Thursday, April 30, 2009

Selflessly Volunteering My Body To Test Joe Biden's Paranoia

After hearing the Vice President’s remarks this morning - I realized that my coming trip to Colorado was more than just an opportunity to watch my little sister receive her high school diploma (you rock, Katie Bug!), it was a potential opportunity to sacrifice my life for public health research.

Tomorrow morning, I will be boarding a plane to Colorado at Reagan National Airport. Coincidentally, the easiest way to access said airport is via the DC subway system. Hence, I will be testing not one, but two of Joe Biden’s “closed spaces to avoid”.

I may not be blogging much during my trip, but I will be checking in occasionally to inform you as to whether or not I have died of swine flu.

Wish me luck, and we’ll see if pigs (or at least pig flu) really can fly. I only wish I had a T-shirt that said “Official Swine Flu Test Subject - Please Cough”

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Spectre of Specter

I usually don't do this, but I really want to direct you all to one of the other blogs I contribute to. There is a great ongoing debate on Arlen Specter going on over at - and I am course am contributing. Normally, I would cross-post rather than link - but in this case there is an ongoing, multi-player dialogue, and there really is no way to get a feel for it with out keeping up with all of the players.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

College Republican Carnage: 4 Clubs Down

A quick update to my previous post -two more clubs are officially out of the California College Republicans tonight due to the de-chartering of the clubs at UC-San Diego and UCLA. In protest of those votes, the chapters from Saddleback College and the University of California-Irvine voluntarily de-chartered and walked out of today's convention. This brings the total number of de-chartered clubs to four (UC-San Diego, UCLA, UC-Irvine, Saddleback).

The walkout was also joined by the College Republican chapter from Pasadena City College, as well as numerous delegates from UC-Santa Barbara.

Stay tuned - I'm nowhere near finished with this issue, and it looks like it's onl going to get juicier...

California College Republicans: Excrement Hits Fan

The California College Republicans convention was today - and my sources inside tell me that it got a little ugly. The UC-San Diego College Republicans were not only denied their charter again, but denied the chance to present their case to the delegates (Chairwoman Inez Feltscher
had been promised the she would be allowed to speak, but was not even allowed onto the floor.) In fact, the entire chapter was forced to stand behind a cordon in the back of the room.

In addition, it appears that a THIRD university fell victim to the State Committee's penchant for de-chartering dissenting clubs. The UCLA College Republicans, key supporters of rechartering UCSD, were denied a charter themselves after showing up a little late - despite the fact that they had been told that they had until Sunday morning to get there and that the chartering deadline was extended three times for chapters who happened to support the state board's agenda. Even more appalling is the fact that the UCLA decision was made on a close voice vote, described by my source as a "screaming match", but that calls for a roll call vote were rejected and victory was declared for the "nays". I'm also told that several chapters actually walked out after the UCLA incident, and more after the UCSD vote.

I will be posting a lot more info on this situation later - including video and documentation of numerous wrongdoings - which I had previously been denied access to in hopes that the state convention would see the light. I'll be posting a lot of other stuff as soon as I get it, but I will start with a copy of the check for $500 which had to be written to the UC-San Diego chapter by the state committee after that same amount was stolen from their bank account by the start-up chapter which then stole their charter. The crazy part of this story is that the final check had to come from the state board rather than the new group of people who took the money - as the funds were apparently donated to the state committee as soon as they were withdrawn (and before the vote to de-charter the club from which they were stolen). I'd love to hear the explanation for that.

I'll be getting a better scan of this check soon (along with other materials), and the CCR State Committee can thank me later for being nice enough to blot out their account and routing numbers.

...and since I'm sure the hateful comments from state committee supporters will start flowing in soon - I'm going to make a rule that will delete anyone who uses profanity, makes absurd personal accusations against other commenters, or attempts to masquerade as me in order to make me look stupid. Though, I will leave most of the vitriol up, as you people seem intent on digging your own hole - which makes it even more fun to antagonize you,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

California Corruption Spreads

You may remember that I touched off a bit of a firestorm when I called the California College Republican State Committee on the carpet for needlessly de-chartering the chapter at UC-San Dieg0 - but now it looks like that's just the tip of the iceberg. Almost the exact same stunt has now been pulled on the College Republican chapter at the University of the Pacific - but this time he people affected decided to put together a video showing all of the documentation. Please watch this in its entirety - its worth 7 minutes and the best stuff is at the end (If the video stops halfway through, restart it and fast forward to the middle - problems with Facebook Video). I think this really speaks for itself, but the one thing I will say is that this madness has got to stop - and if you must engage in corruption, save it until you have an office that actually means something (like Governor of Illinois). This is getting flat-out disgusting, and its time for people bigger than the College Republicans to start taking notice.

Democracy or Dictator - South Africa Decides

I reported on this story back in January, but today is the day that the yogurt hits the fan. South Africans are voting in an election that, in my opinion, will define their future as a nation - and perhaps the future of the entire region. At the very least, this is the most pivotal election since the end of apartheid.

Not that the outcome is in doubt. Every one knows that that the African National Congress (ANC) party will win well over half the seats in parliament - just like they always do - allowing them to elect their leader, Jacob Zuma, as President of South Africa. There are, however, two big differences this time. The first is that Mr. Zuma is a corrupt barbarian who reminds me far more of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe than Nelson Mandela (read my January column for grisly details). The second is that, for the first time in years, there is the potential that the ANC could lose its two-thirds majority - which allows the party to change the constitution whenever it wants.

Here's why I think this is important: The ANC was an important force in ending apartheid, but its post apartheid dominance has made South Africa essentially a one party state. Furthermore, Jacob Zuma and his supporters have moved the ANC closer to authoritarianism by moving to sideline the supporters of former President Thabo Mbeki - even forcing Mbeki himself to resign and hand the presidency to a Zuma supporter. Luckily, many Mbeki supporters were smart enough to leave the ANC and form their own party, the Congress of the People (COPE), which could pull 10% away from the ANC. This could push the non-ANC parties over the one-third mark.

I have come to think that South Africa will inevitably slide away from democracy unless the ANC's hold on power can be replaced with a true multiparty system, and the emergence of COPE makes this possible. However, I would not be voting COPE today if I were South African, I would be supporting the other major opposition party - the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Despite the media focus on COPE, there are two reasons why I think that the DA is more important to South African democracy. First, the DA is liberal and market-friendly, whereas COPE shares the ANC's socialist leanings. Second, the DA is the only major post-racial party in South Africa. The ANC grew out of the movement to empower the black community (a a good goal under apartheid), and it has remained a black party - and obviously COPE was part of the ANC until last year. The DA, on the other hand, grew out of the anti-apartheid movement among white South Africans. Its current leader, Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille, is a white woman and a former member Black Sash movement - a group of white women who stood against against apartheid and fought for black rights. Zille was also named World Mayor of the Year in 2008.

In any true multiparty democracy, Zille would likely be the runaway favorite to win the Presidency - after all, she's literally the best mayor in the world and shes a former civil rights crusader to boot. Unfortunately, South Africa is a de-facto one-party state, and Zille's DA is forced to fight COPE for a distant second. Meanwhile, the authoritarian Zuma is poised to take power - and the once-venerated ANC is starting to look more and more like the Zimbabwean ZANU-PF party of Robert Mugabe.

So, here's hoping that South Africa takes the right step by denying the ANC its two-thirds majority and continues marching toward democracy. Furthermore, while I am grateful to COPE for taking a stand against Zuma, I fervently hope that the DA can remain the second biggest party.

South Africa has come a long way since the days of apartheid. However, the legacy of that dark time will not be fully eliminated until the country ceases to be dominated by a single party. Furthermore, if apartheid was really in the past, then a tolerant white woman like Helen Zille, who clearly has far more credibility than Zuma, would be able to win election despite the majority-black electorate. However, anyone with a bran knows that Zille will not be President-elect tomorrow morning - proving that apartheid is still alive and well.

To all of my friends in South Africa - the choice is yours. You can keep the ANC supermajority and march toward third-world oblivion, or you can take another tiny step toward a post-racial, democratic future. Take your pick.


I've talked in the past about the ongoing battle between Hollywood Studios and the makers of the RealDVD software program - which would allow you to save your DVDs on your computer legally (as it adds all sorts of anti-piracy encryptions to copied files). However, this one just seems to get more and more interesting.

First, FreedomWorks has come out with a detailed report on the subject, written by their Chief Economist Wayne Brough. According to Brough, a victory for the studios would actually be a blow to personal freedoms and the competitive marker. If RealDVD is deemed illegal, he says, the resulting precedents would be "much to the detriment of fair use, innovation, and competition."

In addition, it's starting to look like the studios themselves are trying to get in on RealDVD's industry. If you haven't noticed, the sci-fi thriller The Day The Earth Stood Still is now out on DVD, and if you go to the website, they are selling a "3 Disc Special Edition with Digital Copy". Basically, they give you an extra disc that allows you to save the movie on your computer or iPod!


So, while they are trying to get the courts to make RealDVD illegal, they are starting to build RealDVD capabilities into their own DVDs. So, they clearly don't want to stop you from making digital copies of their movies, they just don't want to share the profits of the technology with other companies. So, this is not really about protecting copyright, it's about the studios covering their rear ends. All of the moralistic huffing and puffing is really just an excuse to shut down a competing company.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Moderate" vs. "RINO"

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the brewing hostility between moderates and conservatives in the Republican Party. Not only does it look like “RINO-hunting” is back in vogue, but we now have “Charging RINOs” to go with them. Meghan McCain, for instance, seems almost giddy about the prospect of a civil war over the soul of the GOP.

Now, personally I fall firmly on the conservative side of this skirmish and there are people who I think the party can do without. On the other, I’ve never been a big fan of “RINO-hunting” or even the term “RINO”. There are a lot of center-rightists in this country, and in many cases they are a great asset to the GOP (and at the very least we need their votes). In fact, I’ve realized just how two-minded I am on the issue by examining my own opinions on two potential Senate primaries in 2010.

On one hand, I would love to see Pat Toomey knock off Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania. On the other, I have openly advocated taking out Louisiana’s conservative-yet-tarnished Senator David Vitter and replacing him with the extremely moderate Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao. So, why take out one centrist while working to elect another? For me, the answer lies in defining the difference between what I would call a “constructive moderate” and a “destructive moderate” (or, if you’re not into tact, a “true RINO”) - and I can find no better prototypes than Specter and Cao.

We’ll start with Specter. He’s not necessarily a liberal, and he votes with us most of the time - so it’s hard to make the case that he’s in the wrong party. Furthermore, he seems pretty strongly rooted in his socially and fiscally moderate beliefs. He’s not a guy who operates with his finger in the wind, and I respect that. However, there is a serious problem with his attitude. He has no problem labeling himself as a Republican, running on our tickets, and cooperating with our legislators when we happen to agree with him on something. However, when there are disagreements (and they occur often), he goes completely AWOL.

Not only does he vote with the Dems, but he makes a show of shoving it in our face and kvetching about what a horrible party we’ve become. Yes, he’s with us more often than not, but he only gets excited when he’s poking us in the eye - and he is happy to soak up press that results from being the guy tearing down GOP plans from within. He’s not interested in building the party as much as he is in being the kicking, screaming voice of an otherwise long-dead brand of Rockefeller Republicanism. He has become a cancer, and he needs to be cut out - period.

Now, let’s look at Rep. Cao. He may be almost four decades younger than the Gentleman from Pennsylvania, but like Specter he seems to be a moderate if there ever was one. He’s been a Republican less than two years, he’s open to working with Democrats, and he flirts with breaking ranks on every single budget vote. Furthermore, he is more than happy to request lots of earmarks for his district. Now, in his defense, I would note that he always comes down right on those budget votes and that, as the representative of New Orleans, he has more justification for those funding requests than any other Congressman. Still, we can safely say that he is clearly a moderate on everything but the life issue.

However, Cao’s attitude is radically different than Specter’s. He’s the type of guy who got into politics because he genuinely wanted to help people, and he talks constantly about the fact that his goal is always to do what is best for his district. And whereas Specter is bridge-burner, Cao is a bridge-builder. He’s there to build consensus solutions, and while he sticks firmly to his center-right principles, he’s willing to work with both parties to make sure things get done. That, in my opinion, makes him a class act and the very definition of a statesman. Far from being a cancer, he could be a productive coalition builder in Congress for years to come.

This brings me back to my original point about the rise of moderate voices like Meghan McCain, who not only claim to be the only future of the GOP, but are ready to go to battle for their cause. I happen to have a good deal of respect for Miss McCain, but people like her need to decide whether they are with Specter or Cao. They can work with us to help acheive our common goals - in which case, I’m ready to support them wholeheartedly. However, if they continue the march toward some sort of apocalyptic ideological confrontation between the various wings of the party - they will find themselves significantly outnumbered and doomed to failure.

So, Meghan, shall we build bridges or burn them? The choice is yours.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"The Speech"

I would be remiss if I did not post a link to video of Gov. Palin's speech in Evansville last night - especial since a lot of the people here were been Palinistas long before most people knew what that word meant. Personally, I thought she did a good job, and - more specifically - that this speech was "vintage Sarah" rather than "campaign Sarah". The tone was relentlessly positive but still brutally honest, and every issue was related to her personal experience. This was how Sarah operated as a candidate and as a Governor - and I'm suddenly very glad that she has so much time detoxing in Alaska. If this Sarah continues to show up, we are well on our way to eliminating the negativity of the campaign - and charging toward a Palin presidency.

Welcome back, Governor.

(Note: I posted a link instead of an embed on purpose - I can't get that cool loop to run like C4P did, and I don't want to post 8 videos)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Noa & Mira - "There Must Be Another Way"

If you were to mix the Olympics with American Idol - you would probably get something like the Eurovision Song Contest. It's always a huge deal across the pond, as the nations of Europe compete in an continent-wide grudge-match of pop musicians. However, as I reported in January, this year's show took on political significance when a bunch of self-hating Israeli intellectuals begged Israeli-Arab singer Mira Awad not to represent Israel in the competition. Apparently, they were concerned that Mira's duet with Jewish pop star Noa would cause people to have positive feelings toward Israel. Of course, their calls went unheeded, and Noa and Mira have recently released the song they wrote for the contest (see video above).

Bravo to this Arab-Jewish duo for standing up in the face of adversity. I wish them luck in semifinals on May 12th and (hopefully) the finals on May 16th. Personally, I think they should be a top contender, considering their compelling story and Noa's status as a Europe-wide pop icon. I personally think they have a very good song as well, but you never know what the voters are going to like. For instance, consider that the 2006 competition was won by these guys...

...Mommy...make the scary Finland people go away!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Brickyard Profile: Tzipi Hotovely

Let me talk for a minute about my favorite part of politics. I do a lot of election-watching, but I'm not always watching the top-level dynamics. Instead, its usually more fun to watch the mid-level legislators and candidates. For one, you don't understand any government unless you know who serves in certain key roles. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, the real fun is not in knowing who is in charge now - but who is on the rise. What are the newest dynamics in a country, and who is ahead of the curve in addressing those new realities. Find those people, and you find the power players of the future.

Hence, I tend to do crazy things ... like diverting my focus to first term Alaskan Governors. So, what I've been watching lately in Israel is not the big players, but all of the young parliamentarians who came in with them - and one in particular seems to be perfectly positioned to capitalize on rightward shift in Israeli politics.

Meet Tzipi Hotovely of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party. At age 30, she's the youngest member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament), but she is far from a neophyte. Instead, she was already a well known right-wing pundit in the Israeli media, and Benjamin Netanyahu personally recruited her as a Likud candidate in the last election. Then, she ran in the party's primary to select Knesset candidates and did far better than expected. Instead of winning "realistic" chance of getting elected, she locked up the 18th slot on the Likud list - ensuring her election and blowing past Likud's more established female leaders.

Even better, she sits well to the right of the Likud mainstream, closer to what Israeli's would call a "religious Zionist" ideology. This is very important, considering that the conservative Likud is hemorrhaging votes to hard-right nationalist parties like Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu. However, Hotovely also seems far more palatable to the mainline in Israeli politics, as she chose to run for a mainstream party and has the personal support of Prime Minister Netanyahu (unlike more hard-line Likud rebels).

The Likud will need leaders like Tzipi Hotovely if it wants to continue to fend off Yisrael Beiteinu, and her media background shows that she has the charisma needed to gather a following (not unlike a certain Alaskan Governor). I personally expect her to rise very fast in the Netanyahu government (although she is not a current cabinet member), and would not be surprised to see her leading the Likud Party herself someday.

She may not be making world headlines just yet, but she definitely has the potential to come from nowhere and rocket to the top of the national scene. So, if anyone in the world is going to be the next Sarah Palin - it's Tzipi Hotovely.

Friday, April 10, 2009


If you haven't noticed, this blog has not previously addressed the nationwide "Tea Party" movement in opposition to the pseudo-socialist policies being introduced by our new president. This is not necessarily because I am in opposition to the concept, but because I am generally skeptical of the effectiveness of mere protests - especially those that involve large numbers of people scrawling cheeky slogans on posterboard with Sharpie markers. That said, I might be willing to embrace the idea if the people involved can convince me that this is more than just a one-time chance for people to vent their anger. If this is a serious movement that will contribute to long term change - then I just might get off the fence.

Hence, I am impressed with a project being put forward by Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring. Mr. Hanna is trying to create a national coalition by getting all of the Tea Party organizers to have their attendees to text the words "Tea Party"to the 74362. If this succeeds, we will finally have the basis to build an organic, conservative rival to Barack Obama's massive network of supporters.

So, congratulations to Mr. Hanna for finally getting this skeptic to pay attention to the Tea-Party Movement. That said, I still need to see proof that these "Tea Parties" are actually going to do something constructive - because if I see a bunch of mad hatters singing "A Very Merry Unbirthday" on April 15th, I'm tuning out for good.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Closed for Passover

Well, it looks like I started a bit of a riot with my post on UCSD yesterday. We ended the day with almost 1,800 hits and the story was linked by, Michelle Malkin, and We even generated a response from the state chairwoman of the California College Republicans.

I will have a lot more to say about this and other issues, but unfortunately it will have to Wait. Passover starts tonight, and that's a higher priority. I'll be back on Friday with all the latest on the California slugfest.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trouble at UCSD: We Have To Help These Kids

Anyone who has immersed themselves in political life knows that the toughest and dirtiest battles are not fought at the top of the food chain, but the bottom. The watchful eyes of the media largely keep our elected officials in check, but when absolutely no-one is watching, you create the potential for one of the most toxic political environments in the country. I’m speaking, of course, about the College Republicans.

The vast majority of CRs are great people, but there are far too many of us (myself included) who come out scarred and jaded after watching four years of shameless backstabbing, political vendettas, and routine corruption. Often, those who claw their way to the top of the garbage pile go on to become our most aggressive and successful strategists - Karl Rove was national chairman in the 1970s, and Lee Atwater managed his campaign for that office. However, for every Karl Rove, there are probably ten young activists who end up fleeing the cesspool. Most of the time, we “grown-ups” shrug off their antics, because “they’re just college kids” – but eventually somebody has to stand up and say that our young leaders deserve better than to be treated like dog feces. The CRs are an integral part of the party’s operations, and they need to be subject to the same ethical standards we apply to anyone else.

Unfortunately, the only way this situation was going to get the attention it deserved was if it spun far so far out of control that it became newsworthy – and sadly, the California College Republicans (CCR) have finally reached that low. I’ve spent the last several days interviewing people familiar with the situation, and frankly I have been shocked and disgusted by actions of that organization’s leadership.

A plethora of strange and twisted events have occurred in the last few months, all of them connected with the CCR State Committee’s desire to influence the election of their successors - but in order to understand the full scale of the issue, I want to begin with the biggest act of corruption I have ever witnessed in College Republicans:

Last Thursday the CCR State Committee voted 6-1 to revoke the charter of the College Republicans at the University of California–San Diego (UCSD). As a result, all of the members of the UCSD chapter (30 active, over 500 on the mailing list) have been effectively kicked out of College Republicans, and a full 10% of the electorate at the state convention (and a key center of opposition to the incumbents) was eliminated in the blink of an eye. The flippant expulsion of these kids should be enough to provoke outrage – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A quick look at the months leading up to this travesty reveals a sordid tale of corruption and intrigue that would rival the most imaginative works of political fiction.

The whole thing started near the end of last year, when I had the chance opportunity to befriend a young intern by the name of Sarah Johnson (we stayed in the same intern dormitory her in DC) – while I was just getting out of college, Sarah was a wide-eyed 18-year-old who would soon be a freshman at UCSD. We talked a lot about CRs, as I had just finished my career (I was the chapter chairman at my college), and she had been receiving strange Facebook messages about the UCSD CRs impeaching several officers. At the time, we laughed it off - but when she got back to San Diego, she found out that she was not dealing with a run-of-the-mill CR squabble. As she told me Friday, she had “walked into a war zone”.

As it turned out, those Facebook messages she showed me were the first shots in the mother of all collegiate conflagrations. There had, in fact, been an underhanded attempt to impeach the CR chairwoman at UCSD, Dejah Stanley – and it backfired in a big way. Inez Feltscher, who succeeded Miss Stanley as chairwoman, gave me the run-down on the circus that followed. Apparently, one of the club’s Vice Chairs, Megan Rodriguez, wanted Stanley gone (most of the club didn’t). Hence, she called a meeting to impeach Stanley, where the articles of impeachment were convincingly voted down. However, this technicality did not stop the instigators from Facebooking the entire club to notify them that Stanley had been voted out of office. The rest of the club was none too pleased with this stunt, and promptly called a meeting where Stanley’s leadership was affirmed and Rodriguez was unanimously impeached as Vice-Chair - YouTube video of the vote was even made available to prove the integrity of the process. Rodriguez, however, decided not to recognize her removal and insists to this day that she is still the club’s Vice Chair for External Affairs. She was also a member of the CCR State Committee, and she decided to use her connection to make life hell for the club - that’s when the hard-core sleaziness started.

According to Feltscher, members of the UCSD CRs started receiving threatening phone calls from CCR state officials, telling them that (among other things) their involvement in Rodriguez’s impeachment would prevent them from ever working in politics again. As the problems got worse, the UCSD CRs found themselves on the outs with the state committee, and they ended up endorsing “Red State Rising”, a slate of state committee candidates running against the incumbent-endorsed slate (known as “Revolutionize CCR”). At this point, they found out that they were subject to an even bigger state committee vendetta – this one aimed at crushing “Red State Rising” in the election.

I got the details on this second sub-plot from Adam Ellison, head of “Red State Rising” and their candidate for State Chairman. RSR has also experienced the strong arm-tactics employed by certain members of the State leadership, this time in their capacity as representatives of the “Revolutionize CCR” campaign. At the state’s annual Republican convention, one state co-chair even went so far as to imply that physical violence could occur against a consultant for Red State Rising.

Then again, that wouldn’t be terribly surprising to anyone frequenting the comments section at The Dana Report, one of the only blogs covering the election. State Co-Chair Leigh Wolf is a frequent commenter, as are other people involved in the race, and you’d be amazed at the comment threats being fired off on one post written after that convention. One commenter asks another “Alec, are you the dude that got thrashed by Leigh Wolf after passing around some random s*** at the CCR meeting? Saw the camera… just wondering.” Mr. Wolf then responds “Yes he was. You’re a sniveling weasel Alec. Bring that trash to the CCR convention, I dare you.” Another shocked commenter than asks if Wolf is making a threat, and receives a rather chilling response: “Yes Matt Schenk it is a threat. I’m glad you picked that up... I will publicly embarrass and make famous anyone who puts their own agenda before CCR at the expense of CCR’s reputation. So i repeat to (name deleted), Bring that trash to the CCR convention, i dare you.” I might add here was that the person was merely distributing literature noting that impeached UCSD Vice-Chair Megan Rodriguez, now a top-ranking “Revolutionize CCR” candidate, had no business masquerading as a sitting vice-chair of the USCD College Republicans…which brings us back to the plot that resulted in dozens of innocent CRs being thrown out of the organization.

Somewhere in the middle of this debacle, Club Treasurer (and Rodriquez ally) Chelsea Green resigned from the UCSD club along with a few lackeys. She then removed all of the other officers from the club’s bank account and commandeered it for her own use. While the university did ensure that the account was eventually returned to its proper owners, Green did manage to withdraw $500 before ceding back control. Coincidentally, she was also able to form a rival “College Republicans” club (with herself as chair) the very same day. At this point, I should probably tell you about the bogus restraining order filed against a member of the UCSD CRs (thrown out in court), but that would interrupt the story.

The renegades then set out on a quest to get their old club de-chartered by the state committee - not a bad plan, considering that they could abuse Megan Rodriguez’s connections. So, they compiled a mailing list of “members” by trading signatures for Red Bull during finals week. They have yet to use that mailing list, despite being in existence for several months - nor have they even hold single meeting - but they did amass a “membership list” to submit to the state committee in their bid to steal the UCSD charter. So, the state organization scheduled a “debate” between the two clubs to determine which was the “legitimate” holder of the UCSD charter.

Now, one would think that preference would be given to the larger club with a 23 year history. However, through a rather amazing feat of intellectual gymnastics, the charter was awarded to the upstarts who don’t even bother to have meetings. Here’s how it went: First, the committee validated the invalid impeachment of Chairwoman Dejah Stanley (remember her?). Then, they declared that, because the club refused to recognize that impeachment, all actions taken by the club afterward were illegitimate. This invalidated the subsequent impeachment of Megan Rodriguez, meaning that the club could now be charged with preventing their suddenly-unimpeached vice-chair from performing her duties. Furthermore, the committee deemed that, as the rebels did recognize the impeachment of Dejah Stanley, they were the only legitimate CRs at the school.

Personally, I find this entire process appalling – these people are supposed to be the future of our party, and nobody will even slap them on the wrist for unjustly expelling an entire chapter. Not only that, but the chapter was disbanded largely for reasons that had nothing to do with the UCSD feud. Yes, that was the excuse, but I’m guessing that the primary reason had far more to do with eliminating voters who were going to oppose “Revolutionize CCR” in this month’s elections.

It’s high time that somebody stood up to these punks, and I personally am willing to flog this issue until something is done about it. If “Revolutionize CCR” and their state committee friends want to play hardball, then let’s play hardball. From here on in, I’m on a mission to make them famous. Any slimy move they make will be blogged about, fed to my Twitter followers, sent to my mailing list, and forwarded to my media contacts. The only thing that these people are “revolutionizing” is ham-fisted, Chicago-style machine politics, and our kids deserve better than that.

College Republicans is supposed to be a place where our young activists learn about the principles of our party - but if this travesty is allowed to stand, then the only thing they’ll learn is that Red Bull does indeed give you wings. We need to do everything we can to get these kids back into CRs (and maybe throw out the bums that did this to them) – and there is no time like the present to get moving.

Monday, April 6, 2009

RealDVD: It's What the People Want

A lot of people have gotten up in arms about the battle between the creators of software program "RealDVD" and bigwigs in Hollywood. There's been talk about property rights, socialism, the power of the Hollywood studios, and a range of other issues. However, what wasn't seen until today was just how badly people want the capabilities that the program offers.

According to a survey released by the National Consumers League, a whopping 90% of consumers think they should be allowed to copy their DVD's onto their computers - just like they can do with their audio CDs. Furthermore, 40% said this capability would make them more likely to buy DVDs in the future. So, by trying to keep RealDVD off the market, the studios are actually shooting themselves in the foot.

Listen I can understand why people would be worried about piracy, but frankly it's pretty easy to get illegal, unrestricted piracy software online. If you want to engage in illegal activity, you're not going to bother paying for a program like RealDVD, which has all sorts of safeguards to prevent funny business. It would be far easier (and more profitable) for everyone involved if the studios simply allowed RealDVD and cooperated in efforts to make the program even safer than it already is.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

AK Dems Cave on Senate Nomination

A little more detail is emerging in the wake of yesterday's decision to reject Gov. Palin's nomination of Tim Grussendorf to the State Senate - and it looks like this thing is moving in a positive direction after all.

After the vote, it looks like the Juneau Democrats have had enough of the game and will finally submit a list of three names to Gov. Palin for consideration. Here's the quote from the ADN:

"We're going to try to get three names together tomorrow," Rich Listowski, a state Democratic Party central committee member from Juneau, said on Wednesday evening.

It also looks as if the Dems in the Senate were so obsessed with their petty vendetta that they were willing to to alienate one of their most senior members. Grussendorf was chief of staff to Sen. Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel), co-chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and it looks like Sen. Hoffman was not at all impressed with the rejection of his top aide. Here's another ADN quote:

Hoffman left the closed door meeting on Grussendorf early. He did not appear happy.

So, the Juneau Dems caved and Lyman Hoffman is on the outs with his caucus.

Palin 2, Senate Dems 0

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grussendorf Bounced

The Democrats in the Alaska's State Senate have decided to play politics and reject Gov. Palin's appointment of Tim Grussendorf to replace Sen. Kim Elton. No word on vote totals - the whole thing was done behind closed doors. Sarah now has ten days to submit a new nominee.

Let the games begin.