It’s Friday November 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1895, German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen became the first person to observe X-rays. X-rays are electromagnetic energy waves that act like light rays, but at wavelengths almost 1,000 times shorter. Upon their discovery, X-rays allowed doctors to see inside the human body for the first time without surgery. We here at Upside Downtrodden feel a special kinship with X-rays. We, too, possess the ability to see through humans. Read more
Two weeks into my sophomore year in university I decided to meet up with an old friend from freshman year. She was a Muslim from Kuwait and a very interesting person to talk to considering her background. We were discussing various topics and came across the theory of evolution since she was now taking the same biology class as the one I had taken during my freshman year. She is very much into science so I decided to ask her opinion on the theory of evolution. Her response wasn’t very positive. I first I was surprised, but then I remembered I had learned the previous year that the Muslim world frowns upon the idea of evolution. I also learned that teaching evolution in the Middle East varies by state and is usually combined with creationist beliefs for the explanation of the origin of the universe. I am fan of evolution, but the conversation reminded me just how the Arab world is similar to the USA since there is a problem here with teaching evolution and God in public schools. Questions arise asking whether God should be taught alongside evolution, should we even teach evolution to our children, or does God even belong inside the classroom? Read more
1. Syria remained subject to a bloody turmoil for over two years in 21st Century which promised highest civilization in the history of our planet. Over a hundred thousand innocent fellow humans killed and over a million Syrian citizens displaced. United Nations remained a silent spectator throughout the Syrian’s massacre and so are all the Global Heads of the States “The Hon’able Members of UNO”. What a tremendous conspiracy against an elected government and UN recognized sovereign state. Who financed, armed and patronized the Opposition Party of Syria! Who is a threat to Syrian’s integrity and their solidarity! Who promoted Civil War in Syria! Who will own & justify the innocuous blood of one hundred thousand Syrians! Read more
I recently had a conversation with an Australian student in which neither of us knew what the other was saying. We were both speaking English, but it was probably the most unproductive conversation you can imagine.
We were ostensibly discussing the merits of the liberal commitment to supporting the welfare state. It was one of those moments I was looking forward to while signing up for the Duke in Oxford program; here was my chance, I thought, to attain enlightenment in an oak paneled room while discussing a subject whose pretension matched that of my environment. And with a foreigner!
But it was not to be. I became increasingly confused because he said there was no commitment at all – liberals are only concerned with supporting the free market. I tried explaining that liberals generally favor expanding the welfare state and otherwise checking the unregulated market. After several minutes of fruitless efforts we decided to change the subject. Read more
Popular topics for political discussions all revolve the question of choice. People are happier when given more options in their decision making but laws still have to be set in order to prevent people from harming each other. The price, however, of living in a nation that allows the beliefs of different cultures and religions to exist is that we often have clashes over what we believe is best and lawful for our citizens. Recently, my home state of Texas signed into law a bill that prevents a woman from having an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Whenever I was asked the question whether I approve of that law my only response was “I don’t know.” Unfortunately, my response when it comes to whether abortion should be legal or not is still being formed. Read more
In the last few weeks there has been a great deal of debate and controversy over the possibility of retaliatory strikes by the US in Syria. Both sides of the debate have some excellent points, and both sides have some points that are far from realistic appraisals of the situation. But this comment is not about the weaknesses or strengths of either side of the debate. Instead, I would like to offer a short statement as to why I am somewhat puzzled as to the rancor on the entire political debacle. Read more
With the talks already ongoing to try and avert a government shutdown in the face of another debt ceiling crisis, I have decided to look at the broader question of whether it is genuinely possible to have an actual dialogue, on any subject, given the current political atmosphere. The first item in this conversation is to determine what dialogue actually is. Despite many different definitions that come to mind, and a lot of searching, I have happened upon a quote that seems to make the most sense. In the book On Heaven and Earth then Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, in his introduction has this to say on the idea of dialogue:
"Dialogue is born of a respectful attitude toward the other person, from a conviction that the other person has something good to say. It supposes that we can make room in our heart for their point of view, their opinion and their proposals. Dialogue entails a warm reception and not a preemptive condemnation. To dialogue, one must know how to lower the defenses, to open the door to one's home and to offer warmth. Read more
The old saying goes: It's important to keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Keeping this in mind, a few weeks ago I joined a Tea Party community undercover. I rarely post there, I'm too afraid too, what I've found is that they're a suspicious bunch and if I don't agree with their beliefs, I'd be labeled a "troll" and possibly get myself banned. Well, I am a troll, but just a "lurking troll"... like I said, I rarely post and when I do, I make sure that it's something I've come across on the site and share it... Staying undercover by blending in.
Can I say that the Tea Party scare the crap out of me?! I've learned several things about them. Most, not all, but most of them are religious fanatics. Quite a few of them home school their kids and college?... forget that, they feel that school and college introduce liberal ideas to their children. The irony in all of this is their poor use of grammar and spelling mistakes. Be prepared to be become dumb if they ever gain control. Read more
Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of chatter about the Congressional sequester cuts going through and shock from some that we have reached this point. This astonishment is somewhat warranted given that Congress and the White House reached a deal to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff in January, and then voted to raise the debt ceiling for a three month time period. So why has there been no deal or at a minimum a punt? Let’s look back a bit.
In the aftermath of the fiscal cliff deal, both parties began setting the stage for the next parts of these fiscal negotiations: the sequester, the debt ceiling, and the budget. Each party is convinced that they have leverage in this fight and that the other party will be forced to come to them. Of course it is impossible for both sides to be correct. Time will tell who ends up with the upper hand, but with all of these challenges that need to be addressed, it is useful to look at the preferences of the White House, Congressional Republicans, and Senate Democrats.
By comparing the preferences of the various groups, the likely outcomes of the three fiscal issues become readily apparent: Read more
"The truest characters of ignorance are vanity and pride and arrogance." --Samuel Butler
Rush Limbaugh has been spouting bile unchecked for many years, but the reaction to his obscene tirades against Sandra Fluke in February of 2012 set off an unprecedented grass roots movement which nears its one year anniversary with no signs of slowing. What has come to be known as StopRush serves both to educate often unwitting advertisers of the show about Limbaugh's hateful rhetoric and to offer consumers the opportunity to make informed decisions about where to spend their money. Read more
The supporters of Barack Obama and most members of the Democratic Party want our president to lay Mitt Romney out — not literally speaking of course. Most of us I am sure agree that his last performance was a little lackadaisical, even us die-hard Obama fans thought so, which I am.
I would simply like to see this debate be more about character, so viewers can understand what really is behind that smile and that look of concern on Romney’s face. It is a shame that so many voters seem not to understand who Mitt Romney really is, but this debate will give President Obama a chance to do just that.
As far as the president’s character, we all have witnessed that over the last four years and we all can make our own assessment about that at the polls. Mitt Romney on the other hand, people are just now really getting to know him and they have only seen what was well prepared beforehand. Now it is time to reveal the real Mitt Romney. Read more
Extremism: The holding of extreme political or religious views or the taking of extreme actions on the basis of those views. (Encarta Dictionary)
There are various types of extremist, in every country on the globe. Every society has their kooks, you might say. As far as I’m concerned, anyone or any group has a right to believe however they wish to believe when it comes to religion or politics, as long as they don’t try forcing those beliefs on me or the rest of the populace.
The problem with some extremist though, just having their own differences with the rest of society is not enough, they must also work to see that the rest of us either believe the way they do or at least are forced to accept laws and edicts they would have us to follow. Read more
I know quite a number of Pakistanis being a student at Ohio Wesleyan. Not all of them care that much for politics. But of the few who do, there is a general sentiment that Chinese is the new language of the global market.
As the US continues to fall in the respect of Pakistanis, China continues to rise. The two have been on friendly terms since Pakistan gained independence, as it was one of the first countries to recognize the PRC’s right to Taiwan. They have close economic ties, with China even pitching in to boost the Pakistani economy. More importantly, China is the Asian representative with Security Council veto, and is therefore the counterweight to “US imperial interests.” Read more
As my parents were divorced since I was two, my dad would pick both me and my younger brother up from my mom and take us every other weekend. He had a super Nintendo with two games that my brother and I spent our lives with: Mario and Duck Hunt. When I was in the first grade, he purchased a Playstation and bought Cabela’s Greatest Hunts. And then, when I was about nine, he bought both me and my brother our own BB guns, which we used outback to shoot birds and pop cans. Every time we went outback we would have to pass by my dad’s gun cabinet, which had five or six different guns. Read more
There is a rather disconcerting idea touted by so-called progressives on the order of: Islamophobia is on the rise in the West: most particularly in Europe and the United Sates. The idea itself presupposes that there is such a phenomenon as Islamophobia and that it is some nefarious and specious contaminant in our cultures and, that if left unchecked, would see the unrelenting evisceration of the dignity of Muslim peoples. Read more