Sunday, December 11, 2005

This is me doing what comes naturally. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 09, 2005

Disguising the problem...

When The Leader reported the latest Senate Finance Committee figures, they did so in the usual format: cost per student. To figure out the actual fifure, multiply the figures by the 28,000+ students that pay it. That's how they get the $18,000,000 figure.

Think about it. There's 18 million dollars that we pay that aren't going to tuition, but other things. Where is all this going? A full account of this money is in order.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Free Speech Applies to Everyone -- Especially the ones you hate!

The idea behind free speech is that everyone has the right to publish what they want, and that if you don't agree with it, don't read it. But someone who posts on disagrees with this.

Regardless of one's personal ideology, the idea of actively advocating the suppression of unpopular ideas should bring universal condemnation.

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Reason Not to Attend Marquette, Volume 1

If you think that having students being ignored is a problem at UWM, take a look at this report about a Marquette student who should have been ignored but wasn't. Just giving a few comments about a random professor and a quarter of the students with whom he has classes with is cause for having to repeat an entire semester? Give me a break!

Let them try and come after this site, and we'll see just how many well armed sheep there are...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Stupid Quote of the Week

This week's winner is professor Arthur Brooks, who is quoted in the UWM Post as saying, "As a scientist I cannot understand why anyone continues to smoke given the overwhelming evidence that clearly shows smoking to be harmful to one's health." In our continuing role as advocates for the obvious, let me explain.

It is common knowledge that smoking is an addiction. If someone is addicted, they focus on doing the addictive behavior, to the exclusion of factors that would encourage them to stop, such as reasoned arguments about how detrimental it is. I have run into people who can cite every health risk associated with smoking but still do it because they don't have the willpower to stop (by their own admission, no less). Stopping something based on knowledge of its drawbacks is a rational response. Addiction, by definition, is not rational. People cannot be reasoned out of something they didn't reason themselves into.

If smoking can be solved by education, it is not an addiction. But we know that it is an addiction, so as a logician I cannot understand why anyone continues to promote educating the public about the dangers of smoking given the overwhelming evidence that clearly shows educating someone to overcome smoking to be useless.

Senate Bill 329 Update

It has come to our attention that this bill, whose sole purpose for existing is to maintain the parking squeeze on our campus, has made it out of committee and thus has the potential to come before the Wisconsin State Senate. Without a strong push from students, it is likely to pass, simply because no senator is going to vote against having the local area impose restrictions on itself.

What they fail to realize is that if SB 329 passes, anyone who actually lives near campus can start leasing out parking spaces in the reserved areas to their "guests". If you read the text of the bill (found at ), the reserved spaces can be used by "persons whose residences are adjacent to [UWM, and] guests of such persons". So if you happen to live near campus, what stops you from having some person who pays you $200 per month to be your "guest"?

My sister thinks I'm crazy for wanting to move next to campus. Bills like this make me look more and more sane every day...

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Power of Suggestion....

At one time, there were actual suggestion boxes in the Union. These were locked boxes with comment cards near them where people could ask questions and offer suggestions on how to improve the Union. Each floor had one, and if you know where to look, the holes drilled into the pillars and wall are still visible. (You can e-mail me if you want me to point them all out.) Along with these, there were display boards that took questions posed and offered responses from the Union Policy Board and other staff members who could act on the suggestions made.

Instead of these, there are now "electronic comment cards" that you can go to any of the kiosk computers and use from the main menu. The idea is that you can do the same sort of commentary but without all the bulky boxes cluttering up the Union.

The problem with this lies in human nature. If you don't use the kiosks for your computer needs, you probably will never see the option for a comment. Even if you do use a kiosk, are you going to remember to file your comment when you're there? With a suggestion box in place, it offers a constant reminder. Eventually you'll remember to put your response in.

This is still no guarantee that anyone will listen. In 1999, I put a suggestion in one of these boxes. In 2000, the comment card was still in the bottom of the box and the response board hadn't been updated, so I put another one into the same box, suggesting that they pay more attention to the boxes. The two of them sat for another year before the box was removed. (The response board was still in place and hadn't been updated since my first comment was placed in 1999.) When I ran for Student Senate in 2003, I mentioned my story during a party organizing event, which prompted the removal of most of the rest of the suggestion boxes and the display boards for responses. The last one (near the 8th Note) was removed in 2004. Am I the only one that finds this suspicious?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Interim Promotions -- A Start

The UWM home page ( today officially recognized James Hill as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Tom McGinnity as the Interim Dean of Students. This is a good sign, but we can't assume that this guarantees that our voices will be heard. It is still possible for the Chancellor to phase out the department from this position, so we still need to be alert -- and armed.