Bishop to Boycott Obama Commencement Speech

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    2009 College Grads: We're the Lucky Ones

    Why there is hope for the graduating Class of 2009, and how they can find work in a recession...Read the post

    Beer in Vending Machines -- What Drinking Age?

    U.S. policies on drinking age seem restrictive when examining the rest of the world...Read the post

    How The Press Can Remain Relevant

    Is it any surprise that Obama has employed a strategy to cordon journalists that is similar to previous administrations?...Read the post

    Be Afraid, Cheney Warns. Be Very Afraid.

    Just when you thought the Bush-era warnings of Armageddon around the corner were over, Cheney strikes again...Read the post

    Obama: You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry...

    Obama threw down his stick, spat on the floor and growled in the face of cameras -- metaphorically... Read the post

    Obama to GOP: 'I Won, I'm The President'

    "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," Obama told GOP leaders...Read the post

    Palin Seeks $11M Book Deal, but Can She Read?

    One can only imagine what Republican rising star Sarah Palin could possibly write about in her memoirs...Read the post

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Brown University Faculty Votes To Hijack History

An obsession with political correctness at American universities has rapidly become a national phenomenon in recent years. A few colleges have really taken it too far.

Brown University's faculty voted last week to rename Columbus Day "Fall Weekend" on the University's calendar, a move that apparently was in step with the wishes of students according to a poll by the college newspaper The Brown Daily Herald. The poll revealed a majority of students disapproved of continuing to call the holiday Columbus Day.

The decision came after weeks of pressure from student groups proposing change.

American University's Undergraduate Senate passed a similar resolution a few years ago declaring the holiday "Indigenous People's Day" instead.

Columbus Day is named of course after Christopher Columbus, the man incorrectly attributed with discovering North America. As we know today, Columbus was tied to the enslavement and abuse of native inhabitants of the West Indies. Columbus Day has been celebrated since 1971.

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College Grads Look to Public Service as Option

Megan Baker

Posted:  Mar 9th 2009 8:40PM

Filed Under: Politics, The Economy, Recession on Campus, Microtrends on Campus

When Barack Obama was running for president he urged young people to consider community service when making post graduation plans. An article in USA Today shows that many college graduates (myself included) have taken him up on that advice.

With a combination of a poor job market and a desire to do something good for the country, college graduates are turning to programs such as AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and Teach for America rather than scoping out the job listings in Craig's List.

According to the USA Today article, online applications are coming in three times faster than a year ago at AmeriCorps and Peace Corps applications have gone up by 16%. And why not? The stimulus package includes $200 million to support these government-funded service programs in hopes of expanding the scope that these programs offer to Americans in need.

I was recently accepted into City Year, which is an AmeriCorps program that focuses on tutoring and mentoring children in schools. Myself and 40 other young people from all across the country will relocate to San Jose, California without knowing anybody or having a place to live (we really need to work on that one...) to take a year and make a difference as the City Year motto says.

But it's not just young people getting into the spirit of service. There is legislation in the works that may offer incentives to Americans for rolling up their sleeves and helping out others.

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2009 College Graduates are F*!$

I'm not going to sugar coat this for you college seniors out there, this is not a great time for us to be graduating. The U.S. economy is steadily getting worse and the job market seems to be shrinking along with it. But we can't sit around feeling sorry for ourselves; it's time to get proactive. We didn't go to college to go back home to our crappy summer jobs, now did we?

To get myself pointed in the right direction, I headed to the one place I should have gone to a long time college career center. I met with the Director of Career Services, Betsy McDermott to get some advice on what we as college seniors should be doing to crack into a seemingly impossible job market.

The only problem is, a lot of us still don't know what we want to do (or can do) with our majors.

"You'd be amazed at how many seniors still don't know what they want to do at this point," McDermott said. "I definitely think students should sit down and have a talk with a career counselor to figure out what it is you want to do. It helps put the focus somewhere."

Here are some of the highlights of the discussion I had with Betsy:

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Don't Lower the Drinking Age

Joshua Sharp

Posted:  Feb 20th 2009 8:36PM

Filed Under: USC, News, Advise & Dissent, Microtrends on Campus

Animated disagreement between coworkers is a venerable tradition often denied to Bright Hall's far-flung, break room-less staff. Advise & Dissent is an attempt to fix that. Click here for past debates.

My colleague Megan Baker has a post up today proposing that the U.S. would be well-served by a lower age limit on alcohol consumption, in advance of a "60 Minutes" special airing Sunday which is sure to renew the national debate.

Critics of the current age limit are undoubtedly well-intentioned, but their focus is ill-advised. Lowering the age limit from 21 years of age to 18 would send precisely the wrong signal to young people across the country: that alcohol isn't as dangerous and serious a substance as has been suggested for the last twenty-five years, when the current limit was put into effect.

Rather than focusing energy on slightly modifying a somewhat arbitrary number, we should instead unite around effective education and prevention programs led by student ambassadors armed with the real facts. Too many alcohol education programs sound like they've been crafted by out-of-touch administrators instead of actual peers.

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A Nation of Whiners?

Joshua Sharp

Posted:  Feb 20th 2009 1:40PM

Filed Under: USC, News, Microtrends on Campus

Last year, McCain 2008 economic adviser Phil Gramm was forced to resign after commenting that America had become "a nation of whiners." A recent New York Times story indicates that a similar mentality has spread to the younger generation in colleges across America, but students may not be entirely to blame.

Based on a study conducted by the University of California, Irvine, The Times reports that students are complaining more often about their grades and expecting to earn a B-average just for showing up. The study's lead researcher and other college professors attribute the shift to "achievement anxiety" and mounting parental pressure, adding that the mentality is reinforced by experiences in K-12 education in which many students have never received a grade lower than an A:

James Hogge, associate dean of the Peabody School of Education at Vanderbilt University, said: "Students often confuse the level of effort with the quality of work. There is a mentality in students that 'if I work hard, I deserve a high grade.'"

I see two things happening here. First, the article is right to point out that the pressure placed on students to achieve straight A's has spread across more and more families, pervaded our academic system and subsequently dictated career and financial success with increasing subjectivity.

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CNN Needs Help... Anyone?

Joshua Sharp

Posted:  Jan 18th 2009 9:09PM

Filed Under: Breaking News, USC, Media, Microtrends on Campus

If this is the future of 24-hour cable news, I'm going back to newspapers.*

CNN has launched a new gimmick, melodramatically named "THE MOMENT," by which ordinary citizens present at Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday can submit a picture of Obama being sworn in, as seen from their viewpoint -- in all likelihood, miles away and among standing-room-only crowds. The idea is to create a miles-long collage of pictures capturing Obama taking the oath of office. CNN calls it "the most detailed experience of a single moment ever."

While this project may offer a mildly interesting result, CNN's continued self-congratulating gimmickry strikes me as rather annoying. Remember their utterly useless live hologram? Wolf Blitzer kept chanting that television history was being made. No, television history was being made in 1950 when CBS gave the public color programming. CNN's Jessica Yellin going Princess Leia on us isn't particularly useful (and technically, it wasn't even really a hologram).

Instead of focusing on the "just the facts, ma'am" style of reporting which made the network so reliable and informative in the past, CNN insists on elevating bombastic personalities and cheesy interactive features alongside the regular informed perspectives and in-depth reporting. Is this the future of journalism?

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