November 8, 2005
Ithaca To Hold Elections
| November 8, 2005
Over 2,500 years ago, Athens prided itself on a system of government ruled not by the few, but by the people, the demos. American citizens continue that democratic tradition today in counties – the modern-day equivalent of the demos – across the nation as they step into voting booths to choose their next leaders.
In Ithaca, voters in each district will elect one of their two Common Council representatives and a county legislator. The county as a whole will also pick its next district attorney.
With incoming challenger Gwen Wilkinson (D) vying for the spot currently held by four-term incumbent George Dentes ’76 (R), it looks like this year’s D.A. race will be close. Dentes has greatly emphasized his 16 years of experience as D.A., while Wilkinson – who herself worked under Dentes as a prosecutor from 1991-1996 – has claimed that Dentes’ policies and implementations are in need of a change.
Although the races for the county legislature in both the third and fourth districts are uncontested on the ballot, Nitin Chadda ’07 has been running a write-in campaign against Nate Shinagawa ’05, who is seeking the fourth district legislature position on both the Democratic and Working Families party tickets.
The third and fourth districts include North Campus, West Campus and Collegetown.
Chadda originally registered to run on the Independence ticket, but his petition was challenged and overturned on the basis that the witness Chadda listed was not registered as a member of that party. He said his campaign has been focused on educating people on the workings of Tompkins County and the issues surrounding this year’s elections.
In the City of Ithaca’s fourth ward – which corresponds to Tompkins’ fourth district – David Gelinas ’07 is running unopposed to succeed Michael Taylor ’05 (D) as Common Council representative.
Voting booths will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8. On North Campus, booths will be in Robert Purcell Community Center, and on West Campus they will be in the Class of ’26 Hall. In Collegetown, fourth district residents can vote at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church on Oak Avenue, and those in the third district can vote at the Belle Sherman Annex on Cornell Street.
Archived article by Yuval Shavit
Sun City Editor
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November 9, 2005
If you don’t hate me already, chances are you will by the end of this column. But I just can’t keep it in any longer because there is something I hate more than widespread disapproval. And the most recent copy of Entertainment Weekly just reminds me that I must say it while I still can, before I’m silenced again by a blitzkrieg of international propaganda. Oh yeah, I’m referring to Harry Potter. Harry Potter is one of those mainstream “safe” choices that enjoy widespread public and critical acclaim (think the book version of Linkin Park), a personality-boosting consumer decision which functions like a short cut to social approval. It is youthful, unstuffy, imagination-infused safe fun. And besides, people who hate Harry Potter usually come in a few isolated, rare forms: the uncultured and ignorant who can’t keep up with the times, the snooty savant who refuses to indulge in something so childishly plebian or the unfortunate soul whose native language is not one that has been graced with its very own translation of the series. And which one am I? Well maybe I deserve my own category: people who just don’t get it. Really, I just don’t get it. I’ve read the books, I’ve watched the movies and yeah, so what? What is there to get so worked up about, so school girl gushy about? Unless I’m the only person in the entire world who missed out one some special cocaine-laced edition of the Harry Potter series, I really don’t see the need to count down, dress up or pledge my undying loyalty to some kid whose literary voice comes across as a bad case of CAPS lock. As an English major, I entirely understand the need to ditch that critical reader cap every once in a while, ignore all examples of symbolism and just reduce my comprehension to taking things at face value. I’ve spent many airport layovers in complete observance of this timeless ritual and have eagerly read and forgotten many books of The DaVinci Code and Bridget Jones’ Diary variety. I approached Harry Potter with the same strategy but instead of coming away from the experience freshly energized and amused, I was merely confused. This was what had suddenly inflamed the world in a frenzied fervor of passion? In terms of quality, it was merely on par with The Rule of Four (perhaps the most obnoxious example of self-gratification in modern times and a book that I only finished because I was so indignant at its Ivy League nerd snobbery). I’m not denying that J. K. Rowling’s epic about The Boy Who Lived To Make My Life Miserable is an impressive, sprawling feat but it’s no Chronicles of Narnia, and to consider it as this generation’s Chronicles of Narnia is just an insult to this generation. Rowling is just another appropriator of that timeless children’s literature gimmick where authors update or alter classic character types and plot cliches, passing off the results as shining gems from the depths of their imagination. Just like how there really aren’t any truly “original” storylines in Hollywood, this strategy derives its longevity from the fact that if it works, there really isn’t a need to fix it. Don’t believe me? Fine, let’s compare Harry Potter with something equally gimmicky, something called Smallville. Brunette boys with unusual pasts who possess inexplicable powers with a penchant for angst? Brainy sidekick female friend who seems to have all the answers? Slightly duller, unthreatening male friend who is obviously the wingman? Rich, spoiled archenemy that is ambiguously evil and secretly yearns for main character’s approval? Female love interest whose past is defined as “girlfriend of presently deceased football/quidditch star?” Not to mention the last time I met an Asian girl named Cho Chang was in the land of never. As my roommate says, “She just added two Asian last names together!” Still, the reported volume of hate mail that Katie Leung has garnered for standing in the way between rabid fan girls and their scruffy, lightening scar hero is rather frightening to say the least. As for me, I’m still in the dark about Harry’s charm. What about the whole phenomenon renders it award-worthy, a tome to outlast the ravages of time and worthy of a cult-like following? To me, it’s just one thing: overrated. Archived article by Tracy ZhangArts and Entertainment Editor
November 9, 2005
It seems as if the trade that would send Manny Ramirez to the Mets – which was pronounced dead due to the report that Ramirez had no interest in playing at Shea next season – is very much alive. The only thing I can say to that is [BEEP]. From the Mets’ perspective, this trade would be a huge mistake, adding it to a seemingly endless list already – (in chronological order since 1990) Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilla, Carlos Baerga, Mike Bordick, Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Roger Cedeno, Victor Zambrano, and now, Ramirez. I was actually browsing through the worst trades in baseball history just the other day, when I found an interesting article that was created with the Mets as its motivation. It claimed that even in a mathematical sense, the Amazin’s are more than two standard deviations below the average net trading win shares above baseline (WSAB) – meaning that the players who have been traded away from 1961-2002 have produced more victories than those who have been acquired. In fact, the Mets have by far the greatest differential in this area of any team over that stretch of time – they barely even fit on the graph. Just the trade of Nolan Ryan and company to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi in 1971, produced an astonishing – 202 WSAB, even greater than trades that sent away Tom Seaver and Jeff Kent. The proposed trade for Ramirez will be no different. Manny is a great player and no one is arguing that. Last season, he batted .292 with 45 homeruns and 144 RBIs – statistics that would immediately rejuvenate the Mets’ offense. However, Ramirez is an aging star. He is going to be 34 years old next May and he can’t possibly keep up this level of production for too much longer. Sound familiar? The Mets’ identity over the past decade has been acquiring talent past its prime, and this would be just another example of it. Many would argue that Ramirez would still post big numbers for at least next year, and I wouldn’t disagree with that. That’s why I think he would be a great fit for a team like the Angels, who are ready to win now. Even though I would like to think so, the Mets are not ready to win in 2006. With Ramirez, they’d probably win the NL East. But, that just isn’t enough. When the Mets made it to the World Series in 2000, they did so with veteran players – and the franchise paid for it with four disappointing seasons to follow. Acquiring Ramirez would put the organization back in the same situation – and quite frankly, making it to the World Series just isn’t enough this time. The people pushing for this trade are delusional enough to think that it puts the Mets over the top – which it certainly does not. Those same supporters are too impatient to wait for the reward that will come if the Mets hang on to its young players – instead of squandering them away for short-term satisfaction. The deal for Ramirez would include Mike Cameron and two of the following three prospects: outfielder Lastings Milledge and pitchers Yusmeiro Petit and Aaron Heilman. Cameron is a piece that I have no problem giving up, as it is no secret that he would prefer to play centerfield. Even Petit, who projects as a middle of the rotation guy, could be used as trade bait. But, I would under no circumstances give up either Heilman or Milledge for an aging player. Heilman has absolutely nasty stuff. He was the Mets’ first round pick in the 2001 amateur draft, and it has taken a few years for him to develop. But, he is ready to become either a premier starting pitcher in the rotation, or a shut down setup man in front of (hopefully) Billy Wagner. In the second half of last season, Heilman posted a ridiculous 0.68 ERA in 40 innings pitched out of the bullpen. There is no reason to believe he couldn’t translate into the No. 2 starter behind Pedro in 2006. Even though he has terrific value in the bullpen, he has the stamina to be a starter and should be given the chance surrounded by Martinez, Benson, Glavine, and Trachsel. As for Milledge, this guy is the definition of a stud. He is a five-tool player with seemingly endless potential, who will one day be a fantastic No. 3 hitter in the major leagues. Unlike former Met prospect Alex Escobar, who was the supposed second coming, Milledge has produced at the minor league level. His arrival at Shea should be expected later next season. With Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran already in the fold, Milledge could be another key component of the Mets’ young core – he’s only 20 years old. The Mets have the opportunity to put together a team that will be competitive for the next decade if they play their cards right – which means not trading blue chip prospects for players past their prime. However, I am by no means advocating that the Mets just sit around and wait for their young players to develop. Instead, they need to continue adding the right pieces – many of which will be available this offseason. It seems as if Omar Minaya’s primary targets in free agency are Wagner, Bengie Molina, and Rafael Furcal. All three would be excellent additions to a club focused on pitching and defense. However, Furcal, a shortstop, will need to be grossly overpaid if he is to sign on to play second base at Shea. If the Mets are willing to acquire Manny and throw some $40 million at the Braves’ shortstop, I do not understand why they wouldn’t pursue the best free agent on the market – first baseman Paul Konerko. Unlike the 33-year old Ramirez, Konerko is only 29 years old and was a monster in the middle of the White Sox order last year. He batted .283 with 40 homeruns and 100 RBIs, while playing solid defense at first. He would be a nice complement to Wright and Beltran in the middle of the order, and he wouldn’t cost the team any of their prospects to get him. As for second base, I do not understand why no one is talking about Nomar Garciaparra. This guy would be an incredible bargain, who, when healthy, can still produce like his old self. In September last year, Garciaparra batted .311 with five homers and 19 RBIs. Tony Graffanino would be a nice insurance policy should Nomar go down with another serious injury. While all of this may sound like a good plan on paper, there is one problem – ever since he arrived in New York, Minaya has had the dream of seeing Ramirez in left field. He has some sort of man-crush on Manny, and he just can’t shake it. For the sake of the franchise, let’s hope he does. Bryan Pepper is a Sun Assistant Sports Editor. Raising the Apple will appear every other Wednesday this semester.Archived article by Bryan Pepper