Shaping a Post-Crisis World at Davos, Switzerland?

Greetings from Geneva, Switzerland! Currently, I am working at the International Labor Organization so I will try to blog not only about U.S. happenings, but add to that an international perspective and how the rest of the world sees these events. In the future, you may see interviews with some ILO officers.

It’s the Stress, Stupid

I’ve been meaning to put these notes up for awhile. About three weeks ago, I wrote the feature story for Eclipse on the culture of stress on Cornell’s campus and some of its root causes. I wrote about some strategies people use to de-stress. What I didn’t get to include in the article was some of the ways stress affects genders.

While everyone is under an immense amount of stress due to the economic crisis, the holidays, being swamped at work, the way it affects the genders has important implications for society at large. One example is women in computer science, which illustrates the ways stress can maintain barriers to entry in certain career fields.

Hope and Resolution

It’s been over one week now.

One week since Barack Obama became president.

One week since he surmounted all obstacles and shattered many boundaries to reach the highest office in the country.

The euphoria on Tuesday night at his victory, at the collapse of one more racial barrier, and at the imminent expulsion of President Bush was tremendous. That night, Washington D.C. was ablaze. Cars raced down the avenues, horns blaring, radios loudly blasting the voice of Obama as he gave his victory speech. People were heard shouting in their homes, in the bars, even in the local CVS.

Liberty and Justice for Some?

Many Americans are in euphoria this week. And with good reason. Barack Obama’s election has revived America’s reputation of equality for all–not counting California, of course. This week, voters in California passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Forty-eight percent of voters were against the ban and 52 percent of voters voted for it. The battle over Prop. 8 was one of the most expensive and intense campaigns in California’s history. Supporters and opponents to gay marriage poured a tremendous amount of money into the campaign. In particular, the Mormon Church devoted millions of dollars in hopes of passing the ban.

McCain’s Redemption

Though we here at Muckraking for Pennies are delighted to see Obama as the President-Elect, we hope that his massive electoral win will not go to his head. Many a ruler has fallen when his pride and arrogance gets to his head and we would hate to see the man who united the country last night succumb to such follies. But given his behavior up to this point, we have hope he will shift America in the right direction.

But in other news, McCain has already begun repairing his tarnished image, starting with his concession speech last night.

To Bomb or Not to Bomb

In this post, potential courses of action in relations between the United States and Iran will be discussed. But first, a disclosure: I would rather the U.S. not bomb Iran. Partially because I feel that military aggression hasn’t really gotten us anywhere in dealing with opposition forces (see: Iraq, Afghanistan). But also because—and this is perhaps a more pressing reason—I am Iranian and I have family in Iran. And I’d rather they not be bombed.

On to the post:

In what has turned out to be a particularly volatile election year, there have been a number of issues two opinionated people could argue about and still get basically nowhere on: abortion, gay rights, death penalty and many more.

Where's Higher Education?

Last year, I wrote an article about the leading presidential contenders’ stance on issues of higher education. As a college student, these issues are of particular relevance to me as many students look forward to year of paying back 5-figure, even 6-figure student loans. While the economy is collapsing around us, I applaud moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS for asking this question as way to close the debates: “The U.S. spends more per capita than any other country on education. Yet, by every international measurement, in math and science competence, from kindergarten through the 12th grade, we trail most of the countries of the world. The implications of this are clearly obvious. Some even say it poses a threat to our national security.

Terrorist By Association


“Kill Him!”


Sounds like someone must have betrayed the United States in a horrible way, doesn’t it? Maybe sold secrets to an enemy, put American soldiers in danger on purpose, something like that. Whoever it is must surely deserve those words, right? Otherwise, why say them?

Disgustingly, the words refer not to some despicable example of a human being that cares little for people or his country, but to Barack Obama. What’s more, they were said at a GOP rallies in Florida and New Mexico, during speeches by Sarah Palin and John McCain:

The Vocabulary of the Economy

Stick and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. So goes the tune we were all taught as 7-year-olds to make ourselves feel better after getting mercilessly teased by the school bully. But flash forward to 2008 and it seems like the pen has come back with a mighty vengeance.

Shrinking from Debate?

What the hell just happened?

This was supposed to be the big week. I’ve been looking forward to this Friday for months. Finally, at long last, John McCain and Barack Obama were going to butt heads in an epic duel of the ideologies before a national audience. Maverick vs. Outsider.

Okay, so they were just having a debate. Please excuse the hyperbole.

The point is, this Friday is to be the first time that our would-be presidents would finally meet and the American people would be able to see who was made of stronger stuff, who had greater mental agility, who’s staff had better prepped them on the answers. Finally, it would just be the two men, alone on a stage, with nothing between them but Jim Lehrer.