Looks Like Mitt Romney Needs Better E-Mail Writers

Today in my email, I got a letter from Matt Rhoades of the Romney campaign to ask me to donate money. I subscribe to both Obama and Romney's campaigns because I'm keeping an eye on it to try to see how both campaigns are utilizing the Internet. So far they both are actually doing some interesting things.

Here's what I read that made me scratch my head:

In making this announcement, the Chicago crowd was consistent with what has been a remarkably flailing campaign with no discernible rationale for candidacy. We now know that only one campaign is going to run on President Obama's record of the past three-and-a-half years in office - and it's not the Obama campaign. Without the ability to run on a record of achievement, the incumbent is reduced to a campaign based on scattershot attacks on Governor Romney in particular and Republicans in general.  
The Obama campaign is like one of those gyrating, intermittent lawn sprinklers, spewing out attacks in seemingly random directions, hoping to get somebody wet somewhere but hoping even more to talk about anything but the unemployment rate, federal debt, gas prices, or rising health insurance premiums. 
In his New Hampshire remarks, Governor Romney dubbed this a campaign of "diversions, distortions and distractions" but noted it wouldn't work. "It's still about the economy - and we're not stupid." 
I read that bold area and just shook my head. To be honest the first time I read that, I had to double-take. This is actually what I was thinking when I read it:

The lesson here is don't use analogies that can be misconstrued, and hire better campaign e-mail writers (especially when you can afford them).

Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up

One of the best things about elections are the memes and humorous videos that are made as a result. The elections provide the public with a plethora of soundbites and images to use to do so. You may remember that in the 2008 election, we saw a popular video of Barack Obama speaking the lyrics to "Never Gonna Give You Up" by 80s singer Rick Astley. If you missed it, here it is:

This election, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have been edited in a video that samples Eminem's "Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up."

Even though its been a tense election season, it also breeds good parody. 

Press Comedy: Let's Put the Teleprompter Charge to Rest

Over the past 3 years, one of the most ridiculous charges against the President has been the use of the teleprompter. Even Rick Santorum made light of it again the other day:

Okay, yes this is a joke. However, let me remind Santorum and Republicans that the Presidency is a difficult position where you don't have time to write everything on your own. The President has advisors to help him out so he can make speeches and be briefed, because there are not enough hours in the day to actually do these things. Even Ronald Reagan needed speechwriters (especially later on in his second term). If a Republican swears that they will hire no staff, they're crazy. Even Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) has staff even though he promised to not hire any staff.

Also, if this doesn't convince your friends that Republicans use teleprompters too, just show them this clip:

Face it, everyone uses a teleprompter in politics.

Maybe I'm Asking a Lot for People to be Respectful of Others in Indiana

A few weeks ago, there was another racial incident on Purdue's campus. This is the third or fourth I can remember since being here (and I'm sure there have been more). Sadly, I'm not surprised by this.

You would think that in the year 2012, on a college campus where there is a very large international student population, that this wouldn't exactly be a huge problem. With a somewhat diverse population, you would imagine that this race issue would not exist in the capacity it does here, more importantly on a college campus.

As an RA at the school, I saw a really ugly side of this school when it came to inclusiveness in our programming. Our diversity training sessions in both years, were not taken seriously, even by some of our superiors. I should mention, that I was on a mostly white staff the first year as an RA and it showed. The next year, things improved and I was working with a pretty awesome and diverse staff. When RA's, the university's "poster students" and role models for those living in the dorms, and there's no incentive to really do diversity programming in a large manner, it's disturbing. My first year as an RA there was another RA who fought tooth and nail to not have LGBTQ training in the hall, because of a religious objection. By the way, that RA won that battle and the staff didn't have that training. The next year we had the training, but it didn't help that there were a number of incidents that dealt with this issue in the year we actually needed the training. We handled it so-so, but frankly we could have done a much better job about it.

From a new student's perspective, right now I would say the impression is this: if you're not white, Christian, or from Indiana in some capacity, your social outlets are now very limited. As someone who fits only one of those descriptors, I have always felt somewhat out of place since I've been here. Additonally, you're not even really catered to at all either if you're different. Jewish students have no access to matzah in the residence halls during Passover, it took until a few years ago to get gender equality added to the city of West Lafayette's ordinance. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

However, it is completely okay when classes are cancelled Good Friday, so students vacate campus early for Easter, or even call Purdue Village names that use Asian slurs. It's even okay, if Purdue Right to Life to set up a large fully funded display about abortion, which used Holocaust imagery on the Jewish High Holidays (this was also a block from Hillel). These things are just accepted here, and I'm sick of this being the case. I really don't know how much longer I'll be living in West Lafayette, but I still care that someone who comes here in the future, who is not like the stereotypical student can at least feel safe. I have the Society of Non-Theists, but that's even too risque for this university to have a group of people who don't believe in an Abrahamic religion.

Maybe it's not entirely the school, but also the student body that seems to be indifferent to anything that happens on campus. Yes, I'm on a college campus, where students freak out if someone is protesting anything. It doesn't matter what it is: pro-abortion, non-religious rights, LGBTQ rights, any demonstration is not taken seriously, or mostly ignored. Even when there's important information to hand out about emergencies, no one listens. It's as if we live in a bubble, and I definitely notice it when I drive 10 miles out of town (and it's pretty rural at that point). In order to change this, we need to start with ourselves. Take a moment to look at my friend Nick Goldsmith's blog post on the incident that happened. Like Nick says, we need to start reporting bias, because this isn't a rare event. This kind of stuff is happening everyday on this campus, and the problem is that not only is the university doing nothing about it, but people seem to not care either. 

Just because we have a nice building on campus that's called the "Black Cultural Center" doesn't solve racism issues. Just because we have a mosque on campus, doesn't purge the anti-Muslim sentiment on campus. Just because there's a Hillel doesn't mean that Jewish students really are supported by the university for any of their religious obligations. It's this attitude that needs to stop, and if Purdue wants to be serious about these problems, they need to take a more active approach to solving it. Start by taking diversity seriously in the residence halls, and don't just rely on the RA's to put on appropriate programming. That's a passive step, that can and does end up not promoting diversity at all.

By the way, as a closing statement, I think that taking a serious approach on this issue might also yield some ground on another issue that seems to have Purdue puzzled. The reason that international students aren't interested in interacting with the Americans on campus is because they don't feel comfortable with them. If I was in their shoes, I think I'd feel exactly the same.

Things Like This are Why I Like Studying Politics

As someone who studies politics, I sometimes get discouraged by the system. However, there's a reason I like studying politics. There's a lot of times in American politics, where we see a lot of silliness and humor. We have the annual White House Correspondents Banquet where the whole press corps takes a few hours to make fun of itself and of elected officials. At the same time, the President and their cabinet get to have a chance to make fun of themselves and then listen to a comedian as well!

There's also elections and the crazy advertising and people who are involved, that the media generally does not cover. Sometimes, these people are running for irony, others because they're serious. Meet Vermin Supreme. He's a Democratic candidate running for President in New Hampshire. He was seen at a debate recently, and here's what he had to say:

Anyone whose closing statement is sung to the tune of "the chicken dance" has my vote.

The full debate can be seen here, but I think this highlight reel is pretty fantastic.

(Via Mediaite)

GOP Candidates, Roll Intitiative

Today is the Iowa Caucus, the first primary event of the GOP 2012 Presidential race. If you have been keeping up with the polls, you can tell that the outcome is essentially a crap shoot. Predicting the outcome of the Iowa Caucus is crazy at this point, as the conventional logic has been thrown out the window. I'm suggesting that we just "roll initiative" with 20-sided dice to figure out who wins. (Edit 6:15PM) For those who aren't familiar with the concept of rolling initiative, it is essentially rolling the order of attacks in D&D. The highest initiative goes first, next highest goes second, and so on. In this case, we're determining the outcome of the Iowa Caucus.

So I just rolled one of my 20-sided dice and just uploaded them in the order I rolled them. I then assigned them alphabetically (1st roll to Bachmann, 2nd to Gingrich, etc.). None of them had bonuses, modifiers, or anything additional to take into consideration. This would be more accurate if I did a Monte Carlo simulation, but I don't have enough time today to do that. So here's my prediction of the caucus:

Michelle Bachmann rolls:

Newt Gingrich rolls:

Ron Paul rolls:

Rick Perry rolls:

Mitt Romney rolls:

Rick Santorum rolls:

The dice have spoken. I guess randomness likes late surges, hates liberty, and ignores the polls. Now will the people vote the same way?

A New Podcast for 2012

On this New Years' Eve, I want to take a moment to tell you about a new awesome endeavor I'm undertaking this next year. I'm reviving a podcast about hockey with a few friends: The New High Sticking Podcast. James (a former roommate) and I did a hockey radio-show/podcast back in 2007. We were unable to continue it due to James' graduation from Purdue, and my taking an RA position in the summer of 2008. After some time we've decided to revive it with some new energy.

We will be starting sometime next week and details will be emerging, but I thought I'd take a moment to tell you that we did a test last night, and sounds like it will be a pretty informative pod cast. We will have fans and writers from around the continent weighing in on the major issues of the day in the realm of professional hockey. We're very excited about it, and I will keep you informed about it here on this blog.

For those wondering what I'm thinking about with the Iowa Caucus, there's a post coming up tomorrow about it!

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