Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What have I been up to lately? Apparently the answer is "nothing interesting"

I've been pretty bad about keeping up with the regular updates lately. But it's not out of spite, or even out of a general laziness that permeates all that I do. Rather, I've just been really, really busy. Not busy doing anything interesting, or I'd have all sorts of blog posts on the interesting things I've been doing.

So instead of trying to figure out somehting interesting to write about from my rather un-intersting life, I figured I'd give the people what they want: Bill O'Reilly acting like a complete jackass. Apparently, he has a hard time believing that that black people can eat dinner without swearing.

Read it. It's well worth your time. Then, when you're done reading it, remember that this guy is one of the highest rated news anchors in America, and ponder what that means for the fate of our dear nation.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

They're nothing but a bunch of sumbitches, I tell you...

In yet another sickening development, this morning President Bruininks, Provost Sullivan, and the Board of Regents sent a student to the hospital.

Background? Several students, faculty, and staff have been on a hunger strike since monday, vowing not to eat until the U finally gives AFSCME a fair contract. This morning, one hunger striker (I'm going to withhold the name until we find out how they're doing) collapsed and was taken to the emergency room. Updates have been hard to come by, but I'll keep you all posted.

If you would like to give a call to any of these folks and ask them why they are sending students to the hospital because they refuse to pay their workers the money allocated to them, you can contact them at the following places:

Please note that by including their home addressess, I'm am NOT advocating any illegal activity. But if you'd like to stop by in a very neighborly way and ask them for a cup of sugar and decent wages, by all means, feel free

Update: Check out the hunger strikers website.

"Honorable" Patricia S. Simmons
600 McNamara Alumni Center
200 Oak Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-2020
(507) 289-0616

"Honorable" Anthony R. Baraga
Box 26
Side Lake, MN 55781
(218) 254-3559

"Honorable" Dallas Bohnsack
5550 Bohnsack Way
New Prague, MN 56071
(952) 758-2140

"Honorable" Maureen Cisneros
1062 Ottawa Avenue
West St. Paul, MN 55118
(651) 353-2387

"Honorable" Linda Cohen
2402 Oakland Road
Minnetonka, MN 55305
(952) 544-1817

"Honorable" John Frobenius
3008 Dunbar Road
St. Cloud, MN 56301
(320) 255-9951

"Honorable" Clyde E. Allen, Jr.
Vice Chair
318 44th Avenue S.
Moorhead, MN 56560
(218) 236-7213

"Honorable" Venora Hung
2445 Manchester Drive
Golden Valley, MN 55422
(612) 625-6300

"Honorable" Steven D. Hunter
175 Aurora Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55103
(651) 227-7647

"Honorable" Dean Johnson
3228 Eagle Ridge Drive W
Willmar, MN 56201
(320) 235-6815

"Honorable" David M. Larson
Cargill, Incorporated
15615 McGinty Road W
Wayzata, MN 55391
(952) 742-7411

"Honorable" David R. Metzen
273 Salem Church Road
Sunfish Lake, MN 55118
(651) 455-3020

President Bruininks
Office Address: Ofc Of the President
202 MorH
100 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Provost Sullivan
Office Address: Acad Affairs and Provost
234 Morrill Hall
100 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The next best thing...

Baseball fans in Minnesota are more than familiar with Legovision, the far-superior mode of watching highlights. However, with Bat Girl's saddening departure from the scene, we've been left with nothing.

Until now. Check out the infamous Mookie Wilson v. Bill Buckner showdown rendered in exquisite 8-bit glory, courtesy of RBI baseball and people with too much time on their hands. Go about 7'15" in for the infamous play.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Shutting down the Board of Regents, 101

In a community-service learning project this morning, the Student Solidarity Committee stormed the weekly Board of Regents meeting with the demand that the University meet the terms the striking AFSCME clerical, technical, and medical staff have asked for.

During a question and answer session, one student asked president Bob Bruininks why he won't give the workers a decent wage. When the Board refused to acknowledge the question, the students chanted "Shame on you! Shame on you! Give a fair contract at the U!" at which point in time the Board cowardly fled the room rather than answer for their money-grubbing practices. Then 5 of the demonstrators were arrested apparently for being the 5 closest to the police, because no explanation was given as to why 5 random people from the crowd of over 100 were arrested.

One board member, Steven Hunter, had the guts to stay and talk to the students, though it must be noted that he is the Treasurer/Secretary of the AFL-CIO in Minnesota. Through him, the students negotiated a truce with the Board that held that the students would sit quietly and not disrupt the meeting as long as the Board agreed to at least discuss the strike.

When the Board members finally returned to the room almost an hour later, Hunter read a weak, 3 minute long statement about how all sides want the strike to end as soon as possible, and that maybe the U should think about giving the workers a decent wage. After this, Board of Regents Chair Patricia Simmons called the meeting back to its regular schedule. When the students became upset at the bold-face lie of the Board in its refusal to even discuss the strike and began chanting "Shame on you!", the Board cowardly fled again down a back elevator to a van waiting for them and called off the rest of their meeting.

All of the students then left with a vague sense of wonder as to why the Board of Regents can't even answer the simple question of why they refuse to intervene on behalf of the workers, who are only asking for the pay the state Legislature already earmarked for them.

This may not be the last the Board hears form the Student Solidarity Committee...

If you'd like to be involved in the strike, please come to the weekly community Strike Support meeting at strike headquarters (University Baptist Church, at the corner of 13th and University) and/or come to the next meeting of the Student Solidarity Committee this monday at 4:30 at May Day books (in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Devil's Pie Chart

A theoretical breakdown of the greatest rock song ever written, via Big Pappas:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fuck Univeristy Intimidation

I received the following e-mail form a lackey of Provost Sullivan today:

Dear Jesse

Executive Vice President and Provost Tom Sullivan asked that our office respond to your concerns about the email you received from him regarding possible strike issues. The purpose of the email was to be as informative as possible with respect to both the legal obligations and University expectations of all those with teaching responsibilities.

The Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA) explicitly requires non-striking University of Minnesota employees to report to work in the event of a strike by another union. In addition, under PELRA, non-striking University employees who refuse to report to work as directed, are absent from any portion of their work assignment without permission, or who abstain wholly or in part from the full performance of their duties, are considered to be engaged in an illegal sympathy strike and are subject to discipline. The reasons for requiring classes to be held on campus, and the University's expectations in that regard, are set forth in the email you received, and we expect those University employees with teaching responsibilities to carry them out as assigned.

We certainly appreciate your and others' desire to be supportive of the striking employees. However, you must do so consistent with your University obligations. The two are not mutually exclusive. We encourage you to explore other ways in which you can lend your support to the strikers while fulfilling your assigned teaching obligations.

Shelley Carthen Watson
Associate General Counsel
University of Minnesota
360 McNamara Alumni Center
200 Oak Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: 612/624-4100 Fax: 612/626-9624

To which I sent the following reply:

This is an interesting stance that the University has taken, but it is both morally reprehensible and legally questionable. While I'm well familiar with PELRA, it in no way applies to the current situation.

By taking classes off-campus we are not striking. A strike would be a refusal to work, e.g. not holding class. We are instead following our legal right to not cross a legally recognized picket line. It is actually the University who would be in violation of PELRA by disciplining faculty and staff who refuse to cross a legal picket line.

Furthermore, there has been no explanation of why this rule has not been enforced before. If there is something about the University course that it must be taught on-campus at all times, why have not the many faculty who have previously taken classes off-campus been disciplined? I have personally had multiple professors hold classes off-campus for a variety of reasons, but nothing ever happened and they most certainly did not receieve thinly veiled threats from the Provost.

It is incredibly humorous that the University officials paint themselves as the ones operating in the parameter of the law when you are implying that you will fire anyone who practices their completely legal right to not cross a legally recognized picket line.

If I were you folks, I'd start worrying about counter legal action, because there are far more people than me who are upset about the University illegally trying to pressure us into crossing picket lines.

Or, you know, you could develop a heart or even the most basic level of human compassion and simply pay these people a living wage. Either one is fine by me.
Jesse Wozniak

I know it will not amount to anything (or even be read by anyone), but I figure if they can threaten us for no reason, well, the least I can do is threaten them right back.

But as always, for more info, be sure to check out uworkers.org for updates.

Also, if you can spare it, be sure to donate to the strike fund. The union doesn't have a pre-existing strike fund for its workers, so many of these folks are going on strike knowing full well that they may not be getting a paycheck for sometime now. The least you can do is chip in a few bucks and help out, ain't it?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

This one is for the li'l guys

I'm sure you've already heard this, but in case you haven't, the back-to-back Football Championship Subdivision (f/k/a I-AA) Appalachian State Mountaineers won a shocker over national powerhouse #5-ranked Michigan 34-32.

Coming from an FCS school (that has produced two NFL MVPs in the past 15 years), I couldn't be more happy. I've often held that the best of our league could hold their own against the best of the big kids league. And today, the ol' App Mountaineers proved it to be true.

So the sincerest thank you from the bottom of my heart to those guys, for giving fans of the little guy something to hang their hat on for quite some time to come.

Go Mountaineers!