Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bill O’Reilly’s homophobia and hypocrisy make me chuckle


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Maps Part I


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Personal Note

I’ve been neglecting the Blitz for a while due to end of semester class work. I’m working on research papers on the topics of marriage equality; the role of religion in the public square; and the Sino-Russian energy/security dilemma that is central Asia. May post bits later, probably of the former two.

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I wondered the same thing as Glenn Greenwald when I watched NBC Nightly News last night.

The segment on Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 60th wedding anniversary was nice nonetheless.

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Saw a ‘news’ report tonight on NBC Nightly News on how Warren Buffett thinks he and other billionaires don’t pay enough taxes (though it was reported in the Times Online in June):

Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in the world, has criticised the US tax system for allowing him to pay a lower rate than his secretary and his cleaner…

Mr Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 per cent on the $46 million he made last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary, who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 per cent.

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I go to the University of Virginia, so this article (which I would otherwise overlook) in WaPo on the fundraising techniques of UVA VP Robert Sweeney (and the implications thereof) struck my interest. I found this bit informative:

Fundraisers start with the records of 180,000 alumni. They hone their list using tools including demographic screening software that shows neighborhoods by income, the cars people drive, and so on. They look up public information, such as stock and real estate and holdings. A traveling development officer might ask for “road warrior sheets,” summaries of all prospects for $500,000 or more in a city, and then ask U-Va. volunteers in the region about them.

They don’t ask for money. They start by asking how the alumnus feels about the university. Sometimes they invite people to weekend gatherings, on Martha’s Vineyard or in Park City, Utah, to talk about the university’s future.

Often, when calling on people, they’ll hear: ” ‘My partner is Class of ’81. If you think I’ve done well, this guy has knocked the cover off the ball! Let me see if he’s in.’ That happens again and again,” Sweeney said. “All of a sudden, you’ve got all these networks evolving.”

So the database keeps getting bigger and more detailed. Fundraisers identify 20,000 prospects who might give $10,000 or more. Eleven hundred people who might give $1 million or more. Four hundred who could make the top 100 gifts. And 100 who are known as presidential prospects — any overtures to them have to be approved through Casteen’s office.

I’m not too enthusiastic about being tracked like this by my future alma mater. Then again, I guess I wouldn’t complain if they were taking me on trips to Martha’s Vineyard. Apparently this is supposed put UVA on a more level playing field with schools like Harvard and Yale. We’ll see. I’d rather see UVA invest in faculty pay and increasing research resources rather than constructing fancy new buildings like the John Paul Jones Arena or the South Lawn Project–mostly because I have to navigate through a big construction site to get to class. I also don’t like how UVA is buying out the homes of the Jefferson Park Ave area of Charlottesville, changing the whole landscape of the neighborhood, and taking away its charm, I think. I guess it’s all just growing pains for the University. I hope it pays off in the end.

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McGreevey on Craig

Former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey, who left office after it was revealed that he put his gay lover on the NJ state payroll, wrote a piece on Larry Craig in today’s Washington Post:

How do you live with this shame? How do you accommodate your own disappointments, your own revulsion with whom you have become? You do it by splitting in two. You rescue part of yourself, the half that stands for tradition, values and America, the part that looks like the family you came from, and you walk away from the other half the way you would abandon something spoiled, something disgusting. This is a false amputation, because the other half doesn’t stop existing. When I decided to closet my desire, I also denied the possibility of life as a healthy, integrated gay.

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