The UWIRE Forum


Profs shouldn’t cancel classes over H1N1
August 31, 2009, 2:24 pm
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By Matthew Albright, guest columnist

There’s no way to get around it –  swine flu is spreading, making its mark on campuses all over the nation. As students, staff, faculty and administration come to grips with this harsh fact, it’s important that panic not set in.

H1N1 is gathering a rather nasty reputation through widespread media coverage and rampant word-of-mouth. But the disease has so far been less deadly than the standard flu that wreaks havoc on a fairly regular basis.

There’s a huge difference between caution and paranoia. The simple fact is swine flu shouldn’t interrupt anybody’s life in any meaningful way. This applies to academic life as well as simple personal interactions.

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Conservatives support anti-capitalist monopolies in health care debate
August 28, 2009, 12:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Josh Green, progressive guest columnist

I’m a free-marketer. I believe the free market is great for business growth, strong economies and innovation, but not so great for self-regulating and preventing abuses.

And I thought all my favorite conservatives out there favored free markets, too, until we got into the nitty gritty of health care reform. Then I learned that conservatives actually want to protect monopolies, the antithesis of the free market.

Monopolies, or oligopolies, are systems in which one or a few companies dominate a market to the point where competition is kept from flourishing. Companies with a dominant market share (think Microsoft or Google) can’t help themselves — they want to maintain that dominance, set pricing on their products that ensures large profits and basically keep any upstarts from ruining their good deal. This is why we have anti-trust laws — monopolies, we’ve found throughout history, kill competition, hurt consumer choice and are about as un-American and anti-capitalist as an institution can be.

Then why are conservatives defending the monopolies that health insurance companies enjoy throughout the United States?

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CIA report restores credibility to Bush, Cheney policies
August 27, 2009, 8:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Michael Warren

Michael Warren

In the debate over America’s war on terror policy, the argument against enhanced interrogation techniques is two-fold: the practices are constitutionally and morally abhorrent to any freedom-loving American, and they don’t even work in the first place.

The release this week of some important CIA documents invalidates the second concern. As it turns out, techniques like waterboarding were effective in extracting information about terrorists. Who knew (besides Dick Cheney, that is)?

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Progressive student mourns ‘Liberal Lion’ Kennedy
August 26, 2009, 3:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Chris Burks

Chris Burks

Somewhere there is a city in a kingdom whose prince is now smiling down upon the land. High above this city towers a Great Colossus with a tablet, inscribed with the immortal “Bring me your tired, your poor….”  The Colossus’ raised hand emanates a great light that shines for all to see.  The light shines above the darkness, above the dark water.

The Senator, like the city and the country, was sometimes mired in that dark water.  His ideals, indeed his imagined inauguration became only a dream that he drove into the dark water.

The Senator had struggled. He had struggled his whole life. He had trouble, not the struggle of those trying to make a living in this great City, in the Great County, but he had battled every day of his life for those striving to survive, and for himself.

That battle, the struggle for health care, and education, and minimum wages, and humane immigration policies, and common-sense solutions for everyday people, and the private and family struggles, was, and ever remains, the story of his life.

United States Senator Ted Kennedy, now deceased at 77, fought for others to live the regal life many saw in his own family.  Eulogized as the “liberal lion of the North” or the “Lion King,” Kennedy remains more simply our American Prince, a man whose familiarity with tragedy and shortcoming could be described as nothing short of American.

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Two rhetorical shifts in the health care battle
August 25, 2009, 1:19 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Chris Burks

Chris Burks

America is in the midst of one of the greatest public policy battles in years and, perhaps lost among the beautiful wreckage of public comments at the town hall forums so necessary to sustaining our Republic, two telling rhetorical developments happened this week.

First, in direct response to losing control of the media narrative over a public option and other rhetorical catchphrases that often have a nebulous connection to the actual public policy up for debate, the White House, through several named and unnamed Senior administration officials signaled it may work to pass a health care bill with only the support of the Democratic majority.

Such a strategic reminder to Congressional Republicans, of the Democrats’ power to pass legislation, was more of an attempt to mollify the liberal-activist left.  However, senior administration officials went on to be quoted as saying that they wanted the focus of the health care discussion to not be on the public option, but instead on all the other great access enabling mechanisms that this health care reform package will provide.  A senior administration official stated that the “left of the left” had made the debate over the public option their “Waterloo.”

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Resetting the debate over government’s role in marriage
August 20, 2009, 3:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Matt Cavedon

Matt Cavedon

According to Newsweek, polyamory may be the next sexual revolution.

As its name suggests, polyamory is the practice of having multiple committed sexual partners with the knowledge and consent of all of the other partners. Approximately 500,000 Americans are believed to be in polyamorous relationships.

With America’s changing attitudes about sex over the past 50 years, we may come to the point where polyamory becomes a political issue. With the traditional definition of marriage giving way in the mindset of many young Americans, what comes next?

The same-sex marriage movement shows that an increasing number of Americans no longer associate marriage with having children, or at least having children with conceiving them. This is an extremely radical break with most conceptions of marriage, and it shifts the focus of marital union to sexual intimacy and commitment rather than procreation. It is fair to ask why polyamorous people should be excluded from the capacity for such commitment. Emotion, after all, is a terribly subjective thing. It is difficult to judge one person’s love for another person against one person’s love for several other people and to proclaim one clearly better than the other. Why not let polyamorous groups get married?

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Still waiting for ‘Oxford-style’ health care debate with Obama
August 18, 2009, 5:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Zach Lahn, a senior at the University of Colorado, made news Saturday by challenging President Barack Obama to an “Oxford-style” debate over the health care bill during a town hall meeting. This is Lahn’s response to Obama’s answer, which touted the merits of a system with a public option.

While my faith in the legitimacy of President Barack Obama’s town hall meetings has been fully restored, my confidence in the president’s agenda has not.

The question I asked was simple: How can a public and private entity compete given the advantages held by the public sector. I asked for no generalities or philosophical arguments — that’s all we seem to get out of Washington anymore.

What the president gave me was a combination of generalities, inconsistent comparisons and, yes, philosophical arguments. All of these I expected. what I didn’t see coming was a comparison of the health care plan to the competition between USPS and UPS and FedEx.

This comparison is absurd.

First of all, USPS is still losing money despite having an unchallengeable monopoly on first- and third-class mail. Or rather the public is losing money since we have no choice but to subsidize yet another failing government business venture. Further, the post office is not trying to set the rates for the entire postal industry, and they are not attempting to coach FedEx and UPS on how to run their business.

FedEx and UPS are doing amazingly because, in part, their main goal is to make a profit. They allow the rules of competition to guide their strategies. Equally relevant is the fact that they are allowed to operate free of any major business altering regulations. This would not be the case with the health insurance industry if America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 is to be passed.

How do I know this? If you want to do something that’s unpopular with Congress I suggest you read the health care bill. I did, and I was surprised. Here some key points:

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