Archive for November, 2006

End Bathroom Segregation Now!

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

I normally don’t reproduce entire articles here, but this one, from ASU’s student newspaper The Appalachian, is just too priceless to edit. It looks like unisex bathrooms are coming to Appalachian State:

Male and female only bathrooms may be a thing of the past at Appalachian State University.

Student Government Association proposed an idea to the Faculty Senate Nov. 13 to convert single-cell gender specific bathrooms into gender-neutral bathrooms.

“[Faculty Senate] passed the [SGA] proposal with little discussion,” Faculty Senate Chair Martha A. Marking said. “I don’t know why anyone would object; everyone needs a private bathroom sometimes.”

The converted bathrooms will offer more privacy as well as a safe restroom for transgender students, Marking said.

Stephanie S. Helmers and Rebecca M. Cole from Housing and Residence Life spoke to students and faculty from around the state at the 2006 Diversity Conference about the issue and the need for gender-neutral bathrooms.

“The students at the conference received the project positively,” Cole said. “I can’t say that is a good representation of the population though, because those students elected to be present at the conference.”

Helmers also drafted a proposal for the establishment of the gender-neutral bathrooms in residence halls.

“The whole campus will benefit from the project,” Cole said. “Students who would normally have to choose a gender-specific bathroom and can’t, now won’t have to.”

This idea is already being experimented within Smith-Wright Hall. One of the faculty restrooms was designated as unisex.

SGA must complete an inventory of the accessible bathrooms around campus before the number of convertible restrooms can be determined.

“We won’t know how many or where we can do them until that inventory is complete,” Design and Construction Director Dr. Clyde D. Robbins said.

No constructional changes are expected for the bathrooms with the exception of new signs on the doors that indicate them as unisex.

SGA is looking into getting student support for the project. They passed out surveys in the library Nov. 13 to get public opinion.

Many hope this project will increase transgender awareness and promote diversity at Appalachian.

“Every little bit helps; any initiative put toward increasing diversity is good,” Cole said. “Students who don’t identify with a gender will recognize that Appalachian wants them to feel welcome and validates who they are.”

Housing and Residence Life is also exploring possibilities in gender-neutral housing that would not assign housing based on gender and designating bathrooms in residence halls as unisex, Cole said.

Geez, I’m glad I’ll be long gone before this policy is implemented.

Where Is Winston?

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Is it 1984 yet?

World Nut Daily

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Exaggeration and hyperbole abound over at World Net Daily, which now claims that illegal immigrants are killing 12 Americans a day, a total of 21,900 since 9/11.

Does anyone really buy this? Well, these guys probably do. But Ed Morrissey – no fan of illegal immigration – does a little research and sets the record straight:

Asinine hardly begins to describe this report. Conservative decry junk science; bad statistics are just as bad. It took me all of 10 minutes to check this data, something that Rep. King apparently couldn’t bother to have his staff do, and a standard fact check that WND declined to perform. It seems that some people will believe almost anything as long as it can be used to demonize illegal aliens.

We need better border security and a plan to end illegal immigration. What we do not need are easily-debunked memes like this floating around, discrediting proponents of border enforcement and painting all of us as benighted haters. Rep. King did us all a disservice and WND once again proved itself more useful for hysterics than truth.

Danny Devito

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Why does anyone care? Seriously, this is not a rhetorical question. I’d really like to know why anyone cares.

Another Putin Critic Sick

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

This time it’s Yegor Gaidar, Russia’s former prime minister and reformer:

Mr Gaidar is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s softer critics and his daughter is a leader of an opposition movement. Mr Gaidar, who heads an economic think-tank in Moscow, has close connections with the government and occasionally advises them on economic matters.

Umm… Maybe I better not offer any commentary…

Bush Seeks to Ease Visa Requirement

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

President Bush announced he will work to ease visa requirements for visitors from certain countries:

President Bush said yesterday he will push Congress for a “loosening” of requirements for foreigners to visit the United States without a visa, pitting him against those who have called for the program instead to be tightened or even scrapped altogether after September 11.

The Visa Waiver Program allows visitors with valid passports from 27 approved countries to enter the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. That makes tourism and business travel easier by eliminating the need for a visa, though such travelers can avoid a security screening.

I think this is a good idea, as long as it is instated logically. I’ll say what many others are afraid to: the citizens of certain countries are more likely to threaten America than others. Saudis shouldn’t be exempt from visas, of course. But your average Brit, Czech, Brazilian, (South) Korean, or Australian with no criminal record or ties to terrorists? I don’t see why not.

Yes, I realize that the possibility exists that someone might slip through the cracks, but shutting ourselves off is not worth it. Besides, if someone wants to get into the U.S., all they need to do is fly to Canada and take a short hike. Requiring everyone to obtain a visa might make us feel better, but it won’t make us much safer.

UPDATE: Here are the 27 countries currently participating in the program. None seem particularly ominous:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Government Is Your Friend

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Not so much, says Dr. Walter E. Williams:

The bottom line: We love government because it enables us to accomplish things that if done privately would lead to arrest and imprisonment. For example, if I saw a person in need, and I took your money to help him, I’d be arrested and convicted of theft. If I get Congress to do the same thing, I am seen as compassionate.

Bush Talks Flat Tax

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Bush is praising a flat tax:

President Bush says the United States should have a simpler tax system. Apparently he has found one he likes – Estonia’s.

In a brief stop in the Baltic nation on Tuesday, Bush managed to tout Estonia’s flat income tax three times.

“They’ve got a tax system here that is transparent, open and simple,” Bush said in Tallinn after getting a look at how Estonian citizens can file their taxes online.

In a toast about an hour later to Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Bush said, “I am amazed to be in a country that has been able to effect a flat tax in such a positive way.”

And before fielding reporters’ questions with Ilves, Bush again praised Estonia’s approach to taxation.

“I appreciate the fact that you got a flat tax, you got a tax system that’s transparent and simple,” he said.

A flat tax is a great idea, and I hope we’ll see an ambitious push for it. It’s a shame Bush didn’t push it when he had more political capital.


Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Political correctness has struck again:

CHICAGO (AP) – A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film “The Nativity Story” might offend non-Christians.

Last time I checked, there is no right not to be offended. My question is why have the festival at all, if Christmas is so offensive?

We Didn’t Start the Fire!

Monday, November 27th, 2006