February 13, 2009

Weekly Summary: Week Six

This issue of the Student Newspaper was brought to you by humble authors. The News Clips section generally has more news clips than what is printed in the analogue paper version. Enjoy!

Hang down your head, Tom Daschle
By Benjamin Kantack

It is interesting to note that Tom Daschle apparently "came forward" of his own volition, and not because of Obama's setup crew. It makes one wonder how many other crooks there are on his team.

Gore compares "climate change" to racism
By Michael Folkerts

In a strange turn of events, climate change is similar to racism! Apparently racism was eliminated because children decided to stop listening to their parents, and Gore thinks this is how we must save the planet.

Dating and Courtship: A call to reform
By William Collen

While the ASUN continues to sponsor "Sexual Feelings" day in the Union Square, one man is speaking out for mature and responsible relationships.

ASUN, RHA, and conflicts of interest

BY Francis Mader

The ASUN working with the RHA is not normally a concern, but caution must be exercised so no conflicts of interest arise.

Obama hits head
By Tobias Davis

Chevy Chase once mocked then President, Gerald Ford, for slipping on some wet tarmac. Now when Obama hits his head, no one is laughing.

New Clips: Full List
Compiled by Tobias Davis

California is coming down to the final days of it's economic crunch, more people think the "stimulus bill" is a bad move, and piles more!

Obama hits head

Tobias Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineer Major

Obama was walking into his personal helicopter, the Marine One, when he turned and waved to the presses and totally hit his head on the door!

Actually, the odd thing to me is that, when former president George Bush choked and fainted on a pretzel, the Hollywood machine cranked out piles of jokes - jokes like "President Bush got through the Super Bowl without event. The Secret Service pre-chewed his pretzels." That came from David Letterman, but every comedian took a turn bashing Bush.

Or how about back when president Gerald Ford slipped and fell while leaving Air Force One? That stuff was comedy gold, apparently. Comedian and actor Chevy Chase had a whole comedy skit about it involving nothing but slipping and falling.

But here, with Obama doing something as funny as the classic head-smack routine, I doubt it will even come up.

ASUN, RHA, and Conflicts of Interest

Francis Mader
UNL Business Major

Amidst ASUN’s promotions to pass the Campus Wellness SB#4, they have recently failed to be wary of ethical concerns with its endorsement-finding activities.

According to the Daily Nebraskan, which recently received additional funds from ASUN, the Residence Hall Association is another entity dedicated to informing the students about the various improvements of which the Rec Centers and Health Center are in dire need.

With concerns for the East Campus Rec Center collapsing in 3 years and yet the Health Center being the most urgent priority, President Sammy Nebulsi urged the members of RHA to support the legislation.

Not mentioned in the DN article was Nebulsi’s appointment to the board of the Campus Wellness Ad-Hoc Committee with appointment #58 in the fall semester.

Dating and Courtship: A Call to Reform

William Collen
Omaha area writer

Have you ever thought about the phrase, "falling in love"? I don't think that it is an accurate description of what happens when two people begin to love each other. The phrase "to fall in love" makes it seem as though the two people just randomly become attracted to each other, and there is nothing they can do about it. "Falling in love" sounds similar to "falling down the stairs" or "falling off a bike". But in reality, people are responsible for their own choices, even when it comes to love - although they can sometimes make very poor choices.

It is notable - and symptomatic - that a chance, irresponsible, and spontaneous attitude toward love is very prevalent in modern society. Today's culture tells us that we should throw caution out the figurative window and ignore our rationality when we are in love - it tells us that love randomly happens, and we should drop everything and run after the object of our desires as soon as we feel those feelings of love (which I would say are actually feelings of selfish pleasure-seeking). I believe that this attitude is responsible for the high rate of divorce among Americans - If you are supposed to run after love as soon as you feel it, why not just go back to the way you were before, and abandon your lover, as soon as you fall out of love? This attitude is also prevalent in the current "dating" idea, which presents love as merely a casual game for selfishly motivated "grown-ups", ignoring the emotional devastation that occurs after a person goes through multiple "breakups".

Fortunately, courting provides an alternative. In courting, any relationship other than marriage for life is not even considered; also, during courtship, a high level of objectivity is maintained, so the prospective couple are able to evaluate each other without getting their emotions in the way. Certainly, emotions play a part in a courtship, but that is not the focus of the relationship - the real purpose of courtship is to find out whether or not the two people are suitable to assist each other's work. If they are, the couple proceeds to engagement, which I would argue is just as binding as a marriage. At that time they give their hearts to each other, unconditionally - a gift which can only be possible if such a commitment is made.

I challenge anyone reading this article to examine their own views on the subject, and evaluate their own relationship. If you are involved in dating, ask yourself: what is your goal? Is it to provide self-centered pleasure, or to find a lasting attachment? If the latter, wouldn't courtship be a better frame in which to form that attachment?

The author welcomes comments, critiques, or questions. He can be reached at: w_collen@hotmail.com

Gore compares "Climate Change" to Racism

Michael Folkerts
UNL Ag-Econ Major

Early last week former Vice President Al Gore spoke at a youth conference concerning the issue of climate change or “global warming,” to an audience of teens and pre-teens. During his talk, he compared the issue of climate change to racism. He told the young audience that when he was their age, “we kids asked our parents and their generation: Explain to me again why its ok for the law to officially discriminate against people because of their skin color…and when our parent’s generation couldn't answer that question, that’s when the law began to change.” Gore than continued to explain that the older generation (our parents) thinking becomes “out-of-date” in a period of “rapid change.” He then implied that in these cases, one cannot trust the judgment of our one parents when he stated “there are some things about our world that you know that older people don’t know.”

Is this the proper way to change the world? Whether one is a global warming advocate or skeptic, can one truly believe this is an ethical practice? Is it healthy to teach the young members of society to undermine the beliefs of the older and wiser generation?

This type of teaching must stop. As Glen Beck pointed out, if history is an accurate predictor, we know where this teaching may lead us. Nazi Joseph Goebbels, one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates said this about the Hitler Youth: "If such an art of active mass influence through propaganda is joined with the long-term systematic education of a nation and if both are conducted in a unified and precise way, the relationship between the leadership and the nation will always remain close."

Hang down your head, Tom Daschle

Benjamin Kantack
UNL Student Political Science and Spanish Major

Remember when Joe Biden told America it was patriotic to pay more taxes?

Tom Daschle doesn't.

The former Senate Majority Leader was on track to become the Director of Health and Human Services – as well as the director of the newly-minted White House Office of Health Reform – for the incoming Obama administration. But he withdrew his name from the nomination process after allegations came to light that he owed more than $140,000 in unpaid taxes and concomitant interest for the use of a car and driver, according to the website of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Daschle joins Nancy Killefer and Timothy Geithner on the list of Obama nominees tainted by tax fraud.

What makes the whole tax hoopla hilarious, though, is neither the irony of a change-monger like Obama employing a Washington insider like Daschle, nor the irony of a former member of Congress's tax-writing Finance Committee eating his words, nor the irony of a liberal who doesn't pay his taxes. No, the piece de resistance is Tom Daschle's alleged "devotion" to avoiding the perils of lobbyism and money-grubbing.

In a February 5th article from the New York Times, Daschle's former Senate colleagues extolled him as a man who strived to keep his nose clean of lobbying activities. Indeed, Daschle started out just like any other innocent Washington outsider: when he ran for Senate in 1986 from his seat in the House of Representatives, a campaign ad depicted him driving his beat-up 1971 Pontiac to work in Washington, among limousines and BMWs. The voiceover asked, "Isn't it too bad the rest of Washington doesn't understand that a penny saved is a penny earned?"

Since his greenhorn days, Daschle has gone from a modestly-transported neophyte to an opulently-chauffeured political giant – and if he hasn't explicitly lobbied, he has certainly fudged the definition of such activity. His wife was a lobbyist for the aviation industry, and the $2 million home they share in upscale Washington is a fruit of her efforts. After losing his Senate seat in 2004, he went to work for Alston & Byrd…a lobbying firm. He also made $220,000 speaking for health care companies, which many senators worried might have created a conflict of interest, according to the New York Times last week. And Daschle played other, less-publicized games with his tax dollars, such as garnering a deductable for a charitable donation, even though the recipient was not an officially recognized charity and the gift nondeductible by current tax law.

But not everyone is disgusted by Daschle's trickery. Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota dismissed the allegations: "I don't know anyone more honorable, more decent, more honest, and more qualified for this position. The only reason we know about these tax issues is that Senator Daschle came forward."

Hold on: the only reason Tom Daschle's tax bill came to light is because he spilled the beans himself? Shouldn't that indicate that President Obama's vetting process for nominees is horribly inadequate? I'm almost afraid to speculate what other scandalous nominees are slipping under the radar of a Congress full of Democratic yes-men – especially when the number of tainted nominees has now risen to four, three of which involve tax fraud.

As Tom Daschle exits the scene of national politics amidst the stench of his own quasi-lobbyist status and tax cheating, we can only hope that President Obama will be encouraged to carefully scrutinize all his nominees in order to pick out any more rotten apples.

News Clips: February 10

British Diplomat Arrested for Hatred
Haaretz.com - A senior diplomat in the British Foreign Office has been arrested for inciting religious hatred. While watching a TV report at a London gym, diplomat Rowan Laxton began shouting and swearing at the TV against Israelis. Laxton continued the tirade even after being approached by other gym users. Laxton was arrested and charged with "inciting religious hatred", which carries a maximum seven-year prison term, but has since been released on bail. Laxton, who has lived in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, is considered an expert on the Middle East.

Support for "Stimulus" package falling
Politico.com - Support for President Barack Obama’s proposed $800 billion stimulus package fell in the past month as Americans took a more polarized stance toward the plan, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. Fifty-one percent of 1,303 adults polled from Feb. 4-8 said they thought the stimulus was a good idea, compared with 57 percent in early January.

The percentage drop in support for the package was doubled by the increase in those who think the legislation is a bad idea, up from 22 percent to 34 percent. Among those who think the stimulus package is a bad idea, 61 percent said that the plan will be ineffective while another 27 percent said the price tag is too high.

Among those who have heard ‘a lot’ about the package, 41 percent said it was a ‘bad idea’ compared with 28 percent who think the same based on ‘a little’ information. For those who have heard a lot about the package, 16 percent more respondents said it was a ‘bad idea’ in February than did in January.

Indonesian Radical Group Claim Jihadists Will Go To Gaza

CTB - Yusuf al Qardhani, chairman of the Indonesian Islamic Defender's Front claimed that two snipers and four suicide bombers would go to the Gaza Strip next week in order to fight against Israel. Qardhani claimed that a group of 50 terrorists would be sent to other Islamic countries also. The central office of the Islamic Defender's Front in Jakarta claimed that two other batches of jihadists had been sent to Gaza in January.

Released Gitmo Prisoner was known to be aggressive terrorist
CTB - In April 2008, following an inexplicable release from custody at Guantanamo Bay, Abdullah al-Ajmi carried out a suicide bombing on behalf of Al-Qaida in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
Now, the NEFA Foundation has obtained a copy of the 2005 Pentagon Administrative Review Board assessment of al-Ajmi. According to the document, al-Ajmi was known to be an aggressive terrorist, had stated that he "will kill as many Americans as he possibly can", and his overall behaviour had been aggressive and non-compliant.
The Pentagon was aware that al-Ajmi was a serious terrorist threat, that he would most certainly perform terrorist actions on release, and was still released. Shortly after his release, al-Ajmi executed a suicide truck bombing on behalf of Al-Qaida, targeting local Iraqi security forces.

Al Franken still not the Senator
Breitbart.com - Judges in the Minnesota Senate trial, concerned with the recounting of ballots for the election of the Senate position, have ordered that 24 previously uncounted ballots for Franken be included.

That decision means it is more likely that other rejected absentee ballots would get counted, competitor Norm Coleman hopes. If the now uncounted ballots, totalling about 4,700, are counted, it could upset the 249 vote lead Franken now has.

Pope Benedict defends life from conception
CNA - Monday morning stressed to the new ambassador from Brazil that life needs to be defended from conception to natural birth. Pope Benedict lauded how Brazil has always been a "stern defender" of human dignity and hoped that "the protection of unborn children" would continue to be true. Speaking of biological experimentation, the Pope said that the church had always promoted ethical principles that protect "the existence of the embryo and it's right to be born."

British foster parent disqualified for converting a Muslim
CNA - A british woman who has successfully fostered more than 80 children has been disqualified from service as a caregiver after a teenage Muslim girl in her charge converted to Christianity. The woman, a Christian in her 50s, said she discouraged the girls interest in Christianity and did not pressure her to convert.

Abandoning Islam is strongly condemned in the Koran and is considered taboo in Muslim communities. Officials advised the teenage girl to reconsider her decision and to stop attending Christian meetings. In November, they removed the caregiver from the register, claiming she breached her duty as a foster parent. "They consider that in some way she should have taken steps to prevent the conversion,” the caregiver’s solicitor Nigel Priestley explained.

Priestly is demanding a judicial review of the council’s decision. He claims they breached Article 9 of the Human Rights Act, which guarantees freedom of religion for both the caregiver and the girl. He said that the now 17-year-old teenager, who has returned to her parents’ custody, was “distressed” that her action had produced such effects and supports her former caregiver’s challenge.

The Christian Institute is funding the caregiver’s legal case. Institute official Mike Judge commented on the case, saying: "I cannot imagine that an atheist foster carer would be struck off if a Christian child in her care stopped believing in God. "This is the sort of double standard that Christians are facing in Britain."

Cojoined twins successfully separated
CNN - Two month old twins Preslee and Kylee Wells, twins co-joined at the chest and having connected hearts and livers, were successfully separated by doctors at the Children's Hospital of Oklahoma University Medical Center. The doctors waited two months before attempting separation, saying they waited because they needed the organs to be "a little stronger".

Federal regulators ask pastors for help
LATimes.com - FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein spoke at a public forum at the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Los Angeles, asking the Baptist Ministries Conference of LA to include information on the recently pushed-back June 12 TV switch in their sermons. "It's sort of an ad-hoc approach to handling this situation, but the next four months will fly by and we need to be ready," he said. Adelstein and five local FCC field officers handed out applications for $40 coupons for digital-to-analog converter boxes.

FCC field officers are planning more meetings in schools, churches and neighborhood centers before the switch, Adelstein said. The Monday meeting at Mount Moriah was organized by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. Consumer's in general don't seem to care about the analog to digital switch, but the FCC is pushing the issue while spending tax money on converter box coupons.

Christians arrested in Iran under "apostasy" charges
RSN - Two previously arrested converts from Islam have finally been released on bail with an open case, although charges against them are still unknown. The two Christian converts, a husband and wife, are members of an officially registered church, and were said to have held Bible studies at their home. Iranian Christians have feared the two could be charged with "apostasy", which is "leaving Islam", a crime in Iran punishbale by death. According to a source, the arrests are part of the Iranian governments increased harassment of Christians. In 2008, there were 73 documented arrests of Christians in Iran. A source working closely with churches in Iran expects there to be more arrests this year. A high-profile church leader was also taken into custody this year, the source said, and is still being held.

Komen cancer cure institute and Planned Parenthood
LifeNews.com - A new video released by a group that serves as a watchdog for information on the link between abortion and breast cancer exposes the relationship between Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion business.

Karen Malec, the head of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer tells LifeNews.com that the video, "Komen's Dark Side," exposes the irregular relationship between the breast cancer organisation and Planned Parenthood.

In 2007 alone, Komen chapters gave $711,485 from April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2006 to Planned Parenthood affiliates. The amount of the grants from Komen affiliates to Planned Parenthood appears to be on the rise and 25 Komen affiliates now have a partnership with the abortion business.

Nationalized Health Care in "stimulus" bill
WND - Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, has released a commentary warning about the likelihood of rationed care – or a health care system that simply provides treatment when it determines the cost-benefit ratio for the treatment and the patient meets its guidelines.

The "stimulus" bill has plans to spend $50 billion "over five years" to create a system of electronic health records for every person who sees a doctor. "Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion," wrote McCaughey. "These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department."

"If the Obama administration's economic stimulus bill passes … in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face … rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later." Other nations that utilize such programs typically deny costly treatments to patients who are senior citizens, and McCaughey warns that would be the case in the United States, too.

California can't pay it's people
SFGate.com - Remember back in October of '08, when California said they were going to run out of money? Well, their irresponsible budgeting will take over 58 of their counties when they get IOU's instead of checks. Not money: A promise of money. Paul McIntosh, executive director of the California Association of Counties, said "It's a huge concern, there are counties that only have a couple weeks of cash on hand and could have trouble meeting payroll."

While state Controller John Chiang insists that social services money is only being delayed for a month and will be repaid in March, a spokeswoman for the controller said the normal March payments might then have to be delayed for a month if no budget agreement has been reached.
Friday's deferred payment is just the first step, Chiang warned. The state's cash crunch means that the counties also won't get an $83 million payment scheduled for Feb. 25 . "The controller shares the counties' frustration," said Hallye Jordan, a spokeswoman for Chiang. "But he has to defer payment on everything to make sure there's money for mandated expenses like debt service, education, pensions and payroll."

The state requires counties to provide foster care programs, adult protective services, welfare payments and a laundry list of other social services and normally provides much of the money to run them. But while the legal requirements remain, the money has disappeared.