Thursday, March 31, 2005

More on Kristol and the Pie

The past couple of days have been rough on campus. No one's really wanted to talk about anything other than the pieing, although I have to admit that I'm about ready to move on. Not move on in the sense that I don't still think the entire incident was wrong, but in the sense that this campus tends to beat dead horses until their decomposing.

Basically, the entire faculty is absolutely aghast at the event. Many have made the leap from pie throwing to more violent attacks on speakers and all have certainly thought that the pie was an affront to the respect for persons which rank so high at Earlham and as a fundamental Quaker ideal. I have to say that an awful lot of the students agree with them and I'm one of them. I have lost some of my unquestioning enthusiasm for the ACLU over the years, but never fundamentally moved away from my beliefs in the primacy of civil rights. Over and over again I've been reminded of Voltaire's famous statement: "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Also a basic explanation of civil rights: "My right to punch ends where your nose begins." I don't care how rabid a conservative he is (and he had actually toned things down for us, I think), Kristol should never have been attacked for his views. Go ahead, write articles for the paper, ask him hard questions, bitch to your friends later, but give him the respect that he deserves as a person and one who has been invited to join in the intellectual discourse of the college. And, my sense from the all-student meeting is that I'm not alone.

There are those on campus who take a less serious view of the situation. Some are of the "it was just a pie, get over it camp." I can understand their view, but I worry about the short-sightedness of this opinion. As my professor pointed out this morning, the pie may have a chilling effect on our ability to bring diverse opinions to campus in the future. Finally, there are those who support the pie-thrower. Here's a section from an open letter that has been circulating around campus (anonymously, I might add):
Given this, it saddens us that so many people have expressed outrage at the pieing. Unlike Tuesday night’s speaker, who is able to conceal the murderous cause and effect of his actions by mediating them through his thinktank (the Project for a New American Century) and concealing them behind a number of immense governmental institutions, the pie-thrower appeared to act out his convictions and passions individually without any veil of official legitimacy. We do not feel that the extent to which his action was bold or inspiring is at all affected by his decision to avoid remaining in the auditorium to face an angry crowd. Furthermore, he chose to put himself at great personal risk in order to embarrass a figure central to the Iraq war and in order, perhaps, to communicate that the current drive towards outright war and domination is no more invincible than the puffed-up and overconfident warmonger who was humiliated on Tuesday."

Yeah, I don't get it either.

Finally, I have to admit that my favourite part of watching this whole story unfold in the media. Think:

  • just after it happened I used the wireless to IM a friend, probably being one of the first to tell the outside what had happened

  • that night, the Earlham LJ boards exploded with students (and a few outsiders, eventually) talking about the events

  • the next day, Google news picked it up when the Pal-Item did their noon update

  • an hour or so later the Indianapolis Star and Indy's ABC station picked it up

  • the AP story went out around 5:30

  • from there, it exploded around the world

I don't condone any of this, obviously, but LOOK! WE MADE THE GUARDIAN! I was so proud that I took a screen shot:

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Ok, this is way more important!

I've been granted a conditional offer for LSE's MSc in Human Rights! That means I could spent a year in London, studying human rights. Who gives a flying fuck about NYU or Georgetown now? Not meeeeee!

Wow. I don't even know how to express my emotions right now and I'm literally shaking.

Le Sigh

This post was supposed to be about a lot of things, but now it gets to be about pie.

William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and the US' "neo-conservative price" spoke on campus today. First up was the 3 o'clock with the Politics senior seminar, where we got to ask questions and have a fun discussion about Social Security reform (among others). There were loads of interesting comparisons to the Clinton health care fiasco and certainly a whole lot of things that are going to provide food for thought over the next few months. I got to ask the classic Joyce question: "What should be the response of liberals to the neo-con movement when we agree on so many of the ends, but none of the methods?" Yeah, this is really something that I struggle with and probably the main reason why I've shifted away from American political parties (nuance is not a bad thing, people!). He didn't really give me a great answer, except to say that that position/struggle is a valid one and implying that it might be a much healthier kind of political discussion. Which, come to think of it, makes it a great answer. Hearing that your struggles are probably better as struggles than they would be as resolved political positions is kinda nice.

Nevertheless, I walked out thinking that I was glad that Mr. Kristol had a chance to meet with serious Earlham students who wanted to learn from him (rather than challenge everything that came out of his mouth) before being thrown to the hippies who were bound to show up to the main speech (and probably clash with the conservative Richmond residents in attendence). If only I'd known. Midway through his speech, and Goddard Auditorium was packed, I noticed a guy who had gotten up on the edge of the stage. I think most of us thought that he was taking photos for The Earlham Word and was just getting a better angle. There were about two seconds when we realized what he was doing and when he actually threw a melted ice cream pie at our speaker (splashing President Doug with an awful lot, too). Someone pointed out that this must be what assasinations are like. We booed and clapped when he continued, but most of us were completely and utterly shocked.

I love a lot of things about Earlham and I love how this place has shaped me as a person, but there are things that have always left something to be desired. One of those is the lack of serious political dialouge on campus. I remember freshman year when Ann Coulter came to speak and the whole place went beserk. (Just for the record, WE DIDN'T THROW ANYTHING AT HER, that was some other college.) So now we have a group, founded by my beloved Tanyel, that is trying to create a safe space for political dialogue of all shapes and sizes. And it was just starting to work. I was ashamed at the way we treated William Kristol and I felt two inches high because of the way that that pie belittled the college, serious attempts at discussion and the process of individual discernment that Earlham strives to foster in all of its students. It was dreadful and it won't be over for a long time. Next year they'll laugh at the incident during PC skits, but right now it isn't very funny.

But, I guess there's been dialogue. Things have exploded over on the Earlham LJ community and there's an all-student meeting tomorrow which I suspect will be packed.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Miami, no, the one in Ohio

Actually, the thing that most impressed me was just how many students there were in the library at 9:30 on a Monday night. That place was packed! I had to go up to the third floor to find a spare study carrel, bizarrely located in a huge room with scattered carrels while the place is under rennovation. I'm glad I went and the reading wasn't as horrific as I had expected. I was incredibly relieved to find two small booklets with my name on them at the Law and Government desk in the basement, just the way that the librarian had told me they would be. Now, that's customer service!

So, I've now read the 1991 hearings on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1990 hearings on the Convention to End all forms of Discrimination Against Women. Those are abbreviated ICCPR & CEDAW, respectively, so don't make me go over the long names again! What trends, you ask? I did my best to capsulate, since that is the entire purpose of the thesis, but aren't my notes to myself more amusing?

My favorites:
“Mr. Rotunda: I do not object to birth certificates. I object to the vagueness. (that one's straight from the testimony)”
"Dude, Jessie Helms has the Bricker Amendment stuck up his ass. Bricker Amendment, it’s what’s for dinner. (that's me)"

But, I continue to formulate my own (at least I hope they're my own) ideas about the long-term impact of the Bricker amendment on US foreign policy. And somehow I'll manage to write about the president in there somewhere.

The Queen of ILL!

Yes, that's me. The Queen of Interlibrary Loan. Woot. And a half.

I have ordered loads and loads of yummy Senate hearings for ingestion over the next week and a half. Yick. And I'm going to be soooo bored. Must continue to work on attention span. And I'll probably be driving to Miami University tonight after the ECMUN dinner to use some of the stuff that they have. Lovely library doesn't close until 4:00am and I don't have any morning classes tomorrow!

That's because my Senior Seminar is meeting with William Kristol, the neo-con behind The Weekly Standard. So, if you'll excuse me, I need to immerse myself in neo-conservative idology now....

Sunday, March 27, 2005

I told you....

...that I was making up the html code as I went along! Thanks to Ryan who discovered the un-working links, which should now work.

Speaking of Ryan, I watched this week's West Wing just now with my roommate. And can we talk about how much I LOVE Alan Alda? Ever since he hosted Scientific American Frontiers, I've been a fan. Does that comment exude dorkiness? Soooorry, in the words of a friend who may or may not have made it back from the UK alive. Still waiting to hear whether Kenneth has made it back to campus or not and waiting to see if he found any election stuff lying around for meeeeee!

Speaking of elections, let's acknowledge that, yes, I am bitter that the General will probably be announced next week and I won't be there for them. Now that that's out of the way, here are the top 10 reasons that I won't be voting Liberal Democrat in the general election:

1. I can't vote in the UK.
2. I can't vote in the UK.
3. I can't vote in the UK.
4. I can't vote in the UK.
5. I can't vote in the UK.
6. I can't vote in the UK.
7. I can't vote in the UK.
8. I can't vote in the UK.
9. I can't vote in the UK.
10. I can't vote in the UK.

Also, this: did you know that if you hold option+v on your mac, you get a square root symbol (or maybe its a checkmark)? Me neither. √

And finally, the weekend for the IUPUI law library was a bust. None of the Senate testimony that was supposed to be on the shelf was actually on the shelf. Granted, they've only just moved the whole library within the last year, but still! I would have been a whole lot more upset if the librarians hadn't tried really, really hard to help me find what I needed. Now I have to order through inter-library loan and hope that things get here in time for me to sleep next week as I try to finish the draft for April 7. Narf.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Hah, cheesecake!

I have now made two cheesecakes, something that I really, really didn't want to do, even though one had been requested over a week ago and I did promise one for the ECMUN dinner on Monday night. But still, after the utterly lazy day that I've had, I didn't want to make any cheesecake. Anyway, my tummy was nauteous from eating nothing substantial all day, except chocolate-covered expresso beans. But after forcing myself to eat real food and watching plenty of Buffy, things were better. I was so excited when Spike showed up!

So, this law school thing is scary. The idea and the things that I've been hearing about the first year are really intimidating and it starts to make me doubt my own abilities as a student. A student that works hard and does their reading, that is, I suppose. Anyway, if I don't, I'm going to get my ass kicked in a way it never has been kicked at Earlham. I've resolved to start briefing the cases for Con Law as a way to practice. Which will mean that I have to read more than the last paragraph right before class in order to take the quizzes. Also, I must be very focused at IUPUI tomorrow as I attempt to read lots and lots of Senate testimony! Now, there's a classy way to spend the weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I can't believe its Friday...

I guess today's the end of spring break, well, nearly. I thought I would be able to get soooo much done and I don't really feel like I have. I've loved hanging out with Jules, having the time to watch a movie or two, sleep some extra, etc. But the library only being open from 8-5 has made it really, really hard for me to work. I've got a bunch of "Foreign Relations of the United States" volumes sitting over there on the floor and I really should read the relevant sections before bed. Because my plan for tomorrow is to drive to Indy for the IUPUI law library. I'm just hoping that all of this comes into focus pretty soon, before I get utterly and completely bogged down in Senate hearings. Oh, dear. And I promised Roddy a cheesecake (well, sorta) and that's not happening right now. Le sigh.

I should save the angst for LiveJournal.

And the decisions are in...

Alright, I'm done with the law school letters. Dings (and isn't that a fantastic way to refer to rejections?) from Georgetown and NYU, accepted at American and IU. A 50% batting average isn't that bad, when you consider. I think I chose wisely. Quality state school back-up, the one where I really wanted to go and thought I had a pretty good chance of getting in and two reaches. Some people, it appears, applied to 30-some schools, which just sounds miserable, if you ask me.

So, it'll be American. And frankly, I'm really, really excited about that!

Watch out, Washington College of Law, here I come!

Unless, LSE does something crazy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Library, I think not!

Well, Jules and I were supposed to meet at Lilly Library (and what college in Indiana doesn't have a Lilly Library? We love you, Uncle Eli!) at 9:30 to pick up books & our food and go to Charlie's and, yeah, that hasn't happened at all. My alarm must have gone off as planned at 7:45 (stupid me) because I remember being confused as to how to make it shut up. So, I woke up again at 10:30, thought SHIT! and went back to sleep. Finally got up at 11, checked on Jules via IM and discovered that she hadn't left the dorm yet, either. Yeah!

    SO, plan for the day:
  • Now: get dressed

  • Next: make a nice lunch stir-fry

  • Then: drive (yes, I'm lazy) to Lilly to return Carter books, sort through more Presidential papers, retreive our food

  • After that: drive (yes, again, lazy) to the Wellness Center, change and use the elliptical for half an hour

  • Finally: go to Charlie's until late again to read, write and drink no coffee! (last night was just too jittery for my taste)

Camp Thesis is in full swing, here! Blech.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Worrying about my thesis

So, there was a moment when I sat down to read an article and realized that someone had already written on the topic that I thought was going to be my own. Immediate reaction? I very big "SHITE" in the margin, a word chosen specifically because I was in a room that was going to be filling up with high school students in the near future. And then I realized that I wasn't going to be writing to compare the arguements that Congress made against human rights treaties during the Bricker Amendment movement and more recently. Why? BECAUSE I'M SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING ABOUT THE PRESIDENCY.

On a side note, I found several mistakes in the article. Is it too late to write to Human Rights Quarterly to let them know? The article's only 16 years old....

Anyway, Jules and I had a lie down on the hideous couch at Charlie's coffeeshop to hash out my topic while staring at the ceiling. I knew that I was supposed to be writing on the presidency and had done too much research on the Bricker amendment to let all that slip by the wayside. So, we came up with this question: Is the possible abuse of presidential power still a concern for opponents of human rights treaties? If so, in what context are these arguements framed and how does that compare with the context of those arguements during the fight over the Bricker amendment? At the moment, I'm still struggling to come up with an "If not..." question.

I also managed to drink too much coffee tonight, which was making it a bit hard to type and stay focused. Tomorrow I should try to do some outlining of the new focus and start thinking about where I want to do this research. I anticipate much reading in the IUPUI law library toward the end of this week. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not at this point.