Tuesday, January 31, 2006

So what was everyone's thoughts on the State of Union? I must say, I was amused by the Democrats' thunderous cheers and applause in response to Bush's "Last year, Congress did not act on my social security plan."


Link - Radio Interview

Word to the wise: Don't have controversial opinions if you can't back them up. You might just end up like this guy...

This is a text transcript of a radio interview of:
Hughs (Radio spokesman, for I believe a fairly conservative radio station) vs.
Joel Stein (A columnist for the LA times who recently wrote the peice 'I don't support the troops, ever.)


Admittedly, there are some unfair tactics being played here by Hughs to illegitimize Stein' position by twisting his words over and over again on itself, but the core of the argument against him is still roughly the same, and I think it's fair to say that people of all spectrums tend to ignore it:

Don't have strong opinions about stuff you don't know about. You will get torn to shreds in cross-examination. :/

In this polarized politicized society, it seems that the majority of people only care about WHAT you believe, forgetting that WHY you believe is what fuels your cause. What you know, what you've read, and how much thought you've put into your views are equally important in the realm of debate and opinions as much as the opinion or stance itself.

Food for thought.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What’s with giving up?

By Philippe

This Monday afternoon the Senate will decide whether or not Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito will get an up or down vote, or at least WHEN that will happen. Despite the nominee’s appearance as a staunch conservative and his opinion that Roe is NOT settled law, many Democrats are not behind a filibuster motion, proposed by Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. This leaves me asking “why the ‘quitter’ attitude boys and girls?”

Alito’s addition to the court could have a catastrophic effect on many of the issues that Democrats, and many of their constituents care most about; most notably the abortion issue. If a case were to present itself in front of the court, it seems fairly obvious, at least to me, that Alito, with the encouragement of every right-wing group that backed his nomination, would elect, along with Roberts, Thomas, and Scalia, to review the issue, and possibly deliver a significant blow to a woman’s right to choose.

Of course this isn’t news to anyone’s ears. For months, liberals and Democrats across the nation have been pulling their hair and making noise about Alito posing a possible threat to the right of a woman over her own lower half. But what about the other issues that Alito’s addition to an off-balance court might effect.

While I’ve not taken the time to read very much about his opinions on the specific matters regarding the various splinter issues (marriage/civil unions, adoption, etc) it seems fairly obvious that for gay men and women, this guy’s addition to the court could prove to be a gigantic hurdle along the path towards complete political acceptance. It is apparent that our legislature has, and may remain, conservative, and anti-gay legislation minded. In California, our own state, conservative groups are trying to put a measure that, if passed, would make gay unions unconstitutional. Now imagine this issue causing a stir, and then a court case. I doubt very much that Alito and company will be inclined to help out the gay Californians in their quest for rights. I imagine it is much more likely that he deals a blow that would set the community back by leaps and bounds.

And gay rights aren’t the only other issues that Alito might have an adverse effect on (at least as far as this Democrat is concerned). Backed by right-wing groups that advocate teaching “intelligent design” and who regard advancements in the field of science, particularly in the area of stem cell research, as “playing god” and/or “murder” he may, along with his conservative peers on the bench, deal out massive blows that could hold America back from scientific inquiry, and make our citizens less competitive, if not the laughing stock, in the global marketplace.

So why aren’t more people supporting John Kerry’s effort to block this guy’s entry into the body of government that decides what our laws mean and whether or not they are valid? Why, when the stakes are this high, are some Democrats giving up? Is it possible that they’re giving in?

I wish I had a confirmed answer but the best that I can do is offer a theory about what might be behind this madness. It might be, whether they know this or not, that those Democrats, like Dick Durban of Illinois, are hoping that this nomination hammers the last nail into the Republican Party’s coffin.
After the great depression hit, Herbert Hoover’s mismanagement of the nation sent the country BEGGING AND PLEADING FOR A DEMOCRATIC ANSWER (which arrived in the form of FDR). After countless Republican legislative blunders, the Democrats controlled our government, alongside the occasional liberal/moderate Republican, for forty years, until Reagan.
All that it took for people to “see the light” was to see our country hit it’s economic and emotional “Rock Bottom”.

Well, maybe that’s the idea behind not supporting the filibuster and continuing to search for votes to keep Alito off the bench. Maybe, just maybe, the result of Alito’s appointment will be that he’ll prove to deal such disastrous blows to the lives of many Americans that his appointment will, indirectly, usher in a new era of Democratic domination.

Of course, we’d still have to deal with the ramifications of having this guy on the court. And as he is, from what I have read and understand, in relatively decent health, we could be looking at some major blows to the rights of many Americans, not to mention possible blows to our nation’s progress.

Alito may not touch the abortion issue, but he’s far too much of a liability, in my opinion, for Democrats to give up. Have we learned nothing from Al Gore’s “giving up” in 2000? The stakes are just too high!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Peace in the Middle East

The election results from this week's Palestinian parliamentary elections, the first in a long time, are starting to come in, and it looks like Hamas has won a majority in the parliament. This is a turning point in palestinian politics and Israeli - Palesitinian relations. What Hamas is going to do from this point on, no one really knows. i'm not sure even Hamas knows. I have no doubts that they will try to do what they think is best for the Palestinian people, and that they will most likely be less corrupt than the current Palestinian Authority. However, I am worried about what this election signals for the future of peace in the Middle East. These election results will definitely have a profound impact on the upcoming israeli elections.

If, and this is a probably won't happen in a million years if, Hamas is willing to negotiate on the issue of peace with Israel, it could have a large impact in terms of creating a less volatile region. If peace can be made between between Hamas and a Likkud government, it truly will be a peace. As the saying goes, "It takes a Nixon to go to China." Thus, it takes a Likkud and a Hamas to make peace in Israel. Another result of this election, perhaps more undesirable, could be the galvanization of opposition parties and extremist parties in the surrounding Arab countries. This would make the Middle East a much more volatile region and a hotspot for years to come.

So, what do you think? Opposing and supporting opinions always welcome. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Alito: The End of the Anti Abortion Movement?

My public policy professor posed an interesting question to us today. If Judge Alito was confirmed, and Roe v. Wade was not overturned, would that be the end of the "pro-life" movement?

It's interesting and what's probably more important is that this could all play out. Reports are showing that as much as Democrats don't like Alito, blocking his confirmation is highly unlikely. On the same token though, analysts believe that the liklihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned is also highly unlikely even if Alito was on the bench. Thus, if this all pans out, can conservatives still use the argument that anti abortion folks should doll out lots of money for them and mobilize for them because they will appoint judges that will overturn Roe v. Wade? If you can't ban abortion with a conservative President, Congress, and Supreme Court, can you at all?

To throw in my own two cents, I think that if two new Bush Justices, along with the current court, don't touch the abortion subject, it is possible the movement might wane. It will always be one of the "big" issues, like the death penalty, but it probably won't have the weight that it has had in these recent years. For example, people might just realize that they shouldn't be single issue voters on the subject of abortion because their electorale power isn't as direct and productive on the abortion issue as they thought.

Ultimately, I don't think it will that this issue will create a large swing in the partisan power though. Even if some people finally realize that Roe v. Wade won't be overturned, a lot of anti abortion people are obviously still conservative on other issues and will continue to vote accordingly. The only thing I could see this having any effect on are single issue voters who's ideologies and self interest align with Democrats except on the one issue of abortion. Who knows, I could be completely wrong because I must admit but that I never really understood them anyway.


Friday, January 13, 2006

From the annals of history

In middle school, my English teacher had us all memorize a passage from a speech that the fabulous Bobby Kennedy delivered at the University of Kansas in 1968. Since then, I've kept a copy of it in my journal, both for its stark view of the present and its powerful hope for how the world could be. I thought I'd pull it out in hopes that some of you could also draw inspiration from it.


"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product ... if we should judge America by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

Robert F. Kennedy
Delivered at the University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas
March 18, 1968

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ted Kennedy v. Arlen Specter

Ted Kennedy vs. Arlen Specter on the issue of Alito's involvement in a borderline racist/sexist group. Hilarious shouting match.



Our First Post!

I hope everyone had a fantastic break and are all refreshed for a new
quarter of great events and activities. It will be really wonderful to
see everyone again, whether you?re a returning member or completely
new. See you at our first meeting tonight!

Katie Tokushige
Bruin Democrats Internal Vice President

1. General meeting in ROYCE 362
2. Join the Bruin Dems Dance Marathon group!
3. Divestment from Sudan: HUGE events this week and next

1. The first general meeting of the quarter will be at 6:30 on
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2006 in ROYCE 362. ***Please note the room
change*** We will be discussing all of the great things we have
planned for this quarter, including dinner with Michael Dukakis, a
party for Ted Kennedy?s birthday, and scandals of the week! See you
all there!

2. The Bruin Dems are participating in Dance Marathon 2006. If you
are interested in joining our group as a moraler or a dancer please
e-mail the club at bruindem@ucla.edu.

3. The University of California has millions of dollars invested in
Sudan; a country that has been experiencing a genocide for the last 4-5
years. An estimated 400,000 people have already perished as a result
of the genocide and 2 million people have been displaced into refugee
camps. Next week, on Thursday January 19, the UC Regents will vote
upon whether to divest from their stocks in companies that do business
in Sudan. The Darfur Action Committee at UCLA cordially invites you to
join us in solidarity at this meeting. The Bruin Dems are putting
together a group to attend the meeting. UCLA students will leave
Thursday morning at 5:00AM and return at 5:00PM. The trip is
completely free. If you are interested in going please sign up on the
website www.ucdivestsudan.com. Also, don?t forget to sign the petition
to divest at this website also!