Archive for School

I’m Back (Re-Redux)

This is, if I haven’t lost count, the third time I’ve had to take an extended hiatus from blogging, and the second time for a surgery. I now have screws, pins, and pieces a dead guy’s hip in my back. So, once again, I apologize for my body’s noncooperation.

Yesterday, I woke up to the news that Al Gore had won the Nobel Prize. Since I can’t add anything to his speech and Stockholm’s decision other than “Yay!”, “Take that, Bush!”, and “Damn, I wish he’d run!”, this post is not about him. Instead, I’m ranting about something a little less time-sensitive.

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Quick Note

There’s a new link on the sidebar: “Collegian Articles.” An article I wrote about pacifism just got accepted by my college’s newspaper, The Collegian, and you can read it there. If I get any more articles published, they’ll go there too.

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On Protest

In my Mass Media class, we were talking about protests, and how they are successful. I think that some people (**cough**anti-WTO folks**cough**) could use to hear what my class came up with. Read the rest of this entry »

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I Have to Gloat

Normally I don’t talk about my life, except insofar as it relates to politics, but I have to be a little egotistical today. I was at a speech and debate tournament Friday and yesterday (with five hours of sleep in between), where my partner and I took 4th in open Worlds Style overall, and I tied for 2nd in speaker points. Not bad for a freshman! Best of all, we won one round by taking the position that art is bad. (Well, at least that high art is bad)

I’ll be back to politics tomorrow, but I have a fair amount of homework to do.

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I just finished my Latin essay. That was pulling teeth. I got it in just under deadline, and just over minimum length. Probably not my best paper, but not my worst, either.

Anyway, I want to give a plug to one of the professors at Willamette: John Doan. I was at his Christmas concert last night, and I was blown away. I knew he could play the harp guitar, but not the tremeloa (a really bizarre Hawaiian instrument)! Anyway, I would really suggest his Christmas album, which is on iTunes.

This post has nothing to do with the fact that I’m taking guitar from him next semester.

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I Hate…

Insomnia. Combine insomnia with an essay in Latin, and it becomes loathing. I’ve had a major case of writers block with my term paper in Latin, and finally came up with a topic: the dichotomy portrayed in Catiline. If it sounds boring, that’s because it is. It might even get me to sleep.

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Ancient Rome, Final Exams, and the Death Penalty

I just finished my first final exam—Latin Prose—and now I only have to write two term papers and study for a chemistry exam. Anyway, for my exam we had to translate a good chunk of Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae (The Catilinarian Conspiracy) and write a “linguistic and historical analysis” of another chunk. Not entirely painless, but not pulling teeth, either.

What brings me to write about this is a speech by Julius Caesar that Sallust quotes. After Catiline, a traitor against Rome, has been discovered, there is a debate in the Senate over whether to execute him (which was illegal, since he was a Roman citizen). After a rather obscure senator named Decimus Silanus (I’m still waiting for Biggus Dickus) makes a speech urging for the death penalty, Julius Caesar—the future emperor of Rome and one of the best prosecutors of the day—makes a speech against the death penalty.

So Caesar was more civilized—2000 years ago—than we are today.

I think anti-death penalty advocates could learn a thing or two from Caesar. He doesn’t dispute that Catiline and his co-conspirators are a threat, or that they deserve death. Instead he says, essentially, “yes, we have the power to revoke the Porcian Law (which protected Roman citizens from execution) but we shouldn’t because it is not worthy of us and will set a dangerous precedent.” I think that we need to refocus the debate on these two arguments. We are honestly getting nowhere with the arguments that capital punishment is unconstitutional (and will get nowhere for some time), or that it doesn’t prevent murder, or that we’re executing innocent people. We need to say that we are a compassionate people, and a nation of just laws. We are not a people that indulges in mob violence, and we are not a nation of retribution. We must say that the death penalty is perfectly legal, but that we ought to rise above petty retribution.

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