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deep breaths   
12:03pm 04/12/2005

12/4: Study for Econ Final

12/5: Finish researching/start writing 20 pg Theory Paper. Final topic: Do proportional representation systems foster citizen participation and competence, as Mill suggests? Is Mill’s suggested proportional representation system a cure for electoral apathy? Finally, does democratic stability depend on citizen participation, or iInaction?


12/6: Study Econ all day. Final 5pm - 7pm. Massage??

12/7 -- 12/11: Work on both Theory term paper and Indigenous Movements final (15 page comprehensive paper).


12/13-12/15: Final adjustments to papers. Send in.

(2 degrees of | separation.)

10:19pm 26/11/2005
  why am I not getting email notification of most of my comments?! going on for over a week  

(5 degrees of | separation.)

10:12pm 21/11/2005
  I'm just not sure I like the person I am in grad school/in Dc/right now.
I don't deal well with stress. I freak out. I get really emotional. The fun, laid back person I am and like to be disappears when I'm stressed and it seems like I'm stressed a LOT here.

when I talk to Josh when I'm feeling this way, I just imagine him on the other end of the line thinking "wha? This is not who I signed up for." And then I get even more stressed.

(5 degrees of | separation.)

Democractic theory can suck me.   
07:40pm 21/11/2005
  FYI I still don't have a paper topic I think I can write about for my Democratic Theory class. I would LIKE to just go to my professor and "chat it out" but it seems every time I do that, I leave more confused than I came.

I have read 8 journal articles and have read most of the intros of the stack of 9 books in front of me.

My thought was that I would do this:

The aim of this paper is to describe and discuss the process of democratization in several indigenous communities in Africa. I will concentrate on the transformation from non-democratic, native political structure to democracy. I am especially concerned with the implementation of X norm (probably competitive elections) ….

But the problem is, that most of the "democracies" in Africa really aren't that democratic from a theoretical standpoint. Secondly, there really isn't a jump from "non-democratic, native" political structures to democracy because of the period of colonialism in between. Finally, there just doesn't seem to be enough out there on the adoption of democratic norms in these communities to write a term paper.

I feel like I'm making this too hard. There has got to be something more simple to write about, something for which literature exists, and something for which including theory will be a fairly obvious task. I just don't know what.

(1 degree of | separation.)

adjunct hate   
09:59am 14/11/2005
  My econ prof is suck a cheesedick.
I emailed him to ask if we could meet so he could explain why he knocked 20% off each section with no explanation, because I'd like to do better on the final, etc.... and he writes back:

"Can we meet 5 minutes before class starts on Tuesday?"


CIA prisoner Crucified   
08:27am 10/11/2005
Can the C.I.A. legally kill a prisoner?
Issue of 2005-11-14

At the end of a secluded cul-de-sac, in a fast-growing Virginia suburb favored by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, is a handsom replica of an old-fashioned farmhouse, with a white-railed front porch. The large back yard has a swimming pool, which, on a recent Octobe afternoon, was neatly covered. In the driveway were two cars, a late-model truck, and an all-terrain vehicle. The sole discordant note was struck by faded American flag on the porch; instead of fluttering in the autumn breeze, it was folded on a heap of old Christmas ornaments
The house belongs to Mark Swanner, a forty-six-year-old C.I.A. officer who has performed interrogations and polygraph tests for the agency, which has employed him at least since the nineteen-nineties. (He is not a covert operative.) Two years ago, at Abu Ghraib prison, outside Baghdad, an Iraqi prisoner in Swanner’s custody, Manadel al-Jamadi, died during an interrogation. His head had been covered with a plastic bag, and he was shackled in a crucifixion-like pose that inhibited his ability to breathe; according to forensic pathologists who have examined the case, he asphyxiated. In a subsequent internal investigation, United States government authorities classified Jamadi’s death as a “homicide,” meaning that it resulted from unnatural causes. Swanner has not been charged with a crime and continues to work for the agency.
After September 11th, the Justice Department fashioned secret legal guidelines that appear to indemnify C.I.A. officials who perform aggressive, even violent interrogations outside the United States. Techniques such as waterboarding—the near-drowning of a suspect—have been implicitly authorized by an Administration that feels that such methods may be necessary to win the war on terrorism. (In 2001, Vice-President Dick Cheney, in an interview on “Meet the Press,” said that the government might have to go to “the dark side” in handling terrorist suspects, adding, “It’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal.”) The harsh treatment of Jamadi and other prisoners in C.I.A. custody, however, has inspired an emotional debate in Washington, raising questions about what limits should be placed on agency officials who interrogate foreign terrorist suspects outside U.S. territory.

Read more...Collapse )

(6 degrees of | separation.)

DASGF% !QR#T#@$%   
07:06am 09/11/2005
  I can't register because my "immunization record is incomplete." What is this, fucking Kindergarden?

Guess I won't be getting the right classes AGAIN this semester. Fucking wonderful.

I hate grad school more than anything right now.

(5 degrees of | separation.)

grad school bitchin   
08:48pm 08/11/2005
  I got my econ midterm back today. I got an 82 and I'm really upset about it. The day before the test if someone had told me I would get an 82, I'd have been relieved. But the fact is, it all clicked for me at some point, and I felt like I rocked that test.
The test was 10 multiple choice questions worth 2.5 each, and 3 essays worth 25 each. I got one m.c. wrong. Ok. I got a 19/20/20 on the essays. Why? I don't know. It's just a little red number on the bottom. I have no idea what I missed, or what I did wrong, or anything. It's even crossed my mind that he was accidentally grading me out of 20. I said something about it to him tonight and he said to look over the test again and email him. And I will.

I just hate this guy -- he's simply a bad teacher. He doesn't explain things well, he's hard to understand verbally, and he's rude. After he passes out the tests, he says "So I graded these really easy, it was sort of a joke...." or something to that effect. The mean was an 84 -- and you know everyone in the program is used to being an A student -- so it just makes me, and others I'm sure, feel like crap.

This along with the issue with my paper topic is seriously causing an identity crisis. I know it's just a B. But I really don't think I've ever gotten such a low grade. I've never had a straight B on a transcript. It's just like -- school is the one thing I'm good at. And what if I don't have that anymore? I've never been athletic, never been artistic, I've just always been smart. And maybe I'm just not as smart as I thought.

Also tomorrow I'll be getting my Social Movements midterm back, and I don't expect it to be much better given comments he's made to the class.

(2 degrees of | separation.)

12:46pm 08/11/2005
  So -- I need to pass a Spanish fluency exam next year to graduate from the program. And since I'm there on fellowship, I have to go to school full time all Fall and Spring semesters to get my money. So I can't really take units abroad during the summer, because I'd have to pay for them, and then I'd just have extra work and units. And I can't really study abroad during the fall like I was thinking, because GW doesn't have a Latin American "partner" school, and so if I went to another school, while 6 units would transfer A) that's not full time, and B) I'd still have to pay for the abroad tuition.

So, the only thing I really CAN do to regain fluency in Spanish AND keep my fellowship money is:

Language School and SCUBA certification in Honduras!


(4 degrees of | separation.)

I give up   
05:32pm 07/11/2005
  I am so frustrated. I've been trying to come up with a term paper topic for my Democratic Theory class and I just can't. I talked to my prof, told her I was insterested in indigenous cultures and social movements. She said she didn't really want to read about rights struggles. We agreed that a paper on indigenous cultures' transitions to democracy / adoption of democratic norms would be interesting.

But everything I've read so far is about indigenous rights after democracy has taken place. If there is ANY literature on "tribal" transitions to democracy, I can't find it.

I'm thinking perhaps I should just change my topic altogether, but to what??

(9 degrees of | separation.)

10:04pm 01/11/2005
  oh god Real World is in Costa Rica and it pisses me off because now I have to see American Idiots act like fucking jackasses in a place I love and respect. Temptation Island, Real World, blah, it ruins CR, because it just brings more and more idiots.

Also it makes me jealous they're there and I'm not because I never should have left.

(3 degrees of | separation.)

01:32pm 29/10/2005
  I have been fucking around on EBay all morning looking at 70s SLR cameras because I've wanted to have a manual camera since my blind aunt took hers back from me when I finished photo class in High School.

Then I started looking at polaroids because they're really special.

I was on the phone with Josh, and on a whim bid on this, and won:


Flash cubes?! Do you remember flash cubes?? If one polaroid works, it was alllll worth it. It'll be like Christmas!

(1 degree of | separation.)

poop politics   
05:09pm 22/10/2005
  'Mr. Floatie' backs out of race for mayor of Victoria


VICTORIA, British Columbia -- Mr. Floatie, a community activist who dresses up in a feces costume to decry the pumping of raw sewage into the waters off British Columbia's capital, has withdrawn his name as a candidate for mayor.

The city had planned to challenge Mr. Floatie's candidacy in B.C. Supreme Court.

James Skwarok, the man inside the costume, said the city apparently took issue with his candidacy because only real people can run for municipal office.

"Of course I'm not a real person," Skwarok said earlier this week. "I'm a big piece of poop."

Robert Woodland, Victoria's administrator, confirmed that Mr. Floatie is no longer in the running, the Victoria Times Colonist reported Tuesday.

Skwarok was not available for further comment.

Mr. Floatie has become a regular sight at public gatherings.

He passes out pamphlets drawing attention to Victoria's practice of pumping sewage directly into the Juan de Fuca after only a screening to remove solids.


shoot me   
12:37am 18/10/2005
  "Calling the nineteenth-century theory of "government by discussion" camouflage for a rationalist project, Schmitt linked Mill to Bentham and Guizot, claiming that all three of them made free discussion a condition for discovery of "the truth." Schmitt's overall critiue does not explain why Mill rejected Betntham's more geometrico kind of political rationality. His argument assumes an equivalence between logos and oratio, which Mill rejected."

Why am I taking theory? How am I going to present on something in which I have no fucking clue who these people are and what their silly italicized words mean. Most of all, how am I going to read this crap and 150 pages of awfully dense Millsian crap?

(1 degree of | separation.)

I suck at grad school   
10:15am 17/10/2005
  I have a presentation this week in my Theories of Democracy class (filled mostly with Poli Sci PhD candidates), and not only did I forget about it completely until my prof. emailed me this morning to ask how it was coming along....

I don't even have the book. I thought I did, but I had a collection of JS Mill's work that did not include what we're reading. Fuck Fuck Fuck.


09:17pm 16/10/2005
  I don't get grad school. I've had two professors ask the class if we should have a makeup session for missed classes.

And people actually say yes. Yes we are very enthusiastic about coming in on a Saturday to learn more.


(4 degrees of | separation.)

10:14pm 14/10/2005
  I want this!


(1 degree of | separation.)

mouse update   
09:47pm 14/10/2005
  The mouse was located behind the stove, alive, with not one, but TWO traps attached to various appendages. It must have tripped one and then fallen behind the stove, tripping another. Then it just banged around back there all morning until Tom the Handyman came over and took care of it while myself and my landlord Heather Graham (swear to god) looked on squealing.

Also I worked out today for the the first time in months, and I just ate a steak and huge salad. I may go out in Adam's Morgan later.

(6 degrees of | separation.)

Thar be pirates   
12:46pm 14/10/2005
  Pirates: latest threat to Africa food aid

A hulking UN-chartered cargo ship, docked at a port in Somalia this week, was halfway finished unloading its 850 tons of corn and rice when a band of gun-toting bandits stormed aboard and forced the crew to take the ship to sea.

It was the second hijacking of a UN food-aid ship in four months in Somalia. Some 78,000 people may go hungry if the situation isn't resolved soon. But more than that, it's an example of how difficult it is becoming to get food to Africa's hungry masses in ways that are safe, efficient, and effective. And it's one more reason why there's growing pressure for major changes to the massive global food-aid system, which is funded by US and other wealthy-nation taxpayers.

In a different sort of example, in Niger, the world's slow response to a food crisis earlier this yearmeant many thousands of people went with little or nothing to eat at first. But now, after delivering many tons of food, the UN is discontinuing most free food - to avoid disrupting Niger's markets as local farmers bring in their harvest, causing long-term damage to the country's ability to feed itself. This comes, ironically, despite continuing hunger.
Read more...Collapse )


speaking of mice   
12:08pm 14/10/2005
  last night, while I was still up watching Sportsnight with insomnia until 4am... I HEARD a mouse get trapped. No doubt about it, the snap, the mouse screaming, I cringed, the whole bit.

This morning I walk into the kitchen expecting to see a horrible scene... and I kid you not, the whole fucking trap is gone and there is no mouse to be found. These are some crazy peanut butter resistant stealth bionic mice. I hate them.