It’s worth reading this long and fascinating article on fraternities at The Atlantic.
The author spent lots of time looking into frats, the associated accidents, lawsuits and various forms of malfeasance (both official and unofficial) that characterize the dark side of frat life.
I have no personal experience with a college Greek system (no frats or sororities at Grinnell). I know one woman who swears her time in a sorority was the best part of her college experience. I know a man who is still closer to his fraternity brothers than his biological brothers. I also know people whose participation in the Greek system was personally devastating. I have several relatives who flunked or nearly flunked out of college because of the partying associated with the Greek system.
The article makes me glad Grinnell diidn’t have fraternities or sororites.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans have a new No. 1 problem. Nearly one in four Americans mention jobs and unemployment as the most important problem facing the country, up from 16% in January. The government and politicians had topped the list since the government shutdown in October.
For the moment at least, right-wing Republicans have stopped deliberately trying to plunge us into another Great Depression. Maybe we can do start doing something about the mess they created. Too bad Dems have given up trying to re-take the House of Representatives. Howard Dean wouldn’t have given up if he were still in charge.
Utah will soon be producing the dirtiest oil on Earth.
Think only Canadians need to worry about tar sands extraction? Think again.
In October, U.S. Oil Sands, Inc. joined Kentucky-based Arrakis Oil Recovery as the second company to receive a permit to produce U.S. tar sands. The Utah Water Quality Board gave U.S. Oil Sands a permit to extract 2,000 barrels of oil per day from Utah’s tar sands reserves.
Despite its name, U.S. Oil Sands is actually a Canadian outfit based in Calgary, Alberta. The company currently holds leases on just over 32,000 acres in Utah’s Uintah Basin. U.S. Oil Sands’ mining will take place at PR Spring on the …Bookcliffs, which straddles the Utah/Colorado border.
…A letter written by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining said, “It is expected that the mine will use 116 gallons of water per minute on a 24-hour basis, which equates to approximately 180 acre-feet per year” and that a production rate of 2,000 barrels of crude a day will consume approximately 4,000 barrels of water per day.
Peaceful Uprising is considering organizing a “spring break” grassroots protest of the Utah tar sands project this year.
Thomas Perkins is an 82-year-old venture capitalist worth an estimated $8 billion. He doesn’t like democracy. Unfortunately for us, people like him hold the balance of power in today’s America.
Asked for an idea that could “change the world” by FORTUNE’s Adam Lashinsky, Perkins told an audience at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Thursday that Americans shouldn’t be able to vote unless they pay taxes and that the wealthy should have more votes.
Perkins has houses in Belvedere, Marin County, California, and spends about two months a year at Plumpton Place, his Elizabethan mansion in East Sussex, England, which once belonged to the Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. In 2010 he purchased the penthouse atop the Millennium Tower on Mission Street in San Francisco’s financial district.
You may remember this guy from his WSJ letter to the editor that compared what he called the “progressive war on the American one percent” to the Nazi death camps under Adolf Hitler.
When I say that capitalism is antithetical to democracy, or that the 1 Percent are trying to parlay their plutonomy into a plutocracy, this is an example of what I mean.
While a major media news blackout provides cover, Congress is debating whether to give the president the authority to fast-track a massive free trade agreement, the secretly-negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Members of Congress haven’t even been able to read it even though corporate lobbyists have.
President Obama is at odds with Democrats in both houses of Congress concerning reauthorizing a procedure called the “trade promotion authority” (TPA), that would grant the White House power to submit free trade deals to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is strongly against it.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has now publicly opposed giving President Obama fast track authority.
“We need transparency. We need a seat at the table to understand what they believe they are doing, so we can make it better. And if we don’t make it better, then we will not accept a path that is a job loser.”
TPP is part of the plan for global corporatocracy run by and for the 1 Percent. Unelected lobbyists and trade representatives are at the table, while representatives from the public at large and businesses other than huge monopolies, are conspicuously absent. From what little we know of the agreement, it would violate the U.S. Constitution, weaken environmental protections, and lead to more job losses, erosion of wages, and worsening inequality. TPP also threatens freedom of speech on the Internet because it would extend restrictive intellectual property laws and rewrite international rules on enforcement.
Grinnell College gets a reference in NY Times today:
School traditions might also indicate where you belong. Take Colgate University and Grinnell College, two rural liberal arts colleges on pretty campuses that accept students with similar SAT scores and grades. Colgate students begin and end their college careers with a torchlight procession to a bonfire where they sing the school song. A big tradition at Grinnell is the annual Mary B. James cross-dressing ball. It should be no surprise that Colgate is beloved by preppy scholar-athletes while Grinnell is a haven for hipsters who discuss Derrida into the wee hours.
My impression of Grinnell students is that we are way more hippie than hipster, but okay.
On a related, albeit tangential topic, Grinnell alums recently started a facebook group that has been fascinating for the glimpses it provided into life now of Grinnell alums and life then. Read the rest of this entry »
You can view the view here on BYU Idaho’s student life youtube channel (most places you try to embed or play it, you get the message it’s been removed due to copyright claims by BYU Idaho).
The video was widely mocked online.
This morning, The Deseret News published an article discussing the video (which is why I included the “maybe” in my headline):
Time.com tried to clear up the misperception that the video was a “war on masturbation” by publishing a lengthy Q&A with BYU-Idaho President Kim Clark on Thursday. The piece includes a long description of LDS doctrine.
“Neither my talk nor the video has anything to do with masturbation,” Clark said. “There’s nothing in the video or in my talk about that. We were really focused on addictions, pornography, things that are really damaging spiritually to people.”
Between Clark’s “church voice” commentary, the imagery and the apparent anti-masturbation message, the video plays into widely held perceptions of Mormons as painfully earnest, prudish and a bit naive. Of course it went viral. It reinforces cultural stereotypes about Mormons and Mormonism. The serious tone, the painfully earnest church voice commentary by Clark, the obsession with sexuality, even the clearly well meaning purpose of the video plays into stereotypes of Mormons. It’s all there.
It’s also another example of the cultual chasm between the culture of the faithful in the Mormon corridor and the rest of America.
I’ll turn the floor over to the cult of Dusty so he can offer insightful and foul-mouthed commentary:
America isn’t the only place with diversity, but we have one guy who cares about it, and makes US safer.
It doesn’t matter how many times I watch these videos, I keep seeing new people who showed up to promote joy.
In chronological order:
Try to watch these wonderful videos in the best resolution you can. If you live in America? Good luck with that. We have some of the worst internet services in the world.
The tweets reposted by John Aravosis were by turns horrifying and hysterical.
This article by Katie Baker includes what may be one of the best one-liners of the week:
(A quick side note on the sphinxlike front desk clerks, by the way: I am legitimately infatuated with their unparalleled ability to deliver bad news.)
The horror stories have reached what Baker describes as the Tyson Zone – basically that point at which you mention a celebrity name and some legitimately insane behavior and everyone believes it without question. My favorite horror story:
Stacy St. Clair had no water in her room and was told by a receptionist to avoid it even if restored: “Do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous.”
Once the actual games begin, I’m betting we’ll stop hearing these tales of woe. The big story will eventually be the shortage of condoms at the Olympic Village. But for now, funny stories of hotels falling apart and being constructed at the same time are highly entertaining. On a serious note, I hope no one is executed by an angry Vladimir Putin.