Saturday, November 6, 2010

Guess It's Time to Learn Mandarin

Let's see how self-centered we can be, and how many stereotypes we can exploit. It's always pretty entertaining and terrifying to stumble upon such blatant propaganda. The scary thing is that some people will see this video and buy into it.

Sort of reminiscent of the 1980's apple computer ad, only without the snarky, self-aware ending:

But in all seriousness, the only thing this video gets right is the completely egotistical American view that we are some unbeatable empire. Let's keep this country focused on the "principles that made us great;" freedom, human rights, and democracy. Everyone who voted last week is doing their part, so thanks and congratulations.

Thanks, Hannah Greggs for showing me these videos and ranting with me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Here We Go Again...

The first thing I'd like to say, unrelated to the rest of my post, is give blood. The blood drive at Rolfs ends tomorrow, but that means there's still a chance. If you do miss it then make sure to give blood the next time around. Also, good job to all those who already gave blood. I'm proud of my blood and the fact that by giving just a little bit away I am doing something that really does save lives. Honestly, by the end of the semester it might be the only A- I still have.

My second side note (I'll get to the main point, it's just these are short but I feel I need to get them out there) was that Thomas Friedman's presentation tonight was great. Friedman, who is originally from Minnesota, has a great ability to discuss broad, complicated issues in a comprehensible way. He simplifies things, but doesn't lose the meaning as much as other people do when they "dumb things down." I'm pretty sure that's what makes him and his books so popular. Friedman's views on technology and the future of American economics were very interesting, as were his views on American politics. He also talked a lot about the "green" movement, energy, and sustainability. The highlight of this, for me, was when he said "Green is the new red, white, and blue."

My thoughts on green/renewable energy: We better step-up our game or Germany will take the lead on the energy technology revolution, and I don't want to learn German!

So, without further ado, here's the reason I wrote this post and the reason the title makes any sense: Minnesota has another state-wide recount to suffer through!

Last election cycle we waited through over 8 months of legal battling, accusations, and hand counting of ballots until Al Franken was finally sworn into the Senate about six months after his term technically began.

Apparently, my home state decided they hadn't had enough. This time around a very close gubernatorial election has been plunged into an automatic recount. Democrat Mark Dayton leads Republican Tom Emmer by a very small number of votes.

I desperately hope Dayton wins. Not only does Emmer hold many views that I disagree with, not only do I think he would cause even more problems for Minnesota than Tim Pawlenty, but he also didn't get into Notre Dame. Now of course I realize that Notre Dame is a great school and not everyone gets in, BUT Emmer's parents both attended the University, Emmer was baptized on campus, and Emmer attended St.Thomas Academy (You've probably heard of it, it is an all-boys private school with a reputation for producing golden domers). Furthermore, it was easier to get into college in those days, just ask your parents. I am sure Emmer is intelligent and a respectable individual, but as a public official I am more than a little concerned with that background in addition to his policies. I'd also take former Senator Dayton's experience over State Representative Emmer's.

Now Minnesota has to play the waiting game once again. I don't know how long this recount will take, but I do know it will be irritating. I think that by the end Minnesota will set a record for the longest time without a governor: Pawlenty left over a year ago to begin campaigning for President (technically he's still governor, but he's never actually in Minnesota) and the new governor won't be decided on any time soon.

Here I'd also like to add that we had to endure Jesse the Body (yes our luck is that bad).

The only bright side of this development is that it means my vote really counts. This was the first time I could vote and the most important race that I voted in. My absentee ballot could be the one of the few that pushes Dayton over the top. Go Democracy!

Every once in a while, for the next indefinite number of months, say a prayer or direct some pity toward the poor folks in Minnesota waiting for a Governor. It's been so long since we had a good one that at this point we'll settle for having one. listening Santa?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It's election day people. So you need to make sure you vote. It's your civic duty. It's the one thing that makes our government a Democracy. It's the cornerstone of America. And frankly speaking we as college students really suck at voting, especially at mid-term elections. This year, we (ages 18-29) make up 22% of all potential voters. Yet we are are projected to make up only 11% of actual voters, and we make up 34% of non-voters. (Courtesy of Pew Research Center)

Guys, whatever our government does will be affecting us for a longer period than our parents our grandparents. We're going to be alive longer. We have the most at stake in any given elections. So why do we give the generations above us more say? Take a stand. Exercise the most important right you have in our government. Because if you give up the right to vote, you also forfeit an even more important right, the right to justly complain. (let's be honest, what would any of us do if we lost that one)

Also if you won't vote for the sane reasons which I've given to you, then vote because BEARS may or may not attack you in your home and/or dorm room, and slowly maul you until you've gone to the polls and cast your vote.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Remember 2001-2009. Do You?

Why you should vote for Joe Donnelly

There are less than 48 hours to get involved in the 2010 elections. Joe Donnelly needs your help!! The College Democrats will be working non-stop until the polls have closed tomorrow please text or call Eileen at (714)642-9083 to find out how you can help. Joe's campaign has spent months identifying who his voters are and how to get in contact with them by making phone calls and knocking on doors. We are now in Get Out The Vote (GOTV) time, in which many volunteers are needed to be sure we contact every person that has expressed interest in voting for Joe to make sure he or she has voted. PLEASE get in touch with Eileen and volunteer a little bit of your time in these final hours.

Joe Donnelly is the Democratic congressman of the 2nd district of Indiana that includes Notre Dame, South Bend, Elkhart and surrounding rural areas. He is a proud Catholic and a "double domer," with an undergraduate and law degree from Notre Dame.

Joe Donnelly, despite his flaws, is the unique type of candidate that should receive votes from constituents across the political spectrum.

If you are a progressive Democrat:

The first thoughts that come to mind might be that Congressman Donnelly voted against the cap and trade bill, as well as ending Don't Ask Don't Tell. Donnelly is endorsed by the NRA, he refers to undocumented immigrants as illegals, and he continues to support the war in Afghanistan. All of these are undoubtedly disturbing and make it difficult to garner much enthusiasm for someone who votes like moderate Republicans would, if they still existed in Congress. However, Joe Donnelly is a good man caught up in bad political times. He is also beating all of the political odds by being in a position to win as a Democratic incumbent in a Republican leaning district.

He must be commended for fighting for the people of the 2nd district by voting for the Recovery Act, the health care bill and the financial reform bill. While these three bills were far from perfect they each took a step in the right direction. The stimulus has "increased the number of people employed between 1.4 million and 3.3 million," according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, and helped avert crises in state governments trying to pay teachers, police officers and firefighters across the country. The health care bill ended the worst of insurance company abuses like discriminating based on pre-existing conditions or denying claims without the opportunity to have an independent review. The bill also allows students to stay on their parents insurance until they are 26, will make health insurance available to 30 million more Americans and makes preventative care like screenings and vaccinations free. The financial reform bill created the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, a major victory for consumers who will now be better protected from exploitative practices in the financial industry. The bill also creates important rules on derivatives trading, mortgage lending and credit rating agencies that will help prevent a future financial meltdown.

There is a debate raging in the progressive community across the country about whether or not to support conservative Democrats. While supporting more left-wing opposition in a primary makes sense, staying home on Election Day because the Democrat is too conservative does not. As a resident of the 2nd district you have the choice between State Senator Jackie Walorski, a blindly partisan candidate who will ignore your interests, or Congressman Donnelly, a bipartisan congressman who will be open minded to supporting the president and make a meaningful assessment of the district's preferences before voting. Donnelly voted for health care because he could not resist the relentless pressure from his voting base in the district to vote for the bill.

If Jackie Walorski is your congresswoman no amount of phone calling, office visits or demonstrations will make her vote with the president. She is the Michelle Bachmann of Indiana and will have no qualms bringing national attention to the 2nd district with her radical perspective. Walorski is a proud member of the tea party, an enthusiastic supporter of the Arizona immigration law, believes in a spending freeze on everything but defense, wants to extend all the Bush tax cuts indefinitely and she believes in privatizing social security. In the first debate of the race she justified her denial of global warming as a threat to the country by saying she has consulted Indiana farmers on the issue. Not to mention, she bragged at the debate about always carrying a gun in her purse, even though she was nice enough to "know and respect the laws" and not bring one into the high school where the debate was held.

Joe Donnelly is far from ideal, but he will listen to his progressive constituents, while his opponent is one of the most radical Republican candidates running for office in 2010, a scary thought.

If you are an independent or moderate Republican:

Joe Donnelly, an outspoken "Blue Dog Democrat," represents a disappearing breed of bipartisan members of Congress, a sharp contrast to his hyper-partisan opponent. Blue Dog Democrats are conservative Democrats that prioritize lowering the deficit, and vote conservatively on social issues.

Joe Donnelly is uniformly pro-life, opposing abortion and embryonic stem cell research. He is known for being an advocate for veterans and small businesses with his position on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the House Financial Services Committee. Congressman Donnelly was instrumental in writing the Veterans' Benefits Act of 2010 that included language that raises supplemental coverage for severely disabled veterans by 50 percent. In September he wrote language in the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 in response to a critical local small business problem. The language altered a tax penalty provision that would have destroyed an asphalt business in the district and unfairly penalized companies across the country.

This year's election to many is about which members of Congress vote in line with their party leadership and which members put their district before party priorities. Donnelly has proven that he stands firmly with the 2nd district. The South Bend area needs a member of Congress that will listen and that is why the Indianapolis Star endorsed Congressman Donnelly saying, "Beneath the noise of a nationalized campaign heavy with attack ads, Donnelly's record shows moderation and willingness to listen to constituents. He deserves to stay on the job."