Hi y’all. How’s everyone doing? Good? Good. Allow me to start with an anecdote: I was sitting in Close-up class last year (for those of you who don’t know, Close-up is a current events class), and the teacher asked who had watched the State of the Union address the previous night. I raised my hand proudly, along with a few other politics nerds, and felt perfectly self-satisfied until the discussion moved on to other current events. Sadly, I was lost. And I continued to be lost whenever my savvy, with-it friends discussed the news until, maybe two months ago, it hit me: I have an iPod! With an NYTimes app! That I can read every day! So… I do. And, my dear Sparklers, I want you to join in current events convos with confidence. So here’s a rundown of what’s in the news:
-On Monday night President Obama made a speech from an airstrip in Afghanistan. He spoke about his desire to eventually bring all American troops back home, hopefully by 2014, and to continue to support a democratic Afghani government. To that effect, he signed a pact with Afghani president Hamid Karzai, promising continued American aid in exchange for support in destroying the Taliban. My personal take on the speech? Very eloquent, lots of beautiful, uplifting language. Light on information—I’m left asking how, exactly, Afghanistan is going to remain stable after American troops have left.
-A law keeping interest rates for college tuition loans at 3.4 percent is set to expire on July 1st, meaning that interest rates will double unless Congress takes action and legislates. At this point, both Obama and Romney have supported keeping the rate low. My fingers are double-crossed with yours, folks.
-After the Leadership Conference of Women Religious—the group that represents about 80 percent of women in the Catholic church (think nun’s union)—spoke out in favor of Obamacare, contradicting what the Vatican has said, the Vatican ordered a (male) bishop to take over the group, accusing the women of promoting, and I quote, “radical feminist themes.”
To be clear, in this context, unacceptable, “radical feminist themes,” means questioning things like the guys’ club of priesthood and church teachings on homosexuality and birth control. Not to insert my personal bias here (hint: that means you can feel free to disagree with this next bit, as it’s opinion, not fact), but the Vatican essentially issued a big “sit down and shut up” to the women who do some of the noblest work in the Catholic church. Nuns are the people running soup kitchens, homeless shelters, missionary trips, working tirelessly for the people who have the least. The priesthood, as a whole, was not overhauled after the pedophilia scandal, might I add. The Vatican is concerning itself with opposing outspoken women, gay marriage, use of condoms to stop AIDs, while nuns are feeding the hungry. My question for you: who’s closer to Jesus? (Disclaimer: lots, LOTS of men in the Catholic church are amazing too. Maybe just not those in the Vatican? Just sayin.)
A little of last week’s news (if you’ve already read it you rock, you informed wunderkind you!)
-A law was recently passed allowing police officers to perform a strip search on anyone arrested for anything. Anyone. Arrested for anything. So, if you, a young woman out walking alone, were brought to the station for jaywalking, you could be strip searched. I dunno about this one folks, looks like a supreme court case begging to happen.
-Speaking of the Supreme Court, Obamacare (the new health insurance law), or, more specifically, the individual mandate that requires everyone in the country to have health insurance, was tried a couple weeks ago. A quick background on the law: the main components are the individual mandate, an extension of government aid, free preventative care (for example, a checkup), a rule forbidding health insuance companies from denying people coverage due to preexisting conditions, and a clause allowing children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans for longer.
Here’s my thinkin': I support Obamacare wholeheartedly—it’s closer to what some other countries that are more successful with health care, like Canada, have, and I think that it will keep people healthier for less money. But. I don’t know if I can come up with a place in the constitution allowing the government to require people to buy something (anyone who can gets 536 brownie points).
Still reading? AWESOME. Hope this helps everyone feel a little more confident in class debates. Also, it makes you sound smart at interviews when you have to make chit-chat. Like, way smart.
Post by dianamer994!
We feel 167% more intelligent already! Do you keep up with current events?
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