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Friday, December 21, 2007

I Would Caucus Obama

It's that time of the election year where the primary endorsements have just about finished rolling in, and the "regular folks" take a week off and then emerge to caucus in Iowa. My own personal preference has been months in the making, but I've known for some time who I intend to vote for, if I have the chance in our late voting state.

If I lived in Iowa, I would caucus on Januray 3rd for Barack Obama. This is my own personal endorsement for Barack Obama, and not does not necessarily reflect the views of the Drexel Democrats or Drexel University.

First, a nod to my second choice, Senator Chris Dodd. I have been very impressed with Dodd, from his strong energy policy to his leadership in the senate with FISA. His campaign has been overshadowed by bigger names, but he would make an excellent President. I certainly hope that whoever the nominee is takes a good long look at Dodd to be Vice President.

My support for Obama has slowly coalesced these last few months, for the following reasons. They could be summed up in three short points:
  1. Sen. Obama is the candidate best equipped in my view to bring, positive, progressive, and transformational change.
  2. Sen. Obama has displayed the strong judgement and strength of character in the past that I look for in a President.
  3. My Gut. I have an impression of what kind of candidate and president each canididate would be.

Expanding on Those Points

1. That this is a "change election" is both obvious and clichè. After seven years of one of, if not the, worst Presidents in American history, it's only natural that Americans would want to "change direction." The Clinton campaign ceded the rhetorical point early on, and has been arguing that Sen. Clinton would be most able to bring about change, utilizing her significant political experience and network.

I think that this misses the point. George Bush has been an awful President, and we need a great President to right his ship of ours. I believe that only Sen. Obama is in the best position to be a great President. That's because George Bush was not the only American who failed this country over these last seven years. The majority of the country, led by our political establishment, failed this country. Whether the timid questioning of our leaders by Democratic leadership, or swallowing administration lines by the media, there is plenty of blame to go around. Pretending that George Bush was the only problem, without addressing the enablers, doesn't bring us very far.

Barack Obama, in my opinion, is the candidate that can address the enablers, without being cast aside for it. Obama has an ability to talk both to and past the media. I know that sounds rather vague, but I think its understandable. Obama has the ability to speak to the media, and be heard and recognized for what he is actually saying by the media establishment, even as he criticizes them, and at the same time he is able to speak over the media, more so than any candidate that I can rememeber in my admittedly short life.

Furthermore, Sen. Obama is running as a progressive candidate to be the President of the entire country, not the 50%+1 that he needs to get elected. I'm not a sucker for appeals to artificial "unity." Disagreements are natural and desirable in politics, and unity is not an admirable goal in itself. The key is persuading those who disagree with you, by force of rhetoric and political will, that your position is right and good, and if you convince enough people, then you can achieve really transformational change.

If you think that we can tackle the big challenges this country faces with a 50%+1 majority, you're kidding yourself. The fact of the matter, through largely no fault of her own, Sen. Clinton is viewed very negatively by large swaths of the country. That isn't something that I think can change, in great part because its somewhat irrational. That it isn't her fault, however, would bring me no solace when major legislative initiatives get bogged down in frivilous '90s era politics.

It would be naive to think that there is any Democratic candidate that could serve as President without facing dishonest attacks, as the Republicans scramble to salvage their party by laying blame at the incoming President. It would be equally naive, I think, to not recognize that electing Sen. Clinton would amplify this.

This argument for Sen. Obama is encapsulated by what he said on Meet The Press. To address the problems and issues facing this country we need a strong progressive leader who can govern the entire country, not a slim ruling majority.

2. Obama's position on the Iraq War before it happened hasn't gotten as much attention as I had thought it would. He mentions it alot, with good cause, but I have been suprised how people are willing to dismiss all the pre-war material and ask "What have you done for me lately?" I think that it is entirely germane and worthwhile to assess the candidates on their pre-war positions, as evidence of their judgement.

If you haven't read this speech by Barack Obama from a 2002 anti-war rally, take a minute and go do so now. He was right. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards both voted for the AUMF resolution. Edwards has since called the mistake a vote, and Clinton has maintained that it was the correct vote but that Bush abused the rightful power. I applaud Edwards for his acceptance, but Obama deserves credit for his outspokenness. Many politicians are now coming forward and saying "I was anti-war, I just didn't tell many people." (See: McCain, John; Clinton, Bill; Klein, Joe). Obama took an unpopular stance that has since been proven to be correct. How do we expect politicians to be held accountable if we don't reward them when they're right, or hold it against them when they are wrong?

Regarding Clinton's assertion that it was the right vote but that Bush abused the power (which was also Sen. Kerry's nuanced position that was such a huge electoral success), I disagree. First, I think that the AUMF was an abdication of Congress's constitutionally mandated authority to declare war. I believe that declaring war is a serious committment of a nation, and should be the subject of fierce debate, not midnight votes to cede the authority to the executive. Secondly, and more specifically, I think that trusting Bush with that authority is almost as grave a lapse in judgement as having voted to go to war. Bush's responsibility does not absolve those senators voting "Yea."

The conventional narrative is that Sen. Obama lacks the foreign policy experience that the other candidates have. I think this is unfair, especially considering the experience of his primary rivals. Sen. Edwards' experience is very similar to Obama's except that Obama's politcal experience has much deeper roots in state politics. Sen. Edwards had been a senator for 3 years when he first ran for president, and he certainly didn't feel he was underqualified to serve. Sen. Clinton's experience as First Lady is very much a closed book. We don't know how much she was involved in policy decisions, because those records have not been made public. She has 6 more years in the Senate than Sen. Obama, but that is hardly a deciding margin.

Additionally, political experience is a valuable asset in both a candidate and a President. Sen. Obama spent 8 years as a state senator in Illinois before running for federal office, and before that he worked as a civil rights attorney. He is politically savy, and I think he would be a powerful president. The bottom line is Obama has more state experience than Clinton, and she has more federal political experience than Obama. Both are valuable, and her claim to experience monopoly is not warranted, in my opinion.

3. My gut impression of each candidate and how they see the world colors my view of them. I see Sen. Clinton as a Democrat who has internalized right-wing frames, and who would govern accordingly. This was starkly illustrated when Sen. Clinton said that another terrorist attack would be good for the GOP. Yglesias rightly pointed out that another terrorist attack would be a repudiation of the GOP, a blatent policy failure. I don't want our Democratic nominee to accept right-wing frames, I want him or her to stand up and make the case for progressive policies that work. Sen Obama has shown that he is a post-vietnam candidate, who isn't stuck in '90s era frames and endless debates. This is largely an impression of the candidates, and if your impression differs, I probably won't be able to convince you to see it my way.

Another aspect of the gut impression is how the candidates would approach legislative comprimise. I think it would be fair to say that Sen. Clinton would approach major legislative agenda items willing to comprimise as a major tool to passage. Unfortunatly, with the fierce opposition she inspires, I fear that a Clinton Presidency would start a push for, say, healthcare reform, by proposing a fair comprimise, and then proceed to water it down even more to gain passage, eventually ending up with something marginally better than today that was passed really only so that it could be claimed as a legislative accomplishment. I see in Sen. Obama, on the other hand, the kind of politician who can rally support behind a strong proposal, compromising when appropriate without compromising the heart of the matter.

Again, this last aspect is my subjective assessment based on my impression of the candidates. In that sense, it is unfair to criticize Sen. Clinton for things she hasn't done, but that I only speculate that she might do. It is, however, how I see her, and even if you don't agree with me, you might want to understand why people like me see things this way. If she is the nominee, I would be happy to be proved wrong.


Finally, as excited as I am about Obama, I acknowledge some things I don't like. I think that he has been wrong, both politcally and as a matter of policy, when he talks about reforming Social Security. I also don't like how the Obama campaign has attacked Paul Krugman of the New York Times. I want a candidate who will hit the media hard when warranted, but Krugman is one of the good guys. He has been right time and again these last decade or so, and his voice is a welcome respite of common sense and expertise in an otherwise pathetic commentariat.

Much of this endorsment was argued by contrasting Obama with his rivals, but please don't make the mistaken conclusion that I picked Sen. Obama in a process of elimination. The only thing that excites me more than the prospect of an Obama candidacy is the prospect of an Obama Presidency.

Similarly, even though I support Obama, I wouldn't have a hard time at all supporting whoever our nominee is. All of the frontrunners, and several of the also-rans, would make very good Presidents, and certainly be better than whichever Republican falls out of the pack.

Final Thought

Barack Obama for President.

Please click "There's more..." and I'll explain my reasoning.


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Monday, December 17, 2007

"What the Hell" Harry

Harry Reid's PAC runs a blog, called Give 'Em Hell Harry in an obvious homage to Harry Truman. There's no post up about today's drama though. It's not surprising really, that Harry Reid wouldn't want to highlight the fight about FISA and retroactive immunity.

Let me preface my Reid-bashing with my own disappointment. I was a pretty big fan of Reid's when he took over as majority leader when Daschle lost his reelection in 2004.

Reid took the reins at a particular low point for our party. We had just managed to lose a presidential election to one of the worst presidents in American history (who has spent the last three years earning that title), we lost four seats in the senate to stay in the minority, and we lost a few in the house, giving the republicans a 29 seat majority. On top of that, our (admittedly pretty ineffective) minority leader had actually been defeated in his reelection.

In this depressing environment, Reid's ascension to the leadership coincided with the precipitous downfall of the republican party. In early 2005, with help from the Drexel Democrats, Reid managed to keep the ENTIRE senate Democratic body in line. If even a single Democrat defected, Bush and the press would start hailing the "bipartisan" push for privatization. Reid held the line, and we had our first major victory over Bush and his media enablers. It was a watershed moment.

The following months, of course, saw the Schaivo circus, which Reid had the good sense to stay out of, and hurricane Katrina, which helped bring the Bush empire down. Yes, Reid was particularly ineffective (unwilling would be more appropriate) in leading opposition to Bush's two SCOTUS nominees, but at the time I gave him credit for the fact that Bush hadn't just re-nominated Robert Bork. Over 2006 we saw the Democratic minorty increasingly flex its muscles and start asking the touigh questions, and in November 2006 we regained control of the senate and the house for the first time in well over a decade. The Democratic leadership was to be congratulated, and I was happy to say "Give 'em hell, Harry!"

I think many of us have been disappointed with this first year of Democratic majority, though. I had no illusions that the war in Iraq would end right away, but I didn't imagine that the Democrats would roll over and play dead on war funding. I didn't think that Reid would keep playing chicken with the president if Reid planned on caving every time.

I didn't think that Reid would allow the Republican majority to filibuster any bill they wanted, without actually making them filibuster. I didn't think that Republican holds on bills would be respected if Democratic holds on bills were not. I could go on, but Chris Bowers says what I wanted to better:
Ah, the Democratic controlled Congress. Republican Senate holds are respected, Democratic Senate holds are not. Republicans need 50 votes to pass legislation in the Senate, while Democrats need 60. Only one Democrat is needed to pass a renewable energy bill, and that Democrat is in serious danger of defeat in her next election? Forget applying pressure on her, just roll over and gut the bill. Bush threatens to veto Iraq war funding? Just roll over and give him a blank check. Challenge the Bush Dogs who vote with Republicans? Nah, they will just withhold funds from the DCCC if anyone dare to even suggest they face primary challenges, while other Democrats continue to just pour money into their campaign coffers. Use more aggressive tactics to challenge this situation? Nah, those would just hurt Democrats at the voting booth (and we are doing great in special elections as a result of this timidity). Can't end the war or change its direction? Well, at least we can condemn opponents of the war, and make others apologize. And so, we end up in a situation where Democrats and Independents, the same people who voted for new leadership in Congress, approve of the Democratic-controlled Congress as much as Republicans do.
With that, I wanted to let you guys know what went on today.

The background is this: For the last six years the Bush administration has been collaborating with telecom companies to wiretap American citizens without the warrents from the FISA court required by law. Not all telecom companies cooperated, because they have legal departments who said "No, we can't do this, it's illegal." The full scope and operation of the program isn't known (but that hasn't stopped wise-man Joe Klien from bravely stepping up to trust Bush and tell the Democrats to shut up), so we don't know exactly how illegal it was.

Now that some of the participating telecom companies are being sued for illegally releasing customer data, the Bush administration and it's allies in congress (persuaded by that sweet, sweet, lobbyist money) are pushing for an amendment to the new FISA bill that would provide retroactive immunity to these companies that helped the Bush administration break the law. The Bush administration is implicityl admitting it broke the law, but if retroactive immunity is granted, the courts will never be able to examine what was doen, and declare it illegal.

That is what is at stake; the respect for the rule of law. So Sen. Chris Dodd, a member of the judiciary committee, came out a long time ago and said he would stop retroactive immunity. The judiciary committee put forth a version of the FISA bill that did not include retroactive immunity, but the intelligence committee put forward a bill that did. So Dodd placed a hold on the intelligence committee bill. So Reid disregarded the hold and brought forth the intelligence committee version.

He tried to make it look like he was respecting the hold, but Booman explained last week that Reid was setting us up.
Why does this matter?

The key here is to give us the advantage. If we do this right, we can introduce a bill without immunity and it will be a choice of voting for that bill or getting nothing. If we do it wrong, we will introduce a bill with immunity and have to filibuster it to prevent passage.

If the base bill has no immunity, it will require sixty votes to introduce immunity. If the base bill has immunity, it will require 41 votes (because of the filibuster rules) to keep it from passing. Depending on how Reid introduces the bill, we can prevail with 41 votes, or fail because we cannot get 60.

The reason Reid is doing this in a way that requires 60 is because he wants to pass something. And the only way he can pass something is to pass exactly what the president wants...which includes immunity. So, he has decided to choose a path that will deceive us about whether or not he is honoring Senator Dodd's hold, and deceive us about whether he made a good faith effort to prevent immunity.

I am not happy to come to these conclusions, and the reality probably is that Harry Reid doesn't have the support within the caucus that he would need pursue a strategy of not passing a new FISA bill. The law will sunset in February and too many within the caucus are afraid to let the law sunset.

Nevertheless, we are being set up to not recognize this capitulation for what it is. And I am not happy about it.
Today Chris Dodd showed Obama and Clinton what real leadership looks like, and left Iowa to filibuster the bill in Washington.

Dodd won, successfully filibustering the bill, which will now be readdressed in January, when hopefully more Democratic senators will stand up for the constitution.

This latest episode of Reid's "leadership" has finally gotten me to stop apologizing for him. I was a pretty big apologist, too. I always gave the leadership the benfit of the doubt. I assumed that they were more politically savy than me, and that they may be proceedingly cautiously, but that Reid would pull it out in the end.

But caving to the worst president ever on Iraq, and enabling assaults on the constitution to go unheeded. Now, when I see Reid on the TV, I don't think "Give 'em hell, Harry." All I can say is "What the hell, Harry."

Click "There's more..." for the full post.


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Friday, December 14, 2007

Winter Break!

In honor of the end of finals week, please enjoy this video of the best song evah. If you aren't watching It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, you're missing out. Buy the DVD.

Keep checking the website for my awesome blog posts, and next week we'll start voting on the best times for meeting in the winter term. Also, we will have volunteering oportunities over break, some you've heard about through email already, some you haven't.

Have a great break, and I'll see you in January!


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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Coverage of Jocelyn Kirsch is Scandalous

One of the thing's I've noticed about myself over these last few years in college is that I increasingly notice misogyny where I didn't before. You may attribute this to growth and maturity on my part, but I blame the feminist blogs I read, like Pandagon or Shakespeare's Sister. With that backdrop, I thought I should say something about the hottest buzz on campus since, well the recent Democratic Presidential debate.

I'm sure you've heard the story, so the short version is Drexel's own Jocelyn Kirsch and her boyfriend Edward Anderton, A UPenn graduate, were living the high life in a ritzy Rittenhouse square apartment and all over the world with money they stole through ID theft. Apparently it wasn't a small time operation either; they had an industrial ID making machine and stole keys to their neighbors apartments to get in and steall ID related material.

Naturally, they got caught, and the story was just too juicy. The more stories I read about it, though, the more I became uncomfortable with the tone and focus of the coverage.

What Kirsch and Anderton did was pretty despicable. Identity theft is a horrible crime that victimizes people for a long time. It violates their sense of being, costs them time and money to recover from it, shatters their trust in people, and often comes back to victimize them again and again, years later. Kirsch and Anderton, if convicted, should rot in jail for a long time. I have no sympathy for them. My disdain for Kirsch and Anderton, however, didn't blind me to the misogynistic tone of the coverage.

Everything I read, from the Daily News coverage to The Triangle's cover story, had a distinct focus on Kirsch. Reporters were ever so eager to dig up stories from anyone with an axe to grind against Kirsch. I can't even count how many times I've read that she alledgedly got breast implants. It was practically the focus of the coverage!

The cover story in The Triangle read like a gossip column. It was disappointing, because the reporters that wrote it actually are very good, and I felt like they knew better. Paragraphs like this jumped out at me:
Another source, a Drexel University college friend, says that the breasts implants were likely.

"She had a nose job and told friends that she needed it after getting hurt pole vaulting," the source said.

After friends confronted her about the pole vaulting incident, she uploaded pictures to her Facebook of other people pole vaulting and tagged herself, according to the source. The pictures have since been removed.

"I always wonder why she stayed with him. She could wrap any person around her finger," the source said.

A Drexel friend who wished to remain anonymous says she was surprised that Eddie was involved in this, and that he stayed with her. Kirsch was allegedly still dating her ex-boyfriend when she first met Eddie.
This is blatantly misogynistic. "Poor old Eddie Anderton, just got sucked in by that crafty Siren who conned him into all this bad stuff!"

The Daily News coverage wasn't so blatent, but they did slip in nuggets.
Ian Jacobson, 23, whose best friend dated Kirsch in 2006, said she wanted to be a goodwill ambassador, but that "was inconsistent with the way she dressed and the way she presented herself."

He said Kirsch liked to change up clothes, hair color and contact colors. She changed from blond to brunette to black hair, then to red hair during the time Jacobson knew her, he said. Her eye color also was changing.
It's not surprising at all that you would find people with nasty things to say about Anderton and Kirsch. They would have to be pretty awful people to do what they did. I just don't think that hearing from friends of ex-boyfriends about what a bitch she was is interesting or enlightening. I also think that Kirsch is only half of this pair, and that Anderton should be subject to the same scrutiny that Kirsch would be subjected too.

From another article in the Daily News:
"This is a great day. I've been laughing so hard," said Ian Jacobson earlier this week. His best friend dated Kirsch, whom he called "very conniving. She kind of just stuck her claws into my friend and twisted his perception of things."

Jacobson and Cook, like many others at Drexel who spoke on condition of anonymity, truly never believed the things uttered by Kirsch.
I won't even mention the kinds of things written to the Facebook groups about Kirsch. I was actually surprised by some of it, considering that Facebook, unlike most of the internet, isn't anonymous. I challenge you to find any atricle on the internet that allows comments where someone didn't pop up and say "I'd still fuck her." or some varation on that theme.

There are some pretty interesting things about this story. These kids had every chance in the world, and they still went out and robbed their neighbors. I don't know what the dynamics were between Kirsch and Anderton, and maybe one of them was the driving force, but the speed at which people seem willing to jump to the conclusio that Kirsch is a conniving bitch who conned that poor sweet boy, well, it rubbed me the wrong way. Just something to be aware of next time you read that some awful woman got breast implants.

Click "There's more..." for the full post.


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Monday, December 10, 2007

College Republicans, We Barely Knew You

It was a little over a month ago when Will Mulgrew triumphantly claimed "We're Up!" on the Drexel College Republicans' blog. Two days later, he posted the second and currently last post, a link to an op-ed of his in The Triangle. It may have been the shortest lifespan ever of a group here at Drexel.

Sean and I think that they were a little embarrassed going into the debate. Afterall, if the Republicans had a presidential debate at Drexel, you can be sure we'd make our presence known! The College Republicans, however, are having a hard time this year rallying support.

I sympathize with my Republican colleagues, however. I imagine that if America had just experienced seven years of a failed Democratic presidency, over a decade of a corrupt Democratic congress, and had a slate of Democratic presidential candidates as buffoonish as Rudy McRomney, that the Drexel Democrats would find their student support as lackluster as the Drexel Republicans do now.

Truth be told, I'm a little disappointed with the lack of a right-wing counterpart on campus. An active College Republican group on campus would help start a conversation and debate on campus about politics, and when young people think about politics, Democrats win. Also, Sean and I had hoped that the CR blog would provide endless hours of entertainment and fodder for our own blog. Instead, it's been a little quiet.

Compared to other schools College Republican's, Drexel's former groups haven't even been that bad. Oftentimes CR groups are run by the rascist, ignorant, and thuggish types. That's not an unfounded assertion, ask around. Our's, by contrast, was always pretty quiet. They never did the stupid "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day" stuff designed to be inflammatory, or award any "white scholarships" like other CR groups. They even helped our side out with an own-goal when Rick Santorum came to Drexel in 2005.

So I write this not just because we like to poke gentle fun at our right-wing campus colleagues, but with a genuine interest in seeing the CRs get their act together. As I offered before, we'll even be so gracious as to sign your membership petition to get recognized.

Click "There's more..." for the full post.


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Saturday, December 08, 2007

College Republican Stormtroopers

Usually when college republicans are called stormtroopers it's by an angry liberal, not the College Republican National Committee. Usually.

Behold, in all it's ironically apt and historically ignorant glory, from the braintrust that brought us "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day" and "Fun With Guns Day" (where students would shoot cardboard cutouts of prominent Democrats), the new initiative from the CRNC is STORM! Details are scarce, due in part to the new CRNC website which is apparently having some technical problems, but it seems to be a poor man's Facebook (or more appropriatly, a deranged young man's Facebook).

I guess if you sign up with your email address to "Experience the STORM" you're signed up to be a STORM-trooper? Maybe it's a rapid response tool to notify young brownshirts of suspected illegal aliens? Perhaps its a networking tool for oppressed students to ally and punish dangerous and subversive pinko professors? Maybe just a forum for eliminationist rhetoric?

Or maybe it's just a vague and poorly thought out rightwing version of the million other social networking sites, designed entirely to sucker trusting young republicans to submit their email addresses and sign up for a lifetime of Republican spam. I wouldn't know. I haven't experienced the STORM.

Yes, I am aware of Godwin's Law. I'm sure most College Republicans, despite their penchant for authoritarianism and rightwing reactionism, would be appalled at being compared to Nazis. I don't think it's fair to call them Nazis, but I would like to invite those offended at the comparison to take a good long look at their party.

Click "There's more..." for the full post.


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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Drexel Democrats Endorse Anne Dicker for State Senate

As many of you know, the Drexel Democrats voted at our last general body meeting to endorse Anne Dicker for State Senate in the first senatorial district. She is running in a primary against incumbent Vince Fumo, a powerful Philadelphian politician who has been indicted on 139 counts of fraud, tax offenses, and obstruction of justice.

Anne is a friend of progressive causes in Philadelphia, and is an experienced community activist and organizer. There will likely be a second primary challenger against Fumo announcing soon, but we discussed the race and decided to throw our support behind Anne. We don't typically endorse in primary races, but we felt that it is important to support an ethical, progressive candidate for this seat.

Click "There's more..." for the press release that went out today.

Drexel University College Democrats Endorse Anne Dicker for State Senate

The Drexel University College Democrats voted in their last general body meeting to endorse Anne Dicker for Pennsylvania State Senate in the first senatorial district.

“Anne Dicker has a strong record of fighting for progressive causes as a neighborhood advocate and grassroots organizer,” said Sean Miller, President of the Drexel Democrats. “Anne has worked tirelessly to advance a Democratic agenda for Philadelphia on a wide range of issues, from grassroots organizing to protect social security from President Bush in 2005, to fighting to defeat Sen. Santorum in 2006, to her work helping to raise the minimum wage, and many more.”

A majority of student members of the Drexel University College Democrats voted to endorse Anne Dicker in the race for Pennsylvania’s State Senate. “I’ve been impressed with Anne’s grassroots work for some time,” said John Lloyd, Vice President of the Drexel Democrats. “Pennsylvania’s State Senate could benefit tremendously from the addition of Anne Dicker. She has the kind of ethical leadership and strong progressive voice that this state needs. If Sen. Fumo was interested in bringing ethical behavior and Democratic values back to the State Senate, he would endorse Anne Dicker also.”

The Drexel University College Democrats are the official chapter of the College Democrats of America at Drexel University, in Philadelphia. Drexel University has nearly thirteen thousand undergraduate students and nearly seven thousand graduate students. The Drexel Democrats are the largest political student group on campus and can be reached at


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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bowers Speaks the Truth

Over at Open Left, our West Philly neighbor Chris Bowers layed down some potent truth this morning; he called ignorant voters to task. How many times have you seen some dolt in a focus group or in an article complaining that the candidates aren't being specific about their plans? It's one of my pet peeves, and I don't think it will ever stop.

It's a convenient answer for an uninformed voter who doesn't want to appear uninformed. Asked about Obama's energy policy? Don't know squat about Obama's energy policy? No problem! Just blame Obama for not being specific enough for your sophisticated self.

The only problem? You actually sound like a dolt who hasn't heard of the internet.

Seriously, in 2007 there is no good reason not to research the candidates on your own, online. All the candidates have detailed policies online that lay out their various plans with much greater specificity than anything they would ever be able to say in a debate. If there is an issue that is make or break for you, then you need to spend an hour or two and educate yourself.

Of course we can't all be experts, but most of the candidates plans are directed not at wonks, but at laymen, and certainly college students should be able to understand the specifics. Furthermore, go read what the wonks think!

The logical conclusion of my rant is that if you're asked about your opinion on something, political or not, and you aren't informed enough on the subject to really have an opinion, just say so. You look much better than if you fake it, or blame the candidate for not being detailed enough.

Click "There's more..." for the full post.


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Sunday, December 02, 2007

"No End In Sight" Open Thread

Now that we've seen the movie, what did you guys think?

Here are a couple things to think about if you need somewhere to start from:
  1. Did you learn something? What?

  2. Where you suprised by anything?

  3. Do you think it was fair and accurate?

  4. Does this movie support the incompotence dodge or is it neutral on that proposition, and just details the fuck-ups?
Please feel free to chime in with your opinion in the comments, and thanks for coming! We were worried that in such bad weather, we wouldn't get enough people to come to make it worth it, but judging by how much pizza was left over (none), it was a great success!

Extended post here