Thursday, February 26, 2009

Congratulations to Unite, Progress, & O&B.

The Original photo has been deleted. I received an email from Harrison Diamond Photo Editor of The Independent Florida Alligator, stating:

"I already had to come down hard on the Unite party after they stole the image you used in the congratulations post on their campaign website after being formally warned not to use the images from our site on any campaignmaterials. I have nothing against you, your blog, or anything like that,but it is important that I am consistent in matters of protecting ourintellectual property."

I saved the photo from Jordan Johnson's facebook profile, thinking it looked very classy. Mr. Diamond pointed to six other photos on my blog since October that were taken from the Alligator.

I have asked Mr. Harrison to please provide me with all dates in question so that I may remove them and issue proper credit. Over the past four years I have been the subject of articles, as well as had letters and a column printed in the Alligator. I've enjoyed the readership of Alligator writers and, arguably, its editors. Over the course of the past four years, I've cited the Alligator and/or shared photos without any incident - whatsoever. However, Mr. Diamond makes very valid points in that these photos are intellectual property and requests must be made, be it from a political party, a blog, or anyone else for that matter.

I hope that no one's feelings are rubbed the wrong way by this post, but I believe a valuable lesson has been learned here today and I wanted to go above and beyond Mr. Diamond's request because I feel it's the right thing to do.

Final Election Thoughts

The Progress Party (first endorsed by and later by the Independent Florida Alligator) must live on. While Orange & Blue remains a viable independent party, the real GDI's are in the Progress Party. Unaware of any election results, I believe the only person that can be to Progress what Sam Miorelli was to Orange & Blue - or what James Argento was to Access -- or what Ken Kerns was to Voice - is Justin Wooten.

This incarnation of Progress means something. SG can finally move in a honorable direction, educating the students about worldly affairs, organizing grassroots campaigns for true sustainability (not just dropping a plastic recycle bin outside some random classroom in Turlington. History shows us that the students are the ones that pushed for civil rights, suffrage, gay rights, the students helped end wars, but here at UF, the students are relegated to bullshit roles in a government that's carefully monitored by the UF Administration and infected with legacies and good ole boy systems.

Whatever the results may be, the only party that was truly about real, in-your-face change: was Progress and this party should not 'marry' O&B or sail off into oblivion. Progress should be alive and well in 2009, with Dave Schneider as its presidential candidate in 2010.

In the coming weeks I hope to look into the Keg Party and study how O&B chose to milk the name of a heroic party, we'll also look at the threatened ***complaint*** [correction] from Elizabeth Stinson against our dear Ben Dictor. Once again, major kudos to Mark McShera for a kickass, LIVE Q&A. This blog may have endorsed Progress, but the Dictor Q&A, much like the Bracco one, was a snoozer. Then again the interviews took place at different times...Ben was trying to gain support and by the time we got to Mark the lines in the sand had not been drawn, but were actively being held, defended, w/e.

Jordan Johnson was smart to extend a hand to Wooten- he's the future of the Independent movement. It's not Ben Cavatero in 2010, it's not Donte Hargrove, it's not TH allegedly redbaiting... interesting.

Well anyways the law library is closing soon. I heard Brandon White didn't campaign much - heard this from both Indie factions...that's mildly pathetic.

So anyways, best of luck to Ben, Mark, Justin, Joe, the Geico spokesman, Liz, Dave, Joe Bennett (don't pull an Eric Gordon....come back to SG), Sam, Crazy-But-Cool MT, Alleged Redbaiter TH, Alan, Gary, Stacey, Grasshopper, Bracco (stop [allegedly] calling Justin an FBI Agent), and everyone else.

Charlie Grapski, glad you're out, thanks for letting me know, you to Michael. I brought Progress to your side, when no one knew who you were, but doin that for ya since 2005, but no sweat. Try to stay out of jail, will always support you in one way or another, but stay out of trouble - if you can, lol.

Best of luck to Mark and Ben, seriously. Jordan Johnson, good luck to you too. Keg...jump off a cliff.

Saturday, February 21, 2009's Official Election Predictions

First and foremost, let me speak to the issue of credibility. Aside from my Alum' readership, every single regular contributor and friend of the blog hails allegiance to one of the two major Indie factions. There are minor factions as well - be very sure of this. However, these minor factions have succumbed to the ramifications of internal party strife - not seen in Indie cirlcles since the Spring 2005 term.

Minor factions have wrestled with the fact that they are not in a position to break into yet another viable faction and so, have compromised their stances and become mere tendencies of a larger, more pronounced organization - key tendencies from within the Progs would be best articulated by those wanting more revolutionary politics and a mor militant-SG. The leadership of the Progress Party, while possibly sympathetic to many of these worldly causes, has undergone sometimes subtle, sometimes rigid efforts aimed at keeping Dictor a viable alternative to McShera for many Indie moderates. So...I would say that a minor faction within Progress would be 'The Red & Blacks' championed by Justin Wooten. Let it be recorded for all [SG]history, that it was not Ben Dictor or Ben Dictor's charm that won the Progress Party this blog's endorsement, rather, it was the ideological perspectives and future-outlook of Justin Wooten. JW is the red, MT is the black, and JS is neither, but they're all Progress!.

The Orange & Blue Party's minor faction would be the The Pragmatists, of which I believe even Mark McShera could be categorized as being a part of. This faction, through failed attempts stretching even pre-12/11, seemed growingly resilient in its efforts at avoiding a split. Initially, 'the Progs' seemed open to talks with the stunning victory of Donte Hargrove, but even this bleak glimmer of hope soon faded, as Hargrove formally accepted the strengthened role of Party Chair Joe Trimboli (almost a pre-condition on his very election) , thereby substantially weakening the title he'd gain from outgoing Party President (& boss) Sam Mioreli. I believe, that the election of Hargrove drew a line between hardline-Official thought and a version of pragmatism willing to lose some power, in the hopes of saving the day. It's no secret McShera more than likely voted for Hargrove, but what does this say about the candidate and the structure of the party supporting him? Supporting or forcing? Today there is no question Mark wants the Presidency, but in Oct., Nov., and Dec. - it's a bit iffy.

(getting past that little preamble)....

I have Johnson winning the first round, similar to Joe Goldberg in '05, missing the win by less than 1-point. Forcing a run-off.

I predict a large turn-out election: 13,000 votes, of which I believe Jordan Johnson will receive between 6,000-6,500 votes; I believe O&B will come in a distant second with between 3,250 - 3,500 votes; Progress I believe will get between a low of 1,600 votes and a high of 2,100; independent/write-ins candidates will probably secure the remaining votes.

Not to be bested by Progress '05, I believe Progress '09 would not only not endorse Orange & Blue (staying silent per MM/Robert's incarnation) but endorse Unite/Johnson as a final vindication. Johnson/Unite, will more than likely offer piecemeal concessions through mid-level intermediaries and likely fail to give full faith and credit under a Johnson administration to any of the said offers come May 2009.

At this point, Dictor (like most defeated presidential candidates - e.g. Tommy Jardon, Dennis Ngin, Bruce Haupt, Jared Hernandez, Travis Marsh, etc) would either graduate and leave, fade away, or decide to hang up their prestigious SG credentials, opting for retirement and possibly living on as consultants for a carefully selected cadre of respective proteges.

It will be with Dictor's defeat (or McShera's) that we will see where th Independent movement will head post-election and into the new decade. I believe a JW/MT-led Progress would never marry Orange & Blue in the Fall of this year, then again it depends who's in the driver seat.

For O&B Trimboli is the driver (with Miorelli making the gear changes, Cavatero navigating (despite the fact the car comes with OnStar), Stacey Gray has been carefully buckeled into her baby-chair, and Hargrove's out behind in full force - pushing.) . In Progress Simmons is doing the driving, Dictor is doing the site-seeing, MT has leaned forward from the backseat to channel-surf the radio-dial, meanwhile JW & a group of SDS'ers push the car as it smokes by O&B at high speeds of 9mph - yes NINE MILES PER HOUR.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

O&B Nominee, Sen. Mark McShera Speaks!

The Great Hope of UF Independents seems poised to take on Johnson, Dictor!

TheRaDiKaL: When did you arrive at UF and what organizations did you initially get ivovled with?

Sen. Mark McShera: I arrived at UF in Fall 2006 and became involved with the UF College Democrats. I also attended a few Habitat For Humanity and VOX meetings but decided to really stick with College Dems.

TheRaDiKaL: How & Why did you get involved with SG - and - do you see SG as true voice of the students?

Sen. Mark McShera: I got involved with Student Government when my friend Joe Trimboli brought me into the Fall 2007 iteration of the Progress Party. My motivation for getting involved with the SG reform movement was a general dissatisfaction with the way leaders like John Boyles represented the student body.
Currently I do not see SG as the real voice of the students, Again and again SG caves to the administration on issues like the conduct code regulation changes we say in Fall 2008.

TheRaDiKaL: Many members of the System (students & alums) have stated that O&B made a lot of noise, but failed to deliver anything of substance in chamber from Spring '08 - Fall '08. How would you respond to such statements?

Sen. Mark McShera: I would categorically disagree. We almost doubled CLAS's representation in Student Government. Our senators and supporters negotiated with the VPSA's office to make the conduct code changes more palatable. For the first time in recent memory Student Government began actually following Florida law on the Sunshine Standards. Many of our efforts were blocked by the Gator Party out of sheer bad will. I don't think we can be faulted for the failure of resolutions that 80% of students supported and the Gator Party subsequently voted down.

TheRadiKaL: In your own words, how would best (and concisely) describe the split between the two factions of O&B.

Sen. Mark McShera: Ben Dictor knew he would never been democratically nominated by the Orange & Blue Party so, after lying to nearly everyone in the party, he left and formed a third party. Dictor planned to run no matter what. He discussed his current exec ticket as early as October with Donte, the only question that remained was whether he would run under the Orange & Blue name or another. The answer to that is clear now.

TheRaDiKaL: To what degree would attribute the exclusion of Josh Simmons from any post of trust in O&B, to the split of December 2008?

Sen. Mark McShera: Simmons has his own motivations for forming a third party, I wouldn't say splitting from Orange & Blue because he was never a member of the party. Josh wants power and friends, that's all it ever came down to. He knew Joe and Sam or anyone else who knew his history would never trust him or allow him to do anything but pass out flyers. Ben Dictor and his supporters also offered Josh the base of of friends he so badly desired now that Cruts and Grove are gone. Simmons and Dictor played off of each others lust for power but I believe Simmons to be more of a bit player. Ben Dictor was going to run regardless of Josh Simmons. At this point Simmons is just along for the ride.

TheRaDiKaL: In your opinion, what motivated the Progs insofar as demanding disclosure and transparency on the GMG Emails.

Sen. Mark McShera: Ben Dictor's personal political ambitions motivated their witch hunt on the green means go emails. He wanted the party to surrender to him with empty claims about the "Green Means Go" emails. Basically he trumped up the charges he leveled in a last ditch attempt to take over the party.

TheRaDiKaL: Question #1 from Sen. Schneider: what constructive measures in the senate he's put forth to push for online voting? (not including public debate and/or questioning officials)

Sen. Mark McShera: There have been none. Attempting to push online voting in the senate would endanger the Online Voting Lawsuit as it would call into question whether final administrative action has been taken on the Amendment. The only way online voting will ever make it onto the ballot at UF will be under a court order. I suggest Senator Schneider consult both Florida law and student government history on these points.

TheRadiKaL Question #2 from Sen. Schneider: In hindsight, do you regret not adjusting the language of the handscanner bill so as to get the Gator Party behind it and if not, why?

Sen. Mark McShera: I voted for an amendment that made the bill easier for the Senators to understand in an attempt to get the handscanner bill passed. So no I don't have any regrets.

TheRaDiKaL (Question #3 from Sen. Schneider): How does Sen. McShera respond to the allegations that his treasurer candidate is a shameless opportunist, given that he sought the nomination from two parties prior to going to O&b

Sen. Mark McShera: Brandon White is the most qualified candidate to be Student Body Treasurer on the UF campus. Period. His performance in the debates thus far has clearly demonstrated this.

He is a great asset to the ticket.

The RadiKaL (Question from Fmr. CTV Director, Frank Bracco): Do you feel the good ol' boy system still exists at UF and if so in what form? How do you plan to change this system if it does exist?

Sen. Mark McShera: The Green Means Go Scandal proves that it absolutely does. The Gator/Unite Party promises away SG positions and Blue Key taps in exchange for organizational support. The best way to combat it is to appoint the most qualified candidates to all positions in Student Government.

The RaDiKaL (Question from GDI Legend, Nick Capezza): "Would a bicameral SG legislature be better for the student body?"

Sen. Mark McShera: That's an interesting question. I don't really see how a bicameral legislature would be any more effective. A larger chamber of deputies style lower house would allow for more diverse representation but would be impracticable based on colleges and residence areas. A smaller upper house would probably only divide independent support and allow for less competitive elections. Ultimately I don't think it would help.

The RaDiKaL (Question from UF Activist/Progress leader, Jon Bull): If a runoff election takes place between Jordan Johnson and Ben Dictor, could you guarantee Ben your full support?"

Sen. Mark McShera: Absolutely. Ben Dictor has shown repeteadly over the last 3 months that he would make a great Student Body President.

The RadiKaL (Question from Access Party supporter Galen Wood): How would you choose your cabinet - who do you already have in mind?

Sen. Mark McShera: I would have to consult heavily with Stacey on Cabinet Chairs and Directors, as she would be overseeing them. I don't have anyone in mind for cabinet yet. We would ultimately select the person that we thought brought the best ideas and most energy to the position.

Name Association
5 words or less

Sam Miorelli - a warhorse and a good friend
Donte Hargrove - fiery and a relentless campaigner
Toto - That joke is lost on me.
Ben Dictor - Vain
Justin Wooten - Fierce supporter of dictor
Kim Cruts - Simmons ally, minor player in Gator
Nina Martinez - dedicated campaigner
Stacey Gray - Great running mate, poised
Jordan Johnson - Nice guy but not SBP material
Thomas Jardon - History professor of the movement
Skeet Surrency - Smart guy, very funny
Joe Trimboli - one of my best friends, fierce
Glenda Frederick - Another great source of historical information
Kyle Huey - effective at almost everything a campaign needs behind the scenes
James Argento - friend of Will Foster, helped run Access
Christian Duque - always controversial but well intentioned
Ken Kerns - reunion at university ave
Armando Grundy - dedicated to the party

TheRaDiKaL: Any final thoughts?

Sen. Mark McShera: I look forward to the election this Spring and think its the best chance the independent movement has had at a major breakthrough since Access. Hopefully over the next 2 weeks the Orange & Blue Party will continue its trend of expanding election after election, culminating in the victory of of executive ticket.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

That Takes Guts!

We often talk about people being brave and usually look over to our service personnel in Iraq & Afghanistan as primary examples - and they are, rest assured. But there's other examples of bravery, courageous people that are determined to living their lives 'by any means necessary' (TY Comrade Malcom).

I was at this awesome alternative diner last night and saw a really awesome looking person. I wasn't sure if he was a dragqueen (stylistic persuasion) or Trans (a bonafide gender identity) person. What I was sure about is that this person was alive, vibrant, and having a blast with friends.

Before leaving I bought a slice of cherry pie, with whipped cream, a la mode and walked over to their table. "You look awesome," I began and handed my present over. She was so happy and touched that she got up and gave me a huge hug. I'm guessing she was around 6'2 or so and had 6" heels, so she actually towered over me, lol.

She insisted we exchange numbers and said that what I had done was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for her. I told her she deserved it and left.

I met a really nice person that loved life and lived on her own terms and you should all know, there's no other way that's worth living.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Fantasy Motorcycle Ride

I wonder which would be more likely at this point: Ben Dictor & Mark McShera joining forces or Graham Clark going for a motorcycle ride with Justin Wooten. I have never met Wooten, though I have a great deal of respect for him. Still, it would be funny if Graham bearhugged the Dictor-Lt., with his hair blowing in the wind, as the motorbike jetsetted across University Avenue, honking and waving pedestrians up and down the boulevard.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The GMG Emails

This controversial issue will go down in history as one of the most contentious issues between the two major factions of the Orange & Blue Party. The Officials controlled meetings through adroit replies under direct questioning by Prog stalwarts in prosecutorial form. Miorelli was vocal in that he received the information by post, having kept the original envelope, and denying knowledge of its sender - a story that has not once changed.

Ben Dictor, made various comments challenging the honesty & integrity of those he once called party colleagues. Meanwhile those same party colleagues, were right to be outraged, in that everyone benefitted from the leak in Fall - including Progressive senators up for election.

But I guess the real question is, what really could have been done here? Plausibly-speaking.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Officials Return [Heavier] Fire.

Both factions took the trouble of digging themselves in post 12/11, almost in Great War like fashion, firing sporadically at one another with the occasional mortar or two raining down on a mess hall or latrine. A few people gone blown off their can, but no major action.

Slating saw an eleventh hour attempt at peace. Ken Kerns should take pride, as do I, in that even during the slating efforts were made to reconcile. Dictor showed up, McShera did not. Mark's excuse, 'they didn't confirm'; Dictor's excuse to the 12/11 meeting cancellation/re-setting and his absence 'they didn't confirm.' Initially McShera/Officials through authorized personnel were willing to engage through yours truly (not Armando Grundy, lol), but the Progs (somewhat immaturely) demanded unconditional surrender. Gradually I wore the Progs down to accepting some concessions, culminating in a Monday night attempt to reconcile the Progs & the Officials, Dictor was willing to talk. When I asked McShera what he wanted or was willing to offer - he said 'they pull out,' another way of saying unconditional surrender.

Throughout the months of December and January, the Officials were largely on the receiving end. They lost the Prog-faction, they lost a key vote in senate, many felt undermined by Dictor's announcement to the Alligator, and still many were literally knocked off kilter to see the re-emergence of an old foe, Josh Simmons, in a top leadership capacity. To end the streak, Progress won the and SDS endorsements.

Slating, however, may have just turned the tide. The Officials secured Stacey Gray for Veep (as speculated on this site), they secured a key Treasurer candidate, they fired over two dozen campaign violations against Progresss (I think this tactic should be reserved for the Machine, but w/e), and they chose to get payback on MT with GC, only I can't promise JW won't lose his cool, as GC has taken MT and totally outdone him.

Slating numbers provided on a day-to-day also proved life in the O's was by no means defeatist. Although TR continues supporting Progress, I'm glad lines of communication remain open and strong and I hope to see both sides grow stronger, however, could the two factions kindly consider reducing the campaign violations war - I mean don't you guys think that's a bit petty? And that's being addressed to Progress folks thinking it wise to reply in turn in the future.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

O&B's Mark McShera Agrees to Q&A!

While I jumped at the idea of Ben Dictor's Q&A, it proved to be a big snoozer and remains incomplete. Mark McShera, presidential candidate of the larger Indie faction (which also enjoys control of the party name) has agreed to speak to, but also promises to up Dictor in terms of content. is also weighing options between a Q&A and/or Official Statement from Progress Party Treasurer Peter Laumann, who phoned me a couple days ago in reference to key anonymous comments made on the blog.

Speaking of phone calls....Dictor can't seem to keep his word on calling people back...can the Radikal-endorsed Progress candidate for SBP multi-task?

Also checked Brandon White's speech to the Senate -- very nostalgic of Jamal Sowell, with a tinge of militancy. I'm curious if White hold weight with the African American community - or - if he's the latest dose of Diane Kassim - merit, charisma, but no pull with BSU all rolled into one?