All Posts Tagged With: "obama"
What students are talking about today (March 7th)
1. Washington Post has compiled a list of this year’s famous U.S. college commencement speakers. It’s bound to make Canadian students jealous. The speakers include President Obama, Cal Ripken, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Avengers fame) and Drew Houston (the co-founder and CEO of Dropbox). Best of all, the University of Virginia has landed Stephen Colbert for their May 18 graduation. The fake Republican newsman and comedian has done this before. In 2011 he spoke at his alma mater, Northwestern University. Here’s a sample from the full text via the Chicago Sun-Times: “Northwestern’s academic resources are unparallelled. The library contains five million books, and 100,000 periodicals, none of which anyone reads because they’re not on an iPad. Next year I believe Deering Library is being converted to a Chipotle.”
2. Why is it that student politicians so often think it’s their job to limit access to whatever it is they don’t like? Bottled water, for example, has been banned at numerous Canadian campuses because of its environmental impact. I agree that bottled water is bad, so I don’t buy it very often, but the bans do little but force people to buy it off-campus or drink—gasp—Coke. Earlier this week Ryerson’s student union decided to “reject” clubs that believe in misandry, the entirely reasonable concept that, just as some people hate women (misogynists), some people hate men. Today it’s Nicole Tupechka, vice-president student life of the Students’ Association of MacEwan University, who wants to ban something. Well, not quite ban, she says, but “reduce the visibility” of energy drinks on campus. She wants to “encourage good habits” and “set students up for success,” by having fewer machines, she tells The Griff student newspaper. It’s true that energy drinks can be unhealthy, but they’re not exactly heroin. Why not let students decide for themselves?
What students are talking about today (February 13th)
1. The Queen’s Journal at Queen’s University is the latest to report on a very cool competition that promises to reward two Canadians with a ticket on a commercial flight that will blast more than 100 km into space. The Canadian competitors with the most votes on the Axe Apollo Space Academy website will join winners from around the world on a Space Expedition Corporation expedition sometime after 2014. If the flight doesn’t happen by the2017, winners will get $85,000 instead. Queen’s student Steven Humphries, currently 21st, got support by way of a Tweet from Queen’s president Daniel Woolf.
2. It’s not often that more than 1,000 people show up at a student union meeting but that’s what happened at the University of Toronto Students’ Union’s gathering on Tuesday. They were there to settle the debate over online voting, which has been pushed by reformers. The motion was narrowly approved by a vote of 575 to 567, reports The Varsity. UTSU president Shaun Shepherd and his colleagues are opposed to web voting while several of the college and faculty leaders who backed the motion are frequent critics of the executive. “I’m just so fed up with this school,” Shepherd said. Still, after an emergency meeting of the Elections & Referenda Committee, Shepherd added that “irrespective of whether or not we agree with them, we have to honour them—that’s democracy.”
Romney’s free hamburgers, gay-friendly mosque & Palestine
1. Mitt Romney stopped by a McDonald’s on Thursday before his lunch with Barack Obama. (I guess he doesn’t like turkey chili.) National Post points out that Romney’s father often lent him a card that entitled him to free hamburgers for life. You read that correctly. America’s most famous rich family got free hamburgers… for life.
2. Speaking of hamburgers, The New York Times reports that Thursday saw the most job action among fast-food workers on a single day in U.S. history. A union drive called Fast Food Forward wants wages raised to $15 an hour. “How can we survive on seven twenty-five?” was the chant outside a Burger King in New York. The U.S. federal minimum wage is $7.75.
2. On the last day of Movember, Stephen Clare of McMaster’s Silhouette is reminding his mo bros (and ladies) about the real meaning of the season. “Be honest. How many people do you know enjoying a lip-warmer this month? Many. Now how many of those have donated to the cause?” He says raising awareness isn’t good enough and that people should donate to men’s cancer research.
3. The search for a student missing from Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. has been scaled back. Christopher Metallic, 20, has been missing since a house party on early Sunday morning.
Red Bull, Frankenstorm, Pippa, STEM & Toronto Fashion
1. A Korean student at Cape Breton University is expected to be deported today after an outburst involving threats to a residence adviser. The decision is despite arguments from his lawyer that the incident was the result of drinking too many caffeinated Red Bull energy drinks, reports CBC News. Red Bull may yet give this guy wings—in the form of an airplane back to Asia.
2. For the first time, the fossils of feathered dinosaurs have been found in the Americas—dug up in the Alberta badlands by a Canadian team, reports Maclean’s science scribe Kate Lunau. The bones are from the same ostrich-like dinosaurs that famously appeared in Jurassic Park.
3. Frankenstorm, a.k.a. Hurricane Sandy, could merge with another weather system just in time to do serious damage to Eastern Canada and the U.S. on or before Halloween. Scared yet?
Free textbooks in B.C. and a couple of dumb online posts
1. British Columbia says it will become the first province in Canada to offer students free online textbooks. They will be available as early as 2013-14 and will cover the 40 most popular post-secondary courses. Printed options would come at a “fraction of traditional textbook costs.”
2. An Ontario man who wrote “Thank God this b—- is dead” on a memorial page for Amanda Todd was fired from his job at a London, Ont. menswear store. Justin Hutchings told The Toronto Star that he wanted to “stir up the pot” and called it “more or less a social experiment.” A Calgary woman called his boss after seeing the post about the teen who killed herself last week.
3. Speaking of dumb internet postings, Lena Dunham, the writer and star of HBO’s Girls, is making headlines for her offensive Tweet to a couple of friends. It says: “You guys go as killer Canadian couple Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka. I’ll be her sister they murdered. Scariest! Luv U.”
Big Bird, full buses in B.C., hackers & Lena Dunham
1. In a poll, two-thirds of CNN viewers concurred that Romney came out on top. Romney didn’t win with the under-12 demographic, however, as he said he’d cut funding to PBS, home of Big Bird, because public television is not worth borrowing money from China to fund. Luckily for him, children can’t vote.
2. Transit users in Victoria, B.C. are being passed up by full buses more than twice often as predicted by B.C. Transit before they implemented “real-time tracking.” The agency suggests post-secondary schools should stagger class start times to reduce the problem. I have a feeling this isn’t just a frustration for B.C. students. Am I right?
3. Hackers called Team GhostShell have claimed responsibility for breaking into more than 120,000 computer accounts at dozens of universities to protest what they see as high-cost and low-quality higher education. Sites at the University of British Columbia and McMaster University were on the list of what’s called “ProjectWestWind.” Identity Finder, a data-protection company, found that more than 35,000 e-mail addresses and thousands of usernames were compromised. Most of the sites were the type made by professors themselves, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Freshman 15, politics in the classroom & anger at OCAD U.
1. Yesterday there was a flash sale from Chartwells at the University of Prince Edward Island during which poutine was 50 per cent off for a few hours. Cadre reporter Josh Coles took on the breaking news assignment: “This poutine was weighty. Heavy. Thick. I would compare its weight to that of a litre of chocolate milk,” he wrote.
2. The poutine and chocolate milk diet seems like evidence for that legendary Freshman 15 weight gain, but another study suggests the weight gain isn’t really 15 pounds. Researchers from Auburn University in Alabama showed that the Freshman 15 is really more like the Four-Year 12. After four years at the college, students in the study had gained an average of 11.7 pounds.
3. Homecoming will likely make a homecoming next year at Queen’s University after students finally behaved in public with just 12 arrests over the weekend compared to 124 in 2008. In an email sent Monday to the Queen’s community, Principal Daniel Woolf wrote that he’s working with “various members of our community, including alumni, to plan for the potential safe return of fall reunions in 2013.” The University Council asked Woolf to reinstate the tradition, which was barred after many years of alcohol-related arrests. See The Perils of Drinking on Canadian Campuses for more.
Chuck Norris, Quebec election and Stanley Cup rioters
1. Chuck Norris, known for on-screen martial arts and a certain intractable meme, has a message for Americans. If you love your family and freedom as much as he and his wife Gena do, don’t vote for Obama. America is headed toward “socialism or something much worse,” says Chuck. Gina predicts “a thousand years of darkness.”
2. A Quebec election, which was at least partly called to settle the nightly student protests against tuition, is happening today. Polls put Liberal Premier Jean Charest in third place, but this is Quebec so anything could happen. Charest does look especially desperate. He warned over the weekend that a Parti Quebecois government could jeopardize the chances of NHL hockey returning to Quebec City. Read full coverage here.
Helena Guergis, student housing, Obama and Occupy
1. The University of Alberta’s class of first-year law students will include Helena Guergis, a former junior cabinet minister who had a very public spat with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Perhaps she’s studying up for her appeal after her lawsuit against the PM was dismissed last week.
2. Students in Fredericton, N.B. have their pick of where to live, due to declining local enrollment.
3. Students in booming Saskatchewan have trouble finding anywhere to live. Vianne Timmons, president of the University of Regina, says a student stopped her on the street to ask if she knew any rentals. New residences are coming.
And why they may want to reconsider
Today, the New York Times suggested that President Obama’s goal of training 10,000 more engineers per year, plus 100,000 more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teachers annually is unlikely to be reached.
For decades, the U.S. has been trying to up its output of STEM students. But the percentage of all students earning Bachelor of Engineering degrees has actually fallen from nearly 10 per cent of the total in the mid-1980s to 5.4 per cent in 2009-10. Computer engineering hit peaks of 4.3 per cent of the totals in 1984 and 2004, but has fallen again to 2.4 per cent in 2009-10. It’s a similar story in other STEM fields too, like biology. As more people are educated, it seems fewer are choosing STEM.
News comes as study reveals rapidly growing tuition rates
As some American students continued their Occupy protests on Wednesday, President Barack Obama was being cheered by other students in Colorado where he announced he will speed up his initiatives to help students overcome debt.
“We should be doing everything we can to put college education within reach for every American,” the President said in what CNN describes as a “campaign-style event.”
Obama announced that a program to limit the repayment of federal student loan debt to 10 per cent of discretionary income will start next year, instead of the year after. And he said that students will be able to consolidate public and private loans to save on interest charges.
Universities are ripe for mobilization because of how fast word can spread
Megan Leslie, member of Parliament for Halifax, claims that courting voters aged 18-30 is a waste of a politician’s time and that’s why most don’t engage the youth demographic. But those who do are seeing unprecedented success.
Lets take the recent win of Calgary mayor-elect Naheed Nenshi as an example. Nenshi went from polling at one per cent to winning the election with 40 per cent of the vote in two months. Mobilizing young voters is largely considered to be the catalyst for Nenshi’s triumph at the polls — not to mention the city’s dramatic spike in turnout.
While his stint as a professor at Calgary’s Mount Royal University certainly made him a household name in the post-secondary circle, Nenshi cultivated, rather than took advantage, of this connection, realizing that students were key to election gold. In fact, a week before the election, polls indicated that support for him in the 18- to 34-year-old bracket had jumped from nine to 43 per cent over the course of the campaign.
And Nenshi’s not the first successful politician to venture down this road less travelled. Just two years ago, Barack Obama was dubbed America’s first “social media” president.
“I saw a lot of parallels between his campaign and Obama’s campaign. He was mobilizing youth, which [Ric] McIver and [Barb] Higgins were not focusing on,” Ashif Murani, a Calgary lawyer, told the Globe and Mail on Oct. 19.
Rahaf Harfoush, a social media strategist who worked on Obama’s presidential campaign, summed up their success in a CBC interview on Dec. 5, 2008:
“It wasn’t about new media; it was about the fact that the campaign gave new media the opportunity to become an integrated part of the communications campaign of a political campaign.
“I think it helped us to access a lot of people by giving them to tools to organize, to create events, to connect with each others and giving them everything that they needed, so that when they went off-line they were fully equipped — be it canvassing to talk[ing] to their neighbours.
“[Through the site] they had talking points to pass onto their families, videos, events in their area that were happening, community outreach programs in their state. Everything that we did was to connect people, because it was a movement that was fundamentally about people.”
The Q&A portion of Leslie’s Oct. 19 presentation at Dalhousie University touched on some interesting realities of a political future without youth involvement.
“There should be some people in their 20s [in Parliament], because we pass bills on pension changes unanimously and we don’t talk about post-secondary education and unemployment. These issues are dead in the House of Commons,” Leslie said.
Following Leslie’s presentation, Emily Smith van Beek told the Dalhousie Gazette that political neglect of young people will eventually cause the system to crumble. She also added that universities are ripe for mobilization because of how fast word can spread.
While there’s still much to be said about promoting ideas students can get excited about it, it’s clear there is so much more politicians could be doing to engage young voters. And the ability to engage this Everest of demographics has valuable benefits for those who can successfully harness it.
“One’s title…says very little about how well one’s life has been led,” says pres
U.S. President Barack Obama didn’t shy away from the “snub” by Arizona State University officials who said he hadn’t accomplished enough yet to deserve an honorary degree.
In a commencement speech Wednesday to a stadium full of young graduates, he said the officials were right.
“I come here not to dispute the suggestion that I haven’t yet achieved enough in my life,” Obama said. With a smile he added: “First of all, (first lady) Michelle (Obama) concurs with that assessment. She has a long list of things that I have not yet done waiting for me when I get home.”
“But more than that I come to embrace the notion that I haven’t done enough in my life. I heartily concur,” the president said. “I come to affirm that one’s title, even a title like ‘president of the United States,’ says very little about how well one’s life has been led.”
Obama challenged the graduating class to find new sources of energy, to improve failing schools and never to rely on past achievement. While he congratulated them on earning a degree, Obama told them that the next steps mattered more than a piece of paper or tassel.
“I want to say to you today, graduates, class of 2009, that despite having achieved a remarkable milestone in your life – despite the fact that you and your families are so rightfully proud – you, too, cannot rest on your laurels. … Your own body of work is also yet to come,” the president said, wearing a black gown with red embellishments.
Guests who deliver commencement addresses typically are awarded honorary degrees as a sign of respect and appreciation. Arizona State University officials, however, did not award any honorary degrees this year.
“His body of work is yet to come. That’s why we’re not recognizing him with a degree at the beginning of his presidency,” university spokeswoman Sharon Keeler said shortly after the school’s student newspaper first reported the decision.
To quell the controversy, the university instead renamed a scholarship for the 44th president of the U.S. At the beginning of his remarks, Obama thanked the school for the gesture.
- The Canadian Press
More than 350,000 sign petition asking university to rescind invitation
A campaign by outraged Roman Catholics to keep U.S. President Barack Obama from delivering the commencement address at Notre Dame shows that the gulf between the church and backers of abortion rights remains deep.
Yet the effort to get the school to rescind its invitation to Obama also highlights a political disconnect between the conservative Catholic hierarchy and millions of U.S. Catholic voters.
Since the White House announced in March that Obama had accepted Notre Dame’s invitation to speak May 17, more than 353,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that the university take back the offer. The Cardinal Newman Society, an advocacy group for Catholic colleges that circulated the position, said the invitation violated a 2004 bishops’ mandate that stated, “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honour those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”
Catholic activists and bishops have been outspoken in their criticism of Obama. By comparison, they had only occasional disagreements with President George W. Bush, primarily over the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which the Vatican condemned but many conservative Catholics supported.
They cite his support for abortion rights and embryonic stem cell research, and his repeal of a policy that denied federal dollars to international relief organizations that provide abortions or abortion-related information. They remain angry with Obama’s support for legislation that would prohibit state and local governments from interfering with a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.
Obama also has been criticized by Catholics and other opponents of legal abortion for telling Pastor Rick Warren at a campaign forum last summer that the question of when life begins was “above my pay grade.”
Yet polling and other evidence shows that Catholic voters have a largely positive view of the president, closely tracking other national polling. Obama’s standing is more evidence that U.S. Catholics don’t always follow the church hierarchy, whether on issues such as abortion and contraception or political preferences. Also, the president’s community service background and his opposition to the Iraq war appeal to some Catholics.
As a candidate, Obama worked hard to woo Catholic voters. He chose an observant Catholic, Joe Biden, as his running mate, and Biden campaigned hard for the ticket in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, which have large Catholic communities. But Biden also supports abortion rights, putting him at odds with the bishops and many conservative Catholics.
Obama is also widely popular among Hispanics, a fast-growing growing Catholic population in the U.S.
Regan Sarmatiuk, who was editor of the Manitoban in 2005-06 and is a permanent fixture on my resume, was denied entry into the United States on Sunday because she was heading to Minnesota to volunteer for Barack Obama. The Winnipeg Free Press picked up the story: On Sunday, Sarmatiuk, 28, was on her way to [...]
Regan Sarmatiuk, who was editor of the Manitoban in 2005-06 and is a permanent fixture on my resume, was denied entry into the United States on Sunday because she was heading to Minnesota to volunteer for Barack Obama. The Winnipeg Free Press picked up the story:
On Sunday, Sarmatiuk, 28, was on her way to Thief River Falls to help get out the vote. Instead of witnessing history, the Winnipegger was sent back home.”It was upsetting,” she said. “I felt like I was being accused of something. I don’t have a criminal record. There’s no reason not to let me in. I felt very unwelcome.” At the Highway 59 border crossing at Lancaster, Minn., the U.S. border officer was stumped when she told him she was going down the road to volunteer on election day.