In light of the terrorist attacks in Paris, conservative America chomped at the bit to try and use the tragedy to rationalize why we shouldn’t invite Syrian refugees into our nation. Without waiting for all of the details of the horrific event to come out (including the fact that the attacks were primarily executed by European nationals), conservatives had already made up their minds that opening our country to refugees is to invite the Islamic State to our doorstep.
Last night at the first Democratic debate, we had an opportunity to see what the potential nominees for the Democratic Party’s presidential candidacy were good for, and what their weak points were. Lincoln Chafee, the former governor of Rhode Island, was immediately outed for his spotty party affiliations and records, and was even grilled by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer later on when he planned on ending his “futile” presidential bid. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton each caught flak for their actions, statements and past voting records, but came out without significant damage. Slow-talking Martin O’Malley had the heat turned up on him for his emotional appeals and lack of serious answers regarding the delicate state of Baltimore due to recent civil unrest. However, former Sen. Jim Webb suffered less for his unique stances and speaking style at the hands of debators than he did later at the hands of social media users.
As far as I know, there’s no class here at UW that teaches students about current events or day-to-day politics in election cycles, and for good reason.
In the past week, there has been an influx of headlines shaming and indicting various corporations, business owners and other major or minor players in the world of commerce. To rattle off a couple, a bar was forced to compensate a woman for needing surgery after ingesting a liquid nitrogen shot, and a deposed peanut company owner is being sentenced to 28 years for conspiracy involved in the death of nine people from products tainted with salmonella. It seems like businesses everywhere can’t catch a break for their malfeasances.
To label Wisconsin as anything other than a party school is considered a slight to most Badgers. A year after taking my nervous first steps onto this campus, I’m still trying to wrap my head around how, in all my hours of research and determination on what university would be my home for the next four years, I skipped over this glaring detail. I got caught up in the trees of fantastic programs such as student research, Badger athletic programs, and the Wisconsin Idea, that I failed to notice the actual forest of student life on campus. Within this year, I continue to struggle reconciling my perceived image of Wisconsin and what it actually wound up being like, as well as reconciling scholastics and the heavy social aspect on here on campus.
I may be not much of a spiritual person, but one of the most profound experiences of my life was behind the wheel of a 1999 Toyota Highlander on the road from Madison to Florida for spring break. In a 24-hour period, I spent half that time behind the wheel, and the rest talking to my fellow passengers, bickering with other members of our collegiate caravan or attempting to get some uncomfortable sleep. We made the return trip about five days later, with similar distributions of fitful rest and bloodshot-eyed driving.
As long as fashion trends have existed, there have been movements that took hold of the general public that are looked back upon with embarrassed laughter. Those who never partook in things like bell-bottoms and Ed Hardy smugly affirmed their biases against them when they fell from grace, and everyone moved on with their lives. Today, that stupid fashion trend is Birkenstock sandals, and I will be the one calling them for what they are—ugly, childish and highly overrated, to say the least. Let me take you on a journey where I describe what’s wrong with these overhyped crimes against humanity.
Nothing manages to draw as many chuckles as it does frowns as the infamous ‘dad bod.’ Quietly entering the lexicon of college students everywhere last year, it is used to describe a blanket body-type that bridges the gap between the guy with a beer gut who discovered the gym a few months back. The idea of the dad bod is a fun topic of debate at parties, and it seems like I hear a new reason to love it or hate it every time the term comes up. Now that the steam behind a new member of the repertoire of college slang has died down, I felt the time was ripe to finally take a critical look at this phenomenon.
Think back to the last time somebody said or did something that got under your skin. Whether they did it intentionally or unintentionally, it happened, and it got your blood boiling. Now, I want you to imagine that, no matter how scathing or hurtful whatever that person said or did to you, it’s no longer okay for you to be upset by it. You can have a straw to suck it up. This is the reality people who don’t goose-step to the beat of the conservative drum must face, and it needs to change.
I sometimes wonder at night just what America could accomplish if we diverted all of the manpower spent viciously and unflinchingly defending the actions of police, or jumping at the chance to criticize the protests of black lives that make the evening news. I have not seen a more dedicated, faithful and active group of people on social media (less so in person) than people who seek to justify the actions of law enforcement officers. At best, and at worst, they seek to denigrate the position of anyone protesting or questioning the case. I don’t see people willing to have a dialogue about the frustration between blacks and the American justice system, I see people demanding the cessation of the one thing that an oppressed minority have to get the attention of the disinterested majority.