Category Archives: Opinion

The Opinion section is not only our voice, but yours as well. We encourage all currently enrolled U of L students as well as faculty and staff to use the Cardinal as a soapbox for the issues that are important to you.

Cartoon Illustration by Michael Layman/The Louisville Cardinal

Of Christ and taxes: Why Conservative Christians don’t follow Christ’s teachings when it comes to wealth and finance

Cartoon Illustration by Michael Layman/The Louisville Cardinal

By Aaron Williams–

Why do so many evangelical Americans believe that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s economic and social values are aligned with the teachings of Jesus Christ? Certainly some of the blame can be attributed to Ryan’s claim that his “Path to Prosperity” budget proposal is based on his own Catholic social teaching and beliefs as he stated in an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network a few months back. Yet words are wind. Despite whatever good intentions Ryan may have towards the poor and underprivileged in our country, he and Mitt Romney’s budget proposals outline a course of action that would bring greater inequality to an already unequal economic system.

There seems to be a common misconception about President Barack Obama’s stance on increased taxation shared by evangelical Christians and the religiously fueled Tea Party. Both groups seem to be of the opinion that President Obama wants to raise taxes on middle-class families should he be reelected to office and that is somehow morally wrong. This claim is erroneous, regardless of how many times conservative pundits repeat it. President Obama supports increased taxes only on those Americans who earn more than $250,000 a year.  Currently, top earners in the U.S. are subject to a federal, marginal tax rate of 35 percent. Keep in mind that the U.S. tax bracket ends at households making $388, 350 a year and does not discriminate any further among annual income earners. This means that regardless of whether an individual makes $500,000, one million or one billion per year, they are only subject to a federal, marginal tax rate of just 35 percent.

So where does this tax rate stack up against other civilized countries? The United Kingdom and Japan tax its top earners at a marginal rate of up to 50 percent.  Germany clocks in a bit lower at 45 percent.  America’s seemingly infallible ally Israel taxes its top earners at a rate of 46 percent. Then there is France, who taxes the most privileged in its society at a rate of 75 percent. Pause for a moment to realize just how utterly ridiculous the claims are that President Obama is an overtaxing socialist.

This brings us back to Romney and Ryan. The Republican ticket asserts that America can drop its unemployment rate and stimulate the economy by giving its most privileged a tax cut greater even than the one legislated by George W. Bush in 2000. Romney and Ryan have assured the American people that they will find the money for their proposed $5 trillion in tax cuts by “eliminating loop holes in the tax code.” The bill for such a cut gets passed to American middle class families and at the cost of crucial social programs like Medicare, Social Security and education funding. Let’s not forget that Romney and Ryan have also promised to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, known colloquially as Obamacare, revoking healthcare for up to 25 million Americans and putting their lives back in the hands of for-profit insurance companies.

What is so perplexing about Romney and Ryan’s economic and social stances is that they stand in stark contrast to the Christian teachings that the evangelical wing of the republican party is constantly touting. The Bible is convenient enough to quote when it comes to matters of same-sex marriage for many Christians, but what about matters of tax policy? Was it not Jesus in Mark 12:17 who told the Pharisees to give to Caesar that which was Caesar’s and to God what is God’s? In fact, there are several things about the life and teachings of Christ that are more than a bit inconvenient for Republican candidates who make Christianity a part of their party platform. As it turns out, Jesus Christ spent very little time rubbing shoulders with the political and social elite of his day. In fact, he spent the majority of his time around the sick, the poor and the underprivileged and was constantly dropping inconvenient quotes like Matthew 19:24, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

A society’s tax policy can often reflect its values. Which is the greater moral evil? Slashing entitlements and education spending in order to give more tax breaks to the people who are already the most well off or raising marginal tax rates on the richest one percent of Americans to fund education, infrastructure and innovation so that our country can begin to shrink its deficit?

Lest fundamentalist politicians, like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, forget, the parable of the sheep and the goats told by Christ in Matthew 25 can serve as a final example. In it Jesus speaks of judgment day and in verses 35 to 36 says this: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” In verse 40 he explains, “…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

I must have missed the part where Jesus berates the poor for not working hard enough. This November when those who believe that America is a Christian nation head to the polls, they should be mindful of the words of one Stephen T. Colbert when he said, “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

 opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Cartoon illustration by Michael Layman/The Louisville Cardinal

Shore no more: Even with ‘Jersey Shore’ cancelled, there are still plenty of horrible reality shows

Cartoon illustration by Michael Layman/The Louisville Cardinal

By Genevieve Mills–

“Good riddance” “Thank God” and “Yesss” were just some of the comments readers had on the online articles announcing Jersey Shore’s cancellation. It seems that Jersey Shore is a show that you either love or hate. Yes, there were some comments expressing regret that the show is ending, but many of them were all-caps declarations of “I’m so glad it’s over, but I never watched it anyway.”

Now what’s that about? Why would you be happy a show you never watched is being cancelled? I have to admit, I was happy to hear that the show, which is MTV’s highest rated series in its history, will have one final sixth season before cancellation. However, the most I’ve ever watched of it is about 10 minutes before I left the room muttering in disgust at my younger sister’s lack of taste.

I decided to watch an episode as research for this article. The full episode confirmed my previously held view that the show is not for me, simply because I don’t find listening to a bunch of bleeped out f-bombs while watching orange people get drunk and act stupid, not necessarily in that order, entertaining. But obviously, at least eight million people do find it entertaining, as that’s how many viewers of season five averaged. My question is, why is “Jersey Shore” so popular while simultaneously being so hated?

Do people like the show because, as my 14-year-old brother put it, “It’s cheaper than going to the zoo?” Is “Jersey Shore” simply taking advantage of the old train-wreck effect? Do people like it because they’re stupid and they like watching other stupid people, or because they like the guilty pleasure of watching people behaving badly? Some critics of the show seem to think it’s the former; reality shows like “Jersey Shore” display how low-brow people’s tastes have gotten.

Because “Jersey Shore” is not the only show out there that can make you cringe and wonder “How can anyone act like that?” There’s The “Real Housewives” of multiple cities, “Toddlers and Tiaras” and “Bad Girls Club” to name a few. And while I can’t watch “Toddlers and Tiaras” without thinking it should be renamed “Future Strippers of America,” I don’t think that reality shows really signify the end of good taste.

MTV has never tried to say that with Jersey Shore they’re attempting to create quality television. In fact, I once read an article by a crew member who poked fun at the whole thing, comparing taking the cast to Italy with corralling exotic animals. “Jersey Shore” isn’t supposed to be witty or thought provoking, it’s not meant to be the height of “good” taste. It’s meant to entertain, not create philosophical discussions.
Just because someone watches the show doesn’t mean they’re going to start partying every night, any more than watching Law & Order means I’m going to start solving crimes. And just because someone laughs at “Jersey Shore” doesn’t mean they won’t get a joke made on “Downton Abbey.” Tastes vary, humor varies, within society and within an individual.

So don’t get upset because you can’t believe so many people like a show that seems to celebrate ignorance. The three stooges were around providing slap-stick humor long before we ever laughed at a girl slipping in her own vomit. And please, don’t get upset because one train-wreck has been canceled, there are plenty of others you can watch.

I think what everyone should do is sit back, stop typing in all caps and appreciate all the mocking we did of “Jersey Shore” for the past three years, and then pray that 100 years from now historians don’t ever look at a single episode for an example of how humans behaved in the 21st century.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com

navajoe2

Hipster Appropriation: Why your Urban Outfitters ‘Navajo’ panties are putting everyone else’s in a bunch

Jean Paul Gautier began the Native American craze back in 2002 with this piece.

By Rae Hodge–

Dear white girls,

Let’s talk for a second about that new overpriced  t-shirt/hoodie/nail paint/scarf/pair of moccasins/bikini/sundress/dreamcatcher that you just purchased from Urban Outfitters, the Gap or from some obscure Etsy designer that I’ve probably never heard of.

It’s lovely and has a southwestern-region semi-native design; maybe it has feathers dangling delicately from it or a symmetrical print zigzagging across the top in muted incongruous primary colors. You reached out and grabbed it off the shelf, thinking, “How exotic!” You swiped your card at the register, then Instagrammed yourself, then uploaded and tagged it “Indian” on Tumblr.

If it was a headdress, you put it on and pranced around at a house party, feeling like you’d slipped into Disney’s Peter Pan and were finally able to live out a childhood fantasy of being a “savage” little lost boy in Neverland beating on a tom-tom, free from your growing-old parents back in civilization.

I’m afraid there’s just no way to put this delicately. One white girl to another, that’s racist. I’m going to need you to put down the culturally appropriated warbonnet. Like now. I’m here to collect you.

What!? How dare I play politically correct thought police to your fashion choices? You don’t actively hate Native American peoples! You’re just trying to celebrate Native American culture in your own way. Every culture in the world has borrowed from another culture at some point, right? Besides, your great great great grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee princess! Your best friend is Chickasaw and he doesn’t care! You spent time on a reservation and you’ve met real-life Native Americans. Why do I have to rain on your parade? We can’t just say that one particular group is off limits for parody, can we? That would be reverse racism, wouldn’t it? After all, you don’t even see race, right? You just see people!

Nope. Sorry, white girls, but this is one of those times when you’ve just got to shut up and listen to what actual native groups and individuals are saying on the topic. It’s their cultures that you’re adorning yourself with, after all. I’d say you can spare a few minutes for them.

From Adrianna K. of nativeappropriations.blogspot.com:

courtesy Urban Outfitters

“‘Playing Indian’ has a long history in the United States, all the way back to those original tea partiers in Boston and in no way is it better than minstrel shows or dressing up in blackface. You are pretending to be a race that you are not, and are drawing upon stereotypes to do so. Like my first point said, you’re collapsing distinct cultures, and in doing so, you’re asserting your power over them.

By the sheer fact that you live in the United States you are benefiting from the history of genocide and continued colonialism of Native peoples. That land you’re standing on? Indian land. Taken illegally so your ancestor, who came to the U.S., could buy it and live off it, gaining valuable capital, both monetary and cultural, that passed down through the generations to you. By dismissing and minimizing the continued subordination and oppression of Natives in the US by donning your headdress, you are contributing to the culture of power that continues the cycle today.”

From apihtawikosisan.com, author Chelsea Vowel describes herself as Métis from the Plains Cree speaking community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta:

“Unless you are a native male from a Plains nation who has earned a headdress, or you have been given permission to wear one, sort of like being presented with an honorary degree, then you will have a very difficult time making a case for how wearing one is anything other than disrespectful, now that you know these things. If you choose to be disrespectful, please do not be surprised when people are offended…regardless of why you think you are entitled to do this.”

Some of the things we wear are not just ‘fashion’. They mean something very important, and if you do actually have an interest in our cultures, you will respect those items by not wearing them unless you have earned them. If you are interested in our cultures, you should make an effort to learn about these items and purchase them from our artisans rather than from big box stores that have nothing to do with any Native American nation.”

From whebrhotub.blogspot.com, where our nameless author of Navajo descent keeps a long-running and well-respected critical media analysis blog:

“Native Americans are REAL people that don’t live in Never Never Land, Fantastica, or some stupid Indian Cupboard. Need Proof? Well I am your proof! I live in Apartment in Arizona. Yep! I even wear shoes! Shocker!”

White girls, I know that some of you won’t care what this article says or what any person of native decent says. You’re still going to wear whatever you like, and you’re going to claim that wearing these ridiculous and offensive trifles is a righteous act of free speech and synonymous with a rebellious American sense of self-governance. You’ll make the typical trite apologia about how no matter where you shop or what you buy, you’re exploiting someone, which will excuse you from having to think about the effects of your choices on others. You won’t have to deal with the reality of these issues, because to you, they aren’t real. The only thing that’s real to you is the stereotype on the rack. Far removed from the impact of appropriation, the only thing you have to think about is the pricetag. Whatever. Keep dancing to MGMT. I hope you choke on your thanksgiving feast.

But not all of you are cretins. The enrollment demographics for our Anthropology and Humanities departments are telling enough: we’ve got plenty of smart, white girls on campus who are more interested in understanding culture than appropriating it. And to you ladies, I tip my pen and charge you with the responsibility of calling these culture vultures when you see them. For you, Adrienne has a bit of advice though:

“If you choose to wear something Native, buy it from a Native. There are federal laws that protect Native artists and craftspeople who make genuine jewelry, art, etc. (see The Indian Arts and Crafts Act). Anything you buy should have a label that says ‘Indian made’ or ‘Native made’. Talk to the artist. find out where they’re from. Be diligent. Don’t go out in a full “costume”. It’s ok to have on some beaded earrings or a turquoise ring, but don’t march down the street wearing a feather, with loaded on jewelry, and a ribbon shirt. Ask yourself: if you ran into a Native person, would you feel embarrassed or feel the need to justify yourself? It’s ok to own a shirt with kimono sleeves, but you wouldn’t go out wearing full kabuki makeup to a bar. Just take a minute to question your sartorial choices before you go out.”

opinion@lousivillecardinal.com
time

Past and Present: Is President Obama the next Jimmy Carter?

By Lee Cole–

“The president has no record to run on. In fact every president since the Great Depression who asked Americans to send them in to a second term could say that you were better off than you were four years ago except for Jimmy Carter and President Barack Obama.” – Paul Ryan


A Newsweek poll from earlier this year had likely voters ranking President Obama as the second worse president of all time, behind Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon.  Perhaps it was this poll that Paul Ryan seized on when he likened Obama to Jimmy Carter, just before the start of the Democratic National Convention.  Whatever the case, both Ryan’s claim and the poll rankings are frankly absurd.  If anything, President Obama is the new Bill Clinton or, better yet the new Kennedy.  The comparison to Carter simply doesn’t hold up under closerscrutiny.

Former presidents have been making the news lately.  President Clinton gave a rousing 48 minute speech at the DNC Wednesday night, making for one of the most effective political communications of the campaign so far.  Clinton outlined a detailed appraisal of Obama’s policies, going on to offer a point by point, impassioned call for his reelection.  There was an urgency to Clinton’s speech, as if he realized this week, along with the other delegates and attendees that no matter how you look at it, this election will be close, and all that the Democrats worked for may be lost.

While the Republican convention in Tampa was the very essence of milquetoast political cliché and faux blue collar pride – just imagine Mitt Romney as a salt of the earth, blue collar type – the democrats managed to combine informative, almost professorial, explications of complicated issues with emotional, impassioned pleas for continuing the work Obama began four years ago.  Clinton’s speech inspired many to tears and bolstered the party with newfound enthusiasm and resoluteness.  Romney’s speech contained about as much enthusiasm as a root canal procedure.

In a mostly unnoticed segment on Tuesday, Jimmy Carter addressed the DNC via prerecorded video.  He was not given a primetime spot, most likely because of enduring unpopularity among conservatives and his association with a bad presidency.  Carter’s presidency certainly was spectacular, but to say it was the worst of all time is a gross exaggeration and willful ignorance of history.  What about James Buchanan?  Or George W. Bush, the man almost singlehandedly responsible for a war that killed thousands – hundreds of thousands of Iraqis – and was predicated on a lie?

Maybe the Obama/Carter comparison would hold more weight had the bin Laden raid failed.  When the helicopter crashed and our attempts to end the Iran hostage crisis failed miserably, Jimmy Carter’s presidency was forever marred.  Republican presidents can bluster and blunder about in foreign wars all they please, but Democrats are not afforded the same right.  It’s as if whenever Democrats become engaged in a military skirmish of any kind, like Clinton in Eastern Europe or Carter in Iran, Republicans are personally offended.  Their thought process must go something like “What’s this nonsense? We’re the only ones allowed to receive military glory! We’re the only ones allowed to dress up in flight suits on aircraft carriers and play soldier in front of a giant banner!”  They must have been terribly upset when Obama, the man who they decried as having no foreign policy experience, brought to justice the most wanted man in the world.

Democratic presidents, especially Carter, are seen as meek and squeamish when it comes to military conflict.  This was the narrative McCain tried to sell in 2008: Obama would be a foreign policy disaster.  The irony is that Obama has been one of the greatest military presidents in our history, navigating a safe exit strategy for Iraq, killing over 25 of Al Qaeda’s top leaders including Osama bin Laden, dismantling dictatorships with his army of drones (robotic, unmanned aircraft) and crippling the Iranian nuclear program with a volley of cyber attacks.  Obama is like a futuristic George Washington, except cooler because he can kill you with robots seemingly at any moment if you’re an enemy of America.

The sad fact behind the Newsweek poll is that it is largely based on an imaginary Barack Obama, sold to the public by Romney and Fox News.  It will be many years, no doubt before the Obama presidency receives its due credit.  The hatred for him transcends mere racism or xenophobia.  It’s not so much that he’s liberal or black or has a foreign name, but rather it’s all these things combined.  Conservatives hate Obama because all of those things fall under the category “not like me.”

The only reason Clinton fared a little better is that he has a southern accent.  What does it say about our country that the only Democratic presidents we’ve elected in the past 40 years have to have southern accents and impress upon the public how important their Christian faith is to them?  It’s almost as if the voting public decreed in 1970 “Well, I suppose we can vote for a Democrat if the prior Republican president does a particularly horrible job, but he better seem like a good ole’ country boy.”  Imagine someone like Gavin Newsom running, a truly bold liberal from San Francisco who’s not afraid to describe himself as left-leaning and is in fact proud of it.  Why is it that the phrase “true conservative” is touted and heralded as a compliment, but Obama or other Democrats could never get away with calling themselves “true liberals?”

The reason, I suspect, is that the word liberal has become permanently pejorative.  It is now synonymous with commie, pinko, atheist, gay-supporting, tofu-eating, hand-out giving and abortion-loving.  We need to reclaim the word this election and use it with pride.  The next time someone calls Obama a weak, Jimmy Carter-esque liberal, remind them that Obama has an army of robots.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photos courtesy Anglonauts.org and businessinsider.com

Survival Guide: College-partying tips and how-tos that save your mind and dignity

By Anna Meany–

1. Use your solo cup as a measuring device.
Look closely at a solo cup – three tiny rings in the cup should help you measure your alcohol itnake (one for hard liquor, one for wine, one for beer). Take charge and pour your own drink – whatever it is – so that you can prevent yourself from taking too much at once. And, as always, watch your drink.

2. Pick your outfit appropriately
It should be common sense – but choosing the right attire for any occasion is crucial. Just in case you do attract those not-so-respectful guys, be sure to cover up the assets.The goods should not be on display for everyone. This means nothing see-through, too thin or too short – no bras or underwear visible and definitely no would-be censored body parts. Guys should stick to clean shirts (if possible). Think sexy, not sleazy.

3. For guys only: keep drink in the left hand – always.
This could be specific to southern partying, but it’s been made very clear to me that men should always carry their drink with their left hand so their right is free to greet the ladies.

4. For girls only: bathroom etiquette.
Newsflash: men don’t remember or care that women need toilet paper everytime they use the bathroom. Drink after drink is going to overflow your bladder in the most literal sense and using the shower curtain to wipe is a major no-no. Check before you sit down. Also, travel in packs to the ladies room. Bathroom chat has saved many women from disastrous decisions, and the opinions of your female friends is important.

5. Have (responsible) fun.
Don’t even think YOLO. If best friends are fighting at a party, something is off. Don’t be insistent upon drinking at every party. And when plans fall through, don’t sweat it.

Students continue to smoke in multiple locations around campus, despite the ban.

5 things Ramsey should say in his State of the University Address

Students continue to smoke in multiple locations around campus, despite the ban.

By Rae Hodge–

5. Smoking ban – Smoking bans usually mean the cessation of smoking. That was not the case on Louisville’s campus after last year’s ban. The smell of smoldering tobacco still lingers in thick clouds in front of Ekstrom library and the Bingham Humanities Building. It would be nice to hear President Ramsey address the smoking ban and reiterate his support for it. It would also be good to hear what strategies the university is employing, if any, to enforce the ban.

4. Hiring of Jerry Johnson– While Ramsey responded to criticisms in the Courier Journal, his statement mostly skirted the issue. Students are eager to hear a real explanation for why Jerry Johnson is necessary when we tuition is so high and the University has laid off so many good professors. President Ramsey needs to address why Johnson is worth $220,000.

3. President Ramsey’s Salary and the U of L Foundation – In a similar vein as the hiring of Jerry Johnson, students are concerned about President Ramsey’s pay raise and the increasing influence of the U of L Foundation. We want to know what our tuition is paying for and what is being valued at our university.

2. Excell Core – We’d love to hear about the university’s tentative plans to contract Excell Core. In the August 28 issue of The Louisville Cardinal, we reported on the interaction of three entities: the Office of the Provost, the newly formed Efficiencies Subcommittee and third party efficiency corporation Excell Core. These entities are currently working together to find ways to cut costs at the university and Excell Core has submitted a draft report of suggested cuts. The Cardinal would be thrilled to hear about the cuts suggested by former Universal Studios consultant Scott Nostaja, CEO of Excell Core, and which of those suggestions the university is taking seriously. Officials have already admitted that they may include administrative restructuring; we want to know exactly where and who that restructuring involves.

1. Budget Transparency – In a budget-crunching year, with sweeping cuts to crucial services and departments, the need for justification of each cut can often be overlooked. It’s easy for administrative figures to blurt out “Austerity!” as a justification for any trimming of the fat. The school needs to hear more about the decision-making process of both the U of L Foundation and the university itself. We want to hear a logical explanation from the president about budget decisions which have resulted in the seemingly incongruent pairing of hiring freezes with high-dollar assistants, and program funding reductions with new construction projects. It’s not always about justifying every decision but clarifying the decision-making process in an effort to be transparent and accessible to those with the most at stake.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Shelby Stafford/The Louisville Cardinal

dude

Past and present: Reagan, the 2012 drought and the global warming debate

Doubling climate change or global warming wasn’t an issue until the Reagan presidency.

By Lee Cole–

“Approximately 80 percent of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let’s not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources.” – Ronald Reagan

There was a time in America when we trusted scientists. Science was not always met with distrust and skepticism, but then again, scientists didn’t start criticizing and evaluating industries and corporate endeavors until the end of the twentieth century. In fact for most of the industrial revolution, science was the handmaiden of industry, contributing to advances in technology that gave us the means to extract resources and maintain modern economies. Science is, of course, an umbrella term and something amorphous, including within it many disciplines and disparate interests. Of all these disciplines, none are perhaps distrusted more than climate scientists; only evolutionary biologists give them a run for their money.

In the 1960’s and 70’s, there was a real movement to change the way we treat the earth. Books like “Silent Spring” challenged the way we think about human impact on the environment. If we were ever approaching real solutions to the climate problem, it was during this era. Everything changed with Reagan, however.

Often touted as the greatest Republican president in recent memory, Reagan and his cohorts are most responsible for the current lack of trust we have for climate scientists. Doubting global warming wasn’t fashionable before the 80’s. It’s as if Reagan sat down with his advisors and said, “Ok, so we have to continue with our polluting industrial endeavors because it is making a lot of money for our friends, so we have to convince American’s that they have some reason to doubt it.”

The human brain is ill equipped for understanding processes occurring over vast timescales, like evolution or global warming. Because we can’t see it happening, from a human frame of reference, we are skeptical. We must restore our trust in the hard sciences or look to the evidence ourselves when it comes to disciplines and areas of expertise that the layman couldn’t hope to understand without advanced training. No one would expect an average Joe to grasp the mathematics involved in quantum mechanics or the equations behind the theory of gravity. Often our textbooks in high school provide us with caricatures and metaphors for these theories and implore us to trust that smarter people than us have an advanced understanding. With global warming, however, the effects are becoming more and more blatant.

Corn like this wouldn’t yield anything edible. Corn farmers took a huge hit this past summer, having to turn most crops into silage.

This past summer, it rained in Mecca when it was 109 degrees Fahrenheit. One wonders if Ronald Reagan would’ve changed his mind about climate change if he could’ve seen the steam rising as near-boiling water pelted the streets there. Over half of the contiguous United States experienced moderate to extreme drought over the summer. Corn crops were barely salvageable, most of them used for silage.
The term “global warming” isn’t the best for describing what’s happening to the climate. That’s why in recent years, there has been a shift towards calling it “climate change.” While the global temperature has an overall rising trend, there will be some years in which summers are mild and winters extreme. Indeed, there will be some years when the seasons seem perfectly normal. But we can be sure that we will see extreme weather patterns, including deadly ones like tornadoes and hurricanes, more frequently.

Because we aren’t equipped to grasp the timescales involved in climate change, we pretend that nothing is happening and continue to pollute. We would rather make money now, extracting fossil fuels from the earth and selling them to the wealthiest nations and worry about how we’ve affected the climate later. We have no sense of moral responsibility for future generations.

There are really two senses in which we use the word “sustainable.” We can use it to mean long-term sustainability, such as when climate scientists tell us that using fossil fuels that cannot be replaced isn’t sustainable generally, as a long-term strategy. We can also use the word sustainable to refer not to environmental sustainability but to economic sustainability. Having summers as hot as the summer of 2012 is not economically sustainable, as food prices will continue to go up. This may be the only thing that will convince corporations and companies to adopt a more environmentally sound position. They cannot be swayed, after all, by melting ice caps, endangered species and rising temperatures. The only thing that might sway them is falling profits.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy Wisconsindairyfarmer.com

This aggression will not stand: Why bros should stop fighting at parties

By Anna Meany–

I recently spent an entire night questioning the motives of a few young Louisville men – after witnessing an almost-fight, I can’t believe they have the pride to show their faces in daylight. After embarrassingly failing to break up the argument, I realized it could never be settled by me (a woman). It was a petty argument, too. To be quite honest, there’s no way it could have been worth fighting for – and it’s part of a fairly common problem among college men: the supposedly natural urge to fight other males. I’m no scientist, but it seems like some guys are just itching to brawl after a few drinks – and sometimes, after no drinks at all. What can we even do about this?

The issue is clearly not entirely alcohol-related. Plenty of younger guys are caught fighting after school, but – to sound like a parent right now – to whom can we attribute this violence?

There’s the never-ending claim that video-game violence is corrupting our children. And movies like Fight Club aren’t as glamorous in real life as they seem on-screen (but I’m not trying to blame good cinematography for the issue at hand). But the ever-so-popular ‘boys will be boys’ motherly saying has actual truth to it –biology can totally be blamed for causing these guys to play defense for no clear reason at all. It’s not possible for us to completely avoid our natural tendencies; these are to defend and focus on survival. Although I’m not sure the guys I saw arguing weren’t concerned about their survival, it’s true that both sides felt threatened. In a way, we’re warped versions of domesticated animals that can’t hide our wild sides. As previously stated, I have no degree allowing me to make any assertions or claims about men having a physical and mental need to protect, defend, or mark their territories (in more ways than one).
They looked so dumb running around our apartment complex, and looking back, I just laugh.

There’s absolutely nothing less attractive than two guys fighting for the sake of their own pride (when a guy defends a woman – that’s hot). And when alcohol is involved, guys just end up looking like drunk jerks.

On a much more serious note, girls can feel really threatened and unsafe when guys are fighting near them (speaking from experience, fellas). Surprisingly, surrounded by buff guys isn’t always as comforting as it sounds – especially when alcohol is involved. If we’re sticking to biology as the reason some guys get so violent, there’s another huge factor to consider: evolution and society have made females out to be weaker and violence against women isn’t a new problem.

I’m not even sure how to combat this problem – and if it even is one. Regardless of biology, starting drunken fights is idiotic.
Boys, don’t let that macho-man mentality get the best of you.

What other testosterone-fueled nightmare moments should the savvy avoid? From freshman year throwdowns to senior blowout bashes, here’s a list of Bro No’s:

1)Respect the personal boundaries of the ladies, fellas. Give three feet of personal space to the ladies around you to avoid appearing predatory. Hugs may be fine for those you’re familiar with, but every woman knows a cheap grope when she feels it. Don’t be the guy that turns the party into a sausage factory, give the ladies a comfortable amount of physical space to avoid driving them away.

2) So you think that downing a pint of Jagermeister faster than your frat brother is going to prove your prowess? Think again. The fastest path from impressive to repellant is through the bottom of a bottle.

3) Losing your cool with the staff at an establishment is never a good look. When raging in a restaurant, keep in mind that the folks whom you’re obnoxiously yelling at from across the bar are the ones that have to clean up that sticky pile of Red Bull and vodka that you’re leaving on the floor. A class act never gives flack to the staff.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
obama

The Message is the Medium: Obama’s AMA changes the game, revitalizing the campaign for young people

President Obama responds t o question on Reddit, the self-described front page of the internet.

By Lee Cole–

“Dude, get on Reddit NOW, Barack Obama is doing an AMA.” If you’ve never heard of Reddit, this statement won’t mean much to you, but it’s the text I received around 4:30 pm, last Wednesday. Marking a watershed moment in campaign history, President Obama took to the self-described front page of the internet, Reddit, and invited users to “ask me anything.” The Louisville Cardinal was the first news outlet in Louisville to cover the story, breaking the news before The Courier Journal, thanks in part to that text. We were breaking the story early by national standards, in step with the likes of The Atlantic and the Washington Post. More than anything else, this should be a testament to the power of the Internet and those of us, mostly students and twenty-somethings, who were born into the digital era.

This article was supposed to be about President Obama’s skillful avoidance of petitions on his website, most involving issues brought to the fore by college age Americans who know their way around the Internet better than most. As if to preemptively respond to my criticism, Obama’s AMA came like a flash of lightning, inundating Reddit with visitors to the point that the site crashed. Lightning is perhaps the best metaphor because at present, the news moves, quite literally, at the speed of light. For most of the last century, you could say that the news moved at the speed of ink; nothing could be released faster than the presses could print it. Only word of mouth was speedier. But now, in the age of texting, social media and 24-hour news networks, it’s faster to click the mouse or tap the send button on your touch screen than it is to expend the effort to vibrate your vocal cords.

Maybe the Courier Journal and other print media didn’t break the story because the people who still read newspapers are old. I don’t mean this as a joke or to be mean – it’s simply the fact of the matter. Most people over 40 would have no idea what Reddit is, and even if you told them, they wouldn’t know what to do with it. As you read this story, you can be sure that what you’re holding in your hands (unless it’s an electronic tablet) is a relic — an item of archeological significance to be sure, but an entity which should’ve been pronounced dead about five years ago. Instead, the newspaper ekes its way onward, preserved by embalming fluids, and we are privy to its prolonged, ugly death rattle.

There has been a valiant effort to preserve the newspaper. Organizations, like the New York Times, have tried to reallocate their resources and refocus on social media and online stories. The paradigm shift has resulted in a lot of middle aged veteran journalists deciding reluctantly to see what the kids are up to. They do their best to cover the vast new territory the web has created, but frankly, they don’t seem to know what they’re doing. Furthermore, they consistently underestimate and disdain the Gen Y’ers, who use the internet as a global tool for affecting policy.

This is the same generation that gets news from the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, not, as many baby boomers and older generations might suggest, because they’re lazy, but because Stewart and Colbert are just about the only people on television who tell it like it is anymore. The comedy aspect shouldn’t take away from their importance; the rest of the networks deserve to be made fun of. Just watching Wolf Blitzer fumble over giant touch screens and holograms is comical in its own right, without Stewart’s commentary. Furthermore, they deserve to be made fun of, viciously, because they are absurdly self-important.

The condescending tone is perhaps best represented by Bill O’Reilly when he referred to Stewart’s audience as “stoned slackers.” He’s not the only one, however, to take this kind of stance. Outside of Fox News, the comments usually boil down to something like “Oh isn’t it cute what the kids are doing, they’ve got their own little blogs and sites, and they think they’re reporting the news!” But while ink besmeared, bedraggled reporters scurry about in sweaty, cramped newsrooms, some kid in high school is scanning Twitter and breaking the next big, global story, all from the comfort of his living room.

Pundits fail to understand the real power of the Internet in the hands of young people. Egypt should be the foremost example, social media playing a key role there in mobilizing the revolution. The same potential exists in America however. Take the group Anonymous, for instance; variously called a terrorist group and internet vigilantes, the hacker collective that got its start on 4chan has infiltrated corporations, the Church of Scientology and even the Department of Justice and the FBI. With this kind of power, can we continue to ignore Redditors, 4chan-ers and 9gag-ers?

The issues that Redditors care about have to do mostly with Internet freedom, drug law reforms and science and technology funding. These are often considered secondary issues, especially in 2012 when the primary topics seem to be the economy and women’s health. Many of these issues were pushed to the forefront by Redditors in the form of petitions on the White House website. Obama largely ignored them, but chose to address some of the concerns in his AMA.

It’s not so much the content of what President Obama said that is so remarkable, but rather the medium. The real meaning of Marshal McLuhan’s oft misunderstood idiom “the medium is the message” is that human language and consciousness conform to whatever media they are exposed to. For most of the last 1,000 years, the printing press has enforced its own subtle tyranny over the English language, homogenizing dialects and stamping out anything that couldn’t be mass produced and printed by a machine. The idiosyncrasies of written manuscripts were phased out and our culture became print based.

The President referenced the “not bad” meme in his AMA, surely delighting rediitors.

McLuhan argues that phenomena as disparate as our modern notion of the “public” and our utilization and development of interchangeable parts as a technology, are all resultant from the print-based mindset. When the primary medium became television, the game changed once more. Children raised on television, he argued, were attuned to the world in a fundamentally different way than their parents. They had shorter attention spans and favored topographic layouts over simple, linear sections of text. What’s more, they didn’t have the patience for print media.

The Internet ups the ante, exaggerating and altering the effects of television in a profound way and adding into the mix the possibility for social interaction and connection. While television was a solitary experience, the internet gives us the opportunity to share information and coordinate with one another over vast distances. Those of us in the Internet age are also attuned to the world in a fundamentally different way. All of the barriers that previously divided us as citizens of this planet – geography, language, restrictive cultures and governments – have been dissolved.

Obama’s AMA was symbolic; in one fell swoop, he managed to deliver a message to television and print news outlets: I don’t need you to reach a wide audience. Newspapers will last another decade at most. Television networks will be coopted into some kind of TV/Web hybrid (a process that’s already under way). Print is dead, and by legitimating Reddit with his presence, Obama may have hammered the last nail in the coffin.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy Hypervocal.com

province

Editorial: As the university expands in an already crowded city, parking becomes a nightmare

For students, parking at U of L is a nightmare. There’s a choice of paying $90 and over for a parking pass that may or may not ensure you a spot – at residential halls, lots fill up quickly, forcing tenants to seek parking in the Floyd Street parking garage – or you can find free parking a few blocks away and walk an extra ten minutes to class. Even this latter option has become harder with the death of the ‘janky lot.’

To make matters more difficult, the University is killing more student parking spots with the building of the new student recreation center, near Kurz Hall. This knocked out enough parking that they had to set up an overflow lot by the Province – not exactly ideal for the students who have to walk there. What happens to the students who work late and have to walk back to their dorms after dark? Walking across campus at night is scary and shouldn’t even be a problem that students face.

The University keeps building and building and building a ton of new structures, but it’s compromising parking. When parking is in such short demand already, the only thing U of L should be building is a new parking structure.

Not only does the parking situation inconvenience students, but it infringes upon the lives of residents around the university. If residents of the Province are having a hard time parking in front of their apartments – a convenience that they pay a lot of money for – then this overflow lot is apparently not a good idea. Residents of Old Louisville, too, have to deal with students who take up street parking and walk to school. To pay to live in a house in Old Louisville isn’t cheap enough to have to put up with students who don’t care that they’re inconveniencing the people who live in the area.

U of L keeps growing, but stuck in the middle of the city like it is, it doesn’t have enough room to spread out. Because campus is wedged into a small space, parking is exchanged for the opportunity to grow. This isn’t an acceptable exchange for those who have to deal with it every day.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
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