The End?

Well, folks, today marks an important transition. Brandon had already started writing for North Park Street two months ago, leaving the warm confines of the Campus First for the larger demographic appeal, and visibility of NPS.  I now join Brandon as an author for North Park Street and as such will be leaving this blog idle for the time being.

It has been an absolute pleasure writing on here and I would like to thank my readers for their faithfulness, their engagement, and for the encouragement to continue writing. I hope that everyone will continue following my ruminations about UW-Madison, Politics (both campus and otherwise), and life over at my new abode.

Until then, many fond farewells, this is not a goodbye, only another beginning.

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Republican Brinksmanship: Playing Chicken with a Blind Driver

The Republican Party has taken its lumps, particularly in Wisconsin, but nationally still controls the House of Representatives and is exerting an almost unfathomable amount of power over the political process.

Most specifically, when it comes to the current argument over the debt ceiling, noted conservative (small “c”) blogger David Brooks of the NYTimes has said it best:

If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred billion dollars of revenue increases.

A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.

But this isn’t the “normal” Republican Party. This is the party of Palin and Bachmann. A party whose most hardcore supporters have coerced into being a bludgeon against all things government and anything short of virtual anarchy. The Tea Party is the epitome of all that is wrong in today’s politics. They have no wiggle room: you are either with us or you are trying to take away our freedoms and rights that Paul Revere rode forth through the Battle of Waterloo on his trusted steed Shadowfax to proclaim on Twitter (or something like that).

Brooks continues:

The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no.

The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it.

He has more great lines in the op-ed that you really should read in full.

I have said before, that I work in a Republican office in the Assembly and all I can say to my party is: stop being so damned willfully ignorant and do your damned jobs. From one conservative to another, the rise of the Tea Party and their willfully ignorant masses is indication of nothing more than we better make economics courses mandatory in K12.


Thoughts on TCF?

Hey readers of TCF (which according to our stats, is about 25 of you),

So as many of you may know, this has been a busy time for Adam and I.  We just finished our term up as the coolest ASM Chair/Vice-Chair combo in history, AJ is finishing up finals and has a lot to talk about, and I’ve started blogging at North Park Street.

Yes, indeed it is a busy time.

Yet as I write this and procrastinate on writing my final 40ish page research paper, I wonder: what does the future of The Campus First look like?  NPS allows me the ability to write about whatever I want, not necessarily about the campus.  But there will always be a special place in my heart for TCF.  It started on blogspot when I was SSFC Chair, grew into a wordpress page, and gained an author, all while trying to convey ideas and thoughts on ASM and the campus.

I’ve thought about keeping TCF as a place for Adam and I to discuss in depth campus things, almost like a policy wonk blog, not really for general readership.  I’ve also considered using it as almost a clipsheet style page, taking news bits weekly and creating a forum to discuss them.  And I’m sure Adam has many of his own ideas.

But what do you guys think?  Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated.

-BJW


The Campus First: The Long Delay

Apologies for the delay in posting.

April and May so far have been an incredibly busy time, both professionally and academically.  I have much to write about and will likely do so during the summer or at least after finals.

Until then,

AJ


Senior Class Officer: Differentiation

(Warning: lots of text: Tl;dr version below)

 
I’ve heard from many people, public and private, that there is a question about what differentiates me from Tom in this race.  I’ll be the first to admit that there are similarities: we both were Vice-Chair of ASM, we come from the student government mindset, and we have a history of campus controversy.

 
But after that, I feel I gain the edge.  Senior Class Officers are about constituents and challenging your own point of view. This is about discussion. God bless Tom, I love him, yet I feel that I am more capable of having a true and frank discussion. This position doesn’t craft policy, nor govern. This position makes graduation and our legacy awesome; this I feel warrants a phenomenal amount of discussion.

 
I was an ASM Council Rep for two years, talking consistently with my contacts, classes and friends (which did not address everyone, but was an effort) and I was also a Board member for United Council representing all of Madison

 
Being a Board Member of United Council certainly brings a perspective of what being a leader at Madison truly means to the state.  Our research affects how many people apply to their schools. Our athletics brings theirs to a higher national prestige, and our curriculum works with theirs to ensure that students across the state receive a fantastic education and that their diploma will be lifted by the “University of Wisconsin” brand that we help establish.

 
Through this, I bring a statewide perspective. Our graduation ceremony not only represents us, but it showcases Wisconsin as a whole. Our values are reflected in our speaker and the process. Currently, we value community minded individuals in a small intimate ceremony, which reflects the “Good neighbor” Wisconsin we all know and love. Should this change? Perhaps. But I know I’m not the one who should be making that call with my friends.  Discussions need to be had.

 

 
So, the tl;dr version of this is: I think I’m better at having discussions and making this a transparent and open position than Tom is.

 
Feel free to ask questions!

 

PS: I originally wrote this as a Facebook comment which is why the length is odd for a post like this.

-AJ

 


Senior Class Officers

So as some of our readers already know, I am running for Senior Class Vice-President against a good friend of mine, Tom Templeton.  My motives for running are not personal but an overall dissatisfaction with the operation of the officers in the past and ideas on how to make being a senior here an overall better experience.

I’ve been frustrated in the past with the secret, almost clandestine nature of the senior class officers.  Making decisions that will affect all their fellow Badgers on one of the most important days of their lives seems ill-advised.  Let’s hold some forums to talk about what the class and campus want to see from graduation. Additionally, the senior class gift is something that I’ve never heard great discussions about, despite being good friends with nearly all the current senior class officers. We should have discussions about how we will be remembered on campus (I’m partial to a golden Mike Leckrone in the place of the Football-Phallus near Camp Randall 😉

Questions about graduation are numerous as well. Do we want a single big ceremony at Camp Randall? Do we prefer the smaller, intimate sessions at the Kohl Center more?  What about a mixture?  For some, the goal is to get the hell out as soon as possible. For others, the thrill of walking across that stage, shaking Chancellor Martin’s hand and getting that diploma is the memorable event instead of any speaker.  These are legitimate and nuanced questions that the class officers must face and I’m dedicated to asking for feedback.

With ASM passing a Commencement Speaker fund this year, we should be able to attract some top tier speakers and make graduation visible nationally, but we must remember that the ultimate goal is service to our graduating Badgers. National recognition means nothing if our students feel slighted.

I’m committed to an inclusive and thoughtful tenure in office and I’d like for all of you (that are in Madison, at least) to join with me in this effort. Together, we can make this a class to remember.

-AJ


New Badger Partnership: My Open Letter to ASM and Students

I wrote this yesterday in response to the Governor’s budget proposal.

Dear members of ASM,

Today, Governor Walker released his proposal for the state’s budget for the 2011-13 biennial.  As expected, there were provisions for UW Madison to gain many of the flexibilities that Chancellor Martin has been advocating for through the New Badger Partnership and sizeable hits to many state agencies, including higher education.  While many of the details have yet to be fully explored, it is clear that the University of Wisconsin Madison will not be spared from a comprehensive cut to our operations.

I implore you to continue to do your research on what the proposed budget, coupled with the Budget Repair Bill, will mean for the University.  While it is easy to jump to conclusions, we must stay vigilant and informed to avoid the spreading of misinformation and adding to the vitriol of the public debate.  Check your facts–double check them–and think long and hard about what they will mean for our university, both in the immediate and for generations to come.  We cannot afford to be ill informed at this juncture.

I have seldom been happier with ASM than I have in the past few weeks.  The Budget Repair Bill has offered a chance for the student voice to be heard in a way that I have not witnessed in my time on this campus.  While there was not consensus on the solutions, or even the problem for that matter, opponents still offered feedback and constructively added to the discussion.  Students were able to manifest their strengths into their respective niches, allowing us to become an effective organization.

That said, I need you to maintain this momentum.  Again, there will never be agreement on the solutions at hand, or even the problems, but we must remain cognizant of our place as representatives of students.  Everyone will need to utilize their strengths once more.  Organizers will need to organize.  Policymakers will need to make policy.  Lobbyists will need to lobby.  Leaders will need to lead.

I do not know what will come out of the budget cycle, but our eyes need to be fixed on the capitol.  I doubt that changes to this bill will be easy, but we are advocates for the student body and need to stay committed to that interest.  I hope that you will join me in the next few months as we work together to thoughtfully preserve the quality and accessibility of our university.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have questions, concerns, or thoughts.

Best,
Brandon

As I said, the next few months will require vigilance and strong adherence to our duty.  This goes for the entirety of campus and anyone who is interested in the future of higher education in the state.  Feel free to contact me if you are looking for ways to help.

-BJW