Election 2014: BREAKING: Blind Lemon Jefferson Releases Campaign Video

by Bobbi Wood and Carly Burns | The Minor

At the last moment, the BLJ campaign has released a video. This late in the game, few think that Jefferson has a chance, but these testimonials could turn the tide.

“They ain’t the only one who can make a damn video,” said Jefferson of the release. “Honey I ain’t no fool, if I do let you have your way.”

See the video below.

Election 2014: John Kerry, The Veteran

Today, we profile student body president candidate John Kerry.

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Secretary of State John Kerry is no stranger to the world of politics. Most thought that Kerry’s presidential aspirations died along with his 2004 campaign, but he has shown the world different by emerging as a contender for student body president at UNC.

“My time as the Secretary of State for the Obama Administration has shown me that I have the right skills to lead the student body,” Kerry said in a speech last Thursday. “UNC needs a leader who knows how to get things done.”

Kerry has dedicated his campaign to reforming Carolina Dining Services, an issue that other candidates have yet to address. His platform focuses on a program he calls the Perfectly Accessible Cafeteria (PAC).

“PAC will redefine the university dining experience,” said Kerry at a press conference last week. “Lenoir is the heart of this University. A stronger dining hall is a stronger UNC.”

Every Tuesday and Thursday, Kerry has camped out in the Top of Lenoir Dining Hall, asking students for their opinions on the election’s key issues.

“Secretary Kerry and I spoke for 45 minutes about the possible addition of Frosted Flakes to Lenoir’s cereal lineup,” said Sophomore German major Andrew Pollack. “I posted that suggestion to the Napkin Talks Board months ago. It’s refreshing to see a candidate who cares that much, I guess.”

Though Secretary Kerry’s personal approach to politics has been well-received by students, he failed to secure the expected endorsement of the UNC Young Democrats (YD), who have raised concerns over the sustainability of his campaign model.

“Secretary Kerry spends $11.50, multiple times per day, to enter Top of Lenoir Dining Hall,” Wilson Parker, YD President, told club members at the YD debate last Monday. “There’s just no way he can keep that up.”

During his campaign, Kerry divided his time between speaking with CDS staff members and addressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent attack on the State Department for ignoring Israel’s security needs.

“It’s a balancing act,” Senator Kerry told supporters at a rally in Carrboro on Wednesday. “But my heart is at UNC and this is where you’ll find me.”

Senator Kerry has emphasized his national relevance as a key point of distinction between himself and his opposing candidates, including Andrew Powell, whose demeanor and appearance have been described as similar to Kerry’s.

When asked about this resemblance, Kerry responded, “Andrew Powell never served in Vietnam.”

Election 2014: Nikita Shamdasani, The Crowdsourcer

Today, you decide our take on Nikita Shamdasani with a crowdsourced profile.

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by Crowd | The Minor

Vote on Location

#1) CHAPEL HILL, NC–

#2) CARRBORO, NC–

#3) ORANGE COUNTY, NC–

Vote on the First Paragraph

Option #1) An experienced student government executive branch leader, Nikita Shamdasani knows that things can be changed for the better.

Option #2) A former debater, Nikita Shamdasani has always been vocal about issues on campus.

Option #3) February is a cruel month for an election. The air can turn icy with little warning. Each candidate lives for another breath, but the life-giving air also numbs, and no one feels much like moving. Sunlight wanes. Nikita Shamdasani, in the February twilight, in the middle of the frozen hell we call running for student body president, is breathing, getting colder.

Vote on the Second Paragraph

Option #1) Utilizing a crowdsourcing platform called ‘Neighborland,’ Shamdasani hopes to reconfigure the way we think about student government. She says that new technology can help put the focus back where it belongs–on students and their ideas.

Option #2) The room falls silent upon her entry. In a few minutes, bastard crows emerge from the cold shadows. They are hungry for carrion. Will she feed them? They peck at her platform, her latest interview, her last debate performance in search of sustenance. They will devour scraps as meager as a stilted introduction, or failure to memorize a statistic that, to Powell, is a note in a bedtime lullaby. But sleep is the cousin of death, and so no one is resting now. The bastard crows are too close–watching with flat, hungry eyes–ready to fill their bellies with dead remains. Democracy has its fair share of food for them.

Option #3) “I want a more transparent and open student government,” she said. “I know we can do better about listening and talking with students. That’s why my platform is focused on Neighborland. We’re opening up a new channel to student ideas.”

Vote on the Third Paragraph (You can fill in the blanks with any word you want!)

Option #1) Shamdasani said she envisions a student government that stands for ______.

Option #2) Shamdasani, a junior from Fayetteville, NC, said she has always valued _______ and it will be a vital part of her administration. “I think everyone knows I’m a _______ kind of person and I really care about _________. Those values guided my decision to invest in Neighborland during this campaign.”

Option #3) “It is well-known that an automaton once existed, which was so constructed that it could counter any move of a chess-player with a counter-move, and thereby assure itself of victory in the match,” Shamdasani said. “A puppet in Turkish attire, water-pipe in mouth, sat before the chessboard, which rested on a broad table. Through a system of mirrors, the illusion was created that this table was transparent from all sides. In truth, a hunchbacked dwarf who was a master chess-player sat inside, controlling the hands of the puppet with strings. One can envision a corresponding object to this apparatus. The puppet called ‘________’ is always supposed to win. It can do this with no further ado against any opponent, so long as it employs the services of  ‘______,’ which as everyone knows is small and ugly and must be kept out of sight.”

Vote on the Final Paragraph

Option #1) Shamdasani said on her first day in office she would send the Neighborland link to the other candidates, to allow them to populate it with ideas for reform.

Option #2) Underneath the layers that she puts on in the cold, Shamdasani is what you would expect. A politician. Just as hungry as the crows, but hungry for the flesh of the living. It is a hunger that’s hard to recognize under the layers, but it is what drives her, drives her out into the winter air. By now, she has spent so much time in the cold that, even in solitude, in the warmth of her home, she feels a chill, and so she keeps the layers on. Even she may not recognize the hunger anymore. Hers will be the only flesh left to feed it.

Option #3) Using the slogan “Your Carolina,” Shamdasani says she hopes her administration will be one that advocates for students.

Election 2014: Blind Lemon Jefferson, The Old Soul

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CHAPEL HILL, NC — Born in the heart of Texas in 1893 to two sharecroppers, Blind Lemon Jefferson–BLJ as his supporters call him–did not come to UNC expecting to be part of student government.

“I had to get sinful with the bedbugs, to keep the chinches from takin’ my life,” said Jefferson of his eventual decision to get involved with student politics. “Because the chinches got my number, wrote three letters to my wife.”

Jefferson, who is majoring in computer science and business, says his down-home roots have influenced the way his platform advocates for student needs. Prioritizing tuition decreases, increased student government transparency, and more entrepreneurial activities on campus, the Father of Texas Blues hopes to bring new ideas to an old institution.

“The most important question facing UNC today is exactly what BLJ has been asking: ‘Mmm, mmm, wonder where my black snake gone?’” said Kara Douglas, Jefferson’s campaign manager.

“Ultimately, students want a representative who’s going to fight for them,” Douglas continued, “and when BLJ says something like, ‘Somebody’s been tryin’ to fire your engine, man, ever since you been gone,’ you can see it in the faces of the students. They are fired up and ready to vote for this guy.”

Before his campaign, Blind Lemon was best known on campus as a pioneer of American folk music. But he’s ready now, he says, to move away from that reputation and focus on student issues.

“She got four speeds forward, and she don’t never stall. The way she tops on the hill, it wouldn’t make a panther squall,” Jefferson said, handing out campaign flyers in the Pit.

Asked about how his platform differentiates him from his fellow candidates, Jefferson demurred, though he did mention some issues on which he believes he best carries student interests.

“The ocean ain’t whiskey and I ain’t a no duck,” Jefferson said of Andrew Powell’s push for flipped classrooms, which he said are unpopular with many students who have experienced them. “I’ll play Jack O’ Diamonds and trust to my luck.”

Upon learning, just before press time, that he had received the endorsement of the Center for the American South, Blind Lemon Jefferson set to walkin’ down Cairo street, one dime was all he had. Oh lord, one dime was all he had.

To learn more about Blind Lemon Jefferson, you can visit his Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BLJ4SBP

Election 2014: Traffic Cone, The Rock

This week, The Minor is profiling the candidates running for student body president. Today, we get to know Traffic Cone.

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CHAPEL HILL, NC – Traffic Cone always knew he would end up at UNC.

“I grew up with it,” he said. “My family and I would come to every UNC basketball game to help direct traffic. Even then, I knew that I wanted to call this place home.”

A stellar high school student, Traffic Cone burst onto campus with energy and enthusiasm after being admitted to UNC. Early in his first year, he took a leading role in Safewalk, establishing a program called Students Pointing Out Things That Evoke Danger (SPOTTED) to raise awareness about slippery surfaces and potholes on campus.

“I started [SPOTTED] because that’s something I really believe in – pointing out a problem without really posing a solution,” he said. “That’s exactly what UNC needs in a student body president.”

Throughout his childhood, Traffic Cone was called a pushover for his diminutive stature and pointy shape, but he quickly learned to make up for this with bright colors and a winning personality.

“I used to be worried that I stand out – it made me the object of ridicule. However, now I use it to my advantage in order to keep my community safe.”

Last year, Traffic Cone built a reputation for standing guard around missing bricks outside Ram’s Head. An easy face to recognize, he managed to collect the signatures he needed to get on the student body president ballot in a record-setting three hours. He took this as a strong endorsement for his platform of Safety, Awareness, and Pointing Things Out, and has been campaigning on those points ever since.

“I think students are really concerned with the same issues that I am. And as student body president, I will work hard to bring attention to these issues.”

When asked about what he would do to solve these issues, Traffic Cone countered that “more than anything, it’s about visibility rather than action.”

Traffic Cone chose not to respond to questions about his alleged nightly habit of getting inserted into and stacked on top of other cones, a rumor that is sure to persist come election day.

Election 2014: Winners and Losers at the Young Democrats Forum

As election season heats up, The Minor will have all the coverage as it breaks. Our Senior Intrepid Political Reporters,  Carly Burns and Bobbi Wood, are on the pulse of the story, with constant news updates on the politics shaping our campus.

Bobbi Wood and Carly Burns | The Minor

The first debate between student body president candidates is in the books. After Wilson Parker, President of the Young Democrats, gaffed the opening coin toss, the proceedings began, and candidates brawled over policies for a little over an hour. So, who won and who lost?

Winners

Lee Storrow-

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One hundred percent of the candidates said that they supported the liberal stalwart in the the 2013 Town Council race, despite the fact that he was not up for re-election last year. An extremely strong showing.

Andrew Powell-

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Despite a difficult start in the debate, Powell more than made up for it by sharing hard statistics about real problems and advocating big ideas.

Emilio Vicente-

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Despite a difficult start in life, Vicente more than made up for it by defying hard statistics about real problems and advocating big ideas.

Blind Lemon Jefferson-

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Interrupting Wilson Parker’s introduction to the debate with a bluesy wail that came from the depths of his soul, Jefferson captivated the crowd. No one gave one good-god-damn who could strum the guitar best that day, only who had the heart to sing for something simple as a long day’s work.

John Kerry-

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Kerry gave a polished performance, but his locally tailored references to Sean May and Franklin Street Pizza and Pasta seemed dated.

UNC Young Democrats-

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In order to avoid embarrassing their progressive reputation, Young Dems gracefully talked themselves into endorsing Emilio, despite his relatively bland performance.

Losers

Strange red-haired man-

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No one was sure why this man stood near the candidates and spoke intermittently. Some speculated he was Andrew Powell’s helper.

Traffic cone-

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The cone seemed stiff at times, unwilling to let the student body in.

Nikita Shamdasani-

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An interception late in the third quarter sealed her fate.

UNC Young Democrats-

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In order to avoid embarrassing their progressive reputation, Young Dems gracefully talked themselves into endorsing Emilio, despite his relatively bland performance.