Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

The 2012 Election’s Biggest Loser: Planet Earth

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

“Hey, don’t I get a vote?”

This election may be the biggest rip-off of America’s democracy in recent memory.

Sure, we have choices between blue and red. Our candidates claim to offer stark ideological differences and visions for our country. Vast swaths of Americans will enthusiastically pick their man and hope for the best, and many others will swallow their disappointment and opt for the lesser evil.

But let’s be clear: when it comes to Planet Earth, our only home, we have a patently false choice.

While both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have advocated sustainable forms of energy, neither has mapped out a legitimate approach to living in a world with finite resources. In all three presidential debates, there was no mention of climate change. From a foreign policy standpoint, there was no appreciation that America’s shining example of consumption and wealth has motivated the rest of the world to try to live like us, and that our planet cannot support such habits indefinitely.

This omission points to a serious failure by our various communities of knowledge to convey to one another the gravity of our circumstances in language that each side can understand. I use the term “failure” because these presidential candidates are supposed to represent the grand sum of our country and culture to the rest of our world; that is the definition of leadership. Although both men are politicians and therefore have to evade the hard questions and sell empty promises as part of their campaigns, they are still faced with an enormously difficult job, and based on our democratic process, they are supposed to be the most qualified candidates we have.

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This Week In Stanford 1/24/12 – 1/30/12

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

App is a buzz word on this campus. In most cases, you hear the term used by a social entrepreneur trying to foist their wares on you. In January, it is just the first syllable of a more harrowing venture.  Apps refer to applications. The long, I-desperately-need-a-real-or-summer-job application. The abroad application. The new leadership position application. And one of the most dreaded and dire ones – the co-term application. If you need a break from the nasty a-p-p, here’s what’s been happening on the Farm.

  • Stanford had a sizable representation on President Obama’s guest list at last week’s State of the Union. Julian Castro, Mike Krieger, and Laurene Powell Jobs made us proud.
  • You heard it folks – IHUM may be coming to an end.  But the shape of the Stanford’s new Freshman Humanities program is not set in stone – it’s up to today’s students to assist our faculty in changing the system.
  • Helen Gurley Brown, former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, has given $30 million dollars to Stanford School of Engineering and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism to start a new Institute of Media Innovation. It’s an honor that the original Cosmo Girl thinks our engineers can help revamp the media.
  • All we do is win. I feel like I say that a lot. After topping the charts in the humanities, Stanford’s GSB has claimed it own top spot on the international stage.
  • 1035 Campus Drive. Also, formerly formerly known as Kappa Sig. That’s right Stanford – the boys of Kappa Sig have redeemed themselves. They are getting their house back next year.  Hopefully celebrating this occasion won’t land them back in the hot seat.
  • And for the strangest campus news yet, NBC tried to invade Crothers after a recent peeping tom incident. The police arrived and had the reporters leave. But it is curious – how come we were only notified about the peeping tom on his fourth attempt?
Break time is over. Good luck with the job hunt and impending midterms!

				

A Government We Deserve? The Meaning of Tuesday’s Elections

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Tuesday's elections are widely seen as a referendum on President Obama and his policies.

Repudiation. Denial. Shellacking. These words have resounded throughout the media echo chamber following Tuesday’s elections, which have dramatically altered the American political landscape.

Now that most of the results are in, and most of the celebrations and lamentations are on the wane, two key questions have emerged: 1) Who were the big winners and losers? 2) How will the results shape our country’s future?

The first is largely straightforward, with a few caveats. The Republicans gained 60 seats in the House, as expected, and the Democrats managed to hang on to the Senate with a 53-47 majority. Although some governor races remain too close to call, including that of my native CT, the GOP has clearly made huge gains on the state level, picking up at least nine executive seats. Some other major developments:

  • Wealthy, self-financed candidates lost in spectacular fashion. Standout examples include Meg Whitman, who spent $142 million in her bid to become California’s next governor, and Linda McMahon in Connecticut, who paid about $103 per vote for a total of over $50 million during her failed senatorial campaign. Republican Rick Scott was the most prominent exception; he spent $73 million of his own money to win Florida’s gubernatorial race.
  • Harry Reid (D-NV) clung to his Senate seat despite a nasty race against Sharon Angle, whom he trailed in the polls for most of the fall. He will remain Senate Majority Leader.
  • Tea Party-backed candidates had mixed results. On the one hand, they enjoyed some serious victories, such as toppling liberal icon Russ Feingold in Wisconsin and electing Marco Rubio in Florida. However, their successes seemed to stop at the borders of densely populated areas, including New York and California. Other high-profile candidates like Christine O’Donnell, who once claimed to have dabbled in witchcraft, endured a drubbing at the voting booths.
  • Democrats were destroyed in many regions they carried in 2008, especially in the Midwest. They lost ten house seats between Pennsylvania and Ohio alone, and they lost governorships and control of both state legislative houses in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
  • Crucial California ballot measures…. Prop 19, which would have legalized and taxed marijuana, lost by about an 8% margin. Voters also rejected Prop 23, which would have repealed many of California’s environmental laws. Other measures include Prop 20, which tasks a non-partisan commission with re-drawing congressional district lines, and Prop 25, which requires only a simple majority to pass a state budget. For more information on propositions, click here.

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The Rice is Right: Why We Should Follow the Ambassador’s Ideas for Sudan Policy

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

By Marloes and Judith Sijstermans, student anti-genocide activists

UN Ambassador Susan Rice '86 has followed through with the advice she gave at her commencement address. (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

When U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice (Class of ’86) returned to Stanford to deliver the 2010 commencement address, she urged graduates to work towards positive change in the world. This week, she has backed up those words.

When General Scott Gration, US Special Envoy to Sudan, proposed a policy towards Sudan that would sideline Darfur completely, Rice spoke out as the lone dissenting voice defending millions of Sudanese people. Activists around the country have joined Rice in standing against the proposed plan, which continues the use of only positive incentives rather than consequences in dealing with Khartoum. Anti-genocide activists, including us students, are calling for President Obama to live up to his promises and to make this critical choice a positive turning point in Sudan policy. He has said, “I don’t intend to abandon people or turn a blind eye to slaughter.”

But Gration’s proposed plan for Sudan does just that. This new policy proposal deemphasizes the genocide in Darfur and contains few solid consequences. Like the World War II era policy of appeasement, Gration supports positive incentives for the Sudanese government if the January referendum goes smoothly. However, negotiation with Khartoum has proven to be an ineffective method in curbing violence, genocide and, corruption.

This year’s April elections were neither fair nor free, reelecting Omar al Bashir through a flawed and corrupt process. The Sudanese government has broken peace agreements time after time, and the violence and destruction continues in Sudan.
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