Monday, March 30, 2009

So who it twitter for? Find out if YOU belong in twitteronia!

A couple weeks ago, I speculated as to whether or not twittering was a sign of a mid-life crisis. Commenter James Barnes pointed out that Twitter users had a higher average age than Facebook and Myspace users: 31, 27, and 26 repectively. But now Twitter has become cool for everyone. So if you're still unsure as to whether or not you want to join twitter, or if you just don't know all that much about twitter, I hope you will find this video instructive.

Feel free to direct your GW peers to your twitter stream :)

UPDATE: GWBlogspot has a twitter

Getting a lecture on approved snacks in Gelman is really fun

Here's a helpful tip for all of you who cram at Gelman and habitually bring restricted food items there: don't try to sneak in a pizza box, or you'll soon be hearing numerous lectures on what constitutes an approved snack.

I recently made the mistake of ordering breadsticks from Cappucino to Gelman, in order to meet the $10 delivery minimum. This comes in a pizza box.

Realizing that a pizza box was not at all conspicuous, I rushed through the turnstiles with it anyway and made it to the elevator and to a coveted 5th floor study room. I thought I had made it home free, but I was wrong.

Soon, some weird guy sitting at the front desk found me and told me I had to go to Cafe G. Since I had actual homework to do, I stopped eating and put the box on the other side of the room.

A half hour later, the manager came up and gave me a lengthy speech and an insightful pamphlet as to what I am allowed to eat in Gelman.

The rules declare you cannot have a meal in Gelman:
Five signs that what you have is a meal.

1. It requires utensils
2. It came in a bowl, or on a plate
3. When you brought it, you were able to pick out your toppings
4. You have to worry about sauce getting on the table and your clothes.
5. Just not sure? Eat it in Cafe G!
Some fun facts about an order of breadsticks:
1. Does not require utensils.
2. Not served in a bowl, or on a plate.
3. Does not have toppings.
4. Does not have sauce on it.
5. Given it doesn't meet any of these criteria, I'm sure I don't want to eat it in Cafe G.
Also found in the pamphlet:
And please keep Gelman beautiful by cleaning up when you're done.
I'll clean up my garbage, but would that really keep Gelman beautiful?

Regardless, I won't make the same mistake twice. From now on, I will properly conceal the restricted foods I bring to Gelman.

Trying to Understand the Not So Nice Comments Directed Towards Adam Green...

So, there have been comments here and there hating on Adam Green, to which he gave a (substantial) response. But I don't think Adam is fully addressing the issues that these anonymous commenters have with him. This is how he starts his reply:
In the interest of transparency and constructive dialogue, let's have the discussion.
First, let's start with the main point on the table the last couple days. Is it fair game for GWBlogspot in general, or me in particular as admin of GWBlogspot, to critique the Hatchet?

But I'm not sure that's the only issue. Take a look at some of the comments being posted:
9:34 [Comment From Adam Green]
Is the GW Hatchet there? Are the Department of Justice people swarming them -- asking to give a statement to GW's "paper of record" (according to Hatchet comments on GWBlogspot yesterday)?

9:36 [Comment From Adam Green]
If Obama puts a seal on the podium, is there any chance the JEC will be forced to kick Obama off stage for not officially declaring the podium as an expenditure?

Adam, you're getting more and more pathetic every day.

Seriously. This guy sounds like he didn't check a lot off his to-do list in college and is attempting to extend the experience. Doesn't exactly summon the word "professorial" -- though "juvenile" comes to mind.

God save the Political Science department if Adam Green ever receives tenure.

My interpretation of these comments is that some people feel that Adam, in his capacity as a professor, has no rightful place in student discourse. My question to these commenters is: why not?

One of the selling points that most universities tout in their brochures and on visit days is how "accessible" their professors are. Think back to when you read about/visited colleges, don't you remember some university talking about how there is such a great sense of community at their university that students feel comfortable asking a professor to have coffee with them to talk about anything that's on their mind? I can't think of a better example of accessibility than a professor who participates in student dialogue and treats students as equals, rather than trying to use their "position of power" as a professor to prove that they are right rather than proving their points through the actual merits of their arguments. Would you prefer professors that only lecture in class and refuse to engage in protracted dialogue with students? Isn't that the very type of dialogue that fosters learning?

The only arguments I can think of for why professor involvement in student discouse would be harmful is if people are afraid to challenge the professor or if the professor responds to students in a degrading manner. In this situation, I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

So... why so much hate?

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a currenty a student in Adam's Internet and Politics class; so feel free to make comments about what a suck-up I am. And hey, while you're at it, maybe even throw in a constructive response to my argument.

Looking Abroad For Work

From quarter life crises to general malaise, the current doom and gloom economy makes for a depressing job search.

While many students are looking in numerous cities for leads, few students are looking abroad for jobs.

My older brother, Roheet, was facing similar prospects after he graduated and decided to look for a job in the Middle East.

He is now an Urban Finance and Local Economic Development Expert in Syria, for Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, a development branch of the German Government.

In his words he:

Works to increase the economic utilization of the private sector in regards to restoration efforts in Old Damascus.

With a decrease in available jobs, and an increase in competition, it is especially important for graduating students to consider working abroad.

There are benefits to working abroad: Not every country has economic problems to the extent that the US does, working in a different country is exciting, in many cases you don’t have to pay US taxes, and you often get to travel to neighboring countries. For example, in addition to traveling throughout Syria, my brother has traveled extensively in Kurdistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.

My brother was able to get his job by networking while studying Arabic in Syria. In many countries you get a job solely by meeting the right people, so it pays to have connections. If you are studying in a particular country, you can job hunt while you’re there. Some people also take the more risky approach and simply move to another country and hoped to find a job.

In the mean time there are a few things you can do to jump-start your global career:
* Talk to a counselor at the career center
* Check for non-profit jobs throughout the world
* Apply for positions at US embassies
* Check foreign government websites for career help
* Talk to Professors with foreign connections
* Work on your foreign language skills

Would you consider working abroad? Have you worked abroad already? Do you have any tips for people looking for work abroad? Discuss in the comment section!

Update- There seems to be some confusion over the question of whether you pay taxes or not. If you work for an American based company, and paid in US dollars, you have to pay US taxes. If you're working for a non-US based company and paid in either local currency or another currency you don't have to. Tax laws get tricky if you're an diplomat/government employee or if you're not paid in a typical manner (ex: you get paid less but have your living expenses covered as part of the job). It's always best to check with either a tax specialist or HR professional before deciding not to pay taxes.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Alternative Reality of The Vern

My friends and I are sick of J st., we are sick of WOW, and in our relentless pursuit to save our Colonial Cash and waste away our Dining Dollars, we made the trek this evening from the comforts of our Foggy Bottom abode to The Vern for some sunday night dinner at Ames and a study session at Eckles Library. Let me begin by saying we missed the Vern Express by literally 20 seconds (we watched the bus drive away just as we turned the corner) and my first thought was "Thank God I don't live on the Vern." 

GW makes a visible and considerable effort to promote "vern" living and make the University's satellite campus an attractive alternative to the Foggy Bottom location. The most recent edition of The Hatchet included an article highlighting the "second annual Rock the Vern Weekend" which featured
"the Mount Vernon Semi-Formal, a Rock Band competition and a concert on Sunday with student bands"
Seriously, a semi-formal. I thought awkward middle school dances were over. To be fair, I did not attend. But I can only imagine what that could have been like. (If anyone reading did attend, please comment and let me know how it was) As for a Rock Band competition, it guess its fun, but as a school sponsored event? And I cannot comment or critique the Sunday concert but student bands tend to be very hit or miss. 

This is just one of many examples of GW trying to bolster the social life of the vern. The Hatchet covered the Mount Vernon Open Mic which proved to be a "success" in the words of Mt. Vernon Programming Council Performance co-Chair, Alex Larkin. However, the event only drew 5 or 6 people. Larkin claims,
"Its really hard to get people out on Mt. Vernon."
I have also heard some interesting rumors through the grapevine about GW planning to move all Freshman housing onto The Vern. This is merely hearsay. Yet, if it is true, I predict significant uproar from the student body. I could not picture myself living on the Vern. Although the campus is beautiful and tranquil, it is just too quiet. Hailing from Los Angeles, I like to think of myself as a city man. And I like walking home from Gelman at 2 a.m. and having cars and people constantly around. Yet the journey from Ames to Eckles at 9 p.m. is dead silent with no viable signs of life. 

I like making the occasional trip up to the Vern, as my friends and i did tonight. Ames is better than J St. Cafe and finding a place to study in Eckles is blissful compared to rummaging through Gelman just to find an open outlet. The Vern is a nice getaway from the day to day Foggy Bottom life. However, I would dread to live there. But if you are ever so inclined, make a trip up there for an evening of decent food and studying. 

Are you on crack? Or just LSD?

According to a GW Hatchet article, a GW student who was expelled last year for drug possession - including that of LSD - is suing for readmittance and $500,000.

The complaint states that the University breached a contract by not following its Student Code of Conduct sanctions, which list a $50 fine and required participation in a drug abuse program for first-time offenders. The University, however, responded that the sanctions listed in the student code are minimum punishments.

Jack also filed a motion that, if granted, would force GW to readmit to him to the University before proceedings continue. If GW does not immediately readmit him, Jack argued that his academic career will be significantly impacted and he will suffer "immediate and irreparable injury."

The most humorous element of this claim is the attempt to "protect" the student's academic record. However, according to case filings, the student had failed 3 of classes while attending, and received a grade of incomplete for the other 2.

I think that immediate and irreparable injury to one's academic record usually occurs when one starts tripping on LSD - in this case it most certainly did.

How could this student even make the case the he should be allowed back in? He was caught with large quantities of a variety of drugs, and had a seemingly low GPA of 0.00.

I want GWU to go up in rankings for academics, not psychedelics, so I vote this student should remain expelled.

What do you think? Add your comments below!

College Republicans v College Democrats: 4th Annual Freshman Debate!

On Tuesday, Apirl 7th in the Continental Ballroom of the Marvin Center (3rd Floor) College Republicans and College Democrats will be debating current topics! The debate will be hosted by the GW Freshman Facebook group, GWU Class of 2012 (One Group) . They will debating issues such as abortion, the economy, energy, and Guantanamo Bay. So far 130 students have RSVPd to the online Facebook event, but they're expecting many more students to participate and/or watch!

What other topics do you think they should discuss? Should more students be able to participate, instead of just freshman?
Discuss below!

The Catastrophe that is SA campaigning in front of Kogan

What's the first thing that comes to mind when I say: SA elections? I'm willing to bet that for most of you it was images of cars parked outside Kogan Plaza blasting cheap rap songs and hoards of students wearing colorful T-shirts plastered with their candidate's name/campaign slogan passing out candy and fliers.

That's what I first think of. If you're like me, you've probably found ways to adapt to the onslaught--especially if you pass by the Marvin Center more than four or five times a day as I do.

My coping technique is as follows:

T-shirt wearing supporter with candy: Hi have you voted?

Me: Yes, thank you.

TWSWC: Oh, great to hear.

That's all you have to say, even if you haven't voted. Here's the thing, what's the point of the whole scene in front of Kogan? Is it really an effective campaign strategy? I mean, you have a dozen campaigns all smooshed together fighting for the attention of students rushing off to class, work, etc. There must be a better way.

Living in the city means being stopped on every corner by Greenpeace, the homeless, street vendors and performers, the weird hippy commune guys from Stop Bitching Start a Revolution, signs asking if you want to help children dying of cancer (of course I do what kind of question is that?). After encountering all this, why would you want to stop in front of Kogan? Maybe I'm cynical, but I just think this isn't the best way to reach out to voters--instead I find it annoying.

I prefer candidates who reach out online and through debate. While I understand the value of "taking to the streets," I just think there has to be a better way to do this than congregating in one place and overwhelming potential voters every time they walk by.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Obama LiveBlog!

I know you're all's our liveblog of the Obama and Holder event!

It'll start at 9:30, so sit tight until then.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vote Today!!

Are you dissatisfied with current dining options? Do you wish you could have seen the syllabus of your least favorite class this semester before signing up? Are you tired of paying for events run by student orgs? Do you care about our student government?

One of these things is not like the other, you might think. The first three questions are those I have been discussing with students during the past two months. Overwhelmingly, you, the student body, have told me that there are parts of your everyday lives at GW that could be made a little bit less stressful. The last question at first glance seems out of place because for many, the answer is no, and really, that's ok. However, I believe that our student government is capable of voicing student concerns, discussing solutions, and implementing changes across campus.

Today, you have your last chance to decide who will be your student government president and lead the effort to bring changes students want to see to campus. Both Nick and I have put in a lot of time and effort into our respective campaigns over the past two months, and I ask that you take a minute or two to vote today. Choose the candidate that best addresses your concerns, choose the candidate that shares your values, or choose the candidate whose t-shirt color you like the best. Talk to your friends and get involved in the conversation because this is your opportunity. It’s only by working together that we can change our campus.

Vote online today from 9am-9pm at

The writer, Julie Bindelglass, is a guest blogger on and is currently running for S.A. President. More information on Julie and her campaign to Take Back the S.A. can be found on her website,

"Independent" Newspaper?

To say that the University doesn't heavily favor the GW Hatchet, GWTV, and WRGW over all other student news organizations would be a blatant lie. Now, I'm giving GWTV and WRGW a free pass here, because they have a monopoly on their forms on news distribution, and don't claim to be independent. But the Hatchet is different. They sit in their white tower of "independence," and yet are clearly favored by, and get insider treatment from, the University. Do you want to be this University's official newspaper? Fine. Do it. But don't try to call yourself independent in the mean time.

Yes, yes, I get it, they are run not under the auspices of the university, and technically can print anything they want, but there is something amiss here. The GW Hatchet is supposed to serve as a the information source for and voice of the students of GW, not a mouth piece of the university. But when that "independent" newspaper comes to have a close, intimate relationship with the institution they are supposed to be turning a critical eye on, they cannot possibly be doing a good job. I understand the desire to get good scoops, but I think the Hatchet is sacrificing too much for it.

What spurned this outrage from me, you may ask. Well, as I am sure you were all excited to hear, President Obama and Attorney General Holder will be coming to do some ceremonial swearing in at Lisner Auditorium this week. Ok, now go look for the same story here at GWBlogspot. I'll wait while you look.

Want to try the Daily Colonial?
The GW Patriot?
Wait, no, I know, let's go to the source. Check the press release! Here, try google!

Nothing? Huh. It seems that the University has given this scoop and made themselves available solely to the Hatchet. Don't believe me? Guess which is the only student press (Besides GWTV) given access to the event.

That's right, it's the Hatchet.

Now, we at GWBlogspot don't pretend to be perfect. We think our little corner of the web serves its purpose, and we hope to maintain some journalistic integrity as we work to be a voice to GW Students. Do we always succeed? Of course not. But we don't pretend that we do.

There's a certain sense of entitlement that comes with working at The Hatchet, that I think is working against them. As the biggest student newspaper, and the only one published as often as they are, the reporters, researchers, and editors there have become disconnected from what is going on here with the little people of GW. They forget that their newspaper isn't the be all, end all of student news, and refuse to work with other news organizations. And this hurts them. When all of your news and tips come from the university, you're in dangerous territory. Your reporting may be great, but if you're not reporting what's important to students, it doesn't matter.

I, personally, think the Hatchet could be an invaluable asset to the students of GW. It would given a forum to create a discourse on the problems facing GW students, and would allow them a way to organize with other students to fight for what we need. Instead, the paper has become watered down and useless; so concerned with keeping its ties to the information lines in the university that it refuses to challenge the status quo. I don't expect Woodward and Berstein from the Hatchet, but there are legitimate issues facing GW students today that are going unrecognized. If you're going to claim to be "independent," you better be darn sure to stand up when the students of GW need a voice.

Until then, I encourage you to avoid the conglomerate that the Hatchet has become. We at GW are lucky enough to have many other student media outlets, ones that are smaller and legitimately have an ear to the issues facing GW students. Make sure to check out the Daily Colonial, the GW Patriot, and Inside the SA, and keep updated here at the GWBlogspot.

In the mean time, stay informed, stay active, and make your voice heard.

For the record...

For the record books, poll results below. By the way, anyone see this kinda amazing quote from the JEC Counsel?
"Nowhere in the rules or charter is there an allowance, even for honest mistakes."
New poll question is up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vote Early and Often

Hey y'all, what a crazy couple of weeks its been. Even if you have just been skimming the Hatchet or GWblogspot you have probably heard all about the election. I have some good news though, the Runoff election will officially start tomorrow and run until Thursday at 9:00 PM. What does that mean?

We will finally have a SA President Thursday Night

So far its been confusing, drawn out, and just downright ridiculous at times. Don't let this deter you though, tomorrow while in class, in your dorm room, studying in the library, anywhere with internet access be sure to log in to and Vote! Its free and easy, so why not make your voice heard.

Here are some other reasons:
1. You get free candy on H Street
2. The girl/guy/TA you have a crush on thinks people who vote are hot
3. Its good practice for the real world (Remember the butterfly ballot?)
4. You get instant Karma
5. You officially (unofficially) get permission to complain about the SA next year

Should you vote for me? I think so, but if you want to find out more be sure to go to


BREAKING: Boyer to remain off ballot

The Decision and Orders of the Court, affirming the JEC's rulings, can be downloaded here.

From the decision (almost the whole thing):
In a 2-1 decision, this Court finds:

that the Joint Elections Committee did not abuse its discretion with regard to JEC Finding of Fact and Order S09-056, and

that the Joint Elections Committee did not abuse its discretion with regard to JEC Finding of Fact and Order S09-057.

Therefore, this Court orders:

that JEC Order S09-056 be affirmed,

that JEC Order S09-057 be affirmed, and

that the order of disqualification against Mr. Boyer be affirmed.

While the members of this Court disagree with the analysis of the JEC, and perhaps even the outcome, they recognize the deference due to the JEC and cannot find an instance of abuse of discretion.

A formal opinion will be issued by this Court in compliance with the Bylaws of the Student Court.


Christopher Wimbush
Chief Judge
This is the most interesting part:
While the members of this Court disagree with the analysis of the JEC, and perhaps even the outcome, they recognize the deference due to the JEC and cannot find an instance of abuse of discretion.
The opinion will definitely be an interesting read. In my estimation, the court just gave the JEC a lot of discretionary power that it did not enjoy before. No doubt the opinion will come with a lot of warnings to future JECs.

Also, the "abuse of discretion" standard will now most likely be the standard for going after JEC decisions in the future, not "arbitrary and capricious." Those words are not found anywhere in the Decision and Orders. Boyer was fighting to establish arbitrary and capricious behavior, the JEC contended that the abuse of discretion standard was the yard stick that should be used by the court.

Congratgulations James Bonneau and the JEC. You argued a good case.

Bindelglass v. Polk will move forward tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Boyer v. JEC Liveblog

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Internships Galore!

Coming back from a boring spring break in Connecticut, I spent a lot of time with friends who are having problems getting internships for the summer. As any GW student can tell you, finding an internship for us can be pretty easy (Well, non-paying ones, at least). We have gwork, and everyone I know has had at least one class with a professor who still works in their field. It was hard for me to relate to these friends, because getting an internship DC is like going to Walmart...everything's available cheaper than it is anywhere else.

But I've started to think. Sure, they're valuable. As the Career Center website says:
* Internships are a great way to experience different work settings and explore different career fields and options and help you to develop your network, to build resumes and develop skills.
* Students pursue internships to gain practical, professional experience and to link the world of work to their academic studies.
* Successful internships are planned work experiences where the student and employer are committed to the students learning and development. Students learn by taking part in the work of the organization and observing day to day operations.
* Internships are paid or unpaid, credit or non-credit and vary in hours per week and weeks per semester.
* Students should check with their school and individual departments for more information on obtaining credit for an internship experience. All credit is granted through your dean's office.
But in a super intern-rich environment, how much are any of these experiences worth? I'm starting to discover that my internships on the hill may mean nothing outside of the beltway. Sure, I've gotten experience, but the only reason it really benefits me is that I am able to build connections...padding my resume with many different resumes doesn't seem to set me out from anyone else, does it?

One thing a lot of my friends were talking about was at their universities (Uconn, Holy Cross, Northeastern, Harvard, you know, New England schools), it's very easy to work one on one with professors with their research. I have friends who have been published because they were research assistants for professors! I wouldn't even know where to start if I wanted to do that at GW...does anyone know if it's even possible? I'm interested to hear what people have heard about this!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Trial Update: Hearing Moved to Monday - LIVEBLOG! - Amicus Brief

The Kyle Boyer trial has been moved to Monday at 9:30pm in Marvin Center 401.

There will be a liveblog here on GWBlogSpot covering every nuance of the hearing and maybe even a live video stream. How exciting!

Also, if you're closely following the trial, you shouldn't miss the very interesting Amicus Brief filed by law students Michael Williams and Stephen Glatter over concern that the court is not properly applying US jurisprudence when it hears cases.

From the brief:
Amici curiae are a group of law students from The George Washington University Law School. Amici curiae are interested in this case because of their general interest in the field of law and their commitment to the fair administration of justice. In particular, amici curiae are concerned with the relatively inadequate legal reasoning advanced by many of the parties in the present case, including this Court. Therefore, amici curiae offer their limited expertise in the hopes that it will help clarify some of the important legal issues for this Court’s consideration.

Amici curiae offer two alternative interpretations of this Court’s standard of review, based upon the two traditional interpretations of the “arbitrary and capricious” and “abuse of discretion” standards in American courts. Amici curiae do not go so far as to say which standard this Court should adopt in this particular case. Nevertheless, this Court should not avoid adopting a clear standard of review—when such clear standards are readily available in U.S. jurisprudence—merely by sticking its head in the sand and declaring itself unwilling to listen to “legalese.” (Writ of Cert. at 1.)
Things are getting exciting. Stay tuned to GWBlogSpot for more news and frequent updates.

UPDATE: Another wonderfully written and well argued amicus brief from immediate past chair and immediate past vice chair of the JEC, Benjamin Balter and William Rone, in response to a not-so-well-written, not-so-well-argued amicus brief filed several days ago by former Student Court Chief Judge Ryan Sullivan. You'll notice that Balter and Rone go with straightforward logic in their response to Sullivan, and ditch the "legalese" the concerned law students ask for in their brief.

Also, see the court's response to the concerned law students' brief, if you really want to.

All trial-related documents can be read and downloaded here.

UPDATE 2: A very well written and well reasoned amicus brief just posted. Filed by former JEC investigator Jake Greenberg for Boyer.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Showdown Tuesday Night - Boyer v. JEC

Inside the SA broke the news this morning.

The Student Court will hear Kyle Boyer v. JEC this Tuesday night. Time and place TBD.

To see the (rather stern) writ of certiorari issues by Chief Judge Christopher Wimbush, click here.

From the writ:
Each side will be given 30 minutes to clearly and succinctly present their arguments. While the Chief Judge retains the authority to grant each side additional time to present arguments, no such additional time will be granted in this case. Requests for rebuttals will also not be granted in this case. The Court also advises parties that their oral arguments be direct, focused, and well- articulated. The Court also recommends that parties avoid excessive use of legalese in their briefs as well as in their oral arguments.
To what I'm sure will be to your great delight: GWBlogSpot will be liveblogging the trial.

Since the election cannot constitutionally be held any later than the 25th-26th, an opinion will almost certainly come out Tuesday evening.

It's going to be a busy day.

Spring Break Update: Boyer v. Joint Elections Committee

While the GW community has been on break, The Hatchet and Inside the SA have reported on the legal proceedings in the Student Court filed by Kyle Boyer against the Joint Elections Committee.

Boyer's filing, turned in on Monday, is lengthy and can be found here.

In brief, he challenges the JEC's ruling based on the "arbitrary and capricious" standard established in 1992 by the Student Court in Ferguson v. JEC, and later used in Cohen v. JEC in 2007 to undo the disqualification of a senator-elect.

A subsequent motion asking for summary judgment (or dismissal of the complaint) has been filed by the JEC, claiming that Kyle Boyer did not present sufficient evidence in his complaint to warrant a trial. That motion is best summarized in Logan Dobson's post linked here and above.

The court has yet to rule on whether or not it will hear the case.

Stay tuned for more updates and analysis.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Honestly?? Why Does Everyone Hate Smokers?

Before anyone starts freaking out over the title of this post, let me first and for most explain I am not a cigarette smoker. I mean sometimes after some drinks I make dumb decisions and take drags of my friends, yes I do smoke Shisha and enjoy it very much, and other smoke causing substances will not be discussed, however a smoke free GW campus...ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I understand that some people do not like the smell of cigarette smoke, and that is why there is no smoking in buildings, dorms, restaurants, or bars in all of DC. AND apparently buildings can put restrictions on how close a person can stand near an entrance while smoking. However, how do these three graduate students think they can stop people from smoking on all of GW campus. Oh wait....THEY DON'T. To me, this sounds like a major detail, but according to the Campus for Clean Air it is a "detail they hope GW administrators can help iron out."

However, the group has one suggestion to stop smokers.
Since GW has a problem with boundaries, this policy should be enforced wherever a [University Police] officer is able to impose University rules.
WOW...great idea. Let's take time to train University police officers on what zones are smoke free, and then what? They write them a ticket? They tell them to put it out? They kick them off a PUBLIC campus? What if it isn't a GW student? These are just some questions that come to mind BEFORE I would go to the administrators with my idea, but that's just me.

I don't like cigarette smoke but it's not like I wallow around in it for fun. Outside Gelman people smoke all the time, and ya I might get a smell of it as I walk by, but is that really crime enough to have to put a ban on smoking outside buildings? Does it really affect someones day that much that when they walk by a smoker, they wish an officer would come over and scold them for their decision? And I am sorry Chris Carrier that you are "asthmatic" and walking through clouds of smoke on the street affects you but people need to be adults and deal with the cards they are dealt. Maybe cross the street when you see a group of smokers? Hold your breath?

I feel as though GW has more problems that UPD should be taking care of rather than tracking down pesky smokers. Such as, I don't know, when a girl was mugged for her i-pod outside 7-11?? or when someone gets assaulted in the alley that I walk down a lot...I should probably re-think my route to my dorm from now on, but I digress.

UPD cannot even figure out who has been smoking weed and cigarettes in Ivory dorms lately because the ventilation system is so complicated. I kid you not, they figured out which rooms are being affected, but cannot find the actual culprit. But even then, if they did, there would be an actual ability to kick those students out of housing. If I were a regular person walking on GW campus and a UPD officer stopped me to tell me to put out my cigarette, I'd laugh...out loud at the situation. Come on Campus for Clean Air, let's come up with a better idea of promoting student health because banning smoking on campus is not going to STOP a person from smoking.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Some recent poll results

Before taking them off the front page, here are some recent poll results. Got any suggestions for new poll questions we should ask?

(One option: A face-off of the winners below. "Which would you rather see in J Street: Kyle Boyer or Qdoba?" Just brainstorming...)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Things you must do before you graduate: a gift to the incoming freshman

Dear fellow graduating seniors,

First and foremost, I hope you all enjoy your final spring break as college students! This may be the last time you can live it up without feeling guilty.

Second, thank you all for making my experience here at GW such a good one. I have made some truly great friends and am thankful to have had such wonderful experiences at this university.

As a sort of gift to the incoming freshman class, I am working on compiling a list of things to do/not to do before you graduate. If you would like to contribute, please post a comment below.

Thank you all! I'll see you at graduation!



Thursday, March 12, 2009

Breaking: Kyle Boyer to Challenge JEC Decision

In an e-mail message to campaign supporters forwarded to the GWBlogspot Kyle Boyer: said:

YES I am going to challenge the decision. Too many people have volunteered their time, changed their profile pics, etc. for me to not finish this race. As soon as we can, we will file with the Student Court, and hopefully begin the process of reversing the JEC and finishing this election.

As of now elections are slated for the end of March. However, when Boyer does file suit, there is a chance he could postpone the election further.

Boyer's Ticking Clock

(Before this post begins - I am no expert on the SA. In fact, quite the opposite. However, I have recently learned a bit and feel that I have the capacity to write this post analyzing the process. If you know a lot about the SA and spot any errors here, sound off in the comment section.)

It's been a hectic few days at GWBlogSpot, with everything that has been going on at the SA and JEC.

As we've commented in previous posts, and Boyer's campaign has confirmed, the next logical step for his campaign, in order to get back on the ballot, is to file a lawsuit with the SA Court challenging the JEC's ruling to disqualify him.

We now know that the election is scheduled for the 25th-26th. We return from Spring Break on the 23rd.

Even if Kyle filed tomorrow, or first thing on the 23rd when we return, something tells me that it will not be enough time for the court to schedule a hearing and rule on the issue. In the last lawsuit Kyle was involved in, the signature issue, the entire process took several days.

What will happen if he files and there is no time for a full hearing? Can the court issue an order to push the election back yet again? Will the SA get involved and move the runoff for a second time? Will the issue be heard by the court after the runoff, rendering it all moot? Will Kyle even bother to file an appeal, as his campaign has indicated it will, given the time constraints?

Who's to tell at the moment? But whatever happens, the clock is ticking.

UPDATE: Just for fun. Prediction: Kyle files on the 23rd, the Court orders another delay in the election, pending the court's ruling, which will be in early April. I won't speculate beyond that. Any of you have a prediction? Sound off in the comments section.

BREAKING: Runoff Election Scheduled for March 25-26th

According to JEC's website, the runoff election between Julie Bindelglass and Nick Polk will be held March 25-26th.

See the left-hand sidebar of their website for confirmation.

Still waiting for news on Boyer's appeal to the Student Court.

UPDATE: The JEC's press release on the matter has been posted on their website (finally).

An excerpt (emphasis added):
The Finding of Fact and Order is more than five pages long, but the following excerpt from our decision on complaint 056 represents our long-standing policy on campaign rules:

“Our finding is consistent with the spirit of the rules regarding spending limits. The purpose of spending limits is not to limit the amount of money that a candidate will actually spend on their campaign. Rather, it is to ensure a fair election by providing a level playing field for all candidates. The purpose of such a rule is to make sure that no candidate has a greater level of purchasing power or ability to disseminate their message to the public.”

As a result of those violations, Mr. Boyer has accumulated eight total penalties during this election cycle. Pursuant to §7120 of the Joint Elections Committee Charter…we have issued Mr. Boyer an order of disqualification.

The Runoff Election is currently scheduled to be held on March 25th and 26th. According to §7107 of the JEC Charter, the Runoff candidates will be Julie Bindelglass and Nick Polk.

BREAKING: JEC Releases Fact and Finding Order

The JEC has released its 6-page Fact and Finding Order in the multiple Ballinger v. Boyer cases it dealt with tonight, disqualifying Mr. Boyer from his candidacy in the runoff.

The concluding sentence:
Pursuant to JEC Charter section 7120, as Mr. Boyer has accumulated more than six penalties in the given election period, we issue Mr. Boyer an order of disqualification.
News on the SA Court appeal and further details on the Fact and Finding Order will be reported as they become available.

A press release from the JEC, and undoubtedly Mr. Boyer and Ms. Bindelglass, are pending.

For Nick Polk's statement, see below.

UPDATE(x2 to reflect correction by Hatchet): Part of a statement given by Phil Bianchi to The Hatchet
"I think our next course of action is to go to the courts."
It's on.

EXCLUSIVE: Nick Polk Speaks

Exclusive statement from Nick Polk, emailed in to GWBlogspot:
"The confusion surrounding the election has definitely been unfortunate but I am excited to re-enter the race and continue working to put my goals out there."

Open Thread: What are you thinking about the Boyer situation?

The polls (on the left) are pretty split so far on the Kyle Boyer situation. Curious -- what are people thinking? Why was or wasn't the JEC right? Why should or shouldn't Kyle Boyer appeal? This is an open thread...

Breaking: Kyle Boyer off the Ballot

At a special election meeting tonight, the JEC found SA presidential candidate Kyle Boyer guilty of 5 violations.

Three were for overspending, one was for not reporting the use of a car, and one was for not reporting buying facebook ads.

Kyle therefore has a total of 8 violations, and was kicked off the ballot.

During the middle of the JEC announcement in Columbian Sqaure, Kyle got up from his seat and left the area.

Kyle does have the option to file an appeal in SA court.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

If Necessary, Will Boyer File Suit?

Emily Cahn of The Hatchet reports that the JEC has entered executive session and is deliberating the charges against Kyle Boyer in his campaign for SA President.

If he is removed, he apparently has recourse.

From the story:
Eight years ago, Roger Kapoor, an SA presidential candidate, was removed from the ballot for election violations. Kapoor exceeded the $1,000 spending limit by $20 for failing to report the fair market value of pizzas. Kapoor filed suit with the Student Court and was added to the ballot again.
Boyer won as a defendant in the SA Court earlier this year on the signature issue. If he is disqualified by the JEC, will he file suit to be reinstated? If he files suit, how will he fair as a plaintiff?

Stay tuned...

Twitter: Sign of a Mid-Life Crisis?

Is it just me, or is twitteronia being overrun by "middle aged" people?

Consider this an open-thread.

submit to reddit

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Freedom to Serve Rally This Friday

This Friday, the Servicemebers Legal Defense Network, an organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," is hosting a "Freedom to Serve Rally" and lobby day at the Capitol to press Congress to end the policy and to send the message that the American people will not be satisfied until gay men and women are allowed to serve openly in the military.

To RSVP for the rally this Friday, go to the facebook event or register through SLDN's website.

This fight has recently become very personal for many of us at GW. Todd Belok, my fraternity brother and friend, was recently removed from the Navy ROTC program here, and it has enlivened many on campus to take action on this vital issue.

President Obama has pledged to repeal it, and leaders in Congress have promised to make it a priority. Attend the rally and hold them accountable for their promises.

Go to the rally this Friday. It's probably the last day you're in town before Spring Break and let's face it, you should probably do a good deed before hitting up Daytona.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Great job, GWBlogspot team! w00t!

Over 200 people watched it live on GWBlogspot...

People viewed it in the US, Spain, Canada, Germany, Austria, Venezuela, and other countries around the globe (seriously!)...

Students chose the questions, not just before the event but in a liveblog DURING the event...

What was it? The historic GWBlogspot SA presidential run-off debate, streamed live tonight!

Watch the number of viewers grow...

And grow...

And grow...

It's obvious that word kept spreading and spreading throughout the hour-long debate. Over 200 people watched in all -- as many as 73 or so at any given time. Pretty friggin' awesome.

And there was vibrant chatter at the liveblog (which you can still check out). Many questions asked during the debate came from students' comments in the liveblog -- the essence of bottom-up democracy. Plus, there were some great cameo questions from the Colonialist and GW Ballroom Society.

Props to Neha (the super-duper moderator), Farhan (the stealthy director), Evan (the timekeeper), Nick and Stephen (the liveblog vetters), Lucy/Daniel/Paige (who liveblogged and promoted the debate), Andrew (poster designer), Katelyn (debate announcer and question gatherer), and Owen (logo designer).

I do believe this is the most historic moment in GWBlogspot's history (and heck, in GWU's online history) since January 28, 2008:

SA Runoff Candidate Debate

Free video streaming by Ustream

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Gelman Plans Are A Start

Gelman Library needs a massive overhaul to adequately fulfill the needs of GW students. 

While the $5 million proposal presented by University Librarian Jack Siggins represents an acknowledgment that change is needed, the plan would be much improved by focusing on adding study space rather than trying to make the first floor look like the newsroom at CNN headquarters:

The Hatchet's staff editorial reads:

How many flat-screen televisions does one school need?

Apparently, between J Street and the lobby of Duques Hall, we don't have enough of these around campus yet, because the plans for the Gelman Library first-floor renovations include an Information Hub decked out with a number of these flat panels.

Any GW student who has ever cracked a book open will likely argue that Gelman needs some serious improvements. Before shipping in the flatscreens, however, administrators should stop and consider what the true mission of a library really is.

Students absolutely don't need high-tech TVs. We probably don't even need that Information Hub. We just need a place to study, free from the distractions of our living environments. 

Today, with many students gearing up for a deluge of midterm exams, the need for more study space has never been more apparent. 

Unfortunately, the university does not see it this way:
"The University does not see this as a high enough priority to warrant even presenting this to the Board of Trustees," [Siggins] said.
The university should really reconsider its current course of action and explore the new Gelman plan (sans flat-screen TVs) before this year is over. 

Alternative Media and the SA

One candidate in the run-off has made alternative media and openness an integral part of their campaign. Julie Bindelglass, as former finance chair, I suppose, more so than Kyle Boyer, understands why so many people want openness in our Student Associaiton.

From her campaign website:

* Penning Our Progress: The Student Association Presidency is not as flashy as it seems. In fact, it is a job of meetings - meeting with administrators to serve as a megaphone for the student voice. I will maintain an executive blog, authored by the entire executive branch, chronicling the day to day work that we do on behalf of the student body.
* Financial Transparency: As Finance Chair, I simplified the financial process and instructed the Executive to place all financial documents online. As President, I will create to display to students where every cent of their student fee money ends up and allow students to browse all financial documents that are already available to the public, but only in the SA office.
* Proven Performance: As Finance committee chair, one of my top priorities was ensuring that that all meeting announcements, minutes, and agendas were all online in a timely matter. How can student leaders expect that the student body voice their concerns if we don’t know what our student government is working on? As president, every piece of relevant paper will be available to students.
It certainly seems like she wants to make new media a part of her administration, but thus far in her campaign, I don't think we've seen her make any substantial changes to how campaigns here at GW are run. And during her stint as finance chair, we didn't see any changes in openness.

And Kyle Boyer has, for the most part, not really mentioned this aspect. He's mentioned the importance of openness and new media, blogs, and the like, but hasn't put it into practice.

So, here's my question: How do each of the run-off candidates plan to use new media to increase openness between the SA and the student body, and do you really think that it will change anything?

Make sure to go ask your questions for the LIVE SA PRESIDENT RUN OFF DEBATE here!!

Recycling In More Than One Way...

The Hatchet recently ran a story about the Power Shift energy demonstrations that took place at the Capitol last week. Hearing about the convention that occurred the Friday prior, this was no surprise, however running into a large group of the activists in the Senate cafeteria was a little bit unusual.

As an Intern on the hill I usually eat my lunch in the basement dining hall while doing some reading for class. Getting the BBQ option with a side of Macaroni and Cheese, I found a seat in the crowded cafeteria and began my lunch.

Almost instantly there were 50 or more young activists wearing green hard hats swarming the basement floor of the Senate Office Building.

I was about finished with my food and the large group was looking for tables. Being the "green" supporter that I am, I volunteered the one I was using and went to throw away my garbage and the small amount of food I had left.

After tossing my trash into the waste bin, one of the activists reached in, pulled it out and walked over to the table where his comrades were gathered. He quickly picked out my dirty napkins and went to town on my remaining lunch.

It was definitely not something I would expect to happen while on the hill but it definitely shows that those "green" supporters are all about recycling, sustainability and allowing the littlest waste possible.

As the Hatchet noted, some of the demonstrators were GW students. I wonder if I will run into that one hungry activist again, on campus.

One little regret senior year

I am not necessarily proud to admit it, but I will:

In my four years at GW, I never got involved with the Student Association. And when I say involved, I mean I only voted in one election my junior year. Even in that election, I only knew a few candidates that I voted for.

Is it my fault for not taking initiative, or is it the fault of SA for not doing more to encourage student involvement. Honestly, I think it's my fault. Just look at election week, you can't get past the Marvin Center without collection a buffet of goodies with the candidates names plastered on.

I was speaking with Jason Lifton, our Vice President-elect, last week. We discussed the role of SA on campus and how much power the SA actually has to evoke change.

He said something that would seem common sense, but quite interesting--the following is not a direct quote:

It takes student support for an initiative to be successful. If enough students want something to get done, it will happen.

Just look at the Chipotle/Qdoba movement Paige Esterkin started. In about a week she had over 1,000 supporters on Facebook and got Sodexo to start serving burritos in J Street.

The administration is listening--and SA can't do everything on their own for us.

Looking back, I wish I had been a little more involved in student government. Maybe if I had, some of the things I griped about would have been changed.

The necessity of in-person advising

According to a GW Hatchet article published on March 5, the university is considering implementing an online advising system for students.

This newly proposed system would certainly provide students with easy access to simple information about major, credit, and other academic-related information, but it cannot be the primary point of contact for students. As the Hatchet's columnist Evan Schwartz argues:
Online advising would be a start to easing the advising process, but it should not replace the human contact necessary to feel like a part of an institution.
Schwartz is absolutely right. Students want to connect with people on campus, to be a part of the community, especially as freshmen. Connecting with a computerized advising system may actually leave students feeling disconnected.

Schwartz also suggests that incoming freshmen be assigned one advisor for all four years, so that students gain a foothold in the University during their first year, and then develop a relationship with that same advisor for the remainder of their time at GW. In addition, students would still be assigned a major advisor once declared, for guidance within their particular programs.

Longterm advisors are crucial, as they can better understand their students' personal and academic goals, how those goals change, and subsequently, what academic and professional options will best fit the students. Moreover, students who forge strong relationships with advisors may be more inclined to reach out to someone who knows them well, if in need of help.

Although I never received a four-year advisor, I have been lucky enough to develop excellent relationships with a few professors who have acted as unofficial advisors and mentors, providing me with guidance and advice both in and outside of the classroom. They have greatly impacted my outlook on life, and I look forward to maintaining these relationships once I graduate in May.

I strongly believe that every college student should have an opportunity to interact with an excellent advisor or mentor, and in-person, four-year advising is the best way to ensure that each student makes the most out of their college experience.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Runoff candidates to face off here on GWblogspot! Submit your questions today!

Get Excited Everyone!

GWBlogspot will host a live streaming-video debate between the last SA Presidential candidates standing on Monday at 9 p.m. This will likely be the only debate of the run-off.

Don't miss your final opportunity to vet these candidates. This is a chance to ask questions that were not discussed before the elections last week, and we need your help deciding what to ask.

In the last SA debate on GWBlogspot, you chose fiscal responsibility and accountability as some of the top topics, and candidates wrote detailed answers to your questions.

For Monday's live video debate, we want to know what other pressing issues you feel should be addressed before one of these top candidates is elected President.

Please post your questions on the blog and join us on Monday night for this exciting opportunity. (To sign up for an email reminder before the debate, click here.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Don't Get Stranded this Weekend

This weekend marks the jump back into Daylight savings time and the Washingotn Post has reminded us that this could effect the weekend plans of many GW students. If students plan on using the metro this weekend, be aware that the time change comes into effect at 2 AM sunday morning (right as some students are venturing back to foggy bottom). The normal weekend closing time for the Metro is usually around 3 AM. But once it hits 2 AM
"Metro will spring foward along with everyone else, and it will become 3 a.m., Metrorail's weekend closing time"
So GW students (and anyone else who reads this blog) be aware of the time change and plan your weekend schedule accordingly. Unless you want to get stuck with the cab fare back to GDubs, set your watch an hour early in the beginning of the night or stay within the 4-Ride zone.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No credit where credit was due

I appreciate the SA Presidential candidates so heavily engaging in our GWBlogSpot online debate (see: lefthand sidebar) and showing their support for student media other than The Hatchet.

However, not as much can be said for our school's "independent newspaper."

I was disappointed to see that Hatchet Reporter Emily Cahn's story regarding campaign complaints against Kyle Boyer did not reference The GW Patriot, the student-run media outlet which broke the story in the first place.

Our own Andrew Perez gave extensive credit to The GW Patriot in his post on the subject.

Props to The GW Patriot for breaking a great story. Thumbs up to Andrew for giving them credit for doing so. Shame on The Hatchet for their willful ignorance of other campus media.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Re-Rebuttal (The anatomy of a California winter)

This is a kind of overly sarcastic (but well-meaning) rebuttal to Owen's post (in response to my original post) earlier about the true nature of the East Coast winter.

Dear Owen (and all you GW New-Englanders),

I think I see your problem. It is that you don't know the truth about California (the greatest state in the Union). Here is a little rundown. You make a lot of claims about California. First off, we do have weather - it is just better than yours. You make the naive assumption that Los Angeles' "'warm' and 'hot'" is the only temperature in California. Let me inform you that even Los Angeles has more than warm and hot. We might not get to the "I'm freezing and must wear 4 layers to simply walk outside" cold, but it gets chilly every once in a while. You so eloquently write
"We get sad if the weather rises above 32 degrees. How is this possible? It's called "layering," and only some situations call for it - maybe this will help you put in context the snide comments you may her from us northeasterners about you and your over-tanned brethren as you all brave nearly 40 degree temperatures with nothing but a thick down jacket, a heavy sweater, and big black waterproof boots to protect you from an inch of slush on the almost 2-block journey from dorm to classroom."
Let me begin to say that my walk to class is always a 5+ block trek. And layering is great, its grand, but I prefer my flip-flops on a February morning. And you may mock my people for over layering but at least we do it with a little Hollywood style and pizzaz (please explain to me what the point of those boat shoes your New Englanders always wear ...... they are one step above crocks). You call us over-tanned but that is just because you are pale. White, colorless, blinding walking bodies of pigment. 

But guess what! We have something in common. I have been checking the weather forecasts for when I go home too! For what you ask?!?! For the surf report. Thats right, surfing, the ultimate argument in the "California kicks New-England's ass" debate. In the spirit of the Beach Boys, the quintessential west coast pastimes of cruising the glassy waves of the Pacific, which I can do in March, I will take out my 10 foot Stewart longboard and rides the day away.

However, I still have not answered your question.
"Plus... when do you ski?"
I don't ski .... I snowboard. I take a nice day-trip to Mammoth or Big Bear, grab some breakfast along the grapevine (ok you don't actually take the grapevine up to mammoth but I am using it for arguments sake) and then hit the slopes. Because we can do that in California. And if I was really ambitious, I could snowboard, surf, and atv across the desert all in the span of one glorious day of January California sunshine. Just let the Governator tell you ..... (or if you are not a terminator fan, listen to my main man Clint). 

And to answer your final question, I never had the same type of childhood experience as you did. I made sandcastles, body-surfed, buried my friends neck deep in the sand, and ate too much sand for my own good. I also hiked up the Santa Monica mountains, visited the California redwoods, kayaked down the Colorado river (which is in California if you didn't already know), and sailed the majestic Pacific ocean. I will close with some words from my Californian brethren, that prove once and for all that California is the greatest place in these United States. 

Well east coast girls are hip
I really dig those styles they wear
And the southern girls with the way they talk
They knock me out when Im down there

The mid-west farmers daughters really make you feel alright
And the northern girls with the way they kiss
They keep their boyfriends warm at night

I wish they all could be california
I wish they all could be california
I wish they all could be california girls

The west coast has the sunshine
And the girls all get so tanned
I dig a french bikini on hawaii island
Dolls by a palm tree in the sand

I been all around this great big world
And I seen all kinds of girls
Yeah, but I couldnt wait to get back in the states
Back to the cutest girls in the world

I wish they all could be california
I wish they all could be california
I wish they all could be california girls

I wish they all could be california
(girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
I wish they all could be california
(girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
I wish they all could be california
(girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
I wish they all could be california
(girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)

Storm of the Day (or, "Speaking of dramatic, watch me call out every GW student who has ever complained about snow.")

This is a kind of overly sarcastic (but well-meaning) rebuttal to Daniel Wolman's post earlier about his Angeleno take on local complaints about weather.

Dear Daniel (and the west coast/southern GW population as a whole):

I think I see your problem. You're hanging out with too many weaksauce New Englanders. The way I can tell this is that they allowed themselves to be "snowed in," as if that's a real thing that actually happens to people. When the roads aren't clear enough for motor travel, those are your prime fort-building/snowball-fighting/sledding/general-winter-frolicking hours. Feeling lazy? Well, if you're in New England, and it's winter, and you didn't stock up on hot chocolate and firewood beforehand, you have no one but yourself to blame. Point is, you can't waste your heavy-snowfall time with complaining, though I guess there's no way for an LA kid to know that. You probably don't even understand why I've been checking the two-week weather forecast for back home, hoping for below-freezing temperatures over spring break. It's called skiing, and it's awesome.* (side note: Okemo and Stowe are looking reasonably promising, though Mad River is probably pretty much done for the year.)

The truth is, you don't even have weather in Southern California. You just have "warm" and "hot." Coming from the humid, sweaty, polluted armpit of America as you do, though, I wouldn't expect you to know that in normal places, we have, what's the word, seasons. 65 degree days in December aren't so great; in fact, they're useless. I get plenty of those in the spring and fall. Plus... when do you ski?

In Western Massachusetts, most people get excited about the first snow, and are disappointed if the weather warms again and it melts away. Yeah. We get sad if the weather rises above 32 degrees. How is this possible? It's called "layering," and only some situations call for it - maybe this will help you put in context the snide comments you may hear from us northeasterners about you and your over-tanned brethren as you all brave nearly 40 degree temperatures with nothing but a thick down jacket, a heavy sweater, and big black waterproof boots to protect you from an inch of slush on the almost 2-block journey from dorm to classroom. Also: in winter 1996, I was 6 years old, and about four feet tall. We got 5 and a half feet of snow. Did your childhood at any point feature freaking awesome snow tunnels to everywhere, that you could travel through standing straight?

(Also, as a final note, I think you may have mistaken the nature of the complaint of your friend and my fellow Western Massachusettsian: the problem with DC snow is that it's too freaking WARM here for it to be enjoyable. See, when snowfall is immediately preceded by t-shirt weather, it melts on contact with the unfrozen ground. Hence, "disgusting, cold, wet white crap.")

*You know, even if you're kind of mediocre at it, like me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Is Kyle Boyer In Trouble?

Student Assocation Presidential candidate Kyle Boyer allegedly failed to report four expenses in the expenditure report he submitted to the Joint Election Commission and may have actually exceeded the $1,000 spending limit, according to a complaint filed by senior Wylie Ballinger on March 2 and a subsequent report by The GW Patriot's Bill Flanigen.  

The Patriot writes:
Ballinger alleged that the financial statement provided by Boyer to the J.E.C. failed to report the fair market value of the car he used while campaigning on H street on February 25-26, a parking ticket he received, parking meter payments, and the cost of Facebook advertisements. The fourth violation report alleged that, when the undeclared expenses are included in the tabulation of Boyer’s spending, he surpassed the $1,000 spending limit for presidential candidates.
The student-run publication, which according to its website aims to promote conservative and libertarian views on campus, verifies Ballinger's claims:
An examination of Boyer’s expenditure report by the Patriot confirmed that the candidate did not report any spending for a car, a parking ticket, or meter payments, and that he reported no purchases of Facebook advertisements. Included in Ballinger’s complaints were pictures of a car being used by Boyer and his campaign supporters on H street in front of Kogan Plaza. A parking ticket was visible beneath a windshield wiper of the car.
Boyer, who fell just two votes short in the Feb. 25-26 election of preventing a run-off, has been penalized by the J.E.C. for three other campaign-related violations. 

If the J.E.C. finds him guilty of these violations, Boyer will have more than six violations and thus be disqualified.  

This means SA Senator Nick Polk, who finished third in the initial contest, would compete against SA Senator Julie Bindelglass, who placed second, in the March 11-12 run-off.  

The J.E.C. documents are not currently available online. 

GWblogspot would like to open up the comments section to discuss the merits of the complaint filed against Boyer. Please give us your input. 

Burrito del Rey Comes to J Street!


A bunch of us were invited to taste test the new restaurant's tacos and burritos last night, and I have to admit, the food was pretty delicious.

There will be a comment box on Burrito del Rey's counter all week for you to submit both positive and negative feedback. Tell us what you think of this new restaurant. Is it as good as Chipotle or Qdoba? What do you particularly like or dislike about the food served? Is the price reasonable?

Keep in mind, this venue will just be here for the semester, and there is still a large possibility that Qdoba will be in J Street in the fall! This new Mexican restaurant just proves that when we complain to the administration, there will be a response and that they do care about what we want!

You can also discuss Burrito del Rey on our Facebook wall and discussion board!

Also, there is poll to the left of this post asking whether or not you are satisfied with Burrito del Rey!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Trouble With Runoffs

Firstly, congratulations to all of the SA candidates who won their elections last week, and congratulations and good luck to those involved in runoff elections.

While Kyle Boyer got intimidatingly close to the 40% margin required to forgo a runoff election, falling only two votes short of an outright victory and garnering over 16% more of the vote than chief runner-up Julie Bindelglass, his stellar performance in the first round elections should not be construed by anyone as a guarantee of success in the runoff, especially to his campaign and strong supporters.

Runoff elections provide a classic advantage for underdog candidates. Favored candidates, which I would most certainly contend Kyle was and still is, attempt to build grand coalitions of supporters in the first round election, in hopes of gaining an early win and not having to bother with a runoff election. It's a smart strategy, and it works much of the time. It almost did for Boyer.

However, what heavily favored candidates must be wary of in runoff elections is the support for the multiple underdog candidates coalescing around the one remaining less heavily favored candidate in the runoff election. This, accompanied with diminished turnout, which helps heavily favored and more publicized candidates, and a drop in enthusiasm for the coming election, can all add up to an underdog win, if the underdog candidate mounts an effective campaign.

So, before you write off Julie Bindelglass, or don't vote because you think the result is a foregone conclusion, remember that she can definitely win the presidency if she puts in the necessary effort.

In short, neither candidate can take the other's strengths or their own weaknesses for granted. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Learn more about their campaigns here (Kyle Boyer) and here (Julie Bindelglass).