Saturday, February 2, 2008

Governmental Interference

In yet another example of how ridiculous Congress has become and apparently in an effort to validate its extraordinarily low approval rating, Arlen Spector, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has decided to interfere into yet another sport.

You may remember a similar meeting with our nation's past time, baseball, over the issue of steroids. As if social security, immigration, a crashing economy, and homeland security aren't enough issues to deal with, Congress should start looking around to regulate pro sports. Clearly, the Patriots are a threat to our nation and to our lifestyle with their uncanny ability to win every game. How can we be a free and equal country with a 17-0 Patriot's team?

Why stop with the NFL and MLB? I demand an investigation into the NCAA and the BCS system, which is clearly a huge issue that demands attention. The Celtics also clearly are violating the principles upon which our country is founded with their dominance of the NBA!

Congress should worry about issues which truly concern it as the supreme law making body in this nation. Leave the sports and entertainment industries to themselves. Unless, you can actually resolve the BCS mess, cause a playoff would be much better.

Recruiting Update: No longer #1

As of this morning Notre Dame no longer has the top football recruiting class of 2008 according to Scout.com. Cornerback Alonzo Lawrence's commitment to Alabama has pushed the Crimson Tide into the lead. While Notre Dame is set for National Signing Day on Wednesday, Alabama still has a chance at some top prospects, so they will not be caught by the Irish this year.

Our recruiting class:

Pos Nat'l Rank Name School, Hometown HT/ WT/ 40 Commit Date
QB 3 Dayne Crist
(Notre Dame HS)
Sherman Oaks, CA 6-4.5/225/4.70 04/19/2007

RB 21 Jonas Gray
(Detroit Country Day School)
Beverly Hills, MI 5-11/214/4.35 10/22/2007

WR 5 Michael Floyd
(Cretin Derham Hall)
Saint Paul, MN 6-3/200/4.55 10/21/2007

WR 11 Deion Walker
(Christchurch School)
Christchurch, VA 6-3/185/4.45 01/05/2008

WR 21 John Goodman
(Bishop Dwenger HS)
Fort Wayne, IN 6-3/186 03/03/2007

TE 1 Kyle Rudolph
(Elder HS)
Cincinnati, OH 6-7/235/4.70 03/26/2007

TE 11 Joseph Fauria
(Crespi Carmelite HS)
Encino, CA 6-7/250 04/21/2007

OG 6 Trevor Robinson
(Elkhorn Secondary School)
Elkhorn, NE 6-5/304/5.20 12/14/2007

OG 18 Lane Clelland
(Mc Donogh School)
Owings Mills, MD 6-5/265/4.90 05/03/2007

OG 30 Michael Golic
(Northwest Catholic HS)
West Hartford, CT 6-5/265 02/19/2007

C 2 Braxston Cave
(Penn HS)
Mishawaka, IN 6-3/292 03/03/2007

DT 14 Sean Cwynar
(Marian Central Catholic HS)
Woodstock, IL 6-4/283 03/06/2007

DT 16 Brandon Newman
(Pleasure Ridge Park HS)
Louisville, KY 6-1/305/5.05 05/26/2007

DT 38 Hafis Williams
(Elizabeth HS)
Elizabeth, NJ 6-4/295 05/02/2007

DE 4 Ethan Johnson
(Lincoln HS)
Portland, OR 6-4.5/265/4.90 06/27/2007

MLB 4 Steve Filer
(Mount Carmel HS)
Chicago, IL 6-4/220/4.65 07/24/2007

MLB 8 Anthony McDonald
(Notre Dame HS)
Sherman Oaks, CA 6-3/220/4.55 04/11/2007

SLB 2 Darius Fleming
(St. Rita HS)
Chicago, IL 6-2/230/4.57 04/21/2007

WLB 30 David Posluszny
(Hopewell SHS)
Aliquippa, PA 6-2/214/4.60 04/06/2007

S 8 Dan McCarthy
(Cardinal Mooney HS)
Youngstown, OH 6-2/190/4.48 07/16/2007

S 11 Jamoris Slaughter
(Tucker HS)
Tucker, GA 6-1/180/4.50 06/27/2007

CB 15 Robert Blanton
(David W Butler HS)
Matthews, NC 6-1/175/4.50 06/20/2007

Plenary Indulgence


The Vatican has issued a plenary indulgence on the 150th anniversary of Our Lady's apparition at Lourdes to St. Bernadette. Of the several ways to obtain this, one requires proper meditation and prayers at any replica of the grotto between Feb 2 and 11, 2008. This is great, because we have one on campus! For those of you who don't know, a plenary indulgence means an instant ticket to heaven, providing all the requirements are met.

There is an article about it here, but that part that concerns us is the following:

If the faithful are not in Lourdes, but wish to receive the plenary indulgence, then during the week of the anniversary of the first apparition, which is the week of February 2, 2008 through February 11, 2008, and they must visit “in any church, grotto or decorous place, the blessed image of that same Virgin of Lourdes, solemnly exposed for public veneration, and before the image participate in a pious exercise of Marian devotion, or at least pause for an appropriate space of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, ... and the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary."


Now all you can hope for is a quick death before you have the chance to sin again.

Pornography

Porno Conference Poster

So I went to the porn conference for about an hour today. The female speaker Gail Dines was quite entertaining. She had SI Swimsuit photos in her PowerPoint, and she dropped 13 f-bombs in her British accent--riveting all aound. She was passionately anti-pornography, coming from a feminist point of view. But what would be troubling to many Rovers was her unmitigated support for birth control. She took a slight shot at Notre Dame by suggesting that all DomerGirls refuse to put out until DomerGuys convince the school to fill prescriptions for the pill. I know that Kevin and others already touched on the issue of birth control at the St. Liam pharmacy so I won't revisit it. But I think we do need to take a look at the sexuality of Notre Dame (whether it be the ubiquitous taboo of homosexuality, or the systematic practice of sexile, which I first witnessed only last week). Are we any different than other college campuses? Dines asked if there was as much sex at Notre Dame as the average college campus. While I prefer to think there is less I am apparently in fairy tale land because the resounding response was an emphatic, gigglish yes. So it begs the question of whether Notre Dame's stringent policies based on Church teaching actually change anything. Based on today I suppose not. The only thing that can make us a different university from the mainstream, a university that still harbors traditional sex practices, are the values of the students themselves. If students don't buy into a pure lifestyle, then all the rules about pornography, parietals, alcohol, whatever, can never make them chaste. It may be better to not enforce such rules, but to have a student body that believes in the ethics behind them, and live their lives according to such without the coersion of ResLife.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Can anyone tell me how this paragraph makes sense?

Over the past 18 years, spending on financial aid at Notre Dame has risen from $55 million to $72 million, a 13 percent increase. Meanwhile, tuition over the same period has only increased about five to six percent, said Joe Russo, director of student financial strategies.


Is this a typo by news writer Kate McClelland? Or did Russo lie to her and she just believed him like some kind of airheaded TIME maazine writer. Either way, this is shoddy journalism because we know that a) $55 million to $72 million is a 31% increase and b) tuition (or at least total cost of attendance) increases by about 5 to 6 percent per annum.

We also know that ND is sucking when it comes to financial aid. $72 million? That's it? That's $9000 per undergraduate. When you have $812500 per undergraduate in endowment(okay, the article states that 1 to 1.5 billion of the endowment is dedicated to financial aid, so lowballing it we get $125000 per undergraduate) more needs to be done. It's embarassing frankly.

The Observer cites Harvard, Yale, Duke and Pennsylvania as schools with newly installed financial aid programs that make college more affordable for middle and lower class students. Yesterday, Cornell and Northwestern joined that list as well. Ready for the catch? ND has more money than Duke and Cornell, and about the same as Pennsylvania and Northwestern (it has more endowment per student than either Penn or NW).

So please, Joe Russo, explain again why "We haven't communicated information about our financial aid program publicly but to those who ask--students, parents, alumni--we can reassure them that we are making things happen." The only thing that's happening is the Dome gets reguilded more often than it needs to.

Our endowment growth rate over the last 20 years is exceeded only by the University of Michigan and Duke. That's impressive, but not if our zealous saving for the future is sacrifing the quality of our current University.


Note: I would link this article but the Oberver's website is not working.

Rover Sports Update

So the Irish beat Providence tonight in overtime for their 32nd consecutive win at the JACC. The game almost ended in regulation as PG Tory Jackson made a steal and launched a 40-footer as time expired, but the ball bounced off the rim to send the game to overtime, where the Irish easily pulled away.

This win moves the Irish to 15-4 (5-2) and keeps them firmly planted at 2nd in the Big East, a game and a half behind Georgetown. Luke Harangody continues to dazzle. He leads the league in points and is 2nd in rebounds and notched a career high 31 points against Providence.

The Big Ugly, Luke Harangody

Irish didn't play well tonight but if they hold onto the second place in the regular season they should make it to the Big East Championship game, which would mean a 4 or 5 seed in the Tourney.

The Irish lead the league in free throw percentage and three point percentage. Important categories in close games and when playing catch up. Notre Dame also consistently out-rebounds its opponents which is valuable late in games when every possession matters. The Irish are tied for second in Assist/Turnover ratio so they are protecting the ball and spreading it around, marks of good team work.

If they play as well as they did versus Villanova, Notre Dame should definitely go deeper than it did in last year's tournament.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rest In Peace, Easter Heathman


Yesterday, Easter Heathman died at the age of 90. For those of you who don't know him, he was the man who faithfully cared for the site of Knute Rockne's crash for years and years. Since then, he has become something of an expert on the Rock, giving tours around the simple monument for which he so painstakingly cares. Irish faithful sought him out from all over the country, but he would also make sure that everyone knew that eight people died that day, March 31, 1931, not just one.

There's an article in the Kansas City Star about his death.

There is also a very well written article from last year describing Mr. Heathman's undertaken, which is over at the Official Knute Rockne site.

I bet Mr. Heathman and the Rock himself are having a grand old time together.

Our prayers with him and his family.

Monday, January 28, 2008

British Comedy (Warning: Slightly Explicit Content)

I'm not a fan of British comedy. Monty Python doesn't do it for me. And to be honest that is about the only British comedy that I can name.

Until I ran across the Cambridge University Varsity from Friday, which contained the Varsity Sex Survey.

http://www.varsity.co.uk/archive/669.pdf
(Be sure to check out "Three's a Crowd" on the bottom of page 7)


Some of the gems:

"Back in the sixties, students were not nearly as free loving as one might expect. Richard Sparrow explained “Because of the low proportion of girls to boys, not everyone could have a girlfriend, even if they wanted one”. Sparrow believes this had a knock on effect on the number of homosexuals "I'm sure they didn't all want to be homosexuals, it just wasn't feasible to remain heterosexual, like in prison."

Yes, exactly like prison.

"Luckily for common rooms everywhere, only 15% have engaged in group sex."

"Almost half of all mathematicians have never had sex, whereas the average Medic has had at least eight sexual partners. CUSU President Mark Fletcher seemed unsurprised by the findings.
He said: “It’s obvious that the mathematicians haven’t found the winning formula yet. But it’s good to see that ‘Doctors and Nurses’ is still a popular game.”

"The online study... shows that students at poorly-performing colleges are more likely to have high average levels of sexual partners."


Well in that case I guess it's a good thing that Notre Dame has such allegedly "strained" gender relations. Remember when the Scholastic did that big article about grade inflation. They proposed things like draft dodging, smarter students and some such other things. Well I float a more accurate proposal. Grades having been rising since the end of Vietnam, which is also coincidently the arrival of females on campus and the beginning of these "strained" relations. No longer could a fine Gentleman of Notre Dame hit it and quit it across the road. He had to deal with the brazen Daughters who sat next to him in class and ate with him in the dining hall. This meant that he didn't get any anymore, and had more time to focus on his real work. Thus the rise in grades. Maybe? Maybe not. Either way, I'm pretty sure that Domers are less, ah, active, than whatever you call students at Cambridge. Which is a good thing, when 1 in 3 Britons has an STD and teen pregnancy has risen the last two years. And after all, kids, this is Notre frickin Dame, we're all good Catholics right?

Even the Gip wasn't fooling around according to DNA. Now some of those girls on South Quad, that's another story.

It behooves a Domini Canes to bark... Good, St. Thomas

Happy Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas! To celebrate, here are my top ten suggestions:

10. wear black and white
9. begin all disputations with "Sed contra!"
8. compliment deserving friends with "how angelically doctoral of you!"
7. go to Mass
6. resist the temptation to turn your classmates' positions into straw men.
5. Give your best friends nicknames consisting of improperly capitalized nouns (eg, "The Philosopher," "The Commentator," "The Theologian")
4. enjoy your food and drink
3. send a pack of whores packing
2. start all of your best points with a Patristics reference
1. realize that, in the end, all of this is but straw.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I LOVE BLACK PEOPPPPLLLEE! - Jerry Maguire

So last night I was flipping channels and came across Fox News/CNN/MSNBC coverage of the South Carolina Democratic primary. How exciting. Or not, since each station was already predicting a Barack Obama win with only 2% of precincts reporting. We might as well not have actually voting and just go off of exit polls.


Apparently Obama is just a regular black guy.

The big story was that Obama had courted the black vote (80%), and he had won every age demographic. Several months ago Hillary Clinton was leading Obama among African-Americans. But Obama won in South Carolina even among African-American women. Obama could just be the better candidate. But what we will hear is that African-American women identify more with their race than their gender. All kinds of pundits have opined on race and gender in this election. Bill Clinton has suggested that his "wife" has been getting short shrift because she's a woman and Obama is black. But for the life of me I can't figure out why this is such a big deal.

If in fact people like to vote for politicians who look like them or are like them racially at least, then why is Obama such a big deal? He is half white, and his father is Kenyan. He went to a fancy prep school in Hawaii. That's really nothing like the average African-American guy on the street. Clarence Thomas on the other hand is a down-home boy from Georgia, descendent of slaves, raised without a father. Yet Thomas is villified while Obama is loved. Yeah, Obama is more charismatic, but the betrayal that is projected on Thomas is completely unjustified.


Justice Clarence Thomas

I asked my Kenyan roommate if he would vote for Obama and his response was an emphatic "Oh no!" I inquired to why he wouldn't support his "countryman." "Because" was his response. He didn't care to elaborate but I think it's safe to assume that he knows what pollsters and Democrats don't want us to know: the race and gender of a candidate are the least important things (if only because those two factors are beyond a candidate's control whereas other qualifications aren't).

Why would I assume that a woman or a minority candidate can't represent me based solely on those two criteria? Men can represent women just as well as women can represent men, if they have similar political orientations. Jeannette Rankin was elected to Congress by only men. To think that only black people could adequately represent black people and therefore the lack of African-American representation in Congress is because of structural racism, is race baiting. Besides the underrepresentation is only in Congress. There are two African-Americans in the Cabinet: Secretary of State Rice (DomerGirl and fourth in line to be President) and HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. There is one African-American on the Supreme Court. So in two branches of government there is proportional African-American representation. The Congressional Black Caucus just needs to do a better job of getting its members into the Senate and that branch will be proportionally represented too.


DomerGirl

HUD Secretary Jackson

But even this notion of proportionality is misguided. There aren't always available candidates to make every race-conscious voter happy. If it were so that I could only be represented by white men, then what do I do in the situation that was presented to me in November 2006, when my state rep Shirley Horton, was challenged by Maxine Sherrard? Should I not vote and render my opinions useless in the face of the "If you don't vote you can't complain" argument?

Well I did vote. I chose the incumbent and winner Horton (Just to disclose this, Horton is white and Sherrard is black). It should be more important that a candidate share similar beliefs and values with his/her constituency than a race or gender (or even party). I am a non-partisan but I have no problem voting against Dianne Feinstein, not because she is a Jewish woman, but because I don't agree with her positions.

It's important to stop and think when we go to the booth. It would be wrong to vote for a candidate simply because of race, just as it would be wrong to not vote for a candidate simply because of race.