Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Minus Debate

The opponents of the concept claim it will hurt GPA's, meanwhile the proponents claim it will not affect 'good' students or GPA's in general. A strong example was given by Sen. Pedro Morales, only the senator gave an opinion as a TA in the suit of a student rep. Yes, for Morales the TA it would be easier to grade, but for Morales the Student Senator how would it fare?

I also found a lot of truth in IRHA President E.J. Walicki's post, as well as a letter from Aimee Collins-Mandeville sent to my inbox in protest of it. Ms. Collins-Mandeville has accepted an offer to write a rebuttal at some point in the near future. I look forward to hearing from her and applaud her for using the Facebook as a means to organize students. Some leaders, like Sen. Jordan Loh give credence to groups of concerned students, joined together to lobby for an important cause (sadly some of his colleagues suffer from moral turpitude).

Boyles Ignores Survey Results

I guess it takes an Alligator article to prove my point. I made this point many days before the paper printed it and I have it in print that the editors of that paper actively read this blog. Whomever inspired their work, the case in point is that Boyles put out this survey (imo) to ward off the suspicious probes of the Alligator, only to carry out his will regardless of student sentiment. Regardless if this resolution will make things better at UF, why put out a survey if the results will have no effect on the outcome? I'm bad with some names, but this Sen. Bell sounds like a real character.

Ok, this is just plain ridiculous. While I can see the logic of Asian American student leaders looking to embarass UF and even SG by raising money on their own to build an institute, it's really not a pragmatic way to go about building their center. Property around the University is ridiculously expensive, upkeep would be monstruous, and while it seems to be taking forever, it's the University's responsibility (at least I think). Currently the total amount of money raised (according to the Alligator) is $2,000, which is great, but that's a million years from a house or center. The way to go is to keep lobbying for a center...if instead they go full throttle on using private money and throwing patience out the window, Asian Americans might only get a small tool-shed between the IBC & La Casita.

Last night I sent out out an email to the two mainstream presidential hopefulls asking them to tell my audience about the most important issue they believed in. Not as prospective candidates, but as students. I wanted to see what they had to say sans the armies of campaign writers and w/o all the red-tape involved during an election. So far I haven't heard from either of them. The deadline is tonight. I'm hopeful one of them will respond.

24hrs. later & neither replied.
Oh well, that's mainstream kids for ya.

Other Updates

James' interview, Grapski updates, and a few other projects & blurbs on the way. December will be a very cool month for Radikal-readers.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Yes RADIKAL readers, we have a new feature on the blog that continually brings you SG News (even during the time no one wants to cover *hint, hint SG, LL)

For the first edition of W.O.T.N. two questions were presented to a loyal Radikal reader, IRHA President E.J. Walicki. So, here goes:

T.R. Could you please address the Minus Grade Issue?

E.J.W.: I agree with the minue grade issue, probably one of the few students that do. I read the facebook group posts about it (there were a lot) and there was a lot of good ideas out there. I do believe it is a better indicator of where a student lies on the grade spectrum. I know a lot of students feel that they will be cheated, I have an A and now I have an A- and the B+ is lower gpa wise and the B- is a 2.67. But what about the person who does just enough to get a B is now equal to someone who just missed a B+, you have the same GPA. The Faculty Senate seems set on the system that is common but a modified scale could work. I like to play devil's advocate because I feel it brings out better arguments and educates people. And with any change at a university, in four or fives years, there won't be many students who will remember that we didn't have minus grades, it will be a normal thing, I am not saying that is the only reason to do it though.

I know students are worried about grad school, etc. with mixed scales for the sophomores and juniors but all colleges have a way to take that into account. I plan on talking with the Faculty Senators from CLAS (my college) to get their ideas. My main issue with the proposal is timing and cost. Is this a priority for the faculty and the university right now? I feel that it is not with so many other issues going on with CLAS and the new academic enhancement program. Maybe it will just get passed but not be initiated for a few years, I don't know. I also want to know how much this will cost the university and if that cost is a priority over other costs. I can tell you from what I have seen and heard that the students feel it would not be a priority costwise. If the Faculty Senate feels it is a priority then they will probably go ahead with the plan. As a representative of the students on the Faculty Senate though, I need to speak on their behalf, and although that differs from my opinion, I will reasearch as hard as I can to support the students views.

T.R. Could you please address the Support of the Academic Enhancement Plan?

E.J.W.: I will support and not support the plan and here is why. If services you receive as a student is a priority, then I will support this plan. If keeping costs to the university down is a priority then I will not support this plan. Students want the best of both worlds and the truth is it is extremely hard to get that. They want more services but they don't want to pay more. Students need to decide what is more important to them. I personally don't think charging the students more is a good idea. I know a lot of people come to UF not only for the education that they receive and the experience, but the cost compared to other colleges.

It is very easy for students to still get a quality education and come out of undergrad without a lot of debt. I also feel that is extremely important. Maybe we can look at utilizing student organizations (Student Honors Organization or BOCC) for presentations about study abroad and internships. Looking at student volunteers to help with advising (peer advising can really work well). But if students really want more services, this is one of the best ways to do it because they will have it set out where that money will be going. It will only be going to certain areas in terms of academics.

A Special Message from Charlie Grapski on the way

Thanks Ladies

I want to thank Stephanie Garry and her University Editor Lyndsey Lewis for all their hard work and due diligence on this matter. These two ladies represent the cutting edge of twenty-first-century American journalism. One day, either but prolly both of these women will no doubt be hired to cover a yard-sale, a church, senior citizen bingo tournament, or a used-boat-show near you. Count on it!

Monday, November 27, 2006

TR & the Alligator remain in contact. My hope is that every student will know of the block.

Wow! Finally got my friggin dsl back! Sorry about the quality of that last post. Now to address some of the hecklers. The funniest of all comments was "don't post late at night, watch the basketball game," that one had me in tears. Second of all, the Cingular Bill has come & gone but I don't think it's necessarily a moot issue and I will explain why in a moment. Additionally, I wanted to keep the [Cingular] window open a little longer so that we could read the much awaited response by Sen. J. Clayton Brett (well worth the wait). Thirdly, on the Alligator. I'm not surprised they decided not to print the story on Sam Green. Considering that the Alligator in recent years has already earned itself the scorn of the African American community quite nicely, it would have been radikal, even trend-setting had they taken the initiative to relay news worthy of print to the masses, the Student Body.

I continue to have faith in Stephanie Garry.

While gone I've also received a flurry of emails regarding the "Minus Debate." While I really want to tackle this issue, there simply isn't the time in my already busy schedule to start delving into academic matters. The best email I received on this matter came from a fmr. co-worker of mine (Kyle Counce) and I've asked him to write a few words on the matter.

From Sen. Jordan Loh:


TITLE: Resolution Regarding Cingular Wireless Service at the University of Florida.

AUTHOR: Senator Jordan Loh

SPONSORS: Josh Richard

WHEREAS, The 51,700 students at the University of Florida represent a great number of present and potential customers of Cingular Wireless; and

WHEREAS, Cingular’s service on the University of Florida campus has been unacceptable; and

WHEREAS, Students have been informed, when attempting to make a phone call, that the ‘network is unavailable’ and that the ‘system is busy’ despite having full reception; and

WHEREAS, Many students rely on their cellular phones as their only means of telephone communication; and

WHEREAS, Recently, there has been some improvement in Cingular’s service on the University of Florida campus; and

WHEREAS, Service has not yet reached an acceptable level; then

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the students of the University of Florida commend Cingular Wireless for recent efforts to improve network coverage at the University of Florida; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the students of the University of Florida admonish Cingular Wireless to continue its efforts to improve coverage, until the time that Cingular’s service at the University of Florida campus becomes acceptable.

***Thank You Sen. Loh
p.s. I agree w/ you, this bill should have passed.
Hopefully w/e Party Sen. Loh is with, will use this as a platform initiative come Spring! STUDENTS DO CARE ABOUT THIS.

Brett's Letter & The Cingular Bill

Cited from the first sentence (second part) of his letter, Brett states: "if one were to base their entire opinion about the bill, Senator Baker, and myself on the content of that single article, then yes, we look like huge elitist jackasses."

Naturally it's expected of someone such as myself to at least dig deeper, to find out what was really said. Any member of SG that read this article would also dig deeper (e.g. call people, request the senate minutes, or speak to the senators on a 1:1 basis). However, in representing the GDI's (and these GDI's may or not may not be the ones you konw as elected officials), I wanted to relay the general reactions of the student body, of average students at reading the article written over the Cingular debate. While Brett's letter is amazing, it recognizes my prime concerns immediately.

The CINGULAR BILL aside; anything an elected official says in chambers may be printed in the student paper. I guarantee you that for a lot of people, what they read in the Alligator forms or seriously helps form their opinions of SG. These opinions of SG are usually acted out through disregard of SG, disapproval of elected officials, and voter apathy. Everything after the fact, from explanations to wonderfully and eloquently-written verses mean little-next-to-nothing, what matters most is what the Gator Nation reads and what they read were two senators that happened to be great and wonderful civic leaders (though they had no way of knowing this) come off as "elitist jackasses" to quote JCB & that's that. Damage's been done, all I'm saying is watch what you say. Been there, done that, not worth it.

Sam Green

The Pro Tem is in a very interesting position. While I would never have applied to FBK, I was never in a position like Green. How's it going to be (yes like the song), when Green sits at senate this upcoming Tuesday night, facing his legislative-constituents as well as representing the general student body that elected him and having to carry the shame of getting nastily blocked from an organization (one that prides itself on campus leadership) that he truly wanted to join. The block was anything but cut & dry from what I've read, he had strong chances of being admitted and succumbed to determined parties wanting him left out.

I've heard arguments that make the case that FBK only admits leaders that have completed their terms and that the Pro Tem should wait his turn. I have heard much more genuine arguments conceeding that6 Green was blocked over his presidential ambitions and certain choices he's made (or been thought to make). Currently Green is Senate's second-in-command and if the Alligator did it's work, Green could be in the spotlight. A year from today, he will probably not be in a high-level leadership role, he may not even be in senate. Personally...rejecting Green when he's a little guy again seems a lot easier and even better for PR than blocking him now. My point is, if Green is being told to wait a year and he does so without incident, he might as well grab himself a shovel and help dig his own grave.

All Questions for the Argento Interview, Due 11/30/06

My Positon on FBK

I will keep this brief but feel I should set this for the record. I am not an enemy of Florida Blue Key as an organization. I feel it should exist and flourish, no differently than Savant, IDEAL, the Lion's Club, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc. I do have issue on certain fiscal matters and on a personal level am not quite fond of their alleged role in SG or on what basis they recruit & admit. This having been said, I think the organization has improved by leaps and bounds since the days of Charlie Grapski and all but redefined itself from the Pork Chop Gang days of its inception.

There are many wonderful people in the organization, people I followed and served like Jamal Sowell, friends I will talk to for the rest of my life, and politicos that till this day have left me speechless to have been able to work with them and had the chance to have seen them shine.

FBK-the organization did not block Green. The people that blocked him are on record and did so for whatever their reasons might have been. I have not been accused by anoyone of implying FBK as an organization wanted Green out, but I fear some of you might secretly suspect this is the case. I for one do not think FBK as an organization encompassing countless alumni wanted Green out and I don't think anyone else should subscribe to this sort of thinking.

Till next time. :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ok...enjoying a Coke at Target Copy (since my dsl is down and I've been away from my duties at Radikal Inc.). Let's talk about a few subjects shall we? For startes I want to thank everyone for posting, I also want to thank all of my sources for writing some terrific emails that have helped me furhter understand commplications that arose with Sam Green's block. As I see it, he was recommended and pro'ed, he's a senator, past standing committee chair, present #2 of the Student Senate, the ranking SG official of the African American community at UF. Point blank, it's my opinion that whether directly, indirectly, naively, innocently, foolishly, harmlessly (however you want to cut it) FBK tested the African American community's organization by rejecting Green (mind you this is my opinion). But if FBK wanted to gauge the current strength of the Black community this would have been it. From what I'm told, key players in the community are actively working on Green's behalf since my campaign started.

Many of you claim Weiss is over...yet, with this latest disservice to the strongest cultural-voting-block on campus, one could make the case Weiss could be in prime position to gain a base. The other day I read in the NYT that NYC Mayor Bloomberg had scrapped plans for a presidential run due to lack of a base-of-support (i.e. a state or region) henceforth if Weiss secured the a strong cultural vote, in addition to his house and other small houses, and made worthy concessions to the GDI's, I don't think anyone could say he's over.

I have NOT forgotten about you James. I'm actively working on your interview questions.

& Now,Sen. J. Clayton Brett's Cingular Bill Response:
(Fully Authorized for release on this blog:)

Dear Christian,

I guess I agree with the argument that seems to be the overarching sentiment of the Cingular post and several of the comments: If one were to base their entire opinion about the bill, Senator Baker, and myself on the content of that single article, then yes, we look like huge elitist jackasses. However, although your article does ask valid questions about Senate’s necessary role as student-advocate, I must argue that you should have probably stopped short of calling this my “blunder-of-the-semester.” By detailing my thought process, I hope to show that the split vote was more likely a result of genuinely differing ideologies about the scope of effective SG governance.

First, I should point out that I was slightly misquoted, and as much as I like Jesse, she also did a nice job of using my least glamorous, least effective line to represent the 5 or so minutes I used during pro-con debate. The real quote was (rough, from memory) “Simply because it is the nuisance of several students does not make it appropriate for an SG resolution.” This does not argue that Student Government is in any way “above” the concerns of the average student, but it does certainly clarify that there must be some standard that defines a compelling issue’s relevance and solvability with respect to SG.

The quoted phrase, which was taken from the latter end of my argument, was made to introduce a greater question of how to define the scope of SG jurisdiction. In a historical context, Senate has a confusing set of precedents to guide their behavior on legislation like this. Without going into the question begged by the previous sentence (the question of whether precedent should be even exist within legislatures), I’ll just say that I believe that the high turnover rate of the Senate creates a conducive atmosphere for the existence of policy precedents, and we should thus at least consider them within our policy debates.

So, following from the previous two paragraphs, the question becomes: What is this “standard of efficacy” an issue must reach to warrant a Senate resolution? I believe I answered that question during the Cingular debate. If you look at every issue outside the immediate scope of Student Government where SG has still been able to provide tangible benefits for the students, they all have one thing in common. There must be an immediate and direct point of contact between SG exec. and the relevant outside party. Parking & transportation, graduate student insurance, gameday tailgate ordinances, blue lights/blue phones, hurricane hotline, and the investigation of Moseley and I into CD Coursepacks are all issues that involved preexisting committees or relationships. I argued that Cingular fell well outside those boundaries, and the authors did not disagree with me.

A corollary to this necessary connection is that it SG must be able to provide the outside party with a rationale for change. I talked about this at the beginning of Pro/Con, and backed it up with a considerable amount of data. Put it this way: If every single student, administrator, and faculty member at the University of Florida were a Cingular subscriber, then we would still make up less than one-one thousandth of the corporation’s market. Okay, many people were willing to look past that. Fine – but couple that with the fact that Cingular already invested $470 M in the past two years to improve coverage in Northern Florida…. and the company had already publicly addressed and explained the reasons for Gainesville’s problems (growing pains of a growing network, they claimed)… and now we’re looking like damn fools. I agree with Gavin’s point that we have a limited amount of political capital, and we ought to use it more wisely than this…

Finally, I contested the preparedness, thoroughness, and clarity of the resolution itself. Now, I will be the first to tell you that Josh Richard and Jordan Loh have great futures as Senators. I was impressed by their courage and forthrightness with this resolution. However, neither author (nor supporting Senator for that matter) could provide any statistics, information, or action plan for this resolution. No one even thought to contact Cingular before presenting this bill! Almost every “pro” argument involved fallacious analogies (comparing this to the Darfur Resolution) or purely anecdotal evidence, and the persistence of the latter was absolutely embarrassing. I simply don’t understand how someone could even believe they could refute a well-constructed, logically sound argument with a story that their friend told them. Or something. The nail in the coffin was that the language of the bill was stunningly ambiguous and provided absolutely no criteria for “success.” The authors also readily admitted to this while presenting the bill… The sum of these factors led to my words and actions on the Senate floor that night, which I believe just proved to be quite justifiable and defensible. ☺

I welcome any further debate here. However, I must warn you. According to my Gatorpedia entry, I will “come at you with fists and nails” if I am challenged. Haha.


John Clayton Brett
Swamp Party Leader
District B Senator

Sen. Brett remains by favorite majority senator. I do ride him on the blog a little, but hey, only the best for my readers. Am I delusional, yes maybe a little, but I do love this blog.

These bastards are raping me at $0.20 minute. Gotta go.
Let's hope Sam's story makes it to Monday's Alligator, where it belongs.
I hope the Radikal has enough clout to make this happen; we shall soon find out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Tap That Never Was
The Seeds of Rebellion?

Despite emails from high ranking FBK members that suggest Green was blocked due to fears he would throw his name into the SBP pool for the coming Spring 2007 race, one still has to wonder...what was FBK's leadership thinking? Jamal was cheated of FBK & Ignite's support, but Jamal also held the #2 position of SG-Exec as well as (already) being a member of the leadership honorary. The idea that a sitting Senate President Pro Tempore would be rejected for a tap is unfathomable, it is not only an offense to Green, but to the Student Senate, the Legislative arm of Student Government. FBK should have tapped Green ,if anything, out of respect for his high office and his work as a leader of the Student Senate. How dare a leadership honorary reject the second-in-command of Student Senate? I am surprised at Senators (from both parties) not being OUTRAGED at the honorary for this boldly egregious act against it's second-in-command REGARDLESS if they think he can win this office or that office, he is currently your elected #2 and is deserving of more respect than what FBK showed him, showed you.

Let's get one thing STRAIGHT. Maybe FBK puts more value on leaders outside senate than they should, the fact that senate is a minor and cabinet is a major is one indicator, but why? Screw the fact c.directors have a budget and/or personnel under them, the bottom line is that Senate signs off on filling Key's coffers with A&S Fee money, so why is Senate relegated to a minor? Senators could seize on FBK's insolence towards Green as a point from which to battle for more recognition of the Legislative Body in regards to recruitment. Perhsps next time Growl is up for funding, Senate should slap the honorary on the wrists and remind it who butters their bread.

I sent an email-request to Gator leader Sen. J. Clayton Brett in regards to his promised clarification email in regards to the failed Cingular Bill (Sen. Loh was cc'ed). There has been no response from Brett & the expected clarification email, it appears, will no longer be offered to TR.

I've contacted Sen. Pedro Morales with a topic I'd like for him to write a blurb on. It seems the GDI Hawk may in fact help us out, which would be sensational. The topic will be announced after Nov. 30.

The James Argento interview is still being worked on. Expect James' Q&A to be out the week of Dec. 1-5th.
I was honored to receive a letter from Student Senate President Pro Tempore in regards to my earlier post. I want to thank the Pro Tem for his kind words and for his remarks on my service in SG.
I have written a letter to the Editors of the Independent Florida Alligator to look into Pro Tem Green's case. I believe this story belongs on the pages of the student newspaper. Anyone else that believes this injustice should receive media coverage please email Alligator Editor, Stephanie Garry at once.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Emails from both sides of the aisle have poured in regarding the Senate President Pro Tempore & fmr. Gator Party Chairman Sam Green. Two somewhat-consistent TR sources in what I deem today's African American community at UF seem remained almost frighteningly too quiet when I emailed them on two different occasions (don't worry I won't publish your name guys) since word of Sen. Green's outcome became somewhat public in my comments section. My two A.A.-community-sources, like myself, have alwways been big-writers and anything but concise. My questions remained unanswered.

Screwed by the system and considered completely subservient to his FBK masters, could the humiliation of being rejected by the organization that tops the list of career politicos such as himself, throw the Pro Tem over the edge and creating in him a desire to run for the SB-Presidency in 2007. Not tapping the highest ranking SG member of the African American community at UF is ballsy, in fact it's pretty damn stupid. Even if Green is loyal, even if the man is a loyalist and a hardworker that can roll with the punches, he is also a high ranking SG official, a salaried SG official, a leader of his community. Sam Green is a man and as a man I don't know how much humiliation he can take, personally I think GDI's should can the waiting game between Moseley and Weiss and consider speaking with Sam Green.

Sam Green today has the same position Andre Samuels had when Jamal ran for SBP; Sam Green has the position Ryan Nelson yearned for; rejecting a Senate President Pro Tem that has bled for the mainstream party is foul, I believe FBK leaders ought to re-count those votes and tap Green or possibly face another 2004'esque ass whoopin.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm All Alone (No I'm Not)

Upon checking my facebook tonight after work, something finally dawned on me. I saw an FBK image on my "My Friends" area. It belonged to my good friend Phil. Congratulations up and down his comments-box, he was so happy to tappped. Phil was Access, Phil is an Indie, Phil is one of the nicest and most-real people you will meet at UF. Suddenly I felt so sad, not sad that he joined Key, sad that perhaps I was the only one living this GDI fantasy. What does it all mean? Why propagate the Independent' Discipline to the next generation of SG'ers if in the end, what everyone wants is just to join FBK and even the people that today stand by my side, do so because a). they couldn't get tapped even if they want to - or - b). because they are just sitting tight until the opportune moment to apply.

But there is a movement, there is a will. Those that participate in student service for the goal of empowering students, fomenting change, and strengthening the Independent tradition ARE the Independent Movement. There is FBK and there is an Independent movement. Age is irrelevant in this constant journey in pursuit of wisdom. Thanks to the net, we have the works of the greatest minds the movement has seen: Charlie Grapski, James Argento, and one person whose words I especially enjoy, Ryan Nelson. What we as independents lack, is the longevity of the Keys, but with the advent of the internet, blogs, and the renewed will of the movement, I say to those of you that have never - and will never - apply to FBK, that will forever, call yourselves GDI's: "congratulations on this day, on being YOU!"

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Vote Against All "GDI's" Applying To FBK

To think of all the people I know that have joined FBK after working themselves to death in the Indie movement...if I start thinking up all the names, it truly makes me want to gag. I don't hate FBK, I hate betrayal. That's not even to say I hate the traitors themselves, but in all seriousness, I hate the things some people will do just to fit in. Some say Andrew has applied, I don't know that for a fact and I think him applying would be more a joke than anything else. If he joined FBK I would be pretty bummed out. If Becca. joined, I wouldn't be too surprised. Bruce Haupt applied too? Again not sure, but that would suck as well.

You know the one thing I dislike more than traitors applying for Blue Key? It's traitors that apply, don't get-in, and then spend the rest of their lives trying to convince TRUE GDI's that it was all a big joke, a big "FUCK YOU" to FBK, and that they were really always true to the cause, true to the GDI Movement. THEN, these same people, the ones that have chosen to line their pockets with whatever cred they can drain out of the devastating losses of Indie parties since the Fall of Access, come back with their tails between their legs and beg and beg and beg to return to the exec. fold of Indie political parties, hoping, watering-at-the-mouth at the prospect of sabotaging YOUR party to gain a little more leverage and re-apply the following year. To some kids, joining FBK is the apex of a Student Leadership Career; some students will go so far as to apply for a masters degree just for a couple more chances. Think I'm kidding? Not so.

Those of you that are Keys that read my blog (love me or hate me, please vote against any and all "GDI's" that come your way. Yes, you might be thinking "they sold out the Indies for us" and yes that might be a plus, however, they did sell out a group of people that accepted them and gave them power & praise to join a 'better' group....surely FBK wants people that respect the organization on board, but what does a traitor know about respect in the first place? They burned us, do you really want to invest in a candidate that might burn you for something 'better' down the road? Up until now FBK has been associated with words like "elitist" and "secret." Hopefully the word "whores" won't be added to the roster.

The Religious Zealots Debate

Two great letters have been printed by the Alligator. This round of Religious Zealot Debate started with Fei Long's almost paid-advertisement'esque letter to the Alligator praising Krishna lunch. Sen. Long wrote a letter that stated: "they've [Krishnas] done a good job by providing clean*, delicious* and affordable* vegetarian food to students*.

*Clean? - The Krishnas aren't under the Board of Health, they cook meals at a house. Do you know if they wear hear-nets? Do you know if they wash their hands? Do you know if the bald dude that peddles the RELIGIOUS Krishna books at Turlington (who's very nice but as much a preacher - albeit more discreet - than Bible Man?) didn't wipe the sweat off his head with the piece of pita you just used to wipe off the last of that mystery green gravvy off your plate? NO, YOU DON'T. really don't know if the food is CLEAN now do you? That's FALSE ADVERTISING FEI LONG! (j/k but true)

*Delicious? - Emiliano's in downtown is Delicious. Maude's Vegan Carrot cake is delicious. My girlfriend, the point I'm trying to make here is that "delicious" is your opinion. When I did the SFA 5-day Hunger Fast (May '04) and came off the fifth day, I was about to pass out. I had a taste of one of those meals and I believe it tasted bland and needed some salt. If I went five days living on water and Marlboro Milds and the first taste of food tasted bland...that food was hardly delicious. But your opinion is your own.

*Affordable? - If you think $3 is affordable for a dinner, buddy, you been dining at St. Francis House & the Salvation Army for far too long (LOL). Krishna lunch used to be donation-based and for everyone. I still remember hearing when my friend Peter Gruskin told me about an incident that involved him and a homeless friend named Mike. Mike was denied food (against the Krishna faith) because he didn't have money. While you claim it's affordable, I claim it's illegal. They are a religious group, if you know anything about Krishna or their very warped interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita you would know that the meal you are eating is a COMMUNION and that the first plate of food that you see sitting on table isn't a mere display item, but for Krishna. If you think I'm wrong, ask them. If you're too cheap to go to Wendy's that's fine, but don't bash the psychotic Christian preacher for preaching when you're standing IN-A-LONG-ASS-LINE for their equally psychotic holy-Krishna-value-meals.

Please submit Questions for the James Argento Q&A to:

Still Waiting For Sen. J. Clayton Brett's 2-3 page promised response

POST 111

The Treasurer Leads The Senate President
Winning in the Spring isn't just about whom can buddy up to the SBP most or get the FBK nod, but a good amount of the win involves PR. Yesssss.....'the average students don't vote,' Yessssssss, 'the power is with the Greeks & FBK," but, PR is still key. If your name is known it helps with the powers that be on the mainstream side. Moseley has not only been noticed by the whackjobs at the Alligator, but they pointed him out, they pointed him out and made sure to sink Boyles in the process. Some 20-to-30 thousand students (at MINIMUM) read that title, many prolly read the article. Moseley's actions are HUGE, they will be felt by any UF student looking to go to a professional school, they will save Gators money. To be honest...he couldn't have bought this kind of PR, at right before Winter break....when the Keys and the Greeks are about to decide who to support? Fuckin genious.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Joe Little to Defend Charlie (Again)
Following The Grapski Case

I found this on and I think it's a great resource for many of you that are interested in learning more about what's going on with our good friend Charlie Grapski. Charlie has been charged with felony-wiretapping but according to earlier information, the State offered to drop all charges in exchange for Charlie to drop charges against Alachua City Manager Clovis Watson. Charlie chose to stand his ground and will face charges. Whatever you may think of Charlie, he is clearly GDI #1.

Cingular Bill

After an interesting flurry of posts, emails, and comments I'm happy to say that some accountability has been had. While I'm one quick to criticize the Independent Florida Alligator, I openly admit they are my #1 resource in following Student Government. Because the paper (under various editors from Mike Gimignani to Stepanie Garry & others) have chosen to stop printing my letters and never once published a single op-ed, The Radikal came into being. In a very real-way, TR is almost like an Op-Ed machine of sorts. This having been said, I argue based on the information available to the average student because as an independent it's my goal to bring the average student into the elite of SG, that was always my dream and it was the vision (even if not ultimately carried out) of the Access Party of Spring/Summer 2004.

The Cingular Bill should not be cast aside. Sen. Brett offered me a 2-3 page response and I am actively awaiting that reply. I am not satisfied with the response(s) given to me by Sen. Gavin Baker. Sen. Loh wrote a bill on behalf of student interests and cited student facebook groups, groups where members appear with full names, photos, class years, and majors. There is no better way to gauge student-interest than Facebook. Sen. Baker's clipboard idea is ridiculous and probaby just a way to steal Sen. Loh's spotlight. Someone should walk up to his clipboard, pick it up, walk over to the trash can, and toss it.

The only major problem I've heard from most senators is the writing-quality of the bill, but only a few have cited problems with the actual intent of the bill. As printed in the Alligator, Sen. Brett stressed that [if] Cingular was a nuissance to some students, it was not a nuissance to Student Government. In comments left on this blog, Sen. Baker asserted that SG used Cingular to operate its blackberry units and in my opinion, suggested that disrupting Cingular services could in fact disrupt SG.

The article in the Alligator makes Loh's bill seem irrelevant to SG, Baker's comments seem to make Cingular very relevant, and Brett's delay over providing me with a formal (& extensive) explanation email, suggests to me, that there is something here.

Let me stress this, let me write in stone. My efforts here today are not aimed at getting a bill passed or shunning members of senate. My efforts are aimed at true Senate-Reform. If and when student senators actually start monitoring facebook and other legitimate avenues of student participation (legitimate as in real, not as in symbolic like SBP John Boyles latest spam'esque survey), then bill-writing will take on a new, almost new-frontier'esque dynamic. When senate bills become more relevant to real student interests, then Public Debate will be extensive, public opinion will change, and even the Alligator may find itself forced to embrace the new SG.

As it stands right now, it's very difficult to refute Dan Burroughs' column in the face of the actions taken against the Cingular Bill last week and bills like it in the future. Please don't forget whom you're representing in those chambers.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Birthday Post

It's my birthday, I have a cold, still scared to re-take the lsat but I must; I'm loving the sub-teacher job (though I do get depressed that I have to say goodbye to my kids) so I'll be applying for certification for f/t in December, so that' spretty much where I currently stand, but really, who cares? (Viva SG Baby!) More importantly, let's talk about this Cingular issue that's on it's way to CONTROVERSEY-Defcom-9-stage.

By this stage I've already received letters and/or extensive commentaries from both Senators Baker & Brett, I've also made contact with Senator Loh, and I've begun the process of speaking to key members in the Swamp organization. I'd really like to receive a "re-produceable" copy of the bill, as Sen. Brett tried sending me one that I couldn't open and seemed protected by some pesky copyright seal. I would also like a print-out of the votes (if done by roll call) or list of senate votes on the bill. Granted, this may not be a very flashy bill, but this blog is aimed at covering SG and boasts of an SG-Insider-Audience, so what the Alligator considers a story and what I consider a story may very well be two different things. I want to put as much attention on this matter because I think it speaks to the very core of the message behind outgoing Sen. Ryan Nelson's Q&A urging new senators to write bills and of my own private beliefs in that SG should continue to be pragmatic but pro-active as well. Fix the problem when it's a leak, not when the water's washed away the dam.

In my day bills, minutes, and vote results were provided online, fully accessible to all. Where are they now? Don't tell me 2006 won't up until 2007, I love it! LOL

...Next I'd like to pose a question to you all.

What are your views on lobbying? Yes, UF has a Lobby Coordinator and the student body actively invests in the practice both in Tallahasse through private lobbyists & the Florida Student Association. However, does SG's participation in lobbying efforts allow for or tolerate for private entities to lobby for Student Funds through individual members of the Student Senate?

Those of you ready to shout "bribe!" -- hold your tongue, because to lobby is a legal maneuver for private interests to have a more favorable standing in the public sector (e.g. Government). If UF's SG participates in lobbying as an entity, could it then turn around as a participating-entity and prohibit its members to engage in lobbying individually?

For the record, the question(s) I'm posing is strictly hypothetical and is not related to any current factual data on the Cingular Controversey that's rocked the UF Student Senate or is it relevant to the votes (either pro or con) of any member of UF Senate in relation to this bill, at this time.

UNITE! Senator Gavin Baker,
Cited Comment From Previous Post:

"What a waste of time. I spend my time trying to explain an issue to someone who's not my constituent -- who's not even a student -- who criticized me based off a news article without any additional information, let alone having actually been there. The reward for this? More criticism. Way to advance public discourse, Christian."

As a NON-student, NON-constituent I have:

1). Endorsed Gavin for CLAS
2). Done Q&A With Him
3). Praised Him Extensively
4). Had his link at the top of my blog for months with no sort of link-exchange

As a NON-student, NON-constituent Gavin has been very kind in receving accolades, yet at the first mention of disapproval since the days when I was ripping Unite a new one, he's become quite pissy.

I've challenged Sen. Brett equally, yet his response was formal, diplomatic, and showed respect both me as a person and for this site. In my day I have challenged many from Tommy Jardon, to John Boyles, to Chris Carmody, to Diane Kassim, to Joe Goldberg, bar none. Yet no one has taken it personally and I just hope Sen. Baker has not either. Point is, no one is forced to write on this blog, so for the record I'm not expecting explanations from anyone. However, if you give a stupid explanation, regardless if I like you or hate you, I have to be fair and I will call you out on it.

Sen. Brett claimed in the article that Cingular was not a nuissance to Student Government. In an earlier comment-reply, Sen. Baker implied that SG depended on Cingular for operation of its Blackberry units. From both comments, I've inferred that Cingular may in fact be a problem affecting the student body as Sen. Loh's bill sought to remedy - BUT - from their own mouthes, losing or disrupting Cingular sought to be a 'nuissance' to SG. Brett disqualifies Cingular as being a nuissance to SG, Baker asserts that SG depends on Cingular [losing that service, makes me believe it would be a nuissance to the Student leaders].

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Perception of Student Government

As tradition would have it, I always give my Q&A guests a week at the top of the blog in addition to promoting their interview, however, there are times (like when I picked up last Wednesday's Alligator) that the temptation to speak out has arisen. There are two articles in this edition that truly moved me.

The first involved Sen. Jordan Loh's Cingular services bill. I thought Sen. Lindsey Johns' understanding of everyday students' concerns was commendable (Sen. Baker's comment for this article makes me wonder if he's still a GDI?); however, I thought the choice of words of the former Gator Party leader, Sen. J. Clayton Brett were indicative of the overly-bureaucratic SG that the vast majority of the student body has grown to despise. The holier-than-thou attitude that makes a distinction between matters that affect the average student and matters that affect the minority-elite echelon of the student body (e.g. SG). SG is the Student Body Mr. Brett, in fact, any problem that affects the STUDENTS should be a problem that STUDENT GOVERNMENT ADDRESSES.

Read The Article Here: H-E-R-E

My Opinion & Yours
Column Discussed: Click Here

First and foremost I want to commend Dan Burroughs for writing an excellent column, even if I disagree with its fundamental cornerstone. Now I can't very well challendge Mr. Burrough's assertion that members of SG feel wrongly-accused when bashed by the Alligator...not after Sen. Brett's blunder-of-the-semester foot-in-the-mouth published comment, however, I would like to challenge Mr. Burroughs on this quote: "all student governments are simply ways to better relationships between students and administrations, while taking a load off administration's shoulders."

Let me expand. Student politics are vague, platforms are generally recycled, mildly altered, but all-in-all, you will never get concrete answers on political ideology insofar as SG parties or mainstream SG candidates go. One huge question mark has always been drawn over the political ideology (or lack thereof) of the Alligator as a newspaper.

In U.S. politics you have papers with different ideologies. If on the NY subway on a Monday morning...Ryan Nelson would probably read the Daily News meanwhle Tommy Jardon would probably read The NY Post. TV stations have set political directions too. I would probably watch CNN, Chris Carmody would probably watch Fox. Some more examples: James Argento would probably prefer the Washington Post to the Washington Times, etc, etc, etc. While liberal papers won't worship liberals and trash conservatives, you can at least catch the bias in the writing...but where does the Alligator stand?

Yes....we all know the Alligator loves IFC/PC Greeks about as much as Charlie Grapski loves Florida Blue Key, but aside from that, what do we really know about this independently owned newspaper that's treated like royalty on the UF campus? They seem to love to trash Student Government, they usually take sides in the elections but never really seem to believe in any elected officials, regardless if they endorsed them or all seems destined to failure and this quote from Dan Burroughs, out of everything I ever read and/or written, I believe, best surmises the true slant, the true ideology, the true bare-bones, underlying, traditional view of the Independent Florida Alligator. what's the problem

Ok, aside from the fact that 'SG budgets $12 million in student blah blah blah', yeah aside from that giant fact and more importantly, Student Government at UF is elected by the students with absolutely no input from the administration and except for Glenda & Sandy, there are no appointments made to student government or its offices by members of the University administration. Furthermore it should be recognized that Student Government is a fully-autonomous governing body and is not either subservient or under the jurisdiction of any faculty and/or administrative body in the University.

Next, it is the mission of the Office of the University Ombudsman (Tommy Howard) 'to better relationships between students and faculty - and - students and the administration, not merely to hear cases involving grievances. It is not. the role of Student Government to act as a mediator between students and the administration, with only few exceptions such as the Student Advocacy Cabinet, the Student Conduct Committee, and a very few others that it could be argued serve in any sort of mediation capacity.

Student Government is the face of the Student Body, it is the political vehicle whereby student's concerns are addressed, so naturally it's rather depressing to read comments such as those made by Gator Party Sen. J. Clayton Brett categorizing problems that affect the general student body as not necessarily affecting Student Government. The fact is, Student Government belongs to the Student Body and Mr. Burroughs column fails to do SG justice, but in my opinion, best-represents the sentiments and the political-bias that his publication has been trying to push for years here at UF.

Good column, but I don't agree with it. Your Opinions?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Ryan Nelson Interview

TR: How did you get started in SG? And what inspired you to join the ranks of the Independent movement as opposed to that of the allegedly FBK-backed 'machine?'

Ryan Nelson: I started in SG under my mentor, Jeremy Martin. He was a Key, an older brother of Phi Sigma Kappa with me, one of the IFC VPs, and Chair of the Rec Sports Board. My transition into the Indie movement was actually very, very long:

1) In early January 2006 I sat down with Boyles about my involvement in his party (then called Engage). He maintained that no one who was planning a run for SBP in Spring '07 would be put on Exec of the campaign to even the playing ground. At that point those names being thrown around, courtesy of a lunch meeting with Boyles, were myself, Weiss, Moseley, Lola, Steven Liverpool, EJ, and Mierley. About an hour later I got a call from Laura who told me that Weiss was Party Spokesman. I was pretty pissed, and called Boyles out on this. Weiss was not as experienced with campaigns, and fairly new to SG (only being elected that fall), not to mention an obvious conflict of interest. Both Weiss and I had expressed intent on running for Pro-Temp that spring, and I wanted a fair chance. I repeatedly asked John about Pro-Temp, and he repeatedly claimed that he wouldn't promise it away, but that he would give everyone a fair shot. Boyles assured me he just forgot about Weiss, and there wouldn't be any problems with a fair chance regardless of Weiss' prominent position.

2) In Fall '05 I had a friend named Justin come out and campaign for Gator. Boyles, then Sen Prez, approached me after the campaign and told me he loved the guy's motivation and that he wanted him to come out and slate that spring. Phi Sig isn't quite AEPi et al, so to have the prospect of a fall senator (me) and a spring senator was exciting. However, on slating days I wasn't allowed to be involved in the slating decisions (see below for more detail). Concurrently, Boyles was in Senate that night and couldn't have as hands-on of a role as he would've preferred. The result was Swamp not slating Justin, and instead slating a random member of my fraternity for the BCN seat who had only come out to boost our slating numbers.

When I called Jeremy, an avid Jared supporter even when it was Jared-Goldberg for the Gator nomination, he went crazy. He tried to organize an emergency chapter meeting that night @ 2am asking that we publicly switch our support to Jared. I bartered back and forth and eventually got Justin an APC position, and the assurance that our house still had reason to support Boyles regardless. Jeremy finally agreed with me and we were fine.

3) For the next 2 weeks I tried effortlessly to get involved and help at every turn, but was never "allowed in the room" metaphorically. I wanted Swamp to reflect my views as a veteran SG politico, and I wanted to build the party with my ideas. None of that happened. Examples were having no interaction at the Swamp Party Campaign meeting when Lydia/Moseley were announced @ Patrone's place, and not even knowing about the party announcement (you can still see pics of that day on facebook of me and Boyles @ Writing on the Wall (with me wearing my Swamp Party sticker), and the meeting @ Hillel with Weiss/Mierley @ the front of the room running the senate candidates (his job also covered this).

I had no involvement in the party, no one listened to my ideas, and the platforms were both hollow. The only thing I had going for me was my belief in John.

4) Exactly 1 week before the election Adelle Fontanet contacted me and asked me to go to ice cream. She cut right to the chase and asked why I was still with Swamp. I answered, "Boyles." She asked why else, and Ihad no answer. After she left, I called Jeremy and asked for advice and he told me it was a horrible idea to jump ship this late in the game. He still liked Jared, but without political cover for switching (like going with a few other IFC houses) it wasn?t a good idea. I slept on it.

The next morning I passed Eric White on the 3rd floor (Growl producer and a friend of mine since elementary school) talking about how his fraternity brother Agrusa was Area Director for Reitz. I hadn't been asked, and I was fed up with just being another volunteer during my 6th semester in SG. It was the straw that broke the camel's back.

That was the day of the FLC debate in the Amphitheatre, which I attended and told Jared afterwards that I wanted to meet with him. I met him @ his house that afternoon. He, like John, promised a fair chance @ Pro-Temp without any promises. He also offered me a position as Volunteer Coordinator and help in running Unite. He and Nikki also disclosed a list of the positions Swamp had promised out. In retrospect, every one of those came to fruition. I told Jared then that I wanted to support Unite. That night was Senate, and I left early to go help with Unite. I called John @ about 11pm to tell him. We talked for about 2 hours, and ended the conversation cordially. He called back and offered me a spot on exec "right up in the front with Weiss" in exchange for continued support. I declined, ironically, as Mofsen was sitting next to me flipping through the 700 codes writing election complaints. I never reported it.

2 days later I showed up in Turlington wearing a Unite shirt, and wouldn't change it for the world.

TR: While many critics within what is called the GDI movement criticize the Boyles'-led Swamp Party, you actually interviewed over 200 prospective Swamp candidates; with the benefit of hindsight, why exactly were you allowed the great honor of interviewing candidates but denied the right to decide on which candidates the party should run?

Ryan Nelson: I actually found one of my interview files the other day. I interviewed some names you might recognize: Ryland Rogers, Jen Gurland, Dipesh Patel, Lou Delgado, Latia Wade. Let's use Ryland as an example (mainly because I like the kid and think he has potential): I interviewed him alone, and he had admitted he had no interaction with anyone in the party except me (I don't count Ghering, and Joe was on his way out). He was slated because Phi Delt needed a senate seat, the interview meant nothing. He's a great kid and a prominent senator, but the distinction is that his interview meant nothing.

I wasn't allowed in the slating room because 1) Laura's Eva-Peron personality (needing to be in charge of everything); 2) I wasn't on exec. Plus, the way FBK-Party slating works is the most important houses get the first positions, and then it's a trickle-down effect for less important houses and orgs (sorry Black Caucus, but guess why almost all of your slated senators for Fall '06 were in the most vulnerable district: Dist D). I guess it makes legal sense - the less people in the room the more plausible deniability.

TR: Were you reprimanded by party officials when you wouldn't settle for the runaround or the system-red-tape surrounding why you were being kept out?

Ryan Nelson: Not that I know of. They just told me "you know that?s not how it works."

TR: Like the 24hr bus service, universal grade forgiveness, and a 'more honest SG'....parties have been recycling tempting-but-usually-bogus campaign promises, promises that with their great-relevance to the general student body almost always guarantee plentiful vote-returns. The Sunday Bus Service issue, first flagged by the UF Voice Party (Spring 2005) had been copied by Impact and later other parties -- but little was ever done about it. Tell us about your work on the Sunday Bus Service Bill, what obstacles you were faced with, and what all came as a result of it.

Ryan Nelson: Lol, nice plug for Voice.

I wanted to really accomplish something big on our platform, so I asked Boyles to head a committee on SBS. He paired me with Agrusa and we set to work. The result was 2 months of research and a resolution in favor of SBS that Treasurer Cosimi and I sent to the FDOT. This was instrumental (as told to us by RTS officials later) in getting the FDOT Grant for a 2-year trial period of a SBS. Obstacles were few -most of the promises we make in SG can be done if you just spend a few hours a week working. I treated SG like a 3-credit class (and during election time a 192 credit class). I spent at least an hour a day calling university officials or doing research on past bills, calling RTS, etc. Agrusa helped a lot with this bill too, and I owe its success equally to his work with me.

TR: You are a member and past president of Phi Sigma Kappa, tell us what your fraternity means to you and what's done for you. There are few tried & true Indie Greeks, but most folks assume one has to be either or, when this is clearly not so. Your take?

Ryan Nelson: My fraternity is one of the most important things in my life. Quick fun vignette for those interested.

I was never supposed to be a Phi Sig. My roommate freshman year was Kyle Epting who would later be a Cabinet Director and Kevin Reilly's opponent running for Theta Chi president. He and I went to Theta Chi together the first night of rush for 3-4 hours and loved it. He got his bid and afterwards the same guy asked me to follow him upstairs, but we had to leave for a floor meeting in Hume. The guy who had taken Kyle just told me to, "make sure I come back tomorrow." That night a friend of mine called me and congratulated me on getting into Theta Chi..? I had asked her to check with her ex-boyfriend who was a brother, and he had checked their list confirmed that I was good to go the next day. I went back the next night and some guy playing Frisbee in the front yard told me to come back in 5 minutes when they were open. I kinda wandered around frat row for a few minutes, and got a call from my ex-girlfriend who told me to stop by Phi Sig. Thinking what the hell, I walked down the row into Phi Sig, and never left.

I served as everything in my chapter, and was named nationally as one of our top 10 leaders. Phi Sig gave me a home away from home, my lifelong best friends, and so many life lessons. Unless you go Greek you really can't explain your devotion to your chapter. It's a tradition in my family (my uncle was a KA here, my aunt an AOPi, and my sister's a ZTA), so that made it all the more important to me. My best memories with my family were with Phi Sig, my most trying and successful leadership roles. I wouldn't be who I am without it.

You cannot be accepted by mainstream Greeks and mainstream Indies. Of the 100+ members in each, I dare you to name 1 AEPi, SigEp, Sigma Chi, ATO, DG, DDD, ZTA, KD, etc. who is also an Indie SG supporter. The cultures conflict too much. You can, however, be Greek (not a mainstream, social house though). Bigger houses regulate your lives more (ask ATO about their pledge dress-code) and thus have a bigger say in who you support politically. With Unite, we had 7-8 houses behind us, including a very confused ATO who actually tripped and fell after the election results they were running back to Swamp so fast.

There will always be a Greek party because Greeks are so socially adept. We clump together socially (e.g. Swamp Monday nights) so it only follows that we, for the most part, do so politically as well. Its not bad until we start requiring voting and telling our members who to vote for (party and person).

TR: Josh Czupryk wrote a letter to the Alligator accusing you of making claims that only students involved in Greek organizations had the motivation necessary to get involved in SG. Did you say or imply such a thing, were you taken out of context?

Ryan Nelson: Josh and I may have been good friends in another life. He's a Greek, Christian, Democrat - and those 3 things are huge parts of my life. Anyways?

My article was not taken out of context, and some of Josh's points were valid. Here was my point, and you can decide: 73% of cabinet can be filled by qualified Greeks (this was how much of cabinet was greek-appointed by Swamp). It is possible, and I know a whole lot of Greek students who could do the jobs well. Let me make this clear - THEIR BEING GREEK HAD NO EFFECT ON THEIR QUALIFICATIONS. But that number is ridiculously unrealistic as an appropriate cross-section of our campus. I did the math and sent it to John (public request his email) you are more likely to die 3 times by getting struck by lightning than that cabinet happening.

It led me to research their applications in depth, and many were bad. I'll use Athletics Cabinet Secretary Chris Marhefka as an example because he chose to chastise me on his facebook profile for weeks afterwards. He had no experience with UAA or RecSports, and what the hell has been done by that cabinet now 6 months into the term? Nothing. He was and is not appropriate for the position.

He was given the job as one of 15 who applied of those 13 positions. I asked that Boyles reopen applications and maybe use the commercials advertising budget he fought do dearly to keep to better advertise the positions (I know he tried, but it wasn't good enough). I thought it was a legitimate request since applications for the Cabinet Directors for Greek Affairs and Multicultural Affairs went through this process since not enough qualified applicants applied. Boyles declined.

My argument was that not every student has a listserv or chapter meeting to benefit from. You think Marhefka would've applied if he wasn't in SigEp and Mose/Clay hadn?t told him to? Please.

TR: An anonymous reader of TR submitted this. 'When your term in senate came to an end, you wrote a nasty to email senators attacking the body and expressing disappointment at others individually. What did you hope to accomplish by sending this email and/or your behavior towards the end of your term?'

Ryan Nelson: My speech in chambers was inappropriate, but my email was not. The style of my speech was critical - and I guess it was flat out revenge. No nice sugar-coating. Swamp made my life hell for 6 months (destroying every bill I wrote, blocking me from Pro-Temp, Judiciary Chair, and VICE-CHAIR for God's sake, and keeping my fraternity brothers out of every SG appointed position since then (not to mention the fun barbs I suffered every Tuesday) so I figured making them mildly uncomfortable for 5 minutes would make me feel better.

I apologized for my speech in my email, and again here I apologize for the style but none of the sentiment. People like Keith - I apologize for calling you out publicly, no one deserves that. However, my email was exactly what I thought of everyone. What I hoped to accomplish? Getting everything off my chest (showing everyone that their actions do not go unnoticed), closure.

To those offended by my email - welcome to public office. I have always, always maintained a separation between business and personal life. I suggest you do the same. If you want to make friends, join a fraternity. If you want to work and be honest about your work, join SG.

I don't know why it was considered "nasty"? It was mostly individuals that I had something to say to, and did... I just re-read my email, and I don't think I was rude at all. I didn't call anyone hollow names, but I sure as hell categorized them as I saw fit:

1) I called Swamp leadership liars for putting tuition in their platform when the Fall elected officials have no control over that. The survey is all well and good, but that was happening with or without a fall Swamp majority. Oh, and we used to have surveys of what the students thought back in the day, we called them elections.

2) I told Keith he was subservient and trite, and that he (almost single-handedly) made me hate SG and politics entirely.

3) I asked John to go back to his days in Senate (e.g. SNAP busses Summer 04) and produce something with his position of influence, because he hasn't yet. John may have been implicated in promising away more positions than ever, but damnit can he accomplish some good work when he puts his mind to it. He hasn't yet as SBP.

4) This one was nasty, I was pretty pissed at Weiss, and most of this was out of jealousy that he was being treated to the climbing-of-the-ladder I thought I had earned. It's still true, but just worded way too harshly. Josh is amazing (Indies?get to know the kid first) but I swear he couldn't bend over backwards for FBK more. Stand up for policy in chambers, Josh, not just politics.

5) I told Arturo and Sam why I thought they weren't qualified for their jobs. If you find this rude, then please read a dictionary definition of public office.

Other than that I mainly told people why they were good, or why I admired them. I blasted moderates for not speaking up when they knew better, and to this day I swear that is the problem with SG and Government in general.

TR: Citing Sen. Gavin Baker (UNITE) from his official homepage, Mr. Baker states: (a) "Action had a very tough time getting quality candidates." Is this statement accurate & if so, what factors contributed to the shortcomings of the latest GDI venture?

Ryan Nelson: Tommy and Gavin never saw eye-to-eye, but I think Tommy ran the party very well. In fact, we ran the party exactly as we hoped we would (minus, of course, the winning aspect). Seriously though, we wanted to run a party based 100% on factual, realistic platform points and an aggressive advertising campaign for the average, non-SG involved student. We did just that, but realized it was to no avail versus the system.

TR: Tell us about your run for senate president and what obstacles stood in your way. What is it like trying to speak to your colleagues on a one-to one basis? Did you run into a lot of partisan-loyalty and/or subtle intimidation tactics? Also, just because you didn't win the senate presidency race doesn't mean you can't tell us what you would have done, had you been elected, so tell us.

Ryan Nelson: I never ran for Senate President; I ran for Pro-Temp. Speaking to new senators 1-on-1 is futile - they are scared senseless and I have never once seen a new senator vote against party lines for Senate Exec. The only Swamp-supporting senator to my knowledge that voted for me for Pro-Temp was Lindsey Johns, and I respect her dearly for it. I was in Senate 3x as long as Josh and wrote tons more legislation qualitatively and quantitatively. But I wasn't an AEPi. Kinda sucks. Josh is great, but he needed to wait his turn. Ceste la vie.

Intimidation tactics? Yeah, I'd say so. Sundeep called Jeremy offering 2 taps into Key if we put up a Swamp banner and condemned me as "not speaking for the house." Carmody told me I would be blackballed forever, as would all my fraternity brothers. Can't imagine why I'd want to leave SG.

Whew, what I would've done as PT and subsequently Senate Prez. Started PT-ordained committees for some revolutionary ideas, reapportionment with facts, separated Greek housing from Districts A and B, the bus trip to Jax/Tally, eliminate Senator-privileged VIP tickets to Accent shows, establish an auditor and comptroller for the Finance Office, perform a 3rd party analysis of SG Org Budgets using Zero-Budgeting, contract the CoE?s IPPD Program to fix RTS Busses internally instead of just throwing money at the idea, instituted a cap on SG finances, redone all the statutes with all the senators voicing their opinions in a special senate meeting on any night that wasn't Tuesday, requiring bills include legislative and budgetary effects when presented, eliminating I&C and recommending a Press Secretary for all of SG instread (a lot more but its all written down on an excel spreadsheet on my broken laptop).

TR: You have told me privately you will not be running for president in 2007. But, between candidates that fear running for office, candidates that do as they're told by their elitist-secret-masters, candidates that are driving whatever's left of the Access/SA GDI-Party-Template into the ground, and candidates that run with Indies b/c Greeks don't want could actually be a really viable, strong, passionate, and motivated leader. Why have you decided to kill a bright career of public service? Are you going to let the playground bullies and the 3rd floor shit-talkers get you down?

Ryan Nelson: Sadly, yes. I'm not as strong as I wish I were. They are not at all the only reason, nor even the major one. I came out of the closet this summer, and in doing so scared my mother beyond belief regarding my holding public office. Stories like reading "Spic" on the side of La Casita when Gil Sanchez ran for SBP are very real threats, and we were both scared of those possibilities - especially since to my knowledge I would be the 1st openly homosexual candidate for SBP in UF history. We like to think we're progressive, but I don't know if I trust all 50k students with my personal safety just for SG's sake.

Also, on paper I'm another Jared. Frat boy gone Indie. A Frat President, too. I want the Indie's to win, and truth is they already face votes against them because of me.

Plus, I work 20-30 hours a week to pay for school. My Dad is a hospital technician, and my mom is a nurse. We have 4 kids in my family. I pay for my fraternity with my Nat'l Merit Scholarship, and right now I have no idea how I'm paying for rent in December. I don't have $10,000 lying around to donate to my campaign like John did -his dad is a prominent Orlando lawyer who can help him with $ issues. I just don't have the money.

Also, I flat out refuse to promise a damn thing to anyone at all. I don't know what support, if any, I would have (just reliving Action this fall).

And finally, I'm just too tired. I can't take those people anymore - it just wasn?t worth it to me. All my friends outside of SG, and all my family, beg me on a regular basis to get out of SG and I finally listened to them, and it feels great. Believe me, at least 5 times a day I think about the changes I could make and how fighting the good fight is almost worth it even if we loose, but I?m just not strong enough for that.

TR: As we near the end of our Q&A, I'd like to list a few names and beside these names I'd like it if you could say a few words on either what you think of them or what comes to mind. Names without comments beside them will be omitted all together from the interview.

Ryan Nelson:

Gavin Baker: Indie to the core. Kevin Bacon syndrome (burned out too fast). Great mind for budget.
Nikki Grant: Tactful yet true at the same time. Best upholder of Senate Rules I know. Best friend to others I've seen.
Josh Weiss: Best political mind in SG. Mediocre execution of his influence on policy. Will be more of a Joe SBP than a John SBP (i.e. he's corrupt, but at least he'll do things)
Mike Patrone: Nice guy, but not a politician. His bills were good-hearted, but lackluster. A reverse victim of circumstance.
Andrew Hoffman: The enforcer! Great senator, opinionated and powerful.
Chris Chase: Concrete vision for Cabinet gone for naught. Best debater I've seen.
Ben Grove: Future Indie leader. Motivated and dedicated to the cause, not the position.
Tommy Jardon: The next Karl Rove. Cunning and bold in his actions. Afraid of no one.
Adam Roberts: Who I'd like to become (well, an Adam-MacKenzie hybrid of sorts). Devotion to public service (TfA), candor, and passion. It?s weird, but once you meet him he doesn?t resemble ragweed at all.
Lauren Mierley: Screwed worse than me this spring. Not a great public speaker, amazing at budget work and policy work (i.e. the 800 codes committee with Lola).
John Boyles: Talent gone to waste in an overly-politicized environment. Exodus 20:16.
Nina Dejong: One of my only SG crushes back in the day, lol. Part of the indelible Access Fall 04 crew. Saavy, organized, and focused. Great future.
Bruce Haupt: Absolutely, 100% crazy. Damn I love the kid. He'll stand up for you in a pinch.
Arturo Armand: Great guy, one of the nicest I've known in SG. Not most qualified for VP. Greta public presence.

TR: What would you say has been the highlight of your career in public service so far? What piece of legislation that you either wrote or sponsored, are you most proud of? Lastly, whether it passed or failed, what bill would you say you had to fight the absolute hardest over?

Ryan Nelson: I was most proud to a piece of legislation that failed. When I spoke against Act of God - man that was a good time. As a new senator only weeks into my term I opposed Crystal, Bryson, Pughe - the whole bunch. Vocally too! I remember Nina giving me props and Hoffman shaking my hand afterwards; those were the days. Substantially though, I would say my resolution with Paden Woodruff opposing the Academic Freedom Bill in 2005. That was such a rush and accomplished so much. I'm also really proud of my work on apportionment this fall: to all those Swamp Party senators reading - say what you want but I owned that debate and you all know it, lol. You didn't have a foot to stand on, and I was pretty damn proud about how thoroughly I worked on that bill.

TheRadkial is laughing at the modesty...

I had to fight the hardest over a TSF Special Request last fall. Treasurer Cosimi wasn't the best at communicating, and she changed her opinions haphazardly on the floor many times. The bill was rough, but it finally made it through line item vetoes and all. Also, my apportionment (although it failed) was horrible. As soon as Agrusa et al realized how right Rose and I were it took them 3 months to concoct some half-ass reasons why our idea wouldn't work (which of course had nothing to do with losing a Business and Journalism Seat and gaining Graduate Seats). We worked really hard on that one, and if anyone is up for it I still think it should be challenged in the Supreme Court.

TR:Thank you for doing this Q&A. What advice would you give students looking to get involved in SG and/or in other campus leadership capacities? Is there anything you'd like to say to the current members of the UF Senate that read this blog? And finally, what are you doing with your free-time from public office?

Ryan Nelson: Don't get involved in SG, lol. If you want to go to Law School then fine, but don't give it any more credit than it deserves. Spend time going to Senate meetings as a citizen, learning the ropes of campus, and innovating your ideas where they can't be exploited and/or blocked for the political gain of others.

To the current members of Senate: I do not hate any of you (no, not even you Keith). Don't get me wrong, I want nothing to do with most of you ever again, but civility is preferred over awkward silences. If I'm making your pita @ Pita Pit you can say hi. I'm not going to spit in your pita. I promise. (TR: HAHAHAHAHAHA)

Just remember this. Don't be assholes in chambers. I don't care if you defend your bill or your party, but you know the difference. Ryland supporting a static apportionment sucks, but he wasn't an ass about it. Patrone supporting his bill by mocking Action's platform and laughing at me in front of senate - that's being an ass. Not answering my emails until I cc the Alligator - that's being an ass. Pretending to be Colbert in some attempt to exact revenge - that's being an ass. Don't do it.

Also, know when something is serious. Why oh why do we debate the placement of a comma for 1 hour, but the budget for 10 minutes?

Never argue against something because it may cause "precedence" or a "slippery slope." You look stupid.

Don't "echo" what another senator said.

Don't boo, ever.

Don't ask questions designed to argue pro-con.

Don't leave after public debate to get Wendy's.

Don't ask to be added as a sponsor to a bill you didn't work on.

Don't speak/write about non UF/SG related issues.

Don't vote by looking at what the older senators are voting for. Don't be intimidated (the vote on paper is what matters, not raising your hand).

Don't mock the other party (this goes for everyone). Both parties want what's best, and are legitimately trying hard to do so. It's the top 10 officials on each side that steer the car, everyone else is just a passenger.

Sorry for that exhaustive list, I rant, go figure. In my free time I'll be planning a big philanthropic event for next fall. I don't want to divulge it yet for fear of it being destroyed out of lingering spite for me, or getting picked up as a platform issue or something. I want to use my time, treasure, and talent for something positive while I'm still here.

Anyways, to everyone reading, if you made it this far, know this. SG is a microcosm of the real thing. Right now it's cutting a deal for SAE to get support for the fall election. 30 years from now it's a special interest group offering votes for political support. Right now we're just requiring our pledges to campaign and vote for SG. 30 years from now we're committing voter fraud with the deceased voting in NY. Right now its Boyles putting in Arturo instead of Vanessa. 30 years from now it's Bush putting in his buddy as FEMA Director.

Just reflect daily on your morals, and ask what is the ends to be attained. And if the means justify them.

Contact Ryan

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Racial Tensions

I can't continue to ignore the phenomenon taking over this nation, starting with the fascists at Fox News & spreading like wild-fire through the annals of society, internet chatrooms, blogs, newspaper editorials, classrooms, the work area, and the neighborhood. In a few short years Hispanics will become the largest minority group yet every day we hear more anglos using terms like aliens and illegals inconspicuously. They claim to be addresssing the problem of illegal-immigration, yet they use the cause as a soapbox to lash out against Spanish in schools, to push for English as the official language of America, to stress untruths and seeking to cause friction between Hispanic-Americans & Black Americans.

There is animosity between African Americans and Hispanics in this country and this animosity will only grow worse in the coming years. Don't base your opinions on La Casita & the IBC, educated people will always have the rationale and the mental preparation to look through racism...but on the streets, in the projects, in the neighborhoods the animosity runs so deep that most major networks have already touched upon it on several of their most prominent programs.

As the old saying goes...first they came for the communists....and it ends with...then they came for the Jews and no one was left. The problem in the Latino community is that Mexicans are suffering undue bigotry, aside from D.C.'s desire to clamp down on illegal immigration, we don't see Cubans or Boricuas or Dominicans or Nicas or Colombians rushing to Mexican-American's aid. During the Hermanos shoot-down or the Bush/Clinton policies of touching surface on Cuban exiles, Mexicans did not rally to help Cuban-Americans. The Hispanic Community is sub-ethnically divided across the United States.

Hispanic Culture is under attack. The Anglos wish one day every Hispanic will have a Hispanic last name (i.e. Hernandez) and not speak a word of his language or practice any part of his culture, they preach assimiliation but what they want is Americanization, they want Hispanic Americans to become gringos, they wish they could load us into ships, have us travel so far we'd literally lose touch with our roots, water down our culture, and force us to adopt their own. African Americans were practically re-programmed culturally...the Anglos almost succeeded had it not been for courageous authors, musicians, and poets that kept the struggle alive for centuries. I don't think Hispanics should bow down, this is our country too.

I am so sick of getting stared at for speaking Spanish or told to speak English. I was born in New Jersey and I do love this country, pero yo soy Latino tambien and don't you forget it :).