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Issue 5 Vol 1 January 2009

Talk about it...

The Changing World

What We Stand For The purpose of this magazine is to provide a venue for issues & concerns, local & global, to be presented in a manner conducive to young adults. By imparting knowledge and awareness, we will be better equipped to survive in a global economy and workplace. We will be armed with the power to impact our world. This magazine is non partisan and non political. We do not promote one viewpoint, idea, policy, religion etc. over another. We are an information resource only. We do not seek to be the final authority; rather an instrument to be used by the reader for educational purposes.

ColloCUE is Eternally Grateful To: Editorial Team Chloë Edwards Editor in Chief Nine Bosken Eye On Editor   Matthew Claiborne Fuse Editor   Andrea Hatter  Viewpoint Editor

Our Talented Design Department Frank Baker Creative Director and Lead Designer   Susanne Midy Design Intern Brandon Gibbs Design Intern Daniel Crosswell Web Design Extraordinaire

And Our Fantastic Writers Kyle Baker, Nina Bosken, Imogen Echt, Chloë Edwards, Sonja Stuart Konigsberg, Michaela MacDonald, Evan Malkiewich, Thaddeus Martin, Emilee O’Leary, Dave Wilhelm


03 05

Whose Change Is It, Anyway? by Chloë Edwards Elephant Rising by Emilee O’Leary


Eye On











9 The Weaponless Fight by Nina Bosken 11 From Russia With Love by Emilee O’Leary

13 15



21 22


The Blinded World by Imogen Echt Children of Brazil by Kyle Baker

The United Arab Emirates by Evan Malkiewich

Arriving On Time by Michaela MacDonald

A Prelude to Crisis: Jackson vs Biddle by Dave Wilhelm One Thing That Will Never Change… by Thaddeus Martin

What Would Woody Do? by Sonja Stuart Konigsberg


Table of Contents

03 Tuning In


Whose Change Is It, Anyway?

Department officials, has been pegged for attorney general. Of course, the ultimate Clintonian appointment practically goes without saying: Hilary Clinton for secretary of state. This data in hand, conservative publications have been calling the shaping Obama administration more of a Clinton reunion than a grand New Beginning. There is perhaps something to it. The appointment of Hilary Clinton alone brings with it the monumental shadow of Bill, although wherever she goes in politics, his specter lurks behind her. The choice of Hilary Clinton for secretary of state has horrified some of the Obama faithful, who see her as a monstrous harpy justly defeated by the forces of change and hope. They fear she will go rogue and create her own foreign policy, that she and Bill will come together to scuttle the Obama dream. Furthering accusations of a lack of change from the

by Chloë Edwards

“The appointment of Hilary Clinton alone


brings with it the monumental shadow of Bill,

fter a bruising and nearly interminable campaign, change has at last been institutionalized in the office of the presidency. Obama is young, black, and out to remake America—or is he? Much attention has been paid to the assemblage of his cabinet since his election last November, where it seems as though the key to success is not change but old hands and experienced ones. Take the economics team. In a big step away from the Bush administration, Obama has selected real live economists to run the National Economic Council and Office of Management and Budget (Larry Summers and Peter Orszag, respectively), and central banker Tim Geithner, the head of the New York Federal Reserve bank, to run the Treasury. These have been under the charge of a congressional aide, a congressman, and an investment banker to the present. Just the change in titles makes an Obama voter feel justified in his or her ballot. But all three men—Geithner, Summers, and Orszag—are ex-Clintonites, the former two having served on the Treasury and the latter on the National Economic Council. The list of former Clinton administration officials tapped for leadership position goes on. Bill Richardson, poised to become secretary of commerce, was Clinton’s energy secretary. Former Senator Tom Daschle, who took charge of the Democrats after the Republican seizure of the Senate in 1994, is the nominee for secretary of health and human services. Chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel was a Clinton White House aide and Eric Holder, one of Clinton’s Justice

although wherever she goes in politics, his specter lurks behind her.” Democratic side has been Obama’s decision to retain 2006 Donald Rumsfeld replacement Robert Gates as secretary of defense. Not only is Gates a Bush administration official, he’s a Republican, and the promise of a bipartisan cabinet is no doubt the one promise that some die-hard Democrats were hoping would be broken. But is all of this really such a bad idea? An economic team not only made up of Clintonians but also of economics Ph.Ds seems to have some intrinsic value, particularly in such times as these. Clinton’s was, after all, a successful administration, whatever opinion one may hold of the former president personally. Growth was steady, unemployment was low, and although fingers have been pointed at the Clinton administration for lowering loan standards in order to encourage lower-income home ownership, which could have been the very first baby step to the housing bubble, those eight years of Clinton were eight years of domestic prosperity. Additionally, much experience in dealing with economic crises is shared by both Summers and Geithner, both of whom were involved in disaster control in Mexico, East Asia, Latin America and Russia which occurred during the Clinton presidency. As for the other appointees, their serving in the Clinton administration once again seems to be just one more indi-


her not only experience internationally but also from a military standpoint. She doesn’t back away from difficult situations; instead, she fights, which will be invaluable in the Middle East, many of whose leaders she knows personally. Finally, she has star power: you can’t ignore a Clinton. And Robert Gates? His retention may have been the most important decision of all. It was on Gates’ watch that the military situation in Iraq improved so dramatically. He’s fired subordinates who couldn’t cut it, including the secretary of the air force and his chief of staff, who were being lax with nuclear weapons. He is also a fairly bipartisan choice, having served under Carter and also sharing Obama’s views on engaging Iran. All in all, while Obama may be betraying his campaign slogan, he is certainly upholding the mandate which he was given upon election: to take America in a new direction. You can sail west and hope you run into India, or you can find the most intelligent and qualified navigators you can, people who have been tried already, and thus equipped, continue on to new horizons. Christopher Columbus was much more convincing after he’d found America—but Obama can’t afford to take those kinds of chances.

cation that they are qualified. Clinton himself chose to carry over very few officials from the presidency of Jimmy Carter, deemed a failed presidency; in the same vein, why staff your administration with men similarly untried as Obama is accused of being when there are plenty of experienced men and women who served under the last Democratic president? Mrs. Clinton is a particularly defensible pick here. As first lady, she traveled to more than 80 countries; as a senator, she served on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, allowing



Elephant Rising by Emilee O’Leary


ith the inauguration of the Democratic forty-fourth president this month, most members of the GOP don’t have to look far for where the 2008 campaign went wrong. The re-election of President Bush in 2004 was due to a strong recruitment of the independent and minority vote, which was overwhelmingly won by the Democratic nominee in last November’s election. Now the Republican party must find a way to build a foundation that speaks to the targeted classes of Republican voters while winning the swing and minority vote. In the next two years, the GOP must exploit liberal or moderate Republicans, find the family-oriented values that translate into effective policy, and recreate the Ronald Reagan identity that so excited both parties and seems to transcend generational support.

The lack of a focal point in Senator John McCain’s campaign strategy, and a conservative vote resting on the shoulders of his vice-presidential choice, means that the GOP should look for a candidate that considers himself or herself much more right-wing for its nominal choice in 2012. Unlike the Democratic hopefuls who endured a funddraining battle for the nomination, McCain won his nomination by remaining ambivalent to the vote he’d have to win in November and appealed to the broadest range of Republicans possible under the guise: “Many of you have disagreed with some positions I have taken in recent years…I understand that. I might not agree with it, but I respect it for the principled position it is.” In the effort to rebuild a GOP foundation that instills in people a need to actively generate and produce support, the upcoming months are vital to each Republican political


figure across the States. It has been said that there will be a massive battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, but as politicians audition to become this center-most figure, they will face the criticism of Americans who will accuse them of being too far left or too far right. Middle ground has no element of profitability in conservatism. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford puts it best in his November article in Politico: “There’s a real temptation in Republican circles right now to try and be all things to all people. We tried that already – it was called ‘compassionate conservatism,’ and it got us nowhere.” To many, Gov. Sanford appears to be requesting a smaller party, more select and less encompassing. But his ideas are emphasizing what the Republican movement lacks: focus. Gov. Sanford also writes, “While I believe there should always be a big GOP tent, there must also be a shared agreement on the essentials — including expanding liberty, encouraging entrepreneurship and limiting the reach of government in people’s everyday lives.” Although change sounds good—after all, it won the Democrats the election—it is more important to stress and appeal to the fierce realities that dog everyday people: making correlations between how large government is inhibiting the expansion of economic development; why government spending is less productive than giving money back to the people; that small businesses functioning in society is what makes this country free and capable of operating apart from government control. The recent reelection of Sen. Saxby Chambliss in the state of Georgia proves that this ideology is not dead, the Politico asserts. “[Georgians] supported the candidate who believes that people should keep their hard-earned dollars,” writes RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, “that every American resource should be leveraged to address our energy crisis; that the role of judges is to interpret the constitution.” Old and new faces alike certainly have the potential to be the change the GOP needs. Conservatives who ranked low in support of Sen. McCain fawned over his VP nominee and consider Gov. Sarah Palin and her strong conservative base a potential candidate for 2012. However, Palin’s standing in the Republican world is not unassailable. “Palin [needs] to cultivate a deeper understanding of a broader range of policy issues to mount a seri-

ous bid for the top spot on the ticket in 2012,” Dave Woodward, a GOP analyst and professor at Clemson University, told WORLD Magazine. It is the Ronald Reagan conservatism, the conservatism liberals have attempted to crush ever since Reagan left office, that draws people in. Possessing passion behind a mission is a clear, unwavering goal of conservative politics. “The party of Reagan degenerated in the years since his death,” claims David Keene of the American Conservative Union Foundation. “The party of individual freedom and limited government morphed into something unrecognizable.” In order to reignite that conservative fire, the Republican Party must reclaim its moral ground and use it to return to responsible politics. Holding on to the “commitment to life and marriage is non-negotiable,” argues political activist Tony Perkins. The coming months will be ones to watch. Any true fan of politics loves the struggle, the journey, as much as he or she enjoys victory. Watching the development of policy, hearing the debates, and broadening one’s perspective on the critical issues are the very rights that should both excite Americans and spur us on to continued, critical support of the government’s actions. At this stage of the Republican Revival, it is most critical to force politicians into the category that best suits them, instead of the one they claim to uphold – or simply taking their word for it. John McCain, though he possesses a record of voting for the values common to a Republican, did not appeal to conservative voters enough to draw them to the polls and often angered the most critical voters by attacking various groups; particularly, as NPR pointed out in October, his position on illegal immigration policy and “scathing criticism” of Christian conservative leaders. Watching prominent figures with controversial and outlandish idealisms rise and fall is the real reward of the democracy in America. In the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, who was something of a political analyst in the mid-nineteenth century, “It is the dissimilarities and inequalities among men which give rise to the notion of honor; as such differences become less, it grows feeble; and when they disappear, it will vanish too.”

“The party of individual freedom and limited government morphed into something unrecognizable.”


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Eye On

The Weaponless Fight


n the United States, the attitude towards rape is clear: it is unacceptable, a crime of which women are the victims, and after which women may expect many resources for physical and mental assistance and recovery. But just across the Atlantic Ocean from America, on the continent of Africa, attitudes are rather different. According to the New York Times, Africa is home to the country with the highest rate of rape in the world: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where women are just beginning to understand the freedom that comes with seeking physical and mental help. In the 1990s, Congo’s geography was vastly disrupted by warfare. According to the New York Times, “Congo is one of the poorest, most chaotic nations on the planet, ruined by unrest that is estimated to have claimed millions of lives in the past 10 years.” Between 1998 and 2003, about four million people were killed because of the vicious battles. “DRC’s rich natural resources – including timber, diamonds, copper, cobalt, gold, uranium and coltan – clearly fuel the conflict,” says Global Policy, of which the consequences spill over into the civilian population. Gangs of men raid villages and rape the girls and women, and many of these men

by Nina Bosken turn out to be peacekeepers, soldiers sanctioned by the United Nations and summoned to ensure the safety of those they are instead harming. According to the United Nations, there were 27,000 reports of sexual assault in just the South Kivu providence of Congo in 2006; the term assault runs the gamut of meaning. “Many have been so sadistically attacked from the inside out, butchered by bayonets and assaulted with chunks of wood, [so] that their reproductive and digestive systems are beyond repair,” reports the New York Times.


Compounding the crime is that rape is taboo in Congolese culture. According to a New York Times article written in 2003, sex isn’t something that is discussed, let alone sexual violence. Most incidents therefore remain unreported. However, with help from the outside, the status quo has slowly begun to change. A legal difference is being made by the American Bar Association, the largest professional association in the world based solely on voluntary work. According to their Web site,, the African Division of A.B.A. opened an office in Congo which gives sexual violence victims access to justice programs and other sorts of legal aid. Just as critical as access to an official legal solution has been dialogue. Women are beginning to speak of the violence and the hurt, come to terms psychologically with the trauma that has befallen them, and receive legal representation at the mercy of volunteers. Key in this effort has been Eve Ensler, author of the Vagina Monologues and a women’s rights activist, who has traveled to Congo to help open an all-female village called the City of Joy and raise awareness on this horrible epidemic many are calling femicide. The City of Joy serves as a place where victims can receive counseling and lessons of leadership and self-

defense. Through this, she is helping victims of rape and assault open up and come to terms with the trauma they have experienced. An October story in the New York Times reports that many women had trouble with this emerging method of recovery. Many covered their ears or left the room crying. But others opened up and expressed their feelings and experiences, allowing them to begin the healing process. Ensler believes the underfunded and corrupt UN mission is failing Congolese women. The lack of attention this issue has received is appalling, and the lack of concern from the Congolese government is equally troubling. One of the most basic actions one may take to help the cause, Ensler says, is to write to Congolese President Kabila and demand justice. Meanwhile, Ensler’s influence in the United Nations and the UN Security Council is furthering the City of Joy cause in Congo.


“[Ensler] talks about a woman being gang-raped by 15 soldiers,” reports CNN. “Some [were] violated with sticks and knives. Cannibalism.” The 10-year war is not only costing more than 1,200 lives daily, but an unfathomable number of women and children raped and left for dead. “One of the things that’s really frightening in the Congo,” says Ensler in an interview with PBS, “is that there’s no law that’s supporting women or providing justice. The United Nations is simply not doing enough.” Recognizing the value of human life, whatever its gender, is critical, and the Congolese government must understand this if it wishes to become a valued member of the international community. However, the world must also join in awareness and not abandon these women to fight alone.

Eye On

From Russia With Love


ugust news belonged to Georgia, a country no bigger than South Carolina squeezed out of the eastern Black Sea between Russia and Turkey. Georgia was its own entity for multiple centuries before assimilating into Russia in 1800, experienced brief independence for four years in 1918, but was regained by the Red Army in 1921 and became the Georgian SSR. When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Georgia regained its independence under Zviad Gamsakhurdia; Mikheil Saakashvili, elected in 2004, currently holds the presidency. The Georgian-Russian Conflict, beginning in the late summer of 2008, was due to the threatening Russian influence inside South Ossetia, a breakaway region inside Georgia. While South Ossetia still remains under Russia’s thumb, as does much of Georgia, the world’s major political powers are putting their heads together to come up with a peaceful solution to the problem, which may require severely demonizing the Russian Empire. “The war between Georgia and South Ossetia, until recently labeled a ‘frozen conflict,’ stretches back to the early 1990s,” explains an August article in the New York Times, “when South Ossetia and…Abkhazia gained de facto independence from Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

by Emilee O’Leary In the months leading up to the onset of what is called the fiercest of any fighting that has taken place in the region, Georgia was getting a nod of approval from NATO, considering both Georgia and Ukraine for membership. When fighting broke out in late July, Russia pointed the finger at Georgia, who invaded South Ossetia on what was deemed a defensive maneuver in response to Russia’s increasing effort to control the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Two weeks after fighting broke out, an agreement was reached and all parties involved signed the principles that were intended to stop the war. But the “six-point deal” did not stop the Russian army from advancing. Parts of


the deal enabled Russian “peacemakers” to remain in occupation of certain areas inside Georgia and, once Georgia lowered their fists, they pushed deeper into the country. “On August 22, the Russian military withdrew from some areas but also continued to occupy other areas,” says the Congressional Research Service Report (CRS) for Congress, put out September 22. “On August 25, [Russian] President Medvedev declared that ‘humanitarian reasons’ led him to recognize the independence of the regions…widely condemned by the United States and the international community.” Upon first glance it might seem that the Russian acknowledgement of South

Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states is a good thing; in fact, it is a condescending ploy to avoid revealing true intentions. The CRS reported that this declaration, more than anything, was a front for unification at the face of the Russia-Georgia conflict. At a point in time when Georgia’s interests were in furthering their membership with NATO, the country’s cooperation with the West was not congruent with the direction of the Russian government. Remaining on good terms with this area of the Eastern Europe is vital to America’s interests. While the conflict has already produced casualties in the hundreds and instigated further damage to both the economy and Georgia’s humanitarian efforts, the threat of Georgia’s failure to maintain independence from Russia could have serious consequences both for the United States and surrounding governments. Countries such as Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, who “have built ties with the West and sought closer integration in European institutions,” as an August 12 New York Times article states, would see dire implications. “We would risk losing the support of the post-Soviet states of Central Asia that are cooperating with the American mission in Afghanistan, along with hopes of westward exports of more Central Asian energy.” Russia’s international prestige, something very near and dear to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is what will be targeted should Russia refuse to cooperate peacefully. Many United States analysts have classified Russia’s actions as prevocational, spurring Georgia to react in such a way that her ground attack on South Ossetia appeared desperate. Taking a closer

look, however, led analysts to notice the growing tension between Russia and South Ossetia and the bolstering of Georgian apprehension. “Despite everything waaaave may have hoped for we are in a new geopolitical competition in the old Soviet spheres of influence,” states U.S. analyst Ronald Asmus for the CRS Report. “We may lose Georgia. We may lose the […] best change for a democratic future in the Caucasus.” Withdrawing support from upcoming Russian-centered programs and organizations might force the hand of Putin and Medvedev and allow negotiations in which the dangerous parties have to give up dangerous activities. During the Cold War, the Russian threat was such that Americans feared a Soviet attack all the way into the bread basin of the country. To create an identity as a ferocious, warmongering people with a taste for strong military


conquests is something that causes tension both at home and abroad. Instead of trying to occupy territory for a nation’s convenience, as in this present case, it would have been in Russia’s best interest to make peace with Georgia at their division and immediately drawn up some form of cooperating humanitarian regime. In defending Georgia, and other inlaying independent states, Russia could have maximized its humanitarian aspirations – if they truly exist. To participate in the world as a threat only makes the nation undergo heavy scrutiny, held away at arm’s length from organizations and world committees that would unquestionably benefit the nation’s people; to willingly assist in socioeconomic beneficiaries would improve both the state’s self-image, citizen participation, and overall functionality of international political and economic systems.

Humanity The Blinded World by Imogen Echt


cid: in the west, its mention usually conjures up images of laboratories and research scientists hard at work. In Asia, however, the term has recently taken on much more grisly connotations. The commonplace industrial substance has turned into a deadly and debilitating weapon, being thrown at, poured on, and, in extreme cases, force-fed to victims. This horror film-worthy scenario has unfortunately become a very real concern of thousands across Asia and the Middle East. Incidents of acid violence have been on the rise in Southeast Asia since the first reported incident in 1967. According to the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), there have been 2,632 confirmed survivors of acid-related violence between May of 1999 and December of 2007. It is likely that the actual number of attacks is considerably higher, as many cases in rural areas go unreported. The number of yearly cases peaked in 2002, and although some tough legislation has been introduced to try and stem the spread of acid crimes, they are still alarmingly common. Lawmakers are finding it difficult to control a substance which is used frequently by craftsmen and industrialists alike, especially when many jewelers and tanners are less than careful about who has access to their chemicals. Traditionally these cases involve women and young girls, who are often attacked after spurning the sexual advances or marriage proposals of local men. It is also not uncommon for family and marital disputes to escalate to the point o f violence. As acid crimes become more common, however, targets are also becoming increasingly varied: children and men are beginning to be victimized along with women. Money and property disputes are now the leading cause of such attacks, with just over fifty percent of cases stemming from these issues. It was one such argument over land distribution which led a woman to feed acid to her month-old nephew. The impact on victims is wide and varied. Along with the deep and painful chemical burns sustained by skin which

comes into contact with the corrosive substance, acid thrown on the face usually results in the loss sight in one or both eyes. Victims must forgo both their education and career to allow themselves time to recover from the trauma and later to keep up with rehabilitation regimens. The disfiguring effects of acid crimes can be devastating in more than one way to the victims who suffer them. The social and psychological ramifications can be just as, if not more, devastating than their more obvious physical effects. The resultant scarring leaves women who are unmarried at the time of attack little chance of finding a partner later in life. These single women often find themselves ostracized as they age in these highly familyoriented societies. Adding insult to injury, those responsible for these gruesome attacks often go unpunished. Many incidents occur in rural areas and are never reported to the authorities at all. The victims are generally poor and illiterate, and most are wary of the convoluted judicial system. Those that do reach law enforcement rarely result in convictions, the perpetrators usually offering steep bribes in exchange for silence. The Acid Survivors Foundation estimates that only one in ten attackers even makes it to trial. However, one acid-throwing case in Iran has recently come to an unexpected conclusion. Ameneh Bahrami, a young Iranian woman, was walking home from work one evening when she noticed someone following her. Upon slowing down to let the man pass, she recognized him as a former suitor and noticed him holding a red container in his hands. Although she realized what it was straight away, she had no time to react before the man threw the contents at her face. Witnesses and workers at the nearby Labafinejad Hospital did everything they could for Bahrami, but the acid had already taken its toll. Her eyesight was damaged beyond restoration. Doctors asked for Bahrami’s consent to remove her eyes completely, fearing the spread of infection, but Bahrami


Children of Brazil by Kyle Baker refused, unable to bear the thought of living without such an integral part of herself. After her release from the hospital, Bahrami took the case to the Iranian court, looking to invoke the Islamic law of an “eye for an eye” to find peace. After hearing the case, a three-judge panel of the Tehranian Provincial Court voted unanimously in favor of Bahrami, consequently calling for the blinding of 27-year-old defendant Majid. He is also being asked to pay compensation for the injuries sustained by Bahrami in the attack. While Majid undeniably committed an atrocious crime by throwing acid on Bahrami, whether or not he should be blinded in return is debatable. Bahrami feels the punishment is fair, adding that she by no means wishes for him to be disfigured, but simply wants his sight taken from him. This way, she feels, he can truly appreciate what he has done to her. “I cannot behave the way he did and ask for acid to be thrown in his face,” she said. “Because that would be [a] savage, barbaric act. Only take away his sight so that his eyes will become like mine. I am not saying this from a selfish motive. This is what society demands.” She hopes the outcome of her case will help to make “people like him would realize they do not have the right to throw acid in girls’ faces”. However, blinding the perpetrators of acid attacks seems contradictory. Just as nothing gives people the right to disable and disfigure others to begin with, there is no justification available for doing the same in return. Stooping to the attackers’ level only serves to create a vicious cycle of perpetration and retribution—and indeed, barbarism—which could become all but impossible to end. Society demands justice, not revenge. The recent ruling may certainly deter other would-be attackers, but will do little to solve the problem in the long run. Only with stronger legislation, proper enforcement, and increased public awareness can we hope to eliminate these crimes. In this case, an eye for an eye really will make the whole world blind.


ou are a child of 12—a boy, black. You wake up early. You are hungry; you are always hungry. You work hard, labor-intensive work on a sugarcane farm in Alagoas, a state of Nordeste, the Northeast Region of Brazil. Your “employer” spends less than a dollar a day on your food. Your situation is not uncommon. As a Nordestino, a Brazilian from the Northeast Region, you live and work in the poorest part of the land. Illiteracy in Alagoas is worse than anywhere else in Brazil—at 33%, it is well over double the national average, and consists almost entirely of the rural population there. Poverty for the poor is desperate—in a country of roughly 180 million, 32 million children and adolescents live in families that survive on less than $1.10 per month. But Brazil is a democracy, and as wealth increases in a democracy, don’t also the opportunities for the poor to move up the income ladder? Not in Brazil. Social mobility is almost non-existent for non-whites; there is a 97% chance that, if you are non-white, you will die in the same bracket of wealth into which you were born. It’s this poverty that gave your parents no choice but to send you as a 12 year old boy to the sugarcane farm in Nordeste; you are one more mouth they cannot afford to feed. It may not be ideal living conditions, but at least, your family reasons, at least this way he can live. Sugarcane production has long been a thriving business in Brazil, being one of the many primary agricultural resources Portugal began exploiting the country for in the 16th century, and the prominence of sugarcane did not stop after the Portuguese were ousted. Initially, the Portuguese enslaved the Amerindians (a term for the natives of Brazil) for the labor intensive work; after a short period, however, it was come to the conclusion that they were unsuitable to the work. At this point, the Portuguese began to look across the sea, to the booming slave trade in Africa.


Humanity Brazil received many more slaves than any other country in the Western Hemisphere—not only in absolute numbers, but even when speaking relative to the size of the population that received them (which is saying something, as Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world by population). After Brazil gained its independence from Portugal in 1822, Brazil became the last country in the Americas to cease importing slaves, in 1850, but it wasn’t until 1888 that slavery was finally abolished. Unfortunately, however, the world and economy into which those slaves were thrust was harsh and has improved relatively little; modern census data dating back to the 70’s (when modern census data began being recorded) shows a clear income discrimination towards African & Amerindian citizens. All told, Brazil absorbed over 700,000 Portuguese settlers and 4 million African slaves over the three centuries of Portuguese colonial rule. The legacy of this can be seen clearly: Some 80% of Brazilians today can trace some Black African ancestry today. Brazil is not a poor country. On the contrary, its economy is the largest in Latin America, and the tenth-largest in the world. After the US, its citizens have more money to spend than any other country in the Americas. Government employees receive handsome pensions. University is free to all who meet academic standards, and healthcare is covered by all levels of government. But there’s more to these numbers than meets the eye. Children of the impoverished that are forced into the workforce at so young an age live lives incompatible with an education that would prepare them for university. Education may be a noble and worthy pursuit, but eating is a necessary one. Brazil’s illiteracy is higher than in Latin America and the Caribbean islands as a whole. While health service is free, the service is poor—doctors may be well-educated, but demand in the country is far beyond what the doctors can give. And of course, health services are more sanitary and of higher quality in the wealthier southern parts of Brazil. The government pensions program is by and large a tool for corruption; a ‘favor’ those in office like to give is putting a ‘friend’ on the government payrolls. This program currently runs a 20 billion dollar deficit. Some improvements have been made over the last 15 years in social welfare itself for the poorest in Brazil by leftist governments. The current president, “Lula,” recently began

a program called Fome Zero, or Zero Hunger, with the stated goal of seeing that every citizen has 3 decent meals a day without begging. But the program has its skeptics, and Lula himself admits it won’t be easy. Despite the progress, however, Brazil’s income inequality is still the worst in the world. One percent of the country receives more income than all of the combined income of the lower 50%; the top ten percent receives nearly half of the country’s income.

So what will become of you? Over two tons of sugarcane are harvested everyday by children’s hands in Brazil every day—you are just one more cog in the machine. You are thankful: you aren’t a girl. Though the situation has improved in recent years, in the 1990’s about half a million girls and adolescents were trapped in a lifestyle of sexual exploitation. You are wise: as many kids are doing hard labor as are living lives of crime and violence, doing hard drugs. On average four kids die every day in violent crimes. You will outlive them, but as you grow older, you suffer from the irreparable joint damage that the hard labor at so young an age brings. You die about 10 years before citizens from wealthier states, just as poor as your father—and his father, and his father’s father.



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sketch The United Arab Emirates by Evan Malkiewich


ven the most politically apathetic of us have a passing interest in the Middle East. And yet, despite the abundance of media coverage, most of us know perilously little about the oldest continuously-inhabited region in the world. Our stereotypes and misconceptions are counterbalanced by a tragic shortage of facts and insight. Take for example the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Any student of British history would be well acquainted with the country, but the UAE looms small in the American political consciousness. It exists for us as a source of oil as well as a center of immense wealth; but it is here that common knowledge ends. Strategically located at the nexus of two continents, the Gulf territories for centuries served as a trading center by land and by sea. The arrival of the Portuguese in 1498, however, began the era of European control. Portugal and Persia, as well as the French, Dutch, and English East India trading companies, all competed for control of the Gulf States with Britain emerging the victor. A series of treaties or truces were signed and the future UAE became known as the Trucial States. Britain provided a protective force over the Trucial States, consequentially isolating them from outside influence, both commercial and cultural. This protection, coupled with a laissez faire attitude towards local politics, allowed traditional customs and institutions to survive through the twentieth century. Britain was the first to approach the states as discrete national identities, a matter of no small importance. Whereas before power had lain in cities bordered by a vast desert, now the Trucial States began to envision themselves as separate nations. As oil concessions were negotiated with individual rulers, this feeling of separateness deepened. The location of borders became a matter of the utmost importance, subject to frequent challenge.


Britain chose to end its treaties with the Trucial States in 1971. Vulnerable without the protection of the former British Empire, the Trucial States formed a federation. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Umm al Qaiwain, Sharjah, Fujairah, and Ajman become incorporated as the United Arab Emirates. Ras al Khaimah joined the following year. A provisional constitution was drawn up and on December 2, 1971, the UAE was born. The provisional constitution called for a government consisting of five parts: the Federal Supreme Council, the President and Vice President, the Council of Ministers, the Federal National Council, and the Judiciary. The rulers of the seven emirates formed the Federal Supreme Council, the head of the executive branch to which the Council of Ministers is the cabinet. From among their number, the Federal Supreme Council elects a president and vice president every five years. Zayid bin Sultan Al Nuhayyan was president from 1971 until his death in 2004 when current president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan, became his successor. The legislative body of the UAE is the Federal National Council (FNC), a unicameral house consisting of 40 members. These members are appointed to two-year terms by the leaders of the emirates they represent. The FNC can propose amendments, but they do not have the power to veto laws. Their duties include the review and amendment of laws as well as discussing the annual budget. They also appoint the president’s aides. The Federal National Council is led by the chairman who runs sessions, takes votes and announces resolutions. The judiciary is a unique institution derived from Egyptian Law and Common Law with local traditions and customs also taken into consideration. In addition to the Civil Court, there are separate courts for criminal cases and Shari’a, the religious law derived from the Qur’an. Every emirate has Courts of First Instance, above which are the Federal Appeal Court and the Court of Cassation in Abu Dhabi. At the top sits the Federal Supreme Court, composed of five judges appointed by the Supreme Council. Like the U.S. Supreme Court, this court rules on the constitutionality of federal laws, as well as resolving disputes between the emirates. The United Arab Emirates divides power between the federal government and the individual emirates, much like the U.S. The federal government is in charge of defense, foreign policy, immigration, and other broad areas. Any powers not explicitly granted to the federal government by the Constitution are granted to the individual emirates. On the local


level the emirates are run much as they always have been, by direct rule of the hereditary leader. Open majlis (meetings) and assemblies are the forum in which citizens can address the ruler with their concerns. The United Arab Emirates is a country torn between local tradition and the pressures of globalization. Compared to other Arab states, the UAE has a sizeable female presence in government with four female ministers and nine female members of the Federal National Council, up from zero in 2004. Despite the growing gender diversity in politics, the conservative traditions of the past remain strong. Currently, proceedings are underway in the deportation of two British citizens who had sex on a UAE beach. This is big news for a country in which you can be deported for kissing in public. Free expression is also a touchy issue. The United Arab Emirates currently has no trade unions and the government owns all of the television and radio stations. As for the press, selfcensorship is the norm. But in spite of all the bureaucracy, there remains a strong link between the rulers of the UAE and the people they rule. In the absence of suffrage, the rulers need the backing of the people to maintain legitimacy, and towards this end they hold frequent majlis. Access to the ruler has always been an important part of local tradition and works to keep alive the spirit of participatory politics.

Societ y Arriving On Time

by Michaela MacDonald most of which are out the door by the sixth, I couldn’t help but start pre-planning a list of what I was going to accomplish in the months approaching. Weight loss possibly, new friendships of course, but then I thought of a grand idea. What if I actually set personalized, realistic goals for myself that could be met with doable day-to-day changes? What a concept, I know. Then I got to thinking about what I really wanted to accomplish more than anything—yes, more than five or so pounds gone from my midsection—and after my ears popped signaling the final decent into my hometown I had it: a better relationship with my dad. With the jerk of the plane finally (clumsily) reaching the cement runway came another jerk, an emotional one, and I couldn’t help but have an embarrassing sniffle attack as the passengers in front of and behind me gathered their shifted baggage from the overheard bins. My slightly public emotional breakdown was met by a surge of repressed emotion towards my dad I hadn’t let myself feel for quite some time. I was not only gloomy with thoughts of our conversational, enjoyable, and long gone past, I also found myself feeling


icture a girl, head pressed hard against the vibrating window of an airplane making its final decent. The “fasten seatbelt” lights are once again backlit, and all this lone passenger can seem to think about is how frustrating it is to look down upon the world from tens and thousands of feet up, see clusters of orangey-yellow city lights shining brightly against the night sky, and not know who or what she is actually seeing. It’s funny how the chain-reaction thought process led me from thoughts of the cities passing below, to my journey into adulthood, and eventually on thoughts of the approaching New Year. Like most other people who play into the idea of making unreasonable resolutions,


And so it was decided: daily phone calls to—and possibly from—my dad, resolution number one. Of course you can add to the list working out everyday, stopping procrastinating and trying a new hairstyle, but in the name of a new, more realistic me, I’ll start easy and work my way up to losing ten, no five, okay... fifteen pounds by next winter. On that note, since this whole goal-oriented me doesn’t need to start until the first, I’ll be stopping by Sbarro on my way to the parking garage and driving home with a tummy full of calorie-filled, pepperoni goodness and thoughts of a new beginning just around the calendar corner.

angry with him for leaving me to keep up our long distance relationship. Oh, the separation that comes with divorced parents! I ultimately passed by my melting pot of sentiment, as well as the adorable boy in G7, and was onto ideas to make this resolution actually happen. How do you mend ties with a loved one when they are practically a stranger to you and your life? I decided to look at it from another angle. If I didn’t know any other person in the world, I would start by getting to know them via text messages, Facebook stalking—wait, I’ve got it, phone calls. My dad lives three hours away so physical visits might not exactly move mountains, but a phone call, now that was a realistic but simple way to make contact and start getting to know the main man in my life.

“What if I actually set personalized, realistic

goals for myself...



A Prelude to Crisis: Jackson vs Biddle


by Dave Wilhelm

he crash of the late 1920’s wasn’t the first serious recession the US faced. America was still a young country when a major economic collapse hit in 1837 during the last days of the Jackson administration. At the heart of the crisis was Jackson’s fight with the national bank and the deregulation of the financial sector. Andrew Jackson was not a fan of the second national bank, or banks in general come to that. He viewed them as institutionalized corruption. A national bank, to his mind, was both unconstitutional and dangerous, placing far too much power in a single private entity. Nicholas Biddle, on the other hand, was the head of the second national bank. To him, Jackson was an ignorant jerk who knew nothing about economics. If the two had been ordinary men, they would likely have stepped outside and beat the crap out of each other in the alley, loser buys the drinks. But since they were both men of power, they took their fight through the halls of Congress and out across the countryside. While Biddle may have possessed prodigious banking skills, his political kung fu left something to be desired. Biddle pressed for the bank to be rechartered in 1832, four years early,

right in the middle of Andrew Jackson’s bid for reelection. While he won in Congress, Jackson vetoed the bill. So, Biddle levied the whole of the bank’s resources against Jackson’s reelection. Jackson was less the let-bygonesbe-bygones type than the I’m-comingfor-your-innards-with-a-rusty-spork type. With a mandate to back him, he swore a vendetta against the national bank and withdrew all the government’s money, placing it in pet banks throughout the states. In 1834, Biddle tried to force the recharter of the bank by cutting back on the credit available in the market. Biddle was sure this would make everyone see how critical the bank was to the stability of the economy. You can almost picture him, sitting there with his monocle, twirling a long moustache and shaking his fist muttering, “I’ll show them. I’ll show them all!” And in fact, this is how most

people saw him, including his allies, the other bankers, who survived on credit and were less than thrilled that Biddle had cut the amount of credit available. Remember what I said about his political kung fu? The bank would limp along for a while, but its power was gone with the government’s money. However, this presented a problem. The national bank had kept the production of bank notes in check to


some extent by determining which bank’s notes it would recognize. If a bank was printing too many notes relative to its gold and silver reserves, that national bank could threaten to refuse to accept that bank’s notes. With no national bank to oversee production, state banks began printing notes like mad to fund the current land speculation bubble. Thanks to Jackson, the US was debt-free and accumulating a hefty surplus, and not one of those pretend, projected surpluses politicians get all hot and excited about these days. It was an honest, cash-in-hand surplus. The government decided to sink the money into infrastructure, primarily canals and railroads. This meant that any land the government possibly wanted to build on suddenly became extremely valuable, and there was a mad rush to buy land. Worried by the mass production of bank notes and not wanting to get stuck with bad ones, Jackson, at the end of his term, signed the Specie Circular. This executive order stated that all federal land had to be paid for either in gold or silver rather than bank notes. People wanting land started demanding the banks cough up the hard currency, which, of course, they didn’t have. The result was the Crisis of 1837, a depression lasting six years. It is hard to blame any individual for the crash, as there were missteps on both sides of the debate. Ultimately, the crisis was fueled by vesting full regulation in the hands of unelected private bankers and by rampant speculation in the market. In 90 years, America, forgetting the past, would learn the same lesson all over again, just as it must learn it again today.

One Thing That Will Never Change… by Thaddeus Martin


arack Obama won the presidency on a platform of change and now that he’s president, everyone’s expecting the world to go rocketing into a bright future like a tricycle strapped to a jet engine. People think that that if you travel eight years into the future from this point, you’ll arrive in a world that’s completely unrecognizable than this one. Well, assuming the Earth is still here in four to eight years, I don’t think it will look that much different. I say that because one thing that’s sure to remain unchanged is the amount of stupid people that inhabit the earth. And one or two of them could see to it that your time-traveling DeLorean is dumped out of the time stream into an asteroid field where this planet used to be. Just look at the news. Pacman Jones got drunk and fought his bodyguard. Stevie Wonder has been approached by “Dancing With the Stars.” George W. Bush is planning a speaking tour despite his ongoing battle with words. Plaxico Burress shot himself

with his own gun while patrolling a club’s VIP section for terrorists, I guess. These are our celebrities, so you can imagine how stupid the average American is acting right now. A Pennsylvania man ate a 15-pound hamburger to win $400 and hasten his colon cancer. Joe the Plumber is now a political commentator. Black Friday is an annual event. Just because change is expected doesn’t mean that one of the changes will be “spontaneous intelligence.” If anything, the stupid are growing in number. There was a time when stupid people would find ways to take themselves out of the gene pool. Whether it was being eaten by grizzly bears or falling into a wheat thresher, nature relied on

but broken brains are another matter entirely. There’s a saying I just made up that says, “You can’t legislate competence.” There’s not much that government can do to stop a person from trying to skateboard off the roof of his or her house. The government could somehow engineer the ground to turn into pillows and stupid people would still find a way to hurt themselves. All anyone is obligated to do is call the ambulance when it happens. Because these things happen so often, it actually benefits the economy. We’re at a point now where some parts of society don’t want the stupid to go anywhere because they’re easier to exploit than the rest of us. They’re a protected species now, like

Black Friday is an annual event. Just because changes expected doesn’t mean that one of the changes will be “spontaneous intelligene.” stupid people to reduce their own numbers to prevent them from reproducing. But then civilization intervened. Nowadays, we give them television shows and sign them to record deals. Instead of being a deterrent to procreation, stupidity has become a profitable business venture. That means we’re stuck with it. I bring this up because I think our expectations of change need to be tempered just a little bit. Sure, it’s possible for Obama to fix or improve some things, like a broken healthcare system or a broken education system. I truly believe that he’s going to make this country a better place to live in,


beluga whales. But not too protected; the economy needs them to keep hurting themselves. So to those who fear change, don’t worry: the stupid will be right here with us to impede the transition into the utopia the rest of us are looking to bring forth. They’ve outlasted plagues, massacres, natural disasters, and they’ll be right here to start more wars, more reality shows, or work for Fox News. They’re the immovable bulwark that stands between the world we live in now and the great one for which we’re striving.

FUSE What Would Woody Do? by Sonja Stuart Konigsberg


hen I find myself searching for inspiration, I always turn to one man. You all know him. He’s written, directed and starred in more than forty movies in his career; his red hair and black-framed glasses are the stuff of Hollywood legend. Yes, it’s true; my inspiration is Woody Allen. And when I find myself in a situation that I can’t fathom, I always ask myself one question: What would Woody do? There are three key components to the answer. First, he’d keep his sense of humor. No one knows how to turn a bad situation around with humor better than Woody Allen. To paraphrase him in Annie Hall: “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. The horrible are your terminal cases, the blind, the crippled; and the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you’re miserable.” It’s been said aptly that misery loves company, and I can tell you that if I was miserable, I’d invite Woody Allen over. He puts the hard times in perspective and makes you laugh about it too. Second, he’d make use of all resources at his disposal. No man has ever done so much with so little as Woody Allen. He’s quite frankly unattractive. He has more neuroses than Russia has

ice. He’s terrified of death and lobsters. But does he get up, look in the mirror, and crawl back into bed? He does not. He faces the world with his undeniablyexcellent sense of humor and philosophical mindset, applies them to the utmost, and usually achieves his goal, which usually involves a woman. Now, you may object that his life only works that way in his movies. After all, the man writes all his own scripts. Of course he’s going to make it with Diane Keaton. But that brings me to my third and final point: Woody Allen does what he wants, and doesn’t let anybody pigeonhole him otherwise. He makes the movies he wants, whether or not Hollywood is interested, and he doesn’t apologize for it. I think we could all do to take some lox from Woody Allen’s bagel here. The script of our lives is our own to write, so we should write it as we would have it be. So remember: when confronted with a situation in which you don’t know what to do, keep Woody in mind. Always remember to laugh about it, even if it isn’t funny; make the most of what you’ve got, even if it isn’t much; and don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do, even if they think they know best. In short, remember to ask yourself: What would Woody do?


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January 2009 Edition  

The Changing World