A House committee in Oklahoma recently voted 11-4, split along party lines, to cut funding for the AP U.S. History program in their state, unless College Board changes the curriculum. Its complaint? The curriculum provides a “consistently negative view of American history” while simultaneously eliminating the concept of “American Exceptionalism” from students’ learning.
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NOPE, NOPE, NOPE — not another misguided government propaganda movement designed to stop kids from using drugs. Instead of frying eggs as a metaphor for your brain on drugs, NOPE promises to bring a sober, serious, factual perspective to the realities of prescription drug abuse. NOPE, the Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education program, is taking a radical departure from the failed anti-drug PSA’s of the past and is a welcome herald of the government’s shifting stance on drugs.
It really is the small blessings that count. In spite of my apocalyptic admonitions last month regarding everybody’s favorite Great White North Tea Partier heading the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space, it would appear that next year’s budget may be allocating more resources to NASA than it did last year. Texas voters naturally have a vested interest in keeping the space program alive and well, so kudos to Cruz for serving his constituency. For science!
For the first time in half a decade, Greece is back to stealing international headlines — for a good reason, though. On Sunday, the country established the left-wing Syriza party’s control of Parliament — with a staggering 149 out of 300 seats — and elected Alexis Tsipras as Prime Minister. The open atheist and youngest person to hold PM position in modern Greek history is making waves in more places than his local Mediterranean.Upon Tsipras’s election, the Euro market floundered to a daily ending at an 11-year low. Apparently, outside investors are concerned that the profit they’ll be able to harvest from the cash-strapped country is finally running out after seven years. Pity. It looks as though Tsipras has something that scares the powers that be. His election will no doubt mark a radical economic and political departure for the nation which has been subjected to a half-dozen austerity packages in half as many years by the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank (or “Troika”).Syriza’s ascent has been driven by a hardline anti-austerity position and Tsipras’ cabinet choices indicate that he is going to follow through on his campaign promises to end the austerity measures with a “just, viable and mutually beneficial solution.” Tsipras’ new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has called the bailouts and subsequent austerity measures “fiscal waterboarding” with reference to how they have permanently degraded Greece’s economy in exchange for soon-to-be-due bonds. The evidence is laid bare for Varoufakis’ claim, however. Both GDP and wages have fallen 25 percent since 2008. Each Greek owes the Troika $25,000 from the most recent bailout. Unemployment in Greece is hovering above one-quarter. Now double that last stat for young Greeks; we can begin to picture just how pervasive the economic situation in Greece has become. These are Great Depression-era numbers, and they have not been recovering under austerity programs.The Greek people have done their part by electing Syriza to power and giving them the opportunity to reform Greece’s broken economy. Now it lies in Tsipras and his government to do their share and actually reform the negotiations that have kept Greece down since the crisis. But change, cliché as it seems, must come (largely) from within.It is imperative that the Tsipras government first repair the damage the previous government and past policies have wrought on the Greek infrastructure. Renegotiating the loans won’t do any good if there’s nothing to come home to. Fields such as education, where money invested brings back large, stable returns, will prove best for early investment. Under six years of austerity, the Ministry of Education lost 35 percent of its funding and state-sponsored schools suffered under even worse conditions during that time.These cuts in education coupled with the unemployment statistics from earlier are what led to 37 percent of Syriza’s votes being cast by those aged 18-24. That sort of youth turnout is unheard of here, but that extraordinary number played a huge role in Tsipras’ and Syriza’s victory, as well. The Greek constituency of all ages has decided that living under austerity and paying exorbitant interest to the rest of Europe for that privilege is not something they want anymore. They want something new, something exciting and different. They want change. For better or for worse, they will have it.Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @OnlyH_Man on Twitter.Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.Want to join the conversation? Send an email to email@example.com. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.
Upon observing the way we venerate popular culture, a wise man once said ”We all feed on tragedy.” We consume movies depicting multiple gruesome, gory murders, obscene sexual acts and so, so much more. People love a wide swarth of genres — yes, the consumerist movie-going Proletariat enjoy simple heartwarming tales of duty right next to their scrambled brains. So they shall have it.
The election season is starting up again (isn’t it always doing that?) and I’ve consulted my seer‘s stone, Magic 8 Ball and vice-presidential voodoo dolls (how else do you explain all of Joe Biden’s faux pas?) to bring you my predictions for the 2016 presidential elections and the candidates who will be featured in next year’s race to the top. And bottom.
The most pressing world issue we face today according both to common sense and our own president is climate change. It’s been more than a decade since Al Gore’s controversial documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" brought global warming to the forefront of scientific, political and social commentary. The jury is in; global warming, climate change, call it what you will, is fact. To argue otherwise anymore is an exercise in rhetoric, not rationality or reality. Even though the scientific debate is settled, the battle still rages over policy implementation and the real-life logistics of combating climate change, with the imminent focus being placed on the Keystone XL pipeline. The Senate recently brought the issue to a vote that resulted in a precarious 59-41 split in favor of the pipeline — one vote away from passage. Although the ozone layer just dodged a 1,200-mile bullet it’s not time for celebration, as House Speaker John Boehner insists that Keystone will come up again “very early” next year. With Republicans newly in control of the Senate and further entrenched in the House of Representatives, it seems near-inevitable that the Keystone bill will pass sometime next year. When the time comes, and the bill is resting on the Resolute desk, will President Barack Obama rise up to the occasion? Does he have the courage to shun controversy and issue the provocative veto? Maybe so. In the meantime, the president is saving the environment in other significant ways. Just this month, Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing and came away with an agreement for China and the U.S. to start cutting down on greenhouse emissions — exceptional news, considering the two countries are the largest producers of greenhouse gases in the world. Better yet, Obama will be dragging Congress along kicking and screaming since he maneuvered his way out of establishing a formal agreement, rendering the Senate’s approval of a foreign treaty unnecessary. This agreement is also valuable as a blueprint for other nations like India, who have yet to phase out coal and fossil fuels for renewable energy as China will under the new pact. With this new agreement in place, Obama is now leading an international charge for action against climate change, whether or not our corporate Congress supports it. And, honestly, it doesn’t matter what policies the corporations covet or what the delusional deniers wish; the future of humankind is at stake here—nothing less—and Obama realizes the gravity of the situation fully. In this and many other respects, our president is on the right side of history. He has held steadfast in his determination to make lasting progress on climate change at home, and has now extended that same spirit abroad. With the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris just over the horizon, the timing couldn’t be better either for sowing the seeds of international solidarity on climate. When the time comes to confront the Keystone XL pipeline, Obama will take his stand and cement his legacy as the patron saint of alternative energy, both at home and abroad. The times, they are a-changin’, and it’s finally time to change out the tired energy policies of the last two centuries in exchange for a healthier and brighter tomorrow.Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @OnlyH_manEditor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.Want to join the conversation? Send an email to email@example.com. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.
"The Endless River," Pink Floyd's final studio effort, is billed as a celebration and insight into the work of Rick Wright, but presents a four-part suite that is musically as complete and thrilling a summation as any of Pink Floyd’s half-century journey, a journey now punctuated by this unusual, but nonetheless welcome, final chapter from David Gilmour, Nick Mason and the posthumous Richard Wright.
Sweden’s official recognition of Palestine’s nationhood is hopefully the first step of many that Western powers will take to resolve the Israel-Palestine Conflict once and for all. Sweden joins non-EU Iceland as the only other Western European power to recognize Palestine — a distinction also shared with Eastern EU members Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania. It’s a small step in the right direction, but until there is multilateral international pressure on both Israel and Palestine, this conflict will not come to an end. In the meantime, while the U.S. continues to eschew Palestine diplomatically, U.N.-collected statistics report that 70 percent of casualties in Gaza are civilians. The real numbers illustrate the disparity in power between Israel and Palestine — 70 casualties, nearly all military, suffered by Israel, compared to 2,000+ Palestinians dead in Gaza. The numbers are pretty disparate in spite of the thousands of rockets that get launched at Israel according to the media. There really are two sides to every story. The only way to achieve peace in the Middle East is by recognizing the sovereignty of both Israel and Palestine while distributing the disputed land equitably between both sides. Spurred by Sweden, the world community, especially Israel’s long-time ally the U.S. must take a stand for a two-state solution. The people of Israel and Palestine must suspend their debate over whose land it really is in exchange for a focus on reaching long-lasting peace. Serendipity! A firm majority of both Israeli and Palestinian citizens already support a two-state solution based off of 1967-era borders. Backing for the two-state solution is similarly high among American Jews as well. With so much popular support, why isn’t this solution in place already? Where is the end to this seven decade king-of-the-hill match? If the powers that be have any say, there won’t be a solution to this conflict in the Middle East anytime soon. The largest annual recipient of direct U.S. economic and military assistance since 1976 and the largest overall since WWII provides its sponsor with a glorified military outpost in return for complete solidarity on international matters. And what about the slim minority of radicals who want to obliterate the opposite country or rack up a bigger death toll for their enemies? When they aren’t holding government office they’re the loudest voices of the debate and force the issue with their politicians. The über-patriot vanguards, the ultra-religious zealots—these people drown out the rational majority who want a peaceful, fair resolution. The usual culprits — money, weapons, political leveraging — are to blame for the current crisis. Curiously enough, some of that political pillow talk has come back to condemn the troubled relationship plaguing U.S. and Israeli officials. Now is the best time in decades to finally bury the hatchet between these two nations instead of continually burying their citizens. The international community holds the key to facilitating candid deliberations about this cherished land through overt political pressure and symbolic shows of support and solidarity. Peace talks, but will Israel and Palestine listen?Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @OnlyH_manEditor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.Want to join the conversation? Send an email to email@example.com. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.
According to the newest statistics from the annual National Crime Victimization Survey, approximately 40 percent of rapes reported last year had male victims. This number is a staggering statistical increase compared to the typical numbers reported somewhere within the range of 5-14 percent. While it is a good social sign that men are reporting their sexual violence victimization more, the fact of the matter is that efforts to eliminate sexual violence are directed overwhelmingly toward helping women, the traditional victims of sexual violence, to the detriment of male victims.
The recent "Gamergate" controversy has kicked the newest Internet culture war into high gear over accusations suggesting that indie video game developer Zoe Quinn slept with gaming journalists as a means to further her career. The parties involved are users of the Internet hub 4Chan and “Social Justice Warriors,” or SJWs, a pejorative term for feminists and other like-minded individuals.
In Clay Aiken’s recent interview with the New York Times, the Democratic nominee for North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District distanced himself from President Barack Obama in order to appeal to the conservative voting base in his home state of North Carolina. Suggesting that his own campaign is in good shape, Aiken quipped that he “doesn’t need” the president to come campaign for him. This is quite the change of heart from earlier this year, when Aiken praised Obama on "Face the Nation" for “speaking out on principle” about gay marriage. Where did Aiken’s endorsement of Obama go, now that Election Day in North Carolina is less than a month away? How strange for the gay Democratic candidate to shun the most powerful Democrat in the country, especially when he also supports marriage equality — a deferred extension of civil rights in which Aiken should no doubt see the benefit. Biting the hand that feeds is never in good taste, and certainly won’t pay off for Aiken. Suggesting that the President’s support would do nothing to charge the Democratic base for Aiken in North Carolina is about as absurd as believing that the exclusion of the president from Aiken’s campaign will do anything to sway conservative North Carolinians to check Aiken’s box on Election Day. There is not a PR rep out there that can seep Aiken’s campaign in enough Republican rhetoric to make him palatable to the majority of North Carolina, when the facts are simply against him. Aiken supports marriage equality, but 48 percent of likely NC voters don’t, compared to 44 percent that do. Aiken supports a minimum wage hike; less than half of North Carolina voters do. Aiken wants to expand Medicare and Medicaid, but the Governor of North Carolina, Pat McRory signed a bill just last year that prevented North Carolina from committing to the expansion. Aiken is not getting the support he needs from within his state, because, like comedian Bill Maher put it in another NYT interview, “The redneck vote has sailed,” and there is realistically nothing that Aiken can do to steal those votes back. His focus cannot be on the lost cause of Republican votes, but must instead be on inspiring apathetic or independent voters to swing his way this election. Despite the boldness in Aiken’s claims, here is the truth: He will need help, and a great deal of it, if he intends to win in the conservative state, where electoral votes have gone to the Republican candidate every time but once since 1980. Wavering in one’s integrity is never a path towards political victory — fighting the good fight with all you can is. Rejecting any potential help from the President is the final nail in Aiken’s North Carolina coffin— his disingenuous flip-flopping and Pyrrhic approach to campaigning already started that carpentry project and doomed him from the start.Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @OnlyH_manEditor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.Want to join the conversation? Send an email to email@example.com. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.
When one person exposes some piece of savory, shadowy information of another’s private life, we’re observing the final stage of what most would call blackmail. But when the Internet acts as a community and commits the same ethical crime, it’s called social justice. The cases of Phil Robertson, Rob Schneider, Donald Sterling, and Brendan Eich are critical examples of this new internet vigilantism that, left unchecked, will threaten the privacy and reputation of us all.
With the recent selection of Boeing and SpaceX as NASA’s new private space carriers, the stage is set again for the U.S. to make enormous strides in space travel, vis-à-vis other nations. Instead of using the costly Russians to ferry our astronauts up to the International Space Station, we will now be contracting American companies to do so. Tempering the excitement of this new development is the realization that space travel is no longer solely under the jurisdiction of the world’s governments — it is now a marketplace, with Boeing and SpaceX offering services just like taxi cabs and private limousines do on earth.
For the 11,000-plus freshmen who just became a part of the ASU family, this transition to college marks the biggest paradigm shift in their lives thus far. Many students are moving from a different state or country, and even the ones at home in Arizona are acclimating to their new college environment. One facet of the education experience that has not changed for these bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshmen, however, is the classes they are taking. The prerequisite classes for most majors include those that may have been previously taken in high school, but University policy requires they pass the courses before moving onto more advanced (200- or 300-level) classes. For instance, the accelerated biochemistry major map — biochemistry being one of ASU’s top five most popular majors — contains within freshman year up to six classes that incoming students may have already taken in high school: MAT 270/271, covered by BC Calculus, CHM 113/116, covered by AP Chemistry, BIO 181, covered by AP Biology, and ENG 101, covered by either AP English course. Fortunately, ASU does offer AP credit transfer on all these classes. Unfortunately, circumstances prevent many students from taking these challenging one-time tests, never mind even passing them—over 1.2 million AP tests were failed in 2012 alone, and the figures are only growing as time goes on. In short, the effort put into classes in high school may have to be repeated in college for potentially dozens of classes across multiple disciplines, if a student did not pass or even take the given AP exams. ASU, thankfully, offers many credits for high AP scores. Many universities don’t transfer AP credit at all, essentially forcing every student to re-take their difficult high school classes at the university level on the student’s dime. This is an egregious waste of students’ time and money, though it is exceedingly beneficial to the universities that support such programs, which delay early graduation and keep students shackled to the ball-and-chain of pricey higher education for a full four years. In defense of prerequisites, universities may argue that these classes help to “ease in” incoming students, but this argument should be rejected wholesale. ASU students aren’t paying at least $480 per credit hour to learn how to use a library or email a professor — they are paying in order to learn something related to their area of study during their university years. Students are paying to be equipped with the skills and tools necessary to facilitate professional success. This, for many, does not include yet another remedial algebra class or a retread of senior English. The focus of ASU and all other universities should be directed toward helping students take the next progressive step in their education, by challenging and engaging them instead of repeatedly “preparing” them for what comes next. We aren’t kids anymore, and we don’t need floaties to stay above the waterline. Jumping in with two feet is the only way to make a real intellectual splash and truly benefit from a college education. Let’s hope ASU soon opens up the diving board and closes down the kiddie pool.Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @OnlyH_manEditor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.Want to join the conversation? Send an email to email@example.com. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.
No longer are the days of Internet dating being reserved exclusively for losers, misfits, freaks or geeks. With few taking notice, Internet dating has skyrocketed into a multi-billion dollar industry and has fundamentally altered the dating landscape for everybody. When an estimated 40 million people in the U.S. have tried online dating at least once, it’s important to realize that this is more than a quirky trend; online dating is the new paradigm shift in relationships for our interconnected generation, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Still, it can be difficult to shake off the image of nerdy, pasty, glasses-endowed Kip from "Napoleon Dynamite" sitting at his computer, “chatting with babes all day,” instead of going outside and meeting some new people (and getting some semblance of a tan, jeez). But, this trend is becoming increasingly common, and for good reason too; married couples who started their relationship online report slightly higher rates of marital happiness and slightly lower rates of divorce than their counterparts who met in the traditional, face-to-face way. The reasons for this could be myriad, but studies have narrowed the advantages of online dating down to a select few. The wide variety of options available for online daters is astounding — at times, over 20 million people have used dating sites like eHarmony or Match.com in a single month — so there are plenty of “fish in the sea” to sort through. Also, after finding one (or many) potential dates, initiating communication with them is as simple as clicking a mouse. This eases the nervousness and anxiety everybody experiences when out on the town — simple conversations can be started without the added pressure and pretense of being dressed well, looking and acting suave, buying or accepting drinks, and so on. Both the risk and time commitment of online communication pale in comparison to that of face-to-face dating, since all interaction is voluntary, completely optional, and, most distinctly, some physical distance away. These are all great attributes of the online experience for people who are too busy to go out searching for a date in person, or those who aren’t prepared to put themselves out there to complete strangers, either on a blind date or at a club. The much slower, gentler pace of online relationships ensures that potential partners are focusing on the most important thing — each other — instead of being enmeshed in the stressful logistics of an invested, daily, fully face-to-face relationship. If you wait until after the end credits of "Napoleon Dynamite," you will see Kip and LaFawnduh tying the knot — just like one-third of newly married couples over 2005-2012, whose relationships also began online. Kip and LaFawnduh, like millions of real-life married couples, beat the stigma surrounding online relationships, earned their happy ending and got the last laugh. Perhaps the new key to romantic success lies in the last place most people would think to look — cyberspace. Trying the Internet is well0worth a shot statistically speaking and cannot possibly fare worse than this hilarious blind date.Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @OnlyH_manEditor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.Want to join the conversation? Send an email to email@example.com. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.
The recent signing of the 2014 Farm Bill — which includes an $8.7 billion cut in food stamps over the next 10 years — is just the latest example of Democratic leadership capitulating to the demands of the Republican Party. Instead of fighting tooth and nail to remove the cuts, the Democrats settled on the $8.7 billion figure, without any mention from President Obama about the cut to food stamps. For a President who has stated that the defining challenge of our time is income inequality, his recent acceptance of the Farm Bill suggests a reluctance to actually take the stand necessary to defend those who are most economically challenged.
Depression is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses in our country. Everyday expressions have turned “feeling depressed” into a casual description of one’s commonplace melancholies, though true clinical depression is a far more dangerous and far more powerful force that millions of Americans deal with throughout their lives. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, at any time 3-5 percent of people suffer from major depression — the type of depressive disorder that most commonly comes to mind when the word is used — and there is a lifetime risk of 17 percent, meaning that each person has a 1 in 6 chance of suffering from major depression at some point in their lifetime. Depression is not the same as being sad, it is not the same as being apathetic, or despondent, but is a serious mental illness all its own.
For many ASU students — those who are not taking summer classes — it has already begun. And although we’re all eager to leave the stress, work, and grades of last semester behind, this may not be what’s best for us.