Tag Archives: Irvine


Media Advisory For:

Thursday, August 7, 2008



MoveOn members in Irvine will gather at noon on Thursday to call for an end to the Republican’s political theater on the House floor.

They will deliver petitions calling for real solutions–not gimmicks–for Americans suffering from this energy crisis. The event follows on a similar one at the Capitol on Tuesday in Washington DC and will be held at the same time as dozens of events in Republican districts around the country (to date, 250,000 petitions nationally).

Since Friday, the Republicans in Congress have been playing to the television cameras with theatrical stunts because Speaker Pelosi blocked their offshore drilling plan. The Republican plan will not lower gas prices but it will line the pockets of Big Oil executives, the same people donating millions of dollars to Republicans.

“The political theatrics in the House right now are brought to you by the Party that’s been sold to Big Oil,” said Kate Nikolenko, a local MoveOn member. “Americans need solutions, not gimmicks. Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) could have voted to move forward last week, but instead he is grandstanding for a bill that will not lower gas prices but will line the pockets of Big Oil CEOs.”

The petition, signed by people in this district, reads, “America must commit to producing 100% of our electricity from cheap, clean renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, within 10 years.”

WHO: MoveOn Members from Irvine

WHAT: Call for an End to Republican Big Oil Stunt on Capitol Hill

WHERE: Rep. John Campbell’s Office, 610 Newport Center Drive, Suite 330, Newport Beach, CA

WHEN: Thursday, August 7th, at noon

MoveOn.org Political Action is a political action committee powered by 3.2 million progressive Americans. We believe in the power of small donors and grassroots action to elect progressive leaders to office and to advance a progressive agenda. We do not accept any donations over $5,000, and the average donation to MoveOn.org Political Action is under $100.



Bill Wood

Media Lead

Irvine Chapter of MoveOn.Org

September 12, 2007 Blog Roundup

Today’s Blog Roundup is on the flip. Let me know what I missed.

To subscribe by email, click
here and do what comes naturally

When I was a student, we
called this cramming — didn’t work very well then either

The Librul Academy: or
how the taxpayers of California still employ John Yoo as a law
professor at UC Berkeley

Big fish, smaller ponds

Candidates are people too

Everything else

Take Your Final Chance for DFA Campaign Academy!

(Cross-posted at The Liberal OC and Daily Kos)

Something amazing is happening tomorrow. DFA Campaign Academy is coming to Southern California! Tomorrow, progressive activists from all over Southern California will be coming to Orange County to learn how to win next year and in future elections. And guess what? All of us activists will be learning from the experts who know a thing or two on how to win.

Oh, and here's some more good news. Even though registration for attendance is already at 160 people, DFA is still accepting sign-ups for tomorrow! That's right, even if you haven't signed up yet, you can still come to DFA Training! So what's happening at DFA Training? Follow me after the flip for more…

So what’s in store for this weekend? Well, why not look at the curriculum to find out?! Learn how to fundraise! Learn how to target voters in your neighborhood with new and imporved online tools ready for you to start using! Learn how to use communicate your message better in your local area! Take advantage of this opportunity to learn all this and more this weekend!

OK, so why exactly is this important? Why should we learn all these campaign stuff, especially if we’re not in an area where progressives can win? Actually, that’s why we need to all go to the training this weekend! For far too long, many Democrats have written off areas like Orange County and the Inland Empire as “hopelessly Republican”. But you know what? We can change this!

Ron Shepston may already be doing this as he’s getting his campaign started in the 42nd Congressional District. Now what could possibly be a better way for all of us in Southern California to help Ron out than to go to DFA Campaign Academy and learn how we can convince our neighbors in CA-42 to support Ron? Ron will need people to can take a progressive message, and communicate it in a way that catches the attention of people who may not know much about politics. Ron will need people to help him raise money. Ron will need plenty of help from us if we want to see him win next year, so let’s learn how we can make that happen this weekend!

OK, so you’re nowhere near Orange County? And you don’t live near the 42nd District? That’s fine. Please come anyways, as it’s also important that you learn how to get Democrats elected and promote the progressive agenda in your neighborhood! Perhaps if you sign up now, you can also still catch a hotel room available if you need one. It’s important that we build up Democratic infrastructure everywhere, so let’s get started this weekend! Let’s go to the training and learn what we need to know to gegin building that infrastructure we need to win!

So who’s with me on this? I’ve already signed up for the training. Have you? Well then, you can still sign up! The training’s only $70… That includes lunch for both days and all the workshops you want inside! Oh yes, and this is your chance to meet some of the finest progressive Democrats in the entire region. So what are you waiting for? Sign up to come tomorrow and join the fun! ;-)

Thanks to Prop 71, UC Irvine Continues Stem Cell Research

This morning, I was looking through The Register. And suddenly, I had to stop in my tracks once I saw this:

UC Irvine has collected an additional $3.9 million for the study of human embryonic stem cells, raising its backing from the state to about $17.5 million and making the campus among the most heavily funded in the world in this nascent area of biomedical research.

Wow, so it looks like our decision to invest in stem cell research is starting to pay off! Thanks to Prop 71, UC Irvine can continue its groundbreaking research that may one day lead to real cures for nasty diseases. Follow me after the flip for more on what UCI will be doing with that additional $3.9 million…

So what exactly will this money be going to?

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine gave UCI the money to better equip a fast-growing research center and to train scientists to cultivate stem cells, which have the ability to become any cell in the body, making them potentially useful in treating disease and injury.

The money was part of the $50 million that the agency gave 17 institutions Tuesday for laboratories and training. To date, the state agency has given out more than $200 million, and will eventually distribute an unprecedented $3 billion, as called for in the voter-approved initiative Proposition 71.

And why is this important?

The university has been competing hard for the state funds, and raising millions from private donors, so that it doesn’t have to rely on federal money to run its core research center. The federal government limits funding to a small number of stem cell lines that were in existence as of Aug. 9, 2001.

The restrictions were imposed by President Bush, who says he doesn’t want to sanction the destruction of additional embryos so that the number of lines can be expanded. Congress is scheduled to vote this week on a bill that would ease the restrictions on federal funding, but Bush has said he would veto such a measure.

The $3.9 million Irvine got Tuesday promotes “a ‘fed-free’ zone where people are not only doing research but are trying to bring their results to clinical trials,” said Hans Keirstead, co-director of UCI’s Bill and Susan Gross Stem Cell Research Center.

Remember what George W. Bush told us back in August 2001? The federal government won’t fund embryonic stem cell research. And so long as the federal government won’t fund any research, such academic institutions as UCI (which receive plenty of federal funds) have difficulty engaging in such important and promising scientific research.

But now, UCI can continue its research, now that private donors and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine are chipping in. And what will UCI be doing with all this money? They will likely be building upon the progress that they have already been making. Take a look at what has been accomplished at UCI’s Stem Cell Research Center:

* James Fallon (Parkinson’s Disease): In 1997 and again in 2000, Fallon was the first to demonstrate how significant numbers of rodent adult stem cells and progenitors can be mobilized to help repair an injured brain. These results point the way toward potential new treatments that harness stem cells within the brain to reverse damage done by stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions.

* Ken Cho and Ping Wang (Diabetes): Ken Cho, Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology, identified over 50 genes affecting the transformation of mouse embryonic stem cells into insulin-producing cells, perhaps pointing the way toward a means of expanding the supply of transplantable insulin-producing cells. Ping Wang, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine, has identified internal cellular processes that promote the growth and survival of cells affected by diabetes.

* Hans Keirstead and Aileen Anderson (Spinal Cord Injury): Hans Keirstead has injected hESCs into paralyzed rats and significantly increased their mobility, work expected to result in the first clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells in 2006. Keirstead was also the first to develop a high-purity line of functional nerve tissue cell progenitors from hESCs. Anderson investigates the role of inflammation following spinal cord injury.

And in addition to all of this, there is so much more. There’s progress being made on treating Alzheimer’s. There’s greater understanding as to what happens with genetic diseases. There’s progress being made on fighting neurological disease. Basically, UCI is leading the way in finding treatments, discovering cures, and renewing a sense of hope with its scientific research!

Heck, their scientists are even becoming celebrities! ; )

No, but really, good things are happening at UCI. And thanks to California voters deciding that this type of scientific research is valuable and should be encouraged, UCI can continue this research. And hopefully one day, all this research will lead to valuable cures. : )

Irvine’s Crime Prevention Programs and the Crime Rate

(OK, fixed! : ) – promoted by atdleft)

Today, the FBI confirmed what CA AG Jerry Brown said in May, Irvine is one safe city. In fact, it’s the safest in the nation:

For the third year running, Irvine tops all large cities in the nation with the lowest incidence of violent crime after posting a nearly 17 percent drop in 2006, according to a report by the FBI. Reported violent crimes for the city – which include homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault – fell from a total of 151 in 2005 to 126 in 2006, for a rate of 67 per 100,000 in the preliminary posting of the 2006 FBI Annual Uniform Crime Report. (OC Reg 6/5/07)

Last time, I talked about the importance of parks and recreation.  And of course, economic factors surely weigh into the amount of crime. Given that Irvine has a pretty high per capita income, it’s not surprising to see a low rate of crime. But Irvine actually does better than similarly sized cities with higher per capita income. Take that Sunnyvale! (Ok…Sunnyvale is #2 on the AG safe city list, but that’s one slot below #1).

But something else is also at play here, that is the role of the city’s various crime prevention programs. Irvine has implemented geographic policing, neighborhood watch programs, and Internet reporting.  Follow me over the flip for more..

So for a city of about 200,000 people, how the heck does Irvine stay so safe? Well, how about the Police Department’s various programs. One such program is geographic policing.  This program gets beat officers out from behind desks and in the community, where they are visible. Irvine’s neighborhood alert has also been effective. Knowing your neighbors helps reduce crime and creates a more livable city. Or is it the WatchMail program? Can the internet actually be used as a tool to reduce crime in the community? Whatever they are doing, the Crime Prevention Unit of the Irvine Police Department is proving to be quite effective.

And clearly, it seems like Irvine has enough patrol officers to cover the entire community. And perhaps now that the Irvine Police Department now does “geographic policing”, officers really are connecting more with the community. And maybe, their Crime Analysis Unit is having some effect. Perhaps by finding out what had gone wrong, they can then work with the community to make things right. Whatever is happening, the Irvine Police Department must be doing something right.

And clearly Irvine’s Progressive Mayor and Police Chief know how tough it can be to keep such a big city so safe. Yet for the last three years, they have been remarkably successful in leading the way not just for Orange County, and not just California, but for the entire nation. From The OC Register:

“When you are the safest city in America, you have to work especially hard to maintain that position,” Irvine Mayor Beth Krom said. “This is a source of pride for the entire community.” […]

“Getting to know the people who live and work in these areas helps them to be able to identify the problems in these areas and any impacts on the quality of life,” said Irvine Police Chief David L. Maggard.

And how has Irvine been able to avoid what the other major cities in Orange County are suffering from?

The national crime trends were largely echoed in Orange County, with all eight cities with populations of 100,000 or above recording increases in robberies, and a sharp decline in property crime.

There were 19 more murders in Orange County’s biggest cities in 2006 than the previous year – a jump that can be largely result of a spike in gang violence in Santa Ana, which recorded nine more murders in 2006.

However, car thefts, arsons and other property crimes dipped across the nation for the second straight year, the data show. Huntington Beach – which saw a 12.6 percent drop in violent crime – was the only large Orange County city to see a rise in property crime, recording 365 more property crimes last year compared to 2005.

Huntington Beach must now worry about property crime becoming more prevalent throughout town. Santa Ana is now facing a crisis of escalating gang violence. Up in North Orange County, the cities of Orange and Fullerton are grappling with dramatic increases in violent crisis. Take a look at the major California cities on the FBI’s list, and things aren’t looking very good not just in OC, but throughout the state.

So what is Irvine doing right that other cities in California aren’t? Are Irvine’s police services that much better? Are they doing a better job of preventing crime? Are the parks and community services really making that much of a difference? There’s a secret to Irvine’s success, and more communities should try to learn this secret to figure out how to take a real bite out of crime.

Should Cars Share the Road With Bikes?

This morning, I’ve been leisurely perusing through The Register. I may not always agree with their opinions (OK, so it’s more like ALMOST NEVER, but whatever), but I like their local news and I like their columnists. Well anyways, I was reading Gordon Dillow’s column today and I was stopped in my tracks!

I was driving along an open stretch of Pacific Coast Highway the other day, at or just under the posted speed limit of 50 mph, and every hundred yards or so I was passing groups of two or three or a dozen bicyclists pedaling along in the bike lane. And that’s when it occurred to me:

I don’t want to share the road. More specifically, I don’t want to share a high-speed road with bicycle riders – not because it’s that big of a problem for me, but because it’s too dangerous for them.

Now in case you haven’t heard, “Share the Road” is the slogan that’s here to encourage motorists to be more aware of bike riders while on the road, and to cooperate with them. Now this sounds like a good idea, but is it really? Or are we just asking for accidents on places like PCH? Gordon Dillow thinks so, and I think he might be onto something.

Follow me after the flip for more…

So maybe bikes can share the road with cars on streets in residential neighborhoods and other areas where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour and less…

But on roads like sections of Pacific Coast Highway, where speed limits range up to 55 mph, it seems like utter madness to have 3,000- or 4,000-pound cars going 55 mph hurtle past 25-pound bikes going 15 mph – with nothing more substantial between them than a thin white stripe delineating the shoulder or the “bike lane.” It’s like allowing baby strollers on the freeway.

Yes, I know we’ve spent millions of dollars creating bike lanes – as opposed to separate, no-cars-allowed bike “paths” and “trails” – along our streets and highways. I also realize that in this day and age there are few things more politically incorrect than to suggest that cars be given preference over bicycles. After all, in the popular view, motor vehicles are pollution-spewing, gas-guzzling (and gasoline tax-paying) monsters, while bikes are benign, environmentally friendly little munchkins.

But the problem is that when monsters mix with munchkins, the munchkins are inevitably going to get stepped on – too often with tragic results.

Really? Munchkins? Stepped on? Tragic?

Consider the numbers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2005 there were 115 “pedalcyclists” – that’s the NHTSA’s word – killed in traffic crashes in California, nine of them in Orange County. True, bicycle fatalities were only about 3 percent of the total 4,300 traffic-related fatalities in the state, but if you factor in such things as “fatalities per miles traveled,” it’s pretty clear that statistically it’s more dangerous to ride a bike on the roads than to drive a car.

Yep, when we look at the numbers, it just seems unavoidable. It really is dangerous to have bikes on the same lanes as cars. Now we can argue that all this danger is caused by the slower and lighter bikes trying to mingle with the faster and heavier cars. Or perhaps, we can argue that all this danger is caused by all these cars just going too fast…

But the point is that regardless of who is at fault in a car vs. bike collision, it’s the bicyclist who’s going to suffer, physically at least. Once again, no 25-pound bike is ever going to “win” in a collision with a 4,000-pound car – and yet we persist in trying to mix heavy, high-speed motor vehicles with light, low-speed bikes on high-volume, relatively high-speed roads.

And this is why cars and bikes just can’t get along on the same road. And perhaps, we should start taking this into consideration more often when we plan more bike lanes.

Perhaps we should follow Irvine’s example. The City of Irvine has 44.5 miles of off-road bike paths connecting to the 282 miles of on-road bike paths. In Irvine, bike riders have the chance to get off the road once they leave those quieter residential neighborhoods with the slower cars, and get onto these special paths just for bikes that take them to lovely parks and gorgeous nature preserves. Maybe Irvine is doing something right that other communities in Orange County, as well as other parts of California, should pay attention to.

And perhaps we should create more off-road bike paths besides busy highways like what is being done on SR-133/Laguna Canyon Road from Irvine to Laguna Beach. What Gordon Dillow saw recently on PCH also used to happen all the time on Laguna Canyon Road. And sometimes, that mix of speedy bikes and even speedier cars was quite a deadly one. But now, the bikes are getting their own lane. And most likely, this will make both the bike riders and the car drivers both happier and safer.

So perhaps when we’re considering new roads and new bike lanes, we should try to keep the two separated. And perhaps we should especially do this with highways where dozens upon dozens of cars speed by every day at 50 miles per hour. After all, shouldn’t we keep the good, brave bike riders safe and happy? : )

A Bubbling Cauldron at UC Irvine?

Last night, UCI Chancellor Michael Drake met with Jewish students to discuss the recent unrest on campus. Here’s what The OC Register has to say about it:

UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake told several hundred concerned Jewish community members Wednesday night to join in on discussions and work together against what he calls isolated incidents of anti-Jewish speech by outsiders on campus.

Drake answered questions during a 90-minute town hall meeting at Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine addressing concerns about what the Jewish community calls ongoing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on UCI’s campus.

“We promote dialogue, understanding, growth and tolerance at UCI,” Drake said. “I’d like to enlist all of you in working with me to make Jewish life on campus as strong as possible.”

So what’s happening on campus? Is there an anti-Jewish problem on campus? Is there an anti-Muslim problem on campus? Why is UCI becoming such a hotbed of controversy? Follow me after the flip for more…

So what exactly is happening at UCI? Jewish groups on campus have been complaining about anti-Semitic incidents for quite some times now. Pajamas Media likes to call what’s happening an “intifada” against Jews on campus. The Jewish Journal asks if UCI is a hotbed of anti-Semitic harassment. So is there an anti-Semitic problem at UCI?

But wait, is this all that’s happening? After all, the very same Muslim Student Union that is being accused of being behind all this harassment is itself claiming harassment. In fact, police are still investigating the charge that an FBI agent threatened a Muslim student who was just taking down a protest wall on campus. And most recently, the folks at Red County/OC Blog accused the Muslim Student Union of “preaching terror on campus”, even though The Daily Pilot found no anti-Semitism and no incitement to “terrorism” at the previous speech in the week-long series on the Israeli-Palestinean crisis. If anything, it seemed like it was the commenters on the OC Blog story preaching hate.

So what’s the problem? Why do both sides feel so victimized? Perhaps there are incidents of radical extremists targeting Jews on campus. Perhaps there are right-wing extremists who seek to stir trouble with the Muslims on campus. Perhaps the controversy at UCI is getting way out of control. What can be done to quell the controversy? What can be done to reconcile the differences between the Jewish groups and the Muslim groups on campus? Why is the conflict at UCI almost reaching Israeli-Palestinean levels of intensity?

Hopefully, UCI Chancellor Drake and the administration can come up with a solution here. Something has to be done to address this bubbling cauldron. Something has to be done to stop this from bubbling past the boiling point.

Come to DFA Training, Be a Better Activist

(There are actually 2 DFA Training Sessions, in OC July 21-22 as mentioned in this post and also in Sacramento on July 14-15. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

In case you forgot, DFA is doing its training academy this July. And this year, we’re having it here in Orange County! Yes, we have some great campaign training planned for you in Irvine. And yes, we’re already planning to show all of you fantastic Democratic activists who will be coming from throughout Southern California (from Oxnard to Palm Springs to Imperial Beach) how we REALLY do it in the OC! : )

So have you signed up for this yet? Do you still need to be signed up for this? Do you still need to learn more about this? Follow me after the flip for more on this great opportunity to learn how YOU can be a part of the big Democratic victory of 2008

I’m sure you know about what happened last year. Now do you want to learn to make the magic happen again next year? Perhaps this is what you’re looking for:

The 2008 Presidential race is already beginning to take shape. You and I both know that the grassroots are more than just a passive audience in this race. The DFA Training Academy will prepare you to become an asset to whichever candidate you end up supporting.

But this is more than just a presidential race. This past November Democrats across the country were successful in races from the U.S. Senate to local city councils. In addition to the standard campaign curriculum, we also will focus on strategies geared toward retaining the seats won last year and building Democratic majorities in 2008 and beyond.

Wow! Doesn’t that sound great? Well, there’s more! Only $60 (or $30 for low income people and students) can get you all of this:

At the DFA Training Academy, experienced campaign professionals will cover practical strategies and tactics including communications, fundraising, voter targeting, online organizing, and building a sustainable grassroots movement. We design the program so you can go out and use the skills you learn right away. Then, we follow up with you to make sure you have the support you need to organize your community.

Maybe you want to learn how to be more effective activist. Maybe you want to prepare yourself for the Presidential Election next year. Maybe you want to learn how to begin changing things for the better at the local level. Or maybe you just want to network with fellow activists. This will be the place for all of that and more!

Now my friends at DFA-Orange County have been working their fannies off organizing this for the past several months. They’ve been scouring all over the county for the perfect location, just for you. They’ve been working so hard on arranging for sleeping accommodations for those of you that will making quite a long drive to join us for the weekend. They are busy planning some fun social activities for after class, just for you. Basically, we’ve been making this an absolutely fantastic event just for you!

Don’t you want to show my friends how much you appreciate their hard work by signing up for DFA training academy?

Event Date: Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, 2007
Event Time: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Venue Name: USC Orange County Center
Address: 2300 Michelson Drive 
City: Irvine
State: CA
Zip Code: 92612
Handicapped Accessible: Yes
Google Maps

How Does Irvine Stay So Safe?

They’ve done it before, and they’ve done it again this year. Irvine is the safest large city in California. Check out the write-up in today’s OC Register:

Violent crime in Irvine dropped more than 16 percent and overall crime in the city fell 6 percent last year, making Irvine the safest large city in California, according to preliminary statistics released Monday by the state attorney general’s office. It’s the third year in a row Irvine has topped the list.

From January through December 2006, Irvine’s number of reported violent crimes – which includes homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault – dropped from 151 to 126 – at the same time the state saw a 1. 4 percent jump in violent crime. Irvine recorded drops in property and theft, but the number of homicides in the city doubled from two to four in 2006.

Following Irvine on the list of the state’s safest cities are Sunnyvale, Thousand Oaks, Santa Clara and Simi Valley.

Wow, now that’s safe! So how does Irvine do it? How can they stay so safe? Follow me after the flip as I look for answers…

So what’s the secret to Irvine’s success. Well, let’s start with their youth action team. Irvine is actually getting high schoolers involved in not only being productive in the community, but in also planning how they will be getting involved. And these kids really get active. Between concerts, graffiti removal days, and college workshops, these kids just don’t have the time to waste on crime.

Oh but wait, the fun doesn’t stop there! These kids (and adults) also play sports. They have tennis, basketball, soccer, softball, and much more. Again, these kids are too busy working out and learning teamwork to be caught up in any stupid illegal stuff.

And my goodness, look at all those lovely parks in town! Irvine has many safe places for kids to go to play and have fun. No matter where a family may live in Irvine, they know that there’s somewhere in the neighborhood where they can take the kids to play games and perhaps meet new friends in the neighborhood. And as these kids grow up being able to just play, they don’t get stuck in the streets.

OK, so what’s the point I’m trying to make? Well, here it is. Irvine’s smart planning has resulted in less crime and safer neighborhoods. By creating great parks in all the neighborhoods and giving kids great activities to do, Irvine has taken away whatever appeal criminal gangs might have had. And all these kids engaged in the community means kids who don’t feel that they don’t belong, and ultimately kids who don’t fall into gangs as they search for meaning in their lives.

So perhaps more cities should follow Irvine’s lead in reducing crime, and ultimately preventing any future crime. Clean up the neighborhoods, open some parks, and give kids something fun to do. This might actually help keep up the neighborhood. : )

Is the FBI Harrassing Muslims at UC Irvine?

“There was a confrontation, if you will,” said UCI Police Chief Paul Henisey, who is investigating the incident to determine if any crime was committed. The students “demanded to know why this person was following them, then the person left,” he said.

The incident that the UCI Police Chief is referring to is quite a nasty one. Today’s OC Register is reporting that police are now investigating this incident in which a Muslim student is claiming that an FBI agent threatened him. If this is true, then it wouldn’t be the first time when federal agents clashed with Muslim students on campus. However, this has already developed into another major headache for Orange County’s Muslim community.

Follow me after the flip to see what happened Monday night that caused this new furor…

So what happened Monday night? A UCI economics student claims that he was just taking down a protest wall when a surprise visitor appeared. At the Irvine campus, protesters with the Muslim Student Union erect a wall every day that symbolizes the “apartheid wall” that the Israeli government is trying to erect. However due to university policy on large displays, the Muslim Student Union agrees to take it down ever night. And when the economics student was taking down the wall, something strange happened.

From The Register:

UCI economics student Yasser Ahmed said he was driving a borrowed truck up onto the Ring Road near the library loading dock Monday night, on intending to haul away the wall, when he noticed a silver Ford Taurus with blackened windows following him.

Ahmed said he stopped the truck in view of other campus observers and stood in front of the Taurus, trying to look through the blackened windshield and asking the driver to identify himself. When he would not speak, Ahmed said he tried to take a photo of the car’s license plate with his camera phone.

“He could have just rolled down his window and said, ‘I’m an FBI agent,’ and that would have been the end of it,” Ahmed said. “There was nothing improper going on.”

Instead, according to Ahmed, the driver revved his engine threateningly and began pushing him backward with the car’s front bumper. Ahmed said he then began calling for help, and dozens of other students ran over to assist.

“I was frightened,” Ahmed said. “I felt I could have been killed or seriously injured if I hadn’t jumped out of the way.”

If this is true, then we need to be afraid. VERY AFRAID. Afraid of our own government.

So is this what really happened? Campus police confirmed that the mysterious man was an FBI agent. But why would an FBI agent be at UCI in the middle of the night?

The next morning, Ahmed said, he went to the campus police station and was told by the police chief that the man in the car was an FBI agent.

Ahmed, who lives with his family in Orange County, laughed at the idea the FBI could be investigating him.

Sociology student [Marya] Bangee said UCI’s Muslim Student Union opposes violence and its members are not terrorists.

“All we do is speak out against injustice,” Bangee said, though she said she believes the FBI has been spying on students.

“We have nothing to hide,” Bangee said. “If something illegal ever happened, it might make sense. But nothing ever has. It’s complete xenophobia.”

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first incident when Muslim Americans were harassed for simply being who they were. And this wouldn’t be the first time that the FBI was involved in suspicious activities monitoring the American Muslim community. However, it should ALWAYS trouble us when we hear that our government is unfairly targeting and harassing a community simply because of who they are. If these individuals are not involved in any crimes, then the FBI shouldn’t be snooping into their lives… And they definitely shouldn’t be harassing any one.

So why were FBI agents on the UCI campus Monday night? And why were they driving around the Muslim Student Union’s protest wall? And if the FBI agent in question truly did attempt to ram down the economics student with his car, why did he feel that he had license to do so? I thought that these agents were supposed to enforce the law. When our government suddenly begin breaking its own laws?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.