The UWIRE Forum

In her words: Student’s shirt becomes part of TEA Party movement
September 21, 2009, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“In his/her words” is a periodic feature where a student newsmaker writes a guest column about his or her notable experience. To nominate a student newsmaker, e-mail

Ashleigh Kenny created a booming business out of putting “RIP The U.S. Constitution” on a T-shirt — including speaking on various news outlets and handing her product to Rep. Jack Kingston. This is her story in her own words.

Ashleigh Kenny and Rep. Kingston

Ashleigh Kenny and Rep. Kingston

By Ashleigh Kenny, guest columnist from Valdosta State University.

I am fed up. Anyone can look around and realize that other Americans feel similarly as me. A TEA party was just around the corner, and I wanted express my frustration. I thought a T-shirt would be the perfect way to stand out.

As I went through ideas for the design, so many quotes from notable leaders stood out to me. However, the words of President Ronald Reagan just seemed so applicable to today’s situation: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Despite delivering those words in 1964, they have never been more true.

Today, our government smothers us. Our Tenth Amendment spells out how powers are to be distributed: Those not granted to the federal or state governments are reserved to be the right of the people. That doesn’t happen today.

And a system of checks and balances? Balance is one thing our government lacks. The executive and legislative branches are under the control of liberals, who seek to impose health care and environmental reforms on us without input from conservatives or independents. They seemingly don’t care about any negative impact these bills will have on jobs or our back-breaking deficit.

Despite all of this, the uppity attitude our representatives showed to concerned citizens during town hall events this August proves our leaders are completely out-of-touch. The people are now accountable to the government — that’s not the way it should be.

“R.I.P. the U.S. Constitution.”

That phrase summed up my frustration with government. The document that made this nation great has seemingly been discarded into a trash can behind Nancy Pelosi’s desk. I decided to use this phrase for a T-shirt and wear it to my local TEA party.

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U. Maryland students show up for Obama — not health care reform
September 17, 2009, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Pres. Barack Obama speaks at the University of Maryland.

Pres. Barack Obama speaks at the University of Maryland on Sept. 17.

By Joel Cohen, guest columnist from University of Maryland.

College Park, Md. — If a law had the potential to directly affect your life while costing the nation a smidge less than a trillion dollars, would you pay attention? Of course.

Then why are college kids oblivious to the details of President Obama’s push to reform health care?

After attending today’s health care rally at the University of Maryland, the student attendees generally were enthralled with being in the presence of the president — and could have seemingly cared less about what he was talking about.

Sure, the president gave his pitch to the friendly crowd on the liberal campus. He stressed the notion that under his plan, young adults would be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26 (maybe because, as my friend joked, there won’t be any jobs available for graduates in the near future…). And he dismissed opponents’ arguments that his plan would add to the debt, saying “most of this plan can be paid for by finding savings within the existing health care system.”

But as I walked around soliciting students’ opinions of Obama’s health plan, few could explain in detail specific reasons why they liked it or why it was a necessary reform even though they’re at the heart of 18 to 29 demographic, which polls show is the most supportive group of the legislation.

Even fewer students could describe details of the public option proposal – despite the fact that they had vehemently cheered for just that minutes before.

“The bill seems so complicated, I don’t even want to try to figure it out,” said Mike Moore. The University of Maryland junior government and politics major added that his statistics class is more than enough decoding for one day.

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Outrageous U. Pitt funds student group seeking to ‘disrupt’ G-20 summit
September 17, 2009, 2:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Giles Howard, guest columnist from the University of Pittsburgh

An organization at the University of Pittsburgh, receiving thousands of dollars in funding from the school, supports a fringe anarchist group with the goal of disrupting educational activities at next week’s G-20 Summit.

Students for Justice in Palestine endorsed a proclamation issued by the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project calling on people to “take to the streets of Pittsburgh to disrupt the summit” and on students to “disrupt schools” in protest against the G-20’s policies. The Resistance Project is planning an unpermitted march in Pittsburgh on Sept. 24 that, according to plans detailed on its Web site, involve unspecified “direct actions” — a term that has, at past international conferences in Seattle and London, served as code for violently disruptive protests and vandalism.

The Resistance Project has even posted a list of targets for protests, including Trader Joe’s, the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute and the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation. The Resistance Project’s plans constitute a clear threat against educational institutions and their ability to function free from the interference of extremists.

It’s unconscionable that a university-certified organization, which received thousands of dollars in funding last year, would promote and endorse such plans.

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Obama’s empty hope in Russia damages US interests
September 17, 2009, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Michael Warren

Michael Warren

For a president who promised to mend our relationships with our allies, President Barack Obama is doing a pretty lousy job of it in Central Europe.

In a story in the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for the Pentagon has confirmed that American plans to install a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic have been indefinitely shelved. According to the Journal,

“The U.S. is basing its move on a determination that Iran’s long-range missile program hasn’t progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals, according to current and former U.S. officials.”

As the story notes, this decision is a complete reversal from Bush-era policy, when the Republican administration invested heavily in the missile defense program initiated by President Bill Clinton.

The Obama administration, putting on its best realpolitik face, is insisting that the policy shift is a response to new information about the status of Iranian nuclear weapons capabilities, ostensibly making the central European defense shield obsolete and wasteful. There is no doubt Obama is also hoping the move will placate the Russians, who continuously criticize the American plan as a threat to Russia. A member of the UN Security Council, Russia has been stubbornly opposed to sanctioning Iran for that country’s pursuit of a nuclear program.

Obama likely believes this gesture will endear our position on Iran to Putin and Medvedev, and perhaps Russia will be more conciliatory when the Security Council meets with Iranian negotiators in two weeks. Since Russia has economic interests with Tehran, including exporting nuclear reactors to Iran, the likelihood of this development is slim. More likely, Russia will continue to prevaricate on the issue of a nuclear Iran.

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Wilson, West forget free speech is a responsibility
September 14, 2009, 11:38 pm
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Matt Cavedon

Matt Cavedon

Between Kanye West and Rep. Joe Wilson, Americans are finally starting to get it: free speech is a right to act responsibly, not a license for stupidity.

Last week, America saw its president called a “liar” in the middle of one of the most important speeches that he has made yet, on the floor of Congress no less. That his accuser is a duly elected member of the House of Representatives made it almost embarrassing. Granted, it could always be worse: at least our politicians are still yelling and not throwing punches, but that’s hardly a sign that we have a civilized democracy.

The immaturity of one congressman was matched by the arrogance of one hip-hop superstar at the Video Music Awards only four days later, when Kanye West seized Taylor Swift’s microphone to tell the world that Beyoncé Knowles deserved Swift’s award, setting off the biggest Facebook status storm since Michael Jackson died.

People across this country didn’t necessarily shake their heads at Wilson and West because they disagreed with what each man said, or because we don’t like dissent from authorities, whether that authority is the President or MTV. There are a lot of critics of Obamacare, and perhaps even more Beyoncé fans who would have agreed with Wilson and West under different circumstances. And, let’s face it: Americans have a proud tradition of disagreeing with powerful politicians and establishment cultural critics.

No, the real reason Americans were dismayed at the jabberers this week is that we know, on some level, that free speech deserves better than insults, mockery and stealing other people’s moments of honor.

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Obama’s health care promise to America ensures reform will happen
September 10, 2009, 9:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Josh Green

Obama’s had his share of big moments and speeches. But the stakes last night were beyond big. He was tasked with bringing back health care reform from the edge of a cliff using a lifeline made of gravitas and inspiration — and that was exactly what he did.

In this big moment, he wasn’t facing a cheering crowd at the convention in 2004. There was no deliriously happy Chicago throng celebrating with him as they did last November, and no inspired millions on the mall like last January. Those days seem very distant now, don’t they? Instead he faced 535 skeptical lawmakers ready to applaud wildly or sit on their hands, depending on where they were sitting in the room.

Obama’s speech was delivered with the president’s usual panache, but this time he avoided the wonkishness that he’s prone to. In simple, clear language he made his case for Congress to act on health care, urging people to understand that this reform is both a moral imperative and the cornerstone of “the character of our country.”

Whether you were an Obama fan or not before the speech, nobody can doubt that our president was on to a common thread — that we do want to move forward and not accept the status quo.

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Obama’s education speech too much energy toward wrong goal
September 8, 2009, 3:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Michael Warren

Michael Warren

As I watched President Barack Obama walk onto the stage today at Arlington’s Wakefield High School, a few thoughts crossed my mind. First, the audience may have been Obama’s best in months. The raucous applause that greeted him was not unlike that at a Jonas Brothers concert. This made me think the administration’s crew should have upped the cool factor by playing a rock version of the stale “Hail to the Chief.” That might have been the perfect way to snag the 13- to 17-year olds who are soon to be the 18- to 25-year-old voting demographic. They sure needed something to liven up the room some more before the speech — essentially a dad-style pep talk from the Father-in-Chief.

To be fair, the speech wasn’t bad. It was a far cry from any indoctrination or liberal-policy talk that some parents feared. I won’t criticize those parents for genuine concern after reports came out that teachers were going to show a speech of Obama asking students to “help the president.” It didn’t ease fears that the Department of Education distributed lesson plans for the speech. A suggested question for students to think about was “What is the President asking me to do?” If it sounds a bit creepy, it’s because it probably is.

Whatever the initial plans for the speech were, Obama rightly retooled it as the “stay in school” talk we hear from athletes, cops and G.I. Joe (“knowing is half the battle”). Parts of it were quite good. I especially liked the line about the responsibility kids themselves have for their own education. The rest of it was standard, non-offensive talk about how all it takes to succeed as a student in America is honesty, hard work and diligence. I have one request of Obama: can you hold the rest of Americans up to that same standard of responsibility when you speak to us? Thanks.

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