How the presidential candidates weigh in


Chelsea Ratterman

Editor In Chief 

How the presidential candidates weigh in

Now that we have passed the convention stage, the candidates will be out in full force campaigning. The question most often asked is, how do they line up against each other? How they answer this question may be the deciding factor come November 6.

Graphic courtesy of MCT Campus.

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Pro Choice by principle

Chelsea Ratterman

Editor in Chief

Pro Choice by principle

The GOP has attempted to draw in women voters, to close the gender gap that pushed President Obama to the 2008 win, but their recently reaffirmed views on women might make that gap grow even more.

The platform the GOP approved calls for a constitutional amendment called the “Human Life Amendment” that gives legal status to the unborn, with no-exception for rape in the abortion stance and a measure that opposed FDA approval of drugs like RU-486, which has been used in medical abortions.

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Students to feel tuitions pinch

Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor

It was recently announced that the interest rate on Stafford student loans could be expected to double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent come July 1 with the expiration of a 2007 bill, unless action is taken. This could result in nearly $1,000 being added to payments of those receiving financial aid.
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By 15th Street News Posted in News Tagged - Oklahoma State Board of Regents, , double, , hike, july, , , stafford loans, state board of regents, , thousand dollars, Tuition

Fallin snubs presidential visit

Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor

Over spring break, Oklahoma had a very high profile visitor. President Barack Obama came to the state to address the Keystone XL Pipeline extension. The Pipeline would go through Cushing on its way from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

The pipeline has been a topic of contention for Congress and the White House since the beginning of the year. When payroll tax cuts made their way through Congress, and as a stipulation for renewal of the tax cuts, Republicans insisted that the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline be passed as well. The Obama administration announced in January that they would halt the project due to the “ rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans [that] prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” President Obama said in a statement.

On March 22, the president announced in Cushing that he was expediting the permit for TransCanada to build the southern portion of the pipeline. This turnabout in policy may have been prompted from the harsh criticism he faced from Congressional Republicans and governors, including Oklahoma’s own Gov. Mary Fallin.
Mayor Mick Cornett of OKC and Mayor Jack Fry of Midwest City were on hand to greet President Obama along with Tinker officials. Come that night, the question on many Oklahomans’ minds was, where was Gov. Fallin, or any other high-ranking Oklahoma official? There were no state officials there to greet Obama as he arrived at Tinker Air Force Base. Many did have reasons as to why they did not attend, some citing the lack of notice as to why they were unavailable, but such is the nature of presidential travel. Many saw this as an intentional snub by the governor, who they believed to be placing political ideology over respect for the Executive Office of the President. A statement released by the governor’s office later revealed she was in Puerto Rico for a family vacation.

State Representative Mike Shelton responded to Fallin’s comments on Obama’s decision to expedite the permit.
“For the governor and most major state officials to skip President Obama’s visit is insulting to the president and an embarrassment to the state… While the governor did not have time to meet or even greet the president, she did have time to issue press releases attacking him… Today, Oklahomans looked good on energy, but poor on leadership,” he said in a statement released March 22.

With a past of high tension between the two, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer shared an intense exchange in January on a Phoenix runway with the President when he visited her state. Even when they do not agree with their policies, it is seen as a duty of the governor to greet the president and other high -ranking federal officials when they come to the state.

By 15th Street News Posted in News Tagged democrat, governor, mary fallin, mike Shelton, , payroll, , representative, Republican, snub, tax cuts

Manners matter even for the governor

By:Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor

Recently, President Barack Obama visited Oklahoma, and to the dismay of many of the state’s population, Oklahoma’s most important elected official, Gov. Mary Fallin, was not there to meet him. Her past remarks have shown certain displeasure with our president. Many believe that this may have been a deliberate snub to our nation’s MVP. If this is true, this shows an extreme lack of respect for an office that should demand the most respect of any.

In a time when many are disillusioned with the government and its leaders, there are still the few who get excited at the simple prospect of a sitting president being in eyeshot, and that is how it should be. They still recognize the prestige and respect the office demands as being the one representative of the American people.

Respect has been lost in the last few decades for the Executive Office of the President. Political views, affiliations, or religious choice should be set aside, especially in matters of state and the duties required. On the campaign trail, candidates running for office are spouting venom at the president for his choices, lack of progress, and just overall demeanor while in office. In each of Gov. Fallin’s press releases or speeches concerning the president she has been nothing but vile in tone.

“I hope that while President Obama is in Oklahoma he takes some time to listen to our citizens, many of whom work for the energy industry which he claims to support,” Gov. Fallin said, in a press release following the announcement of President Obama’s visit. She goes on to accuse him and his party of a supporting an “aggressively anti-energy agenda,” despite the Obama administration’s push for cleaner energy that would decrease our dependence on oil itself.

These practices are unacceptable. There are respectful ways of expressing displeasure in the choices of those who direct our country, and the members of Congress and governors do not seem to grasp this. Sarcasm, accusation and hostility in press release and speech form do nothing but rile the opposition to a similar reaction, which leads to the round robin the U.S. has been experiencing for years now. We need to return to a time where the Executive Office of the President, and other elected officials, still commanded their due respect. Twenty years ago elected officials would not have had the gall to speak in the tones they do now. It is not a matter of freedom of speech, but a matter of manners.

Kony 2012 ignites armchair activism

By: Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor
Activism has always been a part of human nature. Whether righting a wrong, helping someone or raising money for a worthwhile cause, there is always something for those who want to be involved. By definition, “activism” is the intentional effort to promote, impede or direct change, and comes in many forms ranging from letters written to Congress members to rallies and marches. Then, there is the trend of “bandwagon activism” or being apart of something simply because it’s big and cool, and “armchair activism,” or being a part of a cause strictly through technological means. 
One recent example is the “Kony 2012” campaign, to make Joseph Kony, a name already infamous in many parts of the world, well-known in order to raise awareness to the cause. The surge of interest was a result of a 30 minute YouTube video released by the non-profit organization Invisible Children on the problem in Uganda. Joseph Kony began his reign of terror in Uganda in 1986, which resulted in the enslavement of over 66,000 children, who became sex slaves or soldiers in the Lords Resistance Army, and the displacement of over 2 million people. In 2005, he was indicted on charges of war crimes by the International Crimes Council, but has evaded capture. From the United States, in 2008 President Bush signed a directive to provide assistance to Uganda, in 2010 President Obama signed a bill that made it American policy to capture or kill Kony, and in 2011, Obama signed another measure that deployed 100 special forces to the area.

Obama’s education experiment

By: Logan Pierce, editor-in-chief

Community colleges play a pivotal role in President Obama’s plan to produce a new wave of highly skilled American workers.

Friends in high places

One of the most outspoken proponents for community colleges in the Obama White House is Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife. In 2007, Biden earned a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware. While newspapers generally use the honorific title of “Dr.” only for individual with a medical degree, Biden prefers to be addressed as “Dr. Jill Biden” in news releases and press announcements.

Biden’s connection to community colleges is her job as an educator. From 1993 to 2008, she was an English and writing instructor at Delaware Technical and Community College. Since 2009, she has been a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College.

Obama and Biden were both present for the first ever White House Summit on Community Colleges, held Oct. 5, 2010. An ambitious goal was promoted there, which would call for an additional 5 million graduates from community colleges by the year 2020.

Beyond the Pell

Since then, plans have been put in motion. $2 billion have already been spent on competitive grants to reform community colleges. Obama also doubled the available funding for Pell Grants in an attempt to make college more affordable.

Forty years ago, America had the world’s highest rate of college graduates. Today, the U.S. has fallen to 15th place, while the graduation rates of other nations continues to rise.

To the Obama White House, community colleges are more than an education issue; they’re also an economic issue. Jobs remain scarce with an 8.3 percent unemployment rate, which increases to more than 12 percent when including people who have stopped looking for work.

The U.S. economy would need an additional 20 million jobs before being able to provide full employment. In spite of job scarcity, Obama is focusing on increasing the number of community college graduates, citing that having a two-year degree is better than no degree at all.

Working with what you have

“We want to make it easier to connect students looking for jobs with businesses looking to hire,” Obama said at a White House event, “We want to help community colleges and employers create programs that match curricula in the classroom with the needs of the boardrooms.”

Providing means for fiscally strapped students is not a new trend for Obama. Part of the 2009 stimulus bill included $3.5 billion in Pell Grants aimed at helping deserving community college students, with an additional billion spent on workforce training programs at community colleges.

By 15th Street News Posted in News Tagged , , Dr. Jill Biden, community college, University of Delaware, Delaware Technical and Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, Pell Grants, Pell Grants, unemployment rate, stimulus bill, stimulus bill

Feud in U.S. Capitol continues over Keystone Pipeline

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

Oil drips silently in the Capitol while the President and Congress debate over Keystone XL Pipeline.

Contentious politicians at it again 

The leaders of the country are once again butting heads.  This time though it’s over the future of America’s foreign oil dependency.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is to be America’s hope for oil independence; at least that’s how Republicans would like to portray the topic.

Would the pipeline really create more long term employment

Yes, the pipeline would create more jobs, help America develop its own oil industry, and boost the economy of the nation.  Yet President Obama is not willing to sign off on the project just yet.

With America consuming millions of barrels of oil a day, it is perhaps vital that new sources of oil and energy

source:Trans Canada Corp National Resources defence Council, MCT Campus

be found to both meet and sustain future needs.
So what is the problem with building a new pipeline?  Politics.  Both the President and Congress have their own initiatives in mind for what to do with the pipeline.  Republicans in the congressional halls are flapping their jaws about how this project will create more jobs, while the President is worried about his tax cut initiative being added to legislation to allow those who receive jobs and those who give jobs to receive some form of reward.

However, in the meantime who is all this debating really helping? It’s certainly not for the taxpayers who give their trust and money so that these projects can be established.  For the betterment of the nation, people across the nation need to pull together and stop the infighting in the congressional halls.

By 15th Street News Posted in News Tagged , jobs, Keystone XL Pipeline, , Oil independence, Republicans

Obama addresses trade enforcement, energy and education

The State of the Union is an annual address given by the President to Congress. It is an opportunity for the President to outline his agenda for the year, as well as give the condition of the country. The address is required of the President based upon Article II, Section 3 in the United States Constitution which states that “He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The tradition of formally addressing the Congress was discontinued by Thomas Jefferson, who sent formal missives, but was reestablished by Woodrow Wilson.

President Obama delivered his third State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, January 24. He made many points throughout the speech, some with applause and some with loud boos from the audience. Obama touched on many of the issues facing our country in the past years, and those we will be facing in the future.

Special guests who were invited to sit in the First Lady’s box at the address included Steve Jobs widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Warren Buffett’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek. She was in attendance as a result of the tax debate and billionaire Buffet’s complaint that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. The guest list for the State of the Union has become a sort of ritual, with the list often reflecting the themes of the address.

One highlight of the speech came when Obama revealed that an EPA regulation from over 40 years ago, which regulated dairy farms at the same level as petroleum and forced dairy farmers to spend money to prove they were capable of containing a milk spill, that had been eliminated. “With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk,” Obama said.

Obama called for the implementation of the “Buffett rule,” where if a person makes over $1 million annually, they should be taxed at a rate no less than 30 percent. Sen. Tom Coburn was referenced in this part of the speech on the opinion that Washington needs to stop subsidizing millionaires and offering them tax deductions.

Jobs were a big topic for this address. The President called for the country to help train Americans in skills that will lead directly to jobs. Obama wants to give community colleges the resources they need to be community career centers to teach skills that are in high demand.

One major announcement that Obama made was the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit. The unit was formed to investigate unfair trade practices in countries around the world, with inspections of goods crossing the border in order for counterfeit and unsafe goods from entering the country.

Another unit was announced, this time being for the financial sector. The Financial Crimes Unit would serve to crack down on fraud, and implement penalties for a fraud count. This is to help protect people’s investments and the institutions following the laws.

A third unit in the works is for the protection of homeowners against abusive lending and packaging of mortgages. It would also help get assistance to homeowners, as well as a plan to help them save up to $3,000 a year on their mortgage.

In relation to schools around the country, Obama requested that the mandatory school age be upped to 18 or until graduation. He called for Congress to prevent the hike in student loan interest in July, when they are expected to double, as well as an extension of the tuition tax credit and an increase in the number of work-study jobs.

In the wake of the rejection of Keystone XL pipeline, Obama introduced the clean energy initiative announcing that the department of the Navy will make a large renewable energy purchase of one gigawatt and requesting the Department of the Interior to permit for 10 gigawatts of renewable projects by the end of the year, enough to power nearly three million homes.

The 2012 State of the Union was followed by The Republican Response, which was delivered by Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels.

Overreaching pump stump speech

With the political upheaval in Libya, speculators are predicting the price of oil to keep dropping. Even with that news, many Americans continue to feel the pain at the pump.
Oklahoma’s gas prices since August of 2009 have gone from an average of $2.60 a gallon to the current price of roughly $3.51 a gallon.
America’s rising cost of gas is still rivaled by most Europeans, including the British, the Irish, the Germans, the Italians and the French, who pay somewhere between $7.50 and $8 per gallon, according to the International Energy Administration.
On January 17, 2008, Obama told The San Francisco Chronicle he opposes coal-fired plants, which supply half of the nation’s electricity needs.
“If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can,” Obama said, “It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
It may be important to invest in the energy of tomorrow, the fact is, we cannot get to that point without addressing the current energy crisis. We must take steps to ensure our nation is not held hostage to the prices set by the Middle East.
That means we need to look for sources of oil in Alaska. We shouldn’t abandon coal. America is to coal reserves what the Middle East is to oil. It’s not productive to discourage companies from utilizing this abundant natural resource. We need to accelerate technology that burns coal in a cleaner way because it is an abundant energy source in our country.
Over the long run, I believe we need to develop and implement new alternative energy sources and technologies; but for the short term, let’s work with what we have.

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial Tagged Alternative energy, Coal plants, Gas prices,