Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Political Activism on College Campuses

The Christian Science Monitor has a great article called "The New Activism" which talks about the modern political activism on college and university campuses in the United States. I think this article hits on a couple good points. First, "While rallies may abound, don't be deceived, say some campus denizens. 'Activism' today doesn't even remotely resemble the white-hot political passion that gripped college campuses in the 1960s and '70s." While I was not alive during the 60's or the 70's from what I've seen, read, and discussed with those who where alive and active during that time it is clear to me that the ideals meant a little more back in the 60's and 70's. I am sure there are still some of the same types of students, but from what I have experienced so many students would rather go to class, go watch tv, or go to a football game than participate in any "activism", even in the most loose sense of the word.

A second good point is "But there are also students today for whom activism means something far removed from either the debate between left and right or the war in Iraq.
Dihan Thilakaratne, a senior and chemistry major at North Texas University, says he joined a student rally when the cause was one with relevance to his life: a protest against a 7 percent hike in tuition fees." I think that some of the reasons people are more likely to protest something that directly impacts them are more selfish (not necessarily wrong). Many of the parents of the average college students are the members of the "me" generation. These are not the parents who protested against Vietnam and fought for civil rights. These parents are the people who were teenagers when MTV debuted. There is a very different attitude among these people. Grandparents of these students are not the people who lived through the "Great Depression" rather, the Grandparents where the ones who lived during the termoil. It seems as if the youth of today are becoming so far removed from the past. I think it is inevitable, but I also think that the American culture of today has a lot to do with it. The mainstream media talks more about Jessica Simpson than they do about the outsourcing of American jobs. The mainstream media makes a bigger deal of Oprah having jury duty than they do of the ineffectual capital punishment system. We are not being reminded of our history. We are being taken over by the fad of the moment.

Activism and caring (unless something is happening directly to you) are not really "in style".


Sunday, August 22, 2004


This last week has been a very crazy week. Starting this new job has been more hectic than I ever believed it was going to be. However, it has been enjoyable, and I think I will be happier in this job than I was in my past positions.

One of the highlights of the past eight days has been going to see a movie that both Jenn and I have been waiting for ever since we saw the previews. I have heard many mixed reviews, but I believe that Napoleon Dynamite is one of the funniest movies ever made. It made me laugh (so hard I cried). I am amazed that a film can be so adult funny and yet have no sexual innuendos or crude language. I recommend this movie whole heartedly, but do not go in with any expectations, it makes it more enjoyable.

That is all for now.

Friday, August 13, 2004

"You Can't Always Get What You Want"
No, this is not a commercial for that new crappy soft drink; rather it is a statement that means a little more to me right now. Despite the fact that as of late I have been questioning my faith, re-questioning and questioning again, I am unable to write down exactly what I am feeling. Because of that, I choose to write what flows the easiest (no it’s not BS that flows the best, although that is close) and that is politics.

1) I thought that in this Presidential election we are supposed to just accept the military experience of both candidates. However, I guess the efforts of the Bush crew to change the subject of military careers (or lack thereof) has failed, or at least has succeed insofar as Bush’s record will no longer be spoken of. Now what we have is a discussion of Kerry’s service. Donald over at Back of the Envelope summarizes some of these attacks. What I find funny is that we are attacking a man who actually served. Despite what he did or did not do in Vietnam, we actually do know that he was there. It is amazing really. If we are going to leave the military backgrounds out of this fight, then please, by all means, but if those opposing Kerry insist on it, then Bush should be fair game in this department.

2) Alan Keyes running for Senate in Illinois….wow! I was not in favor of Hillary Clinton running in New York, and I am not in favor of Keyes running in Illinois. The whole point of representative government is to elect people who represent your interests. I would imagine Keyes is not up on the issues of concern to most of the residents in Illinois (similar to Clinton NY). This makes me think if we are going to continually have people running in states other than their own, we should think of ridding our country of the system we have now, just a thought. One of the more refreshing things I’ve found in Arkansas is that most, if not all, statewide and congressional offices are held by Arkansans. This is great because those people know the state. That is not to say people from other places do not know what is going on, but people moving into a state just to run seems a little ridiculous to me.

I am sure those who disagree would label me one of those silly liberals. Yes, I can be silly, but my liberalism is closer to the classical sense and my pragmatic thoughts have me more progressive than anything else.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Moving on (or moving up)

On Monday I begin my first day as a full-time Student Affairs professional. That is right, I got a full-time job. No more of this Graduate Assistant mumbo jumbo. I will have more responsibility, less free time (as if I had an extreme amount as is) and be making a little more money. Most important, I will be taking that next step in my career and my life.

...another political post to soon follow...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Ketchup Conspiracy

It all starts last night when Jenn asks me about the spelling of Ketchup or Catsup at our local grocery store Harp's. Now today it is all about W Ketchup, which is billed as "America's Ketchup". Oddly, the website of W Ketchup asks "You don't support the Democrats. Why should your ketchup? I found this all slightly perplexing so I decided to get the real story from the "un American ketchup" which would be Heinz . According to the Heinz page their ketchup is made in America and no actual Heinz family members actually work for the company. The company press release states: “In light of misleading reports, H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) reiterated today that neither Teresa Heinz Kerry, Senator John Kerry nor any of the Heinz trusts or endowments, either individually or collectively, holds a significant percentage of H.J. Heinz Company shares. Heinz also attests that Heinz® Tomato Ketchup sold in the United States is all-American - made at U.S. facilities in Fremont, Ohio; Muscatine, Iowa; and Stockton, California.”
-- From http://www.heinz.com/jsp/nonpartisan.jsp

Now that I am relieved to hear that no part of the $1.19 I spend on ketchup goes to the Democrats I can go to Wal-Mart and get as much Ketchup as I like. Wait a second! If I were to reverse W Ketchup’s “You don’t support Democrats” statement and ask my self “You don’t support Republicans, why should your _____?” lets see what I get.

First, when I ask that question in regards to where I do some of my shopping I find that S. Robson Walton , Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart donated money to George W. Bush. Hmm...lets try another one.
Second, when I ask that question in regards to where I bank, Arvest. What do I find? The same situation! Both John and Jim Walton of Arvest donated money to George W. Bush.
Third, I look at my cell phone company Alltel I think I am in the clear until I see that Alltel CEO Scott Ford also donated money to George W. Bush. Man I am batting zero here.
Finally, if anything is sacred it is beer right? Well I am a native Coloradoan so there is one beer that is above the rest, Coors. Well, turns out Peter Coors the Chairman of Coors and a U.S. Senate Candidate gave money to George W. Bush too. Jeez! Not even my beer is sacred!

It looks as if the places where I am spending a lot of my hard earned money have individuals at the top who give money to the people I don't support. I know its only a fraction of my money that goes towards these guys huge salaries, but still, it was my money at one time. Anyway...at least I'll always have my ice cream money going towards something I support.

Basically, I don’t understand the logic of W Ketchup. If there where, in fact, a portion of the money from Heinz Ketchup sales going to the Democrats, it would never outweigh the money coming from people in charge of companies like Coors, Wal-Mart and Alltel that goes to the Republicans. But more importantly, What's the big deal anyway??

BTW...all donations information is from www.FundRace.org

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Tired and Anxious

Here I sit at my desk on the verge of sleep. I’ve been awake for almost 3 hours, and I have been trying to be productive for the last 1.5 hours. That is not happening right now. The cup of coffee next to the keyboard seems as if it contains a sleep inducing chemical, not my beloved caffeine. The speakers on the computer are full of good energizing morning music from a radio station 1000 miles away near my last home. Still, my mind laughs in contempt, as its only wish now is to find a pillow. Oh, I will wake up. Maybe not in the next hour, but it will happen, and then, I promise, I will be incredibly productive. Until then…

But on a more serious note, I have applied for a full-time position at the University. I had my interview on Monday and now I wait to hear if I got the job. If I do get, I will have to work more, delay graduating with my Master’s (not a big deal because I will be working), but I will also get paid more and have full medical, dental and vision benefits again! The job may keep me in Arkansas for a little while longer, but I think Jenn and I can make it, it’s really not that bad. That is why I am a little anxious. I want to know. I feel like a kid a couple days before Christmas who wants to know what that big box under the tree contains. Is it a wonderful new toy, or is it full of new socks?