Two weeks from today, I won't be in school anymore. I graduate May 12th and while I am excited to have another degree, another accomplishment, and some freedom to be able to sit at home and watch some movies without feeling guilty about the fact that I should be reading or writing, I will miss school. If school were free, I would go for the rest of my life. But it isn't and I can't.
Last year, about this time, when I was elected as Vice-President of the ISU College Democrats, I was excited to work with a Presidency I thought would take the club in a different and better direction. My excitement all went to hell when, in September, the President resigned and according to our club constitution, I was the new President. I felt inadequate and overwhelmed and I was sad to lose the President who I know would've done a fantastic job. So, reluctantly, I took the reigns. I think I did a good job-I know we got at least 3 votes from student Senators as "Club of the Year"-two of which are Republicans!
We brought the Democratic candidate for Governor to campus, Jerry Brady, and had over 100 people attend. It was perhaps our greatest event as a club (greatest event that was sponsored by our club only and not the county party and us) and I am still proud of that event (especially since I did 98% of the work). We brought Jana Jones, the Democratic candidate for Idaho public schools. We had a few events on campus featuring local Democratic legislators and Democratic legislators from all over the state. We also got the nicest looking shirts we have ever had. See the logo on the right? That was designed with my help and now the club has an actual logo.
I am disappointed that we didn't get a new banner to hang in the Canoe Room on campus-our current one isn't cool, doesn't have our new logo, and is way too small. I am sad we couldn't recruit more members (though we got a handful of new ones, which is a big accomplishment). I am wishing I didn't think of the idea of having a "Democrat of the Year" event until it was too late to do anything this year. But I am happy with how things went overall.
What are my plans on May 13th and beyond? I don't quite know. I will probably stick around for another year or so and just keep looking for a job in the Boise and Salt Lake City areas. So for now, I must find a job that can pay the bills for the summer and beyond. I would like to stick around because there is no sense in moving until I find a job to move for. Also, I have a plan, along with some friends, to do something on campus the next coming school year that will kick ass. I don't want to state publicly, because I want some people to be surprised, but it involves the creation of a club that will become one of the greatest clubs on campus. I also want to stay somewhat involved with the College Democrats. And let's face it, I have made some incredible friendships that keep me motivated in sticking around a little bit longer.
All good things must come to an end, but my time in Pocatello isn't, at least not yet.
(part 4 of 4 of my article that appeared in the school newspaper).
Thursday night, the State Board of Education approved a 5.01% percent fee increase for ISU. The U of I received a 5% increase and BSU a 6.16%. It was interesting to read some of the articles written about it and how proud President Sargent was and is about ISU asking for the lowest increase and then receiving one of the lowest increases (though not the lowest).
He is also celebrating the fact that ISU is now the cheapest state university in Idaho, which is true; we are $10 a semester cheaper than BSU and U of I. Big whoop. And the current student leaders who are trying to take credit for a lower fee increase? Talk about irony and dishonesty. This is a group that has backed Reed Gym Options 3 and 2, both of which would have increased student fees enormously. If anyone should celebrate the victory it should be students because WE voted down Option 3, WE voted down Option 2. The fee increase was lower because of the students, not because of President Sargent.
It will undoubtedly be said that because I was behind the anti-Orange Party campaign and because I chose to write this article, this provides proof that I am motivated by a hatred for Orange Party members. First of all, I don't hate Orange Party members. I hate the actions of many Orange Party members, I hate the broken promises they made, I hate that only former Orange Party members have offered an apology for their actions (at least 4 former Orange Party members, 3 current Senators and 1 former Senator, have since renounced the Orange Party and all it stood for this year), and I hate what the Orange Party has done to student representation and to student government.
Lest you think that the corruption, lies, distortions, and cronyism ends with the semester, remember that students voted to elect Jennifer Brown as President for the next school year. Also remember that many Orange Party candidates won their respective races and a majority of the Senate next year will be comprised of Orange Party members. Know also that at least one Orange Party member has admitted to accessing their opponent's email account to find out their campaign strategies. Shameful.
Next month I will graduate, but many of you will remain to complete your college careers. I beg of you to watch what your elected and non-elected leaders are doing, because while they claim to be acting in the best interests of students, they are doing anything but. Make your leaders accountable, resurrect student representation, and take back ASISU. The arrogance, acts of cronyism, and dishonesty which has governed ASISU student government cannot be allowed to continue.
Lastly, don't forget the words of Lord Acton, who stated, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
(part 3 of 4 of my article that appeared in the school newspaper and will appear in the Idaho State Journal soon)
President Sargent, and numerous other Senators, in defending the actions of Joelle Brown and Hansen, claimed that our Supreme Court Justices didn't know any better and were too na've and uneducated to know what the by-laws require of them. Uh, excuse me? The Supreme Court Justices and Senators swear to uphold the by-laws, yet don't know what the by-laws actually are? That provides yet another reason to impeach Brown and Hansen.President Sargent then claimed that 8-10 weeks had passed since the elections (8-10 weeks is a blatant lie) and that any moves to impeach should have occurred sooner (some Senators began a move to impeach a few weeks ago but were stopped by current Vice-President, Jennifer Brown). I don't believe fighting for ethics, fairness, and neutrality has an expiration date, but that's just me.
Since Jennifer Brown was elected as President for the next school year, this means that Joelle will have to recuse herself from every case involving Jennifer Brown, the Executive Branch and any Orange Party member. The same is true for Kyrsten. This means that in many possible cases next year, a full Supreme Court can't be employed and either the Supreme Court can't hear a case, or they can only let the most biased Justice recuse herself/himself. Justices are paid to hear cases, yet Joelle will be expected to recuse herself from a majority of them, if not all of them. She had to recuse herself this year from every single case (this didn't prevent her from listening in on one complaint and offering her opinion about it to other Justices). But before you assume the Supreme Court truly earned their monthly stipend by hearing cases this year, know that they only heard one case and refused to hear the numerous others that all dealt with important issues that will affect ASISU for many years to come.
Current Vice-President, Jennifer Brown, as part of the Sargent/Brown ticket that ran last year, made a promise to keep student fees low. However, Jennifer Brown did anything but keep that promise this year. Jennifer Brown campaigned for the highest student fee increase in recent history. Not only did she spend hours painting a window in the Student Union Building encouraging students to vote yes on Reed Gym Option 3, but she also went around with a laptop on voting days asking students to vote yes for Option 3. Essentially, she took the trust we gave her and threw it back in our faces. Then, when she was campaigning to be President, she took credit for at least two ideas, both related to Reed Gym, even though she actively fought both ideas. We have all seen candidates take credit for things they had nothing to do with. Have we ever seen a candidate take credit for ideas they fought tooth and nail against?
(part 2 of 4 of my article I wrote for the school newspaper)
Noah House, Vice President for ASISU Idaho Falls, stated, "If it wasn't so ridiculous, it would be absolutely hilarious that we have student senators questioning what some of the primary pieces of the project (Reed Gym Options) are. I thought the Senate would have sent this to referendum. I am surprised that they didn't" (Bengal 1/31/07).
In what could very well be the best decision President Sargent made all year, he exercised his right to veto any Senate decision and told the student Senate that because they sent Option 3 to a student referendum, they should do the same for Option 2. It is quite sad and pathetic that President Sargent actually needed to exercise his veto power. This veto, and the negative publicity some Senators received for being so asinine, caused the student Senate to finally send it to a student referendum, where, again, students voted down a fee increase.
We can all agree that a Supreme Court should remain unbiased, fair, and neutral. Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case for the ASISU Supreme Court this year. Two Supreme Court Justices, Joelle Brown and Kyrsten Hansen, actively campaigned for the Brown/Wheat ticket. One of the Justices, Joelle Brown, Jennifer Brown's sister (yes, Jennifer Brown did help appoint her own sister to the Supreme Court), campaigned for Brown/Wheat and the Orange Party. All of this despite the by-law which states that "Supreme Court Justices must act in a manner that is professional and impartial in matters pertaining to ASISU" (Section 11 Clause 3 C) and "ASISU Supreme Court Justices must be impartial and unbiased in any matter being discussed by the Senate or being brought before the court" (Section 11 Clause 1).
Anyone familiar with ASISU would tell you that a significant majority of cases that come before the Supreme Court involve either the elections and/or the Executive Branch. Joelle Brown and Kyrsten Hansen, by blatantly breaking at least two by-laws, placed themselves in a position where they should have been impeached (the Senate voted not to impeach either of them, votes were 9-6).
(part 1 of 4 of my article I wrote for the school newspaper)
The school year of 2006-2007 will go down in history as the year that student representation died at Idaho State University. As a student who holds no position within ASISU student government, I have watched with both interest and disgust as the student Senate, Executive Branch, and Supreme Court-all three branches of government, have ignored the will of students in favor of what they themselves want. Never before have I witnessed such selfish and elitist behavior as that exhibited by all three branches of ASISU government.
Student representation has only been offered by a minority of student senators and far too often, their dissenting votes and voices have been ignored, maligned, and laughed at. This is unacceptable.
The first obvious example can be traced back to the Reed Gym Option 3 ($22.2 million option-the most expensive of the three) vote that took place on October 30, 2006, wherein the student Senate voted (12-8) to approve Option 3, but thankfully sending it to a student referendum as well. The students, who have grown tired of increasing fees, overwhelmingly (69.4%) voted down Option 3.
That same referendum featured a proposed new constitution for ASISU. The new constitution, a document that would remove some checks and balances and allow itself to be amended far too easily did pass, but encountered several problems and as of now, we are still operating under the "old" constitution.
On January 22, 2007, the student Senate voted (11-8) to approve Option 2 without sending it to a student referendum. In fact, Senator Kelissa Borrowman, College of Education, "called for the vote on Option 2 after denying a friendly amendment to put the issue up for a referendum vote" (Bengal. 1/31/07). Former Senate member (Senate Pro-Tem) and ASISU Vice-President, Trevor Jensen, stated, "This is the most arrogant, indefensible vote that I have ever seen taken by ASISU. It's a sad day in student representation when the minority of ASISU is representing the majority of students (Bengal 1/31/07)." Indeed it was.
and I told them so last night. I spoke for about 10 minutes and told the student Senate that they have not represented students, that students are disenfranchised, and that what they have done is despicable. I read them the definition of cronyism and said that they have pissed off students so much this year that next year they will "watch every move you make." I said a lot of things, most of which won't make much sense to you, my readers, because you probably don't realize what has been done in our name here at ISU.
But I do want to say that I did thank the Senators who have represented students and I specifically named one Senator, though a former Senator as she resigned last semester. I spoke of this Senator, Senator Rowe, and said that students were sad when she resigned and that she will go down in the history of "this university" as one of the best senator's we have ever had. I ended by saying "shame on you" to the Senate and went off a little bit more and then I passed out thank you cards to the Senator's who had tried to represent students, though some of them had horrid votes...
I want to get the audio of the meeting and if I get this, I can provide more details. Also, since the cat is now out of the bag, the student newspaper, The Bengal, is publishing an article I wrote. It will be in tomorrow's Bengal and is quite long. I don't know if I want to post the whole thing all at once (over 1600 words) or if I want to break it up into a few posts. I addressed student government as a whole, then each branch of student government, so I could break it up into smaller pieces. Any suggestions would be great.
Oh yes, before I forget, I have received one response from a Senator. She is technically my Senator (Senate from Graduate Studies). She was offended that I pointed her out (though not by name) when I stated that "my Senator" hasn't represented me and therefore I have had to adopt other Senators, at which point I looked at two specific Senators, who are now also dear friends of mine.
Lest I am accused of favoring friends who are Senators, again, know that these two only became friends of mine in February, after they had my support in their bid to become the next ASISU President and Vice-President. They are amazingly wonderful and my fear for the future of student representation is eased when I realize that they will be here next year, though not involved in ASISU directly.
I am working on some things right now that I can't really write about. But trust me, I will be writing about them after I am able to. But there is one thing I can write about, I guess. I have been playing phone tag with the editor at the Idaho State Journal. I have inquired about writing an article about House Bill 125. If you are a regular reader, you will probably remember this piece. I want to expand upon that and submit it to the ISJ, and maybe some other papers. This is an issue that can't just be forgotten.
I have set up my blogger account to email me when someone leaves a comment. I am glad I did this because occasionally I get comments from posts I made in the past and without the email notification, I wouldn't just randomly check to see if new comments were made. An Eric, who I do not know, left a comment bearing his testimony about the Mormon Church. I wanted to tell him thank you. And also thank you to everyone else who leaves comments. Some of you will be pleased to know that I am skipping a political event to attend a fireside saturday night featuring Boyd K. Packer.
Aside from all of that, I wanted to address some people who have been asking me what I will be doing after I graduate. At this point in time, I don't know. My gut is telling me I will be in Pocatello for another several months, and possibly another year or more. I don't have a job lined up and haven't been searching as much as I should, mostly because I've been incredibly busy, but if anyone has any leads, let me know! My emphasis in my program is in "State, local, and non-profit administration," but I'm open to anything that will help me utilize my skills and knowledge.
In public policy courses you learn how policy entrepreneurs use a "focusing event" to attach to their "solutions." It's inevitable and it will happen with any focusing event. Hmmm, I should provide an example. Let's use 9/11. 9/11 was a focusing event for many reasons. It moved several issues to the top of governmental and media agendas. Issues such as terrorism, immigration, airplane safety, airport safety, national security, etc...Is this clear?
Policy entrepreneurs are those who have solutions that are floating around, waiting to be attached to an event that happens that makes it easier to sell your solution. Can you imagine before 9/11 being told you can't line up at the front lavatory on an airplane? Now I think most people hear that policy and don't think twice about it.
With the Columbine shooting in 1999, many policy entrepreneurs used that focusing event to attach the solution of gun control. Still others tried to attach more regulation with video games, movies, music, etc...Some entrepreneurs used it to point out how unsafe schools are, and should we install metal detectors?
The focusing event of the Virginia Tech shootings should reveal many "solutions" that have been created and it will be interesting to see what these "solutions" are. I think we can all agree that gun control will be one solution, though the shooter using two legally obtained hand guns, so the sell of gun control will be harder than it was for Columbine. This brings me to a place I don't like to be in. I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other about gun control right now. I support our Constitution and I support the right to bear arms. I don't support the idea of everyone having access to any gun that exists, like an AK 47. However, when you illegalize something, a black market is created. Let's use the issue of the criminalization of drugs. If I want to buy illegal drugs, I can do it. It won't be legal and I could be jailed if caught, but I can get access to illegal drugs. The same thing is true for guns. If we create more gun control, how do we combat a growing black market that lines the pockets of criminals with more money? Do we ignore a growing black market because we think we are doing the right thing? What about studies that have been done that have shown that crime in other countries has increased due to stricter gun control laws? I haven't investigated the studies enough to see if the methodology is correct and if other variables that affect crime rate were accounted for. However, is it really as simple as creating more laws will lead to lower crime rates? Do the issues of crime and school shootings have a myriad of causes that work together to make the United States such a violent and scary country to live in?
There are many unanswered questions in regards to the effectiveness of gun control. Right now, I am open to any data that can be produced and shown to me, for either side, because this is definately something that will remain on the media agenda and gun control could reach the governmental agenda as well.
Well, this morning I successfully presented and defended my case study. HOORAY! Looks like everything is all set up for me to graduate next month!
As you all know, I passed my master's comps and received a case I have been working on for the last 2 weeks. This morning I turned it in. On monday morning, at 9am, I will present my case to my graduate committee and defend my decisions. Wish me luck!
This weekend I will be putting the finishing touches on a paper that I have been working on all semester in my policy class. The paper started out investigating the relationship between public opinion of the Iraq War and media coverage, but I decided to change the direction of the paper based on an assignment in the class. We started out writing a paper and then turn in this paper, expanded, three separate times this semester. Each time, adding a new area, one of the new areas I needed to add made me realize I needed to change the paper. So, now I am looking at 9/11 and the possibility that it provided a "focusing event" that was used by the Bush Administration to invade and occupy Iraq. Okay, seriously, is there any doubt that 9/11 was used to justify the invasion? Here is an excerpt from my paper:
"Without the attacks on September 11, 2001, would public support have been high enough for the Bush Administration to push the war? The attacks brought the issue of terrorism to the forefront of American minds. Many Americans believed Iraq was connected to 9/11 and terrorism in general. Because of this, Americans were more willing to support the War in Iraq as an extension of the war on terror. An act of terrorism on American soil, a rare event indeed, was a dramatic news event, one that Lawrence and Birkland would include as something that would drive an issue to the top of the governmental and media agendas. Aside from driving an issue to the top of the governmental and media agendas, did the 9/11 attacks and War in Iraq become another example of Kingdon’s three streams theory?"
As most of you know, I spoke at a press conference in Boise a few weeks ago about House Bill 125, which extends the statute of limitations sex abuse victims have to file civil suits against the child molester and employer (if the employer was negligent, etc). What I didn't speak about at the time was the role the Kirton & McConkie law firm played in drafting the bill. I had heard from a few different people that this law firm, which represents the Mormon Church, helped draft the bill to provide a carve out for the Mormon Church. I was saddened and incredibly disappointed that the Mormon Church, once again, was and is trying to avoid being accountable for its negligent and criminal behaviors.
The bill provides a carve out in that it specifies the word, "employer" in its language. The Mormon Church uses lay clergy, which means volunteers, to operate. Because of this, the Mormon Church could then argue that one is not considered an "employee" and them not an "employer", if no pay is given and none expected. But we won't know how this will work until lawsuits are filed and judges rule.
I decided to write about this because Tim Kosnoff has a blog and I noticed he copied and pasted an article the CDA Press had wherein Rep. Jorgenson (R-Hayden Lake), who I now love, stated, "The language of the bill came from a Salt Lake City-based law firm. It was craftily done."
I spoke with Rep. Jorgenson about this when I was in Boise. I thanked him for speaking up and heard his concerns that this bill is discriminatory and targets the Catholic Church and other religions that pay clergy. I want to thank him again here. Thank you Rep. Jorgenson for remembering that victims of abuse come from all religions and all religions must be treated equally under the law. The Mormon Church can continue to run, hide, and evade responsibility for their actions, but they cannot run forever. Our pace will quicken, our strength increase, and our voices reach levels never before known; justice will be served.
So I know I am going to catch some flack for what I am about to post, but I feel very strongly about this. I was talking to a friend of a mine, a Republican. Not just any Republican, not a Neo-Con, but a true blue Republican, a "disenfranchised Conservative." Disenfranchised because he is upset with many decisions that have been made by the Republican Party and this corrupt and criminal Bush Administration. We were talking about careers and I told him he should run for office. I think he should run because he is a good kind of Republican. He isn't caught up in defending policies and beliefs based on emotions and what his clergyman told him to do. He believes what he believes because he thinks it is what is best. What is best, what is right, and what works is subject to our own biases, our own worldview, and no two people can agree on a definition.
However, when you have someone who isn't looking out for themself, who wants what is best for the people, and who can see past party lines and ideology to find a ground we can all meet on and work to improve the world, you have a candidate who deserves support from the other side of the aisle. This person, a Republican in every sense of the word, has my support and I would be honored to assist him in any way possible. I hope he runs because I know of no other person in the world who has more potential than he does.
I just checked out Ridenbaugh Press, one of the top blogs in the west, and certainly the top blog as far as political analysis/commentary in regards to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are concerned. I was honored and excited to see that Randy Stapilus, the founder at Ridenbaugh Press, wrote a short post about my blog. Thanks, Randy, and Ridenbaugh Press. I am truly honored.
Well, I didn't spend an entire weekend in Rexburg, just a little over a day. My friend, S, invited me to go with her home to spend saturday and Easter sunday with her family. Her family was awesome and lots of fun. I learned how to swing a golf club, I went to Ashton for the first time (I've only driven through it before), I watched the movie, The Holiday, with the fabulous and gorgeous Jude Law, I went to two meetings at Church (Sacrament and Sunday School) and I talked politics a lot, with Republicans even! I'll be back to my regular blogging now that I am back.
A friend of mine invited me to spend time with her and her family for the Easter holiday weekend. So, I am headed back up to Rexburg today (saturday). This time, I will spend more than an hour and a half there! With that said, expect no post today or tomorrow unless I decide to test blogging from my cell phone or I get back early enough sunday to write something. Happy Easter!
I leave this quote for you all to ponder while I am away:
"I guess when your heart gets broken you sort of start to see cracks in everything. I'm convinced that tragedy wants to harden us and our mission is never to let it." Felicity television show
In case you don't know what comps are, they are comprehensive exams that a student takes, usually towards the end of their program of study. In my case, I had to take and pass my comprehensive exams to graduate with my Master's Degree in Public Administration. When I turned in my comps (I had to test in 5 out of my 6 core classes), I was given a case. I have 2 weeks to do a case study on this case using all of the knowledge I have gained from my graduate work. So, I am not quite done yet. But I went over the biggest hurdle!
I believe we each have revolving doors in our lives. The biggest revolving door for me, and I would assume many others, is the door of friends, or even people in our lives. Think about it. How many friends have you had at one point in your life who are no longer around? Do you ever look at the current friends in your life and wonder how many will still be in your life 5 years from now, 10 years, 20 years, etc? I think the loss of friends is inevitable and it is something I have tried to accept, though I still fight to keep friends, especially when I have invested so much of my heart into them and the friendship. With that thought, I would like to share a quote that I try to remember when I think about the people in my life, the people who were a part of my life, and those that will be in my life in the future.
"God does notice us, and He watches over us. But it is usually
through another person that He meets our needs. Therefore,
it is vital that we serve one another." Spencer W. Kimball
or does it? I am reading Deborah Stone's, Policy Paradox-The Art of Political Decision Making, and her chapter on facts has really resonated with me. In this chapter, Stone critiques Charles Lindblom who believes that government indoctrination cannot occur unless the government is a totalitarian one. Stone argues that indoctrination can occur if the information being given is intentionally manipulative and robs people of their capacity to think independently. Lest you think I will argue that Idahoans don't have the ability to think independently, let me finish.
Stone states that we are strongly influenced by peers, co-workers, family, and other groups of which we are part. She states that the "drive to conformity is as strong as the drive to select the best means to an end." I am not stating that Idahoans are stupid, and can't think for themselves, I am simply stating that they/we are human. Stone goes on to say that "in our various social and political roles, we act largely according to prior attitudes and beliefs rather than new information."
Indoctrination, Stone argues, can occur outside the framework of a centralized and/or unilateral government. She states that this occurs in our schools which teach students about
"obedience to authority, about social stratification according to ascriptive ability characteristics, and about discipline, orderliness, and the subordination of self to central schedules." WOW! Stone then states that indoctrination can also occur through ordinary government-citizen contact. That 'street-level bureaucrats' "give out moral and political lessons, along with rewards and punishments." Stay with me here...
Stone states that "government social service organizations have some very potent weapons with which to prod client behavior in the right directions." This includes the power to reduce welfare payments/benefits, removing children from families, or placing children back into families, the power to institutionalize and release, judges have the power to jail, etc...
She then cites the example of a Texas judge that "berated a bilingual Hispanic mother for speaking only Spanish so her daughter would become bilingual: 'You're abusing that child and you're relegating her to the position of housemaid. Now get this straight. You start speaking English to this child because if she doesn't do good in school, then I can remove her because it's not in her best interest to be ignorant.'"
With this in mind, Stone states that when this type of intimidation is carried out by a "government official in a state with a large Mexican and Mexican-American population
and a law making English the only official language, it surely belongs near the indoctrination end..."
With no similar statements from an Idaho judge (that I know of), and a smaller population of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in this state, could it still be argued that Idaho, having recently passed a law to make English the official language of state business, practices indoctrination?
- 2008 Presidential Race
- New Hampshire
- John Edwards
- Idaho (the state)
- Idaho Democrats
- Mormon Church
- Las Vegas
- War in Iraq
- Washington D.C.
- public policy
- Graduate school
- House bill 125
- good Republicans
- College Democrats
- Job Search
- Democratic Party
- John Edwards for President Series
- sexual abuse
- best friend
- child abuse
- Music/Song lyrics
- Local Democrats
- Superintendent of Idaho Public Schools
- Gun control
- Michael Moore
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.
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