Chapel Hill Political Review October 2010
Volume X, Issue I
The Changing Face of the Middle East
Winning the Race What it means for the N.C. Education System
Double Dip? What it is and if itâ€™s coming our way
Floods in Pakistan Whereâ€™s the response?
From the Editor To our readers: The Middle East has always been a focal point in international politics. However, given the regionâ€™s extreme importance in the realm of foreign policy, it may be all the more necessary to scrutinize the area more carefully, especially amidst changing power dynamics. Traditional attitudes towards states in the region are being challenged as the U.S. seeks to reassess the viability and nature of long-held alliances. Following U.S. withdrawal, Iraq faces an uncertain future in the aftermath of American withdrawal (pg 14). And amidst new efforts at Israel-Palestine peace talks, we examine some key players among the Middle Eastern leadership (pg .15).
In the domestic sphere, the issue of illegal immigration remains unresolved and continues to garner attention, especially following the passage of highly controversial legislation in Arizona (pg. 7). Concerns about the economy still linger as legislators respond to public anger with financial reform and experts ponder the potential consequences of a double-dip recession (pg. 8, 9). Also, have a look at our article on shifting political trends in the arena of gay rights. Thank you for reading The Hill. We hope you enjoy this issue and we look to forward to another great year. Siddarth Nagaraj is a junior majoring in global studies and political science.
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Chapel Hill Political Review Our Mission: The Hill is a medium for analysis of state, national and international politics. This publication is meant to serve as the middle ground (and a battleground) for political thought on campus where people can present their beliefs and test their ideas. A high premium is placed on having a publication that is not affiliated with any party or organization, but rather is openly nonpartisan on the whole. Hence, the purpose of The Hill is to provide the university community with a presentation of both neutral and balanced analysis of political ideas, events and trends. This means that, on the one hand, the publication will feature articles that are politically moderate in-depth analyses of politics and political ideas. These articles might be analytical, descriptive claims that draw conclusions about the political landscape. On the other, The Hill will feature various articles that take political stances on issues.
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The Hill Staff EDITORS Caroline Guerra Clayton Thomas MANAGING EDITOR Tatiana Brezina Siddarth Nagaraj ASSOCIATE EDITORS Yash Shah WRITERS Carey Averbook Jesse Beam Tatiana Brezina Ryan Collins Lucy Emerson Cortney Evans Amanda Claire Grayson Nicole Johnson Alex Jones Kelly Kessler Krishna Kollu Radhika Kshatriya Aaron Lutkowitz Siddarth Nagaraj Evan Noll Ismaail Qaiyim Christian Rodriquez Wilson Sayre Yash Shah Stephanie Shenigo Sarah Wentz WEB EDITOR Sarah Wentz HEAD OF DESIGN Nicole Fries DESIGN Evan Noll Natasha Smith HEAD OF ART Megan Shank ART JR Fruto CIRCULATION Amanda Claire Grayson Wilson Sayre TREASURER Kendall Law FACULTY ADVISER Ferrel Guillory
Contents April 2010
Volume IX, Issue IV
Breaking Free at Last? Change in sexual orientation policy
A Shadowy Crescent U.S. confronts Islamophobia debate over Ground Zero Mosque
Cover 12 16
The Changing Face of the Middle East Policy change among traditional American allies Losing Lives and Support Pakistan struggles against floods without aid of international community
October 2010 3
Notes from The Hill
The Hill Book Review
The Icarus Syndrome by Peter Beinart In 2002, Peter Beinart, then the editor of The New Republic, fiercely beat the drums for war in Iraq. Like many liberal hawks, Beinart has spent the last seven years doing penance for his poor judgment. Out of that period of self-reflection comes his new book, The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris, in which he examines the 20th century leaders and thinkers who, like himself, allowed overconfidence to pull them into disastrous wars. Beinart explains how America’s mission to spread freedom around the globe leads the nation to take risks that a humbler power would avoid. Periods of hubris tend to originate in epochs of prosperity and political reform at home. Success builds on success; elites consider exporting America’s model and a few brilliant ideologues emerge with a scheme to reconfigure the world in America’s gleaming image. But, America’s hubris and ignorance of foreign lands always derail the plan. As the next generation comes of age, America turns inward to examine how the nation failed. While Beinart touches on most 20th century foreign policy, the book focuses on WWI, Vietnam and Iraq. In each case, politicians and foreign policy intellectuals—often motivated by generational envy—mobilized the nation to project might in
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the service of democracy. Arrogant and unconcerned with the lessons of previous failures, they stumbled into unnecessary wars, killed millions and damaged America’s stature as a world power. Beinart handles this landscape well. He wisely speeds through familiar events and thoroughly explains the contexts of his case studies. His description of the interwar period is engrossing, illuminating how Germany played America and Britain off France and rearmed while the West slept. Like all good documentarians, Beinart has a nose for the perfect illustrative anecdote. His book is a history of individuals and contains fascinating character sketches: Randolph Bourne, the deformed, embittered man who vivisected the case for entry in the Great War; Henry Kissinger, a dark genius whose college thesis declared, “Life is suffering. Birth involves death.” In one passage, Beinart describes “The Inquiry.” This grand project brought together hundreds of intellectuals to determine the national borders and political systems of the entire world. The 10,000 pages of charts and memos from that enterprise could be a metaphor for the hubristic rationalism of the Progressive Era. Ironically, The Icarus Syndrome’s greatest flaw comes in Beinart’s own attempt to systematize a
vast and complicated reality. The narrative of hubris-correction cycles requires him to ignore nuances that would qualify his message. Harry Truman spent irresponsibly on the military and incompetently managed the Korean War. To paint Eisenhower as a mere corrective, however, ignores his casual threats of nuclear war and warmongering Secretary of State, John Dulles. The book’s focus on the wisdom of restraint leads to many regrettable simplifications. Figures who fit his prudent ideal are sometimes uncritically praised, while idealists are dismissed as dreamy fools. Beinart’s analysis is shrewd, but this reviewer wonders whether the book might have been better without the theorizing. To Beinart’s credit, The Icarus Syndrome does not conclude with a manifesto. From his experience and his research, he understands the danger of confidently promoting a vision for organizing the world. America can learn from this lesson too. Alex Jones is a sophomore majoring in history.
Notes from The Hill Update
Cuba Travel Ban Under Scrutiny
Since 1960, the United States has enforced a trade embargo with Cuba known as the Cuba Democracy Act. Fifty years later, the embargo’s goals have not been fulfilled: the communist regime still holds power on the island. This has led to increasing discussion over the policy, which culminated in February when Representative Collin Peterson introduced a bill that would lift the travel ban with Cuba. Since then, debate has raged in Congress and the White House over the embargo’s effectiveness and whether or not it should be lifted. As Congress and the President deliberate on this decision, it appears that the ones least represented on the issue are those who have been most impacted by it: Cuban-American citizens. Although most Cuban-Americans have supported the embargo in protest of the communist regime in Cuba, it has prevented them from visit-
1 Conservatism. With Bill Buckley long gone and Christine O’Donnell the face of the GOP, conservatives stand athwart history screaming incoherently.
ing their homeland and seeing relatives who still live there. Obdulio Piedra is a citizen who lives in Miami, Florida and is highly connected in South Florida’s large Cuban-American community. When asked about how Cuban-Americans felt on the issue, Mr. Piedra responded that in general “The community opinion [has] slowly been changing and [has] become more tolerant to lifting the travel ban and easing the embargo.” Mr. Piedra also added that allowing Americans to travel to Cuba could help topple the communist regime by giving Cubans exposure to the outside world. However, he noted that many of the resources the embargo prevents from reaching Cuba the repressive government would itself determine how to distribute should other aspects of the embargo be lifted. While much of the embargo’s
policies merit debate, it remains clear many Cuban-Americans believe the travel ban should be lifted. Dozens of others who were interviewed said that while they supported the principles of the embargo, they wished to be able to visit the land of their birth and the many relatives they left behind. They do not contest that profit American tourism would bring to the island would likely be absorbed by the Cuban government, but hope that witnessing an aspect of American society could give them the courage to effect change. As Congress brings the issue to a vote this September, many Cuban-Americans hope their wishes will be brought into consideration. Christian Rodriguez is a first-year majoring in political science.
Hill-O-Meter By Will Schultz
The economy. Economist Robert Gordon predicts that the next years will see the slowest economic growth in US history. The only solution now may be technological innovation. Maybe Google can mass-produce time machines and transport recent college graduates back to the 1990’s technology boom....
The White House economic team has seen significant personnel shifts in the last few weeks. Judging by the volume of Beltway gossip, these changes will reignite the economy, bring peace to Afghanistan, and stop the flood of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Or give Maureen Dowd material to write about, or something.
Rahm Emanuel has decided to leave the White House. With luck, we may never have to hear the phrase “Chicago-style politician” again.
Who’s on top of the heap right now? Who has fallen far? We track the up-and-comers and the down-and-outs. October 2010 5
Furor over Immigration Grows Although President Obama articulated that immigration reform would be one of his top priorities after taking office, many are still waiting for results. Nonetheless, stricter immigration enforcement policies, coupled with fewer job opportunities due to the Great Recession, have led to a decrease in the number of undocumented immigrants remaining in the United States. The most recent study performed by the Pew Hispanic Center states that the number of undocumented immigrants dropped from 12 to 11.1 million from 2007 to 2009. However, the issue of appropriate policy towards the remaining 11 million immigrants remains controversial. Efforts to target illegal immigration have increased, even without major legislative reform. Hiring tactics have been more heavily scrutinized as investigations of employers who hire illegal immigrants have increased drastically over the past two years. Employers who hire illegal immigrants have been charged with fines and even imprisonment. Arizona’s passage of the one of the strictest immigration measures, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, instigated great controversy by including such regulations as making it a misdemeanor if an immigrant does not carry his or her documents at all times. Democrats, most notably President Obama, have openly criticized the legislation because of its potential violation of the rights of legal residents. A federal judge eventually blocked the state from enforcing the most controversial aspects of
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the law; however, until federal action is taken, some states believe that they need to take matters into their own hands. According to CBS News, while “eighteen localities around the country are refusing to do business with Arizona because of the law, twenty- two states are considering similar legislation.” Border security has long been an issue, and recently both parties came together in passing the $600 mil-
effective in a much broader context such as reducing farm subsidies, curtailing the drug trade, slowing arms exports, and fighting corruption in order to fundamentally reshape and improve the economic and political situation in sending countries.” The recent Pew Hispanic Center report illustrated that most of the reductions among undocumented immigrants reflected migration from Latin American countries other than Mexico and that the number of undocumented Mexican immigrants living in the United States did not change significantly. Therefore, even with increased security and patrols, the United States will still be left with a major problem. As the economic situation of the United States ameliorates, job availability will also improve, which may attract new immigrants to seek work. However, even if the government finds a method to reverse the flow of undocumented immigrants to leave the United States, there is still the issue of the 11 million immigrants that remain. In North Carolina alone, although the number lion Border Security Bill without of undocumented immigrants has much struggle. However, as seen in dropped by over 100,000 since 2006, the past, a tighter border will not over 250,000 remain. Steiner states necessarily solve the United States’ that “Amnesty, legalization, regularimmigration problems. In an inter- ization - whatever you want to call it view with The Hill, Niklaus Steiner, - is the only feasible way to deal with immigration specialist and director this issue because massive deportaof UNC’s Center for Global Initia- tion is neither financially, practically tives, stated that “Border security or morally acceptable. This might be alone will do little… solid research a classic case of something being the by scholars like Doug Massey sug- least worst option.” gests that increased security has counter-intuitively increased illegal Without major political reform, the immigration because it has broken immigration problem will not be the pattern of circular migration… solved as there are too many forces Increased security might only be compounding the problem.
Breaking Free at Last? The discourse regarding equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders and other sexual identities is by no means recent. There has been debate for years, but there seems to have been an increase in discussion lately. With respective rulings by the California Supreme Court and a California federal district court that Proposition 8 and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell are unconstitutional, equal rights for all sexual orientations seems to be more possible than it did mere months ago. Additionally, the recent unsuccessful Defense Bill contained a provision for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. These developments suggest support for equal rights, but it may be too soon to tell as both rulings can be appealed and the latter cannot be applied nationally. Additionally,
Continued from previous page: The number of undocumented immigrants has decreased, but current practices will not allow for 11 million people to suddenly leave. The United States must also consider the different situations of immigrants from high school students who have lived in the country their whole lives to newly arrived adult factory workers. The immigration dilemma is one that has needed to be addressed properly for years and will have a drastic impact on our society if left unresolved. Lucy Emerson is a junior majoring in economics and political science
the defeat of the Defense Bill via a nearly defeated filibuster casts doubt upon whether similar legislation will be voted upon in Congress soon. Although some of the 43 votes against ending the filibuster resulted from support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, opposition to the bill stemmed from other sources as well, including a provision to permit abortions on military bases. Still others opposed the DREAM Act, an addendum that would have allowed those who illegally came to the U.S. at least five years ago prior to the age of 16 to obtain citizenship provided they met certain criteria. If the vote had been simply on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the outcome may have been different. After Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court in August, legal analysts began questioning the legal standing of Protect Marriage, one of the largest supporters of Proposition 8, to file an appeal. In a statement to The Hill, UNC School of Law Professor Michael Gerhardt explained that legal standing is a requirement of the Constitution, and parties must be able to prove they have an actual injury. “And the Supreme Court,” Gerhardt clarified, “has said a psychic or ideological harm is not an actual injury that would satisfy the requirement for legal standing.” Gerhardt’s colleague, School of Law Professor Derek Black, agrees, stating that Protect Marriage’s rights regarding marriage are not being violated and that ideological objection to a law “does not amount to standing.”
In response to criticism, Protect Marriage has claimed that the state government was obliged to enforce Proposition 8. Both the Governor and Attorney General reportedly agree with the decision, and a court ruling supports their choice to not defend the law through appeal. With the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal scheduled to hear oral arguments in December, supporters of Proposition 8 must find someone to defend their case soon, or the case may be thrown out for lack of legal standing. The significance of the federal district court ruling regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is its application to state law. As Gerhardt explains, “A state supreme court may not overturn or interfere with a ruling of a federal district court.” To put it simply, California law now recognizes Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as unconstitutional, and this cannot be overturned without a U.S. Supreme Court ruling or federal legislation. Although the inability to find a party with legal standing to argue for Proposition 8 in California is beneficial for advocates of equal rights for all sexual orientations, the inability to defend the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell bill will hurt the fight in Washington. So while it seems that the end of legislation forbidding same-sex marriage may have come in California, it appears that the long awaited repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell may require a longer wait yet. Sarah Wentz is a sophomore majoring in political science and global studies.
October 2010 7
New Rules on the Street Following the 2008 meltdown of the U.S. financial industry, there has been heated debate concerning the role of government regulation in protecting against future crises. In particular, many Democratic leaders in Congress claimed that the unchecked proliferation of mortgagebacked securities could have been monitored if not for the GrammLeach-Bliley Act. Furthermore, as the financial crisis precipitated into the `Great Recession,â€™ voters expressed frustration about the inability of Congress, the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to alleviate the economic impact of the crisis. Given upcoming midterm elections, recent regulatory legislation of Wall Street raises the question of how voters will view the economy in relation to the political parties. A perhaps more significant question also poses itself: is this reform sufficient to solve the fundamental problems in the financial industry?
concern over `bank runs.â€™
In the years preceding the recent crisis, financial institutions found themselves exposed to risk as the housing sector weakened. However, financial markets were unable to reflect this uncertainty in the pricing of securities. Although default rates on sub-prime and adjustable rate mortgages were on the rise by 2006, most major stock indexes experienced record highs even in 2007. The crisis materialized when the industry realized that assets linked to these mortgages were overvalued and financial institutions frantically attempted to de-leverage their liabilities. At the same time, the general public scrambled to increase their own cash holdings, which fueled the
The recent Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act establishes expansive oversight powers, requires financial institutions to meet accountability and transparency standards and sets specific regulations for a vast range of operations. Since the legislation was passed in July, there is only speculation as to its effectiveness in stabilizing the financial industry. While most polling has shown that the public believes reform is necessary, this has not necessarily translated into support for the way in which Democrats and President Obama have handled the situation. In an interview with The Hill, Mahesh Pandya, an economic policy analyst for
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The financial crisis was headlined by the breakdown of major financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers and AIG. Although it is unclear what the market knew about the viability of these institutions before the collapse, this information asymmetry demonstrates the principal-agent problem inherent to the industry. In particular, the general public, which essentially lends to financial institutions via household savings, is faced with uncertainty about how their funds will be used. Specifically, this becomes problematic if institutions have behavioral incentives that contradict the savings and investment goals of the public. Hence, financial regulation focuses on the objective of minimizing this issue of moral hazard by holding institutions accountable to the interests of their clients.
the Brookings Institution, suggested that the prevailing attitude amongst voters about the economy will prevent the Democrats from deriving any political capital from financial reform. Furthermore, he argues that the primary political significance of the regulatory legislation will be the oversight powers that it creates for the executive branch. While it will be years before data is available to evaluate the impact of reform, there is already concern about financial innovation. Charles Calomiris, professor at Columbia Business School, writes that although regulators attempt to anticipate new techniques in the financial industry, they are generally unable to keep up with the pace of innovation in investment products. Despite this, the recent legislation does establish structural protections for consumers and a more dynamic regulatory agency. Overall, although concern over a double dip is fading, the dynamic between financial institutions and regulators is just developing. Yash Shah is a senior majoring in economics and political science.
A Slip into the Double-Dip? For the first decade of this new millennium, “W” was a political symbol that spurred strong responses based on one’s support or opposition to our 43rd president. For the second decade, “W” could be an economic model that reflects an international double-dip recession, or so many economists fear. The 2008 “Great Recession” promptly reversed the rapid yet unstable growth of America’s economy over the past few years. Recently, however, the economic losses have slowed as employment numbers look healthier and consumption has started to resume. Many hope that these indicators are the beginning of a recovery, but others with more caution and pessimism worry that a double-dip recession (a slide back into negative GDP growth) could happen. So which will occur? First, it is wise to examine the economic factors that have caused fears of GDP falling in the red once more. While the recession spread from the United States to the rest of the world, now the international economy looks too shaky to carry longterm growth. Greece’s fiscal crisis seems to have spread to the finan-
cial PIGS – Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain – of Europe. Germany, the economic engine of Europe, has had to carry the tremendous burden of supplying most of the $1 trillion bailout for the European Union. Europe is a primary consuming region of the United States’ exports. Domestically, we’re facing our own stimulus woes. Despite spending billions of dollars to spur economic growth, many economists, ranging from New York Times author Paul Krugman to Professor Ralph Byrns of the UNC Department of Economics, have argued that not enough was done. Byrns commented that we face a “stagnant period” because policymakers focused on “balancing the budget instead of balancing the economy.” American economic sectors, like the housing market, arguably the sector that foretold the recession, still have not bounced back and reflect a lack of financial support. Home equity loans, commonly used to stimulate household consumption, remain weak, and this will continue to decrease individual consumption, a crucial aspect of America’s economic strength. These factors and more explain why many consider recent economic gains as ephemeral and concealing a much darker truth. But perhaps that economic interpretation is too narrowly-focused; there are many longer-lasting reasons why global economic strength has returned. While Europe’s woes have reduced their economic capacity, China’s rapid double-digit GPD percentage growth has far exceeded expectations. More importantly, a consumer-prone middle class breaking through in China suggests that they can consume and produce
enough goods to satisfy a slowlyrecovering American economy. Our trade deficit has declined from $48.2 billion to $42.8 billion in July 2010 alone, a good indicator that America is consuming less in the past and selling more – not only to countries with large consumer bases (such as China) but to other smaller developing economies as well. The recession began because of structural problems, namely that individuals consumed too much and accumulated too much debt. Therefore, indicators like the trade deficit are extremely important in examining the possibility of a double-dip recession. If positive and healthy structural shifts are occurring, a double-dip recession becomes increasingly unlikely. Prominent figures in the business world like Warren Buffett have argued that the economy is on its way back to growth because firms are regaining confidence to invest and develop. So which side is it? Will lagging sectors cause a double-dip recession or will fundamental changes reveal an even stronger economy? Perhaps it is neither. It is possible that sluggish growth, neither a double-dip recession nor a completely healthy recovery, will occur. Structural changes take time to have an effect, and lagging sectors are just that – delayed – and thus do not reflect future shifts in the economy. It appears that even though “W” had many political implications, the letter will not have nearly as influence of an economic effect. Aaron Lutkowitz is a first-year majoring in business.
October 2010 9
A Shadowy Cresecent In May 2010, two bloggers, Pamela Gellar and Robert Spencer, created an uproar in American political dialogue when they deemed a proposed community center being built on Park Place in Manhattan “the Ground Zero mosque.” Gellar and Spencer are the co-founders of a group called Stop Islamization of America, a movement that forms part of the growing trend of Islamophobia in America. The September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City (as well as the Pentagon and Pennsylvania) created new antiIslamic sentiment in America. However, the issue of Islamophobia in the United States has not been debated on such a wide scale until now, as tensions over the center’s construction rise. Nine years after the attacks, Ahmed Habeeb, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island, felt a need to warn the local community so that celebrations marking the end of Ramadan (which fell this year on September 11) would not be mistaken for celebrations of the attacks. He remarked in an August 19 New York Times article, “It sounds strange to have to say this, I know. But in this climate you can’t be too careful.” Imam Shamsi Ali, director of the Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens, reports in the same article that this Islamophobia “is causing the same resistance to the building of mosques in Staten Island and Tennessee and California.” And even Wisconsin. Dr. Mansoor Mirza complained in a TIME Magazine article that his appeal to the town council of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin to build
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a mosque on private property was received with arguments about hidden jihadi training camps across America and an epidemic of drug and alcohol use among Muslims. With these examples of Islamophobia, it is not surprising that a mosque to be built at Ground Zero would provoke intense debate; however, the supposed “Ground Zero mosque” will neither be located on Ground Zero nor be a mosque. The proposed Park51, an idea from the Cordoba Initiative (a group which aims to create interfaith cooperation), would be a nine-story community center located two blocks from Ground Zero on Park Place. Replacing a 1850s building that once housed a Burlington Coat Factory, Park51 would include performing arts venues, gym and fitness facilities, a bookstore and school, a food court, a September 11 memorial and a prayer space. As has been pointed out, the World Trade Center towers themselves featured a Muslim prayer space.
of the “Ground Zero mosque” fear that the construction of an Islamic center near the site where Al-Qaeda hijackers murdered more than 2,600 people will only worsen tensions in the U.S. between Muslims and nonMuslims, as evidenced by the mass uproar already. On the other hand, proponents point out that denying Muslims the right to build such a house of worship would be a victory for the 9/11 terrorists, symbolizing a restriction of liberty similar to that in the Middle East. They claim the constitutional right to freedom of religion, stating that America was founded on principles that would allow and even encourage this. The Cordoba Initiative organizers call Park51 a “platform for multi-faith dialogue,” saying it will “strive to promote inter-community peace, tolerance, and understand locally in New York City, nationally in America, and globally.”
Regardless of whether the community center is built or not, this issue has brought to the surface an important issue in America: Islamophobia. Different arguments have emerged Leaders of Muslim organizations among those opposed to Park51. concerned about the growing trend Some angrily claim that the commu- in American political thought held a nity center will be a symbol of radi- summit during the weekend of Sepcal Islam and a “victory memorial” tember 17-19, 2010, to discuss the for the 9/11 hijackers. Terry Jones, rise of anti-Islamic sentiment sura radical Florida pastor, showed his rounding the proposed center. opposition to the project when he Time will only tell the fate of Park51. threatened to burn copies of the Qu’ran unless the Islamic center is Amanda Claire Grayson is a sophomoved elsewhere, which led to criti- more majoring in peace, war, and decism from Gen. David Petraeus, who fense and political science. said that such an act would anger Muslims and endanger U.S. soldiers overseas. More moderate opponents
Really? Another Election? As the November elections approach, the U.S. House of Representatives seat for the Fourth District of North Carolina, which includes Durham, Orange, and parts of Wake County, is in contention. For twenty-two years, Democrat and UNC alumnus David Price has represented the district in Washington, and remains an important figure in the North Carolina Democratic Party. GOP Challenger B.J. Lawson, the founder of the medical software company MercuryMD, is running on the Republican ticket. This year’s race is a rematch of the 2008 election, when David Price beat Lawson at the polls by taking 63% of the votes. Both of the candidates’ platforms cover many issues, notably taxes, healthcare, and immigration. B.J. Lawson supports the Bush tax cuts and believes that they should be renewed in order to promote small businesses. He wants to eliminate the income tax, and is against Obama’s new trillion dollar infrastructure plan. In contrast, David Price favors repealing the Bush tax
cuts, and is against a national sales tax. Price favors simplifying the tax code and extending tax credits to businesses that create new jobs, with preferential treatment given those that invest in alternative energy. The largest difference between these two candidates is their stance on healthcare. B.J Lawson is largely against President Obama’s healthcare reform plan. David Price voted for Obama’s healthcare plan. Lawson, who credits his medical background for sparking his interest in politics, believes in using funded health savings accounts and advocates their availability to everyone. He also pushes for all medical costs to be tax deductible. He supports the creation of a public healthcare plan as a “fallback” for those who cannot afford private plans, but places emphasis on the public having a choice. Price also advocates that insurance companies should not be able to deny coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions. Another hot topic in the election is immigration. B.J. Lawson believes
that by giving illegal immigrants public services the government is perpetuating the problem. Lawson calls for no concessions to immigrants within the country, and supports Arizona’s SB1070. David Price believes immigration reform is not about enforcement alone and calls for pathways by which immigrants can legally enter the country, arguing that this will also help employers. He calls for illegal immigrants currently within the country to be given legal status on a case-by-case basis. In an email interview with Lawson, he encouraged UNC students to think twice about the role of the federal government in the lives of its citizens and in the economy, citing that jobs are scarce for graduates and the government is encouraging students to take out record-high loans. When asked why a campus that predominantly voted Democrat in the last election should vote for him, he stated, “Most students voting for President Obama were attracted to the message of transparency and government accountability. Two years later, we have seen neither.” Lawson cited the recent healthcare plan and the lack of accountability for the 2008 bailouts as examples. He also touched on Obama’s promise to change foreign policy, pointing out that little has changed other than fruitless attempts at nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawson summarized his campaign in the word “opportunity,” but will have to wait until November 2nd to see if he will have to opportunity to make a difference. Stephanie Shenigo is a junior majoring in political science.
October 2010 11
The Changing Face o Surveying the changes in leadership and circumstances in the world’s most volatile region.
One of the things that has defined this time they came with a twist. the Middle East over the past decade Turkey, a previous advocate of sancis the desire for agency and self-de- tions, voted against the latest meatermination. In the case of some this sures at curbing Iran’s nuclear prodesire is expressed in terms of na- gram. This move caused convulsions tionhood, and international recogni- throughout the international comtion, while others seek to showcase munity, resulting in greater tension agency through a powerful expres- between Israel, Turkey, and the U.S. sion of sovereignty via the interna- Turkey voted against the sanctions tional community. For some parties The future of Middle Eastern self-determination states is inherently tied to is based in nationexternal expressions of agency al consolidation, via other state and non-state even in the wake of actors staggering political disunity. Turkey, Egypt, and Israel are all different players competing after concessions gained from Iran for influence on a narrow stage that were rejected by the U.S. and others is only shrinking further. The future via Turkey’s negotiations alongside of such states is inherently tied to ex- those of Brazil. This was both an act ternal expressions of agency via oth- of defiance and an act of positive er state and non-state actors. Even- self-affirmation, as Turkey is growtual outcomes for states will also be ing as a regional and world power. In established by internal drives toward the eyes of some Turkey represents a determination that may threaten the nation with a large Muslim populaoverall cohesion within these states and within other states. One internally perceived push for greater autonomy comes from Iran in the form of its nuclear program. Iran has insisted that it desires nuclear technology for peaceful uses only, but the international community has remained skeptical of this claim. Recently a sixth round of multiparty sanctions was pressed against the Islamic Republic, but
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has reared its head in several ways, especially in reference to relations with Israel.
The relationship between Turkey and Israel prior to 2008 was one defined by exchanges of security technologies, military hardware, and warm diplomatic overtures. Since then this cordiality marked by mutual benefit has been placed in serious jeopardy following three major events. The first is the bombing of Gaza during operation Cast Lead in which many Palestinian civilians were killed. This event garnished a response from Turkey which materialized in the second significant challenge to the TurkishIsraeli alliance. Turkey did not invite Israel to the annual NATO-aligned military exercise, the Anatolian Eagle. President Obama has since announced that the U.S. Air Force will not be able to participate in Anatolia Eagle exercise as it has participated in two previous military exercises with Turkey this year. There is speculation that this announcement is a The relationship between has direct result of Anbeen placed in serious jeopardy kara’s decision not following three major events to invite Israel. The final incident that seriously damaged tion that is not entirely hamstrung ties between Israel and Turkey was by U.S. and Israeli interests in the the deaths of nine Turkish citizens as Middle East. For others Turkey is a a result of a raid on a flotilla to aid nation in flux, between the path of a Gaza by Israeli commandos. Mumaverick state, and a positive power tual attitudes of mistrust and annoybroker. This new Turkish dynamic ance have surfaced between these
of the Middle East
two states in a somewhat disturbing fashion. The paranoia and tension created in the past few months between Turkey and Israel appears to have been slightly offset by U.S. reassurances to continue arms sales to Turkey in order to reaffirm a traditionally good relationship, especially in the face uncertainty from some pro-Israel lobbies within the U.S.
Likud Party Right-Wing Ministers has placed Netanyahu in an awkward position. If he does not call for a stop to settlements, it is likely that peace talks will completely dissolve, and if he does than he will be alienated politically. Palestinian officials have insisted that a freeze to illegal settlements beyond the 1967
Hamas, which does not recognize Israel. How can a multifaceted peace process unroll in such a convoluted situation where agency is being tenaciously coveted by all sides? Egypt could be in a potential position to answer that question, however its place is compromised in the eyes of many in the Middle East because of its warm relationship with Israel, even at the perceived The newly initiated Palestinian-Israeli expense of relations with its talks are every bit as contentious as ever, The newly initiated PalestinArab neighbors. Its falterespecially against the backdrop of four ian-Israeli talks are every bit ing economy, accompanied murdered Israeli settlers and subsequent as contentious as ever, espeby growing discontent in controversial arrests within the West Bank cially against the backdrop of the population, has added to four murdered Israeli settlers the internal tension festerand subsequent controvering within. With President sial arrests within the West Mubarak aging, and omiBank. The freeze on the construc- borders as established in U.N. Secu- nous clouds hovering above the retion of new Israeli settlements ex- rity Council Resolution 446 must be gion, Egypt could readily find itself pired on September 26th, and Israeli a fundamental tenant of any peace at tumultuous crossroads in the near settler leaders have established that process. Another major obstacle to future. any further moratoriums on settle- the peace process is the question of ment building will not be accepted. Gaza currently under the leader- Ismaail Qaiyim is a junior majoring in This same sentiment among many ship of the Islamic militant group peace, war, and defense and history.
October 2010 13
We’re Outta Here! Maybe...
In a speech at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina last February, President Obama emphasized a timetable for exiting Iraq, “Let me say this as plainly as I can: By Aug. 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.” The troop withdrawal from Iraq has already begun, downsized to 50,000 noncombat troops. Troops will be gradually withdrawn until all troops are out by December 31, 2011, an agreement the Bush administration signed with the Iraqi government in 2008. The purpose of the troops still currently in Iraq is to work behind the scenes, training, advising and assisting the Iraqis. However, it is unrealistic to expect these troops to remain in Iraq without any conflict; two mortalities and nine injuries have already been recorded from one isolated firefight. There is still a great amount of unrest and uncertainty in Iraq regarding the withdrawal, the lack of a stable government only compounding the problem. Iraq must overcome the burden of a difficult and troublesome recent history. The Gulf War of 1990-1 resulted in the removal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, but left Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in power. Instead of attempting to oust Hussein and his regime, the U.N. imposed economic sanctions on Iraq, which lead to economic hyperinflation and civilian malnutrition. In 1992, thenSecretary of Defense Dick Cheney provided the rationale for not pressing on to Baghdad: “I would guess if we had gone in there…we’d be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home.”
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In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq but this time with the end goal of ousting Saddam Hussein. The conflict resulted in more than 4,400 American casualties and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths. The Obama administration recently changed the Iraqi mission name from “Operation Iraqi Freedom” to “Operation New Dawn,” demonstrating the American desire to move forward in establishing a new Iraq. President Obama has noted that wars like the one in Iraq do not end simply with peace treaties and parades. Accordingly, Obama has asserted that the Iraqis must now take responsibility for governing and fighting, but not without continuing American aid in terms of money and weapons. The concerns of security and government are obviously of the utmost importance in determining Iraq’s future. Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul-Qadir al-Ubaidi believes that Iraq will be heavily dependent upon the United States for military training and weapons support as far into the future as 2016. As al-Ubaidi remarked rather candidly, “As long as I have an army and I’m a Third World country, and I can’t pretend that I’m better than that ... I will need assistance.” The United States will provide Iraq with thirteen billion dollars worth of military equipment and eighteen additional F-16s, though these weapons aren’t expected to be in Iraq until 2013. However, American soldiers are needed to instruct Iraqis on the use of these weapons, as well as maintenance; a
difficult task as all American troops are expected to be out of Iraq by the end of next year. The Iraqi military’s most senior officer, Lt. Gen. Babakir Zebari, stated, “If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the U.S. army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020.” Security is vitally important in Iraq’s future given the neighboring countries and Iraq’s internal history of violence. The threat of civil war is decreasing but still present. It’s unclear whether the Iraqi security forces will be able to maintain control of the country with a reduced U.S. presence and while the main Iraqi parties are deadlocked over forming a new government. America can provide deterrence to violence if it is willing to make a long-term commitment to serving as both a peacekeeper and a mediator. Security in Iraq has improved enormously since the darkest days of 2005-2006, but there is no guarantee that the future will be peaceful. Iraqi security forces are still dependent on U.S. aid, fiscal and otherwise, and the Iraqi government does not yet have the stability required to avoid and withstand opposition. The Iraqis do not yet have enough fortitude to withstand the indubitable opposition it will face when U.S. troops completely leave Iraq. Jesse Beam is a junior majoring in management.
What to expect from the latest round of peace negotiations Negotiators for Israel and the Palestinians have embarked on a yearlong series of negotiations meant to culminate in a peace agreement that would put to rest decades of conflict between them. This latest attempt to reach a settlement on the myriad issues that divide them is in no way original. However, there seems to be a sense of urgency about these negotiations from all parties involved, some of whom have suggested that this is a pivotal moment when failure could precipitate vastly increased conflict for decades to come. Three other countries-- the United States, Egypt, and Jordan—are participating in the talks.. They see resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an opportunity to begin to heal many divides in the region. Negotiators for each country are both motivated and constrained by their domestic political situations. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, heads a fragile coalition government. Several of the parties in the coalition are right-wing or religious parties, and strongly oppose limits on new Israeli settlements. As a result, Israel let a 10-month moratorium on building new settlements expire at the end of September. The decision was criticized by the U.S. and the Palestinians, who had threatened to leave the negotiations
if the moratorium was not extended. Some members of Netanyahu’s government do not even believe the peace negotiations are worthwhile. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently said that Israel should drop the peace negotiations this year, breaking with the official Israeli government stance. Mahmoud Abbas, who represents the West Bank, is constrained by a lack of influence in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas. A peace agreement negotiated by Abbas may not carry any weight in the Gaza Strip, and if Hamas were to oppose the agreement it could be impossible to implement. Hamas is not a party in the negotiations. Additionally, Abbas has already compromised significantly on the issue of settlements by remaining in the negotiations despite having threatened to leave them. Failure to reach a peace settlement could be very costly for the United States. President Obama has made efforts to appear to challenge both Israel and the Palestinians to make compromises, and has insisted that they must keep an open dialogue. The administration has prioritized improving relations with the Muslim world as a means to reduce the threat of terrorism and opposition to its military initiatives in Afghanistan.
Omid Safi, UNC professor of religious studies, said in an e-mail interview with The Hill that the United States’ success in appealing to the Muslim world “will depend on whether the United States will be able to actually play the role of a peace broker.” He added, “Our history over the last few decades has been that of an almost one-sided and ardent support of Israel, both financially and in terms of the UN standing.” King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt are both heavily invested in the process for the sake of stability in the Middle East. King Abdullah II explained that these peace negotiations may be the last opportunity for moderates like him to show weary Muslims and Arabs that they can bring about change. He said that if they failed, he could envision new conflicts arising in the region, exacerbating existing tension. Professor Safi concurred: “unless the 60 year tragedy of Palestinians is dealt with in a fair and just manner, it will continue to drive many to sympathize with the rhetoric of the violent groups.” The peace negotiations therefore have the potential to change the outlook for the whole region. Tatiana Brezina is a senior majoring in political science and global studies.
October 2010 15
Losing Lives and Support Pakistan struggles to stay afloat It is late July; heavy monsoons strike Pakistan, launching floods unmatched in the last eighty years. Over twenty million people are affected – a number of victims far greater than that of the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, and the earthquakes in Kashmir in 2005 and Haiti in 2010, combined. More so, over 1.2 million homes are destroyed; around 6 million are left homeless; and many more are without access to clean water and food. Conditions are abysmal. One resident, Manzoor Admed, said to the Dawn media group, “It would have been better if we had died in the floods as our current miserable life is much more painful.” Private aid from America to Pakistan has been woefully insufficient. The Indiana University’s Center for Philanthropy estimates total private aid as of August 30 to be around 25 million dollars; in contrast, in five weeks, private individuals in America donated over 900 million dollars to relief in Haiti. There are a number of hypotheses for the low private donations. For one, donors respond differently to floods than they do to earthquakes; indeed, Randy Strash of World Vision said to the NPR, “Earthquakes, regardless of their location, under the same circumstances will raise 10 to 15 times more from the private donors than a flood.” Moreover, there are questions of donor fatigue. 40 percent of U.S. households have already donated money to the Haiti relief efforts, and the economy has not yet recovered. In addition, the media is a factor. The Project for Excellence in Journalism estimates that the coverage of the
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Haiti earthquake was ten times as much as the floods in Pakistan. The US government has made some moves to address the situation in Pakistan; there has been a response from the military, with the development of combined Marine and Navy Corps; certain public funds are being opened; resources are being activated. From a pragmatic perspective, there are certainly benefits to helping out the people of Pakistan. An empirical study of the Kashmir earthquake in 2005 shows that foreign aid boosted perceptions of America amongst the affected populations. Tahir Andrabi, co-author of the research, said to the Associated Press, “We came up with a conclusion that aid did affect hearts and minds in Kashmir, and significantly. I don’t think these people will forget.” The Joint Chief of Staffs, Adm. Michael Mullen, said, “That’s not why we do it, but the possibility is there. I’m hopeful that many Pakistani citizens can see a different side of America than what is often portrayed.” Unfortunately, a governmental response with the activation of some military resources can only go so far. Christopher Albon, the founder of Conflict Health, a widely read online publication with analysis on armed conflict and public health, said in an email to The Hill, “there are many disaster relief actions for which the military is not suited (in particular, long term development), and it will be those areas that the diminished civilian government response will have the worst negative effects. The US military is not designed, trained,
or equipped for long term reconstruction projects. Those tasks are the area of civilian aid agencies, NGOs, and IGOs. The lack of resources in terms of donations and government pledges will weaken these long term reconstruction projects.” The suffering people in Pakistan need a dramatic response from both public and private entities. Waterborne diseases have the potential to wreck tremendous damage. As of the beginning of September, there were over 1 million diarrhea or respiratory infections; dysentery is a serious danger for countless many. The breadbasket of Pakistan has been ravaged by the flooding; food security is nil. The citizens of Pakistan are losing their trust in their already weak government. Aijaz Hussein, 27, said to the Associated Press, “I don’t know what they are thinking, what is in their minds. They provide us nothing. Now we will not support the government. Whoever helps us we will support.” Will the Taliban capitalize on the many failures of the Pakistan government, an ally of the United States, and the slowness of the global community? Time will tell. Now, what we know for sure is that the people in Pakistan are in turmoil. As suffering abounds, current donations are not enough. The world undoubtedly needs to step up. Krishna Kollou is a junior majoring in economics and computer science.
Behind the Burqa Ban The French Senate passed legislation by a vote of 246 to 1 on Tuesday, September 14, 2010, making it illegal for individuals to cover their faces in public. The bill now waits for approval from France’s top court, the Constitutional Council, which has one month to rule before the bill can be signed into law by President Nicolas Sarkozy. It passed with overwhelming support in France’s lower house, the National Assembly, last July. Although the law does not specifically reference Islam, it will affect Muslim women who wear the burqa or the niqab, two articles of clothing which completely cover the face and body. Under the new law, women can be required by police to show their face, and if they refuse, they would face a fine of approximately $185. The law also makes it illegal to force any woman to wear a burqa, and this act carries a penalty of up to 1 year in prison and a fine of $38,400. The proposal has drawn widespread backing from the French public to ban the burqa, with a Pew Global Attitudes poll reporting that in April and May 80% of the French public backed the ban. The approval of this bill reflects the worry that many French citizens have about the growing visibility of Islam in French society. There is a “re-veiling” trend among a younger generation of girls, and many French citizens are concerned that this is due to the manipulation of Islam by
zealots. The ban on the burqa is promoted as a way to discourage fundamentalist Islam from taking root in France. In a telephone interview with The Hill, Amara Bamba, chief editor of Saphir News, a paper for Muslims in France, said that that the re-veiling trend points to a “search for identity for the Muslim youth” and does not mean that Islam is being corrupted by extremists in France. He explained that French institutions are built against religion, and this is why the newest religion in France has been encountered so much resistance.France is a country with deep-seated secularist sentiments, as seen by the law passed in 2004, which mandated that all prominent religious signs, including the burqa, be banned from state schools and other public buildings. This is based off the stern French belief in laïcité, a complete separation of church and state. The burqa also poses a security concern. Supporters of the ban have said that there are certain instances, such as picture IDs, voting, marriage, medical treatment, or exams, that require an unveiled face. Admission to banks, jewelry shops, sports events, consulates, and airports may also require an identifiable face. Many prominent French politicians have spoken out as the burqa confining the freedom of women. President Nicolas Sarkozy has also said that the “full veil is contrary to the dignity of women”. He
called for respect for Muslims in the same speech. Potential backlash for the law is great. It is estimated that there are 1,900 women who wear the burqa in France, a country with a Muslim population of 5-6 million. Some of these women wear the veil for genuine religious beliefs; however, there are others who wear it because it is the only way they would be permitted to go outside. This leads to fears that the burqa ban may confine women to their home, and for this reason, many in the feminist movement and the political left reject the ban on the burqa. There are also fears that the law may stigmatize French Muslims. Many liberals are uneasy about a direct encroachment on personal freedom, saying the ban would strengthen suspicions in the Islamic world that Europe discriminates against Islam. Law enforcement would also be difficult, as there would be challenges in proving that a woman is wearing her burqa under the order of a man. If the bill is not challenged by the Constitutional Council, it will come into effect in six months, granting citizens time to learn what the ban entails. Judicial challenges are expected by the European Court of Human Rights and by the Council of State. Most of the opposition to the bill in the National Assembly came in the form of abstentions by the Socialist Party, with the sole opposing vote cast by Daniel Garrigue, who fears that “To fight an extremist behavior, we risk slipping toward a totalitarian society.” Radhika Kshatriya is an undeclared sophomore.
October 2010 17
NC School of the Arts Struggles On the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools website, no subject “art” exists. Though the schools’ policy addresses related topics, the website’s lack of acknowledgement for the arts demonstrates a general trend in the state’s attitude toward arts education. As the North Carolina Arts Education Standard Course of Study says, the arts have intrinsic value. This means they are worth learning for learning’s sake: for challenging, stimulating, and providing an expressive outlet. Such individual benefits also benefit the population holistically with the creation of social bonds and the expression of communal meanings, according to a 2009 report by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. With these basic reasons as a foundation, a strong arts education should be advocated for in U.S. schools, even as arts education dwindles in an economic downturn and a new age of global educational competition. Students of the arts who pursue careers in the arts contribute to a stronger economy and a more competitive, diverse America, according a 2005 paper by Bruno S. Frey. In this way the community of North Carolina and the nation both benefit from students of the arts. UNC School of the Arts (UNCSA) makes North Carolina unique. UNCSA is a high school, undergraduate and graduate public university for the study of visual art, dance, design and production, drama, film and music. Of the 12 major U.S. conservatories, only three are public. UNCSA is one. And UNCSA has managed to keep its tuition low for both in- and out-of-
18 The Hill
state residents, despite budget cuts and tuition hikes. When North Carolina schools faced budget cuts, UNCSA’s base operating budget was reduced by 33% or $725,000, more than any other UNC system school. As a result of the budget cuts and campusinitiated tuition increases, tuition has
risen $310 dollars for out-of-state high school students, $612 for outof-state undergraduates and $634 for out-of-state graduate students. These budget cuts and tuition increases reflect two things. First, the arts often fall to the bottom of the priorities list when it comes to policy decisions, whether in education, creative industries or public works. This results in remarkably low funding for arts programs. Second--and more optimistic-- is that the comparatively low tuition hikes reflect a commitment to an accessible and low-cost arts education by UNCSA and the UNC system.
In December 2009, The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy published a report by Max Borders titled “The UNC School of the Arts: Should it be Self-Supporting?” The report claims UNCSA is “not likely to improve the well-being of any given NC citizen taken at random, much less a majority of citizens” and concludes “UNCSA is not the kind of expenditure justified by my understanding of a public benefit for the people of NC, the only reason for North Carolinians to subsidize anything.” Borders suggests that UNCSA be made “self-supporting, changing the nature of the school from a publicly funded to a privately funded (or hybrid) institution.” But UNCSA students are not the “only direct beneficiaries of the state subsidy,” As Borders suggests. Professional artists, whether in music, dance, performance, film or the visual arts, do not create solely for themselves. These students do not turn their education at UNCSA into a selfish life where only they benefit from their artistic works. These works benefit all the citizens of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the nation- particularly as the artists take their work around the world, sharing and partnering with different communities. This report plays into the greater issue of public arts funding. As N.C. State Senator Ellie Kinnaird said in an e-mail interview with The Hill, “The arts belong to everyone to enjoy and engage in, and, as such, is the heart of our communities. We must encourage and preserve art for the present and the future- they are also a source of economic development reaping great rewards for the communities in which they are housed. When economic times are tough, core services
Winning the Race Education leaders in North Carolina are rejoicing after the August 24 announcement that the state won $400 million dollars in the newly instituted Race to the Top Program. The competitive grant race started by the Obama administration was drafted last July, with applications accepted earlier this year. The Race to the Top program has four focus areas. It calls for states to have or implement standardized testing and benchmarks, a comprehensive longitudinal data system to track each individual student’s academic progress, recruitment of new teachers and extensive evaluations of current teachers and effective methods to turn around the nation’s lowestperforming schools. The program also emphasizes the need to close achievement gaps between white and minority students, increase graduation rates, and raise
Continued from previous page: such as police, fire, etc. will be funded first. The public would probably agree with that, but we are poorer as a nation when that happens.” While we face an economic downturn and support for public arts funding dwindles, UNCSA and the UNC system have remained committed to the intrinsic value of the arts for individuals and communities. These institutions have set a model with their continued dedication to a low cost professional arts education- even, and perhaps most crucially, in times of economic hardship. Carey Averbrook is a sophomore majoring in peace, war. and defense.
test scores in math and English. North Carolina has some of the poorest-performing schools in the nation, with some graduating fewer than 50% of their freshman class. The extensive end-of-course standardized testing program and NCWISE tracking system for K-12 help the state measure performance. North Carolina also emphasizes funding and reforming schools not meeting No Child Left Behind requirements and other high-priority schools. North Carolina’s application highlighted many incentive programs, such as the use of pay raises to encourage teachers to become National Board certified or to transfer to hard-to-staff schools. It also mentioned the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, which provides high school seniors a full undergraduate scholarship in exchange for four years of teaching in North Carolina, and the state’s participation in Teach for America. Both help to close the education gap and bring teachers into high-poverty, low performing areas. However, the Race to the Top program has been somewhat controversial, especially its emphasis on charter schools. Governor Bev Perdue sent a public letter to Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan that brought attention to the disadvantages of charter schools. “The truth is, evidence doesn’t bear out that students are better at charter schools,” said Professor Gary Henry of Education Policy at UNC in a personal interview with The Hill. “This shows a fundamental concern that a lot of things required in Race to the Top are unproven.” The finalized program now puts less empha-
sis on charter schools. Another controversy has been over the requirement that states use student success to determine teachers’ pay. Many teachers believe that it will punish teachers who have credit recovery, special education or ESL students, who tend to have lowerthan average test scores. They argue that it is difficult to evaluate how much an individual teacher caused a student’s performance to change. To counteract these fears, Henry said, the people affected by changes made by Race to the Top will “have input on how the system [will] be developed.” Bill Harrison, the Chairman of the State Board of Education in North Carolina, has stressed the use of constant evaluations in implementing the Race to the Top reforms. For teacher pay raises this means use of a two year trial period in which changes to the system will not affect teachers’ pay. These changes will also rely heavily on data collection and teacher and administrative input. While the Race to the Top program is somewhat of an educational experiment, the results will hopefully, as declared by the Obama administration, lead to concrete change in America’s school system. North Carolina’s job as an education trailblazer, according to Henry, is “to find out which, if any, of those efforts are really paying off and try to help strengthen them so that in the end we will see more kids graduate, better test scores, and increased college enrollment.” Nicole Johnson is a first-year majoring in public policy.
October 2010 19
Best of the Blog To better serve our readership, The Hill maintains a blog, bringing you new content in between print issues. The following articles are some favorite pieces this month from our bloggers.
Best of the Blog
Will Anti-Incumbent Fever Strike in November? Post by: Ryan Collins Arlen Specter. Lisa Murkoswki. Robert Bennett.
publican or Democrat.” Even if all 70 seats switched parties in November, the re-election rate only falls to 84%. “That’s a bad year for incumbents relative to historical trends, but if that’s the end result of unprecedented nationwide voter outrage against incumbents, then this outrage is getting badly oversold.” The story is more or less the same in the Senate, where a mere ten of 100 seats have the potential to switch party hands.
Just a few of the casualties of what news networks and the Obama Administration are calling an “antiincumbent wave” in the 2010 midterm elections. Also nearly swept away by this current is the moderate Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln, who played a pivotal, if often overlooked, role in the Senate’s financial reform legislation. Voters, presumably upset with the same old infighting among career politicians, are finally rising up to oust the party establishment, Re- Michael Barone of The American further explored the phenomenon by analyzing individual primaries occurpublicans and Democrats alike. ring between January and May of this year. He found But is this assessment valid? The answer, as it so that although Republican and Democratic incumbents often is, is contingent upon whom one asks. In May in the House appeared to do equally worse—ten ReJeff Zeleny, political correspondent for The New York publicans and ten Democrats won re-election with Times, suggested on CBS that Republican could be ex- less than 70 percent of the vote—these numbers are pected to offer much more resistance to the Obama less than compelling. Moreover, Barone suggests, an agenda in the coming months. Failing to do so would examination of the individual races shows that poor risk incurring the wrath of GOP party hardliners in Republican performance reflected personal deficienNovember. Zeleny drew attention to Senator Robert cies of the candidate (such as Ralph Hall, the oldest Bennett (R-UT), who had recently lost his primary re- member of the House) while declines in Democratic election bid, as well as the upcoming battle between support stemmed from general party weakness. When Tea Party candidate Rand Paul and Republican main- controlling for the presence of open races, or whether streamer Trey Greyson (Paul would ultimately win an incumbent had any opposition (over half of Demothe race). Nor were Republicans voters alone in oust- cratic incumbents ran unopposed), the “results suging party insiders—recently converted Democrat Ar- gest that the anti-Democratic wind is stronger than len Specter lost to Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, the anti-incumbent wind.” and Arkansas Lt. Governor Bill Halter forced Blanche Lincoln into a primary runoff that nearly cost the in- Thus, the distinction as to whether 2010 is an “antiincumbent” or an “anti-Democrat” year is decidedly cumbent senator her job. more ambiguous than the media would lead one to beDespite this apparent evidence of cross party animos- lieve. But consider this: the president’s party almost ity from voters, a further reflection of the evidence always loses congressional seats in midterm elections. offers a different story. In an analysis of likely elec- If history is any guide, it won’t matter whom voters tion outcomes in both the House and the Senate, the are angry with in the fall; the end result—Republican Huffington Post found that only about 70 of the 435 control of one or both chambers of Congress—is an House seats are considered “toss-ups” or “leaning Re- incredibly real possibility. 20 The Hill
Best of the Blog
Best of the Blog When the Sound Bite Rules the Conversation Post by: Kevin Uhrmacher Yet another election is upon us. You know what that means…filtering through the bull to get some semblance of an idea of whom, if anyone, is deserving of your vote. So why has it become so increasingly difficult to distinguish where candidates stand on the issues? The fact is that the culture of 140 characters and sensationalist news has opened the public up to a firestorm of false claims with minimal evidence to back them up. Among the most recent evidence of this is Christine O’Donnell. First let’s address Madame Tea Party. O’Donnell’s shocking victory over establishment candidate Mike Castle in the GOP primary left center-right Republicans shaking in their boots. The win meant it was no longer OK to cooperate across the aisle; on the contrary, doing so could very well be labeled as political suicide. But with such a polarizing candidate comes some very odd sound bites questioning her beliefs, her life now and her past (think of 2008 when an unknown Alaskan governor was suddenly thrown into the spotlight). Since average Americans didn’t really know Christine O’Donnell before now, there have been many attempts to establish her in certain lights, depending on who you are talking to, of course. Certainly you’ve heard the blips of a young O’Donnell talking about her ‘dabbling in witchcraft’ or maybe the talk of the human-brained mice? It’s likely that these statements from many years ago have little relevance in O’Donnell’s current life. I know my opinion on which crayon is best doesn’t really affect my college life. What was once Ms. O’Donnell’s anti-masturbation crusade is now a blemish on the public image of the candidate. Why is this? The problem lies in the novelty of these comments. Frankly, not many Americans are going to stick around for a debate on energy legislation when they flip the channel and hear about this or that ce-
The Hill Online
lebrity doing who knows what. But when the tabloids and news outlets somehow become entangled, we get to hear about witches and controversy! Comedy Central tag team Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert recently announced their plan to address the issue of American reaction to news and politics. The recent decision that there will be competing rallies October 30th at the National Mall underscores the point. Stewart will advocate rational thought and the end of constant coverage of extreme views that only a small percentage of the American citizenry actually holds. Colbert, not to be outdone, will ‘freak out for freedom’ and encourage his attendees to respond with fear and irrational behavior when they hear things, even if those things may not be true. The content of these rallies gets to the core of the issue: Does our reaction to what we hear really constitute a critical thinking approach to the news media? Or is it more of a knee-jerk reaction as we deal with an ever evolving news cycle? Why is it that CNN, Fox News and MSNBC can give you very different accounts of the same story? Our society relies on the sound bite. Summing up a story in one neat headline might be nice for attracting attention, but when the evidence is lacking, is it really news at all? Nothing is ever as black and white as a headline might lead you to believe. How could a quarter of the country still believe their president is Muslim, when he has established much evidence to the contrary? Powerful people are perpetuating false information. Maybe if people question the things they hear, instead of just accepting them, politics would be brought back to the issues. Rational thought may be boring, but it’s also the only way rational leaders and ideas can be instituted.
Check out more of our material online at www.chapelhillpoliticalreview.wordpress.com. October 2010 21
The Last Word
Higher Education as a Tool
Are U.S. colleges and universities preparing American students Education is the key to eco- Students are placing their hopes, nomic development for the United dreams, and financial futures on a States. This philosophy is promoted college education that may or may at the highest levels of government not deliver the career opportunities by leaders from both major political they expect. parties. If we accept the thesis that In the information age, stueducation is the key to success and dents in the developing world have economic development for the U.S., are AmeriAccording to a 2010 US Labor Decan colleges and univerpartment report, the percentage of sities preparing students recent US high school graduates atfor current and future tending college reached its highest employment opportulevel of 70 % in 2009 as compared to nities? As our nation struggles economically, 45% back in 1959 colleges and universities are experiencing record enrollments. According to a 2010 access to much the same knowledge US Labor Department report, the base as students in the most develpercentage of recent US high school oped urban areas of the U.S. Many graduates attending college reached of the best and brightest from our its highest level of 70 % in 2009 nation choose careers in the finanas compared to 45% back in 1959. cial sector and other more person-
22 The Hill
ally lucrative enterprises, rather than more long-term commitments to research oriented careers that drive future industrial development and technological advances. At the same time our global competitors are advancing in key areas of science and technology at a pace that the U.S. is unable to match and US students appear unwilling to pursue. A 2008 National Science Foundation study reported that 59 % of all doctoral degrees and 43% of all higher education degrees in science and technology were awarded to temporary residents of the U.S. According to the 2010 Academic Rankings of World Universities, our nationâ€™s universities remain the destinations of choice for students from around the world; both UNC and Duke are ranked in the top 50. With access to world-class education, why arenâ€™t more American students preparing to compete for the jobs of the 21st century? In the current global economy, an associate or baccalaureate degree in the humanities or social and behavioral sciences is the beginning of a college education, not a ticket to meaningful employment in a promising field. The academy, in many
The Last Word
for Economic Development
for the jobs of the twenty-first century?
cases, holds to the idea that educa- lined by Bill Gates, stood before the tion is not about employment but US Congressional Committee on rather to develop critical thinking Science and Technology on March skills and personal enrichment. At a cost of In the current global economy, an tens of thousands of dolassociate of baccalaureate degree in the lars, I am not confident humanities or social and behavioral that this traditional phisciences is the beginning of a college losophy will comfort the education, not a ticket to meaningful college graduate working employment in a promising field at a rental car counter in the airport. Over the past 50 years in the U.S., access to higher 12, 2008, pleading for more H1B education has been a primary goal, Visas for foreign students to study rather than the performance of stu- and work in the U.S. The leaders exdents, the needs of the nation, and pressed the critical need to maintain the relevance of academic prepara- our international competiveness in tion for jobs of the future. While science and technology. Our nation college enrollments are at record would have to go back 50 years to levels, a large percentage of that the time of the NASA project and growth can be attributed to students the space race with the Soviet Union attending open-door community to experience a comparable period colleges and for-profit universities. of national desperation regarding For many non-traditional students, the nation’s future as a global indusprevious channels of employment trial power and leader in science and for high school graduates have either technology. moved off shore or have become ob- Gates and other corporate solete through advances in technol- leaders were challenged by Congress ogy. During this same period, there to fund more scholarships for Amerhave been only modest enrollment ican students in science and technolincreases at the nation’s most presti- ogy fields. Gates responded by saygious graduate programs in the fields ing, “So scholarships I think can be of math, science, and technology, helpful, but, you know, I’m not sure and primarily this growth is associ- that alone would drive the kind of ated with foreign students that are shift in attractiveness that we need recruited to attend and fill graduate to see here.” In other words, Ameriresearch positions. can students are opting for less chal US Corporate leaders, head- lenging or more personally appeal-
The Last Word on
ing academic fields that do not meet the needs of highly skilled technical employment. What does all of this say about the role of education as a tool of US economic development? Students will need to consider the practical nature of their chosen fields of study and be willing to seek advanced degrees or specialized training beyond the baccalaureate degree. It is the dedication and skill of highly educated researchers, scientists, and academic leaders that have provided the historical foundation of U.S. economic success and the impetus for employment opportunities for the general populace. Dr. John Paul Black is the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Lenoir Community College in Kinston, North Carolina.
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