God, this weekend has been hell.

God, this weekend has been hell. I worked until the wee hours of the night trying to get my paper on the emergence of right wing groups in France finished. I’m a moron for procrastinating for so long to get the damn thing done. I’m praying to get at least a D on the paper. Fortunately, most of my classmates are in the same boat as I. So I don’t feel as bad as I did this morning. My problem now is dealing with the fact that I probably took too many NoDoz last night in order to stay awake. I feel ill to the point where I want to get sick, but can’t. It’s a severe pain in the ass. I barely slept last night. The 5 pills I took all kicked in at the same time and had me severely whacked out. I’m a dumbass, I know. I’ll be moving into the new apartment tonight. I guess that has compounded things as well. Had I not had to pack up yesterday, I probably could have used the daytime to write my paper instead of staying up so late. Oh well. C’est la vie. I’m hoping I feel a little better later. Anyways, I’m going to take a nap. Check back for another update soon.

A quick update

Progress has been slow on updating this site to the point where I had my old one, and for that I apologize. I’ve got a 15 page paper to wrap up for Methodology before Monday and some packing to do this weekend in preparation for my move on Monday night. Needless to say, this weekend will be rather hectic and I don’t plan on getting much done with the site, if anything at all, until later next week. I appreciate your patience with me as the dust settles. Drop me an email sometime, k?

Referendum Passes

Here’s what we voted on:

FINAL RESULTS LOCAL REFERENDUM

“Shall a one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes of the Columbia County School District (the “School District”) be reimposed within Columbia County for a maximum period of time of 20 calendar quarters, for the purposes of providing funds to pay (1) the cost of acquiring, constructing, and equipping one new elementary school and one new middle school, adding and equipping new classrooms at existing high schools, acquiring land for future schools, adding to, renovating, repairing, improving, and equipping existing school buildings and other buildings and facilities useful or desirable in connection therewith, and acquiring any necessary property therefor, both real and personal, (2) the cost of acquiring instructional and administrative technology improvements for existing schools and acquiring school buses, the maximum cost of the projects described in clauses (1) and (2) above to be $42,067,795, and (3) the cost of retiring a portion of the School District’s General Obligation Bonds, dated September 1, 1976, General Obligation Refunding Bonds, dated December 1,1992, General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 1993, General Obligation Refunding Bonds Series 1994, General Obligation Bonds, Series 1994-A, and General Obligation School Refunding Bonds, Series 1998, by paying or making provision for the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonds coming due on April 1, 2003 through October 1, 2007, in the maximum amount of $27,932,205?”

“If reimposition of the tax is approved by the voters, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of the Columbia County School District in the principle amount of $16,000,000 for the purpose set forth in clause (1) of the above question, to pay capitalized interest incident thereto, and to pay expenses incident to accomplishing the foregoing.”

Final Tally: YES 4841, NO 626

Taken from the Columbia County Website

“So?” you’re probably asking. “What’s the big deal?” Well, for one, it is a good thing that the referendum passed. Columbia County has long been touted as having one of the best school systems in Georgia, and the money the one-cent sales tax generates will definitely be of great benefit to the county and to its schools. It is also a good thing that it passed so overwhelmingly with 4841 voters for the measure and only 626 against. But, when you consider that the number of voters only accounted for roughly 9% of the county’s registered voters, the figure is pitiful. Reports have indicated that the only people who really voted for the measure were primarily teachers and parents with school-aged children.

The county advertised the measure pitifully. Sparse sign placement, random radio announcements and an editorial in the Augusta Chronicle were all that made mention of the measure. It’s no wonder hardly anyone voted. No one knew about it! If they wanted people to participate, they should have advertised the measure better!

I, for one, did vote. I was among the 5,467 voters who did make it out to the polls. Voting is important, regardless of the issue. Why? Because these kinds of things affect the whole county. A one-cent sales tax raises prices, albeit rather insignificantly, but it can possibly make a difference for some people. It’s important to get out there and vote. That’s the whole point of democracy. People that don’t vote shouldn’t bitch, because they didn’t join the few that DID decide.

Letter to the Editor

Sent to the Bell Ringer, Augusta State University’s student newspaper on 3/21/2001:

Marriot Food Service’s decision to trim its services does a great disservice to the faculty, staff and students here at Augusta State University.

I think that the decision to cut the hot line from the school lunch room was a bad idea. Not only can we now look forward to a more limited menu, Marriot Food Services can look forward to an increased loss of business. Do they honestly believe things will get better for them by doing this?

Students are losing their reasons to eat here on campus. Now, you either have pizza, salad, soup or a sub or you go somewhere else with your money. If that’s all the cafeteria has to offer, how many times a week do you think the average student will eat here? Once, maybe, if they even utilize the facility at all. Cutting the hot food line was a very bad idea. Think the lunch room is losing money now? Wait until they see what it is like when it’s not used at all. Fewer people are using Washington Hall now. Think this is a coincidence? I don’t think so. I think this is definitely one decision that needs to be rethought.

The school needs to look for better alternatives to encourage the usage of its facilities. If our school had some sort of swipe card system, we could simply charge meals to a personal account. Something like this could be hooked up to be used on soda and snack machines, in the book store and in both the Washington Hall cafeteria and the Butler Hall snack bar. The Technology Committee has $266,000 to spend before June 30, 2001. Part of it would be wisely spent on developing a system such as this for the University. Making it easier to use the facilities here will probably increase the amount of money coming in and will increase usage. Universities and colleges our size within the University System of Georgia are using these kinds of systems. Why can’t we?

I know the swipe card system is something that has been under some consideration by the university. The Phoenix even recently ran an article on it. Now is the time to move forward. If more adequate services are not provided to our students, we’re not going to have any reasons to stay here. Getting a system such as this in place is a step in the right direction. Let’s not waste this opportunity.

Drivers Beware

I’m not the world’s greatest driver. I’d be lying if I pretended to be. I’ve been in an accident. I’ve gotten multiple speeding tickets. Do I consider myself to be a bad driver? Yes. But I am working on it.

Now that I’ve got that out in the open I shall continue…

Other drivers tend to bother me. And I mean that in a “I HATE OTHER DRIVERS” kind of way. Why, you ask? No one cares about driving anymore. There, I’ve said it. Driving is something we all take for granted. We drive and drive and drive and drive… Many of us forget to use blinkers, we make sudden stops, we cut in front of other cars. We forget that there are other drivers on the road. This in itself is a major problem.

Not a day goes by where I don’t drive past some sort of accident. Minor fender benders here, five car pileup there… it’s insane! People just aren’t paying attention anymore. They lack courtesy. And they’re ruining the road for the rest of us.

I don’t ask for much from other people. I’m not very demanding. But there are a few things I’d like to say today.

  1. Use blinkers. I’m not a psychic. I don’t know if you’re going to go left or right unless you give me some sort of sign. Blinkers are there for a reason, use them.
  2. Yellow doesn’t mean “slam on your brakes”. A yellow traffic light doesn’t mean you need to slam on your brakes. Chances are there will probably be someone behind you. By doing this, you increase the risk of an accident.
  3. A yield sign doesn’t mean stop. I don’t know how many times I’ve been caught behind someone on a highway on-ramp where they’ve stopped at a yield sign. Yield does NOT mean stop. In many cases, yield signs placed in areas near on-ramps tend to be placed around bends of some sort. During any given week, I see at least 1 accident caused by someone careening into another driver who has stopped for no reason at a yield sign. It’s retarded. Learn to merge. Other cars will work with you if you’re smart about it. Speed up or slow down. By completely stopping you impede traffic and increase the risk of an accident.
  4. Go the speed limit. One thing I cannot stand is getting stuck behind someone who refuses to go the speed limit. If you’re in a 55mph zone, that does NOT mean go 40. If you feel compelled to drive slow, let me pass.

Granted, these might be just petty whines, but valid ones. Too many people just don’t pay attention to the flow of traffic these days. Too many people are busy talking on cellphones or applying makeup or writing stuff down or looking for things on the floorboards. Pay attention. I don’t want to die. I’m sure you don’t either. Let’s keep an eye out for each other, k? You watch my back, I’ll watch yours. Together, perhaps, with a little common sense, we can bring safety back into driving.

A Tragic Loss: Dale Earnhardt

I’ve never been a big NASCAR fan. I think, before yesterday, I had only watched maybe two, three hours tops of racing. I’ve even, on occasion, made fun of NASCAR. Having noted this, even I, a non-fan, knew of Earnhardt, and knew of his immense popularity with NASCAR fans. I watched the Daytona 500 yesterday in disbelief as I watched him careen into the wall after getting bumped.

I know most people probably watch NASCAR in the hopes there will be some sort of exciting crash — but this is definitely one of those things that no one could ever have hoped to happen. The world of NASCAR is definitely at a loss with the untimely demise of one their most popular drivers. I’m sorry to see him go. I’m sorry for his family and their tragic loss. I’m sorry for the fans who held Dale so near and dear to their hearts. NASCAR lost a great hero yesterday. He died doing what he loved most, and he will be greatly missed. (Even by non-fans like me.)

Apathy Sucks

Originally appeared in an October 2000 issue of The Bell Ringer:

I think student apathy is a serious problem on campus. It’s going to be the death of this university. This school is what we make of it. Students are the lifeblood of Augusta State. We can make or break this university.

This is my first semester at Augusta State University. I have always felt that it was important to have a well-rounded education. I’m currently taking 12 credit hours. I hate it when I walk around and see so many students disinterested in the future of this school. To them it’s just a place to go to class. For me, it’s become so much more. You see, I’ve gotten involved. I’m a member of the Political Science Club, College Conservatives, Model League of Arab States and I am the Art Director for the Phoenix Magazine. Why did I feel it was important to get involved in activities outside of class? I care about this university. I care about how it’s going to be four years from now when hopefully I’ll walk out of here with a degree in Political Science. I care about the quality of my education. Anything that I can do to make this school a better environment for myself I will do, without question. Anything I can do to help this school become a better environment for my fellow students is even better.

Get involved. Please. Clubs and organizations on this campus exist to give students a voice. They give us forums where we can meet with people with similar interests and do things that create a better atmosphere on this campus. Get involved in a theatre production. Join a faith-based organization. Join a club that relates to your major. Just do something. Take a chance and see what else this school has to offer aside from classes. I’m tired of hearing the excuse that “I don’t have any time” or “I hate being at school any more then I have to.” Sometimes, some things are important enough to dedicate time to. I love everything that the Political Science Club has done so far this semester. We’ve held a mock election, a few voter registration drives… We’re out there… we’re educating people about politics. We are a big part of this university, and I’d like to think we’re having a positive impact. I know some clubs do take a great deal of time out of our lives. I work full-time, attend school full-time and I still try to make time for extra-curricular activities. Sure, most nights I’m not home until 10pm or later, but it’s time well spent.

Find something you love and get involved. If there isn’t a club on campus to suit your interests, start your own. I mean, what bad could possibly come from it? Otherwise, the next time you find yourself bitching about how terrible you think this school is, ask yourself, “Have I done anything to change it?” If you can’t say yes, all I have to say is keep your comments to yourself.

The Right to Protest?

Amendment I – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

A lot of things tend to bother me. None moreso, though, then people’s blatant abuse of our First Amendment rights afforded to us in the Bill of Rights. On my way home from work today, I was listening to NPR (FYI, it was All Things Considered). They were discussing the Democratic National Convention and the riots that went on during last nights proceedings. First off, enough is enough. People get pissed off about the simplest things. It’s one thing to protest and picket peacefully, but when people start vandalizing and throwing rocks and getting into fights – a line has to be drawn.

According to CNN.com six people were arrested after a group of nearly 100 demonstrators started launching rocks and bottles towards police monitoring a concert/protest (courtesy of everyone’s fave Rage Against the Machine). Well, apparently, people want to complain now about how the police handled themselves – as if the demonstrators shouldn’t have to take responsibility for breaking the law, causing general mayhem, etc. When are people going to take responsibility for their actions? If you’re going to be destructive, you deserve to be pepper sprayed and shot at with rubber bullets. A bit much? Sure. But the police need to take whatever precautions necessary to protect the general populace from these mobs of protesters. If this includes throwing tear gas or firing rubber bullets into a crowd, I’ve got to say that I agree with it. We have police for this very reason – to protect us from those that would break the law.

According to CNN, “protesters argued they were not given enough time to comply with police demands. ‘There was no way for people who wanted to leave to get out of that event last night,’ said Jim Lafferty, head of the left-wing National Lawyers Guild. Lafferty said he saw police club people who were scrambling to get out of their way and shoot them in the back with rubber bullets as they fled.”

My reply? They shouldn’t have been doing what they were doing in the first place. Meanwhile, you’ve got all of these ACLU lawyers monitoring the situation just waiting to sue LA Police for doing their jobs. How can they condone wanton destructive violence? How can they not expect the police to react with force? The ACLU threatens litigation if people aren’t provided an area to exercise their First Amendment Rights… If you’ll read carefully the First Amendment above, you’ll see that people are afforded the right to peaceful assembly.

Know why we have problems like this? Because people are disinterested in the political system until it affects them. Wrong answer. People need to get out there and vote. You want change, get involved. Protesting does nothing but disrupt the normal processes of life. Sure, it might deliver a message for a moment or two, but your decisions as an involved citizen can change things for much, much longer. Don’t like George W. Bush or Al Gore as a viable president? Then vote for someone else! Vote for Ralph Nader or Pat Buchanan or someone else! Just be sure to VOTE. It’s sad to think that less then 50 percent of the population in the United States is voting for our leaders… The more that people get involved, the better things will eventually be. This is supposed to be a democracy, isn’t it?

The First Amendment only goes so far. If you want to protest, protest. But don’t let it get out of hand. If you want to see change, get involved. Work towards changing the system.

That’s my two cents, and I’m stickin’ to it.