Tuesday, February 27, 2007

March, march on down the field for old DePauw..

News from my alma mater:
Sorority Evictions Raise Issue of Looks and Bias

New York Times

GREENCASTLE, Ind. — When a psychology professor at DePauw University here surveyed students, they described one sorority as a group of “daddy’s little princesses” and another as “offbeat hippies.” The sisters of Delta Zeta were seen as “socially awkward.”

Worried that a negative stereotype of the sorority was contributing to a decline in membership that had left its Greek-columned house here half empty, Delta Zeta’s national officers interviewed 35 DePauw members in November, quizzing them about their dedication to recruitment. They judged 23 of the women insufficiently committed and later told them to vacate the sorority house.

The 23 members included every woman who was overweight. They also included the only black, Korean and Vietnamese members. The dozen students allowed to stay were slender and popular with fraternity men — conventionally pretty women the sorority hoped could attract new recruits. Six of the 12 were so infuriated they quit.

“Virtually everyone who didn’t fit a certain sorority member archetype was told to leave,” said Kate Holloway, a senior who withdrew from the chapter during its reorganization.
This is particularly troublesome story for DePauw, even though the university was not involved. Why? Because some 85% of the students are involved in the Greek system (hey, it's an Indiana town of 6500 people!)

The system has always been screwy. I never could have been a Beta or a Phi Psi (rich face men), I didn't want to be a Sigma Nu (the offensive line) or a Delta Upsilon (stoner losers). I found my perfect niche at Alpha Tau Omega, the book jocks, the guys that girls wanted to study with but not go out with. This "bias" was built into the often insidious process known as rush.

But this story is devastating to the university at just the wrong time. First of all, high school seniors are making their final college decisions now, and beyond that, the obvious--even though it is an outside entity, the national sorority, the stories create the image of shallowness and elitism.

Sight Seen

Yup, a bumper sticker on a pickup truck this morning:

George Allen for President 2008

There's a collector's item for you!

The enemy of my enemy

is a bad shot.

I'm sure you've all heard about the bomb that went boom near Shooter in Afghanistan. Frankly, I don't know why the Taliban would try to kill him - after all, they both hate freedom and are slaves to fundamentalist idealogies. Not to mention, this will only piss off people (ie, Shooter and McFlightsuit) who are known to have invaded Iraq partly because Saddam tried to kill McFlightsuit's dad, who have access to the world's largest supply of nuclear weapons, and who believe that they are subject to no laws. I'm sure that somewhere, there's a wingnut arguing that this means that we should nuke Tehran, just to prove a point. (The point being, of course, that America is run by psychopaths.)

Now, one could say (and I'm going way out on a limb here) that if we had finished the job in Afghanistan, the Taliban would have been weakened, Al Qaeda would have lost a huge revenue source (the larger-than-ever opium fields), and we'd have a military capable of responding to threats. Don't expect to hear that from anyone associated with the administration or the media, though - it requires actual thought.

It also provides us a lesson as to why growing the national debt at a rate so fast that mathematicians have had to invent new ways of counting to deal with it is a bad idea. Lead story on CNN.com - "Dow tumbles after China selloff: U.S. stocks plunged today after stocks in China and Europe slumped and investors digested the news that Vice President Dick Cheney was the target of a Taliban suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan. Cheney wasn't hurt. The Dow was down more than 133 at one point. China's stocks fell 9 percent, the worst one-day selloff in a decade."

There's an assassination attempt against the US VP, China goes nuts, and our stocks tumble.

And hey - if Americans want a personal reason (other than the dead people, of course, since they're depressing) to oppose the war in Iraq - the failure to finish the job in Afghanistan just made retirement portfolios all over the country tumble.