succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, April 11, 2003

So I finally did it - I e-mailed Emory and told them I would accept their offer of admission. I received the following reply from their dept. secretary:

"Yippeeeee!!!!!! I knew you couldn't resist the chocolate!! ;)"

I am totally going to fit in there. :-) So that makes it official, sometime this summer my address will be changing over to Atlanta, GA.

Thursday, April 10, 2003


"April 10, 2003 | President George W. Bush signed the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act into law last Dec. 4, authorizing $3.3 billion in economic, political, humanitarian and security assistance for Afghanistan over the next four years. The next month, Bush submitted the 2003 budget authorization to Congress but requested slightly less than that.

As in: $0.00.

"The administration anticipated that Congress would put it in," explains a sympathetic congressional source. "So they low-balled it."

That's for sure. Congressional staffers quickly penciled in $295 million, but that still wasn't enough. "The request in the administration's appropriations bill does not come near fully funding the bill that we passed in [the Senate Foreign Relations] Committee and the president signed into law," the bill's chief author, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., tells Salon. "It does not come near it."

As we consider reconstruction plans in Iraq, and the administration promises to democratize the country, it's worth taking a look at our "liberation" of Afghanistan. A year later, many of the atrocities we thought we'd stopped still continue, and even Bush's allies in the Senate and Afghanistan think we have undercommitted to efforts that could truly change that country for the better. "

Ok, so Salon is an incredibly liberal source for news. But fact is fact - our administration promised one level of support, then delivered something totally different. Is it a good thing that we're providing Afghanistan with as much money and support as we are? Definitely. Could we do more? Perhaps. Should we avoid making promises that we cannot (or do not intend) to keep? Certainly. This is my fear about Iraq. We keep telling everyone that we're over there to liberate the poor Iraqi civilians. But what sort of historical precedent have we set? What reason have we given the Iraqi people to believe that we will carry through and actually help them improve their lives and their country? Our stated purpose may be noble, but I fear our ability to carry it out is lacking. I hope I'm wrong.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Mortified. Replied to an e-mail from the director of graduate studies at emory, thinking it was from U. Mich., declining offer of acceptance. Wouldn't have even realized my error if Marsha, the dept. secretary, hadn't sent a friendly e-mail saying they were diappointed. Quickly e-mailed back huge apology, begged them to keep slot open, since that's currently where I really want to go. Though I clearly do not deserve to go to graduate school at all if I cannot be bothered to read people's return addresses. I am a moron.

There's an interesting column in the NY Times today by Maureen Dowd (read the entire thing here She's not someone I read regularly, but Amelia pointed to her column in her blog, and Amelia usually points to interesting stuff, so I surfed over and read it. Anyway, Dowd said this about our current administration:

"Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were determined to lead America out of its post-Vietnam, post-Mogadishu queasiness with force and casualties, to change the culture to accept war as a more natural part of a superpower's role in the world."

And it reminded me of something my friend Mark said in his blog (wow, all this reference to blogs, you'd think I never speak to anyone in person...oh, wait, I don't). And I'm worried that it's working, our society is becoming less and less freaked out by the fact that Bush and his cronies are already casting glances at Iran and North Korea for our next "pre-emptive strike." Some people do seem to be accepting war as just another thing that goes along with being a "superpower." Please don't get me wrong, and please don't label me a peacenik. I'm realistic about the fact that there is a certain kind of peace that can only be achieved on the other side of war. But I am also realistic about the fact that war should only be an absolute last resort, that war is never quick or easy, and that war is always devastating. What's wrong with being queasy about using force that results in casualties? Nothing in this world teaches us that killing is acceptable. Except the government.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Blah. Been so caught up in my own stuff lately that I haven't been a very good or thoughtful friend. And I know my friends love me, so they understand, but that doesn't make it ok. So this is my semi-public apology, to the one friend who will certainly shrug this off, say I did nothing wrong, and the other who would never admit to hurt feelings. I know it was kind of a small thing, but it was thoughtless nonetheless. Love you guys.

Well, so far we're tied at one vote for gut and one vote for head. The slightly longer explanation of my dilemma goes like this:

I'm pretty sure that I want to go to Emory, I feel like I fit in with the attitude of the profs and students of that department more than at UNC. But the dept. at UNC is pretty much unequivocally better, so I feel like I *should* go there. Not that Emory has a bad department, it's just younger and smaller and second tier. I feel like it's also hungrier, and therefore more likely to continue to climb in the rankings and improve its reputation. But what if I'm wrong? I don't have a lot of faith in my judgement. And it's not like I'd be *unhappy* in Chapel Hill, I just think I'd be *less* happy. But I guess the fact that I spent half an hour today searching the internet for apartments in Atlanta, I've already made up my mind. Much as I'd like to pretend that I haven't. Still, I'd really love to hear other's opinions on the matter, if for no other reason than to do a better job of justifying my decision to myself.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Back in Cleveland, after the weekend in Chapel Hill, NC. Now I have this decision to make. Gut says one thing, head says another. Which do I listen to? Currently taking votes...majority rules.