What We Really Think About Jobs, The Economy, And Politics

To those who care about the United States,

Much has been said lately about how college students and recent graduates won’t stand for Obama to be reelected because the economy has not improved and job prospects are bleak. Instead of finding our dream jobs, we are moving back into our parents’ homes. While some of that may be true, here is another truth: we are smarter than you think – and we realize that Obama is not solely responsible for the economy.

I am employed and I am enjoying my job. Is it my dream job? Maybe, maybe not: but it is certainly putting me on the right path, whatever that is. Many of my friends who graduated in the past two years are employed across the country in just about every industry. And many other friends are still looking for jobs. Some had jobs, but left to look for other work or get another degree – because we aren’t here to settle.

Maybe it’s a generational thing, but we don’t want just any old job. We want to be happy and feel like we are contributing something to society. Many of us are willing to remain unemployed longer if it gives us the chance to end up where we want to be. Sure it sucks, and we wish the economy was better, but we also know that we have a lot to offer and we know that our turn will come.

Conversation about the economy has been hijacked to become a referendum on President Obama. Some say that Obama must not be reelected so anything he tries to do must be stopped. Therefore, any efforts Obama attempts to improve the economy are doomed to failure, or at least limited success. It is Congress and the states that prevent improvements to the economy when they refuse to participate in Obama’s plans if said plans could help Obama in the election. This isn’t solely Obama’s fault. It is those who refuse to work together. And this is not a pro-Democrat or anti-Republican analysis. It is the facts. Research them. We did and we will continue to do so.

Our generation is not content to sit back and be told what to think and who to blame. We have too much information at our fingertips. We will use it. And we want to pursue more and more opportunities. We believe in our future and in the future of the United States of America. What we do not believe in is the partisan attacks that prevent useful governance and which prevent our country from actually solving its problems. We demand that politicians work together, compromise, and understand that they are here to do something. Represent us – the future. We have voted and we will vote for or against you because this is how the economy affects us.


College students and recent graduates

Midterm Elections / Quote #20

Think about this when considering the next leader you will vote for (if the possibility even exists today):

“He who follows such a pathway in unwavering cheerful service will be seen by many others and, by inspiration, lead them.” – Allowat Sakima

ET Visits Denver?

Denver never ceases to amaze me.  Next Tuesday, voters in Denver will vote on Initiative 300: The Denver Ballot Initiative to Form an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission.

The initiative reads as follows:

“Shall the voters for the City and County of Denver adopt an Initiated Ordinance to require the creation of an extraterrestrial affairs commission to help ensure the health, safety, and cultural awareness of Denver residents and visitors in relation to potential encounters or interactions with extraterrestrial intelligent beings or their vehicles, and fund such commission from grants, gifts and donations?”

It won’t cost the taxpayers, but seriously?  Aren’t there more important/pressing things we could be spending our time on?

Christine O’Donnell: What Are You Thinking?

I was not going to post anything about Christine O’Donnell, but every time I hear news about her it makes me more and more worried that she will get elected.  I hope Delaware is smarter than that.

Below is a video in which Christine O’Donnell claims that Separation of Church and State is not in the first amendment.  While that exact phrase is not in the amendment, who hasn’t heard it before?  And is that not what everyone understands it to mean (including the U.S. Supreme Court)?  Anderson Cooper’s comments that follow are very true – and Christine O’Donnell’s comments are very worrying.  This is especially true for someone who claims to be a “constitutional expert” – based on a seven day fellowship with a conservative foundation.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Hopefully, you’ve seen Christine O’Donnell’s ad claiming that she is not a witch, rather “I’m You.”

Seriously?  Christine, you are not me or anyone I know – and likely no one in Delaware, I’m sure.  If nothing else, none of us has to deny being a witch (A ridiculous claim in itself, mind you, that no one should have brought up as a serious issue for any candidate.).

SNL does a good job with this ad though:

Politics, Society, Hobbes, And The Tea Party

In one of my business classes today, we discussed the Social Contract as a basis of society (some of the thoughts below are developed based on statements of my professors).  It is clear that this is true whether one thinks about company norms, the Bill of Rights, parliamentary procedure, codes of conduct, etc.  All of these, and more, are based, at some level, on the Social Contract.  Our current notion of the Social Contract is based on Rousseau, but some claim that it is “almost as old as philosophy itself”.  Regardless of its origins, the Social Contract is a negotiation of control between “man” and “nature”.

Law and structure are the basis of society.  Without them, we fall into a state of chaos, controlled by nature only.  When each is out for the self and there are no controls, moral or otherwise, it leads to the destruction of society.  Hobbes described this in graphic terms. When there is no Social Contract,

“…there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death…”
– Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan Chapter 13

The Social Contract extends to politics – although Hobbes says Hobbes is the primary reason for the Social Contract.  It seems as though our government leaders have forgotten how to be civil towards one another and perhaps, they need to reread the Social Contract.  I have read countless articles lately on the topic (most recently in Newsweek, I think?) and you would think that politicians would get the idea.  There is a reason public opinion of Congress is so low – and it is not just about the policies that are or are not being made.

Personality differences seem to have been exacerbated over the past year or so by politicians on all sides of the aisle.There really is no reason for this.  I cannot help but think though, that such (unnecessary) personal attacks seem to have increased with the invention(?) of the Tea Party.  Whether or not I always agree or disagree with the politics of the Tea Party, I certainly disagree with some of the Tea Party’s tactics.  They certainly are effective, but they are effective because these tactics exist in the world without a Social Contract.  They feed on the “state of nature” and contribute to the “the life of man” quickly becoming “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.

Recent School Newspaper Articles

I’ve been quoted or featured in several University of Denver school newspaper articles over the past few weeks.  Our paper, The Clarion, has gotten a lot better over the years, but their accuracy in reporting and fact checking sometimes still leave a lot to be desired (depending on the article, of course).  Many people at DU think that students do not read The Clarion.  I disagree and believe that more people are aware of what the newspaper writes about than may be recognized.  The paper is published weekly on Tuesdays.

In the May 4 issue, an article was printed about the 9th Annual Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence, which I helped plan and organize.  While there are some factual errors and Mia’s last name is misspelled (it is “Elizardi”), the article is pretty good and positive.

In the May 11 issue, I am in the paper twice.  Javi and I had been interviewed to give our opinion of Antoine and Jim, one year after we lost to them in AUSA Elections.  The article was supposed to appear in the May 4 issue, but apparently the newspaper editors thought it would help Jim and Felipe (who we were supporting in the USG Elections) and they did not want to print it.  As such, it got tacked on as an addendum to an article interviewing Antoine and Jim.

Similarly, I have mentioned the letter to the editor that Javi and I had written endorsing Jim and Felipe, that The Clarion would not print.  I was contacted last weekend about editing the letter and having it printed this past week.  At first I was opposed, but then decided to use the opportunity to try to encourage more student activism and to challenge all new USG representatives to actually fulfill the platforms on which they ran. (Crazy idea, right? – and in this picture – which is from when we ran in the 2009 elections – my tie is messed up because of the wind. oy.)

If you are interested in other, older, letters to the editor I have written or articles in which I have been quoted, visit The Clarion‘s website and search for my name.

USG Election Results

I am happy to report that the University of Denver’s Undergraduate Student Government for 2010-2011 will be led by Jim Francescon and Felipe Diaz, as President and Vice President.  Everyone’s hard work paid off.

274 less people voted this year than last year.  While this may be partially attributed to the voting method (myWeb versus http://www.du.edu/voting), I believe it may also speak to interest and the type/level/competitiveness of campaigning.

Take a look at Jim and Felipe’s For Denver platform.  You will notice that a lot of it resembles what Javi and I had in our Ogaz-Portman: Unite. platform last year.  This is no coincidence.  Javi and I helped shape Jim and Felipe’s platform.  The fact that they were open to our ideas and suggestions is a major reason we supported them.  Hopefully, Jim and Felipe will be successful in fulfilling their platform.

I’m super excited that Stuart (my brother) will be a Senator (and hopefully Diversity Committee Chair)!  I am also excited that Dario, Javi’s brother is also on Senate.  Hopefully they can continue and improve upon our legacy of doing great things for the University of Denver together – and being friends.

Full election results are as follows:

President and Vice President – Jim Francescon and Felipe Diaz
AHUM Senator – Nicole Deutsch
DCB Senators – Vanessa Torres & Charlie Wondergem
HRTM Senators – Dario Ogaz
INTS Senator – Luke Nifaratos
NSM Senator – Stuart Portman
Performing Arts Senator – Jeanne Ireland
SECS Senator- Trevor Kroeger
SOCS Senator – Craig Hirokawa
Sophomore Senators – Sam White & Jordan Loyd
Junior Senators – Milan Chatterjee and Caitlin Lorenz
Senior Senators – Kelly Walker & Mindy Stone
On-Campus Senators – Katherine Godshaw & Julia Godshaw
Off-Campus Senators – Katie Bernell & Carrie Gamper

Unfortunately, Vanessa Teck did not win Sophomore Senator.  This is truly a loss for DU.  While I am sure Sam and Jordan are great people, I did not like their seemingly behind the back campaigning techniques that ultimately lost Vanessa the seat.  I am sure she will be involved though and do great things for DU.

Dillon Doyle is a great person and while I did not support him for President, I like him a lot and I know he is going places in life.

An article about election results can be found on The Clarion‘s website.

I’ve downloaded the platforms for as many Senator elects as I could find online.  I hope they carry out what they promised and that their constituents hold them accountable for doing so.

DU USG Elections – Endorsement of “FOR DENVER” Ticket

DISCLAIMER: The letter below was submitted to The Clarion for publication as a letter to the editor for the 05/04/2010 publication. The Clarion refused to print the article even though they seek out student opinions and voices.  We believe that it is important that you see this message.


University of Denver Students,

Last year we ran together for AUSA President & Vice President.  While we did not win, we have both kept our promises to maintain our involvement, push for change, and make the University of Denver a better place.  We also said that we would hold our election opponents responsible for carrying out their platform.

Antoine Perretta and Jim Francescon have worked hard this year to meet the goals they promised to all of us.  We are happy to say that we believe in their successes.  All of us have worked together throughout the year.  Several months ago, we began discussing this year’s USG (the name was changed this year) elections.  We wholeheartedly support and endorse Jim Francescon and Felipe Diaz for USG President and Vice President.

Over the past several months, we have worked with Jim and Felipe as they developed their platform.  All of us have the same overarching goal: to unite and connect our campus.  We know that Jim and Felipe will be successful in this endeavor.  Even their For Denver ticket shows representation from almost every dimension of our campus community.

Jim and Felipe are proven leaders who have the experience, dedication, and connections necessary to fulfill their platform.  They will succeed in creating the lasting campus improvements we need.

Some of our past supporters may not agree with our decision to support the For Denver ticket.  We encourage you to contact us.  Let’s talk about why we believe Jim and Felipe are the high quality leaders DU needs and deserves.

Whether or not you support Jim and Felipe, vote.  The University of Denver exists for the students.  Have your voices heard and shape DU to be the institution you want it to be.


Joel Portman and Javier Ogaz


Voting Instructions:

Please follow these steps to vote:

1. Log into MyWeb – http://myweb.du.edu
2. Click on surveys
3. Click on “Senate Elections”
(be sure to click “next question” to vote for all eligible candidates)

If you have problems, email Carl.Johnson@du.edu with your votes.

For more information about the FOR DENVER ticket, visit http://www.fordenver.org.


Specific People I Endorse:

Jim Francescon and Felipe Diaz  – USG President and Vice President – link
Stuart Portman – NSM Senator – link
Dario Ogaz – HRTM Senator – link
Vanessa Teck – Sophomore Senator – link
Dorielle Parker – JKSIS Senator – link
Julia Godshaw – On-Campus Senator – link
Ericca McCutcheon – On-Campus Senator – link
Craig Hirokawa – SOCS Senator – link
Jeremy Lynch – DCB Senator – link

DU USG Elections

It’s time for University of Denver Undergraduate Student Government elections!  What a fun time.

I support Jim Francescon and Felipe Diaz for President & Vice President. Want to know why? Just ask.

Check out their platform: www.fordenver.org

More on this later…