Another reason why not to be a Republican

Posted April 3, 2010 by thomasolik
Categories: something that makes me mad, stupid

Tags: , ,

Since the battle over healthcare is now over, it seems that Republicans have moved onto far more important legislation.  An internal conflict has arisen in the Republican party over Congressman Patrick T. McHenry’s (R-NC) bill to replace President Ulysses S. Grant with the late Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a tremendous amount of respect for President Reagan and some of the great things he did for many people around the world in his personal vendetta against communism. However, is now really the proper time for a fight over who should be on currency?

And the Tea Party says that Democrats aren’t “listening to the people.” …really?

Well, I think that your average American is more concerned about how health insurance for her kids than who should be on the $50 bill.

Too bad the Republican party doesn’t seem to understand that.


Register for the College Democrats of New York Convention

Posted March 28, 2010 by thomasolik
Categories: College Life, NYS Politics

Fellow College Democrats,

The College Democrats of New York will be having this year’s convention in Albany, April 9 to 11. You can find more information at: To register, please visit: $15 is the current fee for registration, but that will be raised to $20 on April 1st; so please make sure you register soon!

If you are a St. John’s student and need transportation to Albany, please send me an e-mail @ and I’ll be sure to find a way for you to get up there.

Upcoming Events

Posted November 16, 2009 by hannahpribek
Categories: club stuff, good news, Uncategorized

Queens County Young Democrats will be having their November meeting tomorrow the 16th at Mezzo Mezzo in Astoria.  There will be light refreshments served and we’ll be recapping the elections, talking about healthcare reform and more!  If you come please bring a canned good to go to a local food pantry for the holiday season.  If you’re interested in going please contact me (via Facebook) and I’ll make sure you get there.  Mezzo Mezzo is at  31-29 Ditmars Blvd and the meeting starts at 7pm.

Our Grant’s Tomb visit is scheduled for this Saturday, stay tuned for more details in the next few days.

Healthcare is nice, but let’s not forget about reforms closer to home!

Posted November 11, 2009 by Attaul
Categories: Uncategorized

The following is part of an ongoing political activism project. My group members and I are trying to raise awareness at St. John’s regarding the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act. St. John’s is in compliance with the minimal provisions of the act, allowing for up to 12 weeks of UNPAID leave. For many faculty members this is a luxury they cannot afford. Without further ado:

Professors Have Families

The quality of academic life here at St. John’s depends almost entirely on professors’ capacity to contribute equally to instruction, research, publishing, and participation in activities, such as departmental committees, with each demand requiring extensive time outside the classroom.

Traditionally, the university setting has valued a professor for his or her ability to comply with such an arduous workload-as a direct measure of each individual’s scholastic merit and the extent of his or her commitment to St. John’s. Indeed, the high standards required of professors, particularly of those on the pre-tenure track, should not be compromised; however, the current academic requirements,  in conjunction with the existing benefits policy, leave sizable gaps in the possible productivity of St. John’s faculty.

By failing to address the dual responsibilities of its employees as both faculty and family members, the deficiency of the benefits policy ultimately threatens the substance of the essential intellectual fabric here at St. John’s.

Unpaid Leave is Unsustainable

At first glance, the current compliance of St. John’s benefits policy with the guidelines of the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may appear relatively acceptable.

In accordance with the federal mandate passed in 1993, St. John’s now offers its full-time employees, having worked at least one year at the university, the option of 12 weeks unpaid job-protected leave.  The policy stipulates that paid sick days off, already accrued by faculty members are used first and concurrently during the leave period. At this time, faculty members may apply for leave due to personal illness or the illness of a dependent family member, the birth and/or adoption of a child, and the return of a family member from duties in the armed services.

The above considerations may indeed be a worthy step in the right direction, but the limited provisions are woefully inadequate in considering the realities of modern-day families, especially of those individuals employed at a university. The most glaring fault in the existing policy is the fact that because the leave is unpaid, an overwhelming number of  faculty members, will not be able to take enough time off to deal with pressing family emergencies, due to lack of financial security.

Moreover, attached to this central problem is a laundry list of related concerns compiled by Time To Care New York, (an organization dedicated to reforming Family Leave laws) including but not limited to: The increasing amount of workers who must care for children in households with two employed parents; The prevalence of workers who need time to care for elderly relatives; The fact that there is no safety net to provide income stability to individuals who take time off from work for familial needs; Or that the current policies reflect a period of time where men were considered chief workers and thus cannot account for all disruptions in working caused by family responsibilities.

Gender inequality in the University workplace

The institution of paid family leave benefits, in addition to the restructuring of the typical time commitments required by all tenure track professors-thereby enabling for greater flexibility in the workplace, are policies that will improve the quality of life for families and faculty alike; such changes offer a promising probability of ensuring broader professional equality between male and female professors as well.

Historically, the expectations of an academic have largely been formulated along an “ideal” worker model. This ingrained assumption along gender lines has traditionally assumed that the male professor was the primary breadwinner of the family, whose stay-at-home spouse would be available for the ongoing unpaid labor of domestic and caretaking responsibilities. It is a travesty that such an outdated approach to the workplace has continued to allow for the particular disadvantages of potential female tenure applicants and current faculty members, while simultaneously failing to envision the responsibilities of professors outside the realm of academia.

For instance, in an article written by Jerry A. Jacobs and Sarah E. Winslow for the Academy of American Political Science, which surveyed the particular demands and relative success of university faculty members, it was revealed that those who have put in the “long[est] hours on the job greatly contribute to research productivity.”

In fact, in research presented in the aforementioned piece “Overworked Faculty,”  Jacobs and Winslow concluded that working sixty or more hours a week led to an overall decrease of job satisfaction, while increasing the likelihood of publishing pertinent scholarship required for the tenure track. It is no question then, that the extremely long hours required by faculty positions, combined with the inadequacies of current Family Leave policies in which women (who are almost always relegated to the duties of primary caregivers) must choose between raising a family or having a career have bred a workplace where “women are more likely to hold both full-time and part-time, non-tenure track positions than full-time, tenure-track positions.”

As specifically evidenced by research conducted by the American Association of University Professors, the average age for receipt of a Ph.D. is 33, which places the  average achievement of tenure year at age 40. Women are more likely to receive the Ph.D. at a slightly older median age (34.1 years as compared to 32.8 years for men)

Therefore, the years devoted to establishing security in one’s academic career will likewise coincide with the prime childrearing years.

Considering the status of women as the primary care providers, female academics are often forced to make a choice between “an all – consuming professional career or having children.” Generally, this is one choice that male faculty members are not also forced to make.

In accordance with these basic trends, AAUP  notes that such practices have produced a “significant source of inequities in faculty status, promotion, tenure, and salary.”

As result, hopeful female academics are now more heavily concentrated in less secure and financially compensated work, often teaching adjunct courses. St. John’s University, along with all institutions of higher education in the United States, can no longer afford to let such talented professors forgo academic ambitions in order to fulfill the biological desire for a family.

Envisioning better policies at St. John’s

As the momentum for individual states to pressure for paid leave mandates continues, with neighboring New Jersey, for instance, now granting six weeks of paid leave for all employees, it seems probable that New York’s campaign (Time to Care NY)  for similar policies may be successful in the near future.

In anticipating the success of New York’s campaign to institute paid family leave, St. John’s University should take the lead in revamping its family benefits policy. Structuring the university around family-friendly policies can ensure that academia and family life are no longer exclusive entities.

In order to accommodate for the present demands of families without hindering the substance of academic life, St. John’s should consider the following policies, as proposed by the American Association of University Professors (2006):

· Flexibility in scheduling to accommodate work/family responsibilities

· Equitable treatment for faculty taking leaves (paid or unpaid) for family or personal emergencies

· Stopping the tenure clock during the probationary period for a maximum of two years

· Paid leave for pregnancy, adoption and physical disabilities

· Subsidized child care

· Institutional support for faculty caring for relatives, spouses or partners

For more information about the FMLA please visit:

Alexis Patterson
Melissa Donovan
Attaul Haq
Anthony Grajales

The GOP’s Worst Enemy

Posted October 22, 2009 by alexandermarion91
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s not Sarah Palin.

It’s not Dick Cheney. It’s not Newt Gingrich. It’s not Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or Ann Coulter.

And it’s certainly not any person in the Democratic Party.

Public Enemy Number One? Taylor Swift.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why pick on this poor girl? Hasn’t she suffered enough? Isn’t Kanye West punishment enough for whatever sins she has committed in this lifetime and in any lifetime in the past or future? I have nothing against her, at all. I am a fan of Taylor Swift, along with 2,260,896 of my fellow Facebook users.

Now, why is this a problem for the GOP? Sarah Palin has 899,265 fans.

Why does it matter how many people are fans of Sarah Palin on Facebook? Of course, some say, Taylor Swift would have more; she’s a pretty, young singer. Sarah Palin’s the ex-Governor and ex-Vice-Presidential candidate of a party that doesn’t cater to the Facebook “crowd.” This begs the question, what is the Facebook crowd? Though the majority of users are young people, high schoolers, college students, and recent grads, this niche of social media is rapidly growing among Americans of all ages.

But this is where the problem is: the Republican Party is not reaching outside of the box. I’ll warrant, their message is being heard, but their presentation is what is truly flawed. The headlining ideas of the GOP are being screamed in the faces of generally innocent Members of Congress at townhall meetings, thrown on strange posters at rallies outside federal office buildings and in parks at so-called “tea parties,” being carried on the airwaves by individuals perceived by many as loud and pigheaded such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh who are far more interested in the promotion of themselves and their agendas-ironically these are intertwined-than the civilized debate over public policy.

Enter Miss Wasilla. The Messiah of the Message, Sarah Palin was supposed to reinvigorate the party. Reaching out to the young and the yuppie, the faithful and the fiscally conservative, the moms and the mavericks. Yes, Sarah Palin’s mission was to attract the tired, the poor (who don’t like government assistance), and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free (as long as they don’t mind illegal wiretapping).

Taylor Swift became a sensation for her ability to cross the line. Her music has topped both the pop and country charts. In fact, she’s been on 24 different Billboard charts. Her quirky, teen love anthems have captured the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. Their down home influences have been able to transcend genres to appeal to a diverse group of listeners, who have responded enthusiastically. This is what Sarah Palin could have done—but didn’t. She was brought on to bring over Hillary supporters and appeal to the masses. She was supposed to be the Taylor Swift of the ticket, the one to crossover. As Taylor Swift brought country music to millions of Americans, Sarah Palin could have done that with conservatism. She had the ability to look like Americans. She even talks like Americans.

So where did she go wrong? One could say in her first speech on August 29, when she compared herself to Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton. One could say it was trying to conceal and then being forced to reveal daughter Bristol’s pregnancy. One could say it was in her appearance of complete and utter ignorance regarding a myriad of national and global issues. One could say it was in her incessant critiques of the media-the ones, like it or not, who were responsible for selling her case (or not) to the American people.

Or, perhaps, just maybe, it was her concentration on that infinitesimal group of people who are the Dick Cheney-admiring, Glenn Beck-listening Republicans who just don’t want to think about the outside world. She found comfort (or was forced to reside) in that tiny box of the “foil hat” crowd, and didn’t see any reason to leave or branch out, ignoring the fact that 2008 was a truly national, 50-state election. Madam Maverick rested on her laurels.

Though this election became a circus, the big tent that Sarah Palin was supposed to bring was never raised. As young Taylor Swift brings fans of pop, country, and other genres, Sarah Palin was supposed to unite the fiscal conservatives, the national defense crowd, and the religious right. Why didn’t this happen? She was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it, she scared the dickens out of people when she insinuated that Russia was flying secret missions over Alaska, and despite her anti-choice and anti-gay positions, she only attended services sporadically and even then it was at a controversial house of worship.

What’s the difference between a Pop Princess and our Alaskan Annie Oakley? The ability to speak coherently. No, I’m not talking about Sarah Palin’s infamous gaffes immortalized on Saturday Night Live. And no, I’m not talking about the poetic simplicity of “Our Song” or the clever literary references in “Love Story.”  Sarah Palin’s greatest failure is that she has lacked the ability to carry the message of the Republican Party (which is her message, in varying degrees) in the way that Taylor Swift has been able to sell herself and her music to a wide audience. What our favorite hockey mom needs to know is that if she plans to stand a chance at winning the Presidency, she needs to put on the blinders and get her message across, something she’s chronically failed to do. Now’s the hour to stop touring the world, start hitting the books, and be ready and able to present herself next time she decides to ride in on a “White Horse.”

The War to End All Wars…Again

Posted October 20, 2009 by Steve Masillo
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

America must leave the Middle East, and the sooner the better. Capturing Osama Bin Laden was a good idea, but didn’t necessarily require a complete military invasion, and in all fairness to former president Bush, not an easy task to accomplish. But now the goal has apparently changed. The hot new idea thought up by the Obama Administration is Nation Building. Nation Building? In an area of the world that trades women as prizes and that rules with the strict laws of a holy book? How can America expect a culture this different from ours to quickly adopt our way of life? We can’t, and we shouldn’t. And is this even a popular idea? I would say most Americans, including myself, supported the war in Afghanistan simply because we wanted Osama Bin Laden’s head on a silver platter, not because we wanted to share our democratic principles with a region dominated by religious dictatorship. History has shown us that this kind of war tends to end poorly, the idea that we can get rid of a group that is not pro-America and replace it with a United States loving capitalist-democratic-republican-freedom loving-non-theocratic-moralistic society. But I think one thing is certain, when Afghanistan is ready to embrace some of the more modern and pro-freedom choices in government, they will do it on their own behalf. The American Revolution didn’t occur because some foreign power told us to do it, and the French didn’t overthrow the King because another country invaded. All revolutions have to be carried out by the oppressed people, and will prevail if the people truly believe in their cause.

Now if you don’t like my previous reasoning for getting out of Afghanistan, let’s try the history of the country itself. Over the years, many strong, powerful imperialists have tried to take over Afghanistan. Alexander the Great, Ghengis Khan, the British Empire, and The Soviet Union are four of the big ones, and all four lost countless troops and soon after their Afghanistan campaigns, their entire Empire. They lost troops due to fierce rebels, blizzards, severe droughts in desert regions, and because of poor planning for mountain warfare. The rebels of Afghanistan always had the advantage of knowing the landscape, and being able to fight on the side of a mountain helped them out too. These four I mentioned were not peace bringing soldiers like the American Army; they were ruthless military forces that simply tried to obliterate the insurgents that tried to stop them. They didn’t have intentions of “spreading democracy” or educating the masses to prevent extremism. Their goal was to take over the territory, and they would do whatever it takes, with however many troops they needed, to take the country. America cannot afford (economically and in terms of human life) to fight the kind of war necessary to take control of Afghanistan, so what are we to do? Fight the war and go even further into debt? Have a military draft? Let’s see how well that goes over with America’s young voters.

General McChrystal just asked for more troops; translation: “we are losing.” It seems President Obama has two options: Send the extra troops that McChrystal wants (and probably more and more over the years we fight this war) and try and win it for the pride of America, or get out, take the loss, and save lives. Just like Vietnam, if we “lose,” do we really lose anything? We don’t need the territory of Afghanistan, and we’re not defending any democratic rebels that want our help in their valiant cause. In fact, the people there absolutely hate the United States and anything related to Western Civilization. That’s a funny parallel to Vietnam, since the people there hated us for trading them to the French government so France would join NATO. The Vietnamese simply wanted their own government, and if the only way was to embrace communism, it was fine by them. The people Afghanistan want their own government to. Do I agree with the current government in Afghanistan? @#$% no! It’s an oppressive theocracy that treats women like crap, keeps its people uneducated so that they will embrace distorted views of the Quran, and supports terrorism. We can’t build a nation in Afghanistan, and with the money we have spent in Afghanistan could have solved other national problems, such as healthcare or clean energy. This is why we need to pull out of Afghanistan, take the “loss”, and move on with our lives. We are not an imperialist nation, and the people of America are tired of being constantly at war. And I know one thing for certain; the American people are tired of being the military force of the United Nations. We should use our military to protect our own interests and our allies. However, if the people of Afghanistan call us tomorrow and say they want help with a revolution to overthrow the oppressive and corrupt government, then we’ll be more than happy to help.

Crazy like a FOX.

Posted October 18, 2009 by markolepeterson
Categories: Uncategorized


White House Communications Director Anita Dunn recently came forward to reveal the patently obvious, that FOX news channel was in effect the propaganda arm of the Republican party and their cynical puppet masters, working tirelessly to whip up primitive patriotism,  support for destructive religiosity, and paranoid post-McCarthy Marxiphobia.

While  the tone she used was  professionally tailored for public consumption, her statement was blind to a central fact in the manipulation of public thought for oligopolistic benefit:  It does not matter whether something is true or holds up against rational scrutiny, the repetition of propaganda will always create an army of believers; relatively poor people ranting in the streets about socialism like abused dogs vigorously protecting their masters. Alas Czar Anita Dunn,  isn’t that what the Fascio-liberal  Marxist propaganda minister would say about the shining beacon of truth and objectivity?

The deep truth is that while we in the liberal elite scoff at sideshow that is FOX news, we must realize that with each passing day, their ratings continue to grow, and so does their power to influence popular thought. What we are dealing with is a viewership that is deeply hostile to facts, one that has to some extent been engineered and encouraged to be as such.  These are the people who applaud when Bill O’Reilly( moving his head around like a schoolyard bully) tells Richard Dawkins that he is “sticking to his Judeo-Christian god because YOU GUYS,[ collectively scientists]  can’t tell me how all this got here. ”

As if  succumbing to anesthetic platitudes on the machinery of the universe were a virtue. As if fairy tales were better than the cautious pursuit of  facts and the suspension of judgment.Somebody get Orwell on the phone we have a problem.  While the myth makers at Fox have been  whipping up anti-socialist fervor and protecting Jesus Christ from liberals who want to heal the sick ,  income taxes  are being used to ensure the profitability of privately owned corporations. Insurance companies are vying for fixed government contracts to insure  45 million, private military contractors comprise the majority of the U.S. military at the same time that habeus corpus, right to privacy and other fundamental Americanisms  are being systematically eliminated. If this is Marxism or Leninism, then Fox news is a shining beacon of journalistic independence. If there is any reek coming from Washington  these days it is the reek of conciliatory proto-fascism, that is to say that the stench of the fusion of  the interests of the private sector with that of the public interest have been misted with the cologne of pretended populist reform.

So one must ask themselves the most basic of critical questions: If FOX news is playing puppetmaster to the religious right, fanatical, scared, paranoid and just plain stupid, what are their objectives in doing so?  Are they simply providing a political product for pure profit , while at the same time keeping a Republican-oriented viewership on full-boil for the next election?  Do you fools in the Bible Belt think Rupert Murdoch actually cares about “preserving the sanctity of marriage, christmas, etc..?”  Do you think  he sits around with his  25 year old trophy wife on christmas eve waiting eagerly to go worship with the cult that was formed around a 1st century semite after his death?  Elites care about the same things they have throughout all of history, which is preserving whichever myths, fairy-tales,  conflicts, and moral distortions keep the masses from fully understanding the extent of their exploitation. So we  who consider ourselves to be concerned with truth in society cannot just be reationaries to the  day-to-day antics of FOX news,  lest we dive headlong into the echochamber never to return.  We must realize that FOX news  is there to distract and distort, and if we want to get a close look at what the oligarchs are afraid of watch what they do, and not what they say.  What’s that I said?  I said you don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows. Over and Out.