Archive for November, 2006

Jackson may concede to will of Daily Trojan staff

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Just got a brief e-mail from a staff member about a meeting with Dr. Jackson that took place earlier today. He writes:

Long story short, write in campaign for Fox will commence tomorrow and Jackson says he won’t reject the nomination a second time, provided Fox is open to a discussion and gradual implementation of any ideas, with the consent of the Media Board.

Stay tuned for a fuller account later.

Initially, at least, this reported change of heart by Dr. Jackson raises the question of why a second election is necessary, and indeed, why the result of the second election should be respected if, hypothetically, Fox doesn’t get enough write-in votes to win it. The will of the Daily Trojan staff was clearly expressed once — why the need for a revote? If Dr. Jackson is willing to do the right thing and recognize Fox, why not cancel tomorrow afternoon’s charade and just recognize him?

But in any event, this sounds like progress… or rather, like furious backpedaling by the administration, stung by all the negative attention it’s been (quite justifiably and predictably) getting for this. I hadn’t noticed until a few hours ago, but the AP has picked up on the story, so in addition to numerous angry letters from students, alumni, faculty and parents, the administration is getting tons of bad press, too. And we all know how much USC loves bad press. I wonder if Dr. Jackson got orders from a higher authority to change his tune? Hmm…

Anyway, stay tuned. I’m going to bed now, but I’ll definitely update this story in the morning. I’ll also link to the Harvard Crimson article, assuming it went forward. Oh, and by the way, the revote is scheduled for noon PST (that’s 3pm EST) tomorrow. (Here again is the Facebook event.) If any DT staffers are reading this: Re-re-elect Zach!

P.S. Anyone with information, please send updates to bloy [at] nd.edu!

Quote of the day

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

“I USED TO BE BI-CURIOUS, but now I’ve just gone all the way to becoming ‘bi’.” —Glenn Reynolds

Does Dr. Helen know? Heh.

Dan Monson resigns as Minnesota coach

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Just seven games into the season, Minnesota coach Dan Monson has resigned. The Gophers are 2-5, and lost at home to Clemson yesterday, 90-68.

Monson was the head coach at Gonzaga from 1997-1999. In ’99, he led the Zags to their first NCAA Tournament win — over Minnesota, oddly enough — and a Cinderella run to the Elite Eight. He then left for Minnesota, and his former assistant Mark Few took over. Few has been Gonzaga’s coach ever since.

They’re talking about Monson’s departure from Minnesota over on the Gonzaga message boards.

Speaking of the Zags, they’re leading 37-29 at halftime over Portland State.

UPDATE: Zags win. But man, you know you’re playing a weak opponent when the lead paragraph in the article about an 18-point victory is:

Gonzaga was held 13 points below its average, shot just 41 percent and was nearly outrebounded for the first time this season.

Seriously, that’s the whole first paragraph. Only in the second graf do we learn that the Zags won the game! Heh.

It really was a subpar performance, though, apparently. Said star Josh Heytvelt: “You are always happy to get a win. But there are always things to work on after a game like this. Even in warmups some guys had a dead look in their eyes.” Coach Few added: “I don’t think we ever felt that comfortable with any facet of that game on either side, offense or defense.” La Rev puts it even more bluntly: “Raise your hand if you remember a sloppier and crappier Zag game. … That sucked kind of bad. The first two minutes were about as exciting, face paced, and smooth as you’ll see. The next 38 were the worst. On almost every level. Seriously, it sucked.”

Regardless, Gonzaga’s home winning streak is now at a rather astounding 44 consecutive games.

Greg Rauen wins Senate Contest

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

It’s official: Notre Dame 3L Greg Rauen has edged out Patrick Cullen in the BrendanLoy.com Senate Contest — by a margin of 227 votes for Joe Lieberman in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Secretary of the State’s official canvass of vote was completed yesterday, and the final results are now online. They show no major changes from a week ago: Joe Lieberman beat Ned Lamont by 113,251 votes out of 1,134,780 cast — a percentage margin of 9.979996123% (or, rounded off, 9.98%).

In the BrendanLoy.com contest, Rauen predicted that Lieberman would win by 8%; Cullen said he’d win by 12%. Rauen was thus ever-so-slightly closer to the correct margin than Cullen. Because they both predicted a nationwide Democratic net gain of six seats, and both correctly picked all eleven closely contested states (the “first tiebreaker”), the race was decided by the “second tiebreaker” — Lieberman’s margin over Lamont.

A margin of 113,478 votes would have been exactly 10 percent, splitting the difference between Rauen’s and Cullen’s predictions (and causing the race to come down to the “third tiebreaker,” Rauen’s more accurate prediction of Alan Schlesinger’s percentage total). Lieberman’s actual margin, 113,251, was 227 votes less than that. This means a shift of 114 voters from Lamont to Lieberman would have thrown the BrendanLoy.com contest to Cullen.

Anyway, congrats to Greg on his victory! Full standings can be seen here.

Cullen is still alive in the BrendanLoy.com House Contest, which remains undecided pending two remaining undecided races: Texas’s 23rd District, where the Republican incumbent faces a runoff on December 12, and Florida’s 13th District, where the Republican incumbent apparently won by 0.16% but his Democratic opponent has the challenged the result in court due to possible voting-machine error. If the Republican candidates ultimately win both races, Cullen will win the contest. If the Democrat wins either or both, Tony Badger will win.

Who goes to Pasadena?

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Could the Rose Bowl be Notre Dame vs. LSU?

Another Putin critic poisoned?

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Hot on the heels of Alexander Litvinenko‘s death by radiation poisoning, former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar, described as “one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s softer critics,” has apparently been poisoned, too:

“This was an unnatural poisoning. The doctors can’t say what the substance is yet. We are expecting an official diagnosis at the beginning of next week,” [Gaidar’s spokesman] Valery Natarov said. …

[Gaidar’s daughter] told the Kommersant daily that, based on her conversations with doctors, she expected the diagnosis to point to “a poison unknown to civilian medicine.” …

President Vladimir Putin telephoned Gaidar on Thursday and expressed his concern for his health, Natarov said.

I’m just sure.

“Impudent and perfunctory”

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

After the jump, yet another outraged letter about the Zach Fox affair — this one from Dane, a.k.a. dcl, to Peter Starr, Dean of the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

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What’s in your guacamole?

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Probably not as much avacado as you think. (Hat tip: LA Observed.)

Harvard Crimson seeking DTers for Zach Fox story

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Just got this message on my Facebook page:

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Outrage, outrage everywhere!

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

The Daily Trojan today, in its final issue of the semester (which will thus be around for several weeks, including during any on-campus festivities in advance of the UCLA game in Pasadena this weekend), published a slew of the letters to the editor lambasting Dr. Jackson and sticking up for Zach Fox as the paper’s duly elected editor-in-chief. To my mild surprise, my letter was among those published, and so far as I can tell, they didn’t edit a word. Nice. :) You can read all of the letters on one page here.

The front page (PDF) also has a news article about the situation (albeit with an unfortunate headline; who outside the newsroom knows what an “EIC” is? How about “Editor’s firing provokes outrage”? Oh, well). Excerpt:

USC students and faculty and student journalists around the nation expressed concern and shock Wednesday after the administration said it would block the Daily Trojan’s editor in chief-elect from taking office. …

“It just seems to me it tromps all over the reason for having a student newspaper in the first place,” said John Kotler, professor of media law at the Annenberg School of Journalism.

“How can you have a student voice with the students being throttled by the administration? The (faculty) I’ve spoken with are outraged.” …

Kotler said he and other faculty members have asked Michael Parks, director of the School of Journalism, to put the issue on the faculty meeting agenda Monday. …

Editors at several college newspapers said complete independence from their universities’ administration is vital to their integrity.

William Marra, president of the Harvard Crimson, said editorial and financial independence from the university “is central to our ability to develop our mission.”

Marra said his newspaper’s mission, “to inform Harvard University and the Cambridge, (Mass.) community of what is going on,” would be compromised if the administration could decide its editors.

“It has a chilling effect on the reporting on the administration,” he said. “You’ll be less likely to investigate as thoroughly as a college paper has to. You can’t be beholden to anyone – coverage can lose its integrity.”

Indeed.

UPDATE: From a comment on my previous post by a “dt staffer” comes this bombshell:

DT staff are currently considering breaking away from campus — the office is nice but nothing to stick around under such duress for. but moving off campus to an independent model would require an incredibly sketchy start-up process and, more importantly, tens of thousands of dollars of risk on the part of college students who don’t have a penny to spare. it’s not off the table but is seen as an option of last resort — something the DT can’t start doing tomorrow.

UPDATE 2: Here’s a blog post by “frenchbraider,” apparently a.k.a. News Writer Diya Chacko:

The last issue of the Daily Trojan for this year is going to be epic. We are not going to put up with any administrative sh*t. Steal our ad money and then fire our elected editor-in-chief?? I think NOT. We are STUDENT-RUN precisely in order to avoid dumbf**k bureaucratic politics.

Presumably the “steal our money” line is a reference to something that “dt staffer” mentioned in the above-linked comment:

off-the-record conversations with top-level administrators have revealed that the DT subsidizes other, less successful publications to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars per year. that is advertising revenue brought in by the DT product that is fanned out to other publications which can’t support themselves in order to keep them running. clearly, student affairs — under which student publications runs — has a clear incentive to keep the budget out of students’ hands permanently. delegating all this to a task force is just a way of waiting out this tide of staffers until fox’s would-be revolution is over.

I can’t corroborate any of that, but it would explain a lot.

Meow, meow for old Notre Dame

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Kristin correctly notes that there has been a distinct lack of catblogging lately. Unfortunately, I don’t have any recent adorable cat photos to share (which is due to my own photographic laziness, not any decline in the cats’ adorableness, I assure you). Luckily, Becca’s got adorable cat photos, so I’m off the hook. :)

UPDATE: Hey, wait a minute, I just remembered… I did take a rather cute picture of Sasha lying on my Notre Dame blanket the other day:

Awww. So, there you go. Another reader request granted! And now, for my next trick, I fulfill Kristin’s request for a post about Gonzaga football… :)

UPDATE 2: Here’s another one! I can’t believe I didn’t publish this while my parents were visiting… it’s my dad and Butter:

LOL!

P.S. For more adorable cat photos, check out the always entertaining stuffonmycat.com (motto: “stuff + cats = awesome”).

Another disgusted alum tells USC what’s what

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

USC Class of ’04 alum Craig Stern and I weren’t always on the same side of the political spectrum back when we wrote opinion columns for the Daily Trojan, but we’re on the same side of the Zach Fox scandal. Craig’s letter to Dr. Jackson is after the jump.

And remember, kids: you, too, can lambaste the USC administration for its arrogant, tyrannical behavior! The relevant e-mail addresses are: mjackson@usc.edu (Michael Jackson, Vice President of Student Affairs); lswhite@usc.edu (Lori White, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs): cravens@usc.edu (Mona Cravens, Director of Student Publications); mparks@usc.edu (Michael Parks, Director of the Annenberg School of Journalism), lpryor@usc.edu (Larry Pryor, Professor of Journalism and, like all the aforementioned people, member of the Media Board); and of course presofc@usc.edu (Steven Sample, President of USC).

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University of Second Choice? Not anymore.

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

USC is a better school than UCLA. Thank you, that will be all.

Radiation in the skies

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

A new twist in the poisoned-spy case:

Passengers have been asked to come forward after radiation traces were found on two [British Airways] planes linked to the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

The BA 767 planes operate on routes within Europe and up to 800 passengers on four flights may have been affected.

And there’s a Brendansphere connection! Andrew Leyden, a.k.a. PenguinSix, writes: “Actually my buddies were on one of those flights. They are on the phone to BA right now.” (Andrew’s blog is here.)

Thankfully, “British Airways said they had been advised the risk to public health is low.”

Winter storm watch issued

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Hopefully they’ll have the heat back on in time for this:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORTHERN INDIANA
408 PM EST WED NOV 29 2006

…A WINTER STORM IS EXPECTED TO INTENSIFY OVER THE MIDWEST…

.MUCH COLDER AIR WILL POUR INTO THE REGION LATE THURSDAY AND THURSDAY NIGHT…SETTING THE STAGE FOR A WINTRY MIX OVERNIGHT THURSDAY AND THROUGH THE DAY FRIDAY. A LOW PRESSURE AREA WILL RACE NORTHEAST FROM EASTERN ARKANSAS THURSDAY EVENING TO NORTHERN OHIO BY MIDDAY FRIDAY. RAIN WILL CHANGE TO SNOW FROM NORTHWEST TO SOUTHEAST. SNOW MAY BE ACCOMPANIED BY SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN. SNOW MAY BE HEAVY AT TIMES FRIDAY…ESPECIALLY NORTHWEST OF A LINE FROM MONTICELLO TO THREE RIVERS WHERE TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATION MAY EXCEED 6 INCHES.

. . . THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORTHERN INDIANA HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON.

A WINTRY MIX OF SLEET…FREEZING RAIN AND SNOW IS LIKELY THURSDAY NIGHT. PRECIPITATION WILL CHANGE TO ALL SNOW FRIDAY WITH TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATION IN EXCESS OF 6 INCHES POSSIBLE.

The honeymoon is over, people!