Outbreak: The Need for a Stronger U.S. Biodefense

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed at least 50 million people worldwide. In 2014, there was an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that killed about 11,000 people in less than three years. In the United States, we seem to have a cultural fascination with infectious diseases. Box office hits like “Contagion” and “Outbreak” evidence the hold they have on our collective imagination.

Read More

High Fashion and "Class Appropriation": How Much is Too Much?

While shopping in Boston over fall break, I stepped into The Frye Company and wandered around the high-end footwear store looking at various men’s boots. Stopping at a pair labeled “Prison Boot,” I could not help noticing the price. They were $378.00. I put them back and continued browsing. The next pair I found was called “The Union Worker Boot”—priced at $298.00. The irony was not lost on me. There is little chance that Frye sells these boots to their namesakes. It markets them to a wealthy clientele.

Read More

The Flint Water Crisis as a Means of Self-Promotion

In 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan started using the Flint River as its main source of water. The pipes, however, contaminated the water with lead. This caused a national outcry. The governor declared a state of emergency and health officials told residents to stop drinking, bathing in, or in any way using the contaminated water. Instead, Water Resource Centers distributed bottled water to the residents until they received individual water filters. As of today, the pipes are still not fixed. On the other hand, lead levels in the water are below the Environmental Protection Agency’s “action level” of 15 parts per billion and the pipes are in the process of being repaired. According to several studies, the water is now safe.

Read More

A Dynamic Conversation Between Rices

In last week’s “Common Ground” dialogue, Condoleezza Rice and Susan Rice disagreed on relations with Iran, but both said their parents instilled the need to be twice as good as everyone else in order to succeed. There was no comparison between the Common Ground event last fall, featuring Karl Rove and David Axelrod, and this one. The international affairs experts were not afraid to speak their minds, and that dynamic made their discussion interesting and engaging.

Read More

A Country Divided

The United States has never seen a more politically divided climate. With candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, voters have taken sides and have continued to deepen their political stances.
In addition, social media platforms have allowed more connection among like-minded individuals. These echo chambers create an atmosphere lacking political discourse. Increasingly, people don’t have to interact with those of differing opinions, which tends to create two sides who do not want to interact. These differences appear to affect everyday life as well, with more people saying they simply can’t stand to speak with those who, for example, support a rival candidate.

Read More