help prevent parents from killing little girl children who could not take care of them in old age!)

As long as Mink continues to help perpetrate his columnular identity as a stereotypical knee-jerk liberal lover of humanity, but not so much a keen observer of its nature, I will help. I think he would.

Book Report: Modern Manners by P.J. O’Rourke (1989)

Man, I don’t know where I got this book, but all evidence seems to indicate that I paid $2.00 for it. Of course, since it’s P.J. O’Rourke, of course I would.

The book features trademark O’Rourke humor, but its from his early, Reagan and Bush era stuff, which means it’s not as hard-hitting and topical as the work he’s created after Clinton became president. Ergo, its subject matter and style more closely tracks the The Bachelor Home Companion (oddly enough, 1997 and not as early as I’d originally thought). The humor is more collegiate, but it has its flashes of O’Rourkean brilliance. But the nugget sized sections really don’t give O’Rourke enough room to work up a full head of rhetorical steam.

So it’s a good book, but not the best in the O’Rourke obra.

Dysophisticate

Don’t you hate it when, in a crowd of other young suburban professional aesthetes, you say topo gigio instead of pinot grigio?

No wonder the other tiny-glassesed IT professionals and accountant types beat me up in the parking lot outside the Whole Foods.

Great Moments in Interface Design

Thousands held improperly in crowded jail booking room through scroll bar error:


    Thousands of men and women were improperly detained for more than 30 hours each in a crowded county jail booking room because a sheriff’s deputy never moved his computer scroll bar, court records show.

    “I think if — if I may impose on court and counsel’s experience, sometimes when the information presented is wider than the screen, there’s a little slide bar at the bottom of the computer,” Assistant Corporation Counsel John Schapekahm told Circuit Judge Clare Fiorenza. “He never push the slide bar apparently.”

    . . . .

    Information about how long inmates were held in booking was available via computer, Schapekahm said. But that particular piece of information was in the eighth column of a table, and only seven columns showed on the computer that a deputy used to track inmates.

Interface design can impair a person’s ability to do the job with which the computer software is supposed to assist the person. Too often we in the computer industry think of the person on the other side of the interface as computer user, which implies a familiarity with computers and a time and attention allotment that isn’t always there. Although they use the software, it’s often only a small part of an otherwise busy, complicated, and multi-tasked job.

(Link seen on Boots and Sabers.)

Summer of the …?

Summer of the Pit Bull continues: Woman recovering from pit bull attack:

    A San Jose woman was recovering from bites to her hands and arms after her 8-month-old pit bull mix attacked her in her home Sunday, police said.

    The 36-year-old woman, who was not identified by police, was cleaning up after the dog got sick in the house in the 0-100 block of George Street when the dog attacked her about 6 p.m., according to San Jose Police spokeswoman Gina Tepoorten.

    “For some reason, the dog ended up turning on her and attacking her,” Tepoorten said.

Not to be outdone, we get a sequel to the Summer of the Shark: Shark Attacks 2nd Teen Off Fla. Panhandle:

    A teenage boy was bitten and critically injured Monday in the second shark attack in three days along the Florida Panhandle.

Man, I cannot wait till the hysteredia brings us the climactic conclusion in two years: Shark Vs. Pit Bull: The Reckoning (tagline: “People were only the appetizer”).

(Submitted to the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam.)

Maybe He Should Have Looked in the Trunk

I should have sympathy for the father of three children who were found dead in a car trunk in New Jersey. However, he and the media are all too happy to blame the police:

Dad: ‘Maybe they should have looked in the trunk’: Father of 1 of 3 boys found dead questions police methods:

    As authorities began investigating why police failed to search a car trunk where three missing boys were found dead, the father of one of the children said Sunday he could not understand how they died so close to home.

    Anibal Cruz, 38, said the family assumed that police looked in the trunk of the car that was parked just steps from where the boys were last seen playing.

    “That was the first place to look,” Cruz said. “You can look through the windows and check inside. That is simple. Maybe they should have looked in the trunk.”

I want to stay away from personally impugning the parenting skills required in this endeavor, since I wasn’t there and I only get the understanding and facts of the situation as provided by the media.

I do wonder why it’s necessary to fault the police for the children’s deaths. If this explodes into a lawsuit against the police, then I will impugn the parents of the children. But not now, damn it. He lost three children and grieves, lashing out. Hopefully, he’ll recognize that the police weren’t at fault and to blame them at a time like this disservices them and his children’s memory.

The media should take steps to keep him from looking bad, too, during this emotional time and not amplifying his comments into an indictment of sloppy police work.

Book Report: Mobtown by Jack Kelly (2002)

I bought this book for $4.95 on the discount rack at Barnes and Noble while spending the holiday gift cards. Of course, the trip turned from burning off the gift cards to an orgy of book purchasing, so we ended up with more than our $50.

This book represents a retro reprisal of hard-boiled detective novels. The main character, Ike Van Savage is a former soldier, former cop, drinks-too-much, womanized a bit too much, kind of private eye. In Rochester, New York, 1959, Van Savage gets a call from a mysterious hottie who thinks her husband wants to kill her. The husband’s the local syndicate kingpin whose two previous wives had accidents. Suddenly, Van Savage finds himself where every hardboiled private detective is: fending off willing chippies and dodging the accidental bullet-cushioning while over his head in crime and plots he can barely fathom.

A good book and a pleasant throwback to a readable genre that failed to teach us the life lessons about how being a man in society means something other than being tough and tenacious. Where it means something more womanly. Which is why some reviewers call the main character “cardboard” — They’re part of the drive that lead to more sensitive, bleeding, crying soft-boiled detective who are more frail than the middle-aged working schlubs who read the books. Once they stopped being comic books with heroes to whom readers could aspire, they stopped being good. But this book bucks the trend, fortunately.

Can State Laws Prevent Eminent Domain Abuse?

Some bloggers think that restrictive state statutes might prevent eminent domain abuse. Like Owen at Boots and Sabers:

    As this ruling states, “for more than a century,” the high court has favored “affording legislatures broad latitude in determining what public needs justify the use of the takings power.”

That a nice hope. I’ll dash it with two words: interstate commerce.

Because believe you me that the first time the City of Podunk wants to hand a nationwide company a set of tract homes and small businesses so it can build a plant or office complex but cannot because the state has restricted it, some cabal of coporate lawyers are gonna shriek that the state’s laws restrict interstate commerce.

Dustbury also wrestles with this. I hope I’ve helped settle the question, although it’s not the answer any citizen of this country should enjoy.

Fightin’ Words

Spoons sez:

    DC fans are conservative, Marvel fans are liberal. Discuss.

I won’t rejoin that, although I encourage you to do so, gentle reader, with all the righteous anger my fellow Marvelites can muster.

I will admit something interesting: I am a Marvelite, and my beautiful wife is a DC chick.

I don’t know how our marriage works, but it does. And lest you wonder, my collection is larger than hers.