On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill 61 to 37 to require the U.S. Military to take control of all suspected terrorist arrested overseas and now, in the United States. The bill also allows the Military to hold detainees in Military custody indefinitely, and without the guarantee of a trial.
Now I know that Guantanamo Bay concerns dramatically died down a few years ago, but this new bill definitely raises some worries. First, yes, we are at war and the treatment of suspected terrorists is murkier. However, there remain clear international laws , including but not limited to the Geneva Conventions on the Treatment of Prisoners, that stipulate how a prisoner is meant to be treated. Does the United States have the right to hold suspects for an unlimited amount of time and without a trial? My guess is that many lawyers and human rights activists would argue that these rules are inhumane and illegal. I would argue that treating suspects this way in the United States could elicit similar treatment overseas of American prisoners, and the U.S. would not longer have an argument about reciprocal treatment on its side. Continue reading
In the GOP debate last night, candidates made harsh statements about federal student loans and, by extension, college education in general. Rep. Ron Paul called student loans “a total failure” and said the U.S. should abolish them; Gov. Rick Perry managed to remember that he doesn’t think “the federal government should be in the business of paying for programs and building up huge debt out there,” adding that the U.S. should “force universities to be more efficient.” Newt Gingrich called student loans “an absurdity” because they allow students to “stay in college longer because they don’t see the cost.” These statements show not only the inequality inherent in a plan to drop monetary education assistance, but also the devalorization of education in America. Continue reading
Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) ran a successful campaign with the motto “Let’s Get to Work” in a state whose unemployment rate is higher than the national average. Throughout the campaign, he promised he would create 700,000 jobs in addition to state economists’ forecasts for a natural growth of 1 million jobs. As it turns out, he was just kidding. This indifference towards people in need isn’t surprising, coming as it is from the man who made his millions in the fraudulent for-profit hospital business. Continue reading
I suspect many of us learned about Steve Jobs’ death in the same way: checking Facebook on our Macs or iPhones to procrastinate from doing work. I read a Facebook status to the effect of “RIP Steve” and immediately went to the New York Times to read the prepared obituary. After I finished I returned to the Times homepage and opened a new tab to go back to Facebook. I was shocked to see the enormous outpouring of grief on Facebook and on the Times’ homepage selection of reader submissions and memories. After all I doubt that any of my Facebook friends actually met Steve Jobs or were ever in the same room as him. Why were people so emotional over the death of a man they did not know? Continue reading
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court found itself at the crossroads of two federal protections: freedom from discrimination in the workplace and freedom of religious practice. Cheryl Perich taught secular and religious subjects at a Lutheran school in Michigan before she was diagnosed with narcolepsy. After being deemed medically fit to reenter the workplace, she was fired. At any secular school, this case would inevitably have been decided in her favor under the defense of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Continue reading
Over the past two and a half years inflation and debt hawk economists and economic theories have dominated the national (and recently international) public and pundit debate on the economy. Shortly after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus bill) conservative economists pointed to rising interest rates as a sign of future inflation and government crowding out. Along with the rise of the Tea Party and the resurgent electoral prowess of the Republican Party this assertion has been at the core of the national debate over the need to reduce deficits and our long-term debt. Continue reading
On Monday, researchers reported findings that suggest that throat cancer cases have increased dramatically in the United States over the last 5-10 years. The study suggests that many of the new cases of throat cancer have developed because of HPV virus transmission during oral sex. Though noted for its risk of causing cervical cancers, HPV is often overlooked for its chances of causing throat and tonsil cancers. But the studies released Monday, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggest that at the rate the virus is developing now, cases of throat cancer will surpass cases of cervical cancer caused by HPV by 2020. Continue reading