By Kristina Saliba, Staff Writer
One thing I never thought I would share with the President of the United States? We both Vine. That’s right America; your President was recently featured in his very own Vine, a relatively new social media app that let’s you put together short video clips that you film on your smart phone.
According to an article from Yahoo! News, the President’s first Vine features Bill Nye the Science Guy and PBS host LeVar Burton. They are promoting the third annual White House Science Fair, an event that encourages science and celebrates student winners and their projects from all over the country. During this event, Obama goes from exhibit to exhibit examining different scientific and technological experiments and designs. Fortunately for all of us, this leads audiences to the White House’s second Vine post: Mr. President himself skillfully pedaling a stationary bike in his suit and tie, demonstrating the “bike-powered water filtration system”.
This Vine is one step among many that the White House has been taking to immerse itself more fully in social media, which is a great thing to see. It takes our President down from the heightened position he has. Vine makes him seem far more approachable, more like a regular guy who also rides stationary bikes on the White House lawn to filter water.
I would personally love to see more Vine videos to get a glimpse at the daily activities and events our President and the White House partake in. The Vine of our President on a bike is just another example of how social media has made our world smaller, bringing people closer to each other for better or worse. The White House also has a Twitter that let’s us know what’s going on up there on Capital Hill. Hopefully they keep it up.
By Amira Francis, Staff Writer
Let’s focus on something a little less formal and a little more fun that has to do with this election season: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s Tumblr accounts. These gems (really, gems) reveal a bit about their campaigning styles outside of mainstream media.
Scrolling through President Barack Obama’s campaign Tumblr is like browsing through your favorite website on a quiet afternoon of not doing homework. It’s entertaining and easygoing, yet still maintains focus on politics and campaigning. His page will convince you to become addicted to clicking through the continuous stream of well-placed Instagram pictures and humorous videos.
One of the popular videos posted on Obama’s Tumblr is a message from Will Ferrell to you! The voters! Chock full of Will Ferrell’s humor, this video aims to encourage citizens to vote.
Props, Obama. Hilarious, engaging, down-to-earth. Some could describe it as a little desperate but, hey. It’s Will Ferrell. It works.
Other posts are aimed at younger voters.
It seems that Obama’s Tumblr relies on humor more than anything else. Effective? You decide. His campaign also posted an appealing picture of the popular band OK Go. The colors are vibrant and the photo itself is unique and eye-catching, which draws you in to then read that the lead singer of OK Go wrote a Rolling Stone article advocating Obama’s reelection.
Once again, clever play on the part of Obama’s people. Just like the Will Ferrell video, this little Tumblr blurb draws you in and then tries to sway you in Obama’s direction with fame.
In addition to the celebrities and logos, the blog site also has plenty of pictures and comments from Obama supporters around the country. If it were a battle of how many supporter pictures are up, however, presidential candidate Mitt Romney would win.
The page is colorful, heavily-instagram’d and attention-grabbing. Romney’s campaign seems to choose a more direct advertising route than Obama’s. Instead of working in famous figures and delivering a subtle message, Romney plays up special moments and uses his fan base to speak for itself. It is still, however, just as interesting to scroll down.
There are a couple of messages to Romney supporters, including a picture of three women supporters.
My favorite Romney post is a more recent one. It touches a funny bone while still maintaining seriousness and a sense of authority.
It subtly compares changing the president to changing the clock: it’s necessary and unquestionably done consistently. Crafty.
Although each president’s Tumblr uses its own style and flare in campaigning over the web, you have to give both props for adapting to the virtual world. Check out their Tumblr accounts in full for yourself, and decide which one captures your heart!
By Hilary Ribons, Staff Writer
It’s almost election time. And with a few televised political debates under our belts, it’s time to start considering who we are going to vote for.
Though it’s truly entertaining to watch two politicians verbally duke it out, I was left at the end of the debates still seriously wondering what each candidate’s stance was on some key issues.
Even after watching the debate, it’s easy to be confused as to where both presidential candidates really stand. In an effort to fully understand the candidates, I looked up their stances on some key issues and put them side by side for an easy comparison. Most of the information below was pulled from their websites, which are obviously not objective, but still state their stances. The information that I got was my understanding of each candidate’s stance, and hopefully will help you on your way to looking over the policies that the candidates are endorsing.
Remember, we are voting into office the president who will be making decisions that shape the same country that we’re graduating into soon. Hopefully my preliminary research, complete with a few websites I found helpful, will inspire you to vote as a truly informed citizen.
|- Placed a cap on federal student loan repayments at 10 percent of income
- Offer incentives to keep qualified, successful teachers in the classroom
- Allow the states to create their own plans for education reform, instead of abiding by No Child Left Behind
- Offer incentives to public schools by rewarding innovation and reform
- Reformed/expanded post-Sept. 11 G.I. Bill to include more G.I.’s eligible for education benefits.
|- Allow low income and special needs students to decide what school they would like to attend
- Provide incentives for states to increase choices and alternatives for parents
- Make charter and digital schools more effective
- Make report cards public as part of an effort to improve “No Child Left Behind”
- Offer teachers incentives through greater job flexibility and rewards and through cutting down on certification requirements.
- Strengthen and simplify Financial Aid System
|- Double fuel efficiency standards
- Increase natural gas production within the United States
- Open more land for development
- Increase oil production, increase safety measures
- Increase wind and solar energy
- Invest government money in researching clean coal technology
|- Put control of energy within state lines (excluding those that are off-limits by law) into the hands of state government
- Open offshore areas within the United States for energy development and set minimum production targets for these areas
- Pursue a North American Energy partnership with Canada and Mexico
- Attempt to slightly strengthen environmental laws and regulations and “streamline” limitations on “red tape,” or oppositions, surrounding new developments
- Put money into private-sector research and development of new energy technologies
|- Affordable Care Act:
- Prevents insurance companies from putting a cap on coverage, or dropping coverage when you become sick
- Provides those with Medicare free preventative services and lower costs on prescription drugs and monthly premiums
- Stop health insurance companies from charging women more than men for their coverage
|- Putting states in charge of medical insurance and caring for the poor, uninsured and chronically ill
- Promote competition in the healthcare system.
- Cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits
- Allow individuals/small businesses to form purchasing pools
- Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage
- Facilitate IT interoperability
- Allowing people to choose what kind of healthcare plan they want, giving them options and information
|- Those who make more than $1 million a year will pay an equal or higher percentage of their income in taxes than middle- and lower-class citizens
- No plans to cut taxes: money will go to education, manufacturing, infrastructure
- Plans cut discretionary spending
- A plan of spending cuts and revenue increases over the next decade to reduce the national deficit of $4 trillion
|- Twenty percent cut in individual taxes for everyone
- Current tax rates on interest, dividends and capital gains stay the same
- Eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for those who make below $200,000 a year
- Eliminate the Death Tax
- Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
- For corporate taxes: cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, strengthen and make permanent R&D tax credit, switch to territorial tax system, repeal the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax
|- In short, Obama plans to cut unemployment through
- Looks to revive manufacturing
- Looks to eliminate tax breaks for companies that outsource their jobs overseas, create incentives to bring business back to America
- Looks to implement Wall Street reform, keeping Americans from paying to bail out large banks
|- In short, Romney plans to cut unemployment
- Supports free enterprise, hard work, innovation
- Looks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation and government programs
- Looks to increase trade, energy production, human capital and labor flexibility
|- In support
|- Against it
|- Focus on ending wars and building national economy through more investments in industry
|- Put money into improving the military
- Maintain a presence in the Middle East
|- In his first term, Obama upped deportations of undocumented immigrants
- Upped border patrols
- Passed DREAM act, which grants a path to citizenship of children of undocumented immigrants who attended college or served in the military. In 2012, he announced that the Department of Homeland Security would no longer seek to deport young illegal immigrants if they were brought to the U.S. by their parents before 16, and are currently under the age of thirty.
- Focuses on the deportation of criminals
- Proposes plans of a “start-up visa” that allows foreign investors to open businesses in the U.S.
- Backs AgJobs Act, which allows farms to legally hire foreign workers
- Supports reform of H1B visas, vaguely
- Supports path to legalization for estimated 10.8 million undocumented immigrants already in the country
|- Unclear on stance about the deportation of minors
- Does not agree with granting amnesty– wants to keep and enforce legal pathway to citizenship
- Permanent immigration reform by offering those who serve in the military the opportunity to become legal and permanent residents
|- Does not believe abortion should be covered by Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan except in cases of incest, rape or where the life of the woman would be endangered
- Supports the decision of Roe v. Wade
- Disagrees with parental notification
- Supports Planned Parenthood
|- Looks to overturn Roe v. Wade, giving power to chose legality of abortion back to individual states
- Supports Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood
By Tom Ford, Daily Free Press contributor
The third presidential debate, which took place at Lynn University in Florida, was a discussion that, while slated to center around the candidates’ foreign policy platforms, frequently reverted back to a discussion of life at home. Both candidates made it clear that while there are significant threats to our national security from groups like Al-Qaeda, a strong economy will give us a visage of strength and will renew confidence in our capability to lead. Governor Romney continually hammered on the economic “failings” of the past four years, and President Obama emphasized the questionable math in Romney’s tax plans.
As for actual foreign policy issues, the two candidates seemed equally fervent in their views, although Obama often emerged as the more knowledgeable candidate. When the Governor made mention of the decreased number of naval ships, Obama responded with arguably the best line of the night: “Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets.”
In addition to causing an immediate Internet sensation, this comment also serves as a critique of Romney’s foreign policy as a whole. The main criticism from many pundits has been that Romney’s “Tough America” views on such issues as the Syrian civil war and Iran is antiquated; diplomacy is a much more 21st Century solution to our problems. Romney’s stances toward Ahmadinejad tend toward Cold War paranoia at times.
I don’t really like taking sides in political discussions, as it usually leads to me being berated by one side or the other. That being said, I have to say that this third debate, arguably the most important of this cycle, was undeniably an Obama victory. The President had a focus and precision that we’ve arguably yet to see in this election. He made sure to answer the moderator’s questions, and keep the discussion on topic. In addition, he was very clear about what he has done in the past four years, a stark contrast to the Republican emphasis on what he hasn’t done. While Obama’s foreign policy platform has been reduced to “We Killed Osama bin Laden” for the majority of the race, tonight showed us that he has other accomplishments to hang his hat on. The removal of troops from Iraq, the strengthening of our ties to Israel and the implementation of sanctions on Iran are all decisive steps toward ensuring our position as leaders of the free world.
On a lighter note, I’m glad to see that both of the candidates read my blog about the last debate; they were civil, waited their turns to speak and conducted themselves in a manner that is appropriate for the potential next President of the United States. Guys, remember, I’d be more than happy to help out in the future; just give me a call. Barack, I know you already have my number.
By Tom Ford, Daily Free Press Contributor
In the second Presidential debate of 2012, a town hall-format discussion at Hofstra University in New York, a discussion of the economy led Governor Romney to claim that our current economic track is akin to that of the failing European Union. Greece faces an enormous debt crisis, which could inevitably bring down the entire European economy if quick action isn’t taken. That being said, this quote from Romney resonated a bit differently with me.
Greece, arguably, is the birthplace of intellectual debate. The famed philosopher Socrates believed in a method of debate that involved the divulgence of one’s opinion on clearly defined questions. To win such an argument, one not only needed to focus his attention on the matter at hand, but also to present his views in a manner that was conducive to productive discussion. In the time of Socrates and Greece’s Golden Age, a combination of rhetorical skill and decorum was necessary to contending in such a discussion.
Tonight, we witnessed the degradation of the American debate system. In a conversation that centered around important topics such as women’s rights, economic disparity, and the safety of Americans overseas, it was hard not to be distracted by the constant bickering and interruption on the part of both of the candidates. At one point when discussing oil, President Obama and Governor Romney became locked in an exchange where each got five words in at a time, and the American public gained nothing.
There were many points during the debate tonight that had me wondering what the question being answered was. Candidates dodged weaknesses and hammered on the opponent’s views. If I had a dollar for every time that Governor Romney mentioned President Obama’s “failures,” I’d be in a tax bracket that has something to gain from the Romney/Ryan tax plan.
The Barack Obama of 2008 (or even 2004) was a man who instilled hope in young Americans by employing the rhetoric of a Washington outsider. This time around, I find the President embroiled in more than his fair share of petty arguments that, a lot of the time, lack substance. For those of you that disagree, let me ask this: When has the President brought up gay marriage since his revelation of an “evolution” in his stance? When has he gone an entire speech or debate without demonizing Republicans for the failings of our government? He abandons a passionate discussion of his values for the opportunity to throw in a zinger about the 1 percent or Romney’s wealth.
To borrow a phrase from Mr. Obama, let me be clear: we are at a crossroads in this country. We have arguably not seen such an extreme contempt by either party for the other in decades. Both candidates spent more time tonight speaking negatively of the other’s policies than giving us an idea of what to expect in the next four years from their respective administrations.
When we wake up tomorrow morning, it is likely that we will see a wide spread of opinions on how the debate went. The President came out assertive enough tonight to mobilize his base, they will say. The Governor was able to hold his own when dealing about issues that clearly were not to his advantage, they will say.
If you’re a Republican, you’ll be pleased with how Mitt Romney performed tonight. If you’re a Democrat, you’ll be pleased with how Barack Obama performed tonight. If you’re an American, you should be displeased with the tenor of this campaign, and the direction of American politics in this 2012 campaign.
As for me, I’ll be waiting for the bus to Athens.