Archive for April, 2003

The Gold Standard

Friday, April 25th, 2003 | Matt Goldberg
Bernell Dorrough

Two-thousand and three will be much like 2002 and 2001 and 2000: Jack Nicholson will rejoice courtside, Shaq will compose another hilarious rap song, Mark Madsen will once again give dancing a bad name, and all the LA-haters will moan in disgust. I ask, who will dethrone the undisputed kings of the NBA?

That’s right basketball fans, the NBA playoffs are upon us and that means another opportunity for Shaq and Kobe to school the rest of the NBA. It is just the way things are.

Kevin Garnett cannot pour in enough points to derail the championship express. Dirk Nowitzki cannot drain enough threes to send the venerable boys from the city of Angels home. Mike Bibby cannot launch enough clutch shots to end the four-peat hopes. Tim Duncan cannot bottle Shaq up enough inside to end the Lakers dynasty.

I know people are writing off the 2002-03 edition of the Lakers as unmotivated and apathetic. While the Lakers showed about as much effort as the Bengals in the first half of the season, lollygagging their way through the schedule, they cranked up the intensity down the stretch. They only play when it counts. Shaq’s big toe can only take so much pounding and Kobe needs time to strut around Los Angeles. Besides, winning the championship as a fifth seed is a challenge, a challenge that the Lakers are more than ready to take on.

I know pundits are predicting an early exit for Phil Jackson’s squad of ballers. Yet, who is going to stop Shaq? No one. No center can bang pound for pound with Shaq Daddy. He is a monster, 7’1” and 338 pounds-a freak of nature.

Who is going to stop Kobe? Not a soul. No guard can stick with Kobe. The only thing that ever stops Kobe is Kobe himself.

Who can out coach Phil Jackson? Not anyone I have seen. The Zen master is a natural motivator who can get the most out of his players in the playoffs.

Some have argued that Kobe and Shaq do not have the supporting cast they have had in years past. To some extent these critics are on target. Rick Fox, the pretty boy married to Vanessa Williams, is not as productive as he once was, only averaging a measly 9.0 points per game. Devean George, Samaki Walker and Robert Horry are not exactly a fearsome trio, only averaging 17.8 per game between them.

While the reserves are putting up bricks, Shaq and Kobe are shooting the ball extremely well. Shaq averaged 27.5 points per game in the regular season and Kobe threw down an impressive 30 points per game. Sure, if the Lakers get into a foul-shooting contest, odds are they will not win. Sure, if the Lakers get into foul trouble their prospects are not so bright.

However, the Lakers always find a way to win. Always. Remember Robert Horry’s three at the buzzer against the Kings last year? Remember the Lakers’ improbable comeback against the Trailblazers in game seven of the 2000 conference finals?

I might sound just a bit arrogant, but hey, who has beaten the Los Angeles Lakers when it counts? Not the Sacramento Kings. Not the San Antonio Spurs. Not the Dallas Mavericks. And certainly no one from the Eastern Conference.

I hate Los Angeles. I hate the Dodgers. Yet, the Lakers, at least in my opinion, are hard to hate. They may win, but they win in style. They may talk trash, but it is highly entertaining.

This may not be the best Lakers team of their four-year run, but no one else can beat them when it counts. Until Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James finds his stride, until Shaq and Kobe get tired of playing with each other, until Phil Jackson decides to step aside, the Lakers will keep winning. The Lakers will keep impressing. Let Lakertime roll on.

Doubleheader sweep

Friday, April 25th, 2003 | Joe Ciolli with bearsports

Dominant pitching was once again the story this past Wednesday as Washington University handled Maryville University in a double-header. Ranked 25th in the nation and likely to move up, the Bears moved their best-ever record to 28-5.

In the first game, Victoria Ramsey tossed a complete game shutout as the Bears cruised to a 3-0 victory. Allowing only three hits and striking out three, Ramsey improved her pitching record to 13-2 and dropped her earned run average to 0.97.

Catcher Jackie Burgdorf led the way offensively, going 3-for-4 with one RBI. Designated hitter Amanda Roberts also carried part of the load, putting up two hits, one RBI and one run scored. The Bears offense was aided by four Maryville errors, including one that put WU’s first run on base.

In the second game, the Bears exploded offensively as first baseman Liz Swary improved her team-leading batting average to .505, going 4-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored. Among Swary’s hits were her sixth home run of the year and two doubles. Combining for 18 total hits, a season high, WU also got two hits apiece from second baseman Dionna Little (2-for-3, 1 RBI), left fielder Ashley Gaia (2-for-3), shortstop Monica Hanono (2-for-5), Roberts (2-for-5, 2 RBI), and third baseman Kristin Harrer (2-for-3).

On the pitching side, Lori Fehlker improved her record to 6-1. In five innings thrown, she only gave up five hits and one run while striking out four. After turning in this performance, Fehlker’s earned run average dropped to an impressive 0.65. Ashley Johnson came in for the last two innings and was able to hold Maryville to one hit.

With only two more weekends of games to play, the Bears will look to extend their ten-game winning streak even further. Friday, the girls will travel to Greenville College for a double-header. The Bears shouldn’t have a problem beating Greenville, who has a dismal 7-19 record on the season.

On Saturday, the team will take a trip to Bloomington, Ill. to face Illinois Wesleyan University in their first game. Illinois Wesleyan also boasts a 28-5 record and is 10-1 at home. Later in the day, WU will conclude its conference schedule against the University of Chicago (16-7). With second place in the UAA already wrapped up, the Bears will look to improve their conference record to 7-2.

WU looks to defend home turf

Friday, April 25th, 2003 | Lesley McCullough
Pam Buzzetta

As the semester winds down for the majority of students on campus, regular season schedules are coming to a close. However, the focus of the Washington University men’s tennis team’s season schedule is just beginning. This weekend they will attempt to not only extend their current six-match winning streak, but more importantly compete for the University Athletic Association Conference title when they host the tournament in St. Louis. Matches will be played at the Tao Tennis Center on the WU campus as well as the Dwight Davis Courts in Forrest Park. Emory University sits atop the conference ranking at No. 1 while WU is on the opposite side of the draw after securing the No. 2 seed. Rochester and Brandeis round out the top four seeds of the eight-team tournament.

The Bears (10-4) would love the opportunity to face Emory in the finals and avenge an earlier 5-2 loss in Atlanta on Feb. 28.

“I think our goal is for everybody to compete as hard and as smart as they can to give us the best chance to take home our first conference title,” said senior David Genovese. “That’s all we can do, if we do that and they still beat us, then they deserve to win.”

Senior co-captain Michael Thompson added, “We need to go out and fight hard against Emory, and make them realize that they can’t just walk in and beat us anymore. They will have to fight and earn the win.”

The Bears are hoping that their current winning momentum will carry them through the weekend in preparation for the national tournament that will begin in May. WU’s last loss, an extremely close 4-3 match, was recorded on Apr. 1, when they nearly knocked off the defending national champion Williams College. Since then, the rest of April has been full of success for the men’s team, and all of it taking place on their home courts.

On Apr. 4, WU recorded a decisive 6-1 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a 5-2 win over Wittenberg University the following day. Then a week later, on Apr. 12, the Bears hosted fellow UAA member New York University and sent them home with a loss, a 7-0 sweep. On Apr. 17, they recorded an exhibition win over Vincennes University. Then, to finish out the regular season and establish three consecutive match sweeps, the Bears took on Principia College this past Monday, Apr. 21, a 7-0 win, followed by McKendree College on Tuesday in a 9-0 effort.

“We’ve played some teams lately that don’t have enough depth to really compete with us,” Genovese said. “For the most part we have been using the past couple of weeks to prepare for conference, which in turn will get us ready for nationals.”

Freshman Ari Rosenthal noted his theory on the team’s recent success when he said, “Things have been going very well the past few weeks. The atmosphere at practice has been very positive, and I think that the positive attitude has helped us perform better in our matches. Most of the guys have been gaining confidence as the season has pressed on, and I think that has helped us with our wins.”

One of those players in particular is freshman Neil Kenner, who in recent weeks has swapped roster positions with junior Brian Alvo. Kenner has dropped only one set in his last five matches while playing at the No. 1 position, to extend his singles season record to 15-2. Alvo in turn has had tremendous success at No. 2 as well.

Genovese commented on the contribution of this year’s freshmen when he said, “Our freshmen class is obviously very talented, and I think they will continue to improve. What’s so great about them is their work ethic and the enthusiasm they show for tennis. They make us all want to work harder. They make me want to be a freshman again.”

Rosenthal shared his thoughts on this weekend’s conference tournament when he said, “I think that individuals on the team have progressed at various times, but we haven’t been able to all play our ‘A’ game at the same time. Hopefully we can this weekend. We need to enjoy ourselves more. I think sometimes we can get caught up in the bigness of the competition and forget how to have fun out there.”

Hopefully Coach Roger Follmer will continue to guide his players to excellence as he has done all season. and secure WU’s first conference title in route to an even bigger title at the end of nationals.

Athletes show they care

Friday, April 25th, 2003 | Renee Hires
courtesy of Nicole Wylie

Through Washington University’s “Bears and Cubs” program, a diverse group of varsity athletes from the shortest soccer or softball players to the tallest basketball or volleyball players have become role models worth looking up to. In addition to being student-athletes, those involved in Bears and Cubs tutor, mentor and inspire, as well as have fun alongside dozens of local children.

The program originated a few years ago when a group of former fall sport athletes decided to use their extra time during the off-season for volunteering. Several seniors on the men’s soccer team were the most involved in developing the program. Last year, Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities, T.J. Shelton became an advisor for the program, and this year sophomore Nichole Wylie has taken over the organizational responsibilities left by the soccer players who graduated.

“The center was started to keep kids off the streets,” Wylie said. “A lot of their parents work until six or so, but they care about their kids. This is a safe place for them.”

Normally, a handful of Bears meet every weekday at 4 p.m. to go to the Make a Difference Center. The MADC, located in University City, is an after-school center open to children in the community who attend kindergarten through eighth grade.

“I feel like I was one of those kids back in the day growing up in Dallas,” senior Chris Jeffries said. “I know I had a handful of options. Those kids are at the same crossroads. Somebody came and helped me when I was their age, so now it’s my time. I think I could help influence them to take the right path.”

When the kids first get to the center after school they work on any homework they may have. But when the Bears open the doors and walk in, the kids close their books.

The children’s excitement is obvious when “their heads just shoot up and they smile,” Wylie said.

“When you come through the door its like, ‘Hey Mr. Chris. How you doing? Let me go get the chess board real quick,'” Jeffries added.

If the weather keeps them inside, they often play board games, research on-line in the computer lab, read a book from the library, or just run around.

“Well, we’re not supposed to run in there, but it happens,” Wylie admitted.

When weather permits, the athletes join the kids in basketball, football, four square, or playing on the jungle gym.

“It’s a very nicely equipped facility,” Wylie said. “The kids are what make it worthwhile.”

A main focus of the program is showing the children that they can succeed.

“They are some of the most incredible, cutest kids,” sophomore Mike George said. “They are all kids who go to school. They have all made a choice that they want to be here. These kids are going to succeed. These are kids that are going to do something, and that’s cool.”

As part of the program, the student-athletes implore the children to consider the importance of a college education.

“Some kids, they may not think college is an option until we show up and show them it is,” Jeffries said. “We show them you can do whatever you want to do.”

“We’re varsity athletes in college and they know it,” George added. “It’s cool that we play sports because a lot of them want to play sports too. But they also realize that we’re getting an education to go somewhere.”

From time to time, the Bears and Cubs go places other than the MADC. Last spring the group headed to the Upper Limits indoor rock climbing facility.

“We brought a bunch of candy bars to tape all over the wall to have the kids climb for,” Wylie said. “I had a blast just watching the kids get riled up and climb over each other, scurrying up the wall to go get a candy bar.”

“Afterwards, all the older kids had gotten the candy bars because they were stronger, faster. But then, they would share with the little kids even though they weren’t being told to share. That just made me happy. You don’t see that with kids all the time.”

Bears and Cubs has organized several other special events in the past by having a tie-dyeing day once and by inviting the kids to WU basketball games one evening. Still, the athletes have planned bigger and better events to come, including a showcase of the childrens’ talents on main campus.

“Next year we want to be more actively involved,” Wylie said. “We are hosting the kids to come here to do a benefit concert, a gospel and jazz extravaganza.”

Many of the children are very talented and are involved with step teams or gospel choirs. The Bears would like to see them perform in Graham Chapel this coming September.

Another positive aspect of Bears and Cubs, according to the athletes, is that they have just as much fun as the kids, if not more.

“I’m actually really disappointed that during football I can’t go more often,” George said.

Junior Meghan Forgy concurs, as she finds it difficult to be involved as much as she would like.

“Varsity athletes just have such limited time to give.” Forgy said. “Bears and Cubs is a set way for us to give back using both our influences as students and as athletes. Its nice to have one thing you can do because you are an athlete.”

Due to their experiences as student-athletes, the Bears are well suited for the job.

“When we talk to the kids, the emphasis is really on them and on them preparing themselves for the future,” George said. “That means staying in school, doing their homework, staying on track, and being goal oriented. What works is that athletes are often naturally born leaders. They’re already good at interaction, balancing priorities, time management and goal setting. These are the things that we are trying to show the kids, and I think that athletes do a great job of it.”

Lachrisa Crenshaw, the Program Director at the MADC, said the kids’ attendance increases when the Bears come to the site. Also, when the children are going to the center more regularly their grades improve because they are motivated to get their homework done before the athletes arrive.

“The program itself is incredible, but we can always use more dedicated people,” George said. “Even though what we do is just a part of how that place runs, the more we can do, the better it will be for these kids’ futures.

“I would like to think that we make a profound impact on the kids because I know that they make one on me.”

Bears ready for UAA Championship

Friday, April 25th, 2003 | Joe Ciolli
Pam Buzzetta

It’s a widely accepted belief that Division I schools attract the best athletes. Armed with full scholarships, these people don’t expect athletes from Division III schools like Washington University to put up much of a fight.

Going into last weekend’s Kansas Relays, which drew top regional athletes from all levels, senior jumper Elizabeth Stoll was ready to dispel these myths.

Finishing seventh out of 27 in the high jump and finishing ahead of ten Division I athletes, Stoll solidified her spot amongst the region’s elite high jumpers. Stoll, the holder of the nation’s top Division III high jump, appears to be coming on just at the right time.

“The competition at the Kansas Relays was outstanding,” said Stoll. “We were competing against Division I schools – schools with athletes that go to Division I nationals and are attending school on full track scholarships. There were very few schools that were there that were not Division I. To run and jump against this type of competition is great.”

In addition to Stoll’s impressive performance, sophomore Maggie Grabow also posted a strong finish, taking fourth out of 16 in the 5000 meter run. Having already automatically qualified for nationals, Grabow used this meet as an opportunity to prove herself at the regional level. Grabow also looks to challenge for a nationals spot in the 10 kilometer race.

The Bears also received notable finishes from senior Brooke Lane (seventh out of 16 in the 5000 meter) and the women’s distance medley team (fifth out of nine).

On the men’s side, junior Matt Hoelle turned in a gutsy 15th place finish in the 5000 meter run.

Two weekends ago, the Bears faced more familiar competition at Southern Illinois-Edwardville’s Cougar Classic. Once again, Stoll and junior All-American long jumper Kammie Holt were in usual form, finishing first in their respective jumping events.

Particularly impressive at the Cougar Classic were the women’s long jumpers, who filled up the top four spots.

“They looked good and I think they’ve got some confidence,” said coach Steve Rubin. “The conference results will tell the story.”

For the men, the bad news of the day came when nationally-qualified pole vaulter Ryker Jones broke his hand during warm-ups. A forceful addition to the Bears roster after transferring from Indiana, Jones will miss the remainder of the season.

Additionally, sophomore Lance Moen continued his dominance of the 400 meter race, finishing first by over three-tenths of a second.

“My success at [the Cougar Classic] was another great addition to my outdoor season,” said Moen. “However, I have much faster races to come.”

The Bears certainly hope so as they prepare for this weekend’s UAA Championships in Cleveland. For the women, the competition is a chance for them to complete a full sweep of UAA conference competition and post a third consecutive outdoor championship. Earlier this year, they won the cross country championship and the indoor title.

On the men’s side, Moen feels confident that he and his team will also make some noise at the UAAs.

“I plan to defend my outdoor 400 championship from last year,” he said.” In doing so, if things go as planned, I will hopefully qualify for the national meet. For the team as whole, we are looking to be very strong contenders for the conference championship. Outdoor is our strength, and many on our team are ready to have their best performances of the season.”

So what are the Bears doing as they prepare for the season’s most important meet to date?

“Most people are resting and sharpening up,” said Rubin. “We’re doing low-volume, high-intensity work and getting mentally ready to compete hard.”

And Rubin’s athletes are well-aware that he knows how to get them ready to compete to their fullest ability.

“Coach Rubin does a great job of training the athletes for the most important points of the season,” said Stoll. “He has me on a good training schedule that keeps me competitive now, but will allow me to peak the most at nationals at the end of May.”

So as Stoll’s final season culminates, she’s looking to go out with a bang.

“My season expectations and goals are to win conference as a team and individual, and to get myself prepared for nationals and compete to my very best ability there,” said Stoll. “With this being my last season, I want to make every meet count.”

Stoll has lived up to this so far, but this weekend will be another test. That said, you can’t help but get the feeling that Stoll will pass with flying colors.

Protect copyrights, end file sharing

Friday, April 25th, 2003 | Geoffrey Brooks

In a world full of reasonable and sensible arguments for file-sharing services like KaZaa, Shawn Redden has managed to avoid all of them. His points run the range from oversimplified rhetorical polemic to attacks on the recording industry itself, but they all somehow evade the basic point of Mary Bruce’s article: file-sharing of the type discussed in her piece involves taking something that you normally need to pay for, and not paying for it. This is functionally no different from swiping a candy bar from a local Schnucks. You can argue that Schnucks won’t really miss a fifty-cent candy bar; you can argue that it deserved it for being an evil transnational corporate villain; but you can’t really argue that the act doesn’t constitute simple theft.

Redden may be entirely correct when he says that KaZaa is “a serious threat” to the music industry. Yet while that fact may indeed have spurred the industry to react, it has no bearing on the simple legality of their actions. Taking a musician’s music, which is normally for sale, and not paying for it without the approval of the musician and anyone else who owns it, is theft. The musician signed a contract. Maybe not a very good one, but a contract. And to claim that you are somehow benefiting them by stealing their music is the height of hubris. It’s bad enough to steal, but it is self-righteousness of the most obnoxious sort to then turn around and tell the victims that it’s for their own good. There is not a law in this country or anywhere else that confers upon Redden the right to listen to any music he wants at any time for free.

No “super-powered media cartel” programmed half the country to like Britney Spears. The reason that radio stations played her music incessantly is because pop is-brace yourself-popular. The reason that you don’t get to hear the indie rock or jazz or classical that you favor nearly as often is because it is less popular. Not because the “culture industry” hates you, but because people tend to pay more for ads on stations that have the most listeners. And if you in fact want to listen to those other albums instead, then go out and buy them; actually paying the artists for their work will probably allow them to produce more of it.

One of record labels is to produce a product that maximizes profit for their shareholders. But they don’t do this by making albums that lots of people hate, or those that most people aren’t willing to pay for. Thus, the ultimate goal is to make music that a lot of people like, not the opposite-even if their choices disagree with Redden’s personal opinions. Sadly, therefore, lots of music that fills an ultra-small niche in the musical world doesn’t get a lot of support. However, this hardly proves that niche music is “great.” There’s a lot of “great” music that I hate and wouldn’t listen to even if it were free. I never appointed Redden as the arbiter of my cultural taste; if he wants to listen to his music, he should pay for it himself instead of forcing me to listen.

Finally, what about people who illegally burn CDs, or those who make dub tapes, or record movies at home? It’s not because those acti-ons are in any way legal that nothing is done about them, but because they’re extremely hard to detect or track. Pirate movie rings get broken up all the time, but obviously isolated incidents are impractical to prosecute; if you handed the police a list of pirates and their addresses tomorrow, though, the story might be different. To claim that somehow KaZaa users are being discriminated against is absurd, as is the argument that because other people get away with crimes, you should be allowed to as well. The magnitude of the crime is different, but not the fact that in both instances a crime has been committed, like it or not.

“Crime” and “illegality” are not relative terms. They have very specific, proscribed meanings which no amount of overheated rhetoric is going to change. Downloading music isn’t protected by the first amendment, and hiding behind the First Amendment as a self-serving attempt to hurt the recording industry both cheapens the Bill of Rights and insults our intelligence.

Enforce the alcohol policy

Friday, April 25th, 2003 | Margaret Bauer

My first full year here as an undergraduate has been marred by the ubiquity of alcohol; it is difficult to find one thing that epitomizes the campus “alcohol culture.” I’ve recently realized that the big picture concerning alcohol use on campus only appears when one compares many seemingly disparate occurrences.

An examination of a news article in Friday’s Student Life may provide a good starting point. “Kegs banned!” cries the headline of a story about the administration’s decision to ban kegs from WILD. The three students interviewed each claim that the administration is trying to “break down” WILD by ruining the social atmosphere that alcohol presumably creates. One sophomore warns that students might be driven to more binge drinking because of the change. I am saddened when I read such statements, because it bespeaks an undergraduate culture that has become utterly dependent upon the presence of alcohol.

I applaud the university’s attempt at even this small enforcement of its stated alcohol policies. Unfortunately, I am consistently amazed at the ways the university has chosen not to enforce the policy, but actually promote alcoholism among its students. University orientation programs for incoming freshmen include a required talk on “drinking responsibly.” This sounded like a good idea, yet I was unpleasantly surprised when one of the role models at the assembly publicly invited students to give her a call whenever they wanted to get “hooked up” with alcohol. Student Union pledges to help enforce university alcohol policies for underage undergraduate students, yet students on my freshman floor regularly return from the SU-sponsored Happy Hour at The Rat drunk on beer that has been placed on the counter for all comers. These same students regularly distribute alcoholic mixed drinks to hundreds of other freshmen at parties on my floor. When asked the contents, they only reply that “It’ll get you [messed] up!” As soon as they run out of alcohol, they head off to fraternity parties in search of more liquor. Where are the RAs during all of this? They’ve conveniently disappeared for the night.

Few ways exist to escape the tyranny of campus drinking. While the administration purports to be supportive of alternate lifestyles, it does little to aid those students who wish to live an even more controversial lifestyle-a substance-free one. Residential Life only allots a mere 5.3% of its upper-class undergraduate housing as substance free: approximately 124 spots are regularly fixed as substance free out of 2359 total upper-class spaces on the South 40, notwithstanding spaces allotted to RAs. Friends of mine at other universities are confused when I say I want to live in “sub-free” housing-on their campuses, every dorm is substance-free.

Yes, there are benefits to living on a campus where students are held to a high standard of personal responsibility. Yet when inexperienced underage students in freshmen dorms are binge drinking within weeks of arriving on campus and prospective freshmen who visit during the spring and summer are treated to free alcohol by their hosts, one must question the wisdom of the university’s lax stance on underage drinking.

Many students, such as the authors of the recent Sophomore Class Newsletter, feel so comfortable with alcoholic drink recipes that they publish them in campus publications with no fear of possible repercussions. One need not look far to see how they came by the idea that such expressions are okay. All the occurrences I’ve previously mentioned highlight the strong undercurrent supporting alcohol culture at Washington University.

At many universities, on-campus drinking is a big secret that is exposed only when there is a scandal and someone gets hurt. Here at WU, students don’t need to worry about scandal because they have the implicit backing of the administration. Thus, students end up living in dorms which consistently reek of alcohol, the floors sticky with liquor and vomit. Yet few students publicly complain and little is changed. Sure, we like to preserve everyone’s view of WU as an idyllic learning environment. But in truth, we live on a campus that only purports to be in compliance with federal and state laws, while much of the underage population is alcohol-dependent. I urge administrators and campus police alike to stop tolerance and promotion of alcoholism on campus. A scandal should not have to occur before significant steps are taken to end underage drinking at WU.

The technological fascists are ready for summer

Friday, April 25th, 2003 | Michael Fitzhugh

In a recent column Shawn Redden asks, “[W]hy not [punish] anyone with a CD burner?…Of course this isn’t plausible; it’s so ridiculous on its face as to barely warrant ridicule.” Would that it were so. The technology to do just that will begin appearing on a wide scale this summer: the U.S. government and multinational corporations are about to give themselves more invasive and coercive surveillance power than Hitler or Stalin ever could have wished. Some of that technology may already be installed on campus by fall. Have a nice break.

United under the name “Trusted Computing Group” (previously “Trusted Computing Platform Alliance”), Intel, AMD, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, and other PC giants-with quiet but explicit approval from both Congress and the White House-are about to lay the technological infrastructure for universal control over the flow of information. Achieving such control, of course, requires fairly precise knowledge of what people are trying to do with said information-knowledge that most of us consider deeply private and personal. In sum, they want to bug everyone’s machine.

And it gets worse. Hardwired into computer chips (Intel’s will be called “LaGrande”), the bug will not merely analyze what you’re doing (and probably report anything suspicious) but will in fact control your computer, acting in ways you don’t want and not acting in ways you do want. While file-sharing may seem the obvious target of the TCG, any bozo can see that this technology will lead to government and corporate strong-arming that goes far beyond protecting intellectual property. TCG technology seems partly designed to put silicon teeth into 1998’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has caused serious academic problems even without TCG hardware. Even though I theoretically have fair-use rights to material on DVDs, I’m not supposed to use that material for various educational activities during class because the DMCA outlaws the necessary technological procedure. Currently I control the computers I use, so I can ignore the DMCA, but the TCG aims to make that impossible. Go ask Shirley Baker, Vice-Chancellor for Information Technology, how else the DMCA has assaulted academic work: you’ll get an earful. Science majors should read For more in-depth technical information on the TCG, go to, posted by an internationally respected computer scientist at Cambridge Univer-sity.

A misleadingly titled bill currently in the Senate, the “Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act,” would require TCG technology in all American digital-information devices. Legislation can be fought, however. More troubling is the silent, forced adoption of this technology via an exploitative cartel: every major PC player has climbed on the bandwagon. TCG computer parts will be regularly installed in new computers from all major PC vendors (Dell, Compaq, etc.) starting midsummer. But don’t expect any advertising.

The TCG hasn’t thrust their fingers into everyone’s private and professional lives yet. There’s still a chance to forestall it. But our computing staff won’t act on its own. When I learned that the Gradlab is going to be equipped with new computers this summer, I took my concerns to Gavin Foster, Instructional Technologist for Arts & Sciences Computing, requesting (as a user of the Gradlab) that when the computing staff makes purchasing decisions, to please avoid TCG machines, or at the very least tell Washington University’s supplier that we prefer non-TCG machines. “Here, it’s all about cost,” he replied. “Try talking to [Executive Vice-Chancellor] Ed Macias.” A&S Computing itself, apparently, has little power to push such issues.

“Just stay offline,” Dr. Foster joked as we parted. I know him personally; he was being casually friendly, not malicious. But the TCG harbors no casual friendliness toward academics, and WU should oppose it. The university consumes massive amounts of computing technology. As such, we are in a position to send a high-profile message about the TCG’s aims by telling our suppliers that we won’t buy computing equipment infected with such invasive technology. Vice-Chancellor Macias?

Institutionalized homophobia must end now!

Friday, April 25th, 2003 | Andrew Ross

This past winter, Trent Lott notoriously commented that “when Strom Thurmond ran for president we [Miss-issippi] voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.” What followed his segregationist, racist remarks can only be described as Lott’s personal hell. The constant news coverage began immediately, and the public outcry eventually led to his resignation as Senate Republican leader on Dec. 20.

On Monday April 21, 2003, Pennsylv-ania senator Rick Santorum, in an interview with the Associated Press, stated that “if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.” The current lack of news coverage on this remark, considering the recent dearth of war coverage in favor of a homicide case, versus the press reaction to Senator Lott’s remarks illustrates a larger problem.

The larger issue is that few Americans recognize homophobia with race as evil, or even as politcally incorrect. This is not a simple political question; it affects your own lives and the lives of your friends.

For instance, at Spectrum Alliance’s Gay Rights forum last semester, one panelist’s use of the word “nigger” elicited an exclamation of “Ouch!” and indignant murmuring, while his use of “fag” went unnoticed. In fact, as I write this, I wonder whether Student Life will censor “nigger,” while I have no doubt “fag” will remain untouched. The dichotomy between the popular reactions to the two words illustrates my point: racism is evil, homophobia is tolerated.

And when it’s not tolerated, it’s celebrated. Both the Washington Witness and the Southpaw have reported on physics Professor Jonathan Katz, who says that “I am a homophobe, and proud,” and compares homosexuality to drug use and adultery, while declaring it to be “unnatural.” Would Washington University have hired someone who said “I am a racist, and proud,” and proceeded to declare that some of his students are stupid because they’re black? I doubt it. Where is the outcry against the bigoted opinions of Professor Katz? How do his gay students feel in class when their professor has declared that their sexual preferences are unnatural? Why doesn’t anyone seem to care?

People don’t care because, while racism is no longer officially institutionalized, homophobia still is both in the law and in religion. Rather than accepting that, like the racist policies of the past, both the law and many religions are propagating hate, homophobes can step back, point to the law or the Bible and declare how morally reprehensible homosexuals are, while defending their own moral stature. This is what keeps gay couples from attending Senior Proms and Fraternity Formals, whether officially or de facto. Unlike racism, homophobia is still just an “opinion.” Therefore it’s acceptable to encourage heterosexist events without worrying about the feelings of gay students.

This is not to say that racism and homophobia are the same thing. Racial minorities in America have had a far different experience of oppression than (homo)sexual minorities. The solutions to the two problems are very different. Activists for both stand at separate points in the progression to true equality and acceptance, but the reaction to such oppression should be the same. We should be just as careful to use euphemisms like “the f-word” as “the n-word.”

It’s beyond time to respond to this rampant heterosexist callousness. Write to your senator urging an official condemnation of Senator Santorum’s rema-rks, write to Prof. Katz expressing your disapproval at his open hate which inevitably leads to a counterproductive classroom, and please scream “Ouch!” when you hear someone called a fag.

Affirmative action is beneficial, fair

Friday, April 25th, 2003 | Roman Goldstein
Bernell Dorrough

Affirmative action (AA) policies are not merely desirable or beneficial. They are just. People sometimes defend AA because they value diversity. This puts AA on shaky grounds, because this defense only holds if you indeed value diversity. A Klansman, then, has a strong rebuttal to AA. I want to put AA on much firmer grounds than personal preference. Although I focus on racial concerns for brevity, this argument can and should be generalized to other minorities, including sexual minorities. I am indebted to Andrew Ross for reminding me that justice does not only apply to race.

I borrow a concept from John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice: hypothetical consent. Basically, ask yourself the question: what social policies would I consent to if I had no knowledge of the particulars of my life?

Just decisions are made from impartial viewpoints. In life, we are clearly not impartial. For example, as far as AA goes, it seems fair to say that more minorities support the policy than whites do. What we have to do to make just choices, therefore, is abstract away from our particular situation and characteristics in life. Only the social preferences we express from an impartial perspective are just.

Since I’m focusing on racial AA, the only traits you’ll have to discount in your decision-making are your race and social class. Imagine that you were to be reincarnated into a world exactly like ours, with the same natural talents. You do not know what race or ethnicity you’ll belong to, or what childhood environment you’ll have.

Now, the question you have to consider: what kind of society would I like to be reincarnated into? Clearly, you would not like a society that has any sort of racism, much less so if the racism is allowed to translate into policy decisions. Racism in hiring practices, for example, would not be desirable. Slavery based on race is out.

But this is not so controversial. Of course racism and slavery are unjust. Of course the ideal society would be color-blind. And this is exactly why AA is unjust: it is essentially racism, opponents say.

I remind you of one guarantee my thought-experiment provides: the society you’ll be reincarnated in will have informal and institutionalized racism. It will be officially denied and usually kept covert, of course. But it is clear that one race will be far more powerful and wealthy than other races, and will use racist decision-making to perpetuate that advantage. Of course, you have no way of knowing what the odds are of belonging to this powerful race.

Given this society, it is only rational to demand AA policies. I take it that most people agree that success should be based on your personal merits. Skin color is clearly not a merit. AA eliminates racist decision-making, or at least limits it.

One objection is that race is linked to some innate mental capacity or natural talent. Discrimination against one race is not against its skin color per se, but against their likelihood of being less qualified than a member of another, genetically better, race. Science has refuted claims that personal talent has anything to do with the genes that determine skin color. For example, Murray and Hernstein’s The Bell Curve, which argued that blacks had lower IQs than whites and Asians, received scathing peer-reviews, including from Stephen J. Gould.

We have agreed that success should depend on merit, and I have shown that race has nothing to do with merit. Therefore, a just society, which does not take race into account in decisions, would have proportional representation from all races/ethnicities in all jobs and offices. If one race makes up 50 percent of the population, they should make up 50 percent of medical students, judges, and janitors. If there are other factors, such as education or social circumstance that would change this, they must be corrected so that proportionality is restored. Otherwise education (or whatever factor) becomes the rationale for unjust racism. In any case, you cannot rationally want your success to depend on the random chance of being born into a wealthy environment. Proportional representation across the board, for all jobs and offices in a society, is the only demonstration that the society is racially just.

I am not necessarily advocating quotas, rather any program that promotes proportional racial representation. If you were to be reincarnated, wouldn’t you demand strong protections against discrimination based solely on your race or ethnicity? It would be irrational to allow others who are equally talented to be more successful than you solely because they have the right skin color or were born into a rich family. This is why, from an impartial view, all of us would agree to strong AA. And this is why strong AA is just.