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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

After Same-sex Marriage Rulings, An Interview with SAVE Dade

By Hyan Freitas | News Director | June 28th, 2013 | LEAVE A COMMENT

SAVE Dade is an LGBT advocacy organization that, as its name suggests, is based in Miami-Dade County.  After the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA was constitutional, they are beginning to see the fruits of their advocacy work, and the advocacy of others who seek marriage equality

Below, C.J Fortuno, Executive Director of SAVE Dade and Devin Cordero react to the rulings, and we ask:  what changes in SAVE Dade’s mission due to these rulings and what does this mean for same-sex couples here in Florida where same-sex marriage remains illegal?

The Weekly Voice, the community-affairs talk show on WVUM, airs every Friday at 10a.m ET

 

 

SAVE Dade Reacts SCOTUS Rulings on #TWV by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint 06/14: The Relevance of Affirmative Action

By Meg McGee | Counterpoint | June 15th, 2013 | LEAVE A COMMENT

Our debate on the relevance of affirmative action was easily one of the most heated ones we’ve ever had on the show (a clip is below). Race is always a tricky topic to talk about when many of the issues surrounding it remain unsolved in our country. But debates such as the one we had was one that needed to happen. People seldom confront the issue of race head-on in the media and we at Counterpoint were happy to be able to delve into such a subject.

With that said, I think its important for us (especially as Americans) to not think that because we are starting to see more black people in positions of power that we live in a “post-racial America”. Racism, particularly towards blacks remains an open wound that has not healed even after years of progress. Those who are not minorities may think, “How unfair, why is it necessary to still have these policies when we are not in the 60s?” It is easy to not understand the importance of such policies when you are not a black, Latino, or Asian in America.

Affirmative action opens doors for minorities and with that, it puts people of different backgrounds in settings such as a school or workplace. And in that setting we are confronted with race, we come face-to-face with the ugly history and reality of America. Once confronted with these themes, we can either continue with ignorance or learn to embrace differences with an open mind. Affirmative action is not some gateway for minorities to get whatever job they want or get into a good school without putting forth effort. Actually minorities have to work harder than anyone else to prove stereotypes wrong and break barriers.

 As I stated in the show, you cannot get into Harvard or some other Ivy League school with a bad GPA or test score, regardless of race. And as we all know from our experience of applying to various universities they look at more than just your test score. There’s essays, extracurricular activities, teacher recommendations, etc that also add to your application. So to say that the student at University of Texas was rejected solely on the premise that she’s white, is completely baseless. I can only hope that the Supreme Court will also understand the value of diversity in schools/workplace made possible by affirmative action.

 We should not undervalue or underestimate the importance of diversity. It’s one the reasons I chose UM, even though it still remains a majority white school. But UM still tries to value the diversity of its students by enrolling people of not just different races but also nationalities. Affirmative action is still a work in progress as many universities remain overwhelmingly white but the positives of these policies can be seen  in not just our elected officials like the president but in business, entertainment, and sports.

I’m proud to be a voice for blacks and women on Counterpoint and I hope that our show continues to challenge and inspire not just our contributors but our listeners as well.

 

Below is a clip of our discussion on the subject during our live show.  Counterpoint airs live Fridays at 1pm ET. 

Counterpoint Clip: Affirmative Action by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

The Farm Bill and Poverty in the United States

By Jordan Lewis | Counterpoint | June 14th, 2013 | LEAVE A COMMENT

 

This week, the U.S. Senate passed an extensive, 955 billion dollar Farm Bill package that will extend certain subsidies and crop insurance packages for the next 10 years. The Senate also cut $3.9 billion from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which allows low-income families to pay for food costs, through the food stamp program. The Republican-led House of Representatives voted on its own version, cutting food stamps by $20.5 billion over the next 10 years, denying 2 million people the food they need.  From a policy and an ethical standpoint, Congress erred by cutting SNAP considering that poverty has only worsened since the Great Recession.

Over time, food stamps were integrated as part of the Farm Bill as a means for urbanites to support the agricultural sector. While preserving family farms should be a focus of the government, much of our agricultural policy is rooted in giving subsidies to large corporations such as Monsanto, whose bottom line is enhanced by the American taxpayer. Other recipients of this money include wealthy landowners, such as Congressman Stephen Fincher (R-TN), who cited the Bible in his defense of cutting food stamps: (while pocketing $70,000 in farm subsidies) “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Food stamps provide an important function in combating both urban and rural poverty. They not only provide additional resources for the user to pay for their other needs, but also help provide sensible nutrition, which will save us money in the long run. They also provide the biggest economic stimulus per dollar out of any policy the government could enact (multiplier effect of 1.73 per dollar spent). Americans think that hunger is a relic of the past, and while it is true that the United States produces a surplus of food, hunger is an everyday battle for many families. One out of five American children (16 million) struggle with hunger (No Kid Hungry). With extensive health and retirement benefits, and a healthy salary, most members of Congress are seemingly unaware of the challenges of surviving on food stamps. This week, nearly 30 congressmen will take the SNAP challenge and live on $4.50 a day, as 47 million Americans (1 in 7, half of whom are children) do. In many cases, SNAP isn’t enough, evidenced by record numbers serviced at food banks and other charities.

Furthermore, over half of Americans will spend a year under the poverty line. The government has the resources to combat poverty and has instead squandered it on corporate welfare, tax cuts for the wealthy, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the drug war. The poor don’t have the political clout that America’s wealthy do. In an era where demagogues like Grover Norquist make any tax increase on America’s wealthiest an anathema, America’s poor are left to fight for themselves.

Over the last few years, conservatives have used welfare as a means to rile up their base and stoke racial divisions among Americans. In fact, the majority of welfare recipients are white, and working Americans. We’ve seen a rise in unemployment and a great increase in discouraged workers that artificially reduced the unemployment rate. Pension plans and other economic security measures have weakened over the last 10 years as employers look to cut back on expenses. Many Americans today work part-time jobs or work without a living wage, or suitable health care coverage. On this topic, the Florida Legislature voted to eliminate Miami-Dade County’s minimum wage provision that will only hurt the weakest in our society.

America’s working poor is growing and growing as the middle class has shrunk. Many workers are forced to take multiple jobs or make incredible sacrifices to make ends meet. The average Chartwells’ worker at UM makes less than $20,000 a year and often must rely on assistance programs to pay their mortgages, get health care, or eat.

If you thought that poverty in America was on the downturn, recent policy alternatives may make it worse.
The decline in unionization has cost millions of workers decent jobs, and the advent of Right to Work (for less) in states like Indiana (and already in Florida) will union and non-union workers alike.

The sequester has laid off millions of workers and hurt many more. Republican cuts to the social safety net have only worsened poverty.

A failure to pass a suitable immigration bill will jeopardize the prosperity of millions of Americans already here and allow owners the leverage to pay their legal workers less.

Unless Congress acts, the student loan interest rate will double to 6.8%, with student debt already surpassing $1 billion and difficult to remove even post-bankruptcy. (Our banks receive preferred rates of less than 1% from the Fed).
However, the biggest test to controlling poverty over the next generation is securing our entitlement programs. Republican ideas to reform our entitlement programs enrich the wealthy while damning the poor. Social Security has been the single-biggest anti-poverty measure undertaken, and have reduced poverty among our seniors by a wide margin. Medicare is effective, popular, and essential for our seniors’ health care needs. Finally, Medicaid provides vital health care to low income Americans. The refusal to take up Medicaid expansion paid for by the Affordable Care Act is a massive failure on the part of the Florida House and cuts millions off from health care coverage they need. Reducing entitlement benefits will only shrink the middle class and make the poor poorer.

We haven’t had a targeted approach to reducing poverty since Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. Wall Street has recovered from the recession. The majority of Americans haven’t. Income inequality is at an all-time high, with record CEO compensation and giveaways to agribusiness and Big Oil. It’s time to address the problem that nobody really wants to talk about.  We need to make sure that our fellow Americans can lead dignified and prosperous lives. We have the both the means and moral responsibility to do so.

 

 Counterpoint airs Fridays at 1pm ET

 

Counterpoint: April 12 | Margaret Thatcher, President Obama’s Budget

By WVUM News Staff | April 13th, 2013 | LEAVE A COMMENT

 

Meghan, Jordan, Alex, and Mike discuss the legacy of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and what lessons both the UK and US can draw from it. Also, the panel reacts to what is being seen as huge budget cuts and compromises on social security within the proposed Obama Administration budget released this week.

 

Counterpoint 4/12: Margaret Thatcher & President Obama’s Budget by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint: April 5 | North Korea, Gun Control Legislation

By WVUM News Staff | April 6th, 2013 | LEAVE A COMMENT

 

 

A discussion of North Korea, Connecticut gun legislature, and Florida’s “Parent Trigger” law.

 

 

Counterpoint: 4/5 by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Counterpoint: March 29 | Gay Marraige, Rachel Maddow Q&A

By WVUM News Staff | April 6th, 2013 | LEAVE A COMMENT

 

 

Meghan, Jordan, Mike, and our new contributor, Alex discuss gay marriage, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Meghan’s encounter with Rachel Maddow.

Counterpoint 3/29: Gay Marriage, CFAA, and Rachel Maddow by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

Audio: Yoani Sanchez at the University of Miami

By Hyan Freitas | News Director | April 3rd, 2013 | LEAVE A COMMENT

 

On April 2, 2013 Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez toured the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami and then spoke with student media members about journalism in Cuba, the stereotypical angles foreign journalists have with regards to the Cuban people and her thoughts on the power of the internet and, specifically, social media.

 

La bloguera cubana Yoani Sánchez recorrió la Colección de la Herencia Cubana de la Universidad de Miami y luego habló con los medios estudiantiles sobre el periodismo en Cuba, los estereotipos periodistas extranjeros tienen con respecto al pueblo cubano, y sus reflexiones sobre el poder de internet y los medios sociales.

 

 

Yoani Sanchez at the University of Miami by Wvumnews on Mixcloud

SG Debate 2013- ‘Power of U’ and ‘One of U’

By Hyan Freitas | News Director | February 18th, 2013 | LEAVE A COMMENT

 

With the approach of student government elections at the University of Miami, both campaigns stopped by WVUM to promote their platforms of initiatives and urge students to vote for them.  In case you missed it, here is our joint discussion with the candidates from ‘One of U’ and ‘Power of U’.

 

‘Power of U’ vs ‘One of U’ by Wvumnews on Mixcloud