It’s been weeks since the election, so hopefully by now we’ve all scrubbed the blue and red eyeshadow from drooping eyelids and peeled the ‘I Voted’ stickers off our jacket lapels. Our neighbors finally have muted Baracka Flacka Flame. Some of us are elated, others disappointed; but one thing is clear for all of us it was a wild ride, and everyone’s first instinct is to simply exhale.

But a long-awaited conclusion to this race should be no cue to abandon political momentum, wherever it carries our respective lives. You’ve probably heard if not repeated that now-famous quote by activist Mohandas Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Considering the leader’s lifelong commitment to pacifist social reform, Gandhi’s rhetoric was perhaps more literal than popular Western reiteration might suggest. No, we’re not suggesting our readers drop out tomorrow morning to join the Peace Corps. However, we do note that armchair academia and box-checking will only get us so far. We are often divided in opinion over the President’s fulfillment of his first-term campaign platform of “Change” and “Hope,” but regardless of our feelings on any issue, we as citizens must also remember to look to ourselves as sources for progress, no matter what our leaders are up to. Real people create real ideas, and the often-seemingly small but deliberate efforts we make is what alters the course of society.

Remember John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address? “Ask not what you can do for your country,” he implored us, “but what your country can do for you.” And the man was right. Those ballot measures don’t write themselves, you know.


It’s no secret that sometimes we elect leaders that are just kind of … well … out there. And by out there, we mean WAY out there. Like everything they say can and will be used against them in an SNL skit. So how does this happen? How do we end up with representatives that don’t really represent the population?

Unlike aliens, radical politicians are actually from Earth

Unlike aliens, radical politicians are actually from Earth

Well, first off, we as a people need to accept responsibility for electing these people. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. But, you might contend, we picked the lesser of the two evils in the general election. That may be, but that means you enabled a radical to emerge from the primary contest. And that is why this ultimately boils down to a question of voter turnout, and involvement.

Nobody denies that America has a voter turnout problem, and this problem is most visible at the primary levels, in which only the most partisan voters vote. Let us take the example of this year’s Republican primary contest. Governor Mitt Romney had to travel very far off to the right, going so far as to call himself  “severely conservative”, in order to satisfy the partisans that vote in the Republican primaries. Then he had to swim back to the center during the general election in order to have a chance to win. All the while without making it look like he was switching positions. This is a symptom of our problem: pragmatic, middle of the line candidates cannot survive primary contests.

This can only be changed if people decide they will vote in their primary elections, and will ensure that both general election candidates represent centrist views and retain the ability to compromise with the other side. At the end of the day, we need choices. We need Republicans that Democrats can see themselves voting for, and we need Democrats that Republicans can vote for. And this can only happen if the candidates produced by these two parties are not diametrically opposed to each other, but rather represent subtle policy differences – honest differences aimed not to rally bases, but to help America move forward.

And now, for your viewing pleasure:

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Elections are over, so there’s no new campaigning to throw at you… for now. But being in Berkeley, there’s always going to be another issue or movement to be aware of. Whether it’s CALPIRG or another independent student group, you can’t enter Sproul without exiting at least somewhat better informed about their cause. It would take real skillz (yes, with a z) to graduate without a general understanding of local happenings, and to some degree of national and global ones as well.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying this is a bad thing. You should by all means stay as informed as possible. What we are saying is if for some reason you wanted to live in your own little bubble, this was the wrong place to come to school. There’s simply no excuse for obliviousness. Look at how much effort people put into advertising simple things like club events. They have posters all over campus, flyers, chalking, emails, Facebook, you name it. Take something on a larger scale like Prop 30 and state budget cuts and it goes even further, with all sorts of students and groups advocating their positions and making announcements. Everyone’s eager to inform everyone else and get them participating. If blissful ignorance was your thing, it sure isn’t anymore. Berkeley will force you into being in the know, thereby making you a willful rejectionist if you persist in a lack of interest.

Prop 30 Signs

With signs like this, you'll at least know there's some proposition about taxes and education, whether you want to or not.

This atmosphere can definitely be a good thing. Horrible as it might sound, for those not willing to go out and actively seek information it still provides a constant source of information. They can stay in the loop with minimal effort. For people already in the read more »

If it takes an Excel sheet to keep track of how to vote on which proposition, we have a major problem. Not because we necessarily are too lazy to think about what’s going on, but because of two other intertwined problems. The first is that there aren’t too many people out there that are going to take the time to fully understand the implications of each proposition, and that creates the second problem: the preposterous marketing of these propositions. Forget the TV ads, the California General Election Official Voter Information Guide itself is irritating with arguments in all-uppercase letters (flip to page 40 to get a glimpse).

This baby is screaming. This is what we hear when we read ALL CAPS.

This baby is screaming. This is what we hear when we read ALL CAPS.

If only adults are allowed to vote, let’s create a mature discussion on the merits and weaknesses of each proposition. Ad hominem attacks on proposition funders, coupled with blatant appeal to emotions, wrapped in angry diatribes only serve to turn voters off and reduce the chances of true societal progress.  We can understand (although not condone) elections between candidates becoming glorified beauty pageants, but are we seriously making propositions into a contest of which side can use more uppercase words?

And all this makes frustrated voters more vulnerable to being manipulated. Many times while going through this guide, we’ve wanted to do nothing more than throw it across a room in a fit of rage. Less patient prospective voters who haven’t completely given up on voting are made susceptible to voting based on what their newspaper said or which ads they’ve seen more or what they see more often in their Facebook newsfeed.

So here is our message to those arguing for and against propositions: if your goal really is societal progress, then you need to step back and ask yourself whether this presentation of propositions is appropriate. If societal progress is not your goal, then you need to get yourself out of the proposition business.

And on that note, go out and vote.

Image source: Clover_1 under Creative Commons

Mitt Romney’s rash comment during the presidential debate that he would cut funding for PBS seemed a bit ridiculous. What kind of sane person would cut PBS?! Where would this world be without ‘The Joy of Painting’ and ‘Sesame Street’? In a dark place, that’s where.We feel that any of the Muppets would make a better head of state than Mitt, and here’s our proof:

Bert and Ernie

These two. We know right off the bat that they share a dynamic never before seen between a president and his vice. They complement each other bert_ernieso well that they would always make the right decisions. President Bert is a rock: intelligent and warm, he would make a great envoy and a charming negotiator. His impressive bottle cap collection is proof of his attention to detail and ability to relate to his constituents. Ernie represents the epitome of good ideas. As Vice President, he would bring so many good ideas for fixing the economy that “unemployment” would have to be a Word on the Street. Ideas such as national Rubber Duckie day, which would boost nationwide rubber production, and the new Department of Equality, in which Ernie will take away anything Americans are not able to share equally, leading to redistribution. And we know exactly where they stand on gay marriage.

Big Bird

A domineering personality, Big Bird would scare the living bejeezus out of any foreign diplomat. America wants access to the Persian Gulf? Ten big birdminutes with Ahmadinejad, and Big Bird would make the Gulf into our exclusive swimming pool. Big Bird’s biggest strength is his seemingly naive tone and kind personality. Like a sociopath, Big Bird employs Teddy Roosevelt’s international policy of speaking softly and carrying a big beak. No one messes with Big Bird.

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A political panel at Berkeley isn’t exactly news, but it is when Meghan McCain hits the Bay Area.

Called “Voting Today, Leading tomorrow: Will Young Voters Change America?,” the panel will focus on the longevity and effects of the youth vote. Besides McCain, panelists include Mike Connery, Heather Smith, Randi Zuckerberg and Nicole Lapin.

McCain should be interesting to watch, as she says on Twitter she’s “pretty sure I’m the only red one on the panel or in this city…” But then again, she recently stated that “most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless.”

In the meantime, you can tell her what to do with her day in Berkeley, though it seems hiking up to the big C and painting it red might be out of the question.

What: Voting Today panel
When: The Clique movie download Today at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Pauley Ballroom West
Cost: Free
Antz download

Image Source: thedayhascome under Creative Commons
“Voting Today, Leading tomorrow: Will Young Voters Change America?” [Insitute of Governmental Studies]

The Name of the Rose dvd


Be sure to pick up your copy of the Daily Cal today for a steaming hot pile of sex. That’s right, today marks the sex special issue, this time with a political slant. Just in time for Valentine’s Day so you can get your freak on.

We recommend checking out:

* Good Vibes weathering the economy
* FemSex’s longevity
* how to avoid Bush-isms in the sack
* the nexus of low cash and dating
* green sex toys (Let it be known that we did pen this one ourselves. We are shameless!)

Also related, the Daily Cal has launched a new sex blog in honor of its longest-running and most popular column. Well, that’ll drive the traffic. Man, it’s as if the world is telling you to go out and bone.

Image Source: Anna Hiatt, Daily Cal
Sex Issue [Daily Cal]
Sex on Tuesday Blog [Daily Cal]

With the help of ABC News, Facebook now boasts a Politics Pulse to get the kids involved in the 2008 race. Today we highlight the top two candidates on Facebook for the Democrats and Republicans.

For the college-aged Republicans, Ron Paul steals the show, with almost 44,000 supporters on the site–that’s 34 percent of all the Republican supporters. The good ol’ doctor introduces himself with pride:

As a specialist in obstetrics/gynecology, I have delivered more than 4,000 babies.

Already he’s one-upped all those baby-kissing candidates. He delivers that baby, spanks it and then kisses it too.

In this particular demographic, Mitt Romney falls behind Ron Paul with over 22,000 supporters. He holds only 17 percent of the Republican interest, though that’s not from lack of trying. Romney currently lists “A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix)” by Elvis Presley under his iLike application. That’s the way to America’s youth!

Even outside of party lines, Facebook shows Barack Obama as No. 1 among the college kids. Obama flaunts over 170,000 supporters (58 percent of Facebook Democrats). His profile is the most fleshed-out among his opponents, and it’s apparent he took the time to think out the details. As his favorite books, he notes:

* “The Bible,” to prove he’s got “values”
* “Lincoln’s Collected Writings,” to align himself with an honored president
* “Song of Solomon,” written by Toni Morrison–also supported by the most powerful force in America, a.k.a Oprah

Hillary Clinton comes in second as a Democratic candidate. Over 55,000 Facebookers support her, and she claims 19 percent of all Democratic supporters. Her profile is rather dull, but her wall makes up for whatever she lacks:

“Hillary doesn’t need Oprah. She has experience,” one wall-poster notes.
“I agree…Oprah doesn’t have anything on Hillary,” another one replies.

Do we hear a “Booyakasha”? Or is going against Oprah blasphemy?

US Politics [Facebook]

New York college students were in a tiff over the presence of two prominent public figures on their campuses: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at Syracuse University and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University. But those aren’t the first times people get huffy over public figures visiting universities.

Just this past week, over 2,600 Stanford students, faculty and alumni signed an online petition to remove former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s appointment to Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

Last May, protesters gathered outside our own Zellerbach Hall where former President and author Jimmy Carter spoke about finding peace in the Middle East.

And in September 2006, Columbia University rescinded their invitation to Ahmadinejad, citing logistical reasons for the cancellation. We guess uninviting someone twice is a taboo in the etiquette of Ivy League universities?

Political leaders around New York were quick to offer their disapproval of Columbia’s invitation, rejecting Ahmadinejad’s request to lay a wreath at the World Trade Center site and, in New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s words, hoping that the citizens of New York would “make his time miserable.”

We bugged Yaman Salahi, an active member of the Berkeley blogging community on Middle Eastern affairs, for his opinion. He says of Ahmedinejad’s visit:

bq. … while he doesn’t represent everybody or control the country with an iron fist, or anything close to it, he does legally have a ‘right’ and legitimacy to be in his position. In shutting him out, we are effectively shutting out the country of Iran.

bq. … I think much of the hysteria surrounding his visit is based more on xenophobic stereotypes and rumors than it is on substantial facts or disagreements that people have about him. I’ve read several reports that indicate some of his statements have been mistranslated in order to make him sound crazy.

bq. The most questionable thing about him at this point, in my opinion, is the fact that he hosted a despicable Holocaust denial conference last year (actually I wrote about this when it happened). But then again he is not coming to Columbia to speak on the Holocaust.

Here are some different takes on Ahmadinejad’s visit, including the kind of long and boring “60 Minutes” interview where Ahmadinejad dodges questions like rhetorical bullets.

Salahi ultimately notes that American students are being offered the rare opportunity to academically challenge an important figure in our lives. And that’s a point the Clog can stand behind, no matter what side of the politics we’re on.

In light of protests, public statements and the aftermath, we want to know: What do you make of the situation? Is this just mass hysteria over nothing? Setting a dangerous precedent? A cruel setup? What, speaker, let’s go play Halo 3?

Image Source: David Shankbone
Listening to Controversy [Daily Cal]
Ahmadinejad, at Columbia, Parries and Puzzles [NY Times]
Telling it Like it Isn’t [Slate]
Differing Groups Rally at Talk [Daily Cal]
Iran Leader Denied Bid to Visit Ground Zero [NY Times]
Stanford students, faculty protest Rumsfeld’s Hoover appointment [SF Gate]
Ahmadinejad’s Dangerous Game [Slate]