Monday, October 29, 2007

Truman Anti-War Rally Recap

I mentioned last week that the Truman College Democrats and The Stonewall Group (a GLBT equality organization) were hosting an anti-war event.

The auditorium (capacity: 200) was at times standing room only, although it thinned out a bit towards the end of the two-hour event. The College Republicans came sporting their club t-shirts with a box full of newspapers. They planned to undertake a form of civil disobedience and read the paper during the event, although that was largely thwarted as they took an interest in the speeches that were made.

Also of interest is that the Democrats undertook an extensive chalking campaign to create publicity for the event. However, in several places where they chalked, there were other messages added, such as "This event brought to you by Osama bin Laden."

Ah yes. You're either with us or against us.

Colleges and Universities are the 2nd Most Dangerous Organization in America

Bet you didn't know that.

Jason Rantz, a radio talk show host from San Diego, published this ditty on the Family Security Matters website a couple days ago. (In case you didn't know, FSM is the "national security resource for American families.) To Rantz's credit, he included some real crazies like the Family Research Council and CODEPINK, but seriously. Colleges and Universities? Get real.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

LTE Regarding the Debate

Here's a letter by MU Freshman Aimee Koon. Look for more letters in the days to come:
"The Democratic debaters made the best of a bad situation and gave audience members an excellent opportunity to learn about the party’s platform through mutual discussion. Tonight, I am proud to be a Democrat. It must be a dark day for Republicans."

The Show Went On.... Kinda

Rick Puig, one of the College Democrats debaters,
fields questions from the audience.

The debate that was supposed to happen between the Mizzou College Democrats and Republicans didn't go as planned. Mark Buhrmester, President of the Mizzou College Democrats, made an opening speech in which he had "bad news" for the audience of a shade more than 100. In its place, they would host an open forum on the Democratic Party in which audience members could ask any question they want.

“Last night, at about 6 p.m., the vice president of the College Republicans called me and told me that College Republicans would not be coming tonight,” Buhrmester said, adding that that was pretty short notice of an event that had been planned two weeks prior.

Marcus Bowen, the Vice President of the Mizzou College Republicans, said that “the College Democrats thought that if they publicized enough, they could bully us into going against our principles,” Bowen said. “We never gave them any reason to put together this debate.”

But Buhrmester said he believes that the College Democrats and College Republicans have an obligation to the campus community to provide an open discussion of ideas and issues.

You can check out the full story in The Maneater here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The 411 on Tonight's Debate

The debate tonight at Mizzou between the College Democrats and the College Republicans may not happen afterall. I thought it was strange that the CRs would accept a debate after turning it down for months, so I inquired of their Vice President, Marcus Bowen, what was up. He told me:
"I have heard a few rumors that the the Democrat group at Mizzou has planned an upcoming event which uses our name in the title, but as I said earlier, we are not affiliated with, nor have we helped plan, nor have we accepted any invitation to said event. College Republicans are a very busy, professional organization, and we certainly don't have time to police the the Democrat group on wheather [sic] they choose to use our name in the title of an event that they are hosting."
Iiiiiiinteresting. I got a response from Mark Buhrmester, President of the Mizzou Democrats as well.
"Their assertions that they've only heard rumors, or that they don't have the time to check up on what we're doing are very misleading. I've invited them directly numerous times. They had no reason to rely on rumors nor did they have any need to check up on my organization. I will forward you the emails that I've sent them."
Buhrmester emailed the CR leadership the invitation on October 11, two weeks ago, and sent two follow-up emails as well. Buhrmester argues that the only reason he got from the CRs for not debating is their busy schedule. The idea, he said, was to organize and publicize it to make it as easy as possible for them to attend. As of a couple days ago, he was still hopeful that they would come.

Bowen shot back, saying, "Once again I will say that Thursday's event is a hoax, and it has been a disgusting publicity stunt from the beginning."

It seems to me as though this was not a publicity stunt, but an honest attempt to create a debate. The follow-up emails prove that, in my opinion. I can see how someone could construe this as a publicity stunt, but this was not a stunt of any sort until the CRs declined the invitation. And it has not been made apparent to me whether they actually declined the invitation or ignored it.

At any rate, the "debate" is scheduled to begin in less than 2 hours. We'll see what happens, if anything.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Litany of Interesting Campus Events...

There are a lot of interesting/controversial campus events coming up.
  • This week is the National Students of Concealed Carry on Campus Empty Holster Protest. The Evangel College Republicans are getting in on the action.
  • Monday also marks the beginning of national Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. This idea was sparked by David Horowitz. The Washington University Republicans are kicking it off with a showing of a film called Suicide Killers. This event has caused some controversy, and has resulted in a Teach-in for Tolerance that is co-hosted by a number of groups including the College Democrats. One national response to the Horowitz-hosted week is the encouragement of students to wear green on Wednesday to protest the "Islamophobic campaign."
  • Tuesday the Associated Students of the University of Missouri are hosting a panel discussion on higher education with a researcher from the Show-Me Institute and the Missouri Budget Project.
  • Thursday there will be a debate between the Mizzou College Republicans and the College Democrats. There are, so far, about 130 confirmed attendees. I'll try to find out how this came about, as the College Republicans had repeatedly refused a debate. We shall see how it goes.
  • Finally on Thursday, there is an anti-war event planned at Truman State that features a number of professors speaking out against the war.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Q&A with Shamed Dogan

Shamed Dogan, 29, is running for state representative in the 88th District as a Republican. The campaign is off to a great start, with his first quarter of fundraising raking in about $12k.
YMP: Why are you running for state representative?
SD: I am running for state representative because I want Missouri to continue to head in the positive direction provided by the leadership of Gov. Blunt. I will work to keep taxes and spending low, promote economic growth, improve education, and control illegal immigration to make life better for Missouri families.

YMP: What advantages does your youth provide for your campaign?
SD: For one, I have plenty of energy to spare and I've been working hard to meet voters and tell them about myself and my values. Also, I can help bring a fresh new face and a new voice to the Republican Party to appeal to young working people.

YMP: Disadvantages?
SD: Often, youth means inexperience and a lack of familiarity with the issues, but in my case that's far from the truth. I have years of legislative and campaign experience working for Senator Talent on behalf of Missouri. Also, West St. Louis County has a long history of electing young people to the legislature.

YMP: How have the Young Republicans in the area been helping your campaign?
SD: My wife Sara and I are very active YR members, and I was recently named the St. Louis Area Young Republicans' Man of the Year. My YR friends have been very reliable volunteers and contributors to the campaign, as have many of the College Republicans throughout the St. Louis area. It's very exciting to have the support of so many of our state's future leaders.

YMP: What will be your number one priority if you win election?
SD: Making sure that I act with integrity and work hard on behalf of my constituents.

The Dems-GOP Robb Saga Continues

Who wants to see some more letters regarding Ed Robb's comments regarding several institutions of higher education?

Well, ready or not, here they are!

First, here we have Jeremy Hagen, Vice Chair of the Missouri College Republicans, responding to Nate Kennedy's original letter. Hagen argues that Republicans are in touch with everyday Missourians: "Republicans such as Blunt and Robb did all of this without a tax increase."

Next, we have Trevor Turner, Chair of the College Democrats of America Disabilities Caucus (and a member of the Mizzou Chapter), responding the Nick Haynes, who responded to Kennedy. Turner winds his letter up like this: "If I were a public university in Missouri, I would be wary of Robb on a budget committee bulldozer."

I suppose now we just have to wait and see if there's another round of letters coming.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

WashU Dems Promote "Democracy Day"

This one slipped through the cracks, but fortunately I found it later rather than sooner.

The Washington University College Democrats are spearheading a campaign to cancel classes on Election Day. As of October 1, they had collected 250 petition signatures, but they have also been working with the Student Union Senate to draft a resolution in support of this initiative.

The initiative was meant to be a bi-partisan effort, but the College Republicans have not signed on. Here's an excerpt from the Student Life campus newspaper article:

"We want to increase awareness about Election Day and give students the time to vote," said Meredith Sigler, president of College Democrats. "There are a lot of students who have a test or paper due that day and that's all they're thinking about. This is really about increasing [student] awareness."

According to Sigler, the Democracy Day initiative is an attempt to increase political involvement on campus, to encourage voter turnout among college students and to stimulate discussion about the issues.

Although the initiative is intended as a bipartisan solution, the Washington University College Republicans, the other major political student organization on campus, has not joined the movement.

"We think it's really not needed because the polls are open for 12 hours in the day," said Sam Gittle, president of College Republicans. "People either want to get involved or they don't. You can do as much pushing as you want, but [this day] won't make someone who's not going to vote go out to vote."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Exclusive Interview with Jeff Harris

Rep. Jeff Harris with CDMO President Nate Kennedy, then-candidate for State
Representative Lucas Kunce, and Jay Nixon's son Jeremiah at the opening of Project Victory 06.

By virtue of being from Columbia, Rep. Jeff Harris, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, is in a special position to reach out to young people. It seems like he has taken advantage of that opportunity, with a number of students serving as staff or interns on his campaign. I asked him a few short questions regarding the relationship between young people and his campaign. This is what he had to say:

YMP: How does being from a college town affect your ability to reach out to young people?
JH: You’re reminded every day of the importance of higher education, academic freedom, and the vitality that comes with the college experience. You’re also reminded every day that today’s college students are tomorrow’s leaders.

YMP: My post about you speaking to the Mizzou College Democrats was circulated more than any of my other entries. What did you think of that experience?
JH: It was a great experience with tons of energy, enthusiasm, and drive. To have over 125 students excited about our party speaks volumes about the strength of Democrats among college students. This generation of college students is clearly a generation that wants to make a difference and that cares about making the world a better place.

YMP: What about you appeals to young people?
JH: I am energetic and I try to be accessible. I listen to what college students say. I really value their input. They matter. I have also been a champion for higher education and increasing young people’s to participation in the political process.

YMP: How does your campaign view young people in terms of a voting bloc?
JH: Young people are very important. This generation is making its voice heard and that's wonderful. They are the leaders of tomorrow.

YMP: Have the College/Young Democrats done much in the way of aiding your
campaign? Either as an organization or individuals within the organization?
JH: We have tremendous support from Young Democrats and College Democrats. Young people and college students have been extremely involved in every one of my campaigns from the very beginning.

Please also visit my website at, the campaign’s MySpace page or my Facebook profile.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Haynes Responds: Kennedy Manipulated Robb's Words

Former Mizzou College Republican President Nick Haynes responded to Nate Kennedy's letter to the editor of The Maneater with his own guest column.

Haynes claims that Kennedy lied by omission about Robb's position on four state universities. Kennedy claimed that Robb wanted to get rid of these universities. Haynes claims that Robb simply wanted to remove their status as a university, and downgrade them to a college.

So who's right? Both? Neither? One or the other?

There was a bit of a dialogue between Kennedy, Haynes and some others on Facebook about this topic. Young Democrats of Missouri President Rick Puig chimed in with this:
"First of all, Ed Robb DID make the following statement... 'There is no reason for some of these schools to exist. They are nothing more than glorified community colleges.' I took that statement down verbatim. If you want further confirmation, ask the Maneater reporter who was there. ..."
To which Haynes responded:
"... As with regards to his quote, he did say that, but Nate failed to highlight the context that Robb laid out. I don't have the exact quotes, but I do remember him asserting that they should not be considered universities. ..."
So what's the truth? At the very least Robb wants to remove the title of university from them. But he also wants to remove state funding from at least some of them (which would in effect eliminate them). So maybe they're both right. Or wrong.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Kennedy: Robb wants to eliminate four state universities

College Democrats of Missouri President Nate Kennedy wrote a letter to the editor of The Maneater, where he discusses comments made by Rep. Ed Robb (R-Columbia) at a campus event. According to the letter, he reports that Robb wants to get rid of (at least as far as state funding is concerned) four state universities: Missouri State University, Missouri Western State University, University of Central Missouri and Harris-Stowe State University.

Kennedy also posted the letter on the CDMO website. Here, it says that the four schools to be eliminated are the "Universities of Southern Missouri, Western Missouri, Central Missouri, and Harris-Stowe." So there's a discrepancy here. Is it the University of Southern Missouri or Missouri State University?

I'm wagering Robb wants to get rid of University of Southern Missouri as it is more similar to the other schools on his black list. Also, the post of the CDMO website came straight from Kennedy whereas the letter was filtered by the Editor of The Maneater.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Art Arton Switches Parties, Runs for State House

Anthony "Art" Arton, who is due to graduate from the University of Central Missouri (UCM) in December, is the former President of the UCM College Republicans and a former intern for Republican Rep. David Pearce (who is running for the state Senate). And now he's looking to fill his old boss's shoes in the 121st District... as a Democrat!

According to this post at Show Me Progress by Michael Bersin, there are two other Democratic candidates. They are Jeff Alvarado who lost by a wide margin to Pearce in 2006 and Jim Jackson the former Warrensburg mayor, who lost to Pierce in 2002.

Now for some interesting tidbits.

* The 121st is in Sen. Chris Koster's district.
* Arton is the current student member of the UCM Board of Governors. Also on the Board is former Rep. Deleta Williams (D) who held this seat before Pearce.
* You can find Arton's Facebook group here. It already has 262 members.

Here's the exclusive Young MO Politico interview with Arton...

YMP: What made you decide to run for State Representative?
AA: I feel like this is the perfect time in my life to run for an open seat. I think the issues that are important to our generation (Education, Health Care and the Environment)need to be addressed now and I think I am the candidate who will go down to Jefferson City and fight for those issues. There is a lot at stake and we can not afford to allow these problems to get any worse.

YMP: Why did you switch parties to run as Democrat?
AA: When I began considering my candidacy I started writing down issues that were important to me. Issues that were important to me in the past and issues that are important to me and our future. When I look at the issues that face our generation I realized that the Republican Party was no longer a good fit for me. People always ask me why did you change your values? I havent changed my values I just re-prioritized them.

YMP: How do the College Republicans at UCM feel about your party switch? And the College Democrats?
AA: The College Republicans are disappointed, but they have also been very understanding. A lot of them are close friends of mine and people I shared many evenings with on the campaign trail. So I think it's tough for them to see me go. The College Democrats seem to be pretty excited about my switch. Although many of them are new members and dont realize what party I was with before.

YMP: How do you intend to use the campus community to your advantage in your race?
AA: In every way possible. Grassroots will be a huge part of my campaign and I will be counting on a lot of help from a lot of different students. Also I expect there will be a lot of faculty/staff that will help support me because of my position on the Board of Governors and they know that I am passionate about public education specifically higher education and they know that I will be the candidate that will fight for more funding.

YMP: Why do you think you can win?
AA: I believe I am a good candidate that can relate to the issues. I understand what it is like to be low-income and have to live pay-check to pay-check. I understand what it is like to not have health insurance. I believe that there are many people out there who have shared my struggle, and if I can remain competitive in the fundraising and utilize the volunteer base I have through the campus community I can take the primary and go one to win the general.

YMP: Have you received support from some local Democrats?
AA: Yes. And it has surprised me. I think they feel like having a young candidate is a positive. They understand that our generation has the most at stake and I believe they feel that I bring the new ideas and new approaches to this race.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Truman CR helps Jumpstart Libertarians?

Facebook tells me that Casey Sharp, Vice Chair of the Truman State College Republicans, will attend a planning meeting for the College Libertarians tomorrow. She also plans on attending the Missouri College Republican fall meeting, so she apparently is not bolting the party. Perhaps she would prefer a fusion party system. There is a significant portion of MOCRs who identify as libertarian including Vice President Jeremy Hagen. It doesn't seem like there is any sort of tension between these two wings.

As a side note, the Truman Libertarians used to be pretty active, but has fallen dormant over the last year and a half or so. It will be interesting to see if they can get the ball re-rolling.

Monday, October 1, 2007

MO College Republicans to Hold Fall Meeting

The Missouri College Republicans are having their Fall Board meeting at Mizzou on October 13. Kudos to them for having regular statewide board meetings. Here's their agenda:

(1) Reports from the Executive Board & Regional Directors
(2) Letters to the Editor Powerpoint Presentation
(3) Convention bids
(4) Upcoming Events
(5) YouTube Debate Questions (For the upcoming YouTube Presidential Debate.)

Mizzou College Dems Create Blog

The Mizzou College Democrats recently created a blog on their website. The most recent post, which was added today, discusses Chris Kelly's bid to oust Ed Robb from his seat. President Mark Buhrmester had this to say: "I've talked with him a couple times, and I know this much is certain: He's ready, he's energized, and he's going to win!"

The blog is a welcome addition of timeliness to an otherwise outdated website.