The Wrap-Up encompasses highlights AND links back to your favourite featured articles.

The Cost of Grad School and Why Students are Rising in Numbers

It’s no secret that the cost of an undergraduate degree has continued to steadily climb in recent years. An undergraduate is considered the “minimum” for many white-collar jobs, so most students don’t look further. This growing cost has driven undergraduates to seek new avenues of improving their lifetime earnings, even though number of graduate degrees awarded has doubled since the 1980’s.… [Read more]

Ironic Nationalism at the Drive-Thru

What kind of message appeals to both the intellectual progressive and the intransigent conservative with equal zeal?

Getting both self-serious parties to buy such a concept is a precarious prospect—one that even the most experienced politicians have tapped a formula to exploit. It is only fitting, then, that the answer comes in the form of America’s most important export: fast food.… [Read more]

To Hell in a Left Hand Basket

Last night I was talking with someone who has an active mind that I very much respect. I always enjoy our discussions whether about politics, sports or women. Politically we are polar opposites, but we share passions and, at the end of the day, we share many concerns. This was not an angry or contentious discussion by any means but, toward the end, I realized, perhaps for the first time, that our views of the state of America are as opposed as our solutions.… [Read more]

Dangerous Thinking Towards the LGBT Community

Former and possibly future presidential candidate Rick Perry touched off a firestorm of criticism last week when he compared homosexuality to alcoholism. Even though it does seem a little click-baity to suggest Perry meant homosexuality is exactly like a debilitating, family destroying disease, what he actually said after he was asked if he believed homosexuality was a disorder or not isn’t much better than what the headlines suggest.… [Read more]

Pinocchio’s Nose

This morning I heard 3 commercials for 3 different Republican candidates and they all said a variation of the same thing:  “I will protect your freedoms from the encroachment of growing government.”

Great line. Who wouldn’t want that? It resonates and there is a lot of evidence of that “growing government” by which to give the statement credibility.… [Read more]

Privatization of the U.S. Prison System

The prison industry is one of the most rapidly growing industries in the United States. The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr., but reached a peak in 1990 under President William Clinton.

The private prison industry is the business in which inmates are handed over to for-profit prisons under a convict lease system.… [Read more]

Eastern Ukraine’s New Reality

Will President Vladimir Putin stop at Crimea? While it appeared that the Russian leader was ready to accept a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine, with civil unrest still pervasive in the country coupled with knowledge of Russian history and Putin himself, it appears that the answer to that question is a resounding “no.”

Some Background

After centuries of being ruled and divided by a variety of different entities, it wasn’t until 1991 that Ukraine became an independent country.… [Read more]

E-Gadgets to Keep Your Home Green and Lean

It’s one of the most exciting and deeply satisfying milestones of anyone’s life: buying that first home. It’s that feeling of coming home to a piece of land, plus some concrete, wood, and nails, and knowing that you’re in your own little piece of heaven. Our generation is probably one of the most environmentally-conscious ever, so before you take out that housing loan, you’ll want to see these gadgets that can help your house stay green.… [Read more]

When’s the Water Safe to Drink? What WV Officials are Saying About Conditions

After coal processing company Freedom Industries accidentally spilled chemicals into the Elk River, on January 9th, officials in West Virginia banned residents in several cities from using tap water for anything other than flushing toilets.

Officials lifted their tap water ban ten days after the spill; however, more than a month later, residents still have justifiable concerns.… [Read more]

Benefits of a Public Healthcare System

Public health and the availability of healthcare services have become increasingly prominent issues in recent years. In the US, the controversial debate regarding the possible establishment of a public healthcare system has sparked many to revaluate their opinions towards public healthcare.

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How public healthcare works

The fundamental principle behind a public healthcare system is that the tax payments which individuals make to the State will be allocated towards the payment of their healthcare.… [Read more]

Poverty and Student Achievement

“If you think education’s expensive, wait ’til you see how much ignorance costs.”

These were the words of President Barack Obama this past Friday  in Brooklyn, New York, at a local high school where he addressed students and faculty of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School, a joint venture between IBM and the NYC Public School System.… [Read more]

Where Do We Go From Here?

During this past week the debt ceiling was raised and a government shutdown was ended after 16 days of political rhetoric and hand-wringing. The attempt by the radical right wing of the Republican Party to defund the Obama administration’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was a complete failure. The Tea Party Caucus of the minority party held the federal government hostage over this one issue — at least initially — and they walked away with nothing and at the end of the day.… [Read more]

Collateral Damage

As a result of their attempt to block the Affordable Care Act, the American people have become collateral damage in the latest Republican assault on the Presidency of Barack Obama. They have shutdown the federal government with smiles and glee in their heart — knowing, but not caring about the ramifications of such actions. Just as Robert E.… [Read more]

Into the Wayback Machine to 1000 CE

Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas) stated that harnessing wind power will make the earth hotter because it will make the wind slow down. This is not the first time members of the Grand Ole Party have made absolutely astonishing statements when it come to science. The Party of No is the party of No because they know nothing.… [Read more]

The Inequality of Public Education

I recently went to a meeting for the school district I work for. At the meeting other teachers and I were told how the district performed on the Tennessee standardized test issued during the prior year. The director of schools and his staff told us about the state of the school system; he revealed data, graphs and other information that each school can use to analyze student performance and focus our sights on raising student achievement for the current year. … [Read more]

Make Them Eat Cake

The US House of Representatives voted to defund  $40 billion dollars from the SNAP program of food assistance for the poorest of the poor. SNAP, better known as the food stamps assistance program, is claimed by some in the House to be a program steeped in fraud.   That’s right — people are stealing a whopping $4.50 a day and some people are getting fat off food stamps, making them lazy.… [Read more]

A Teacher’s Value

After 25 years of teaching in some of the hardest and most challenging schools and situations in all of America, the State of Tennessee has determined my experience and my advance degrees mean nothing. Governor  Bill Haslam and his appointed henchman, Commissioner Huffman, have determined that teachers who have a Doctorate and/or a Masters degree should not get paid for the advanced education.… [Read more]

Look up, move forward…

This week the March on Washington was remembered as the spark that ignited the Voting Rights Act and placed the Civil Rights Movement front and center in the minds of the American people. Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King,  Jr., the most visible African-American leader of his day, exhorted the 250,000 people in attendance and the millions around the country and the world to step forward and demand the same rights and freedoms other people have experienced since the beginning of the Republic.… [Read more]

Conservative ‘Idiocracy’

The other day, a guy I know was complaining about the Obamas going on yet another vacation. When I told him that both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush spent much more time on holiday during the comparable  5-year period in office than President Obama, he told me I must be wrong. I proceeded to show him a graphic indicating the actual number of days George W.… [Read more]

Who They Are

“What if your son is gay?”

Most people just chuckle uncomfortably when my son tells them about his love of princesses and tiaras and all things “fancy”. But some rude people actually ask me this question outright. What if your son is gay?

Usually I just shrug my shoulders and say, “then he is.”

But the answer isn’t really that simple, is it?… [Read more]