The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a “dry” campus. This means there is absolutely no alcohol allowed on campus, not even for those of legal drinking age. The process for obtaining a license for these beverages is a long and laborious process, and is not open to students regardless of age.
In practice, this rule, along with many others governing substance use, is ignored, laughed at, and spit upon. It is common to see drunken students, almost every one under the age of 21, stumble through buildings and into halls. When this is combined with the other rampant substance abuse here, it becomes a significant problem.
It is not my place to judge those who drink and do drugs. I have chosen not to, but this does not give the right to criticize. However, I do get this right when the lack of enforcement begins to interrupt my life. When suspect students attempt to sell me things from shoeboxes, when bottles are openly displayed, and when the smoke wafting around is clearly not that from cigarettes, I get a little angry.
I get a lot angry when the behavior isn’t stopped, and is seemingly encouraged. The campus “police” (and I use that term lightly) are nothing short of useless. They will not stop a clearly inebriated student and they do not care about reckless behavior. In fact, I have seen a campus officer pass a drunken student yelling at others and not give him a second glance.
The University should know better, and I deserve better. The are here to learn, not to be protected.
It is admittedly a mite depressing to consider that bands considered to be “up and coming” and the “the next big thing” are now working the county fair circuit. Whatever happened to aging gracefully?
However, when 90’s bands Tonic and the Gin Blossoms played the Waukesha county fair Saturday night, you’d be forgiven for thinking grunge was still in fashion and Gun’s and Roses still had members you’d recognize.
Opening the evening, promptly at 8:00, was Tonic. Best known for their mid decade hits “If You Could Only See,” “Open Up Your Eyes,” and “You Wanted More,” they’re currently touring in support of their greatest hits album. All things considered, the four piece wasn’t too bad. Lead singer Emerson Hart hasn’t lost the youthful exuberance in his voice, though for a rock star he was very content to be sedentary while performing. The set lasted about 50 minutes, just long enough for every song to begin to blend together but not long enough to be grating.
The real stars of the evening were the Gin Blossoms, taking the stage by about 9:20. Their onstage chemistry is obvious, and likely remains one of the stronger of touring performing acts. A band since the late eighties, the Gin Blossoms have had a consistent lineup since 1993, save for that pesky man behind the kit. Their current drummer, John Richardson, fits in well among the mainstays and knew the material very well.
The rest of the band, consisting of vocalist Robin Wilson, bassist Bill Lee, and guitarists Jesse Valenzuela and Scott Johnson, work as a seamless unit to create the unique sound the Gin Blossoms have become known for. Blending a mixture of country style guitar, pounding bass and exquisite vocals, the band seemed just as comfortable playing to a few hundred people as they did playing for a few thousand at Summerfest last July.
Their set consisted mostly of old favorites from their 1990’s era releases, mixed in with newer material that sounded just as good. The band chose to showcase some unreleased songs from their forthcoming album, which can be a risky proposition if the band isn’t confident in their material. However, this didn’t cause any issue and the crowd delighted in the energy behind the show.
All in all, the organizers behind the fair should be commended for their excellent choice for a Saturday night show. It was exactly what fair entertainment should be: fun, friendly, and familiar. Now if they can only get Alanis Morrissette for next year…
As a country, the greatest strength of the United States of America is not our government, our freedoms, or our convictions. It may not even be out military. Instead, the most significant thing America has done is develop an infrastructure vital to our survival: we can feed ourselves.
Picture: Miles and miles of repeating patterns. No humans. Few signs of civilization. Fields and fields… of corn.
My recent trip though the length of Iowa has me convinced: If circumstances should ever present themselves, the entire nation of the United States could likely be fed not only by Iowan corn but by the rest of our bountiful crops. According to the United States Census Bureau, as a nation we export more of nearly all reported crops than we import.
What does this mean for you? What does this mean for anyone? Realistically, it does not mean much. Our capitalist economic system thankfully prevents the forced acquisition of private goods (at least for now). So, even if these circumstances were to emerge, this fact wouldn’t really make a damn bit of difference.
The possibility that this doomsday scenario will ever be presented are likely astonishingly small. However, not many nations can make this claim. The very fact that we can feed ourselves places the US in an elite group.
And, as you know, any good news now is worth noting. And, at least in the opinion of this author, when things could be worse it’s always worth celebration.
A new, incredibly long, detailed, and hopefully interesting blog post will be coming soon. In the meantime, I'd like to offer my services as the new face of the GOP.
And if you think I'm joking, the current faces can't even nail Nancy Pelosi to the wall. Really, gentlemen?
I'm sure I'm not the only one that struggles to look past self importance. Stress, uncomfortable situations, and inability are always convenient excuses for any bitter feelings. It's far too easy to blame everything on anyone else.
As I stood, watching the meter fill and smelling the rain, I was happy. Sure, there were stressful situations waiting for me. Sure, the world remains as screwed up as it has ever been. And sure, for some reason people like the Jonas Brothers. None of that mattered.
I haven't any idea why I suddenly appreciated the simple things. Perhaps thinking about all that is wrong with the world made me realize all that is right. Maybe it's the coming of spring. Or maybe the chemicals in all the prepackaged food I eat are finally getting to me.
But that one, fleeting feeling made everything seem alright.
Twelve years of public education have taught me several lessons; some important and others not. The most important thing I've learned, however, is that often there is more to be gained from observation and absorbing knowledge than there is lecture and textbook.
Nowhere is this more true than in the halls of my current high school. Administrative policy, though well intentioned, always seems to think of money, convenience, and an inflated sense of grandeur before much else. For example, over the four years I have attended my school, I have grown to despise our block scheduling system. As a quick primer, block scheduling means that students have 4 classes per day, each lasting 90 minutes. Most studies done on the subject agree that the attention span for teenagers and people in their early twenties is between 15 and 25 minutes.
Oddly, this isn't what I have a problem with. Even if it was, the system is to engrained in our school to change anyway. What I have a problem with is far worse. In my time at the school, I have seen several instances of board members of different school districts touring ours. Leading this tour was a member of the administrative staff, laying out the positive effects of our schedule. When I inquired as to their reasoning for the visit, they said they were looking to adopt the block scheduling system.
It goes without saying that there are several problems here. A guided tour (1) of school board members (who don't have to deal with the schedule; 2) by a member of the administrative staff (3) who is touting the benefits of the system (4) while no one in the group asks for student input (5).
Observation will admittedly only get you so far, but it appears that it is adequate for this situation. I could expound upon smaller scale yet similar situations, but I shall refrain from doing so. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my school is certainly far better than others. I merely find it strange that while it's goal is to raise adults, it continues to treat them more like children.
For the 14th time in less than a year, Obama is on the cover of Time. Great. Every news organization known to man has someone stationed to cover the inauguration. Grand. It is estimated that the event will run at $150 million. Ok. Obama is prepared to sign a pork laden, $800 billion "stimulus" comprised of money we don't have. Alright. His nominees for his cabinet are being ferried through the Senate with few questions, and even fewer answers. Fine. Whatever. As problematic as this is, it's understandable that people are getting caught up in the frenzy.
Here's what's not acceptable: America's primary resource for information, the news media, is failing the american public once again. Supposed to be a government watchdog, it's become a government lapdog. Remember the lead up to the Iraq war? If the media had done it's job, it's possible the invasion never would have happened. Yet, instead, the media decided to service "public mood." A few years later, people on both sides of the spectrum cried foul, and we thought they learned a lesson.
Fat chance. If I were to write what I really felt about the situation, this blog would likely be pulled down. I suppose I can merely say this: the media is failing once again. To keep with "public mood," mainstream media is eating out of Obama's hand, then licking it clean. It's disgusting, pathetic, and an absolute abomination.
Accountability is everything. Who knows, Obama could end up as the savior everyone seems to want him to be. If no one questions him, however, the next four years will be nothing more than a repeat of the last eight. Blasphemy? Probably. But somebody's gotta say it.
1. The Sussex Sun, a publication of Living Lake Country, published a poorly researched story on military recruitment at Hamilton High School that I've previously alluded to.
2. The facts were fixed in the next issue, but only one side of the issue was represented.
3. Since then, various former students and staff have taken it upon themselves to write increasingly spiteful letters; which are
4. still being published each week.
I love a good debate, but let it go. Really. It's not relevant anymore, and only became an issue because of poor reporting. And, as no one seems to have noticed, the writers don't even go to Hamilton anymore. Why is their opinion worth publishing
Honestly, this is why I have trouble writing blogs. There's certainly not a shortage of things to comment on.
Frankly, I'm a little disappointed in the contents. Not about the comments or ideas expressed, I personally know and maintain an immense amount of respect for them. However, the way in which the content is expressed is, I feel, misleading. In my experience, the military recruiters were immensely respectful individuals, never pressuring students. What I'm most disappointed in is how the schools policies are misrepresented for political gain.
The United States military, to the irritation of certain people, is a necessary part of society. To not allow passive recruitment in high school is fear mongering. This policy was skewed in the same way that corporations or politicians extort loopholes: not for the good of society, but for overwhelming personal gain.
The complaints about military recruitment, as were used to ban them from the lunchroom, were a poorly veiled extension of personal criticism over the Iraq War.
The driving force behind this misguided policy also protested the collection of luxury items for military members. However, for lack of legitimate cover, it was instead decided that vandalism of posters and collection boxes was the proper way to handle it.
In short: Protest is fine. Objection is fine. But lying for personal gain? Not so much.
One day the market rises to unimaginable highs; the next it drops to levels not see in 5 years. In high school, students go through an immense range of emotions faster than most bank accounts are currently draining. One day, the sorrow you feels seems to be crushing. The next, previously unimaginable hope permeates, and it seems as if you are different people from one day to the next.
Whether you're the economy or a high school student, you never feel appreciated. A high school student wakes up early, suffers though classes, is given enough homework to kill 3 trees, and consistently told that "these are the best years of your life." The economy wakes, is treated with disdain by all those who depend on it, and then told to try again tomorrow. For both, it's seemingly a never ending cycle.
Is there a common cure? Indeed. All it takes is a little confidence. You want the student to succeed? Have faith in them. Don't despair them with talks of an uncertain future and tougher, expensive college courses to come. Instead, make them understand that they should appreciate now.
The same thing, I believe, applies to the economy. There's absolutely no faith in it, so we grasp for pseudo-socialism. Instead of bailouts, make companies take responsibility. Make the economy understand that it is needed, and that we will stop trying to exploit it.
But hey, it's just a suggestion. But the student can't afford to lose faith, and the economy can't afford to lose another $25 billion dollars. When you think about it, they're really one in the same.
Four years in office seems like a lot. In reality, it isn't. In general, it takes two years (give or take) for a new president to get a handle on the office. The next two will likely be dedicated to the reelection campaign. If that succeeds, the president has 3 years to do what was promised before the lame-duck status kicks in. Not the most efficient system in the world.
Does it have to stay this way? No. How about this proposition: 6 year terms for the executive office. Consider: President Bush didn't see his approval rating and public perception hit rock bottom until year 6 of his administration. It was only then that the country realized that his policies weren't what the country was looking for.
And, consider this: 1 term limit. If the president doesn't have to focus on keeping their job, they are more likely to focus on the most basic function of their job description: defending the constitution.
Just a thought.
Message: I'm sick of the party line. I'm sick of the under 30% approval rating that both the white house and the legislature hold. I'm sick of a ballooning national debt, a broken health care system, and two parties who believe the best thing to do is throw money a problem.
My generation is going to be stuck with the problems that the previous created. This isn't a new idea. What is new, however, is the world in which we inherit the problems left for us.
As we borrow more and more money from countries increasingly hostile toward us, I have to wonder: at what point will they just say "No. We won't lend you any more, because we think you can't pay it back." It's coming sooner than we think.
Instead of focusing on this coming storm, we worry about decidedly petty issues. Is Barack Obama socialist? Is McCain really McBush? The question we all should be asking is "who cares?"
"If you're not turned onto politics, politics will turn on you." Ralph Nader's words, somewhat ironically made famous by a Rage Against The Machine music video, ring far truer than any party line garbage being spewed right now.
Here's a few names for you: Bob Barr, Libertarian candidate, former House Representative from the state of Georgia. Chuck Baldwin, Constitution party candidate. Cynthia McKinney, Green party candidate. Heard of them? Most haven't. And can they be expected to, when the media is focused on what Marcia Brady said in her tell all biography? Certainly not.
The "Change We Need" isn't coming anytime soon. If anything, this is assured. "Change," however, is coming. It'll hit us like a bomb.
It's become relatively clear to those of us without their heads in the sand that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain deserves the office of President. Qualified? That's a different story. But the length that both men will go to achieve their goals is, frankly, disgusting.
I admire John McCain. I admired him more before the 2008 election cycle. Few remember this, but one of the reasons he didn't secure the nomination in 2000 is that he pulled negative advertising against George Bush. And, while I didn't agree with all his policies, he always was fair and didn't give a damn what anyone else thought about him. Not so much anymore.
Barack Obama is an enigma. Charismatic and exciting, he is an ignorant politician. However, I admired him for overcoming the seemingly inevitable Clinton campaign and his straight forward speaking during the primaries, regardless of how wrong I believe he is. Jump to current day: the only one spitting more talking points and stretched truths is Keith Olbermann or Bill O'Reilly.
In short, I'm amazed at what someone will do to secure an office. But I'm more amazed that the voting public swallows it.
It's only when complaining turns into bickering that it becomes a problem. And this takes roughly 3 1/2 seconds on the internet. Especially when clear, thoughtful ideas are overshadowed.
While candidates and supporters call for change and accuse the other of dirty tactics, it seems like they miss the overlying point. The thing that our society (somewhat ironically) bends over backwards to teach children: It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.
All of this matters very little. In the end, it is the very idea that one person is willing to question, determine, ask why.
Sometimes this happens in an immensely roundabout way. For example, I attended a high school football game. After about 10 minutes of small children screaming on the home side of the field, I walked over and sat with the visitors spectators. At this point, I merely wanted to enjoy the struggle between two teams. No thought was lent to the anything but the teams. My mind was hardly on the spectators.
But at life consistently works, I was surprised at the similarities between myself and the opposing spectators. The only real difference between them and I was which team we hoped would win. Every single one was a complex individual, with thoughts and feelings that they alone experienced.
This may seem like a fairly obvious fact. What human doesn't think and feel, hope and dream? All do, I would imagine. But the interesting part is this: when we oppose even one of their viewpoints, it makes it so much easier to dismiss every single part of their existence. The home team is completely willing to belittle and dismiss the opposing fans, who do likewise.
And yet, we are so like each other. High school students with complicated feelings, who only truly desire to be understood.
How this manifests itself in traded insults I have yet to discover. Why do we hide our faults from the ones in the best position to help?
It wasn't because it was the start of the Republican National Convention. Good guess, though. The buzz surrounding this event is immensely high, especially considering the spectacle that the Democratic National Convention was. I would have thought that the Republicans may have been a bit disenfranchised, considering the immense success of the DNC. Oh well, the RNC and the headliner Charlie Daniel's Band can stand up to anything, right?
It wasn't because of the discovery of Bristol Palin's pregnancy. While this may be huge fodder for the Democrats to bash VP hopeful Sarah Palin with, who really cares? Speaking as a teenager, these things happen. Even John McCain knows this, abstinence only education or not. Teens are stupid and impulsive, that's really all that can be said.
Monday was also the day Sarah Palin had to really defend herself, and I believe she did a hell of a job. However, that still isn't the reason that Monday has been the single greatest day in American politics in recent memory.
No, Monday marked the first point in this election cycle that the "bipartisan" or "working across the isle" that both candidates flout so much came to fruition. This is the first time that both Democrats and Republicans came together, albeit separately, to work for a cause. Republicans put aside the first day of their biggest event to campaign for the victims of Hurricane Gustav. Democrats put aside the ripe opportunity to remind Americans of the FEMA and George W Bush to act when Hurricane Katrina hit, and the opportunity to link John McCain to this travesty.
Now, why does this make it the finest day in American politics in recent memory? Because these politicians executed the very basic promise that, by default, they gave the voters: they would serve the public good, regardless. This doesn't happen often, and I'm sure we can hardly expect it again.
Now, constitutionally, the Vice President of the United States of America can do three things:
1. Preside over the United States Senate: Ever try watching C Span every day for hours on end? That's basically what the VP has to do here. Other than go through procedure and cast a tie-breaking vote if necessary, this isn't all that exciting. This job is normally delegated to a staff member far down on the totem pole.
2. Succeed the President: If the President dies, resigns, or is incapable of holding office, the Vice President takes over his duties. I must imagine this is very exciting for the VP. Especially if they get jurisdiction over the Nuclear button.
3. Be an agent of the President: The President can assign the VP duties. The VP has no executive power assigned by the constitution, so the VP acts as an "extension" of Presidential power.
With the formalities out of the way, lets look at the REAL jobs of the vice president:
1. Balance the ticket: Without a doubt, the most important job the VP has. How else will the Presidential candidate carry a critical demographic? Smile, nod, and laugh to complete this task.
2. Get the rubber stamp ready: Don't disagree with the big guy. If the VP wishes to maintain their position for re-election, don't disagree. Above all, don't say anything stupid, or make any negative press at all.
3.Train to do it again in 8 years:The Vice Presidency can be seen as a stepping stone to the presidency. However, this comes with a few catches. The president must be popular enough to ensure that people like you, too. This works in favor of some (see Al Gore) and against others (see Cheney).
What we've learned here today is that the VP can be as important to the election as the candidate themselves. Even if they're just window dressing.
- What I've Learned So Far (8)
- A Gin and Tonic for Me (1)
- Mediocre News For People Who Love Good News (9)
- Pick Me (2)
- Pause (2)
- loohcs (3)
- And so, we move on with our lives. (19)
- Biting the Hand That Feeds (3)
- Misrepresenting Military Recruitment (5)
- Broken Promises, 14 Days (7)
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