Weekly News

Health, Politics


Republicans suffer devastating injury in healthcare battle

60. Republicans have voted more than 60 times to tweak, change, or repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, since it passed the House in 2009. You would think after trying to undo parts of the bill for seven years, Republicans would finally be […]

by Michael Lovegrove × April 24, 2017 × 0 comments



Sessions Returns to Private Prisons

  In August 2016, Sally Yates made history. The former Deputy Attorney General decided to phase out private prisons in the criminal justice system. Private prisons (correctional facilities operated by private companies like The GEO group) provided lower quality care than federal facilities. Private operators could not properly protect detainees […]

by India Cutler × April 21, 2017 × 0 comments



The Senate opts to blow procedure into oblivion

Last week, the Senate did something big. Really big. Nuclear big. No, the Senate didn’t blow up—only its procedures, ethics, and founding principles did. Last week, Senate Republicans opted to deploy the nuclear option in the fight to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. To understand what the […]

by Michael Lovegrove × April 21, 2017 × 0 comments

Politics, Religion


An Unlikely Hero for Religious Minorities

  Religious freedom is under attack in America. The headlines surface over and over again. A Jewish cemetery vandalized. Muslim religious leaders killed in the streets. Hate crimes against Arabs at their highest levels since 9/11. Indeed, discrimination against religious minorities in America has intensified with the rise of Donald […]

by India Cutler × April 18, 2017 × 0 comments

Culture, Entertainment, Local, Theater


Inside the Outsider

Despair. Longing. Destruction. That was what the Hamburg Ballet’s production of The Little Mermaid is about, in a nutshell. Last week, this German ballet company arrived at the Kennedy Center to perform choreographer John Neumeier’s modern interpretation of the classic fairy tale. It is neither the child-friendly Disney version nor […]

by Claire-Solene Becka × April 15, 2017 × 0 comments

Education, Politics


Special Education needs Special Attention

Meet Julia, Sesame Street’s newest muppet.   The show has long been praised for its approachable lessons on inclusivity, and April 10, the series continued that trend with Julia’s debut as the first non-neurotypical muppet on the show. When Alan explains that Julia has autism, Bird Bird responds “She’s not […]

by Isabel Agolini × April 14, 2017 × 0 comments


A hitchhiker's guide to a brave new political world

	The 2016 presidential election shocked the American political system. A non-politician, with no experience or knowledge of public policy, and seemingly no ties to reality and human emotion, defeated one of the most prominent political figures in the world. But now that the election is over, is it possible for American politics to go back to how it used to be? 
	In an article for The Atlantic, Jonathan Rauch diagnosed the American political system with what he calls “chaos syndrome.” “Chaos syndrome is a chronic decline in the political system’s capacity for self-organization,” he wrote. “It begins with the weakening of the institutions and brokers—political parties, career politicians, and congressional leaders and committees—that have historically held politicians accountable to one another and prevented everyone in the system from pursuing naked self-interest all the time.”
	During the election, chaos syndrome reached a fatal level for American politics in several ways. The symptoms are clear. 
	First, political institutions have fallen to their knees. Both major political parties are currently in a fragile state. The Democrats just suffered one of the biggest electoral upsets in history while also failing to earn a majority in either the House or the Senate. In fact, Democrats are eight Senate seats away from effectively being kicked out of Washington entirely as they wouldn’t even have enough representatives on Capitol Hill to block any Republican legislation. Now the party thirsts for a new leader and does not know where to find one. 
	On the Republican side, despite winning complete control of Washington, President Donald Trump found his way to the White House by explicitly defying the conservative establishment, if not Republican principles altogether. Also, since Trump has been in office, his administration has been so unhinged that it has damaged the status of the entire party, resulting in Republicans losing the majority of special elections since his victory last November. Weakened political institutions are the first indications of chaos syndrome and the current ones are weaker now than ever. 
	There are more visible signs of chaos syndrome. President Trump made a mockery of career politicians during the campaign. He defeated several establishment candidates in the Republican primary, and a Democratic candidate who has seemingly held every government job except president. Since then he has managed to pass an almost comically unqualified cabinet through Capitol Hill while Republican senators held their breath and Democrats wallowed in self-pity. With these and so many other symptoms clear, one can confidently say that American political climate we are used to has a deadly case of chaos syndrome. 
	Ranch wrote, “Trump, didn’t cause the chaos. The chaos caused Trump.” This shift has been in the works for years. President Trump’s rise to power is the climax of this shift; its grand finale; its pièce de résistance. Now that our old political system has gone to that farm upstate, Americans have to try to understand the brave new world in which we now live.
	Let’s begin with the basics. Four major characteristics define the new American political system.
	Characteristic #1: Whereas the old era of politics featured investigative reporting powerful enough to bring down a presidency, in this new age, the media is unreliable and easily manipulated. A recent Gallup poll shows that only 32 percent of Americans say they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the media. Those are the lowest numbers in history. 
	Following the election, many claimed fake news to have played a major factor in influencing voters. This is true of both right- and left-wing media platforms. President Trump has since hijacked the label “fake news” to attack any stories or sources of which he does not approve. The fact that President Trump can repeatedly and relentlessly attack the media without facing any consequences shows that people’s distrust of the news is so bad that they are not even willing to defend it against its enemies. 
	Characteristic #2: The story of the day is what someone said, not what someone did. President Trump’s active use of Twitter to share his thoughts often takes center stage in the media’s focus. For example, last Saturday President Trump went on a tweetstorm accusing President Barack Obama of Watergate-style phone tapping. Then on Monday, President Trump signed a new travel ban, temporarily halting immigration from six countries, and Congress introduced a new healthcare reform bill. These are the two most important pieces of legislation so far in this administration. Yet the media has covered President Trump’s baseless conspiracy theory with the same respect and depth as they have the legislation.
	Characteristic #3: Persona is far more important than policy. To win an election, especially one with national attention, you have to be a celebrity and put on a good show. President Trump won the election through endless speeches marked by their theatrics instead of their depth. Secretary Hillary Clinton, who symbolizes the old political era, lost the election while doing almost the exact opposite, barring the occasional A-list celebrity appearance. 
	Characteristic #4: Party politics trumps all—pun intended. There are many examples of issues that have become increasingly partisan, but let’s just stick to one that’s in the spotlight now: nominations for the Supreme Court. 
The last three justices to be appointed: Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Samuel Alito Jr. passed Senate confirmation with 63, 68, and 58 votes, respectively. Only one other justice on the last full Supreme Court, including the late Justice Antonin Scalia, passed with fewer than 78 votes. Over time, these nomination battles have gotten closer and closer because they have become less about a nominee’s qualifications, and more about his or her political views. Senators have stopped voting for nominees based on their background and more on whether they agree with them. 
While this pattern of partisanship has been clear for decades, that does not mean this shift in political climates has not significantly accelerated such division. Instead of approving Supreme Court nominees with 60, 70, 80 votes or more, last year the Senate did something spectacular: they refused to even meet with President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. Rather than simply voting against his confirmation, they did not even give him a hearing. That’s not normal. In fact, that’s unprecedented. And that shows that our political system has traveled into uncharted territory.
	This is the core of our new political world. This new era could last only for the Trump presidency, or it could last for decades. But the time to come to terms with, understand, and make the most of this new political climate is now.

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to a Brave New Political World

  The 2016 presidential election shocked the American political system. A non-politician, with no experience or knowledge of public policy, and seemingly no ties to reality and human emotion, defeated one of the most prominent political figures in the world. But now that the election is over, is it possible […]

by Michael Lovegrove × March 31, 2017 × 2 comments

Education, Food, Health, Nutrition, Politics

School Lunches are Under Attack

School Lunches are Under Attack

  “Three inches! Three inches! My hotdog bounced three inches! Try to beat that!!” My clearest memories from my public elementary school revolve around competitions of playing with the lunchroom food. The plastic macaroni and cheese and rubbery hotdogs were the highlight of my day — not because they were […]

by Isabel Agolini × March 31, 2017 × 1 comment

Culture, Entertainment, Social, World


Eurocentrism’s Timeless Vacation Spot

It’s a paradise, really. White sands, swaying palm trees, and an ocean of the palest turquoise. But much like a shark circling under the water, a serious cultural problem lurks beneath the breathtaking facade. Club Méditerranée, or Club Med, boasts impressive all-inclusive vacations. Founder Gérard Blitz bubbled, “The goal in […]

by Claire-Solene Becka × March 31, 2017 × 0 comments

Health, Politics

Abolish the Tampon Tax!

Abolish the Tampon Tax!

Why are women being taxed for something they can’t help? Over the past year, and with the recent campaign and election of Donald Trump, the issue of the “tampon tax” has gained significant attention. Periods aren’t being taxed, but they’re definitely not being considered when it comes to taxes. There […]

by Noelle Giuliano × March 30, 2017 × 0 comments



A Beginner’s Guide to March Madness

  The start of the best month of the year is just a few days away, and whether you’re filling out a bracket or just a casual fan unsure of which games to watch, here are some teams to keep an eye on as we near the start of the […]

by Tommy Hansan × March 10, 2017 × 0 comments



Make journalism great again

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts,” said Kellyanne Conway in an interview on Meet the Press. I know. I had the same reaction. Ridiculous, right? Conway’s boss, President Donald Trump, tweeted on February 17, “The FAKE NEWS media […]

by Michael Lovegrove × March 10, 2017 × 0 comments