I was reading a Foreign Policy blog post this morning when I came upon a startling fact: international issues are a priority for less than two out of ten Americans. More than eight out of ten, on the other hand, cited domestic policy as their number one voting issue.
The findings, from a Washington Post-ABC News poll, got me thinking: do Americans care about the world anymore? Have domestic hot button issues — underemployment, slow or negative job growth, immigration, gay rights, contraception and reproduction, Occupy YouNameIt — taken over the political main stage and left the burning issues of the international landscape — fraudulent Russian elections, the Syrian crackdown, European disintegration, the transition of the Libyan government, clashes in Somalia, the DRC, and Sudan, to name a few — high and dry? And maybe, dare I say it, could that be a good thing for the United States?
Standardized testing has become a fact of life for students. To get accepted to Wes, we all took SATs and SAT IIs or ACTs and often AP tests or IB tests, not to mention an alphabet soup of state specific tests. Seniors preparing for further academic work are studying for or taking their GREs or LSATs or MCATs. These are not all that admissions offices look at – they are weighed alongside recommendations, grades, interviews, personal statements and more – but they provide one gauge of an applicant’s ability and readiness for school. After following the last few months of presidential primary season and attempting to prepare myself for the upcoming year of elections (yes, really, there’s another 11 months of this), I am increasingly of the opinion that we need to create another test, which I have provisionally named the PC GIT, or Presidential Candidate’s General Information Test.
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
As a follow-up story to an earlier post on HPV, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has finally officially recommended that both girls and boys be vaccinated against HPV.
The new recommendation will likely be met with significant controversy, as is par for the course, because many of the cancers that met become afflicted with due to the HPV virus, are more common among homosexual men. This fact will likely dissuade Republican politicians further against the vaccine, which they already do not endorse. The recommendation, however, may be in response to the recent findings that cases of throat and mouth cancers due to HPV will likely surpass cases of genital cancer by 2020 – suggesting that women and men are contracting the virus through oral sexual activity. Continue reading
Throughout much of American history we have struggled with how to reconcile our foreign policy strategic interests with our stated commitments to the virtues of democracy, freedom, and human rights. Our Cold War support for right wing dictatorships and authoritarian regimes was a lightening rod for criticism from the American Left (while the American Right wondered why we did not do more to fund insurgents in totalitarian communist and socialist countries). Of course prior to the Cold War we allied with one totalitarian state (the USSR) in order to take down another (Germany). 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
If you haven’t yet heard about the Keystone XL Pipeline currently under consideration by the U.S. Government, here’s a quick overview.
Canada’s tar sands are 54,826 square miles of mineral-filled sands, including a high density of a naturally occurring form of petroleum. These tar sands are the second biggest source of crude oil IN THE WORLD after Saudi Arabia (!). The U.S. government is currently considering permitting the development of a pipeline called the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would transport Canadian oil from the tar sands to American refineries on the Gulf Coast, primarily for export. Not only will the development of this pipeline disrupt countless eco-systems and indigenous communities in the region of the tar sands in Canada, but it will also increase the risk for severe oil spills on American territory and will endanger communities in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Above all, to produce just one barrel of crude oil from the tar sands requires between TWO and FOUR barrels of oil. NASA’s top scientist has said that the implementation of this Pipeline would mean “essentially game over” for the climate. That $6 billion investment could do so many better things than solidifying our dependence on fossil fuels. Continue reading