February 24, 2005

YellowJacket Revisitied

Some of you will remember this wonderful post regarding my thoughts on the YellowJacket roughly a year ago. Well, a comment necromancer has seen fit to respond to my criticisms, and because of the length of my rebuttal, I will post it here and link it there. Comment is in italics and red, my responses are in blue:

That year was a turning point for the YellowJacket as is [sic] went from a polical/opinion- based paper to a student-based paper.

The YellowJacket is and always has been a student-run paper. I would assert that the paper didn't all of a sudden become more student-oriented under the leadership of the aforementioned editorial staff. Rather, it abandoned all pretenses of news outside of LeTourneau (and occasionally news within LeTourneau), instead giving itself over to specialty human interest stories such that the percentage of such things went up and the number of legitimate news articles dropped to virtually nonexistant.

Although the manangement was inexperienced, they were the only leadership the paper was able to acqire.

I will grant that the management was inexperienced and the only management to volunteer for the job at all, though this is largely due to the hiring of an editorial staff in the middle of the semester and a lack of publicity given to the hirings. That aside, this is not by way of excusing our inept former editors, for you didn't see me rushing out to teach LU's Biblical Greek classes when Dr. Farrell retired... I'm simply not qualified. If you know you lack qualifications for a position, you shouldn't apply to do it... and believe me when I tell you that aformentioned staff's attempts at papers sucked horribly. I can blame LeTourneau for not hiring better editors after the abysmal Spring 2003 semester and certainly after the Fall 2003 semester, and I can probably blame the editors for not finding more help or insisting on better quality, but that is neither here nor there. The fact remains that when you examine papers from this particular regime you will notice a pattern: the worst writing was that of the editorial staff. Further, the writings of formerly-competent staff members took on an eerily-mangled quality, almost as if the editors were editiing the quality out of the pieces rather than editing the mistakes out.

Those women did the best job that was possible with their background.

What does that statement even mean? Are you saying that they lacked training in creating a newspaper? I was at the organizational meetings for the beginning of their regime, and I know they had a variety of skilled former editors and faculty and staff advisors at their disposal, ready to be asked for help. Are you saying that they lacked requisite knowledge and ability in writing and editing stories and in managing writers? If so, why did they apply at all?

If they didn't try, then there probably wouldn't have been a paper at all.

False. LeTourneau relies upon the YellowJacket primarily as proof that there are student organizations such as a student newspaper and it simply wouldn't have been allowed to go defunct.

Because of their efforts, the YellowJacket is now a student-based paper and is not controlled by the opinion of the editors a few years back.

LeTourneau's student newspaper, such as it is, is more or less a Constituitional Monarchy where LeTourneau sets the ground rules and leaves the editorial staff their own little fief within which to rule. The YellowJacket has always been a puppet dancing in the hands of the editorial staff, and it probably always will. LU reserves the right to take the puppet and relocate it to another puppetteer, and some puppetteers allow more editorial freedom to their writers, but in the end, the paper is not a democracy.

Beyond all of that, I challenge you to consult the newspaper archives some time. As a senior, I remember when the paper was published every two weeks, held quality news and human-interest stories, and was as respectable as it's been. Not that it isn't respectable now in just about every sense that it was then... just slightly less regular in publication.

Instead of criticising the efforts of the editors, why didn't you step in and correct the problem yourself? Don't complain if you are not going to do anything about change.

For a period of time I was a member of the YellowJacket staff under the regime to which you pay homage. I tried to help be a voice of reason along with a few others, and these complaints largely fell on deaf ears. And then I saw the first issue and realized that I would do more harm to my academic credibility by having my name attached to such rubbish than I could possibly accomplish any good by the current editorial staff. Quite possibly one of the best things I contributed was a voice of a dissatisfied student to the then-chair of the Print Publications Committee.

In short, I reject your assertions that the YellowJacket was anything other than a terribly abortive effort that should have been put out of its misery under the aforementioned editorial leadership. To allow it to perpetuate was unfair to the students and probably did harm to the University's image. Further, to assert that the editorial staff in this case was anything other than fully responsible for unquestionable lack of quality noted by the original post is whimsical and foolish.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:35 AM | TrackBack

February 23, 2005


When I see the title "Women fall victim to salary penalties", I feel a need to check it out. Maybe it's the skeptic in me, could be the news junkie, perhaps the chauvinist, who knows...

Factually speaking, women earn less than men do. Much of that is due to the fact that men don't take time off to have kids, they don't tend towards part-time jobs, they tend to opt for higher-paying jobs than women and they are rarely out of work except as a result of lay-off or a job change. That isn't to say that there isn't some discrimination out there, but it's a hard thing to put a finger on and any statistics that are tossed around on this topic are going to be heavily biased due to the mitigating factors I've just listed.

But here's a bit of interesting statistical work:*
"Professional women who put careers on hold for family or other reasons earn 18 percent less once they return to the workforce"
"Nearly four in 10 of those surveyed said they have intentionally chosen a job with fewer responsibilities and lower pay in a trade off for having the time for family life."

So what they're saying is that though women earn, on average, 18% less than they did when they left the work force, roughly 40% of the women returning to the work force are choosing to take a pay cut. Is that screwing your statistics up? You better believe it is. Not to mention this nice little statistic:

"Of those who rejoined the working ranks after stepping away, just 40 percent return to full-time, professional jobs. About one in four take part-time jobs, and about one in 10 go to work for themselves, all choices often involving lower pay."

In short, less than half of the women who leave the workforce return in the same capacity, the others are taking intentional pay cuts in the short turn. But yet "women fall victim to salary penalties." To be a victim, you must be falling prey to something that his outside of your control, not making a willful decision and facing the known consequences.

I hate sensationalistic, factually-questionable news.

*Note: all quotations containted within this post are taken from the news story linked above

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:46 PM | TrackBack

February 22, 2005

A New Category

Considering the number of strange news stories that I've been finding that really don't qualify as "Warped Links" material, I am starting a new category: the WTF Files.

Today's submission is courtesy of Ma Hoyt, and it involves a 10-day suspension for a 7th-grader who tossed a rubber band to his teacher and had it categorized as "Class 4 Assault" on par with a bomb threat. Go figure.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:41 PM | TrackBack

Academic Credibility?

If you're an academic who is attempting to battle what you perceive as American ethnocentricity proliferating world-wide, what would you do? Not that you necessarily see a whole lot of it outside of America, but you're trying to make sure that the American perspective isn't the only perspective available.

Well... if you're Jean-Noel Jeanneney of the National Library of France, you attempt to decry Google's honest attempts at increasing the amount of information available on the internet as reflecting a "unipolar worldview dominated by the English language and American culture."

Never mind that the internet is one of the best things to happen to information and education since the invention of the printing press. Never mind that Google is merely working with its five American partner libraries as a first step. Never mind that Google is working to ensure the respect of academic copyright and is going the extra mile to honor academic integrity. Never mind all of that... Jeanneney is going to bite the hand that is feeding academia because its first attempts at helping weren't diverse enough.

Look, I understand that an Anglo-centric and Euro-centric perspective is a bad idea. The rest of the world and America especially could benefit a lot from a diversity of information from various information sources of varying perspective. But everyone has to start somewhere, and I can't help but thinking that it's a whole lot easier for an American company with an American staff that is predominantly English-speaking would have a much easier time starting up this way and expanding its program to include foreign-language works in other countries. And I would think that an academic who was inclined to commend the short-term effects of Google's work would be intelligent enough to realize that it's far easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar.

Even bearing in mind that Jeanneney is at the forefront of mobilizing a digitization effort of European libraries, heaping unwarranted abuse on Google's doorstep is probably not going to accomplish much. If anything, this will disincline potential partners who come realize that the president of the National Library of France is a cantankerous and abrasive individual and that better partners may come from any number of other European libraries. Maybe I'm just reading a bit too much into this, but if I were the president of a library, I would like to think that I would have learned enough tact and political savvy not to go off and start publicity firestorms like this.

Just my $.02

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:34 PM | TrackBack

February 21, 2005

Old Floormate

Once upon a time, Toad and I had a floormate whose personal hygiene and social skills degenerated to the point that he was being outdone by braindead vegetables. It didn't start out that way, but through a steady stream of MMORPG abuse, he ceased showering and disposing of trash such that his room smelled like an open sewage pit and we took to closing his door for him so the smell would diminish. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I've just found Gary!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:45 PM | TrackBack

Ready-Made Insanity Plea

I would like to thank Tim for sending me this link to my favorite news story to date of the year.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:37 PM | TrackBack

February 17, 2005

Another Good Quiz

Jared passed this one along to me. I'm always amused and pleased when a quiz comes out with really accurate results like this one did.

Which Mix of the Hogwarts Houses are You?

You're a Slytherdor! You are a natural leader and have the personality
to back it up. Often people are hesitant to approach you because they
feel that you will reject them. You have a bit of a temper but most of
the time you're able to keep it in check; however when you are really
pissed off, people better watch out. In your life you have a lot of
things you want to accomplish, whether it's for yourself or another
cause. You can be determined in trying to pursue this goal but your
morals are too steady to allow you to be absolutely ruthless. You don't
let many people know this, but you actually like the idea of chivalry
(but you try to keep this buried) and you try to live your life with
honor. You don't back away from tough decisions. Your weakness is
that sometimes you can be arrogant, you forget about the 'lesser
people' and this leads you to underestimate your opponents. With the
charisma of a Gryffindor and the ambition of a Slytherin you can be
great in life!

brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:15 AM | TrackBack

February 14, 2005

Happy Schmoopy Day

As a very happy man who has three months of bachelorhood remaining, I must say that today is a great day to consider all of my many blessings, especially that of my future wife. May you find yourself equally and abundantly blessed either today or in some day hence.

Because I really can't let Valentine's Day pass without posting something sappy.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:24 PM | TrackBack

Happy Massacre Day

This is my second Valentine's Day with a wench... and my last as an unmarried man. To those single people out there, I empathize and bring you a link to Wilson's list. Even if you've read it before, I encourage you to read it again... the list is very worthwhile.

And for those of you unfortunate enough to not have known me back in the day when I was a more verbal chauvinist, I bring an excerpt from the forum flame-war that more or less led to my close friendship with Anna, which in turn led to where I am now... but anyways, here you are:

Being as that the Shadow Council more or less runs itself these days, I have decided that I will be pursuing other things in addition, so that I don't get slow or dull on my rhetoric.

The idea of returning to the halcyon days of yore when men ruled the land as they should and women held their tongues has always appealed to me. Recently, I have begun to explore the feasibility of making such a change and it occurred to me that even should I control the government in an autocracy, I would need something more. Just because women are relegated to their proper state as second-class citizens doesn't mean that they won't continue to stir up dissension and create problems for my regime.

And then, as is with all problems, the solution came to me. The control of all forms of media would be my tool. Primarily, the constant barrage of the news media and entertainment would reinforce my message of truth. Feminist literature and the like would be banned and burned. As a cautionary measure, women would be forbidden to read, but this would take some time to implement. In the meanwhile the state-run media would pervade all of life. I honestly don't think it would take much to return peoples' minds to the proper frame of reference with the use of that media...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:11 PM | TrackBack

February 13, 2005

Angry Public

Do you know what happens when you screw over a bunch of teenaged girls who are trying to do a good deed? Turns out, I'm not the only one who was outraged after reading about this nonsense. Check out this article about the outpouring of angst towards crazy old Wanita Young and the radio station that raised the money to pay for the lawsuit. I know this could be a nasty case of vigilante justice, but I can't help but be proud of the public for hating on Mrs. Young... especially after she keeps proving how stupid and obnoxious she is with her public comments.

Here's a quote that indicates just how clueless the hateful Young family is:

"It's horrible, nobody has heard our side," said Herb Young, adding the couple has had to hire a lawyer. "I don't believe the girls meant for this to happen. But they could have prevented it from happening if they had just shut their mouths when they came out of (small claims) court. Now they are caught in something they can't control."

The public hates her... go figure.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:51 PM | TrackBack

February 12, 2005

Women In Space?

Russia says no.

"Nowadays we keep our women here on earth. We love our women very much; we spare them as much as possible. However, in the future, they will surely work on board space stations, but as specialists as doctors, as geologists, as astronomers and, of course, as stewardesses." Andrian Nikolayev, Russian Cosmonaut
Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:33 PM | TrackBack

February 09, 2005

Baggy Pants Illegal?

Virginia's legislators must be running out of intelligent laws to enact and important problems to solve, because in their attempts to pad their hours in session, they felt the need to pass this nonsense.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:24 PM | TrackBack

February 04, 2005

Bad Names

You want to see the signs that there are evil people in the world today? Look no further than here. All I can say is there are all sorts of words that wouldn't even begin to describe the mount of animousity I feel towards that woman....

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:03 PM | TrackBack

February 02, 2005


Today marks the official beginning of the Jihad against Inanity in Digital Communication. The chief object of my ire is the idiom "lol" which I have taken to be an indicator of a flighty, pre-pubescant mindset.

Geoff Barbour is public enemy #1. He has been kind enough to confess to me (under methods consistent with the Geneva Convention, I assure you) that Paige, Sharpton (AKA "The Reverend Al", "Sharptor", "Adam West", "Adam West-erano" "Sharptiano" and "Conan") and Melby (AKA "Stud") are also enemies of the intelligent electronic expression of thought.

If you happen to communicate with these or any other parties and they use retarded AOL-speak or just pre-teen babble, be kind enough to grouch at them for the sake of our language.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:15 PM | TrackBack

February 01, 2005

Turbotax Returns

Ever wonder what would happen if a company printed a phone sex hot-line as their 800 number. Intuit (the makers of Turbotax) found out the hard way.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:24 PM | TrackBack