I've been debating about making this post for a long while. I really enjoy the concept of the California Patriot. Though the writing can be hit and miss, they've had some really good writers since I've been reading, quality can, of course, vary. And though I have my gripes with the magazine (this month's art comes to mind), the thing that irritates me the most about the Patriot right now is the blog.
Don't get me wrong: the blog is a fantastic idea. And the primary blogger, Pat Rodriguez, is fantasitc! If there was such a thing as a "professional blogger," this guy should do it. The problem came when he opened the floor to other bloggers and got three more: Ben Chapman, Chris Page, and Mickey Klein.
Let's look at what each writer's focus is on: First, Chris Page covers the ASUC beat. A tough job to be sure, and I'm grateful to him for doing it. Thank God someone does. Pat's a fairly strong Libertarian, fiscally conservative, yadda, yadda, yadda, but mainly covers Berkeley-related topics, which is essential. And like I said, I've loved his work since he started. Ben, well, I'm not really sure about much of his politics. He's definitely fiscally conservative, but he hasn't written about much else. He knows history. And finally, Mickey: an extremeley vocal Libertarian who often criticizes Bush, opposes the war in Iraq, and strives to legalize pot.
So what's my problem? In short, balance. Libertarians are dramatically over-represented. Where's a social conservatives? Where's a hawk? Where's a Bush supporter? What's missing from the blog is someone who is a mainstream conservative who's not a Libertarian. Mickey's arguments especially sound like they're from the left, and no one on the blog counters them. The Patriot is supposed to be a Conservative magazine, not a Libertarian one, but it is sliding in that direction.
This isn't to say that no Libertarians should be represented; indeed, often they make good points and spur debate. But there isn't anyone on the blog to counter those arguments, and that is where problems arise. (Side note: It irks me doubly since I know both the Opinion Editor and the EiC are more libertarian than traditional conservative, and when my own article got, err, slightly disrespected in the last issue; it makes a cynic like me wonder if this is intentional.)
"So John, you're a good guy, why don't you write and fix their problem?" Ah yes, the "stop bitching and do it yourself" argument. Not that I don't see merit in this solution, but (as many of you know) I'm not the most dependable guy when it comes to blogging, and I wouldnt' want the responsibility of knowing that I needed to blog regularly. I'm just not that reliable. And, you know, I'm graduating in a month or so.
I do hope the Patriot addresses this concern; I know it can be tough finding writers for blogs, but fixing this would go a long way to making the Patriot Blog, and the magazine, a better publication.
For the last few weeks Candace's friends and I have been going to a bar on Wednesday's for their trivia sessions (the bar is Pasand Lounge, on Shattuck, for my readers in Berkeley). The general prize is $20 gift certificates, which is cool enough, but then they have a bonus round where everyone puts in $4 and whichever team wins gets the whole pot. The questions are pretty tough, so if no one gets all three questions right, the cash is saved for the next week. This week someone (actually a team of four people) won $105 by answering these questions:
Which US President was offered contracts by the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers?
What is the highest score in a game of Darts?
Everyone knows about the Anola Gay, but what was the name of the other plane that dropped an atomic bomb?
Could you have won big bucks? I'll post answers later.
Answers (Highlight to read):
President Gerald Ford
180 points (3 triple 20's)
Bok's Car (The team who won actually mis-spelled it "Box Scar" and still got it right, much to my chagrin).