Monday, April 27, 2009

Web Reviews by 'el Duque'

I went a little hard on Sg-Span. However, what's up with these 3-4 month vacations?!! Dead Blog?

We've got blogs that last five or six months and then hit a wall - they run out of material. They want to take this site out and I welcome them, hell, I even send traffic their way! And what? Four turncoats run a blog anonymously, they run out of material, they make claim web saboteurs hacked them, then they go private, then they go inactive, then they announce themselves like the unmasking of Kiss on MTV in 1983, but then unlike KISS who went on to several gold and platinum runs....they FOLD.

Then you have SwampFrontLawn. I mean what can you say about this rag? Pro-System? Toolfest? Propaganda Clearinghouse? I mean reading this was like going to Karl Rove for an objective take on the Bush administration. Never in all my blogging-life had I read such a piece of crap - and I've read plenty of crap on the boards since 2005.

Status: Getting Less Action Than MAX HARDCORE.

It's not all bad after all. I mean you've got guys from way back in the 1990's like Ken Kerns online. Now I'm not saying Ken is older than dirt, in fact, I'm probably older in age, but it's nice to see a voice from the past millennium talkin about SG. Kerns does a good job in seasonally blogging on SG - good election time articles. Ken also sells books, tote bags, and buttons off of his website. I do believe he may also peddle bumper-stickers.

Got Buttons?

Then there's Gator Gossip Girl. Good little blog, seemed to cater to average bozo more than anything, but good effort. If this were the late 80's/early 90's this blog would be totally zine-worthy! That's actually a compliment, a great read for those memorable moments on the can.

I think that more blogs should stray away from SG for breathers; cover something else! Whether than be skanks with guts in inflatable fraternity swimming pools or talkin about how Joe Bennett wants to pack on muscle and get rich per a facebook update so he can nail Lady Gaga - whatever it may be, stray a bit.

Now I'm not advocating you write books and sell tote bags, but get away a bit.


EEE and Sg-Span seem to be two peas in the same pod, perhaps a casualty of the infighting of December 2008, or perhaps a concomitant creativity-freeze that warped amateur bloggers everywhere.

Duque's Clear Favorite
One Last Gasp for Fresh Air

SG Gatorade

You can tell there's some clear TR influence on this page. A lot of subject diversity at work here. Last post was in mid-March, so I'm hoping there will be more to come. This seems like a fairly well put together site that could easily be around for years to come, should its author(s) so choose.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Reilly Recap: Friday Night Special Post

What Novel Extracurriculars for UF Student Body President Theta Chi, I.F.C., Florida Blue Key.

Reilly Recap, 10 words or less

"A massive swamp bar tab."
Matt Martz

"A total waste of time.
He was an empty suit."
Sam Miorelli

Ben Dictor

[Back in Fall]"When I infiltrated the meeting,
I remember him saying we were kids
who are mothers didn't hug enough.
Justin Wooten

Mark McShera

"An unyielding defense against maligning,
insipid, and misguided partisanship.
J. Clayton Brett

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ken Kerns....Sneak Peak

TheRaDiKaL: What can you tell us about the Vision Party campaign and working with Gary Slossberg? In what ways did the Voice Party (your incarnation) compare and/or differ from Vision?

Ken Kerns: Vision ran for an extraordinarily long time, from Spring 1997 to Spring 2000. I was only around for its final two elections, when it failed to win any seats. And when I was there, I could see why – very little effort was made to build and sustain coalitions in the fall and spring, and especially at recruiting new activists. In Spring 2000, we were heavily reliant on the qualifications and diversity that our Treasurer candidate brought to the table as BOCC Treasurer and the first openly gay candidate for campus-wide office.

Gary Slossberg was a great person to work with – funny, friendly, and passionate about his beliefs. As the Vision presidential candidate in 1999, for example, he spearheaded an effort to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Of all the political leaders I worked with at UF, he remains my favorite – I can’t quite explain why, but I think it has something to do with the fact that it took a lot to get him mad at you.

Vision was always like that, too – while not a “College Democrats” party, Vision was very much a socially liberal one that was skeptical of FBK and the greek system.

Voice 2001 was a bit different. Our platform was within the Vision tradition of “integrity, democracy, diversity” but our emphasis was on the plight of student organizations, and improving how SG worked. Our biggest fight was over giving more money to student groups – an amendment to the A&S Fee budget that Fusion bitterly opposed in the election but eventually sponsored when it came time to fund the organizational budget. We did not really campaign on social issues as much, although we favored more emphasis on a cleaner environment. With folks like Adam Guilette, a founder of the Liberty Project, on our side, our campaign was more about making SG more responsive, more decentralized.

It’s within the GDI tradition that Vision had cemented, but we had our own policy accents that made it a distinct force.

The Full Ken Kerns Q&A...June 1, 2009
Argento, Capezza, Kerns: "The Big 3"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Skeet Surrency: 6 Replies to

1) The quote in which I call Machen an ally was both paraphrased and taken out of context by the alligator and yourself. As you probably know, Alligator reporters don't usually walk around with voice recorders - it's pen and pad for them, which almost always means your quotes will wind up paraphrased the next day. A more accurate quotation would have read "It's nice to Machen as an ally on this issue...” Now of course that sentence they chose to quote me on was just one of many I spoke during the interview, and the one immediately prior to that one was important contextually. It went something like "Budget cuts and tuition increases are symptoms of the same problem - Tallahassee refusing to adequately fund education." And the reason Machen is an ally on that particular issue is because he agrees with that statement 100%. We even got the man to agree that FL is in need of an income tax, which was a real surprise considering his conservatism.

It doesn't mean his handling of the situation is exemplary or commendable - I'd say he's done a horrible job advocating on behalf of students, faculty, and staff at UF. And when we confronted him with that sentiment, his reply was unsurprisingly pragmatic: it's easier to get money out of you students through tuition increases than it is to get this state to fund our school. So his role in this funding crisis is really just a symptom of the crisis itself, not the cause of it.

It is also worth nothing that at this time last year, 4 friends and I starved ourselves for 2 weeks trying to get a seat across the table from Machen to discuss our university's investment practices, which he refused to do. To get into all the ups and downs of my interactions with the man over the past 4 years easily fill an essay. Needless to say, I trust the man as far as I can throw him, yet I am not opposed in principle to working with him when it suits our needs.

2) I have friends and and allies in every political party represented in SG right now. I'm willing to work with anyone willing to work with me.

3) "Old" SDS was primarily a group of friends who got into activism together, and who mostly got out of activism at around the same time. The reasons for that are numerous and include, variously: activist burnout, loss of moral due to our defeat in the SRI campaign, school obligations, other activist obligations, people moving away, and a loss of direction or lack of creative ideas on where to go next.

"New" SDS could refer to anyone who joined SDS around the time when the original members were leaving, and represented a new generation of activists. Old SDS members failed to leave the organization with any sense of institutional memory, or with any meaningful training of new members on how to be successful activists. At the same time, the old SDS members who stuck around still held a considerable amount of sway over the organization, but were not coming up with any plans of their own, or were not able or willing to follow through on them. Even so, it was during this time that we won our first significant victory as activists, which was to stop the installation of handscanners at the rec centers on campus. But compared with our previous levels of activity, SDS was largely stagnant during this time.

New members obviously grew restless with this, and when it became clear that the old members were not offering anything in terms of where to go from here, they charted their own course, which included heavy participation in SG elections and a restructuring of the organization. For better or worse, the prospect of restructuring SDS brought back some old members, who were opposed to some of the measures. Tensions ran high for a while, and the end result was that most of the restructuring proposals passed a vote, but some didn't, and this left many new members dissatisfied. Some ended up leaving to form a new group, the International Socialist Organization. Most of those who left have not been back to a meeting since then.

Since then, SDS has returned to levels of activity similar to what we saw when we first started. Our focus is on the anti-budget cut campaign. Specifically we see our role as operating both independently and within the coalition formed around opposing the cuts (Coalition Save our Schools), in order to push the dialogue of this fledgling movement towards a more radical analysis of the situation. The ISO has also been active during this time, tabling, recruiting members, and attending meetings and conventions. Membership crossover between the two organizations exists on some levels, and it is undoubtedly a good thing that a explicitly socialist organization exists on campus. We could be wonderful compliments of one another, if the levels of collaboration between the two organizations would increase. That's obviously the most constructive direction the two groups could go together, and that's what we're working towards.

4) Frank Bracco has always been a friend of mine within SG. Before there was an Orange and Blue or SDS, I was active in getting an SG referendum question passed in the 2006 elections, and Frank helped me navigate the confusing culture and bureaucracy of SG. Since then he has helped in the same capacity in two other SG referendums I helped get onto election ballots.

Sam and I have no relationship to speak of, except that he served as the president of a political party I was marginally involved in. Politically I'm sure we'd disagree on most subjects.

5) SDS has slated members in the Orange and Blue and the Progress Party. Our constitution officially says that "We are not a mouthpiece for any particular party or ideology... (you can find the rest on our facebook group)." If it made tactical sense, I don't think many in SDS would object as a matter of principle in welcoming members of any political party who are willing to work constructively towards the broad goals outlined in our constitution, nor would we forbid our members from joining such parties. That said, we are unabashedly leftist in our analysis, so it would be odd indeed for much crossover to occur between us and, say, the college libertarians. Even then, we have often welcomed libertarians at our meetings, and have collaborated in putting on events with them, College Democrats, and even the College Republicans (most notably, in debating them on the issue of healthcare, where we were the only advocates of a single payer, universal system, but also in the aftermath of the Andrew Meyer protest, where we worked with the College Libertarians to put on a forum on civil liberties)

6) I did not participate in organizing the last radical rush, but it seemed okay to me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lansing Tea Party

Let me start out by saying that I strongly believe in the concept of taxation and large government. How many people are going to openly admit wanting big government in this age of lousy economics and foreclosures left and right, but at least I'm not naive enough to believe that the markets will cure all evils. It's those same markets that packed up and headed over abroad at the prospects of cheap labor and nil government regulation. Surely, right-wing economists could once again point the finger at big government as the main culprit for the big U.S. companies ditching the red, white, and blue - however, we're not talking about a return to feudalism are we? We still want someone to live in the White House right? We still want a federal legislature and judiciary right? We still want some kind of a national government, right? I mean what's the purpose of chanting "U.S.A, U.S.A.," if you're goal is to revert our national government to the days of the Articles of Confederation?

Governments regulate, they tax, and they spend for the general welfare. So...while I strongly disagree with 90% of the arguments posed at yesterday's Lansing Tea Party, I just want to commend the organizers and even most of the supporters that showed up for taking part in their civic duties. It's important that Americans make good use of their constitutional freedoms to speech, press, and association. These were hard-earned freedoms, truly enjoyed by a select few nations in the world today. Most of these concerned conservatives, I'm sure, never miss an election and never pass up a chance to talk politics. I may not agree with them on substance, but I support their activism as if I were speaking of my own.

In closing, I would hope that the protesters and their supporters keep in mind that President Obama has been in office barely three months. Many of the protesters were extremely disappointed and furious with President over the fledgling economy - it's simply not fair. Give the man a chance. If you disagree at the end of six months, a year, a term - fine, but you're guy had the reins for 8yrs, our guy has been in office 3 Months, take that into account too.

Remember What Saved Us From U.S. wasn't the bankers and industrialists being let free to go was FDR's NEW DEAL!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

[Skeet] Surrency Comment Fallout

"It's being taken somewhat out of context. I took it as Skeet saying Machen was an ally on the issue of raising the sales tax."

Mark McShera
Fmr. O&B Party Presidential Candidate

"I mean a bunch of lefties supporting higher taxes doesn't surprise me.

Sam Miorelli
Fmr. Student Senator
Fmr. O&B Party President

It shows that Skeet believes in his goals enough to not act in the manner of a petulant child. He doesn't take the opposite stance of the administration and Machen just for the sake of being in opposition to them. Any good movement should recognize and be able to exploit opportunities within an established power structure that may present themselves.

Machen can be an ally today on one issue and an arch nemesis tomorrow on another. The world is not black and white and this is how mature and well adjusted individuals conduct themselves. There is no benefit to being shrill for the sake of being shrill. Screaming out, "It's Opposite day!" is the stuff of elementary school yards and high school spirit weeks, it is in now way a manner in which leaders need conduct themselves.

Joseph Trimboli
O&B Party Chairman

"I think the Alligator quoted Skeet out of context. I believe that Skeet would only be refering to Bernie as an ally when it came to the educational sales-tax (since Bernie has publicly supported it) It is well known that Skeet disagrees with Bernie on nearly every issue except this and the Alligator is well known for misquotes."

Frank Bracco
Fmr. O&B Party S.B.V.P. Candidate

"Skeet is a loser that is graduating, and only cares about this stuff because he is a media whore. All his activism is focused around how much he can get his name in the paper."

Justin Wooten
Progress Party Organizer

I don't know what was said or how deserved it was, but I'm skeptical of calling a guy that honestly thinks he deserves a bonus big enough to prevent several faculty being laid off an 'ally of the students,' but hey, if he really is, then he's a great ally to have."

Joe Bennett
Fmr. Student Senator

"Justin Wooten made a very apt analogy by comparing the study-in at Tigert Hall to the London protest referenced in Zizek's seminal essay, "Resistance is Surrender". My fear is that if the student opposition movement to the budget cuts gets too close with administration, it will compromise its autonomy and message.

Dave Schneider
Student Senator, Progress Party Leader

Officials, Progs DIVIDED On Skeet

People have been hammering me as of late for implying that Skeet Surrency is an Official, yet it's interesting how factional-lines distinguish between support and skepticism.

In a post-election [SG]-world, it would seem that the divisions that broke the back of the Indie movement would be all but healed. One would think that 'the movement' is on the money again, waiting to give the machine a bloody nose in Fall! But not the case just yet.

Unlike SG as a whole, SDS is supposed to represent a certain fringe, a certain sector willing to take the fight one step further than the mainstream kids. It's quite unnerving that SDS, a group Skeet Surrency has largely associated with and which is credited with the protest in question, is now considered a Pro-Machen support group. It's not only sad for SDS, it's sad for the entire Independent movement.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

SDS Leader Calls Machen "An Ally."

Read The Alligator Article!

I think dialogue is great, don't get me wrong, but when a key leader of a revolutionary student movement calls the head of the University of Florida's administration 'an ally', then you have to wonder what SDS is exactly all about.