WVUM 90.5FM | WE ARE THE VOICE | University of Miami

Author Archive

Counterpoint 01/24/14

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | January 24th, 2014 |

The Counterpoint team discusses the GOP’s “war on women” which leads to a broader discussion of if our student activity fees should cover the free condoms offered in the Wellness Center and Health Center at UM.

Counterpoint 01/24/14 by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint 01/17/14

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | January 20th, 2014 |

A Counterpoint alum, Alex Alduncin joins us on the show as we debate news worthy events from the week of 01/13. Features special audio from WVUM News’ Hyan Freitas and Republican correspondent Nicole Marcos interview with Olympia Snowe.

Counterpoint 01/17/14 by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint 11/01: Jackson Hospital Referendum

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | November 1st, 2013 |

This week on Counterpoint, we sat down with UM alumni and law student, Tara Irani about the upcoming referendum to fund upgrades to Jackson Hospital.

Counterpoint 11/01: Jackson Hospital by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint Recap 9/20: Obamacare or Shutdown

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | September 23rd, 2013 |

This week the Counterpoint team debated the politics behind Obamacare and why Washington is constantly in a deadlock. It is apparent on both sides of the aisle that neither is budging. Is it worth it to sacrifice Obamacare in order for the government to keep running? What is the importance of social welfare programs? This discussion even had our two Democratic correspondents debating with each other. Listen to the audio and decide for yourself.

Later this week we will be airing UM President Donna Shalala’s discussion with student media on Obamacare.

Counterpoint 9/20 by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint Recap 09/13: Chartwells Walk-Out

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | September 16th, 2013 |

Last Friday’s show included audio from the Chartwells walk-out protest and Counterpoint’s Jordan Lewis, Mike Kanoff, and William Ng were able to witness. They heard the strikers grievances not just about their own jobs but the greater impact of UM in their community. Most notably, Miss Betty, a favorite at UM after Chartwells dismissed her over a simple misunderstanding was present as well as other community leaders. Miss Betty stressed how the Chartwells workers provide students with delicious meals but many employees cannot even feed their own families. This comment particularly struck me because I realize being able to attend a university is apart of the American dream but the reality is that many cannot afford this opportunity. Betty was grateful that one of her sons was able to attend UM but most people on minimum wage don’t have the means to do so. Our privilege at this university juxtaposed with the unfair wages that the worker whether from Chartwells or UNICO is a reflection of the deep income disparities our country.

So is this just a Chartwells problem or is it a UM problem? It’s both. We do business with Chartwells and expect them to have not just fair business practices but also fair treatment of their workers. UM should pressure Chartwells to do the right thing and increase wages, include healthcare, and cut long hours. Why? It is because UM has a reputation to uphold as well as a high price tag. That in turn, should buy students not just meals but provide decent wages for the workers.

Another one of commentators, Michael Fuentes, made the argument against increasing wages because minimum wage jobs are not meant to be permanent, and that people need to “move up the ladder” in terms of economic status. Some minimum wage workers might have that opportunity, while others do not have a choice. There is little room for economic mobility due to the deregulated financial markets that led up to the economic crisis in 2008. The debate should not be over minimum wages but rather over if a person s being paid fairly for the quality and quantity of work they’re doing. Betty urged UM students and faculty to speak out against the unfair treatment of Chartwells workers. We, the students, are the ones paying for this university, so let’s make a difference not just in UM but also in the community by supporting the Chartwells workers and their push to get a higher pay.

Counterpoint 09/13: Chartwells Strike and Obamacare by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint Recap 08/16: What To Do With Egypt

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | August 18th, 2013 |
Counterpoint's Meg McGee has "the last word" after every new edition of Counterpoint.  After reading her latest recap, hear audio of the discussion she's referencing embedded below the post:

On last Friday’s show, our panelists William Ng, Matt De La Fe, and I discussed the US policy towards Egypt and the regional implications if it becomes a failed state. President Obama’s decision to cancel the semi-annual military exercises came as no surprise, as Egypt’s military is a little pre-occupied right now. However, there was no talk of cutting the $1.3bn in aid just yet. Even though the US talks about its commitment to democracy and human rights, it continues to bankroll countries that have a questionable human rights record.

De Le Fe wanted to draw comparisons between Egypt and Syria AND Iran. I don’t think making generalizations about three different Middle Eastern states is very educated. Egypt and Syria are not the same. In Syria, the military is punishing every Syrian not just a select few. In Egypt, the government crackdown is against the pro-Morsi supporters. Egypt is certainly not Iran, either. Egypt is majority Sunni, Iran (and Syria) are majority Shia. Iran is not a failed state and the revolution in 1979 was against a US-backed shah. Anyone with a history book can figure that out. One similarity I did find between Egypt and Syria is this: they are both backed by superpowers. People complain about Putin supporting the Syrian regime while they commit mass murder but one could argue Obama is doing the same by not cutting aid with Egypt. But I digress.

The US may not have that much influence within Egypt’s internal politics. As IR theorist Stephen Walt stated recently in Foreign Policy Magazine, “Aid to Egypt’s military isn’t buying the United States any leverage and U.S. aid is dwarfed by the funds that the Gulf Arab states are pouring in.” And to those that say Egypt is an “existential threat” to Israel’s security, when the first Egyptian revolution happened, some American military officials feared that with the Muslim Brotherhood in charge in Egypt, they would not uphold the peace treaty with Israel. However, the Muslim Brotherhood had every intention on keeping a close relationship with the US because they received $1.3 billion in aid from them yearly. The Brotherhood’s Islamic politics did not hamper its foreign policy especially towards Israel and the US because of the amount of influence it had.

But now that the Muslim Brotherhood is being ousted from Egyptian politics, the US can’t be sure how far their money will go. My policy recommendation would be to significantly reduce or cut completely the amount of aid Egypt gets. We don’t know how the Egyptian coup will play out, but one thing is for sure: there will be blood. So the US should decide now if they want blood on their hands through the continued support of the military, or do they want to do stay out of another country’s internal politics. (The latter would be a surprise)

 

Below is audio of the discussion on the crisis in Egypt and the options available to the U.S. government.  Counterpoint airs live Fridays at 1p.m. EST

Counterpoint Clip: Clashes in Egypt and Foreign Aid by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint Recap 7/26: The Value of Higher Education

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | July 29th, 2013 |
Counterpoint's Meg McGee has "the last word" after every new edition of Counterpoint.  After reading her latest recap, hear audio of the discussion she's referencing embedded below the post:

On Friday’s show, we covered a slue of topics, the smoking ban on campus, the Miami-Dade county’s decision to take funding out of libraries, Detroit’s bankruptcy, and the passing of a student loan deal in Congress.

Our entire panel agreed that the cost of college/university is skyrocketing and something should be done to change it. However, our topic grew into a larger discussion over if college is valuable in order to succeed. Matt De La Fe, our conservative contributor, argued that college degrees aren’t necessary for success and that there are plenty of jobs one can go into without a degree. While I think this argument is valid (to an extent), it is far from the reality we live in these days. Yes, there are celebrities, athletes, musicians, artists, and other innovative people in our society that make millions of dollars without having finished college. But the chances of that happening to an average Joe are not that high and if nothing else, a Bachelor’s degree is a safety net in case your multi-million dollar idea goes awry.

Everyone knows the economy and job market is bad, especially for young Americans and post-grads. So naturally, having a college degree gives you a slight advantage over someone who only has a high school diploma. The days of skipping out on college are over, there is no Woodstock, there are no protest movements, millennials have to get to work. We have to go to college and college is not cheap. So while there is no one putting a gun to our heads forcing us to take out enormous loans for college, our society leaves us with few other choices. For me, I have to go to school for what I want to do and not just undergrad but grad school and PhD. program. I think a lot of young Americans are taking huge risks by having $100k in loans but it certainly beats the alternative to working at McDonald’s with no degree. A college degree is the new high school diploma.

Until our country is able to get the costs of education down across the board, we will see more students not being able to go to a 4-year institution and instead having a high-unemployment rate for young adults. Though Congress passed this deal, there are still provisions in it to keep interest rates rising on student loans. I think student loan debt is a problem that Wall Street is cashing in on and once the “bubble” explodes, we could see another financial crisis affecting the next generation of Americans.

Below is audio of the discussion on student loans and the value of a college degree.  Counterpoint airs live Fridays at 1p.m. EST

Counterpoint Clip: Student Loans and the Costs of College by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

 

The Constitution, Equality, and Reality

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | June 27th, 2013 | SHOW COMMENT(1)

Disclaimer: As a black American, this piece will specifically focus on my race in particular in regards to the Voting Rights Act of 1964 and Affirmative Action.

I’ve never been interested in the Supreme Court until this year when many historical laws regarding the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and Affirmative Action (AA) have been up for review. These are not just any old laws but historical ones which were crafted as a result of the turbulent Civil Rights Era. A dark spot in American history that we often forget or only acknowledge during the month of February (Black History Month). There are history books, documentaries, Hollywood films, and photos that recorded this era; even people that were witnesses to it. Yet we still find ourselves forgetting the past. Maybe Americans suffer from historical amnesia because we have more people of color as public figures in our society. Our (half) black president, Barack Obama, former UN ambassador, Susan Rice, former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, and even a black justice on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas. It can be argued that they are results of this post-Civil Rights era, when blacks started to share in the same opportunities as whites.

The United States of America does not like to apologize but they like to compensate. It doesn’t matter if they pillaged and stole your land (natives) enslaved you (blacks), put you in labor camps (Japanese), or even blamed you for taking all the jobs (Latinos, Irish, Italians, etc); they are very slow to apologize. The US Senate didn’t issue an apology for the treatment of blacks during slavery and Jim Crow era until 2009. The poor native Americans didn’t get an apology till 2005 and it was only from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Unlike our fellow Japanese Americans who received $20,000 for their treatment in the internment camps, the US never gave us the 40 acres we were promised. The US did at least create laws to make up for their historical “oopsies”. Both VRA and AA are the many ways in which the U.S. government “compensates” for the discrimination of minorities.

The question the U.S. has in 2013 is: haven’t we compensated enough?

You will get a million different answers depending on who you ask. So who do we ask? Nine justices with no skin in the game? What do they have to lose? It’s almost the same with gay rights, who is the Supreme Court to say gay people do or don’t need the same rights when none of the justices are LGBT. I digress but it’s just something to think about.

I often get into debates with friends and colleagues about AA and I can’t seem to convince them why diversity is something we should value. Or why there are still massive inequalities between whites and blacks. I cannot tell an LGBT person, “You don’t need the same rights as me.” Who am I to say that? Am I LGBT? No. When someone is trying to argue against civil rights laws (such as VRA and AA) and it doesn’t directly affect his or her group, how can they say, “You don’t need these protections, there’s no inequalities in this country.” They could not possibly know what it’s like for that person and are probably not making an effort to know.

The Constitution was not written with minorities in mind. It does state that “all men are created equal” but it also says that blacks are three-fifths of a person. Obviously that amendment no longer applies to this day and age but there are echoes of it. Yes, on paper all Americans are protected equally but the reality is quite different. With that, it must be challenging for the Supreme Court to decide whether or not something like AA is constitutional when it does give minorities a (slight) advantage. In America, inequality continues to run deep not just between the races but between gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. So instead of crossing our fingers and hoping that things will be equal, we must put and keep in place these “compensation” policies as I mentioned before. The fight to establish equality in this nation is not finished and will not be until we start to face reality. We were all created equal but the world does not treat us equally.

Counterpoint Recap: Abortion

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | June 23rd, 2013 |

On Friday’s show, we weighed in on the House of Representatives passing of an abortion bill that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. One of our contributors, Matthew De La Fe made a moral argument against all abortions, stating that people do not care enough about the unborn children. The moral argument is certainly a valid one– but who are we to restrict a woman’s freedom to choose? The circumstances in which a woman needs an abortion are usually dire, whether the pregnancy is the result of rape or a one-night stand, it is none of our business what she decides to do with her body and her child. Getting an abortion is not a simple decision but is made with careful thought and consideration. It is no walk in the park, and it does take a toll on the woman both physically and psychologically. Every woman is left with the memory or thought of the child they weren’table to keep. This is what my pro-life colleagues are unable to understand.

The politics of the abortion debate really rely on the rhetoric we hear not only just from pro-choice but from pro-life as well. Pro-choice voters are seen as “baby killers” and I’m sure we all know someone that makes a coarse joke about getting an abortion. Pro-life voters are seen as waging the “war against women” and sometimes make insensitive comments about rape.
For example, Representative Trent Franks stated, “Rape resulting in pregnancy is very low.”
If the Republicans want to convince the American people they are “pro-women”, they need to change their tone or no one will be on their side.

If the Republicans want more children born in America, they need to vote on bills for free healthcare, education, and social services, so that women will not have to abort a child merely based on their financial conditions.

Counterpoint June 21: Abortion Debate by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

7 Reasons Why Arming the Syrian Rebels Is A Bad Idea

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | June 21st, 2013 | SHOW COMMENT(1)
  1. Obama’s “red line” was the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war— and now the US is arming the rebels. The incident of the use of sarin gas on the battlefield only caused 150 deaths compared to the 90,000 deaths caused by conventional warfare.
  2. We’ve seen the same rhetoric pre-Iraq war with the promise of WMDs as a reason to intervene militarily.
  3. We’ve also seen the same premise of arming the rebels to defeat a common enemy of the people and the United States (The Mujahideen in Afghanistan). 
  4. The types of military support the US is offering is not enough to topple Assad’s regime but only to exacerbate an already bloody war. 
  5. We have no way of controlling who the arms are given to. Al-Nursa is one of the opposition groups that have openly stated their connection to al-Qaeda.
  6. Supporting the rebels does not mean we have allies in this war. Non-state actors are unpredictable and don’t need to claim allegiance to any country.
  7. Syria has become the stage for competing international interests in the Middle East. Russia and Iran supporting the Assad regime and the West (US, UK, France, Germany) supporting the opposition; making it a proxy war.