Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wedge Issues

Wedge issue is a social or political issue, often of a divisive or otherwise controversial nature, which is used by one political group to split apart or create a "wedge" in the support base of an opposing political group, with a view to enticing voters to give their support to the first group.

Both the Republican and Democrat Parties have been accused of using social issues as wedge issues to divide the opposing voting base. For example, some Republican strategists hoped that African Americans, a traditionally liberal voting bloc yet also one that possesses some of the most conservative views on matters of homosexuality, may be more inclinded to vote for the Republican Party because of their opposition to the gay marriage issue. Likewise, Democratic strategists have hoped that the issue of stem cell research could be used as a wedge issue against the right, since some Republicans support the research, while others are morally opposed to the use of fetal cells in research. --Wikipedia

It's that time of the year again! When Congressional recess is around the corner and members roll out wedge issues to divide the opposing party in the upcoming November election. While both parties may do them, the Democrats frankly suck at them (which may be a good thing fundamentally but bad electorally). The wedge issue du jour is flag burning. Is there anything less relevant to our country right now? Never mind the war, economic woes, poverty, even high gas prices. We're really debating flag burning...something that's happened publicly 2x in the past 5 years?

So here's your time to post which wedge issue you think is most ridiculous...and if you're really bored, give your reason why. For me, gay marriage is #1 and flag burning is #2 (my reason can be found here). What's yours?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Futbol Fundraising?

So you know this new graduate is really bored when she watches multiple World Cup games a day, finds an article about politics in the World Cup, and writes about it.

While skimming the LA Times, I came across this odd article: World Cup Tickets to Help Fund Ballot Measures. "Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez is selling tickets to Berlin games for $25,000 to help raise money for November proposals."

I'm not sure which is more interesting/amusing to me. The fact that "for $25,000, corporations can send representatives to Berlin to attend three World Cup matches with Nuñez, an avid soccer fan. The package includes the match tickets, three nights in a hotel, travel to the soccer stadium and tickets for pregame parties, but not the airfare to Europe." Or the fact that one of these propositions deals with term limits, my nerdy poli sci obsession that I've written multiple papers on.

It's definitely a creative idea (even if it's for propositions....I'm not a fan of propositions). I just kind of wonder if it's legal...I guess it is if they're writing about it in the newspaper without lambasting the plan.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

An Immigration ACT

So the latest state buzz has been about Arnold standing up to President Bush and refusing to send 1,500 more national guard to do border patrol after California had already sent 1,000. At first I thought it was Bush just getting shafted by his own party, again, but I never thought of the whole situation as an orchestrated act. Here's one Democratic take:

Bob Mulholland, an advisor to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides, said: "This so-called request [from the White House] was a phony political request to try to give Schwarzenegger political cover: 'Look it. I'm standing up to Bush.' But last week Schwarzenegger was a French poodle in Bush's lap — authorizing 1,000 stressed-out, overextended National Guard members to spend weeks and months at the border, even though many of them have done two tours in Iraq."

Who knows if this was all planned out; it is the oppositions job to come up with conspiracy theories but I frankly wouldn't be surprised if this was all a ploy. It'll be interesting to see if this strategy (if it is a strategy) will work or totally backfire. Arnold's walking a very fine line between his conservative base that wants more border patrol and the large Latino vote in California.

Finally if it is all an act, shame on people for playing politics with our National Guardsmen. I think they've already been disrespected enough.

Check out more here: Gov. Refuses Bush Request for Border Troops

Friday, June 23, 2006

My 2nd Amendment rights have been violated on account of ageism

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

For a while now I've decided that I wanted to buy a revolver to do a little target shooting. I was thinking about a 38 special or maybe a 9mm. I looked around for gun stores online, and found one that was just a few miles east of me, L.A. Guns on Sunset.

So I decide to head on down there and see what they had. Once there, I walked in and looked at the cabinets of revolvers they had. I told the man what I was looking for, and he showed me a nice little 9mm revolver for about $375 that seemed to be what I was looking for. Interested, I asked if I could see it. He asked for my ID.

Well that's no problem, I thought, I'm 20, a voting-age citizen of the United States - I didn't expect a problem. I was wrong.

The man looked at my ID and told me that he couldn't sell me what I wanted, he couldn't sell me any handgun because it's illegal to sell a handgun to anyone between 18 years of age and 21 years of age. In fact, he told me, it's illegal for me to even be there.

Now, I was pissed. Hell, I AM pissed. I'm a liberal - but I do believe in the right to own a gun, something I feel is a basic liberty. I sincerely believe in gun control though - in background checks, waiting periods, training sessions, safety locks. Regulations meant to ensure safety and societal security while preserving liberty. But this is just ridiculous.

I am able to vote for elected officers. I am able to buy cigarettes to kill myself. And I am able to participate in the lottery (Also known as the Moron Tax). I am able to be drafted into the military, given a gun and told to kill people, all in the name of my country and on account of my citizenship.

But now, in the Great State of California, I am not permitted to purchase a handgun on account of my age, even though I'm a full-fledged citizen. This is ageism, pure and simple. Whatever the logic behind this (And I'm sure there is some), it is wrong to restrict liberties on account of age.

Instead of banning the sale of guns to American citizens, we should focus on the true cause of crime and gun violence: poverty. Not spending our tax dollars to prevent some twenty year old from target shooting, but using them to ensure that no child is forced to grow up poor in a bad neighborhood.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Arnold v. Phil: it begins.

Today, some of the other members of Bruin Democrats and I talked with the Angelides campaign about the best possible ways to publicize our guy Phil, highlight the differences between he and Arnold, and the all-important aspect of actually getting college students to vote.

Rallies, facebook, celebrities, campus visits by the Treasurer himself, and even a Phil cut-out to display while tabling were all mentioned. Does anyone else have any ideas?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Phil Angelides Releases New Campaign Ad, 'Direction'

Treasurer Angelides' campaign wasted no time responding to Governor Schwarzenegger's ad depicting Angelides as wanting to make seagulls and children walk backwards (I'm serious).

It's purely amusing that on the one hand, Governor Schwarzenegger says Phil Angelides wants to take California backwards, while on the other hand the Governor has raised college tuition and fees, allowed corporations to get a free ride, and has attacked California's firefighers, teachers, nurses, and police officers.

No, Arnold, it is you (And President Bush, whom you campaigned for), who has taken California backwards.

By the way, this ad features the Bruin Democrats' own Caitlin Harvey! She's in the purple shirt in the final shot.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Hillary Clinton Comes in Second in Iowa Caucus Poll

Hillary Clinton has come in second with 26% in a poll of Iowa Democrats' preferences for '08 Democratic Presidential nominees. Edwards came in first with 30%. I truly find this interesting. I mean, it isn't particularly surprising that John Edwards has polled relatively high in Iowa (He's practically moved there since the 2004 election). He's been smoozing with the caucus-goers for some time now.

What this shows, I think, is that Hillary Clinton is most assuredly NOT a shoe-in for the nomination. Some of you will be sad about that (I'm not), but the next couple years should definitely prove interesting.

The complete article by the Des Moines Register is under this link.

He's got a point...,0,3792221.story?coll=la-home-commentary

However, who read George Lakoff's "Don't think of an elephant" with us last quarter? It seems like the author of this article (also a professor at Berkeley) just ripped off some of his ideas.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

False Attacks on Angelides

June 1, 2006

The False Attacks on Angelides

Steve Westly's latest attack ad against Phil Angelides is an outright lie. "The Truth About Tahoe" ad alleges that Phil Angelides was the developer of a big condo development in Tahoe. It claims that he damaged the environment. In fact, Angelides purchased part-time ownership of a single condo - after it was built - for his family's use a few weeks a year.

Additional fact: when Phil Angelides discovered that the actual developer had done damage, he filed a lawsuit against him. It was the developer-not Phil Angelides-who was responsible and who was fined for the incident.

Phil Angelides has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, the California League of Conservation Voters and over 70 leading environmentalists from all over the state. That's because they actually researched his environmental record.

On June 6, Vote for Phil Angelides, he's always on our side and he's the candidate who's tough enough to beat Arnold Schwarzenegger in November.

For more information go to

Thanks to Derek for sending this out.


The Democratic Primary is on Tuesday! Don't forget to get out to the polls and vote!

BRUIN DEMOCRATS have endorsed PHIL ANGELIDES for Governor. Angelides has been a longtime supporter of Bruin Democrats, and he is the one Democrat who will be able to beat Schwarzenegger.

Phil Angelides has offered real solutions for California's problems, knows what it takes to get things done in Sacramento, and is truly capable of making California the pride of the nation.

Join the Bruin Democrats in turning out to vote for Phil Angelides and other Democratic candidates on Tuesday, 6-6-06!!!