Thursday, August 31, 2006


I had a very nice lunch with Katie today and then swung by the Reitz to pick up some Kaplan info (yeah right...I was really there to snoop around!)

I arrived via the ground floor of the Reitz by the Wachovia and didn't see any slating sighs there or on the entire groud floor. Then I went up to the first floor and saw few flyers: b&w Swamp & Pants ones plus the professionally done Action Party page-sized ads. Outside the parties were no where to be found, as a Pro-Israel rally was taking place (number of Arabs in attendance: "0").

As I strolled over to the culdesac of party tables and qualifying rooms, I saw Chris Chase (Action Veep Candidate), Rosemary Clouston, and Sen. Ryan Nelson. The hospitable senator offered me a seat, that was nice. I spoke to the Action people at length and congratulated them on their candidate-pick for his experience in office, however, I did make mention that they could have dug a little deeper and gone more grassroots/indie to 'sow the seeds for spring,' but w/e, Chris Chase is a strong candidate, with plenty of experience, and will definitely give Armand some bang for his buck.

I finally got to meet Gavin Baker (he wasn't anywhere near as vocal as Nelson) but very professional to say the least. I must say that when Bruce Haupt (Pants, Veep Candidate) arrived he took control of the room and I wanted to shake his hand. I told Nelson & Co. to watch out for this party -- which I will publicly predict even at this most early of times, that Pants will surpass the 20%-mark. I'm willing to bet $20 with one person on this, let me know whoever wants this action).

I also want to clear something up with Swamp. I had every intention of going into the Party of my good friend Lydia Washington's room, however, I didn't like the way I was 'greeted.' Action's Nelson offered me a seat, Pants' Haupt offered to answer questions for the blogsite, but Swamp's officer blocked the doorway, gave me a kind of cold vibe, and made me remember how out of place I felt as an Ignite House Leader and just how much I hated being a mainstram Greek for the semester that I was one. She smiled and seemed to be really trying to be friendly like Nelson & Haupt but I guess I saw right through her (or maybe I saw what I wanted to see, this is nothing on her, just, if I were a student I'd a bolted outta there too).

Just looking inside the Swamp room I saw a sea of black, the black fabric of formality donned on every person's back, makeup & pomp, it was like the Tribe of the Power-Lunch had returned to re-take their plush qualifying room while the Opposition Parties got stuck in the Section8/HUD'like closets of Voice days. Still....Swamp has my old colleague Arturo Armand and the lovely Lydia Washington amongst its ranks, so I will not base my opinion on them merely on one slightly over-formal party member. That look though.....she's a pretty girl....but that look....reminds me of Meredith Pelton's look when I mistakenly sat at an Innovate caucus meeting or whenever I'd interview for the Judiciary Committee or maybe the first five or six summer sessions when Goldberg would call me "Mr. Duque" instead of "Senator" like everyone else (possibly b/c rebel Greeks are considered scum by mainstreamers). Whatever the case may be, I'm still open to Swamp and have a great interview comin up from them.

Action Report Card

Bill of Rights
*Compare to Handout

1. Unanimous Votes....3 Parties in one year (Impact, Unite, Action), 3 platform cards, why not push 1 platform till its done?

2. Baker/Nelson, ok.

3. F-I-L-L-E-R

4. F-I-L-L-E-R


6. Stupid.

7. Low-Fat Diets? What is this?

8. Cannot be addressed by SG, A&S Fees are limited, this is nonsensical


10. ?

Bill of Rights: C/C-

Action Glossy

I hope action promotes safe sex, because it looks like you're sleeping with almost ten different (business) partners. Worse of all, there's no Maude's, Leonardo's, Satchel's, Book Lovers on're selling out to CORPORATE businesses, this is TOMMY JARDON and the Impact Crew at work, I would hate to think that Gavin Baker sat quietly for this. If you "just needed the money" then fundraise like Voice did, like Progress did, like the Student Alliance> ACCESS did.

This flyer is a football calendar, a food menu, and a party ad. It's sick and just for this ad I wouldn't vote for your party, but it's early yet, you might change. I'm sorry guys, but Action has the right people, the right conditions, but the wrong approach. You cannot think about winning, you need to sow the seeds for Spring, you need to be GRASSROOTS, INDIE, FRINGE, you need to S-T-O-P trying to BLEND in with SWAMP and show the students, sacrifice this election for it, you need to show the students that "'WE'RE'" DIFFERENT!

At least take a loss and let the kids know you're DIFFERENT. When I was rallying for Ignite @ Turlington, I felt shame, S-H-A-M-E to wear that red b/c of the fact the SA Party kids were fewer, more modest, but so much more different and were a true alternative; I wanted to be part of them and I supported them even as an Ignite official. Please, I'm begging you guys here, please stop trying to be what you are not, go INDEPENDENT. But will you listen, probably not...because the independent movement is dead, thus spoke Zarathustra.

Glossy Grade: C-

Overall Grades (includes multiple other factors, curve, and sans shallow-ur-not good enough to breathe our lavish years-in-advance-reserved-room air* and also based on policy and party behavior, front-runner quality, and party organization):

Action: B/B-
I was harsh guys, but you gave me the most to work with. Good on ya.
Pants: B/B+
ATTITUDE alone is worth 20% points; If they try...25% is a very outcome!
Swamp: C/C+
Institutionalistically-BORING. Armand, Brett, Lydia could save it.

Just from Alligator articles and limited emails, I would push for JCB to speak more for Swamp than others. JCB possesses the kind of literary prowess that could not only save Swamp from appearing so P-C that they look indifferent and just might bolster renewed support from sluggish Greek houses.

Culturally Speaking...

IF Lydia rallies support at BSU and Armand's SLB's are still as strong as in 2004, the MGC will go Swamp -- adding a sizeable strain on the larger NPHC to continue it's support of the original Boyles/Washtington ticket now presenting Armand for the vacancy.

The wildcard however, is the Haitian bloc of sources say they are not entirely Pro-Swamp, so this could be a problem for Swamp organizers. I would think that the Battle For BSU would be fought between Swamp & Action at CARIBSA, whom it is my belief are the powers that be in the African American community two years and counting. However, unlike JSU & Pride!, CARIBSA leaders are known for being extremely shrewd and have little patience for rhetoric, while they have issues with Swamp, I don't know that Action has the goods to win their votes.

Another battle to be had will be that between Armand and Jardon, whom I'm sure will probably use ineffective community leaders (that are convinced otherwise about themselves) to try and split support in HSA between Armand and Action. Will not fly. I suspect we will see endorsements from Danny Sanchez, Jeannette Coto, Joyce Medina, Laura Gonzalez, hell maybe even Gil Sanchez go Armand's way. Jardon's CASA-clout will help him, but it'll be lambs to the slaughter for Action in HSA, the MGC, and possibly even non-aligned-yet-mighty org's like UEPA. I also believe the LTA Reign is over, with Medina & Armand ruling almost successively, the bar has been set with Gamma Eta & Sigma Lambda Betas back on top.

The Dark Horse

The Gay & Lesbian community remains a powerful, though largely, untapped force. Unlike the large advantage one would have w/Black votes if one were in fact Black (or Hispanic, or a Cowboy, or a Sushi fan)...the LGBTQ community is much more demanding and being Gay is about as relevant to the LGBTQ commuity as if you prefer rhinestones to studs. However, if a candidate was Out-&-Proud, full force...this I believe would be a formula for mass mobilization. Will Action go for something fringe, survery say: "no."

The LGBTQ community could fet as high as 4.5% of the student population (by 2005 estimates). Action has the oppportunity RIGHT NOW of using their campaign to not only sell high-fat, low-budget empty carb meals but to also raise tolerance and diversity. Will they do this, survey says: "no."

Alright then! I'm out. Great seeing all of you. Why am so hard on Action you ask?
Because I expect more! Tired of working today? I don't care, work harder. I sat with you for a reason. I identify w/you, so do a lot of people. You want their vote, work harder and stop whoring for $. No one wants gloss & pomp, they want revolution, they want to feel part of something dynamic, try feeling like a COLLEGE STUDENT REBEL dining at:

Hungry Howie's or Jimmy John's

If anything I'd feel like a moron donning a plastic-drool-bibb and wearing a cone-shaped party hat. Students aren't morons, give 'em something better, give 'em something to be proud of.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

When Bloggers Go Too Far

In the first installment of Students Speak Out, Gator Party Leader [Sen.] J. Clayton Brett made mention of harsh treatment by way of Opposition senators against fmr. SBVP Lydia Washington. In recent days, I've received only eight emails in regards to the new section, with most of the letters bringing more and more details about what was allegedly said and/or done to the former Executive leader.

The madame Vice President sent me a very interesting facebook a couple of days ago and while I won't be sharing that it in its entirety, there are several points that I will. The Madame Veep includes that:

  • Her GPA fell below SG Requirements only the semester she was campaigning, not her overall GPA. She is also on a full-paid academic scholarship.

  • She took decisive action removing herself from office and immediately informed [SBP] John Boyles.

  • She was all-but-terrorized by anonymous bloggers for the whole summer.

  • She remains loyal to SBP John Boyles and proud of everyone in Swamp.

These statements from the Madame Veep all but turn fmr. Unite Party Leader [Sen.] Gavin Baker's take on the VP Scandal on its head. So who's telling the truth here? My favorite indie senator (w/ Nelson on his heels) or my Access Superstar? In the political game it could easily turn out that they both are to some extent. However, going into a very unusual VP election, the fine details are at extremely high stakes and the best way to clear the air is through dialogue.

To get a url that reads "Take Action UF" is a misnomer if the party leaders can't take the appropriate action to correct and/or re-assess their actions the previous term. I am not throwing the book at the Opposition, however, I believe that the Gator leader put many of you on the spot and none of you (whom routinely email and/or call me) have done anything to refute your alleged behavior. Let me be frank here, no let me be Christian...hahhahaaha *a James Argento-esque chuckle for ya....*

Let me be frank here: you can buy all the shirts and listen to all the speeches you want...without African American support you won't have a prayer. I am not looking to be rude here...but had you crossed a former, not so popular African American leader in senate, then perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad for you, but Lydia Washington is a name amongst many in her community and not so much as partially apologizing (even if on solely a professional level), I believe, will hurt you to your pundits about that.

I guess I'm not really mad at my young colleagues from the Opposition camp, but if there's anything that truly irks me, it's bloggers that write hateful entries and/or write checks their mouths can't cash w/o their real names. I guess it's part of the chaos we know as the INTERNET, but when feelings are hurt and lives are interrupted -- you've crossed the line.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Every Voice Heard! the weblog nears the 10,000 mark, I find that I'm still an SG junkie and will probably remain so for the rest of my 20's and possibly 30's, but let's hope that by my 40's I'm at the stage of either running for office and/or active as the #1 guy in small races...hey...I rather be a key player in Bob Joe's Campaign for Dog Catcher, than some faceless peasant-like poll worker in Bob Joe 2020 Presidential Campaign. If you're asking yourself if you know a Bob're too much of a social whore for Radikal standards.

Students Speak Out

2 Questions, 4 Leaders, Uncensored Opinions -- RIGHT HERE!

J. Clayton Brett* - GATOR PARTY
Gavin Baker** - UNITE! PARTY
Keith Hardwich* - SWAMP PARTY Confirmed, Awaiting Entry

*Senate Party Leader
** - Former Party Leader


In the news...I was invited to the Action Party's Info Forum. I am very grateful to the Party but will not be attending as my role with SG is strictly blogging-based. I believe SG belongs to the students, however, I may return for a final farewell in Spring (though it'd have to be to support a party I really believe in, otherwise funk that!)

As far as the name "Action", I like it b/c it's the English version of the Hispanic-Latino caucus that I helped put together. I also like the fact that at least at the facebook level Nelson seems to be in charge and Roberts still hasn't joined, LOL. Look, I think Adam Roberts is a great person and a great leader, but let's hope that for this third incarnation of an allegedly independent party, he will not be the Supreme Leader once again. Also I am not fond of Action's FBK history or the fact that the colors "orange & blue" have been used over say yellow & blue, red, or GREEN.

I do like that Action will be holding it's info session at the Reitz and hope that unlike Phoenix/Impact or Impact/Unite or Unite/Action, that the current lineup pick a name and stick with that name until Spring.


Losing one good party name does not justify losing another. We lost the Access name, hopefully Sen. JCB and his colleagues will not stand by and allow for the loss of the Gator name. While sounding redundant and awfully mainstream, the Gator imprint spells victory, school spirit, and all things large and mighty in one word. Sure....other words like Swamp, 1996, Two Bits, & O&B bring up UF sentiment, but nothing says UF more than GATOR. Don't buy into the whole 'they got a new party, we need a new party mentality, that's BULLSHIT. If ain't broken, don't fix it.

*No members of Impact/Unite were harmed in this photo-shoot. LOL

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ah...The Sweet Smell Of Denial

Just moved into Pine Rush, not too shabby...only my good friend Veta Gutmann has my bed in her storage!!! Come home already! Teaching for the Duque may start in September (one can only hope they will process the paperwork). 1 of 2 LOR's have been mailed, I just might be able to have a complete lsac application by DECEMBER! Oh yeah baby! I'll be a lawyer right around the time James Argento is retiring and starring in the 2045 version of Matlock! James will have hair again and it'll be ghostly white, he will resemble Andy Griffin meets Beetlejuice!

Onto business. Got a very nice email from Chris Carmody -- two actually. Chris wrote in to say my allegations that FBK runs UF are unfounded, he quickly brushed off the $250,000 a judge ordered his organization to pay one Charlie Grapski and the two multi-million dollars suits against members involved. He did, however, call those complicit in Charlie's case "goons" and assured me that [the "goons"] are no longer in the organization. Interestingly he they [both parties involved] were dirty back then, something we'll have to investigate.

When I asked him why FBK finds it fit to use A&S Fees when they clearly are not eligible for funding and why they use it for a ticketed event, I was given no reply (but I'm sure he'll figure out some line of defense; Carmody is no idiot). Chris also says that one Dr. Maturo, the FBK faculty adviser says FBK was not expelled from the National organization way back when, but rather, it was FBK that expelled the nat'l org -and- the nat'l org pays FBK for use of its logo. If I understand this correctly, it's like saying Rhode Island kicked the other 49 states out of America.....I don't know Chris....that just doesn't sound rational to me. Perhaps Radikal readers see it clearly. I was, always kinda slow ya know....

An awesome entry comin up. Check the TR today and/or tomorrow.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Giant Entry

SG World

  • To Be, or Not To Be, the Gator's Gator

  • Who speaks for Gator, the Party Leader or the Party Chair?

    For the benefit of diversity I plan on including both Sam Green and J. Clayton Brett in the upcoming Fall/Spring section of this weblong, however, an interesting scenario has just played out. What exactly does the title of Party Chairman (in a SG context) actually mean?

    For starters, a party cannot exist without a chairman, so on paper the role is critical. A party can also be completely sabotaged by the lone chair, so the position definitely has real-life-powers during a campaign. And there might be the answer. Is the Party Chairman solely a campaign-time officer? I would have to disagree and cite Sen. Laura Gonzalez at the helm of the Gator Party and all of the work she did. Sen. Gonzalez did not fade into obscurity once the election was over, in fact if anything, she strode right to the forefront and was publicly described as the Party Leader by the press (more I would opine as a logical continuation from Party Chair to Party Leader, as opposed to formally being elected by her party on the floor [though I may be mistaken]).

    Another aspect of this debate is cabinet. Just because Senate has a majority and a minority, it's almost absurd that cabinet shouldn't have something similar. Yes, cabinet should be non-partisan, but we all know it's not. Despite the fact that the ruling party usually garners a lion's share of cabinet directorships, candidates with connections to the minority will usually slide through the cracks as well. Members of cabinet from Party A should work from their respective posts to carry out (on whatever level possible) promises made by their party to the student body. Just because an officer is selected as opposed to elected, these details should not disturb the commitments of that person's party to the student body, at least this is my opinion and if you can visualize this scenario, read on.

    If the Party Chairman leads the party during campaign-time and the Party Leader leads the party in Senate, then which party official(s) (minority or majority) lead party members in cabinet and/or takes the responsiblity to advocate and lobby on behalf of their respective political party's platform in SG Cabinet? Though it may seem I am advocating that the Party Chair has, or should have this role, I am actually posing a serious question. Surely parties that bring thousands of faithful constituents to the polls twice-a-year have a leadership structure in the Executive Branch?

    Still...the question remains on the table and without a real answer. What is the complete role of the Party Chair? Campaign-time figurehead or year-round official?

  • Lydia Washington Interview Request?

  • Despite my endorsement of her, Fmr. SBVP Lydia Washington seems to have ignored a Facebook request at taking some questions. I can totally understand her reluctance to speak out, mainly because I know she could concretely touch base, the way very few of us can, about the true involvement of certain nefarious groups on SG.

  • High-Ranking FBK Official Remains Silent

  • I was told by a top FBK official that an interview with TR would be considered, I am hoping that in weighing out the pro's/con's that my trackrecord with those on the other side of aisle in interviews speaks well for me. I think many students would love to read, even if a somewhat stale account, of what FBK thinks of its identity and role in campus life and campus leadership.
  • Correspondence

  • Thanks to everyone for the kindhearted letters. I'm tempted to name-drop but won't.

  • Keeping a low profile

  • I don't know about you, but as an alum of UF I was extremely offended to read that Bernie Machen, president of this fine institution does not reside on the campus he's supposedly here to lead. That home is more than just a mansion for the Machen's to "entertain guests" and the idea of the UF President renting it out to groups while he's away makes me ill. The UF President's Mansion is for the UF President, it shouldn't be scaled down as a party pad for the president and a time-share when he's away. I'd love to speak to the hiring committee that approved this prick.

    Machen is the first UF president to take up permanent residence off campus in the mansion's 53-year history."


  • Feed Me With The Info
    The RUH Loan

  • As a former BOM member and a senator that strongly pro'ed the SG loan of $500,000 to the Reitz Union Hotel, I must admit feeling very much alarmed at hearing that the hotel defaulted on its first payment of $100,000 back to the A&S Fund, can someone please email me or post here as to what the status of repayment is. I am also concerned b/c of articles earlier this year discussing a sizeable SG deficit and throughout that flurry of reports I never once read anything of the 5-year repayment of the RUH (which for this year would have remedied 1/3 of the debt).

    The worst constraint of that whole experience were the State regulations prohibiting SG from negotiating the loan upon a favorable line of interest. It was also something that had never been done before and there's just something about being the first, be it the first to walk on the moon or the first to streak down Main Street at 2am, being part of something groundbreaking usually comes off as being very attractive...I don't know, I'm not Plato over here, but at the time the idea of helping the hotel with $500k seemed fit and in my book I rationalized it as special, one-time increase upon the Reitz's already $3.4 (or .7?) million package.

  • Party Names

  • From the moment I first heard about the cast-out houses (those few houses that got left out (or chose not to join the sell-out [Kappa Sig, DU,etc) Access F'04 ticket), the Gator Party name, though somewhat lame, sounded oh so very cool. Gator only sounds slightly lame for a party because it's name, image, and colors are so redundant on the UF student, alumni, faculty, and fan communities that you almost feel like the Gator Party is just another way of looking at our campus, at our school, and this magic formula definitely hits campaign-politics on the mark!

    Now I understand the whole concept of using the Swamp name, Chris Carmody and John Boyles, two "indies" (and by this we only mean non-Greek, as both are Keys and sell-outs today, no offense gentlemen) that split the Greek vote and enjoyed huge student support, but with Boyles so too should Swamp be put away in the trophy case of the Mainstream Hall of Fame. As far as relevance to the Gator Nation, as far as image and presentation, I would go with the Gator name hands down over Swamp. With Swamp you need to put a Gator into the picture, *this is deep, so sit down for it*, with Gator....YOU ARE THE GATOR.

    As for the opposition...the name is really the least of my concerns. I do not think the opposition under one flag will last too much longer, there are already some substantial chinks in the chain and one can only hope that multiple parties will emerge this fall or next spring. The idea of multiple parties will no doubt all but guarantee the mainstream forces a victory, however, the bulding of a tried and true, successful indie coalition requires the cohesion of several political and ideologial tendencies in a perfect balance. Yes, I said ideological tendencies and yes we're just discussing Student Politics. Many have failed to fully assess the complexities of student politics, often dismissing student races as all about t-shirt colors and sales pitches outside the polls, but those of us that have been part of at least one KICK-ASS campaign know that there is much more to a fine-tuned political machine that than the logo and the sales pitch.

    Right now, the Opposition lacks political forces with political maturity (meaning a history on campus independent of the current party) and different operating styles. After the demise of Access and the graduation of many of its leaders, the Independent community was left in the hands of junior partners that were forced to assume the big-roles before it was really there time. The results of hardworking, commited but also inept leaders saw the Independents gradually stray from the traditional and begin a process of mimicking the Mainstream -- club nights, off-campus meetings, legacy leaderships (party exec's tranfer over from one year to the next, rule by the select few).

  • What A Cool Website!!!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

International Commentary

In Solidarity With Lebanon

Sen. Lieberman Loses CT Primary

"Joe Lieberman is a great friend of the Cuban cause," said Joe Garcia, CANF's director. "He's never missed one vote on Cuba and he's never failed to be with us."
( Source: STP Times)***

*For many years I couldn't help but notice how conservative Lieberman was and just how much he pandered to lobby interests, namely the far-right-Cuban exile lobby and that of the Pro-Israeli camp. For those of you unaware of the CANF it's very similar to the Italian Cosa Nostra (in my opinion). The old godfather, Jorge Mas Canosa kicked the bucket some years ago, his son took over and a split ensued, today the group remains in disarray but own numerous properties, stuff elected officials' campaign coffers, and try to sabotage the Cuban gov't/economy.

Sorry James, I know you love Lieberman (Argento was Lieberman 4 President, UF chpater leader), but I'm glad to Lieberman gone and I hope Hillary is next. I'll vote for that ... (rhymes with bunt) if she get the DNC nod, but Democrats that support (or supported the war) are not people I want to help get elected. Did any of you see Bush plant one on Joe? Not only is that weird, it just goes to show you what kind of "democrat" Joe Lieberman really is.

To his credit, Joe can retire with his man-ish looking bride and reflect upon a career of votes strengthening a CRIMINAL embargo that has effectively had no effect on the Castro government but rather has made lives of innocent men, women, children, the elderly, and the disabled a nightmare. I don't know what type of Cubans would ever support the CANF but I am not one of them. I would like to see democracy in Cuba, but after four decades of an ineffective policy that renders misery on the population, I for one would not continue voting to tighten it, not for the dismal hope of democracy and much less for the promise of donations surpassing $100,000 that the mafia-like CANF donated Lieberman and others.

Not only did Lieberman lose his senate seat, I will get ultimate satisfaction when he loses his independent run and burns every bridge to the DNC. Then we can purge the party of the closet-Israeli-WarHawk HOWARD DEAN and truly reform the party towards the far left. How wonderful would that be. Americans don't want democrats in power, they want liberals and democratic-socialists just like the folks in Europe.

Hezbollah Holds On

According to CNN & the IAF, today was the bloodiest day in the month long war between Israel & Lebanon. I for one am not going to say Israel-Hezbollah, when it clearly involves Lebanese territory and the casualties certainly speak for themselves. This is a war between two nations, not a nation and a militia. There will have to come a time when the Lebanese army engages their Israeli foes. Israei forces will occupy or attempt to occupy Beirut, as Tyre is already almost a certain military target.

There was a report that came out, maybe Anderson Cooper 360 (or one of those programs) where it was reported that even in the face of Israeli infantry and armor, the dug-in Hezbollah guerrillas would not run, they stood their ground. Regardless of your opinion on the war, this is truly unheard of. The great Israeli Defense Forces that swatted Egypt, Syria, and Jordan...some in six days, find themselves fighting for BORDER TOWNS! that will not fall and almost an entire month into a war that has seen heavy pouding from land, air, and sea. You have to really wonder who God's Chosen People really are.

There is something very passionate, even romantic about a cause so valuable to its adherents that they will sit in a foxhole, holding a rifle as close to them as a significant other, trembling in the night as artillery guns fire in the distance and rounds come crashing down with indiscriminate frequency. They will not run, they will defend Lebanon, they will not run, they will defeat Israel. They will not run, they are Hezbollah.


From all the papers in the world (many of which I've read online), I have to admit that the Tuesday Alligator Editorial sketch was the best. It pictured two American businessmen sitting on Key West, smoking with ideas, and ready to get to Cuba to make business. What many of you fail to realize is that the United States made busines with Cuba until roughly 1960 and continues to do so today throughout Latin America. What's the problem? Well from a U.S. point of view it's good business, but from the Latin American' nations it's just downright exploitation. While I would love to see democracy in Cuba, I would prefer to wait a little longer for a proper transition to take place as opposed to a sudden collapse ala Soviet Union, where all State property immediately goes private, everything sells in a whirlwind of capitalism, and in five or six year what was once the FIRST WORLD Soviet Union finds itself as a sub-developed state (yea, that's below Third World -- a lovely relic term kept alive today, courtesy of the Cold War).

Cuba remains peaceful and all is calm according to publications spanning the Cuban GRANMA to the liberal NY Times to the conservative Washington Times.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Thinking: A way of reasoning; judgment*

So...the Alligator doesn't seem to care about the possible FBK influences over Student Government...instead handing reporting duties to seemingly naive SG staffers and/or allowing for Student Op-Ed's (great ones such as Tommy Jardon's) but pieces that regretably lack the very angle I'm speaking about, the possiblity of Florida Blue Key manipulation over the Boyles Administration and possibly over the Senate's own leadership. For reasons unknown to me, the Alligator did a wonderful job last year giving coverage during the Peter Gruskin probe, Charlie Grapski's suit against Machen, and of course the Grapski-Telles-Irvin's probes in the expenditures involving student money and one, Gator Growl....and all stopped, the articles stopped (either being written or being published) and devoid of press, one can only imagine what's going on in the annals of Student Leadership. The Alligator and other press publications (to a certain extent) serve as the proverbial "leashes" to SG's top brass, "leashes" that even UF's top adult administration could never dream of becoming!

There are other things on my mind right now. Mackenzie Moritz not only being accepted into FBK, but the fact that the leader of the "Green's" would even apply makes me very uncomfortable. I for one believe Voice was always more hardcore than Progress, but in all honesty Progress did the whole Indie thing and were much more successful at it than we were, from going with "GREEN" (whereas Voice saw itself as the logical evolution of the Radical Wing of the Access Party ::: seriously, we had Peter Gruskin, myself, Allison Andrews, and some others secretly helping us that I can make such a claim) and getting that Alligator endorsement and their whole tabling concept, they had the professional-Indie roadmap learned to a "T." We just learned as we went along --- PUNK ROCK BABY! --- // - THE DIY PARTY! -

You know....from what I've heard...FBK and the IFC/PC tend to have the top elected spots pre-picked sometimes as early as a year before the fact. Some people get to UF unsure of what major they'll study but fully cognizant that they have three years to impress the hell out of FBK to get a tap. So in very much that same vein...just to put my doubts aside...does anyone think that Mackenzie may have stood down (and with him, his party) to ensure that tap? If one does the math: Impact (2900) + Progress (2200) + Voice (800) = that would have beat Gator by enough votes to surpass the 50%-mark. Quite frankly, when we endorsed and Progress did not that was DICK! That wasn't the ultimate "indie" thing to do, we did the ultimate indie thing and that was know when the fight was over and do something positive, Keg did the right thing, but why not Progress.

When Mackenzie met with both main candidates I think he did in fact reach a deal with one of them! Mackenzie's endorsement of Dennis would have resurrected the Indie community and given Impact the on-campus housing pull it needed to truly stand a chance against Gator. Mackenzie's endorsement to Joe would mean little to nothing, because for however loyal as Progress' kids were to their new-found-guru, voting for the likes of a Joe Goldberg would have meant mutiny and/or complete disengagement and mass cross-overs to Impact! A neutral stance would have been the very best for Joe/Gator because it essentially removed the passion, the hunger, and the morale of the Progress Party and all of its adherents. And while the leaders of the party may have voted for Impact (as the case is made) the flock, that is the 2000+ that awaited instructions never got them. Keg gave its thousand to Access, Voice gave its 800 to Impact, and Progress gave nothing...yet it was Progress (not Voice) that merged with Impact...and today (for the last two semesters) the former Progress front man runs both parties, Mackenzie sits on the Board of Managers with an FBK lapel, and I'm sitting here writing about it a year later.

I'm not saying I'm right, but it sure is fishy. How does an independent get so lucky? I got on Board of Managers because of Jamal mainly (I'm not in denial about that)'d Mackenzie get such a prime appointment from Joe's 435+? How'd Mr. Moritz get into FBK after being elected with Access and then leading an unsanctioned-Independent party? I don't know, but I'd like to ask Mackenzie to buy me a lotto ticket this Saturday...I mean this kid sure is lucky...

Also, let's not forget that Boyles' initial party ENGAGE was headed up by one Mackenzie Moritz and that my entries on THIS weblog drew so much heat for him, that he personally emailed me requesting I stop. A few days later Engage was scrapped, Swamp emerged, and the rest is history.

Ok, I'm done thinking SG for today. Lunch was tastey. Time for work. Adios Comrades!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Yes, there is one "E",,, _ _ R _ -- _ D _ _ R

First & foremost a huge thanks to Unite! Party Senator Gavin Baker for an excellent interview that rendered well over 300 hits and an overall great response in my email box. I'm still not sure why people send me such nice emails but don't post on the boards, I'm guessing some people like posting anonymously and since I don't allow that on this weblog they email. I personally think that if you're going to make a comment, you put your name next to it, not some silly s/n. But that's just me.

Two very nice pieces in today's Alligator! Picked it up at Orion & was very impressed:
Chamoff also said Boyles and Moseley want to appoint a replacement soon. But Moseley said that aside from some preliminary discussions, he and Boyles have not narrowed down their list of 15 vice presidential candidates. --Yeah Ok...I guess all of you whom thought John "Jesus Lovin" Boyles was so honest are now asking yourselves 'what in the hell was I thinking?'
And why is the SB President consulting with his treasurer for a replacement anyway, it sounds fair and considerate from afar, but looking at it more closely it seems as just another way to dodge the decision, to dodge the sole responsibility for the decision.

Patrone, Boyles leave student body without vice president
[Tommy's in law school? And so is Andrew, SHIT! I need to wake up and get w/ it! Very Proud of you both btw:o)]
Excellent Guest Column, I enjoyed this line:

This disregard for the best interests of the student body is an affront to their duty as student "leaders." So, thanks again Mike and you too, John, for punking us, the students.

But, especially loved this one:

We would like to thank Student Senate President Mike Patrone for his latest decision - one that will impact us all.

Very Nice Indeed. Good column, solid points, but will John listen....survey say: Niet.


1). Students Speak will be a section where student leaders will sent pre-release entries to The Radikal and may choose to give opinions for selected areas (if and only if the participants find the questions appropriate). The student leaders that will receive questions will be:

Keith Hardwick - Swamp Party Leader / Student Senator

Gavin Baker - Student Senator

Ryan Nelson - Student Senator

Sam Green - Gator Party Chair / Student Senator

2). Because I believe there's two sides to every story, two sides to every coin...I am currently in the process of getting an interview with an old friend that happens to hold one of the highest posts in Florida Blue Key. I'm not sure if an FBK leader has ever been formally interviewed on the organization, but it's going to happen here!

3). VP Election Coverage - Stay tuned!

That's it for now. Once again, thanks to Sen. Gavin Baker of the Unite! Party for a wonderful interview and for all the nice emails and the hits.


Just to show that I'm a sport I continue to put N.A.G.A.S. on my links area, meanwhile this blog instructs its guests over to Gatorman's blog to hit up all the older blogs. I don't know if that's supposed to imply that The Radikal is inactive or no longer around...but as far as SG-Blogs go...I don't think I have much competition.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Gavin Baker Interview

TheRadkial: A great party forms around a great candidate (not vice versa). A great candidate leads by will not by necessity. Jamal Sowell was a great leader, Access (a great party) formed around him, and despite a very short-lived existence, independents ruled. Despite having great people Dennis Ngin and Jared Hernandez, the independent community has not been blessed with a great leader in two consecutive elections. Would you consider a run for the presidency in 2007? Do you believe its time for another Student Alliance, another Party of Independents, as opposed to another coalition where indies are clearly the minority and opportunists the majority?

Senator Baker: No, I won't run for president. I may run for Senate again in Spring 2007; I may try for an appointment in the executive branch; I may leave SG entirely. I don't know yet. I do know, though, that I won't be running for an executive office. Simply put, I wouldn't have the time to do the job; additionally, I don't have the time or money to campaign for it. There are other considerations, but those are the main ones. It's very unlikely I'd change my mind.

There are good candidates for president next year; I'll be happy to
support one of them.

As parties go, I think students are looking for something authentic. They're more interested in someone they can believe in than someone with a long SG resume. People can smell bullshit from a mile away; if you're not being totally honest, your credibility is blown. That's a big part of the reason why people are turned off to "real world" politics as well as SG. Students are looking for transparency, openness, clear motives, a willingness to listen -- someone who looks and acts like a "real" student. For better or for worse, in Spring elections, your president is your party; people have got to be able to identify with your candidate or you're sunk.

I have a friend who's very turned off by SG; every now and then he wears his Access shirt. There was something that people believed in then that energized people in a way we haven't seen since then.

TR:: Since being elected, have students continued using the Public Debate portion of senate meetings towards lobbying their elected officials? And if so, do the members of the Senate actually listen?

Senator Baker: I have one notable memory on this subject. Maybe a month or two ago, a student came in and said, "I've a Native American. Where's the Native
Studies program at UF?" I thought it was a bit of a strange forum to raise the question, but also thought it was a good point: as Americans, I think we have a very poor comprehension of the history of the native people of this country.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw President Boyles sit down next to the student and start talking with him about it. Since then, Sen. Lacey Logsdon has been working on compiling a potential curriculum for a Native Studies minor; the issue has been raised with the appropriate officials at the university, and I believe a committee is being formed to plan a program. I think plans are also underway to re-form the Native American Student Association that existed a few years back.

If this gets off the ground, it will be a great story of SG being responsive to student input, and using its ability to advocate to the university and navigate the bureaucracy.

TR: As a former Alligator columnist-turned-Student Senator and after several months of service do you feel that the group of people you serve with every Tuesday night truly cares about the well-being of the student body? Do you believe that when Senators speak of “the best interests of their constituents” that they actually are thinking of them, directly and solely of those that went to the polls for them -- or perhaps the term has become somewhat of a tongue in cheek term of SG lingo?

Senator Baker: I don't know how to answer this question. A lot of senators talk a good game when it comes to serving the students. How many write a bill to do
anything about it? How many attend committee meetings to contribute to discussion? How many say anything in Senate meetings other than "here," "yea" or "nay." Unfortunately, too few do; this is not a partisan issue.

Of course, we can't all do everything, but too many senators are content with doing nothing.

It's a whole new level of cynicism when we're talking about not just inaction, but malevolence toward students. See the awards funding episode.

It's not all bad -- but it's clearly not all good, either.

TR: Regarding UNITE…do you feel that a Student Party is just a name to make t-shirts and fliers or do you believe a Student Party can actually stand for something inherently all its own? Since much was lost post-Access (with the Impact, Progress, Voice split) and because UNITE failed to defeat SWAMP, do you see yourself following through with the next big party UNITE’s bureaucratic masters put together or do you see yourself taking the risky route and re-forming a true Independent party at UF (given that Independent parties traditionally spend their time fighting for converts as opposed to blending into the mainstream conscience)?

Senator Baker: I think there are independent-minded students, with the experience and ideas to pull it off, who will be able to put together a party that
truly represents and listens to students. I think the non-Greek/non-FBK faction can run a positive campaign that inspires people who don't even know that Blue Key exists. I think a campaign like that would also attract support from Greeks who are tired of the status quo. I hope I'll have the chance to work on a campaign like that.

TR: When your presidential candidate is a former IFC President, when your vice presidential candidate is a well known athlete (and is recruited to silence a rival party in broad daylight), when party meetings are held in Greek houses as opposed to the Reitz Union, and when your party competes with the Greek party insofar as club nights…do you honestly believe UNITE was a party of independents? If you weren’t running for senate with UNITE, do you think the people that supported you, would have supported UNITE? Why and/or why not?

Senator Baker: Unite wasn't an independent party in the traditional sense. I think it championed a lot of the ideals of independents: no patronage for political support, transparency, equal opportunity, fiscal responsibility. But the tactics Unite used were not traditional indie tactics -- and some of them were wrong.

With that said, I don't think it's wrong to compete for Greek support. Greeks are students; they deserve representation. To intentionally over-represent Greeks, or to dole out patronage for political support (or to threaten punishment for supporting the wrong guy) -- that's wrong.

As for me, I know there were people who voted for me who didn't vote for Unite's executive candidates -- including friends. When you have that kind of disconnect between your Senate slate and your executive candidates, that's a problem. There was an image problem with Unite -- and to some extent, a substance problem as well.

The Radikal:As a former Alligator staff writer and a fellow history major, I’m sure you’re all to well familiar with the group Florida Blue Key. What are your thoughts on FBK’s use of student Activities and Services Fees, their recruitment protocol, and their influence or alleged influence on Student Government?

Senator Baker: I totally oppose giving A&S money to Blue Key. PTI should have sustained her veto of the Gator Growl "subsidy" last year. I'm glad that this
year's Gator Growl will not be dependent on a giveaway from SG.

If I had my druthers, Blue Key wouldn't have office space in the Reitz Union; we'd be able to give that space to real student organizations.

The Radikal: What is the confirmation time-table like for Lydia Washington’s replacement? Is their faith on your party’s part, better yet on your
part,in that SB President John Boyles will select a person who’s truly qualified to run cabinet and attend to students’ concerns? With classes ending Aug.10 and with the possibility of gaining an extra week‘s time, would you consider forming a bi-partisan sub-committee to properly interview President Boyles selection and release a timely report either during time allocated by the Senate President or Public Debate?

Senator Baker: I think there's basically no possibility of this happening.

The Radikal: Whatever happened to your plans of ending the SG Awards Banquet? How much did the lavish bureaucrats spend this year and has the event seen any fiscal restraints since your watch began? What other, if any, areas of wasteful spending do you see in Student Government?

Senator Baker: I don't care if SG has a banquet as long as the student body doesn't have to foot the bill. I'd rather get a pizza at Satchel's, but if people want to have a banquet, let 'em.

During the AY 06-07 budget amendments, I offered an amendment to zero the $4,200 budgeted for awards. This would have required SG to pay for awards entirely from outside revenue: donations, banquet ticket sales, etc. Since SG has not been responsible with awards spending in the past (last year I believe they spent over $8,000 -- well over their budget), I thought it made since to reduce its budget to zero. The rest of the Senate did not agree with me, and voted me down (largely along party lines).

After the Senate failed this amendment, Sen. Pedro Morales offered an amendment to cut the awards budget by just a few hundred dollars -- still leaving it thousands more than any other organization's -- and the Senate, too, voted this down.

Later, Sen. Ryan Nelson offered a bill to limit excessive award spending by limiting awards to those defined in statutes. The awards defined in statutes are, e.g. "most outstanding cabinet director". This is a logical limitation, as SG-funded organizations can only spend their awards budget on awards for contests -- for instance, BOCC chooses a "best college council" every year. The Senate failed this bill, too.

The budget for 07-08 will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. The request from the Boyles administration is for a $4,200 awards budget. I will ask the Senate Budget committee to reduce this; if they do not, I will offer an amendment to the full Senate, and will ask for a roll call vote, so each senator will be responsible for their vote.

What else has been done: Treasurer Moseley has publicly pledged not to allow any money other than budgeted for awards to be spent on awards -- unlike last year, where the budget was blown out of the water. Unfortunately, this doesn't reassure me much: the awards banquet happens at the end of the year, at the end of a treasurer's term -- there's no checks to prevent mischief. I trust Ryan; I don't trust the situation.

Besides my effort to reduce the awards budget itself, I hope that the Senate will pass legislation to clarify that SG's awards budget is subject to the same restrictions as every other organization's, i.e. that awards dollars can only be spent on contests, and not to give a plaque to each and every cabinet director.

Those who give their time serving the students via SG deserve recognition, but our use of tuition dollars has been absolutely unreasonable.

I'll hold my tongue on the issue of other waste. SG has such a byzantine budgeting system that it's nearly impossible to really find out where money goes.

I will say I'm a bit uncomfortable with SG's perks for its own officials --the salaries, the phone service, the BlackBerries. I know that other Florida state universities actually give more compensation for their SG officials than ours, which gives me pause, but I'm willing to chalk that up to those schools having worse leadership than ours -- or maybe it's that UF has a more vigilant student body.

I think it's probably appropriate that we provide some financial assistance for our SG officials -- it's not cheap to do the job in a professional manner (it takes a lot of suits and dry cleaning, for instance), and without any help, students who couldn't afford those incidental costs would be de facto barred from SG leadership. I don't think that would be fair. All the same, I don't think our benefits package for SG officials has the oversight it deserves.

The Radikal: If Student Government properly budgeted its money and curbed wasteful spending, do you think it would ever be possible for SG to give a groundbreaking, unheard of A&S Tax Return of sorts to the student body? How awesome would it be for every student to get a $20 refund check from the well-hidden dues buried in their tuition payments each year?

Senator Baker: It would be awesome. However, I'm not sure it's legal; SG gets to spend A&S fees, but we don't directly set them, so we can't directly give students a tuition cut. I don't know if we could just write a check to every student -- it's an interesting proposal.

Personally, I think the state of student services at UF is such that if we had extra money, we would be better off using it to increase services rather than returning it to students. For instance, an extra $50,000 would only be about a dollar for each student, but would be enough to bring another high-profile speaker to campus via Accent.

Earlier this summer, I did something very rude in Senate: when another senator suggested that SG was the most efficient organization he'd ever seen, I scoffed aloud. It was a mistake, and I apologized. It's ironic, though: SG is certainly not as efficient as it could be, but in truth, it is very cost-effective at improving the student experience at UF. When you consider all the organizations funded by SG, all the leadership opportunities it creates, the gyms and recreational facilities, the services in the Reitz Union, all the student jobs created in the Reitz Union and RecSports -- it's a much better use than each of us individually would probably put to the roughly $250 we each pay annually in A&S fees.

The Radikal: How would you rate the Boyles administration? Since you’ve only been in senate with Goldberg and Boyles, how would you say their administrations differ, if at all. Lastly, have you ever had a private meeting with either of the Student Body Presidents or the Student Senate President to discuss your concerns or offer ideas for the future? If you haven’t, is this something you might do down the road?

Senator Baker: It's a tough call. I was only a senator with the Goldberg administration for about a month; the Boyles administration is just learning the ropes, and in the case of cabinet, will be starting over nearly from scratch.

I think John and Ryan have made real efforts to address problems. The budget request just presented by the administration is, on the whole, very fiscally responsible, in my opinion. The Supervisor of Elections did a solid job leading a review of the election codes, and though some key issues have yet to be addressed, he's very clearly indicated his willingness to have an honest and public discussion of sensitive concerns. While I don't think he's overturned it, President Boyles appears not to be following Goldberg's executive order banning advertising in the Alligator, an order which I consider vindictive and an attack on freedom of the press. Senate leadership have taken steps to improve public relations, working with media (rather than against them) to try to present an honest image of SG. All these are improvements.

At the same time, the budget is not as responsible as it should be, many executive appointments were fumbled, we're still not doing enough to communicate with students, and most of the Senate is more concerned with watching their friends' backs than in sticking up for students.

I haven't worked much with the Senate Presidents I've served under. I've expressed concerns and shared ideas with President Boyles on many occasions: some times he's been receptive and helpful, which I appreciated; other times, less so. None of the SG leadership has ever specifically sought out my opinion -- neither on behalf of myself, my party, nor my constituents.

The Radikal: In what condition is the state of internet voting in senate? Do you see internet voting for this upcoming Spring’s election and/or do you believe that the Greek/FBK players will somehow hold on against student wishes and once again offer only campus-wide intranet “electronic” voting?

Senator Baker: If there was once a Blue Key conspiracy against online voting, there isn't any longer: in my opinion, almost all the Senate supports intranet voting, even Impact and Unite senators who campaigned for online voting.

I voted for the initiative this Spring: I think that online voting should be considered as an option, and I think it deserves a thorough analysis. However, at the end of the day, I have reserves about implementing it.

Secure-site online voting has made it very convenient to vote, much more so than using paper ballots. There are very few students who won't pass by one of the polling locations on campus on at least one day of the election; the largest group of those who won't are likely students at satellite campuses or studying abroad. We have the absentee ballot process to serve those students: a process recently improved thanks to the work of former Sen. Rosemarie Clouston, and a process that will hopefully be well-publicized by our Supervisor of Elections. I think the gain in convenience that online voting would bring would be marginal.

While secure-site still lacks key provisions to ensure accuracy (i.e. independent audit, disclosure of source code, voter-verified receipts), those provisions will hopefully be implemented; at least one of those provisions, voter-verified receipts, could not be properly implemented with Internet voting, and there are several other major concerns.

I don't think turnout would increase much with online voting; I do think the likelihood of foul play would skyrocket.

I hope that Internet voting will get a fair shake, but I think it's probably not the right choice, and I think ultimately the Supervisor of Elections will agree.

The Radikal: What predictions do you have for the mid-term elections?Despite the fact that “winning” isn’t usually in the cards, what are your thoughts on using a political campaign otherwise aimed at winning office, as a vehicle to get across a message? Would you consider an independent run for the SB Vice Presidency (without retiring from Senate) as a way to publicly outline the ills of Student Government and use whatever time you had in the spotlight to rally students to arms?

Senator Baker: It looks like there will be an opposition party this Fall: that's good news for students. I think the indies have a shot at picking up a decent chunk of the Senate: it's not too much to hope for up to half of the Fall seats; around a quarter is more likely. Anything more than Impact's 6 from last Fall is growth. Though the numbers will probably leave the indies with no more than 20-30 seats after the election, numbers can be deceiving: there's a constant defection of those unwilling to toe the FBK party line, as well as the possibility of switching on particular votes, and there are always incoming replacement senators whose loyalties may be unknown -- plus the variable of who simply shows up for a meeting. Plus, each seat we win is a chance for someone to gain experience and make contacts, strengthening us for the future.

Though it's too early to tell, I think there will probably be two parties -- Swamp and ??? -- and each will have a candidate for VP. I hope I'll be able to throw my full support behind the ??? Party and their VP candidate. If so, there'll be no need for me to be a candidate: I'll be glad to do what I can to communicate our vision for UF's students and why I support our candidate for VP.

(For the record: Yes, I know what the name of the opposition party will probably be and the key figures who will probably be involved. Yes, I will probably be involved. No, I have no idea who their VP candidate will be. As with everything else in SG, all this is subject to change).

The Radikal: What’s more important to Gavin Baker in a not-so-fictitious-like hypothetical situation…burning social bridges in SG or being the lone senator that champions the fight for representing the student body?

Senator Baker: These are not always mutually exclusive. In fact, I try to maximize the situations where they aren't. I would like to think, as a recent Alligator story stated, that my opponents respect me. They may not agree with me, they may not like me, but hopefully they respect me: as a person, as a fellow student, and as someone trying to do the best he can to serve his constituents and make UF, and the world, a better place.

That said, I didn't run for Senate because I wanted to make friends. I ran because I saw problems and I wanted to try to help solve them. I ran because I know that UF can be better than it is, that we can do more for our students than we do. I ran because I wanted to tackle the challenge of leadership, to use public office to benefit the greater good. If the pursuit of those goals means I won't be invited to someone's birthday party, well, I'll survive.

The Radikal: Match thoughts to phrases. Only rule is, it has to be in a Senate context:

Senator Baker:

Proudest Moment: Being recognized by people I respect for doing something positive.

Favorite Bill: I've only been permitted to pass one bill so far, a resolution in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act, an important piece of legislation that would improve students' access to research. I was very proud to work on the resolution, and proud of the bipartisan support it enjoyed. I've also been honored to work on lobbying efforts beyond the resolution. A few weeks ago, our resolution was referenced in a meeting of major NGOs and advocacy groups in D.C. I've been very happen to make a difference in this way.

With that said, my favorite bill that I didn't write, and doesn't actually exist yet, but hopefully will, is a resolution that a fellow senator (who shall remain unnamed) promised to introduce: a resolution advocating for the legalization of marijuana. I'm very much looking forward to the debate on this resolution. It's a major issue that faces students -- I think SG ought to be at least discussing it. Should be fun. (I don't smoke, but I support your right to. To each his own.)

Did that Just Pass: I sometimes forget about the difference between the vote to close debate / call the previous question and the vote to pass a bill.[Our President Pro Tempore has the same problem.] When President Mierley resigned, and Pro Temp Weiss was trying to avoid having to assume the presidency, he offered a bill to elect a new Senate President upon resignation. I think that's a fine idea, but it shouldn't allow him to get out of the responsibilities to which he was elected, so I offered an amendment: a rider that said the bill wouldn't take effect until after the Fall election. When the previous question was called, I thought my amendment had passed (much to my surprise); alas, I was wrong.

What is He/She Talking About: Every time a student gets up during public debate to talk about Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, etc. Sorry Christian, I know you like these guys, and I'm glad our students are paying attention to world affairs, but I usually fail to see the relevance of the topic to the business of SG.

C’mon….C’mon…Con Debate’s almost over, I gotta Pro This: Sen. Nelson's budget amendments at the same time I offered my amendment on awards. I didn't agree with all of them, but most of them were spot-on.

Did I just sell out? No one’s gonna remember I voted for this, I mean everyone else did, so it was just this one time, it’s late, I mean if I had the support….but I don’t, it was just this one time: Nope, I don't do that. I am frequently, if not usually, in the minority of a vote -- occasionally the sole nay, or one of a handful. I don't always have to make a federal case of an issue, but if I don't agree, I'm going to vote against it. It gets me some dirty looks, but hey, that's the beauty of being an independent.

Playing Devil's Advocate

You know, maybe Nick Capezza has a point, perhaps the former senator/Voice Party co-chair is right to trust in the Boyles camp in giving all students the opportunity to become the next SB Vice President. Still, I'm going to have to play devil's advocate here based solely on three issues that remain proverbial thorns-in-my-side:

1. History - when the Access camp split in three pieces, John Boyles was not a part of either faction (Impact, Progress, or Voice), instead he abandoned all of us and went to greener pastures. Also during the senate run, he was one of the first to be accepted by the Ignite/Innovate bloc, namely by Mike Provenzale and other assbags of that caliber. I don't ever recall identifying with Boyles (at the campaign level or in office). To be honest, I never really identified with Mackenzie either, however, I knew that at certain points of the campaign he was one of us.

2. Florida Blue Key - I don't trust Keys (don't really like most of them either), I never have and probably never will. Anyone elected with a party like Access was and loyal to the party during its initial stages cannot have been tapped unless some sketch-ass deeds were involved. In Mackenzie's case, perhaps his decision to stay quiet (when Voice endorsed) may have been a nice finishing touch for his application, similarly, Boyles abandoning of Ngin and the Yellow & Blue may have been the very collateral required for his buddies to finally get him straightened out. Who knows...I don't trust Keys.

3. Theatrics - aside from shaking hands, writing bills honoring dead faculty members no one's heard of, and/or writing serenades for Glenda, I never thought much of theatrics in politics, much less in SG. That email that Boyles sent out was one checks those spam/chain-letters and second of all anyone that actually read the paper, knows that Boyles personally sought out those he thought were best for the position. The 14 interviewed are not necessarily the real applicant pool. We have no reason to believe that any one of the 14 students that replied to Boyles' email will be selected, we are only led to believe such because of an article and a photo.

***The article clearly states 14 as the number of email recipients that chose to attend the Forum, the article conceals and/or fails to make mention of anyone that the SB President personally sought out (as he stated in earlier articles). I wonder if my esteemed fellow Voice Party colleague realizes this fine detail and whether or not the rest of you do too?

You'll pardon me...but it takes more than an Alligator article to convince Christian Duque. Maybe it's a good thing I've graduated, but a curse I'm still in town.