Opinion: Comment on Parliamentary Procedure

11 Apr

Update: This post has been updated to reflect the Daily Bruin’s acceptance of my letter since the original post.

As an alumnus of UCLA and an alumnus of their undergraduate student government, the Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC), I have strong feelings about how the USAC Council works.  I also believe that you are only a good leader if you care about what happens to your organization, whether or not you’re in it, which includes after you leave it (which is why I happily gave information regarding the organization in the Daily Bruin’s editorial).  I submitted something to UCLA’s newspaper, the Daily Bruin, regarding the way they’ve been handling their organization.  However, I am glad that someone else, a current student, had the same feelings and their submission was accepted instead.  (I think you’ll agree with me that their submission was so much better.)  My submission is 1st and Mr. Ian Cocroft’s, an undergraduate student working within the Office of the General Representative 1, follows: Continue reading

Long Shots: Olympics and Politics

16 Feb

My definition of a long shot: Any person, idea, or movement which has nearly every obstacle ahead of them imagined to complete a goal, yet still goes after it and completes it or some other unintentional and/or unstated goal.  I’ve started thinking about these ‘long shots’ because of the Sochi 2014 Olympics currently going on.

Of course, there is the Jamaican bobsled team made (more) famous by the movie Cool Runnings.  The fictionalized movie was based on the real 1988 4-man Jamaican bobsled team in Calgary, Canada.  The team during these Olympics in Russia, however, was decided to just be a 2-man team due to the increased costs of 4 people.  Even then, right before the Olympics, they still needed more than $30,000 for a lot of related costs; however, they not only reached that, but received almost $50,000 more than they needed which helped with some upgrades to the bobsled.

Jamaican Bobsled Team Qualifies for 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

via bleacherreport.com

I was excited to see, because of my Filipino heritage, the only athlete from the Philippines to compete in these Winter Olympics, Michael Christian Martinez.  He is the first Filipino Winter Olympian since the country sent “an Alpine skier to the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France” (New York Times) and the first figure skater.  I really don’t know that much about him, but I’m just glad that he got the funding from his family and the government because winter sports are extremely expensive and it’s just a shame that more people are not able to at least try it out due to costs.  And he didn’t do too bad, he got 19th place, so not bad at all.

EVERYTHING ON THE LINE. With little government support, the family of Michael Christian Martinez's family mortgaged their home to send him to Sochi. Photo by Andrej Isakovic/AFP

via rappler.com

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Opinion: (Everyone Should) Focus on 2014, not 2016

23 Jan

I have usually thought of Congress as the most powerful branch, but most agree that title belongs to the Executive.  (Also, the Legislative Branch is explained in Article I while the Executive is in Article II.)  I always liked the fact that the aggregation, combination, and/or chaos of the House and the Senate is a good indicator of where the American people, for better or worse.  Unfortunately, our electoral system usually biases/skews that representation due to redistricting, state size, or other factors.  As it stands now, the Republican wave within the state houses and the governors’ mansions allowed them to unilaterally create districts to maximize the amount of Republicans for the upcoming decade, all else equal.  (Look at USC’s Annenberg Center’s ReDistricting Game to get a fuller understanding of that particular process.)  Of course Democrats did the same, but they really only had one state to make that difference in Illinois (Chicago Tribune).  With the 2014 elections coming, no serious political analyst sees Democrats making a gain, especially in the midterm of the 2nd term of a President as evidenced in the below (President Clinton’s 2nd term was an exception to the rule).

Midterm Madness: As a general rule, the president's party does poorly in midterm elections. Especially the second midterm of a two-term administration.

Midterm Madness: As a general rule, the president’s party does poorly in midterm elections. Especially the second midterm of a two-term administration.

Continue reading

Importance of State over National News

18 Jan

The national news is sometimes so engrossing that we overlook the local and state news, especially in terms of politics.  The Washington Post‘s article listing “The Best State Capitol Reporters in America” was a good way to recognize the work and focus that they do, from my home state in Sacramento, California, to my current residence in Indiana in Indianapolis.  If you read this post, I urge you to subscribe or bookmark their websites and read their stories.  There are some things that the national news does well on the political scene, but it is extremely difficult to sift through the stories of which may or may not be biased.  More often than not, the state political reporters report the facts more than their opinions.  On the national scale, there are so few “news-worthy” stories that the writers/reporters have to put their ‘spin’ on it to break out from the crowd. Continue reading

Aside

Sanity Hiatus until the End of December

5 Dec

I know that I haven’t posted in the past month, but these past few weeks of graduate school have been non-stop work and the next 2.5 weeks will be the same, PLUS end-of-semester projects and finals.  Wish me luck everyone.  Oh yea, already starting the job applications so think job acceptance too!  See you all in a bit.

Elections during the Off-Year (2013)

3 Nov

Turnout is, to put it bluntly, un-Americanly too low during the off off-year elections.  An off-year election is defined when it happens during an odd-numbered year (i.e. this year).  I would actually love it if elections for state-, county-, local- and special district- levels happened during the off-year because as it stands right now, all the media is sucked into the presidential race when it is actually the lower levels that have more of an impact on our lives.  Unfortunately, this means that the public is even less interested and thus turnout decreases, sometimes precipitously, from the previous general presidential election.  In my current state of residence of Indiana, all levels of government from townships to the federal level are being elected which squeezes out media coverage of the down-ballot races which I think does a disservice to all those positions and voters.  Anyways, the following are some highlights of select races being decided during this week’s off-year general election:

ELECTION_2013-1024x1021 Continue reading

#shutnado

2 Oct Notice of Government Shutdown

I will just touch upon some aspects of the (partial) federal government shutdown in just this 1 post because in approximately 10 days when I blog again, I hope I am not writing about it again.  Usually I try not to blog about the #1 thing in politics, but this shutdown has been building for weeks and is dominating the headlines in such a way that there’s no way to avoid it.  I’d like to thank POLITICO for their in-depth coverage of all the facts and drama coming out of DC, because I still don’t know how they’re able to stand the hypocrisy, ridiculousness, and histrionics that occur on a constant basis.

Shut Down Computer Icon

Shut Down Computer Icon

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