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the claremont rockin’ the boat on the 5-Cs Port Side national international campus October 2007 | Volume V | Issue I A U.N. rapid reaction Force The reasons why we need it now, more than ever. By Charles Sprague By Andrew Bluebond Primary Politics By Michael Sciortino Pakistan’s Prez People are confusing the real horse Musharraf’s control is being tested. race with the calendar. Let’s hope he gets democracy right. the Credit Crunch By Adam Coleman CMC Grad School? By the Campus Coxswain Learn how subprime loans are $200 million donation with some crushing the economy questionable earmarks... (editor’s note) progressive with a little “p” T hey say not to punish sons for sins of their fathers. campus was dominated by a conservative Government fac- Well what about the words of mothers? I inherited ulty and devoid of an alternative voice. The Port Side began this publication and its tag line from a woman be- as an affront to that intellectual stagnancy. As Jong put it, fore my years, and initially, I feared I was damned to suffer it was “progressive with a little p.” her diction: “a progressive publication.” See, like many, I The term comes from Latinate roots meaning, “to walk viewed the term “progressive” as a not-so-clever replace- forward.” Thus, progress is not fighting for racial purity or ment for the “l-word.” Peter Beinart, editor-at-large of the championing social engineering; it is something more basic New Republic, agreed: “Liberals have switched to progressive than that. It’s movement with direction and, for us, the in- for marketing purposes... which speaks of a larger poverty tellectual compass of reason and fierce debate. of liberals understanding their historical intellectual tradi- tions.” It’s not that I feared the political association, but Of course, the Port Side still holds its obvious association I loathed the superficiality. Progressivism just seemed hol- with the left. But again, let’s return to history. The political low. understanding of the “Left” came about during the French Revolution where nobles sat to the President’s right and the Concerned, I decided to dive into the history of progres- commoner’s held the left. Thus it began as a symbol of the sivism. I didn’t like what I found. In the American tradi- people. It is that populist understanding that we proudly tion, progressivism began philosophically with John Dewey, uphold, tying the common interest to fierce pragmatism championing empiricism, then later become overrun, po- and trust in potential. litically, in the early 1920s with radicals and disparate social reformers. In fact, the once reasoned core of the move- So the goal was not to sidestep the liberal stigma, but to ment was replaced with an insistence on belief: As scholar undermine it. Neither the statism of modern liberalism, Siva Vaidhyanathan put it, “If you want a quick phrase nor the individualism of classical liberalism would hold the that captures the spirit of progressivism, it’s ‘cleanliness is publication back. In that, this philosophy embodied Bein- next to Godliness.’” This opened the door, yes, to necessary hart’s lament: It threw away its American history. reforms (suffrage and the like), but to segregation and na- How will we know if we are moving forward? We won’t tivism as well. I suppose superficiality is better than that. always know for sure, but you can’t guarantee we won’t be. Disheartened, I changed my focus. I called Anneke Jong, At the Port Side, we believe change can be good and the only CMC-alum and founding mother of the Claremont Port Side, way to find out is to rock the boat and see what happens. and she gave me a history lesson. Luckily, I took notes. The Port Side began in the fall of 2003. A conservative October 2007 |Volume V | Issue I editor-in-Chief Abhi Nemani Port Side Senior editor Mike Sciortino Managing editors campus Max Mautner international Charles Sprague national Kyle ragins Copy editors emily Meinhardt Brad Walters Amy Berg Layout editor | Web editor Madison Shimoda | Sean McGregor illustrators Matthew Benzinger, Stephanie Bulger the claremont The Claremont Port Side is dedicated to providing the Claremont Colleges with contextualized, intelligent reports to advance debate among students and citizens. This is a progressive newsmagazine that offers pertinent information and thoughtful analysis on the issues confronting and challenging our world, our country, and our community. Each article in the Claremont Port Side reflects the opinion of its author(s) and does not represent the Claremont Port Side, its editors, its staff, or the Claremont Colleges. Letters, Questions, Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org Page 2 | October ‘07 | claremontportside.com (campus) No More Madrigal How a CMC Tradition Could Disappear By Kyle Ragins F or 27 years, the Madrigal Feast has been treated at the affair, complaining that the choir’s one of Claremont McKenna’s most cher- performance at Madrigal was treated as “enter- ished traditions, but it will come to an tainment rather than an artistic event.” How- end this year unless students step up. Charles ever, according to Snortum, the blame should Kamm, the Choral Director of the Joint Music not fall entirely on Kamm’s shoulders, because Program, has decided that he no longer wants the Athenaeum had plenty of reasons to end the Chamber Choir to perform at Madrigal. As Madrigal on its own. Madrigal was a “party a result, Bonnie Snortum, Director of the Ath- atmosphere” that emphasized “eating, drinking, enaeum, has opted to and being merry.” discontinue Madrigal This Christmas Snortum wonders, Feast, bringing an end to the 27-year tradi- concert will not have costumes, “is thatdowhat the should in we tion. it will not have wassail, and Athenaeum?” Snor- For those students who it will not have kissing fruit. tum’s main concern don’t know, Madrigal was “lack of respect Feast is a medieval- These concerts are not Madrigal. for the building.” By themed holiday dinner Snortum’s own ad- that occurs in the Athenaeum each year, com- mission, Madrigal has always been a big party plete with costumes and decorations, choral hol- event ever since it began 27 years ago. So why iday music, and a multi-course medieval meal. now, after 27 years, has the Athenaeum admin- Over the years, Madrigal Feast has become one istration finally decided that it is unacceptable to of CMC’s favorite traditions, with its kissing have a “party atmosphere” in the Athenaeum? fruit, wassail, and scripted comedic performance Snortum explains that “If the choir hadn’t pulled by the choir between songs. out, we still would have continued Madrigal and managed with the problems.” Snortum and the “Madrigal is pretty much the best thing ever,” administration claim that Madrigal is not go- according Brian Fuerst ‘09, a sentiment agreed ing away. It is just “evolving” into a Christmas upon by almost any student you ask. Last year, choral concert. This Christmas concert will not 532 CMC students (and even more students have costumes, it will not have wassail, and it will from the other four colleges) not have kissing fruit. These concerts are not “To allow [Madrigal] attended the three nights of Madrigal. Madrigal that were open to to disappear [would] students. Trustees, alumni, This problem is just asking for the entrepreneur- hurt the life of the and friends of the College ial ability of CMC students to step in and save had their own nights to at- the day. There is no reason that a different type college more than a tend, as they do every year. of entertainment could not be substituted for lot of those involved The event was filled to ca- the choir, consequently saving Madrigal. CMC pacity every night. Mad- students could form a club to put on the perfor- recognize.” rigal is not just popular mance each year. The club could write its own because it is fun (which it script and recruit actors to perform in a comedic is), but also because it is a CMC tradition. As Christmas play that would serve as entertain- ASCMC President Brad Walters ‘08 points out, ment at the event. This play could incorporate “CMC has very few long-standing traditions. Madrigal musical classics and original songs To allow [Madrigal] to disappear [would] hurt written by students. the life of the college more than a lot of those Snortum has said that reinstituting Madrigal involved recognize.” under a new set of terms is certainly something Despite all this, the Athenaeum administration she would consider, but immediate student ac- Kyle ragins has decided to put an end to Madrigal. Snortum tion and negotiation are required. This is your is a junior at CMC and chance, as students, to act and save a tradition. said that the original impetus for the decision a managing editor was the choice of Professor Kamm to pull the Our college is rapidly changing, and, as students, of the Chamber Choir out of the event. Kamm was we can act to preserve the CMC that we know Claremont Port Side. fed up with the way that the Chamber Choir was and love. claremontportside.com | October ‘07 | Page 3 (campus) CMC, A Graduate School? Yes—there are 200 Million Reasons Why By The Campus Coxswain C hristmas is coming early for cation, and Williams’s Center for De- well. Will students at the other Clare- CMC this year. Alum Robert velopment Economics offers a Master mont Colleges be able to take advan- A. Day (Class of ’62) is set to of Arts in Policy Economics degree. tage of the MA in Finance? If they are gift CMC one of the largest donations Thus, CMC’s new envisioned program restricted, it will be a further blow to in the history of higher education, ru- may seem radical in the context of the already strained relations between the mored to exceed $200 million. Surely, Claremont Colleges, it actually makes colleges in areas of academic collabo- this gift will keep on giving, but will we the college more akin to non-Clare- ration; if non-CMCers will be able to like what we get? This sum does not mont peer institutions. Of the South- take advantage of this new opportunity, come earmark free. According to in- ern California Intercollegiate Athletic CMC may need to prepare for an in- dependent sources, CMC must use the Conference (SCIAC) colleges, only the flux of off-campus majors. money to build a Master of Arts (MA) 5-Cs lack the Western Schools and Col- Most importantly, the CMC’s indepen- in Finance certification program. Yes, leges Association accreditation to offer dent offering of an MA program chal- Claremont McKenna College will offer Masters Degrees. This will probably lenges the very nature of the College’s a graduate degree. change soon. liberal arts character. CMC already Though exact details on the amount considers itself as a school that “edu- will be announced soon, even low es- Instead of the cates leaders for business, government timates would rank this donation as University providing and the professions,” but it also consid- the largest to an American liberal arts ers itself a liberal arts college. Tradi- college, according to Chronicle of the certificate, tionally, liberal arts colleges pursue the Higher Education. Moreover, it would the liberal arts development of the complete individ- swell CMC’s endowment by at least ual, emphasizing intellectual inquiry, 20 percent. Of course, the availabil- college will. curiosity, and freedom. Scholar Verne ity of the funds to other non-Finance Stadtman of the Carnegie Foundation related items (i.e. other departments or Though the other colleges’ programs lamented, “the conversion of liberal programs) remains unclear. Day’s past set a precedent, it is important to re- arts institutions to comprehensive insti- donations have been fairly pointed. On member that each college constructs its tutions engaged in vocational and oc- campus, Day’s name is most commonly program uniquely, tailoring it to their cupational programs is saddening.” By associated with the Robert A. Day 4+1 needs and their identity. Thus, the offering a MA in Finance CMC is tak- BA/MBA program between CMC CMC student body should be asking ing a step away from being a practical and Claremont Graduate University the administration a few questions. liberal arts college, toward being a pro- (CGU). The program allows CMC fessional school with general education How will the new program interact graduates to pursue a Master in Busi- requirements. How much further can with the existing departments? CMC ness Administration (MBA) at CGU’s CMC move in this direction without is already viewed as finance and ac- Drucker School of Management in damaging its liberal arts character? counting school, though both fields are only one year. A CMC Master in Fi- housed under the economics depart- These questions are new for the 5-Cs, nance program would mirror this, but ment. With a new demand for finance but in fact, they are common, histori- cut out CGU. Instead of the Univer- courses, is the study of economics des- cal ones for American liberal arts col- sity providing the certificate, the liberal tined to become no more than a sup- leges. In the past, many have noted arts college will. port for finance and accounting? If so, the slide towards the university system, Interestingly, this idea is not uncom- CMC may find it increasingly difficult and some have tried to combat it. In mon. Though none of the other con- to attract quality economics profes- his 1962 The Smaller Liberal Arts College, sortium undergraduate school offers sors—already a tough task. scholar Lewis Mayhew noted, “For half graduate degrees, many other colleges a century it has been predicted that the Historically, CMC has proudly billed across the country do. Boston College privately supported liberal arts college itself as a government and economics has a law school, Massachusetts Col- will soon disappear from the American school, with a solid faculty in both to lege has a Master in Education certifi- educational scene. Yet the four-year back that up. That balance has made liberal arts college, rooted in American CMC unique in the liberal arts com- civilization, continues to exist…” With the sources used for this piece preferred munity. Will this initiative tip that bal- another $200 million in the bank, sure- ance? to speak under anonymity. Story current ly our institution will continue to exist, as of time of printing, Sept. 24, 2007. This move may test 5-C relations as but will it be our college? Page 4 | October ‘07 | claremontportside.com (national) the Primaries Pushing Ahead The Effect of States’ Racing Up the Calendar By Andrew Bluebond P olitical junkies cherish the ver- Dean (D-Vt.) was easily supposed to the one you think can win.” biage that comes with presiden- wing the nomination in 2004, but alas, Sounds good. We tried “anything but tial elections. The Iowa Caucus, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) got to lose Bush” in 2004. It didn’t work. Demo- the New Hampshire Primary, and Su- for the Democrats instead. crats and Republicans who say, “I want per Tuesday are all signs of a heated On the Republican side, Pitney is less anyone who can win” are no better political contest to come. But when sure of how the nomination will fall. than the Democrats from last presi- Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan Whoever it is, he thinks they are unlike- dential election. Winning is nice, but affixed her signature to a white sheet ly to win in the generally election. it isn’t everything. If you like Rep. Ron of paper Sept. 4 that vocabulary took Paul’s voting record, get out there, and on new meaning. Passage of the bill “Rudy Giuliani appears to be the only hold your sign high. If you want to moved Michigan’s presidential primary Republican who can win,” he said. But Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to be your to Jan. 15, three weeks before the Dem- what does that mean for political sup- next president, then join Claremont ocratic National Committee’s caucus porters in the long run? If the prima- Students for Barack Obama and lend Feb. 9. ries are going to be over in five months, a hand to the campaign. Clinton has this thing nearly in the bag Moving one primary up is unlikely to and Giuliani is the only Republican So maybe we won’t get the divided con- change the entire political landscape, who can win, what is a political junkie vention á la “The West Wing.” Perhaps but it led a primary-date-setting arms like me to do? Michigan moving up the entire prima- race. The Iowa caucus is now on to Jan. ry schedule is going to run out the clock 14. New Hampshire state law requires This is where Pitney may have offered on the Obama campaign. Get over it. that the primary be at least seven days his best advice. When I asked him if Use it as motivation to stop waiting to before Michigan’s current date, but supporters should look to rally behind see how things will turn out. Setting any change in New Hampshire’s date a single candidate this early, he shared election dates has always been up to would require Iowa to move its caucus a useful quip. the states, anyway. If elections were up. The chain reaction has begun and “Life is too short to support people you the same every time around, that would could possibly force the primaries into don’t like,” he said. “It is better to sup- take the politics out of it, and, let’s be Dec. 2007. port the candidate you like rather than honest, where is the fun in that? CMC Professor John Pitney thinks that the change in dates will give us nomi- nees earlier than usual, especially in an election for an open seat. “We will probably have nominees in February,” he said. February? Where is my divided convention? Where is the dogfight to the finish? Michigan took the fun out of this election. At least it isn’t over now, right? Pitney isn’t willing to call the Democrat- ic nomination for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), but he likes her chances. “Unless something weird happens, Clinton is in a strong position to win the nomination,” he said. “But weird things happen.” Pitney is certainly right about this one. Weird things do happen. Howard andrew BlueBond is a freshman at CMC and a staff writer for the Claremont Port Side. Next Year’s Horse Race claremontportside.com | October ‘07 | Page 5 (national) the Credit Crunch Subprime Loans are Crushing the Economy By Adam Coleman F or the umpteenth time this summer, Coun- These loan types attracted two major borrower trywide Financial Corporation has made classes: the low credit borrower and the home the front page with news of its financial “flipper.” A “flipper” plans to hold on to a home woes. Recently, Countrywide announced that it until it appreciates only to resell it for profit later would be laying off 20 percent of its workforce. on. These two types of borrowers affected the This comes as no surprise with the recent col- market in different ways, but both contributed to lapse of the housing market and the demise of its eventual crash. many large mortgage companies. Bad credit and Bad times - effects of low credit Buyers Every few years the home market goes through a small market boom and a subsequent decline. During the housing boom, mortgage companies However, this recent decline in the housing mar- developed ARM loans with no down payment ket is one of, if not the and low introductory rates that would skyrocket worst, this nation has ever after a fixed period of time. Subprime borrow- Every few years the seen. Our current cycle ers, with low income and bad credit histories were began with an explosion able to obtain these loans (often, by lying about home market goes in the housing market their income). Lax underwriting guidelines de- through a small market in 2002 that continued veloped during this time period, only worsening boom and a subsequent through 2006. During this problem by failing to catch those that lied this period, the nation about their incomes. Eventually, though, real- decline. However, this saw a sharp rise in new ity caught up. When the rate hike came, many recent decline in the homes as well as a steady were unable to pay their monthly payments. At first, these borrowers would take out home equi- housing market is one appreciationthe summer prices. By in housing ty lines of credit (HELOC)—borrowing money of, if not the worst, this of 2006, the median against the rising value of their house—to cover nation has ever seen. house price had reached their increasing payments. However, as the hous- ing market declined, the equity in homes dried $211,000, a record value and a staggering 10 per- up. At this point many subprime borrowers were cent increase from the previous year. The high left unable to make their monthly payments and housing prices allowed home owners and home unable to sell their home at a profit (or at all), construction companies to flood the market with forcing foreclosures at a loss to the mortgage homes for sale and thus, help pop the bubble. companies. During the housing boom, big changes occurred profiteers without profits - effects of flippers in the processes behind underwriting home loans (especially in regard to subprime mortgages) that “Flippers” hurt the market in a slightly differ- led the housing market to fall so hard. ent way. A “flipper” would take out an ARM or an interest-only loan without a down payment, Now some quick terminology: a subprime mort- often by lying and acting as if they planned on gage is a loan given to a borrower who has a living in the homes. When the interest rates re- poor credit rating and thus would not normally set and the market dropped, these profiteers just be able to get loans at good rates. Subprime walked away from their homes, allowing the adam coleman loans are typically adjustable rate mortgages bank to foreclose and taking a small loss. Their is a senior at CMC (ARMs) or interest-only loans. Alt-A is a rating money grab failed, but the cost was insubstan- between prime and subprime. The loan fails to who interned with qualify for prime due various reasons, such as tial. On the flip side, these small losses added up to a very big loss for mortgage companies, as the Countrywide Financial having a good credit score but little to no income practice was widespread and foreclosures result this summer. documentation—not an uncommon issue. in red numbers. During the housing boom, subprime loans be- came popular, and are, along with the Alt-A it gets worse product, one of the reasons for the current credit These borrowing practices played a key role in crunch. the decline in the mortgage market industry since 2005; however, they were not the only culprits. Page 6 | October ‘07 | claremontportside.com Dow Jones Industrial Average moving up. This move is less of a solution and more of a band-aid. The subprime cri- sis will not end for at least a few years: 2006’s ARM loans will reset sometime between 2008 and 2009. The worst may be over, but it has be- come rather obvious that reform is needed. There is hope. The current crisis has drawn attention to the sub- par practices at mortgage companies. Now, they have had to change the types of loans they provide. Furthermore, fearful of the potential risk involved in issuing a subprime loan, investors are seeking stability in MBS, driving a push for conservative home loans. This is a start. Lenders must focus on distributing fair The current credit crunch has to do people began to pull their money out loans to sincere borrowers. For this, with the fall out of the foreclosures and of Countrywide’s FDIC insured bank. there must be a open exchange of in- delinquencies. In the secondary mar- Investors became worried their bonds formation and an understanding of the ket, the loan debt is bought and sold for would fall prey to the subprime woes nature of the loan and the ramifications the purpose of structuring it into secu- and began to withdraw funds, provok- of failure. Both lenders and borrowers rities. These practices tend to help miti- ing the subsequent liquidity crunch. must take more responsibility. gate the effects of failed loans. During This crunch slows investing, lending, Before the housing boom there was a the housing market boom, many mort- and the overall economy. push to put every American in a home. gage-backed securities (MBS) depend- This movement, along with lax and ed on cash flows from subprime loans. what now? unregulated underwriting guidelines, Many hedge funds, based primarily on Mostly, the Federal Reserve Bank has put too many unqualified borrowers in MBS and other investment entities, stood by a hands off approach to the homes. Instead of building new, expen- came into existence during this time; housing market and the markets at sive homes and writing subprime loans, however, as the home market declined large with regards to the subprime cri- there should be a call for affordable and ARM resets forced record high ses. Recently, however, Chairman Ben housing. The theory of putting more foreclosures, the cash flow into MBS Bernanke cut the federal funds inter- people in homes is a worthy cause, but began to dry up. Since 2006, over 150 est rate in an attempt to stimulate the it should not be pursued at the cost of mortgage companies have gone out economy and evade a possible reces- people’s financial well-being and the of business ruining many large hedge sion. The market responded positively market at large. funds with large portfolios in MBS. to the half point reduction with the the dominos Two hedge funds run by Bear Stearns The Numbers Behind the Crunch went down in the summer of 2007, and their demise helped spark a broad scale reevaluation of the criteria involved in $1,280,000,000 currently in suBprime mortgages the rating of MBS. Reevaluation by $164,000,000 estimated to be lost in ‘07 foreclosures for owners the two major subprime financial rat- ing agencies, Standard & Poor’s and $110,000,000 estimated to be lost in ‘07 foreclosures for lenders Moodys, led to a series of downgrades 2,200,000 estimated foreclosures in ‘07 on MBS, leaving hedge funds and mort- gage companies to hold huge stores of 1,200,000 foreclosers in ’06 (42% increase from ‘05) non-performing collateral. The down- $159,000 per foreclosure reduction in property neighborhood values grades and the failing housing market weighed down the stock market, and 150+ mortgage companies out of business people began to lose trust in the banks tied to mortgage companies. Compa- for a full list, and deep looK into the recent fall of major mortgage companies, go to http://ml-implode.com/ nies such as Countrywide experienced data from the center for american progress small runs on their banks in July as claremontportside.com | October ‘07 | Page 7 (national) Under 30 and Making a Difference Syed Karim and SearchKindly.org By Madison Shimoda A s an entrepreneurship major at Lake For- when I know that what we are doing is having est College, Syed Karim was required to an impact.” create a senior project involving busi- Search Kindly’s current goal is to receive feder- ness. After chewing on his predicament for a ally recognized 501(c)3 status within the next six few weeks, Karim arrived at a conclusion: months. Just recently, Search Kindly was able to “I wanted something that would make an impact acquire pro bono legal assistance to help it with and continue to do so long after I was done with this goal. school. However, the problem with that idea was “I am confident that once we receive that desig- that I had limited resources and time. I’d been nation, we will experience tremendous growth,” working in and learning about online advertising Karim said enthusiastically. “Official tax-exempt for a little while, so one day I just came up with status will qualify us for so many different grant the idea for Search Kindly.” programs and it’s going to be those programs The point of Search Kindly is extremely simple: that are going to allow us to establish our own to generate money for grants to give to charity charity work. I can’t wait for that to happen.” through advertisements on the Search Kindly One might think this endeavor might be some- homepage. This is not a unique idea (several thing Karim will outgrow once he graduates other sites do it), but from school and gets a “real” job. Search Kindly is differ- ent from other charity “One of our volunteer programmers, Kris Os- “My advice to college search engines—Search tergard, asked me if I would continue to work Kindly gives all of its with Search Kindly not too long ago. My answer students is this: advertising revenue was very simple: SK…those are my initials; I am Make sure that you are away. inextricably linked to the future and success of getting involved with an “I don’t think any- Search Kindly.” idea or cause that you one else is doing that,” How Karim was able to take on such a huge Karim points out. “Yes, project during his time at college, let alone dur- really, really believe in... there are some other ing his senior year, is a mystery. here’s the bonus, if you charity search engines, “My advice to college students is this: Make sure but in my opinion, they love what you do, you are simply using char- that you are getting involved with an idea or aren’t really working.” cause that you really, really believe in. Because ity as a marketing ploy. this kind of work can take a lot out of you. But GoodSearch, for exam- here’s the bonus, if you love what you do, you ple, gives less than half aren’t really working. That’s why I do this; it’s of its revenue away— not really work to me.” and a lot of its search results are peppered with ads that aren’t clearly labeled as such.” When asked about how he found the time, Ka- rim laughs. Democratic selection for the charity of the month is another characteristic that sets Search “I actually didn’t have the time, which is why I Kindly apart from the others. This has two ben- had such lousy grades,” he jokes. “I was always efits. One is that Search Kindly makes more of turning things in late. But it’s a labor of love. I an impact with one large donation, versus just a enjoy this tremendously, so the consequences are few dollars to many individual charities. Also, well worth it. Besides, I ended up graduating, Search Kindly offers a lot of exposure to orga- didn’t I?” nizations that would not otherwise receive it. madison shimoda Karim says receiving messages from people stat- is a sophomore ing that they decided to donate their own money This piece is the first in a recurring column at CMC and to a particular organization featured on Search highlighting progressive people under 25. layout editor of the Kindly is an incredibly rewarding experience. each issue will feature a young leader setting the Claremont Port Side. “When I read about things like that, well, that’s pace for our generation. Page 8 | October ‘07 | claremontportside.com (national) Stealing the State Defeated, Republicans Try to Change the Game By Nick Warshaw “the California republican Party is oppressed and discriminated against every presidential election year the states 55 electoral votes go to the Democratic candidate just because more people voted for him. Meanwhile the wealthy white republicans of place like orange County are treated like a minority simply because they are not a majority.” - Stephen Colbert R epublicans have perfected the ture of Presidential politics. state to do something in the general art of stealing elections. In the election that only two other states do.” This scheme is largely funded by an ul- 2000 and 2004 presidential Even Governor Schwarzenegger has tra-partisan Republican, Thomas Hilt- elections Republicans adeptly prac- distanced himself from the initiative: “I achk. He represents the California Re- ticed the art of disenfranchising voters feel like, if you’re all of a sudden in the publican Party in several legal disputes. by purging African Americans off voter middle of the game start changing the According to the Associated Press, rolls and forcing individuals in Demo- rules, it’s kind of odd… It almost feels Hiltack has deep ties with Bob Perry, cratic leaning areas to wait in absurdly like a loser’s mentality, saying, ‘I cannot one of the infamous financiers of the long lines. Now they are at it again. win with those rules. So let me change deceitful Swift Boats for Truth adver- the rules.’” In California, Republicans are at- tisements—a group which disparaged tempting to place an initiative on the Senator Kerry’s war accomplishments. True conservatives should also oppose June primary ballot that would steal To qualify for the June ballot these men this measure on the grounds that the California’s electoral votes from the simply have to fund the acquisition of measure is clearly unconstitutional. majority of Californians. Currently, 433,971 signatures. Surely, they know As Doug Kendall, of Slate magazine, California appor- points out Ar- tions its electors, ticle II, Section those who vote in Article II , Section 1 of the Constitution states: 1 of the Con- the electoral col- stitution states: lege, in a “win- “Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the “Each state ner take all” for- Legislature thereof may direct.” The operative shall appoint, in mat. Meaning such manner as the Presidential word in this section is “Legislature.” the Legislature candidate who thereof may receives the ma- direct.” The jority of votes in the State of California that Americans are tired of President operative word in this section is “Leg- will receive all of its 55 electoral votes. Bush’s disastrous presidency and are islature.” This initiative would not be The “winner take all” format is em- ready for a change. Thus, they know passed by the legislature but rather by ployed in all but two states (Maine and the only way a Republican can win the a direct vote of the people. Conserva- Nebraska are the exceptions). Under White House is to steal the state. tives should get off their partisan horse the Republican-proposed new system and defend the strict constructionist Numerous newspapers’ editorial California would unilaterally alter its view of constitutional interpretation boards throughout the state oppose apportionment of electors. It would they purportedly believe in. this initiative on the grounds it destroys award electors based on the winner of California’s electoral clout in the presi- We all should welcome a true national the popular vote in each Congressional dential election. As the biggest state debate about reforming the Electoral district. In 2004 President Bush won in the nation, California is the crown College. However, this ballot proposi- 22 congressional districts. Therefore, jewel of the Electoral College. Under tion is not about changing the nature if this system were in place during the the proposed changes, if in 2008 Cali- of democracy for the better as its pro- last Presidential election Senator John fornia voters cast their ballots similar ponents suggest; rather it is nothing but Kerry would have been robbed of 22 to how they did in 2004 California’s a bald faced power grab. electoral votes. Twenty-two electoral electoral clout would be tantamount to votes constitute more votes than the New York or Texas—states two-fifths entire state of Ohio, the linchpin in of California’s size. The Los Angeles nicK warshaw is a junior at CMC and Times opines: “It would be foolish to President of the California College the 2004 election. Thus, this measure would fundamentally change the na- undermine that power by forcing the democrats. claremontportside.com | October ‘07 | Page 9 (national) Chicano... Power??? The Hispanic Demographic Shows Progress By Chad Jimenez A n indication of the growing influence port a law making Spanish the United States and importance Hispanics play in soci- Second official language next to English?” Even ety, the first Spanish language presiden- Richardson with his stack of credentials and tial debate was hosted on Univisión recently. Spanish speaking skills was not eager to talk his Topping the average of 4.3 million viewers for way out of this question. Only Representative the previous debates hosted this year, 4.6 mil- Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)—with less than 3 lion tuned in to Univisión, despite the NFL’s percent in most polls—supported the measure, opening weekend. This event demonstrated the while everyone else wiggled out of it. increased acceptance and relevancy of the His- Despite disagreements Democrats have over the panic demographic, but it is only the first step terms of the debate or issues, Hispanics should in the realization of the community’s political at least give them a gold star for effort. Republi- potential. cans on the other hand declined to attend a simi- Democrats attended the debate with a willing- lar Republican debate, with Sen. John McCain ness to address Hispanic issues and the Hispanic (R-Arizona) being the notable exception. This community at large, but—oddly—they did not was perhaps the most interesting thing about the allow their only Hispanic candidate, Governor whole debate. Back in 2004, President George Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), W. Bush and the Republican Party made a huge the opportunity to speak up, push to bring Hispanics towards their party and Spanish. Although Hispanics are in a at least in come with many debates were rewarded with more than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. Today, however, they are running position of power, concessions from each can- away from Hispanics like the plague. One can but, historically, didate, this seemed like an only assume it is because of their mostly anti-im- unnecessary restriction. As migration stances, but Republicans should take they have failed their Richardson put it, “I’m dis- note that 75 percent of Hispanic voters were ac- potential. appointed today that 43 mil- tually born in the United States with 48 percent lion Latinos in this country, of these voters being third generation or more. for them not to hear one of In fact, Hispanic voters command considerable their own speak Spanish, is weight in electoral politics. In 2006 Hispanic unfortunate. In other words, Univisión has pro- voters made up 8.6 percent of eligible voters. moted English only in this debate,” With razor thin majors, this percentage is actu- Sure, the non-Spanish speaking candidates were ally fairly significant. Furthermore, the demo- not eager to be upstaged by the second tier can- graphic is concentrated in key swing states— didates, but does it really hurt them that much Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona. with the Hispanic community to let Richardson Surely, this population could play a major role in use his one advantage? If anything, it shows His- upcoming election. panics that the Democrats are, in fact, a party of Hispanics are in a position of power, but, his- diversity and acceptance. And if losing numbers torically, they have failed their potential. Vot- in the polls were an issue it would hurt the ma- ing statistics tell this story of inaction. Though jor contenders—Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Hispanics are 15 percent of the population, they former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), and Sen. only make up 8.5 percent of the electorate, con- Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.)—equally, if it hurts trasted with whites who make up 67 percent of them at all. Instead, they created a rule limiting the population and 75 percent of the electorate. the use of Spanish in a debate aim at Spanish The lesson for Hispanics, then, is not that they speaking people. The candidates, themselves, do not have a voice or that political leaders are flagrantly broke the rule, with Senator Christo- chad jimenez pher Dodd (D-Conn.) setting the precedent and insensitive to their issues. No, what Hispanics need to do as a whole is show up at the polls and is a senior deftly reminding viewers his fluency. start electing the people they want. The immi- at CMC and On the plus side, the questions for the debate gration fight was a start, and the Univisión de- staff writer for the squeezed several unwilling answers from all the bate helps, but something must wake this sleep- Claremont Port Side. candidates, many as simple as, “Would you sup- ing giant. Page 10 | October ‘07 | claremontpor tside.com (international) Water, Water Nowhere This Crucial Resource is Nearing Crisis Levels By Karthik Reddy T he welfare of one billion peo- the world; rising grain prices. ple is in crisis, and it is because Falling agricultural output due of something so simple: water. to water shortages is solved Explosive population growth and mis- by the import of grain from management of current water supplies abroad. It is true that smaller threaten to disrupt economic and po- nations such as Israel, Jordan, litical stability around the world. and Saudi Arabia, have resort- ed to importing grain without It is important to understand that the causing notable repercussions urgency of this issue is not dictated by in the global grain market. environmental concern, but rather by However, if nations as large humanitarian necessity: We need water as India and China should fail for life. The population explosion (up to remain largely self-sufficient to six billion in 2000) strains our sup- in grain production, global ply. This jump, coupled with a rise in demand and prices for grain the worldwide standard of living, has imports will rise dramatically, resulted in a six-fold increase in water resulting in catastrophic con- use. With another 50 percent increase sequences for the 1.3 billion in population expected by 2050, the people who live on less than nine billion humans may face serious one dollar per day. The strain challenges filling their glasses. on agriculture is a trend ap- Households and industries, though, parent not only in China and only account for a fraction of water India, but also in Algeria, use. Agriculture uses the vast majority, Egypt, Iran, and Mexico, all of which of Water Resources warns that if more 70 percent, and that means the water are currently experiencing large water water supplies are not acquired, Cali- crisis threatens our ability to put food fornia will suffer from a water shortage deficits. on the table as well. in 2020: this crisis will effect you in less For some time, experts have theo- than fifteen years. Though food supplies have increased rized that water scarcity could over the past half-century, overuse of Luckily, some progress is being lead to civil unrest and warfare groundwater supplies for agricultural made. The availability of potable over water rights. As the wa- purposes has become a serious problem, water can be increased through ter crisis worsens, tensions may notably in large nations such as China. innovative ideas such as the Play rise between water-rich and According to Worldwatch, an environ- Pumps Water System. The system poor nations who need the water mental research group, the water table uses the energy that children gener- for the basic survival of their citizens. in the North China Plain has fallen 25 ate while running around playground More than 260 river basins are shared feet throughout the past 5 years; that merry-go-round to pump water from by two or more nations; more pressure puts the farms that produce 40 percent an underground well into an above- on water supplies combined with a lack of China’s grain in jeopardy. ground storage tank. The pumps dis- of real international power to enforce play advertisements, which, in turn, The problems that rural farmers face in water treaties threaten to destabilize pay for the upkeep costs of the pump. developing nations are exacerbated by water-starved areas. It is easy to write Such low cost innovations are revenue rapidly growing cities requiring more this issue off and consider it only a dis- neutral and dramatically help increase and more water, diverting the scarce re- tant problem for people halfway across water availability. source away from farmlands. In 1994, the globe, but we are in this one too. for example, the Chinese government One only needs to look outside to un- More generally, improved education denied access to reservoirs to farmers derstand the gravity of the current situ- about water conservation, technologi- around Beijing. The problem in China ation. Los Angeles—with a metropoli- cal improvements, increased protection underscores a larger issue throughout tan population of 24 million—is located of wetlands, and less dependence on in a desert designed only to naturally water-intensive crops, such as cotton support one million people, and the and rice, can help. Maybe this is look- KarthiK reddy is a sophomore at CMC and population is growing, while the sup- ing at the cup as half full, but if we do guest writer for the Claremont Port Side. ply is not. The California Department not act soon, it will just be empty. c l a r e m o n t p o r t s i d e . c o m | O c t o b e r ‘ 0 7 | P a g e 11 (international) Pakistan Under Pressure Crisis Threatens Musharraf’s Control By Michael Sciortino P ressure is mounting in Pakistan. A drastic istani cities and the lawless regions in the north. increase in sectarian violence across the All of this comes at a peculiar time for Paki- country, along with upcoming parliamen- stan—election season. Musharraf ’s term ends in tary and provincial elections, has isolated Gener- October and he will have to run for re-election al Musharraf, who took power in a coup in 1999. against a host of obstacles. The omnipresence of The catalyst for the recent tensions in the coun- extremist militias like the Taliban and the gain- try occurred in early July in Pakistan’s capital, Is- ing influence of terrorist organizations in the lamabad. It was here where the Pakistani Army country have led many to believe that Mushar- killed over 100 people and sustained 11 casual- raf may not deserve all the stars on that uniform ties after a standoff with radicalized students at of his. Recent opinion polls show that around the infamous Lal Masjid (Red Mosque). two-thirds of Pakistanis oppose giving him an- Islamabad itself lacks a large faction of people other term. The Pakistani election also arrives as practicing fundamentalist Islam, but the Lal Musharraf faces growing political opposition— Masjid has always been from two civilian politicians-in-exile and from the glaring exception. the current chief justice of the Supreme Court. The sprawling mosque A brief history of the opposition: Musharraf openly teaches violent unseated and exiled Prime Minister Nawaz forms of fundamen- Sharif in 1999 and on Aug. 23, 2007 the Su- talist Islam and read- preme Court, headed by chief justice Iftikhar ily admits to having Chaudry, decided the act to be unconstitutional. links to key members Musharraf attempted to sack the chief justice, of al-Qaeda, includ- but this decision caused mass protests, isolating ing Osama Bin-Laden. him further. Sharif flew back to Pakistan intent Now Musharraf faces on opposing Musharraf in the upcoming elec- ferocious opposition tions. General Musharraf, as any right-minded from a growing ex- authoritarian ruler would do, sent Sharif ’s plane tremist segment of his back to where it came from. country. Taliban forces have completely desta- There’s more to come with Sharif and more bilized the northern former prime ministers waiting in the wings. portion of the country Benazir Bhutto, who served as prime minister along the Pakistan- from 1988-1990 and 1993-1996, fled to Dubai in Afghanistan border. 1999 to evade corruption charges. According to The region is mostly many, she is trying to negotiate a power-sharing composed of rural, tribal settlements that are deal with Musharraf. Whether Bhutto returns or sparsely populated and rarely overseen by the not is up to the general, but he recently decided government. The armed Pakistani tribesmen to relinquish command of the military if he is have spread throughout the remote countryside, “re”-elected, an act that Bhutto has called for in imposing strict Islamic law and brutally punish- exchange for her support for the general. ing those who refuse. Musharraf also faces in- Whatever the general decides in the next few creasing hostility from Pakistan’s militant Islamic months will deeply affect the future of democ- groups, which divide along Sunni-Shia Muslim racy in Pakistan. It is important to remember lines. Most recently angered by the Lal Masjid that Pakistan is not an extremist country; Isla- bombing, the sectarian groups have been re- mist parties won only 11 percent of the popular sponsible for a major surge in suicide bombings vote in the 2002. A democratic government with michael sciortino over the past four years. Musharraf, however, is a civilian leadership would be well-suited to tackle is a senior strong supporter of the “War on Terrorism” and the multitude of problems the country faces. at CMC and the fervently speaks out against extremist terrorism. Remember that military rule tends to strengthen Musharraf even declared terrorist groups illegal. senior editor of the But without strong military action to match his extremists, as Pakistan’s history suggests. Let’s cross our fingers Musharraf gets this one right. Claremont Port Side. distaste, violence grows in typically peaceful Pak- Pa g e 12 | O c t o b e r ‘ 07 | c l a r e m o n t p o r t s i d e . c o m (international) A United Nations’ Army? The Case for a U.N. Rapid Reaction Force By Charles Sprague the U.N. regularly exceed that amount. Furthermore, two billion dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to the damage inflicted by wars that could be prevented with U.N. intervention. Additionally, creating a rapid reaction force could yield a deterrence effect. As Paul Diehl wrote in an May 15, 2005 article for “The Washington Post,” “Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin once asked how many divisions the pope had; today’s dictators in places such as Sudan must be asking themselves: A fter the global devastation of Before Darfur there was Haiti, the How many divisions does Kofi Annan World War II, the Allies creat- Congo, and many other conflicts that have?” With a permanent U.N. force ed the United Nations with the required more and faster international deployable within forty-eight hours, purpose of collective security in mind. intervention. Given this history, Uni- human rights abusers would seriously Although the historical record reflects versity of Notre Dame political scien- have to contemplate the possibility of poorly on such idealism, the U.N. re- tist Robert Johansen argues for a U.N. international intervention if they con- mains the only fully inclusive interna- standing force because “the interna- tinue with their crimes against human- tional institution with any prospect of tional community could prevent many ity. The U.N.’s recent creation of the maintaining peace and regulating con- of these crimes if it would act quickly International Criminal Court, which flict. In fact, the U.N.’s shortcomings and send a professional security force prosecutes individuals for such crimes, with respect to peace enforcement dem- to enforce the law.” Former Secretary will complement the deterrence effect onstrate precisely the need for a U.N. General Kofi Annan notes, “The pres- of the rapid reaction force. rapid reaction force. It’s not surprising, ent system relies almost entirely on People around the world recognize the then, that the idea received consider- last-minute, ad hoc arrangements that benefits of a permanent U.N. security able attention after the atrocities of the guarantee delay.” Establishing stand- force. A survey conducted by The Chi- Rwandan genocide. A June 15, 2006 ing units would allow the U.N. to de- cago Council on Global Affairs found article in “The Toronto Star” describes ploy forces within forty-eight hours of that 64 percent of those asked favor what a rapid reaction force would look a green light from the Security Coun- “having a standing U.N. peacekeeping like: “Composed of up to 15,000 mili- cil. Currently, organizing peace en- force selected, trained, and commanded tary, police and civilian staff, including forcement or peacekeeping units takes by the United Nations.” Only 23 per- medics and conflict transformation ex- months because of the time required to cent opposed the idea. All governments perts, it would be recruited from pro- recruit and train temporary units. This maintain standing military, police, and fessionals hired by the U.N. from many division would strengthen the promise emergency service units because of the countries, and based at designated U.N. of the U.N.’s “responsibility to protect” enormous advantages associated with sites. Its actions would be authorized by doctrine, which makes member states permanent personnel as opposed to the U.N. Security Council.” of the U.N. responsible for interven- reactive arrangements. The United ing when conflict greatly endangers the A rapid reaction force would improve States should lead the effort to help the lives of civilians. the U.N.’s chances of preventing or international community reap the ben- mitigating civil wars and genocides, A UN rapid reaction force would nei- efits of permanent peacekeeping and such as the ongoing human rights di- ther infringe on national sovereignty peace enforcement units. Time and saster in the Darfur region of Sudan. nor demand excessive cost. Member again, the international community states would have no obligation to has witnessed genocide and responded send in their own troops for any mis- with a chorus of “never again.” A U.N. charles sprague is a sophomore at CMC sion. The price tag of establishing this rapid reaction force would make that and managing editor of the peace enforcement system is two billion promise less hollow. Claremont Port Side. dollars. Annual peacekeeping costs for c l a r e m o n t p o r t s i d e . c o m | O c t o b e r ‘ 07 | Pa g e 13 (international) Chavez’s Consolidation of Power Undermining Freedoms in Venezuela By Alexandra Aznar “I doubt there is any country on this planet with a democracy more alive than the one we enjoy in Venezuela today.’’ On Aug. 16, 2007, Chavez uttered this laughable state- ment. Though the media have flooded us with stories about Chavez’s friendly meetings with Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, internal events in Venezuela are far more concerning, both for the country itself, and for the region in general. This year alone, Chavez made a mockery of de- mocracy. On May 28, Chavez refused to renew Radio Caracas Television’s (RCTV) expired li- cense, therefore silencing the oldest private TV station in Venezuela, one that often criticized This year alone, his regime. Chavez’s democracy. Can the problem correct itself ? supporters celebrated Chavez made a this decision, decrying Venezuela is seeing another bellicose and venal mockery of democracy. RCTV’s biased reports, politician, democratically elected but descend- criticism of Chavez, and ing into authoritarianism. In the terminology its alleged contribution of noted political analyst Fareed Zakaria, Ven- to a 2002 attempt to oust ezuela is an illiberal democracy: a democrati- Chavez. The United States has led the outside cally elected government that undermines con- world in decrying Chavez’s decision as a threat stitutionalism, civil freedoms, and other tenets to freedom of speech and democracy. of classical liberalism. Despite these troubling developments, the best option for the United Fifty-four percent of Venezuelans disapproved States with Chavez is to wait. of Chavez’s decision, according to a Venezuelan poll taken right after the event. This statistic is Rash U.S. interventions are unwise given the important, given Chavez’s popularity in Venezu- resentment that still brews in Latin Amer- ela and his propensity to survive attacks on his ica. The United States has a long history of power. Chavez survived a military coup in 2002 replacing democratically elected leaders with and, in December 2006, he won his third term pro-American puppets who leave Latin Ameri- in office with 63 percent of the vote. But even can countries worse off in the end. In Venezu- if the majority of Venezuelans dislike Chavez’s ela, the widespread perception that the United methodical suppression of dissent, it will prove States supported the 2002 coup against Chavez difficult to act on the discontent. In 2005, has provided Chavez with his best propaganda Chavez supporters swept parliamentary elec- piece. Therefore, the United States must avoid tions and opposition legislators boycotted this interfering in Venezuelan politics, as such efforts change by leaving office entirely. Furthermore, will strengthen Chavez’s position. in January 2007, the National Assembly granted Besides, denying RCTV’s license diminishes Chavez the right to rule by decree for the next Chavez’s credibility far more than denunciations 18 months. from the United States. Socialist-based policies With the National Assembly in his pocket, and the welfare state are alive and well in South Chavez can make sweeping changes in Venezu- America, but so are democracies and emerging alexandra aznar elan law, while claiming a clean, legal journey markets and subtle, though peaceful change via is a senior to power. This past August, Chavez announced the polls, rather than through revolution. The plans to reform the constitution; he wants to ex- picture is far from rosy from Venezuela, but it’s at CMC and tend presidential terms from six to seven years also not ideal for Chavez. He has not yet real- staff writer for the and allow for indefinite re-election. These ized that he and his socialist Bolivarian revolu- Claremont Port Side. events are systematically degrading Venezuela’s tion are anachronisms. Page 14 | October ‘07 | claremontpor tside.com (international) death of a Fisherman The Coming Collapse of World Fish Stocks By Karen de Wolski Y ears of over-fishing have pre- limits to maximize profit. The overex- Several steps could help solve the crisis. cipitated an international crisis. ploitation of international fish stocks One plan would be the institution and According to a 2006 Cato Insti- represents a classic example of what enforcement of lower intake quotas for tute report by Johan Norberg, over the Garret Hardin describes as a “tragedy fisheries. Another proposed solution is last 100 years, human fishing in New of the commons” where individuals the privatization of marine resources. England and Atlantic Canada has re- have an incentive to overuse public re- This could be done through individual duced the stock of cod, tuna, flounder sources because they keep the profits transferable quotas (ITQs) which would and haddock by 80 percent. This same of such activities, but the cost is shared give each fisherman a certain percent- sad pattern repeats itself in places as among the public. age of the total intake. This step has diverse as France, Japan, and Senegal. proven effective in certain areas. Fish- In the not-so-distant future, fish will no In the Nov. 3, 2006 edition of Science, ing intake decreased to a sustainable longer be a staple of the human diet. an international team of scientists con- level in Iceland after ITQs were estab- Furthermore, the deterioration of fish cluded that there would be no more lished there in 1980. The same step populations has severe environmental viable fish or invertebrate species avail- has been successful in Australia and the implications. When a species is dras- able to fisheries by 2050. United States. Privatization causes the tically decreased in an ecosystem, it value of the fish to rise, which provides The demand for fish is higher than the causes a cascade effect across that eco- higher incomes for fishermen. Addi- natural ecosystem can support. Un- system. For example, over-fishing of tionally, the expansion of fish farming like other meat products, the primary the snapper and spiny rock lobsters in would reduce pressure on natural fish source of fish is not human grown farm the Goat Island Bay area of New Zea- stocks. For example, Australis Aqua- animals. As new technology has been land caused its sea urchin prey to ex- culture has successfully developed sus- developed, fishing companies have in- plode in numbers. In turn, the urchin tainable indoor facilities in Massachu- creased their yields to meet the increas- devastated the seaweed population on setts to raise barramundi fish. Its stock ing market for fish. In the 1960s, the nearby reefs, essentially wiping out the has performed very well in Australia U.S. government enacted subsidies reef community. Fortunately, Goat and the company has rapidly expanded which provided tax breaks for compa- Island restricted fishing and the reefs its facilities. nies that researched and bought newer were able to recover, but this type of equipment. However, the new technol- emergency restriction is not common. The decline of fisheries is a pressing ogy itself is not the problem, but the The loss of so many fish species across environmental and economic concern. way the companies use it. Many of the the oceans and seas is causing similar Luckily, there are viable options to alle- major fisheries worldwide far surpass devastation to many ecosystems by rap- viate the problem. These policies must the legal intake put in place by inter- idly decreasing biodiversity. be implemented before a man-made national regulations. For example, the disaster strikes our ocean ecosystems. International Commission for the Con- servation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) has a 32,000 metric ton intake limit. True intake quantities are estimated at least 50,000 metric tons. Scientists warn that this rate of fishing will re- sult in the collapse of the Atlantic tuna population. However, no motion has been made by the ICCAT to reduce in- take quotas or more strictly enforce the current one. Loose regulation is a problem across the fishing industry. Like most corpo- rations, the competition between fish- eries drives them to constantly push the Karen de wolsKi is a freshman at CMC and a staff writer for the Claremont Port Side. We Found Nemo... c l a r e m o n t p o r t s i d e . c o m | O c t o b e r ‘ 07 | Pa g e 15 vitter and craig (the plank) Shoved off by their own, the homophobic GOP By Simon Shogry T hink back with me, if you can, my fellow progressives, to officer in an airport restroom. They argued that Craig’s conduct the dark days of the 109th Congress. Speaker Hastert and demanded an investigation from the Senate Ethics Committee – his GOP allies were conducting the business of the peo- an embarrassing plight for the Idaho Senator, who would face a ple—“people,” of course, referring to the “majority of the major- series of public hearings on the incident. The political pressure ity,” that friendly doctrine conceived by Tom Delay that produced intensified soon after, when John McCain, still reeling from a bruis- legislative gems like the Terry Schiavo law, the “nuclear option,” ing battle with the Republican base over immigration, and Norm and Constitutional amendments banning gay marriage and flag Coleman, the Minnesota incumbent gearing up for a tough re- burning. Those were the days when the Republican party was do- election bid, called for Craig’s outright resignation from the Sen- ing “God’s work,” upholding family values and saving the souls of ate. It seemed that the GOP establishment couldn’t distance itself our country’s citizens one law at a time. from Craig quickly enough. In light of the GOP rhetoric of those days, it has been a bit dif- Republicans reacted much differently, however, when news broke ficult for liberals to hear about the recent Republican sex scan- of another GOP Senator engaging in what most would term dals – most notably Larry Craig’s “lewd” behavior. Last July, David bathroom misadventures and David Vitter admitted to a “very seri- Vitter’s penchant for, um, “ladies of ous sin in his past” after his phone the night” – without feeling at least number appeared in the log of the a twinge of satisfaction. After all, “D.C. Madam” Deborah Jeane Pal- the Republican Party gained – and frey – a woman whom the federal sustained – its power by decrying a government accused of running a society drifting away from its Judeo- prostitution ring. For his infraction, Christian moorings. Now, Craig Vitter offered his “deep and sincere and Vitter – both sitting Senators apologies” to the nation, explain- – stand out as two prominent coun- ing that he had already “asked for terexamples to GOP rhetoric. and received forgiveness from God and [his] wife.” Clearly, the dissonance between Craig and Vitter’s political stances Well that settles it, then! Or at least and their private lives constitutes it did for the Republican Senate hypocrisy. Let’s not forget that these leadership, who declined to com- were the same men who, during the ment on the incident. No calls Clinton years, felt it their obliga- for Ethics Committee investiga- tion to rid the federal government tions followed, nor were there de- of sin and moral depravity. After mands for Vitter’s resignation. In the Monica Lewinski scandal broke, fact, McConnell and Lott made no Larry Craig went on Meet the Press mention of the subject to the press to chide President Clinton as “a – except if you count the “loud nasty, bad, naughty boy,” while Senator Vitter – then a mere state standing ovation” Vitter received from his GOP colleagues upon senator – complained that, if allowed to continue serving in office, returning to the Senate floor. the forty-second President would “further drain any sense of val- So what constitutes such a vastly different reaction from the Re- ues left to our political culture.” publican establishment to two flagrant cases of “un-family” val- Worse than these comments, however, are the actions of the Re- ues? It is irresistible to observe that, while Craig’s solicitation of publican Senate leadership, who set the bar for hypocrisy even a male officer was quickly condemned, Vitter’s encounter with a higher with its selective outrage at the moral infractions within its female prostitute did not receive any public disapproval from the caucus. party establishment. “Family values,” then – at least as the Re- publican Party understands it – is nothing more than thinly-veiled It took only two days for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and homophobia, and a cheap attempt to pander to the darkest pas- his whip, Trent Lott, to issue a harsh and public condemnation of sions of the American people and garner votes by exploiting an their colleague Larry Craig, who, it was revealed, plead guilty to irrational disgust in homosexuality. “lewd conduct” after soliciting sex from an undercover male police claremontportside.com
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