Monday, December 31, 2012

The Rogue Scholars Society Top 20 of 2012!

By the Rogue Scholars Society

Courtesy of Ludie Cochrane
As 2012 comes to an end, we look back fondly at the work that we did this year. As the year winds to a close and we prepare to begin 2013 running, we wanted to look at our 20 most popular posts. We want to thank our readers for continuing to return and engage with us, and encourage our new readers to stick around.

A Rogue Scholar's 2012 (Pop Culture Edition)

(Collage by Nyasha Juta)

2012 was interesting; but you hear that every year. Well, if not for anything else, we at the Rogue Scholar Society especially cherish it because it was the year of our establishment; and it has been nothing short of an honor to share this platform with you all.

As a token of our appreciation, we present to you our most memorable pop culture moments in 2012 (sports, entertainment, technology, and other fads).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What is the End of the World?

By Ernesto Alvarado

"The end of the world is that it stays the same."

Ever wonder why some people are so convinced that the end of the world is near?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Shooting the Dove before it Flies": The fleeting hope of Israeli/Palestine Peace

                                                                              By Leroy Jenkins

A government that is responsible for the protection and well being of those being governed has every right to protect those it represents from any outside aggressors. As U.S. President Barack Obama put it: “there is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders”.  Does this statement only apply to missiles? What about bullets? Or Fighter Jets?

Friday, December 14, 2012

French Lessons: How America's Food Culture is the Base of its Obesity Crisis

by Jill Ricotta

photo courtesy of

A few days ago I came across a fascinating article in the New York Times that bore some good news about the obesity front in America. Every American is well aware of the obesity epidemic and that it is one of the biggest crises facing this nation. The article discussed new data showing that the rates of childhood obesity have actually dropped in several major cities, important news considering the extreme health risks brought about by this phenomenon. Philadelphia emerged as the overall winner here, with an impressive drop of 5 percent.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Unrequited Love Affair? Africa's fascination with the American Presidential Election and Barack Obama


'"If only Africans could be as passionate about elections in our own countries... I'm actually quite concerned.."-Kumbirai 'King Scud' Kadungure, renowned Zimbabwean Social Commentator

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rogue Scholars Give Their Predictions

Here at Rogue Scholar Society we pride ourselves on our political acuteness. I asked my fellow Scholars for their predictions on who will win today, Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Earth's Vote for the Presidential Election

Last week, Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard, causing millions of people to lose power, water, heat, their homes, and, for the very unfortunate, their loved ones. This past week, a friend of mine posted a satellite image of Sandy's landfall, and I made the off-hand comment that Earth is sick of waiting for DC to do something, and so, told the politicians that climate change is still happening, even if they deny or ignore it. Needless to say, that received many likes and agreements in that conversation.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Super Bowl Tuesday: What the Electoral System Could Learn from Sport

                                                                By Trevor Ammons

Imagine if the presidential debates were during College Football Saturdays?  Or if the debate was planned on a Sunday or Monday night match up during the NFL season?  How many people would watch?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

In My (Not So) Ideal World: Choosing Between the Lesser of Two Evils

Photo Courtesy of

After reading fellow Rogue Scholar, Shervin Stoney’s article on responsible voting, I have to admit that it really got me thinking about what my vote in this year’s election means. As a New York resident, I know that my one vote counts very little, seeing as President Obama is set to

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scars of Love: A Domestic Violence Lament

As National Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to a close, it goes without saying that the war is far from won. We should never tire in our pursuit to give victims the empowering voice than can only come through education.
With that in mind, I present to you a very close-to-the-heart spoken poem on the plight of the abused.

                                           Scars of Love (a.k.a Not Going Anywhere) 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Heroes Don't Live Here Anymore

           In light of the Lance Armstrong case, is our faith in sporting icons misplaced?
So it is all but official now. The grey cloud that seems to have been hovering over the head of cycling legend, Lance Armstrong, seems to have gone full black, and stormed on his parade.

Last week, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released their findings, which all but damned already-banned and title-stripped Armstrong. The 1000+ page report included sworn testaments from 26 witnesses including eleven of Armstrong’s teammates. Blatantly put, the USADA found “proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Lance Armstrong engaged in serial cheating through the use, administration and trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs and methods that Armstrong participated in running in the US Postal Service team"
Photo courtesy of:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Five Things A Democrat Learned At A Mitt Romney Campaign Stop

by Ryan Fleming
Man holds a sign at a Romney campaign stop in Cuyahoga Falls, OH on October 9.

The election season has been super-heated in its fierce partisanship and negative campaigning, but as I stood in line outside the Natatorium in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio last week to attend the "Victory Rally with Mitt Romney and the GOP Team," all I could think about was how preposterous it was that I, a Democrat and committed Obama supporter, was braving the cold, stiff breeze, sinking temperatures, and partisan vitriol to hear a speech from a man whose candidacy I do not support.

Monday, October 15, 2012

In My Ideal World: Responsibly Gary Johnson 2012

"Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil."

- Jerry Garcia 

I have always been a registered independent, since I first voted in the 2008 election, and I never vote party line. This year's election is proving to be no different for me. I am a firm believer in voting on issues that most affect me. This being said, I have discovered that the candidate that I perceive to be closest to my political and social views is

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The end of God as we know him?

So, they found the god particle. The media just broke (yet another) story of the Catholic church- this time in Australia, covering up hundreds of child abuse reports. Recently, the Islamic world has been up in arms over the irreverent video posted on YouTube. It is a wild, wild time to be moderate, say-my-prayers-and-try-to-do-right believer. 

Friday, September 28, 2012


  Her eyes were fixated on the iridescent hue of the LCD screen in front of us.  It was another episode of “Little House on the Prairie” playing on a retro TV channel.  This would be the 4th time I’d seen this episode, and probably the millionth from her.  Her husband sat quietly, resting underneath a blanket in a recliner that had become more his than anyone else’s.  I sat on the opposite couch, laptop in hand working on some graphic designs while casually glancing at the LCD television to see which part of this episode it was that I’d remember now.  Her husband moved, and she glanced over at the noise. What a situation this had become.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pop 'til You Drop: K-pop and the Marketability of the American Dream

After having my passport pick-pocketed while traveling in Spain, I find myself unexpectedly back in South Korea—my homeland and country of citizenship—for the first time in two years. Having spent the majority of the past 6 years in New York, my point of reference for current news and cultural trends has shifted from being Korea-centric to religiously watching ‘The Colbert Report’ and ‘The Daily Show.’ Consequently, it took a couple days to reorient myself with the political and social climate of Seoul

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bad Bitch Or Bitch Bad?: Mixing Up Messages For Younger Generations

By Nancy Campos

Photo courtesy of

What’s in a word? Many of us grew up hearing some version of sticks and stones may break my bones, but names (or words) will never hurt me. As a child, this message was often used as defense against those who resorted to name-calling and teasing; though in retrospect, this saying could not be more wrong

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eternal graffiti

Hala Mohammad, an exiled poet living in Paris, writes about the tragedies of the Syrian crisis. 

Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi's poem If the People Wanted Life One Day, despite being written decades before, ignited the people against the Tunisian government. Today, contemporary poets add to the fire of revolutions through their words, as seen recently in the Arab Spring. In nearly every country experiencing hardships, poems have emerged "the medium for expressing people's hopes, dreams and frustrations." 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What is "Bitch Bad" All About?

A short while ago Lupe Fiasco came out with a single from his album, Food and Liquor II, called "Bitch Bad". The song,like many of the others on the album, seeks to challenge many of the ideas that have become norms in American, Black, and hip hop communities

Monday, August 20, 2012

Qalandia and the Right to Return

 By Jill Ricotta

Even after 3 weeks of being in Israel/Palestine, I had yet to truly be shaken to my core like I had expected. Checkpoints (in specific, the ones you drive, not walk through) were quite fast and simple for a blonde American. East Jerusalem was so fun at night after iftar (breaking of the fast at sundown during the month of Ramadan), it was easy to forget the political situation of the city, and country in general. The conflict remained somewhat academic in nature, just like sitting in class back in the US.  So far I was just enjoying Palestine during Ramadan, stuffing my face with sweets, practicing my Palestinian Arabic, joking around with the locals. That’s the thing about Arab culture. No matter how hard times are, they will always find a way to

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blind Fate

I am an immigrant and an American. I dance salsa, I eat burgers, and I get my news in two languages. Years ago I struggled through four textbooks to write a decent paragraph in English. Now in college, I write twenty-page essays on Heidegger and Kant. By means of education, I have become assimilated. I wear silk ties and collared shirts. I pay taxes and I dabble in trendy hobbies like photography and literature. I have become ‘safe’ to join the exclusive group of “us” while eschewing the society of “them.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tribalism, Trust, and Terrorism – the intricacy of refugee assistance in Jordan

A Syrian boy waves the revolutionary flag at the June 21, 2012 protests in front of the Syrian Embassy in Amman, Jordan

It is nearly impossible to spend a few weeks in Amman without seeing a protest. Stumbling upon one is especially likely on Fridays, but many of those found do not fit the bill of a typical “Arab Spring” protest. While Jordanians continue to fight for reform and against corruption of their monarchy, other protests consist of both Jordanians and Syrian refugees against the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paper Tigers: An Examination of Continuing State Planned Economies OR – Why I'm Not Scared of China

Paper Tigers: An Examination of Continuing State Planned Economies
OR – Why I'm Not Scared of China
By- Travis Nemmer

If I had a dime for every time I heard from some American politician or self-proclaimed expert told me that we'd “wind up working for China,” that the People's Republic “owns the United States,” or, most odiously that “Hu's our Daddy,” I would give all that money back to the government to pay down our debt – then we'd all have nothing to worry about from Beijing.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The London Olympics Round Up: Legends Are Born

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The Jamaicans dominate. Again. 
It began with the women’s 100-meter, an event the Jamaican women swept in Beijing. Alas, a sweep was not to be in London. The Beijing silver medalist, Kerron Stewart, failed to qualify for the finals. This did not stop the Jamaican women from the stealing the headlines: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the gold medalist from the 2008 games repeated in spectacular fashion with a time of 10.75 seconds. The two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 200-meter, Veronica Campbell-Brown, took third at 10.81 seconds. The Jamaican sandwich: the lone American Carmelita Jeter, running in her first Olympics at age 32, took the silver.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

3 Reasonable Reasons Why Obama Doesn’t Deserve Black People’s Support

By William Richardson

President Obama may be one of the most important politicians of our generation. This fact is magnitudes truer for people of African descent in America. Our people were the first in the history of this nation to see a man of African descent accent to the highest office in the land and the fact that one of us has reached that point has immense implications for our people.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Eating Chick-fil-A on Sundays

By Ernesto Alvarado

Chick-fila-A CEO Dan Cathy let his ideals and religious beliefs lead him away from standard business practices and into the limelight for changing the way a fast-food organization is run. If anyone that has ever eaten at Chick-fil-A has taken the time to read the information on the placemat right before they cover it with ketchup, you would know that unlike many other artery-clogging conglomerates, religion plays a prominent role in the company's business model.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The London Olympics Round Up: Opening Ceremony

By Shervin Stoney

REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

The Controversy
The Munich massacre of the 1972 Olympics was the first and most significant show of politicization at the Olympics. A Palestinian group called "Black September" kidnapped and eventually killed 11 Israeli Olympians and coaches. Marking the 40th anniversary of the massacre, many called for a remembrance of the lives taken at the opening ceremony

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Imperial Overreach

by Ryan Fleming

Photo courtesy of

Yesterday, the NCAA handed down unprecedented sanctions against Penn State in response to the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal that erupted into the national spotlight last November. Penn State was fined $60 million, banned from postseason play or Bowl Games for four years, scholarships were cut for four years, and all wins from 1998-2011 have been vacated, in addition to other probationary and reform requirements.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Death Row in Happy Valley

By Ernesto Alvarado

"It is a world not of angels but of angles, where men speak of moral principles but act on power principles; a world where we are always moral and our enemies always immoral."

- Saul Alinsky 

The phrase "this is bigger than football" has been plastered all over the news since the scandal at Penn State tore apart the once impeccable reputation of the storied football program and university officials. It's been called the worst scandal and college sports and has tested the loyalty of Nittany Lions across the nation. Yet, for all the talk of it being larger than a sports programs, it doesn't escape me that all the focus is constantly turned on sporting sanctions for a criminal problem. The program should be put to death, the statue of Joe Paterno needs to be taken down and his records removed from the books are solutions that are screamed out by pundits across the if taking a trophy or canceling a program will end the suffering of the victims.

The hypocrisy of critics that never mention the victims or ways to help them through their recovery process infuriates many PSU fans who never even heard of Sandusky until this scandal broke. Penn State has undergone an extensive self-reflection and moves to change the image of the entire university which included creating several events on campus to raise money as well as awareness for child abuse. I apologize for the Nittany Nation for not worrying about a statue of a dead coach, we're too busy figuring out ways to ensure something like this will never happen again and that child abuse will be combated across the nation.

Penn State's glistening clean-sheet of sanctions does not have a smudge on it, rather, the sheet has been torn to shreds, lit on fire then buried in a grave next to the hole that is being prepared for the football program. The Freeh report cites that 4 of the top university officials at the university played pivotal roles in allowing convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky to escape jail and continue his evil deeds around campus. A disheartening but a much needed blast of reality for the proud Nittany nation that has reeled from the devastating revelations of the most heinous acts committed by their once revered football institution. Apart from the most die-hard JoPa fan, it's becoming harder to stand behind the iconic coach. (Even though most journalists admittedly haven't read the entire report and have left some key details out that could question the findings.)

Calls for the death penalty (a suspension of a sports team for at least 1 full year) have become deafening. The program has become a lightening rod for all that is wrong with collegiate sports and the higher education institutions that pour funding into them. Any defense for the football team is quickly written off as a lack of understanding and sympathy for those victims of Sandusky that may never find the closure they need to move past the horrible acts this man committed. Yet, while Stephen A. Smith and other ESPN talking heads demand the lethal injection by the NCAA, my only question is...what will that resolve?

Nick Saban recently reiterated the idea that there are other ways of turning this horrible situation into one that will help in any way possible. Quite possibly the best idea to come out in respect to the scandal has come from Alabama when he mentioned a tax format on all PSU tickets and merchandise that would go to child abuse organizations. A far more effective and useful way of approaching the discipline of PSU football than the recommended statue removal/death penalty.

My freshman year, I attended a small college in the South-Atlantic region on a soccer scholarship. We were a powerhouse in Division II and never fell out of the Top 10 teams in the country. Players from across the world came to pay their dues in hopes of a transfer to an NCAA DI program and their approach to the program demonstrated it. The program had been warned about missing money from the various fundraising events we were a part of and things came soon after I decided to leave: thousands of dollars came up missing and players remained quiet on the culprits. The program's coach (a career coach with a pristine record and reputation) was dismissed and the program was shut down for a year by the university's administration. Some transferred, some went back to their countries and the program was marred by this death penalty. This "death penalty" was warranted because of the role student-athletes played and the overall culture of the program fostered by a lack of punishment following the previous sanctions. The program needed an immediate overhaul and it punished those culpable immediately.

Will a death penalty for a group of players that aren't old enough to remember Sandusky prowling the sidelines teach Penn State a lesson?

The dedication that it takes to arrive at a DI level is no easy task and now these student-athletes are forced to bite the bullet for a crime they had no role in? Transferring is no easy task either: Penn State's educational offering is something many powerhouse football teams can't offer and most elite teams have their rosters unofficially established. A death penalty will serve not to sanction a university, but harm a group of its finest students. A death penalty is a sports punishment for a crime outside the realm of sports and by suspending a program that will inherently bring awareness to such an important cause, you are actually hurting the cause to prevent something like this to occur again.

Will a death penalty bring closure to the victims?

 Maybe...has anyone asked? In all reality it is difficult to understand how a suspension of a year will bring permanent closure to a traumatic experience that in all likely-hood will never fully heal. The university should find ways to directly help the victims and personalize their efforts of helping rather than shutting down a program that, apart from Paterno's willful ignorance, has no idea or participation in these events. This isn't about football, this is about the victims; so shouldn't the efforts to set things right be aimed towards their needs? The civil suits that will surely be levied against Penn State will also require a way to pay for the potentially millions of dollars that will be lost. In a pragmatic sense, it might actually be better for the victims to maintain the program in order to receive their rightful legal compensation.

Will a death penalty improve the internal controls at Penn State?

Penn State University fired its coach of nearly 4 decades and removed the top 2 officials that were implicated in the initial investigation BEFORE any outside body levied sanctions on them. The Board of Trustees have been on a tour to explain their decisions to alumni and the university HIRED Freeh to create the independent report. Contrary to the picture painted, Penn State HAS institutional controls and the failures of 4 men are not the common standard for an institution that takes such pride in the motto "success with honor". In all honesty, the university will likely levy punishments that are more severe than any NCAA sanctions. Penn State is not a football crazed university that puts its academic or moral integrity to the side for the sake of a few bowl games. To say that the media's stereotyping of Penn Staters as caring for their football team at all cost is an understatement.

What precedence does this create for the NCAA?

The governing body of athletic teams in college governs competitive advantages and lack of institutional controls. Penn State University has gained no advantage in their athletic programs through the acts of a few men covering up one of the biggest scandals in collegiate history. There are no players implicated in this scandal so student-athletes are a non-factor, the coach in question is dead and the other is sitting in jail for the rest of his disgraced life, and the other 2 officials are awaiting trial. Penn State University has already opened investigations and are looking to impose their own sanctions on the program so where does the NCAA play into effect? This scandal does have a facet that incorporates sports but this is NOT about sports, it's much bigger than that and it should be judged by an appropriate governing body. The guilty parties in this case are facing criminal charges, not NCAA sanctions.

The death penalty is an emotional response to the report that exposed the false halo of the last saint the Penn State faithful prayed was not implicated. I am not opposed or in favor of the death penalty but the reason for its imposition would not match its desired results (if any). People in State College live off of the football season, the local economy thrives from the income that the program brings to it, the academic institution that has changed the world will suffer considerable side-effects and unknown to those outside Happy Valley, the continued presence of football isn't solely for entertainment but for the survival of the community that needs healing the most.

The Penn State football team ultimately faces more than 1 judge and executioner and most signs point towards the electric chair. It is hard to see NCAA going against the general sentiment of the need for a death penalty (even with misguided comparisons to SMU), Penn State itself has clearly acted with little regard for the football team's position and will most likely hand down severe sanctions if the NCAA doesn't. The Department of Education can also use the Clery Act to shut down funding for PSU football due to their violation of the rule that states it must report any crime committed or purported to be committed on campus. Scholarship reductions and bowl bans seem a more logical road in respect to sanctions but in a world where Paterno shields a sex offender and Penn State Football faces the death penalty...reason is lost in a sea of ESPN's 24 hour coverage (wonder why Syracuse didn't get the same handling) and continued stigmatization of Penn State alumni.

So Penn Staters struggle, with anger, with confusion, with sadness, with shame, with pride, drowning in emotions that alumni never thought would be connected to Dear Old State. Rage that a few men have dragged a world renowned institution to the depths of a scandal like the sporting world has never seen. Sadness for the victims of these men and guilt that our own leadership allowed these atrocities to happen on our campus. Angels have become but mere angles of arguments and contradictions.

The funny (or sad) thing about this call for the death penalty is that,

Penn State's Football program as we know it is already dead.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The London Olympics Round Up: Trials

By Shervin Stoney

Every four years, football fans (soccer for you Americans) have the World Cup. Every four years all other sports have their World Cup: the Olympics, the greatest sporting event on Earth. A display of countries' power and show of dominance that doesn’t involve guns, unless you are competing in the shooting events, the Olympics are special place. For the next month and a half I will be serving as a self-appointed ambassador for the Rogue Scholars to the Olympics, giving you all the captivating news as it happens. I must forewarn you, I will be biased towards the United States and Jamaica, and track and field. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Frankly homey, We ain't even Tripping

              How Hip-Hop Has Seemingly Accepted Frank Ocean's Sexuality Without Much Noise

Last week was a rather important one for the gay community. 

Well, that is probably absurd and unfair on the larger gay community, who are currently fighting savage battles against social and legal stigmatizations: it was probably only really important to those among us who still pride themselves in having strong ‘gaydar”’ and get their kicks from correctly guessing which public figure is going to come out of the closet next. I am referring, of course, to the public announcement of their homosexuality by two celebrities, if you will.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Human Capital Theory and Education for Development, Part Deux

By Allison Dower

Modern Imperialism?

As articulated in my previous article, Human Capital Theory (HCT) is a Western theory that gained a following after the U.S.’ (and to a lesser extent, Europe’s) success after World War II and during the Cold War.  HCT is used as the justification in the education for development field, which is dominated by Western development agencies, and often several contentious issues arise in the discussion.  These issues often lead to the same academic critique of agencies in the education for development field: these efforts are spawning a modern form of

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cairo, I love you (al-Qahirah, b7abik)

By: Jill Ricotta

Downtown Cairo

Cairo is not one of those cities over which people constantly swoon. It's no New York, London, Paris or Rome, center-stage for romantic films or novels. It's not like Marrakech, famed for its exotic sensibilities, or Beirut the party capital of the Middle East. It's not Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, or Dubai, with its modernity and massive shopping malls. More often that not people complain about

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Veepstakes 2012: Contenders and Pretenders

by Ryan Fleming

Photo courtesy of

The spring and summer before a presidential election is the recurring scene of the ultra-secretive vice-presidential candidate selection process. The watertight nature of the search uniquely frustrates the high level of interest surrounding the process, and the result is an endlessly speculative list of could-be choices, dissected by editorialists and talking heads with varying degrees of informative value.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Getting Married - and the nuances of culture, religion and society

Getting married – and the nuances of culture, religion and society

So…I recently turned 25 and life on this side of my twenties is definitely not as I expected it to be! It’s awesome; don’t get me wrong, being 25 has to be the prime of my young life thus far. But I never thought the societal pressure around marriage in my African and Christian context would ever affect me! The bug has bitten, and the concept of the ticking biological clock has kicked in, people my age (and younger!) are getting married, having babies, throwing hen parties, bridal showers, baby welcomes – you name it! The wedding invitations are starting to flow, and parents and aunts are starting to look at me and ask…ok, so who is your special person – you almost have your Masters, have graduated twice already, are independent and live away from home and have started your new job…when are you getting married? <insert awkward silence>

Monday, June 25, 2012

Self-Hate and Gangsta Rap Names

By William Richardson

John Gotti aka the "Teflon Don" and the boss of the Gambino Family

Not too long ago, I was in the car listening to some random song on my local hip-hop station when the DJ mentioned Big Sean and Ludacris for some reason. I then had the random thought, "wtf is big about Sean? And, indeed, some of the stuff Ludacris says is indeed ludicrous"

Saturday, June 23, 2012

E3 Eccentricity and the Rise of the Gaming Machine

"It seems astounding to me now that the video games are perhaps as important as the movies themselves. And people will spend 2 or 3 years obsessing about the video game in exactly the same way that they'd be obsessing about the movie if they were working on that."
       -John Cleese

Photo courtesy of the Internet.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Fall (?) of the Egyptian Revolution

The Fall (?) of the Egyptian Revolution

The night of February 11th 2011, the world celebrated the triumph of the Egyptian people over the dictator Hosni Mubarak. Tahrir Square was filled with Egyptians singing and chanting, overwhelmed by the knowledge that the man who had ruled Egypt for 30 years was finally gone because they demanded it. However, any keen observer would notice that the military was an always present force and that their “new” reign did not seem to differ much from the past 3 presidents, all of whom came from military backgrounds.  More than a year after the revolution, Egyptian activists are still protesting; but this time they are turning against the

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

5 Reasons Why You Should NOT Be Hype for Euro 2012 (An American Perspective)

By Guest Contributor Trevor Ammons 

Kenny Powers thinks soccer is un-American. 

Disclaimer: I am a fan of soccer/football.  My dreams are filled with a United States soccer league that rivals those in Europe.  Yet after reading Blessing’s post about “5 Reasons Why We Should Be Hype About Euro 2012,”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why are American Students Failing?

The supposed failure of the American student is not the fault of the politicians or the education system. And it is certainly not the fault of the teachers. The problem is that we need to stop thinking of the education system as failing. When we categorize the system as a failure, we are saying that our children are a failures.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Living the DREAM: What Does President Obama's Announcement On Immigration Mean For DREAMers?

While on my trip to the nation's capital, something incredible happened. I was looking through my Facebook and Twitter feeds to see what was going on in the world (the quickest way to get my news fix) and I read a headline that said something like "President Obama announces a stop to deportations of illegal youth." I was a little bit shocked; it couldn't mean

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Human Capital Theory and International Education for Development

The second Millenium Development Goal (MDG), achieving universal primary education, has garnered a lot of attention since the goals were officially established in 2000 following the Millenium Summit. It has brought to the forefront of the international development world the role that education can play in a country’s economic development.  The general belief is that education leads to

Friday, June 8, 2012

Five Reasons We Should (All) Be Getting Excited for Euro 2012!

The presidential election slowly gathering momentum, the London Olympics promising to be bigger than ever, and a growingly convincing case for a pending Zombie Apocalypse - if we continue to be this lucky, this summer might turn out to be one for the history books!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Honoring Our Veterans

By Sally Mouakkad

A tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces at Santa Monica Beach, CA.
Photo Credit: Sally Mouakkad
"For their service and sacrifice, warm words of thanks from a grateful nation are more than warranted, but they aren't nearly enough. We also owe our veterans the care they were promised and the benefits that they have earned. We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America. It's a commitment that begins at enlistment, and

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Everybody Hates Chris

By Ernesto Alvarado

Man I hated that show in the United States. Yet, it's a small slice of home that I enjoy on the local TV stations here in Brasilia. I never thought it would become such an enlightening point of conversation between myself and my Brazilian counterparts.

Friday, June 1, 2012

America: Land of the Free, Home of the Scared? (Part 1)

Part 1: The War on Women

By Nancy Campos

Courtesy of

“All men are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.”—Harvey Milk
The United States tends to be synonymous with freedom and equality for all. That’s what the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem all say, in one way or another. We stand out as a country that was founded by those seeking refuge

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Immigration Candidate: Mitt Romney?

by Ryan Fleming

Photo courtesy of

It’s no small irony that elections, the hallmark of a free and democratic society, tend to bring out the worst in our political system. In a cycle where resurgent birthers and dogs strapped to car roofs garner the lion’s share of media attention, a more cyclical scandal goes undetected: the promise of immigration reform.

Presidential politics are all about chopping up the electorate in the race to 270 electoral votes. In general, an aspiring president or sitting president seeking another term must separate out “key demographics” and fine-tune messages that woo each according to its own priorities. A few weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh’s mouth settled the focus on women: which candidate was more pro-woman? Who was conspiring to trample women’s rights? Likewise, prodded (or preempted, as it were) by Vice President Joe Biden, Obama recently came out in support of another demographic that may shore up his left flank, making presidential history by endorsing same-sex marriage on national television. Republicans certainly saw an opening with the AARP crowd, and the culture war was on.

New census data revealing that less than half of all children born today are white has highlighted another demographic: Hispanics. The importance of the Hispanic vote is held as commonsense wisdom, and so talk of reforming the country’s immigration rules becomes a rite of passage for any presidential candidate worth his salt.

The conventional wisdom suggests that Obama has the Hispanic vote all but locked up, since the last Republican who knew how to successfully court Latinos was George W. Bush (an odd accolade for a man whose legacy is peppered with failure). After all, Obama fought for passage of the DREAM Act that would have granted legal status to children of illegal immigrants who went to college or served in the military. Take another look though, and the picture grows more complicated. First, there’s the fact that the Obama administration has deported more illegal immigrants than any administration in history. Furthermore, as Linda Chavez, chairwoman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, points out, President Obama “has done almost nothing to advance immigration reform, never making it a top legislative priority or using any political capital even when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.”1

Chavez’s suggestion that Romney endorse the DREAM Act is nothing short of a pipe dream, given Romney’s obsession with turning off magnets and securing the border. Moreover, though Newt Gingrich has long ago dropped out of the race and offered his tepid support, Romney likely doesn’t want to breathe new life into his “Massachusetts Moderate” label or reinforce the perception that he’s a pandering flip-flopper. Still, Chavez inadvertently illustrates the precise problem: at some point, immigration reform went from being a legitimate cause to a mere talking point to be plucked out of the scrap heap every four years and deployed in an attempt to slice off some of the Hispanic electorate.

To make things more confusing, Romney has framed elements of immigration reform in an economic light and taken some ownership of the issue from Obama (or at least attempted to). Romney’s campaign website has an entire section dedicated to immigration; after some modest poking around on Obama’s page, the only reference I could find to immigration was in a lone link at the bottom of his Education issues page. That page? A 32-word blurb voicing support for DREAM Act proposals and “other common-sense immigration reforms.”2 Is this the full-throated support we should expect from the de facto “immigration candidate?”

The seasoned cynic would, at this juncture, infer that immigration’s prominence on Romney’s website is simply red meat for the xenophobic element of the GOP, replete with talk of barbed-wire fences and “self-deportation.” I’m not so sure, though there are the requisite national security passages and mention of “terrorists” sneaking across the border. Still, Romney’s page points out that “immigrants start 16 percent of our top-performing, high-technology companies, hold the position of CEO or lead engineer in 25 percent of high-tech firms, and produce over 25 percent of all patent applications filed from the United States.”3 He identifies the very issue I personally witness every day, stating, “The system requires us to send away the great majority of the over 300,000 foreign students who are earning advanced degrees at U.S. universities” before concluding, “President Obama has done nothing to improve our visa system.” If we can forgive a little election-year hyperbole, it’s obvious that he’s right. Moreover, just as Obama has linked education and immigration, Romney has woven it into a broader discussion on the economy, and is doing a better job of it than the President.

It’s difficult to say what all this means. Perhaps Romney, not Obama, is the candidate whom voters can count on to finally deliver immigration reform. Perhaps Obama, confident of his support in the Hispanic community, has simply set his priorities elsewhere, but is still the movement's true(r) friend. The final possibility is the bleakest: immigration reform is nothing more than a cheap trick, luring citizens who prioritize this issue into a labyrinth of empty promises and election-year smoke and mirrors. The demographic sea change long promised is now officially underway, but our short-sighted electoral cycle still can't see past November.