____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Breasts. Some people do a lot of things with them. They squeeze them into bathing suits, display them beneath plunging necklines, stuff them full of silicone and invent rigging mechanisms to make them appear as desirable as possible. In fact, one of their only uses that seems unanimously unacceptable in public is to feed an infant.As if that is what they were intended for. Cheeky people.Beyoncé has breasts, in case you had not noticed. Apparently, she likes to use them to feed her new baby in public.Why do we care? She’s not even a single lady. Does she want to run the world? No, and we don’t see anything wrong with taking care of your child.Yet some news sites originally ran headlines about how Beyoncé was “caught” in public using her breasts to feed her infant.Thankfully she doesn’t have a thing for shaking them onstage in skimpy costumes. That would be too much. Oh wait.Breastfeeding is not a criminal, unnatural or immoral use of breasts. If anything, it is the one truly natural, beautiful use they have. Beyoncé’s current use of her breasts is, arguably, the noblest work they have done to date.Sex is a heavily regulated construct in this country, which seems silly when you realize it’s something most people have in common. The state regulates what constitutes it, where and how you can have it and who you can have it with. One of the most human aspects of our existence comes with the most shame, policing and revulsion.Based on the typical public reaction to breastfeeding, one would think it was an illicit sexual act. Yet the phrase “look at those jugs” is never used to refer to their particular gift for providing nutrition.It’s a little bewildering that Beyoncé has been stigmatized for providing care for her child in public. Usually our maternal-minded media adores celebrity moms.In this case, we think Beyoncé deserves praise. She’s rightly receiving it from breastfeeding advocates, who champion its healthfulness.Breast milk is easier to digest than formula and helps the infant fight disease. Breastfeeding is also linked to lower instances of Type 2 diabetes, multiple types of cancer and postpartum depression in the mother. The Department of Health and Human Services literally calls breast milk “liquid gold.”Beyoncé has always been representative of strong, confident and nurturing women, so her preference for a natural feeding experience for her child should really come as no surprise. Nor should her willingness to do it in front of cameras and other people.Is she the next poster child for politically active breastfeeding mothers? Maybe not, but we can see her halo if she does.
879 items found for your search. If no results were found please broaden your search.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Rush Limbaugh sparked controversy early last week when he referred to Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University student, as a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his radio show. Fluke is an advocate for women’s health and has testified before Congress that health insurance should cover the cost of birth control.Limbaugh clearly couldn’t tolerate a woman with the audacity to defend her rights and had to put her in her place.But Limbaugh didn’t get away with it. An online campaign targeted his advertisers and forced many of them to drop their ads from his radio show. The companies scurrying out of Limbaugh’s sinking ship include the mattress companies Sleep Train and Sleep Number, as well as Quicken Loans and Legal Zoom.Under this pressure, Limbaugh eventually apologized to Fluke. However, his apology was insultingly two-faced.Limbaugh didn’t apologize for furthering a misogynistic culture that shames women for sexual activity. He didn’t apologize for attempting to silence one of the few women in a position to speak truth to power. Instead, Limbaugh limply suggested he had chosen “the wrong words ... in an attempt to be humorous.” We fail to see the humor in slut-shaming a woman testifying about life-altering medical care in front of Congress.Worse, Limbaugh tied his apology to an attack on women’s health. He called it “absurd” that America is wasting time by discussing “personal sexual recreational activities” in Congress.We actually agree with this statement, but not for the reasons Limbaugh intends. It is absurd that Congress is discussing how and when to deny women access to birth control. It is ridiculous that a few hundred members of Congress, mostly rich men, are in a position to dictate the access women, especially poor women, have to birth control.Limbaugh’s tirade against Fluke wasn’t just an attempt at humor gone awry, nor did it occur in isolation from the wider political arena.Women’s health is becoming a battlefield as we approach the 2012 elections. The recent battle about health insurance coverage for birth control and how to accommodate religious institutions under that law was only one skirmish.Presidential candidate Rick Santorum defended efforts to deny full health insurance coverage to women, calling the use of contraception “a grievous moral wrong.”The battle about women’s health is no longer dominated by the abortion debate. Somehow, our nation has been sent back half a century, and we once again have to defend women’s rights to sexual choice and protection.Taking a misogynist such as Limbaugh off the air would at least be a minor step in the right direction.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Frat Fighting Championships. Yes, you read that correctly. Frat Fighting Championships.If you’ve been lucky enough to see one of the flyers, you probably had a good laugh.This absolutely ridiculous event will take place April 14, and it will give bros a chance to represent their frat and prove they can fight.What frats are stereotypically mocked for — Sperrys, polos, raucous parties, homoerotic brotherhood — are harmless and just sort of funny. This, on the other hand, just brings everything to new light. While many people in the fraternity system try to downplay the “fratfight” or “brofest” stereotypes, nothing perpetuates them more than this event. The only frat things missing from this will be the Sperrys. Or maybe they’ll leave them on.All mockery aside, this is an absolutely awful idea. First off, the flyer says no prior training or experience is necessary. Genius. Put two kids in a ring who have never done anything like this before without a clue as to how safety precautions in professional fighting go about. Second, the flyer says free training will be provided. Fantastic. Some bro will probably get three or four lessons and think he is Chuck Liddell. But its cool, he’s seen “Fight Club” like 100 times. He’s got this. This is going to end really well.At the same time, the marketing idea behind this is borderline brilliant. What sounds more entertaining than watching two bros attempt to pummel each other to a pulp? And who better to appeal to than a bunch of guys obsessed with one-upping each other? It seems highly unlikely that any of these matches amount to anything close to an actual MMA bout, but watching how absolutely terrible they are could be entertaining. No one wants to see a fellow student get hurt, but we won’t deny that the whole concept of “Frat Fighting Championships,” (we repeat: Frat. Fighting. Championships.) has some kind of comedic appeal.So, a weary “thank you” is in order for the frats because, in some capacity, this event is going to provide a fratastic level of entertainment for anyone who attends.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>With another death might come another battle.It remains to be seen if Monday’s news of a shooting of five high school students in Chardon, Ohio (including at least three deaths) will ignite yet another skirmish in the political trench warfare about guns, but if so, we know the drill. Pro-gun advocates will seize upon the news to argue that looser gun laws will allow citizens to protect themselves because, after all, criminals can always carry guns. Pro-gun control advocates will argue that stricter gun laws are in order because less guns will mean less gun violence.Yes, the conversation will be bitter, repetitive and get nowhere. But don’t be fooled — there is a correct answer in this debate, and it does not involve both sides being right.Beyond the rhetoric and pointless posturing, it’s worth asking how people obtain guns and what the law can do to affect this. One market dynamic experts point to is the flow of guns in interstate trafficking, when guns from states with lax regulations are transported to surrounding states and sold on the black market.For instance, in the early 1990s, the great state of Virginia had the dubious position of the number one provider of guns to the Northeast, with studies by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives showing that about one in four handguns confiscated in New York City and one in three in Washington, D.C., originated in Virginia.As a counter-measure, Gov. Doug Wilder proposed a one-handgun-a-month law: a sensible idea that hampered the ability of traffickers to buy guns in bulk. And the thing is, the law had an effect.According to a study of the ATF, the probability that a gun used in a crime in the Northeast originated in Virginia dropped by about two-thirds after the passage of the law. Unfortunately, these facts don’t seem to exist in the alternative universe that the Virginia General Assembly is living in. As it stands now, a bill to repeal the one-handgun-a-month law is sitting just one John Hancock from the governor away from becoming law.It doesn’t take a bunch of nerds to realize there’s no compelling reason for making the purchase of a handgun as easy as popping Skittles into your mouth.But of course, that’s not the end of it. The one-per-month repeal is only one of a delightful number of gun-related bills the Virginia Legislature is considering.In one bill just passed by the Senate, gun buy-back programs are forced to sell the weapons they acquire instead of destroying them, which you think would defeat the purpose of getting weapons off the street.In a second bill, the Legislature steps on the right of private businesses to ban their employees from storing guns and ammunition in employee parking lots.Yet another would ban local governments from requiring fingerprints as part of the application process for concealed handgun permits.These bills are ridiculous, nonsensical and go beyond any sort of right encapsulated in the Second Amendment.As one Virginia state senator has pointed out, it is now easier to buy a gun in Virginia than it is to vote.This startling conclusion brings into focus the true priorities of the gun lobby.The Second Amendment, always paranoid at its core, has been twisted and perverted into a generalized “fundamental right” to guns, and advocates have used this to place their hedonistic desires for metal toys above the safety of our children and the health of our democracy.In some ways it’s almost amusing to imagine all the handguns you could buy and the silly things you could do with them.But take a second and remember the two high-school students who died this week — ask them how funny they find guns.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>ill someone please explain what’s happening to Virginia?Last week, the Old Dominion state showed just how out of touch its way of thinking is. In a widely publicized move, the vehemently pro-life state congress of Virginia attempted to pass a bill requiring that all women considering abortions must undergo “trans-vaginal” ultrasounds, which require a long metal probe to be inserted into a woman’s vagina. Many called it the “state-sponsored rape” law, and thousands protested it both silently outside of Virginia’s statehouse and nationally with petitions and forums. The backlash was so great that Virginia lawmakers withdrew support for the measure Friday, claiming that state congressional backers of the law didn’t understand the full scope of the bill they supported. That’s comforting. It’s always reassuring to hear that elected representatives would back a bill such as this without even understanding what it entails. The bill has now been changed to require a less invasive abdominal ultrasound, but the problem remains. On the heels of the controversial womanless contraception council in Congress, Virginia is reigniting the national flame when it comes to women’s health issues. This is the same state that recently passed a gun law allowing state employees to bring firearms to work as long as they’re left in a container in the car, and it was passed in the interest of greater personal freedom. As a state, they’re straddling a line that’s hard to understand. People can buy as many guns as they’d like and take them almost anywhere they want because that’s their right, but women can’t get an abortion, even an early term one, without being subjected to a medical procedure against their will.Virginia also recently passed a law that allows adoption agencies to refuse adoptions to gay parents on the basis of their sexuality. They’re considering a “personhood” amendment in 2013, which would declare that life starts at the moment of conception and that an embryo should be given the full constitutional rights of every U.S. citizen. This seems to be directly on the path to laws like those considered in Nebraska and South Dakota, which would make the killing of abortion providers “justifiable homicide.”What Virginia fails to realize is that finding a solution to abortions and other social issues doesn’t start with stricter mandates on them. Indeed, creating controversy only fuels the debate, which we, as a nation, cannot seem to compromise on. Lowering the abortion rate specifically starts with addressing the problem of who, exactly, is getting pregnant in the first place and why. Early term abortions are most common among lower-income women, with 42 percent accounted for by women below 100 percent of the national poverty line (those making below $10,830 per year). Half of unintended pregnancies occur among women who are at risk for pregnancy but not using contraceptives. Moreover, about 61 percent of abortions are obtained by women who already have one or more children. Thirty-seven percent of women obtaining abortions identify as Protestant. Twenty-eight percent identify as Catholic. That means 65 percent of all women obtaining abortions identify with the Christian religion. At current rates, three in 10 women will have an abortion by age 45.Virginia needs to realize that abortion isn’t going away. Middle-class and wealthy women won’t be inhibited by stronger mandates. By trying to slowly chip away at a woman’s right to early term abortion, they’re directly targeting young women, lower-income women and minorities — those who can’t afford often expensive birth control or who often can’t afford to have another child in the first place. Most of these social conservatives surging through Virginia and other Southern states are also the ones who are not believers in a welfare state. However, when you advocate for more unintended pregnancies to more mothers who can’t support their children, that’s exactly what you’re creating. To put it simply, gun control leads to less gun violence. Access to contraception leads to fewer unintended pregnancies and, therefore, abortions. And fewer people in the desperate situations that unintended pregnancy creates leads to lessened dependence on government aid. You’re saving money and lives, both unborn and born, by simply regulating guns and providing a little more sexual health coverage. Someone should tell that to Virginia.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Indiana is being freed from one of the worst policies passed by our government in the last 10 years: No Child Left Behind.On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced that 10 states, Indiana among them, are receiving waivers from many of NCLB’s requirements.This is good news.Last year, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan predicted 82 percent of public schools would be labeled “failing” by NCLB standards. If 82 percent of your schools are failing federal standards, maybe the standards themselves require some investigation.The spectre of NCLB’s often unreachable “adequate yearly progress” has been replaced with what we hope is a more manageable grade system based on new state standards that focus on closing achievement gaps. No schools are expected to get a failing grade by 2020.While the waiver releases Indiana from NCLB’s ineffective requirements, it also presents several stumbling blocks for the state.Is Indiana government trustworthy and capable enough to make necessary improvements?Gov. Mitch Daniels cut $300 million from Indiana schools in 2010 alone and returned only $150 million to education the following year. The drastic layoff of hundreds of teachers is still fresh in our memories.Coaches and extracurricular advisors went unpaid last year in the local Monroe County Community School Corporation.And let us remind you: This is the same state whose Senate approved the teaching of creationism in public schools.So, while we’re not very confident in our man Mitch or state superintendent Tony Bennett, who called NCLB a “giant step forward for our nation’s schools,“ we believe state-created standards have more potential to improve education in Indiana.State-sponsored reform will better focus on specific issues with Indiana public schools.Real change is more likely to occur at the local level, thanks to involvement of school boards and community leaders, than from the intervention of faceless federal mandates.Where NCLB often relied on standardized tests to assess special needs and non-English-speaking students, these new Indiana standards will be more careful to follow the progress of “Bottom 25 percent” students.We’re grateful Indiana can now articulate its own standards, but whether this will result in measurable and useful change remains to be seen. Nevertheless, we can’t imagine the end of NCLB as a negative.Ten states have already been released from the ridiculousness of NCLB, and we hope other states will create proposals that force the federal government to relinquish NCLB’s stranglehold on public education.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Last week, the Internet activist group known as Anonymous announced they had hacked the email accounts of the white supremacist group American Third Position. In those email accounts, Anonymous said they discovered that A3P leaders had not only been directing their organization to support the candidacy of Ron Paul, but they had also personally met with the candidate in addition to frequent conference calls and alleged discourse regarding a “white uprising,” according to Anonymous.With the revelation that Ron Paul might have such intimate links with a white supremacist group, the time has finally come to unequivocally end all support for his candidacy. Our outrage is heightened by the fact that this revelation came at the beginning of Black History Month, a time to remember the history of racism and violence that has marred our nation. The revelation that a serious contender for the presidency in 2012 has ties to a racist hate group is shocking and shows that we are still a long way from a post-racial society.Of course, this is not the first time Paul has been linked to racism. Earlier in the campaign season, a great deal of attention was paid to a series of newsletters approved by Paul in the 1980s and 1990s. The newsletters were laced with racist language and talking points. The letters declared it “hardly irrational” to be afraid of black men and joked that the Los Angeles riots of the early ’90s only ended “when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.” The newsletters were questioned in both 1996 and 2008.In 1996, Paul assumed responsibility but claimed certain passages were taken “out of context.” Yet during the 2008 campaign, he claimed that he had not written the newsletters, despite his name being attached to them. Regardless of who wrote the letters, we now have proof that Ron Paul is linked to white supremacist hate groups. Before, Paul could save his campaign by vaguely distancing himself from the letters and their blatantly racist content. That strategy will no longer work.Ron Paul has campaigned on promises to radically alter United States policy by slashing the federal government and ending U.S. military activity abroad. These stances, combined with firm devotion and ideological clarity, have made Paul popular among young voters. But young voters deserve better than an angry racist, no matter what his position is on the Federal Reserve, the war in Afghanistan or the legalization of marijuana. Ron Paul’s time is finished. Libertarians and open-minded liberals alike will have to wait for a new savior to enter the political scene, rather than rationalize voting for a white supremacist for the sake of their weed.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Street evangelism is not a new occurrence on IU’s campus, but the Kentucky preachers who used Bloomington as a pit stop on their way to preach at the Super Bowl Village were not your average Brother Jedd. Hell, the preachers from PinPoint Evangelism made Brother Jedd look like the cool evangelist. The question is, do these scare tactics work not only with Christians’ attempts to make converts, but for anyone walking by? We’re not by any means trying to say that groups and individuals shouldn’t be allowed to share their beliefs in public forums. Otherwise, what would we do with our columns every day?It seems, however, as if nothing is actually gained from standing on the proverbial soapbox and screaming at people, “You’re going to go to the fire forever,” which is exactly what John McGlowne, one of the preachers, did.Sure, a few people may be moved by this message, but what about all of the people that you anger in the process? One student was moved to tears, but not the one you might expect. The IDS reported that Campus Crusade for Christ member Karen Groth cried when McGlowne verbally bashed her ideas of acceptance and “argued against her evidence,” which she pulled straight from the Bible. If this is how a fellow devout Christian is reacting to street evangelism, how would others from IU’s diverse, non-Christian population?A group surrounded the preachers, much like when Brother Jedd comes out with his family in the warmer months, and began voicing their own rebuttals to McGlowne’s accusations. Another pair of students made a “Free Hugs” sign and started a counter-evangelism of sorts: one that offered acceptance and, as advertised, free hugs for those who wanted one. Not all of the counter-speakers were quite as docile. We saw many students in shouting matches with the preachers, their strong but opposing beliefs causing them to attempt to drown the other out. It’s hard enough to understand someone when more than one person is talking, but it’s nearly impossible when two or three or more are screaming at each other.Watching something such as this seemed about as important and productive as watching a group of middle-school students get into a brawl at recess. At a certain point, our need to retaliate is about as self-indulgent as a preachers’ need to yell at us. If they’re looking to get noticed, grab our attention and rile us up, then we’re giving them exactly what they want. Meeting them at their own level and shouting right back should send us back to the drawing board. We can all agree that there are better ways to get your words to stick than to stand on a soapbox shouting at the masses.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Apple corporation is in a unique position. The company has distinguished itself from the competition through advanced design and branding. Distinctive products are part of Apple’s marketing plan. But thriving on uniqueness is not all positive. The entire company could suffer if Apple is associated with a negative image. An image of dead and mutilated factory workers, for instance.A recent explosion at a Foxconn factory in China left four people dead and 18 wounded. Foxconn manufactures iPhones and other Apple products and has more than one million workers in China. There have been several factory disasters in the past three years, resulting in hundreds of injuries. Employees often live in tiny dormitories at the factory. In one case, a factory installed special nets to prevent workers from attempting suicide. This episode brings to light many issues about Chinese government policy, American consumerism and corporate opportunism.China, despite all its development, is still under centralized control of the Communist party. Companies operate at the discretion of the State, and bad corporate practices can be masked by fraud and strong allies in the government. In the case of major disasters, there is no transparent, effective mechanism for litigation, and harsh punishments are applied haphazardly by the State. This is not a one-sided problem, however. For many workers, a Foxconn factory offers the best available opportunity to escape poverty. Knowing this, many firms are lax about job safety. Foxconn factories are fairly huge, and Apple has invested so much in them that the company can refuse to cooperate with Apple’s demands. On paper, Apple has strict safety standards that Foxconn and other suppliers are supposed to follow. If Foxconn does not implement the changes, no one at Apple is willing to risk losing millions of dollars per day by shutting down the factories. The fuel for the massive scale of Chinese manufacturing is ultimately the American market’s demand for products. Apple in particular has a loyal and growing customer base. In the past quarter Apple reported $13 billion in profits. The incentives are for getting products to market regardless of the human cost. To put it crudely, companies and consumers are often more concerned about having the newest iPhone in stores on time than about life threatening working conditions in Chinese factories. American consumers are slowly becoming more aware of issues such as sustainability and fair trade in food and clothing.It is time for this same consciousness to be applied to manufactured goods, even ones with an Apple logo.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>When questioned in the FOX-sponsored MLK Day debate by African-American correspondent Juan Williams about his questionable “food stamp president” moniker for Obama and controversial claims about the lazy, misguided youth of the inner cities, Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich — never known to be one for subtlety — addressed Pulitzer prize winner Williams as “Juan” and stood by his racially-charged words.The South Carolina crowd went wild. Beneath Gingrich’s unsavory oratory lies obvious indications of racism. In 2011, welfare accounted for 13 percent of total federal spending, as opposed to the 25 percent spent on defense and the 23 percent spent on health care. Of that, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food stamps to individuals and families with income levels below, at or near the poverty line, accounts for only a fraction of welfare spending overall. With so many more pressing issues such as the war, health care and immigration, why would a Republican frontrunner for president choose to bring up an issue such as food stamps?We believe that Newt, like so many other politicians before him, knows how to play to the biases and prejudices of the audience he speaks to: in this case, the voters of the heavily right-leaning state of South Carolina.Political theorist Edmund Burke once wrote, “Men who can unite on nothing else can unite on the basis of a foe shared by all.” Newt uses those on food stamps and those growing up in the inner city, much like Reagan used the hyperbole of the nameless “welfare queen” from Chicago’s South Side, as a symbol to unite his audience against a common enemy: often a racial minority, perceived as lazy and invariably poor.We believe, in addition to Newt’s rhetoric being racist, it is also irresponsible.It plays to the commonly held American belief that if you are poor, you are lazy and misguided, but if you are rich, you are shrewd and hardworking.Never mind the privileges, advantages, talent and luck that play a role in the shaping of a financially successful individual and the enormous barriers that often separate those less fortunate from living out their dreams.There are indeed intelligent, ambitious, rich Americans who have worked their way up and made comfortable lives for themselves. But there are also those who cannot achieve all they want to, based on what neighborhood they grew up in, what school they went to or what language or dialect they grew up speaking.The factors that determine whether a person will be rich or poor are vast. The rhetoric utilized by Gingrich, whether blatantly or covertly, blames the poor for the country’s problems, paints a dangerously simplistic view of class in America and fails to acknowledge more pertinent issues.We think that if Newt hopes to gain the Republican nomination and extend his successes beyond the Deep South, he should leave his outdated rhetorical strategies to the Reagan era and instead focus on the real problems facing the country.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>It feels like just weeks ago when celebrities such as will.i.am and Alicia Keys were endorsing online file-sharing site MegaUpload through song in the eponymous viral video. Oh, wait. It was a few weeks ago. Fast forward, and after a tense legal battle about whether the video was infringing on Universal Music Group’s copyright (it wasn’t), MegaUpload is once again in hot water. For those of you who haven’t heard, MegaUpload was recently shut down by the United States Department of Justice. Although none of the site’s founders reside in the U.S. or are U.S. citizens, government agents extracted a terrified Kim “Dotcom” Schmitz from his sprawling New Zealand compound (where he was hiding in a safe room with a sawed-off shotgun). There, they arrested him on charges of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering, among other things.Dotcom is currently being held in New Zealand, as the United States is trying to come to an agreement to extradite him. Seven others associated with the site were also arrested. MegaUpload was officially based out of Hong Kong, although Chinese users are blocked from the site for undisclosed reasons. The site encompassed not only MegaUpload, but also the beloved Megavideo, as well as MegaPix, MegaLive, MegaBox and MegaPorn. In addition to the Hong Kong operation, the company leased servers in Virginia, giving the U.S. Department of Justice cause to intervene, with a not-insubstantial nudge from Entertainment Industry lobbyists, in what they are calling the “Mega-Conspiracy.” MegaUpload is alleged to have enabled and rewarded copyright infringement among its millions of users. According to the official indictment, the site has more 180,000,000 registered users, 50,000,000 daily visitors and approximately 4 percent of all internet traffic. The indictment hinges its claims on the assumption that MegaUpload is “heavily dependent on the popularity of copyright infringing content to attract website visits.” Here’s the problem. It is certainly dependent on the popularity of copyright infringing content. Dotcom and his associates, however, were doing only a very small part of the copyright infringement themselves; Dotcom uploaded a 50 Cent album.They simply provided a forum for others to infringe, from which those associated with MegaUpload could then profit. This is morally questionable, but should the law pursue them for it? They didn’t force people to post infringing content; they simply gave them a way they could do so. Their so-called rewards system rewarded people with the content that attracted the most downloads or views, which, in this case, was obviously infringing content. Although the 72-page indictment is full of what seems to be valid reasoning, can they really be punished for having a savvy business model? Of course, their money laundering and racketeering are other offenses punishable by law, which are separate issues and are not being contested here. Especially in light of the recent Stop Online Piracy Act controversy, the shutdown of MegaUpload creates even more ethical and legal quandaries. Where must we draw the line?By shutting down MegaUpload, the U.S. Department of Justice has not only stopped piracy but also blocked many paying U.S. customers from access to the fully legal files they store and regularly use through MegaUpload. The department is denying many U.S. citizens access to their property because of the infringing actions of others using the same platform. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Justice has proved just how redundant SOPA really is and how little control we have. SOPA doesn’t even really need to be passed; if this is any example, the U.S. can do pretty much everything in the bill already. Hacker collective Anonymous launched what is supposedly the largest denial of service attack in history, targeting sites such as the Department of Justice and the Motion Picture Association of America in retaliation, but where has it gotten them? Those sites are back up, and MegaUpload is still down. Although some filesharing sites, such as FileSonic, have temporarily blocked their sharing capacities, people are still downloading things illegally everywhere. That’s the problem that all offended parties are failing to address: Filesharing culture has become so common that most people do it casually nowadays. Everyone in the media and the government seems to miss this, dividing the issue into two polarized categories: the copyright zealots and the hacktivists. The in-betweeners, which is the vast majority, have been forgotten. Most of us aren’t conspiring to make insane amounts of money from others’ work or bring down websites of people that offend us. We’re just downloading things because they’re convenient, free and available. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is working on a program to create government-issued online identities for its citizens. If that doesn’t make you feel like your web identity and freedom is being compromised, nothing will. MegaUpload is just the first in a series of battles, the Fort Sumter that will lead to the civil war for cyberspace. It is just the sprout that’s showing from a literal web of roots that go miles deep. So, whether you’re a downloader or a creator of content or just someone in between, it’s time to choose your side and prepare for war. It’s coming.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>As many of us are doubtlessly aware, recent reform of Health Care legislation means that health insurance companies are now required to cover prescription birth control as a preventative care measure without a co-pay.This is controversial in much the same way that the pope is a little religious, and revolves around some of the same tenets. Some see this act of reform as little more than a cheap attempt to appeal to a constituency the president previously alienated by overruling a proposal that would have legalized the sale of emergency birth control medicines to minors. Others argue these efforts do not go far enough, the rationale being that many people who are unable to afford birth control are also unlikely to have health insurance. But under the new policy, young women, many college age, would remain covered by any insurance their parents possess, thus offering options to the demographic most at-risk for unplanned pregnancy. Predictably, the majority of the resistance comes from conservatives and Christians who have raised moral and theological objections to this measure. The Catholic Church has formally denounced the change, vocally reiterating its belief that emergency contraceptives, such as the “morning-after pill,” are considered abortifacients. Nevertheless, advocates of the bill praise the administration’s work in curbing unwanted pregnancies. President of NARAL Pro-Choice America Nancy Keenan is one of many supporters, claiming, “Currently, nearly one in three women finds it difficult to pay for birth control, and that’s why the United States has a far higher unintended-pregnancy rate than other industrialized countries.” In spite of the numerous criticisms leveled against this reform, we applaud it as a large first step in the right direction. Following so closely on the heels of numerous states’ decisions to cease funding Planned Parenthood, it is high time government concerned itself with the issues of women’s health. President Barack Obama’s administration pragmatically acknowledges that sex — beyond its reproductive function — is a lot of fun. This position has not been publicly assumed, ahem, since the Clinton era. It’s good to know someone else agrees that the disapproval of the Christians is a lesser concern than millions of unintended children being born to unprepared, unfit or unwilling mothers.But never let it be said that we don’t keep an open mind.If the advent of free birth control will be the death of morality and values by plunging the world into an unspeakable apocalypse of depravity and anonymous sex, please know that newspaper columnists make fantastic lovers.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Obama gave the solar company Solyndra his stamp of approval back in 2009 when he allotted it $527 million in federal loans as part of the infamous stimulus package. The specific aim was to create green jobs. It seems that nothing is going in the favor of the president these days. As Solyndra declares bankruptcy, the GOP uses its demise to call the Obama green jobs creation plan a failure. Does this mark the first major scandal of the Obama administration and the end of solar power? Or is this financial fiasco simply the result of a drop in the price of solar modules, which would actually be beneficial to the eco-minded U.S. consumer?It is important to understand that Solyndra produced a specific commercial solar unit. According to Ken Zweibel of the Solar Institute, this technology was “unusual and unproven.” This, combined with the fact that Chinese competition has led to a 42 percent drop in the price of solar technology during the past year, puts the Obama administration in an embarrassing situation, but it does not suggest the end of solar technology. This green technology is actually becoming increasingly accessible as prices continue to drop. This is damaging to highly specific Solyndra but potentially excellent news for Mother Nature. Our continued reliance on fossil fuels does not have only economic ramifications. It also comes at a huge diplomatic, human and environmental price. While British Petroleum is picking up the multi-billion dollar bill for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, fishermen, families and wildlife across the Gulf of Mexico are also paying the toll and probably will be for years, perhaps even decades, to come. For those who are all too ready to disregard the environmental costs, consider this: we read in the news on a near-daily basis that we are running out of oil. Wouldn’t it be wise to believe this and continue to invest in green energy before it’s too late? “Drill, baby, drill” is a temporary solution. Before you bash solar power as a liberal, hippie pipe-dream, remember this: there are no more dinosaurs dying to feed our ever-growing hunger for refined petroleum, but the sun is still shining.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>“Make no small plans for Indiana University,” IU President Michael McRobbie said in his first-ever State of the University speech Tuesday, echoing the words of former IU President Herman B Wells.The speech was aimed at faculty and staff but should be of great interest to students as well. The tone was largely optimistic. In his address, McRobbie spoke about the construction or planned construction of buildings throughout the University for business, information technology, life sciences and the arts, and the need to expand research.Most importantly, McRobbie was fairly frank about IU’s prospects given the current financial crisis. He admitted that while the past year was the best ever for external research funding, government funding could be scaled back. He also acknowledged that returns on endowments – a major source of income for the University – could go down. Many universities have had to cut back so far. Boston University’s president recently announced he would freeze hiring and stop all building projects that had not already been approved. Attempting to tighten the state budget, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter tabled all taxpayer-supported construction, stalling several campus building projects.In his speech, McRobbie applauded those in charge of IU’s financial security, such as the University Treasurer MaryFrances McCourt and IU Vice President and Chief Financial Office Neil Theobald. So far, as IU has avoided the fate of some other universities, that applause is probably deserved.It appears that the University is being managed with a good deal of perspective. McRobbie acknowledged that hiring in non-faculty positions would have to be slowed. He also claimed he would still put effort into improving IU’s international experience as well as certain scholarships.IU will probably have to make cuts. McRobbie hinted that sustainability will probably not be a top spending priority. In the past we applauded McRobbie’s decision to approve new proposals designed to increase sustainability, save money and allow greater cooperation between administration, academics and campus utilities.It would be unfortunate if a program that seems to be already lacking administrative support gets pushed into the background. McRobbie’s plan to engage in “relentless but responsible optimism” might yet guide the University through this mess.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Mitch Daniels viewed getting arrested in college as his biggest mistake, much of Andy Horning’s Libertarian policy revolves around how he found Jesus, and Jill Long Thompson grew up on a family farm learning the value of hard work and integrity.Hoosiers couldn’t be more prepared to vote Nov. 4. Not unless they wanted to know a little more about the issues.The gubernatorial debate held Tuesday in the IU Auditorium focused mostly on personal questions of character and ethics. Long Thompson kept trying to make the case against Daniels. There were a lot of numbers. She claimed unemployment had gone up by 2 percent. The number has fluctuated from 6.1 percent in January 2005 to 4.6 percent in October 2006 to 6.4 percent in August 2008. She also claimed Hoosiers earn 87 cents on the dollar for everyone else in the country.The tension that sprung up between her and Daniels was the best part of the debate. The moderator was right to allow extensive rebuttal. Long Thompson, once again, tried to frame Daniels as a tax raiser. Daniels did, as one of his first acts as governor, propose a 1 percent surtax on incomes of more than $100,000 for one year. Long Thompson’s repeated attacks against the governor’s cigarette tax increase, however, continue to seem odd seeing that revenue from the tax went to creating a new program to expand health insurance coverage. Long Thompson also charged Daniels with botching the investment of funds gained from privatizing the toll road. She suggested much of it had been invested in junk bonds and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.Thompson seemed to be stretching and Daniels was right in pointing out that Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock is responsible for managing these funds and holds his own elected office. At the same time Daniels suggested, rather oddly, that the investment was good now because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been taken over by the government.Some of the back-and-forth seemed to irritate Daniels, who let out a comment about wanting to see Long Thompson “kinder and gentler tonight” – probably making quite a few viewers squirm. As for Long Thompson, the way she tried to twist every question into a K.O. made it clear she thought she needed to win this debate. At points Daniels was confident enough to compliment Democrats and avoid religious pandering. Long Thompson, by stretching too many of her arguments, came off as a candidate who is still just trying to break through.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Maybe your mother got it wrong. When she dried your tears and reassured you that those mean things said at the lunch table were just words, she might have made a mistake. In her defense, your mother didn’t know about Facebook.A suit coming out of Roncalli High School in Marion County represents the latest example of a growing number of cases involving cries of Facebook defamation. Dean of Students Tim Puntarelli and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese are suing Facebook and the anonymous creator of a profile that allegedly embarrassed and defamed the principal and the school. This case and others like it popping up across the country raise fundamental questions about free speech. As it stands, the First Amendment protects the right of the people to say what they please even if it is unpopular or critical of others.When the Founding Fathers sat down to pen the Constitution they had in mind the oppressive English crown that outlawed speech critical of its leaders. Yet, freedom of speech becomes illegal when it infringes on the rights of others. Speech that is deliberately untrue or that rests on faulty assumptions can constitute defamation. If the speech injures a person’s reputation or intentionally causes emotional distress, the speech becomes illegal. However, this protection is not meant to protect against hurt feelings. In the 1988 decision Hustler v. Falwell, the Supreme Court upheld the right to parody speech. In other words, Americans have a right to criticize and to make fun of people, so long as the medium cannot reasonably be seen as factual.Facebook presents pranksters with the perfect opportunity for parody. People “Facebook-friend” everything from chemical compounds to hamsters to deceased university chancellors. If it is decided that no reasonable person would think Puntarelli was acting as himself, then the profile could be considered a legal parody. The question then becomes: Can a facebook profile be assumed to accurately reflect the subject’s identity?The fact of the matter is that all too often those assumptions are made. A 2007 study from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth that questioned 453 college-admissions offices found 21 percent are checking social-networking profiles on sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Colleges and employers alike are flocking to social-networking sites to scope out the character of their applicants. If Facebook is going to be used to determine a candidate’s qualification for a job or scholarship, we think Tim Puntarelli has a right to protect his virtual identity. By contacting students with inappropriate messages while assuming the principal’s name, the profile creator did more than parody – he tarnished Puntarelli’s virtual character. In a world where online expression is becoming increasingly more prevalent and important, we respect the right of people to say controversial and critical things. Yet, as a person’s identity is growing to include their cyber identity as well, we think assuming someone else’s name unless it is a blatant parody is wrong. In a time of instant access and mass communication, words can hurt.
Studying abroad is a great way to differentiate yourself as a student, possibly cheaper than a semester’s tuition at IU, and apparently a major threat to your mental health. \nDuring the annual conference of the Canadian Bureau for International Education last week, several officials stressed the mental health-risks associated with studying abroad. Students who are miles away from home may endure long periods of extreme loneliness and cultural isolation, which can lead to severe mental health problems including depression, suicide and other psychotic incidents.\nIn order to combat this problem, some at the conference, such as Lynne A. Mitchell, who is director of international programs at the University of Guelph in Ontario, suggested setting up mental health aid programs. These programs would work on the same principle as first aid, giving non-professionals the tools to deal with an immediate mental health crisis instead of waiting for that crisis to blow out of proportion. \nIU should be mindful of this suggestion, especially given the recent acknowledgment that we are one of the top schools for international education in the country. Being a university in the top 20 nationally, both in terms of international students here on campus and IU students in study-abroad programs, means that we should be wary of the health risks associated with such programs. \nHowever, there are also risks associated with putting too much of our mental health care in the hands of those who are not trained professionals. Even trained psychiatrists, if not careful, can do more harm than good to their patients. \nSome also pointed out the risk to student privacy. Students going to see counselors shouldn’t have to worry about the confidentiality of things said in confidence. It is true that when someone talks about topics such as suicide that information can no longer be private but the line between being distraught and being dangerously distraught is not always so clear. If, in an effort to increase access to mental health resources, non-professional counselors are employed, how are these counselors supposed to accurately judge whether what a student says is dangerous or not? \nDespite these risks, this Editorial Board is largely in favor of expanding mental health services, even through non-professional means, both to international students here and to our students abroad. The risks are real, but as long as mental health aid programs are structured in intelligent ways, they clearly have benefits.\nThere is still no substitute for professional help when it is needed, but giving staff involved with international programs the tools they need to help in a crisis will help identify those who need help in time to prevent further breakdown. Calls to have counselors attached to the international office, where international students whose culture does not include counseling may feel more comfortable, are probably also long overdue.\nStudying abroad is going to become more important, not less, for college educations. We need smart policies to keep the students involved in these programs healthy.
Listen to the IDS editorial board meeting podcast.
College may not always be fun and games, but considering the average student spends a mere 12 to 18 hours in actual class, let’s face the facts: for undergraduates, this place is basically a summer camp. It’s most true for the IU men’s basketball team, who ranked 277th out of 325 Division I teams in terms of academic performance. \nThe Academic Progress Rate (APR) is a measure of a team’s academic eligibility, and their ability to retain players on a term-by-term basis. Two points are awarded per player per team, one point for being eligible, and the other for staying with the same athletics department. IU wasn’t penalized for falling into the 15th percentile, below Evansville, IUPUI, Butler, and basically the rest of Indiana schools, though the score – 890 of a possible 1000 points – puts the team below the cut off point, and will subject the team to scholarship losses in the coming year. \nTo many it seems unfair to punish the players themselves; after all, they are under constant stress to perform. Between the endless practices, away games, and time spent filling the 40-gallon gas tanks of their Escalades, the basketball team has almost no downtime. If they’re not running suicides down the court, they’re lifting weights or working on their endurance. That leaves precious little time for biology and calculus.\nSo as a school we ought to support our athletics teams, like citizens support their troops, right? The basketball team in particular is the heart and soul of the University, so professors should cut the basketball team as much slack as they need to complete the bare minimum course work. Right? It’s only fair, considering how much revenue they bring in for the school.\nMaybe the scholarship money should come out of Coach Sampson’s salary, because when you get right down to it, he’s really at fault. Right? Well, in fact, most of the under performing players are Mike Davis’ recruits, and may not have the same work ethic under the new coach. Nevertheless, Sampson has a duty to his school and his team to keep the players eligible and educated.\nLike Bob Knight did when he ran the team, Sampson needs to do more to ensure that our players get the best education that IU can provide since only a handful of players will turn professional. It’s Sampson’s responsibility to hire tutors, organize supplemental lectures and generally make every humanly possible effort for his players. Right?\nWrong.\nThe basketball players are individually responsible for their grades, which means juggling course work and court time, because they are different. While it’s true that their athletic obligations will often conflict with their academic obligations, there are ways to work around those limitations. The Editorial Board recognizes the unique position that the basketball team holds in the University, it’s important that the team realize they are students before players, and that IU is a college first, and a playground second.