Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Clips of the Week

The Daily Show and Colbert Report came back swinging this week, and we're sharing two great examples of comedic investigative journalism with you.

Friday, October 25, 2013

International Maneuvers of Mystery

Recent reports of the NSA monitoring the electronic communications of world leaders have been causing quite a stir. The controversy was sparked by the dissemination of a 2006 NSA internal document by the infamous Edward Snowden. Possibly the most significant of the purported espionage targets is German Chancellor Angela Merkel; Merkel called President Obama and the US ambassador to Germany was questioned in connection with reports that the NSA tapped the Chancellor's official cellphone. The US has also been accused of spying on Mexican, French, and Brazilian officials among other allies.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I would prefer...

It's no secret that Congress has been troubled by ideological intransigence, with an increasing number of seats going to candidates more rigidly aligned with the party base. The number of moderate politicians and of those willing to compromise seems to be dwindling in the national capital. Unfortunately, as awareness of and dissatisfaction with this problem increases, a solution to the problem remains elusive.

A big part of the problem is that gerrymandered districts make it so that a party primary is more important than the general election to winning a seat. Both major parties like the idea of secure seats that these district provide, but the problem is that primaries, especially when a general election win is secure, favor the more ideologically extreme candidates. This happens because moderates of that party and independents may not participate, while those on the far right or far left are more likely to be involved in the primary process for their respective parties.

Creating more sensible, geographically sound districts would help to alleviate this problem, but there may be another way; specifically, there might be good reason to pursue a ranked-choice voting system for congressional elections.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Proposal to Increase the Effectiveness of Our Congress

In this post, I use political satire in an attempt to expose the flawed logic of ultra-conservative solutions to our country’s underlying budgetary and economic problems. They recognize the problems we face in society (failing schools, crumbling roads, etc.), but they utterly fail to see the right solutions to those problems. Instead of dealing with the problems head-on, they believe that working for corporations and special interests will faithfully represent the interests of American democracy. Unfortunately, Democratic legislators are just as guilty of giving in to special interests and immediate re-election benefits in lieu of working responsibly to solve our nation’s problems. In this satire, I work off two ideas: 1) the belief among these special interest groups that their practices are simply democracy, and 2) the conservative claim that what is good for business is good for America. Using these ideas, I build the logic for a plan which the speaker thinks will benefit the American public. The speaker does not recognize that failing to directly tackle our country’s underlying social problems will solve nothing. His proposal will institute a sort of hyper-pluralism which will turn the American government into more of a self-interested oligarchy.

 I am enraged at the current disheveled state of our legislative politicians who cannot set aside their petty responsibilities for the good of the nation. I am sure that this deplorable irresponsibility at the highest level of governance has wreaked havoc on your lives as it has on mine. Elected officials enter office with every intention of working for the national self-interest, and then they are absolutely corrupted by the Washington culture. I have seen many a good man, some of them dear friends and colleagues, deluded by the pretensions to which the federal government aspires. Even worse, they feed off the ignorance of voters who know little of how the political culture distorts a man’s character. Thus, an uneducated electorate keeps feeding talentless politicians into a system of chronically subpar governance. How can we maintain our status as the greatest country God ever gave to man on the face of the Earth if this trend continues?