Nick Autiello, Contributor
The notion that homosexuality is a sin and un-Christian is one that is less than a hundred years old. It is wrong, and has no basis in scriptural or historical reality.
James Sasso, Associate Editor
As the tumultuous 2011 comes down to its final day, this column could contain an obnoxious summary of the year’s extraordinary events. Rather than once again discussing the protests around the world, the death of Osama Bin Laden, Fukushima, America’s political ineptitude, Europe’s demise or the increasingly frightful weather patterns, here I attempt to predict what 2012 holds in store.
James Sasso, Associate Editor
For one of the first times in his tenure as Speaker, John Boehner has made a statement with which every American, Republican or Democrat, should fully agree; the two-month Senate bipartisan extension of the payroll tax cut fails to fix the nation’s problems sufficiently. Providing a short-term band-aid to a long-term dilemma contradicts what a responsible government should accomplish, but fits the pattern of contemporary American politicking.
Mitt Romney is guilty of serial hypocrisy, Newt Gingrich is guilty of being a public intellectual constantly scrutinized by the media and others, and Ron Paul never ceases to remind me about one of my favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
Josh Akman, Columnist
Jon Huntsman did not participate in the CNN Debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. Short of his family and small (and getting smaller) campaign staff, no one really noticed. In a bizarre and counterproductive effort to impress New Hampshire voters Huntsman skipped the debate to protest Nevada moving its caucus ahead of New Hampshire’s, which has always been the nation’s first primary. It’s bizarre because no one else skipped the debate. It’s counterproductive because right now, Jon Huntsman is polling 6% in New Hampshire.
For the past month a movement has grown out of Zuccoti Park in New York with the potential to grab at the very heart of America’s problems. “We are the 99%” is not simply a catchy phrase used by frustrated jobless Americans , but a commentary on the disgraceful economic inequality that has arisen in the United States since the 1970s.
Conor Rogers, Editor
Calls for Americans to get over, move on, or move past 9-11 underestimate the degree to which 9-11 — despite it’s evils — redefined the American people for the better. We should not move on from that, but
Conor Rogers, Editor
Conor Rogers argues that if these 12 political phrases exited our discussion, we’d all be able to get along a bit better. The top phrase? “What the American people want…” The American people don’t 100% agree on anything.
Conor Rogers argues that “traditional marriage” is an imagined victim in the national debate over same-sex marriage. The debate should be about individual rights, not the condition of “traditional marriage” nationwide.
Conor Rogers recounts the scene of the crowd at the White House after it was announced Osama Bin Laden was killed, and what it meant for many college students.
House Republicans voted in an emergency session last Thursday to prohibit National Public Radio’s member stations from using federal funds to buy NPR programming. Sponsor Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) each hailed conservative activist James O’Keefe’s recent NPR sting during the lead up to the vote, but O’Keefe’s distortionary editing practices and pathological politics disqualify him as a reputable source.
In my attempts to procrastinate during midterm week, I recently caught a Gilmore Girls rerun on ABC Family. And while the trials and tribulations of a unique mother-daughter relationship wouldn’t typically serve as fruitful political blogging material, inspiration found me where I least expected it.
Since Wisconsin became the first state to grant public employees the right to bargain collectively, a telling comparison can be made: while the unionized private-sector has decreased from roughly thirty percent of their workforce in the 1960s to roughly seven percent today, unions of employees in the public-sector have maintained a share of roughly forty percent. In the past two years, public-sector unions have been scrutinized on the national stage for abusing their bargaining rights and contributing to the fiscal disarray of many states. It is reasonable to wonder how these types of unions have come to thrive when their private-sector counterparts have not.
The Supreme Court upheld the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to denigrate America’s fighting men and women. This is a victory for freedom of speech and not a victory for the hate-group. In fact, their judicial win may sow the seeds of their own demise — if society would start ignoring them.
The devolution of American values and culture has been underway for some time, but the devolution of America, the mighty and illustrious one that exists in our history textbooks—the America that triumphed over the muscular and mighty British military; the America that managed to emerge from our own internal war stronger than before; the America that fought through a depression that tried every aspect of our being; the America that was instrumental in not one, but two world wars; and the America that came together in the wake of the most horrific act of terror we had ever faced—is harder to pin point.
Ambrose Bierce defines politics as “a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” The last two decades of politics have seen a bloated budget, crazed spending, diplomatic crises, a total change of hands in Washington, and … lots of politicians. The names have changed, but the expanding structure of our War on Drugs-ing, healthcare-reforming policies from bureaucrats on Capitol Hill have stayed very much the same. In recent history, the government has consistently spent far more than it has taken in. The far left and the far right both find common ground in a principle that allows for the government to legislate away too many tax dollars on pet issues. The only debates seem to circulate around which issue gets priority in the hemorrhaging of tax dollars.
As an American who is now spending his second semester in Berlin, I have often heard about, but only rarely seen, people with fascist symbols and slogans. I have seen the occasional black-clothed skinhead, but I don’t normally see neo-Nazis during my daily routine, and this lack of presence, combined with all the hype surrounding them, made me morbidly curious to know more. I wanted to know how seeing them in their full organization would make me feel and what conclusions I would make. And then an opportunity presented itself on February 19th in Dresden.
It’s been a little more than a week now since the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Stealers took the field in Jerry Jones’ football palace for Super Bowl XLV. While ratings history was made when 111 million Americans tuned in to watch the squeaky clean Aaron Rodgers face off against the anything but clean “Big Ben” Roethlisberger (there are too many puns to choose just one), this year’s game was plagued with more than its fair share of problems—from furious fans left out in the cold, to an ill-received half-time show. But perhaps most costly was not Roethlisberger’s two interceptions or Rashard Mendenhall’s fumble, but rather the senseless casting choice that awarded the curvaceous has-been Christina Aguilera with the honor of singing this year’s National Anthem.
At issue is the misconstruction of ‘democracy’. Indeed so vaunted is the democratic right that it is unimpeachable: constantly, vulgar observers (in Britain at least, and imaginably across the Occident) insist on the viability of self-nurtured democracy in Egypt and across the Arab world, and further demand that the Arab choice in these anticipated elections be assured recognition and respect by the erstwhile regime’s patrons. The first claim is valid, if cutely naïve. The second claim is imbecilic. And (to be generous) it touches on a fundamental misunderstanding of what we mean when we cry, ‘democracy’.
What we really intend is ‘liberty’.
From February 10th to the 12th, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) gathered 11,000 of the most influential right-wing politicians and their fans in Washington, DC. Whereas last years conference was charged by the prospect of winning back the House and the Senate, this year was all about the impending Republican nomination for President in 2012. This was even more complicated by the presence of more openly libertarian organizations and the controversy surrounding the participation of openly-gay groups. In short, it was the most uncouth gathering in recent CPAC history.