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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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‘Fool of the Year’ finalists announced

According to www.dictionary.com, a fool is “one who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.” On this April Fool’s Day, I present the nominations for my first annual “Madison Fool of the Year” award.

Nominees are people or organizations that have displayed especially foolish behavior in the past year. Myself, my fellow employees and our families are ineligible to avoid any conflict of interest. Here they are, in no particular order:

The usual suspects: This group started the year protesting Memorial Union’s anniversary, demanding LTEs be converted to full time. They moved on to cry for better bennies for Teaching Assistants (without regard to their grasp of English).

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Now the war to oust Saddam Hussein has supplied the usual suspects with more marchers and more media coverage. With a new cause and new numbers, they looked less foolish in the weeks gearing up for war than they usually do.

Then they began burning Army recruitment brochures in University Square. Not convinced they should be nominated? The Army recruitment office that was their target wasn’t even open. Still not convinced? They continue to use the “Books Not Bombs” slogan as they try and convince state legislators they should spend more money on post secondary education (the same education they are missing to attend the protests).

Police supervising protests: I wasn’t at the brochure burning (I was working and paying taxes to pay the professors whose classes the usual suspects were missing), but according to reports, police broke out the pepper spray after protestors chanted for the release of their arrested comrade.

First, why not just give the pyromaniac a citation and be done with it? The disorderly conduct charge seems a little trumped up considering there is no orderly conduct at these protests to begin with.

Second, were the usual suspects really so threatening as to necessitate the pepper spray? I am not a large dude, but I have yet to see one peace activist I didn’t think I could knock out cold with little effort. They’re pacifists, for goodness sake! Kick them in the shins and then try and find some real crime to fight (another Kollege Klub raid doesn’t count).

PACE: We haven’t heard much from these folks lately as they have hunkered down to hammer out policies for house parties. Still, their statistical analysis and crusade to end drink specials last semester begs the question, “Who is the greater fool: PACE, or those who follow PACE?”

Supporting PACE’s nomination is the fact that their studies correlating bar-time violence and drink specials fail to address hundreds of variables including age and culture of crowds, bar capacity and proximity to other event venues. Local bar owners pre-empted PACE’s efforts with a voluntary weekend ban. A smart move, but if bar owners don’t bring back specials after this study period disproves the link between 2-for-1 rails and bar fights, they may be up for the award next year.

ASM: A round of applause to ASMers Joe Laskowski and Josh Orton for their foolish arguments in an attempt to throw out the 4,000 signatures from students who are sick of seeing their seg-fees blown by an increasingly out of touch student government.

Opt-out supporters have asked student groups and their hacks in ASM, “What are you so afraid of?” Of course they are afraid students will not contribute to these special interest groups if given the chance to abstain and they will all loose their internships.

I understand their motivation, but their paternalistic “We know how to spend your money better than you” argument is pure foolishness. Stealing a line from the usual suspects I ask, “What about democracy?”

Recording Industry Association of America: They continue to sue every new incarnation of Napster, taking their battles over seas when necessary. Meanwhile I write this column listening to Radiohead’s new “Hail to the Thief,” two months before its slated release.

RIAA’s lawsuits are foolish because they don’t address the fundamental problem facing record executives: The general public no longer respects copyright laws in the age of digital piracy.

RIAA needs to wise up to this fact, get rid of the lawyers and start spending that money to come up with a new business model. That, or go on a guilt offensive until college students everywhere start loosing sleep knowing Thom York and company are living in a cardboard box due to slipping album sales.

So there you have it: the 2002-2003 nominees for “Madison Fool of the Year.” To vote for your favorite, drop the committee (me) an e-mail. The winner will be announced at a grand ceremony to be held at a location to be announced at a time in the near future.

A.J. Hughes ([email protected]) is a software developer and UW graduate.

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