Targeted Killings and U.S. Citizens

This week the Obama Administrations released a white paper from the Department of Justice outlining the legal justifications for killing a U.S. citizen suspected of being a terrorist. He also released more detailed classified document to the Senate Intelligence Committee, outlining the justification of the administration’s policy of targeting Americans overseas via drone attacks. CIA head nominee John O. Brennan is set to discuss this policy at his confirmation hearing. Continue reading “Targeted Killings and U.S. Citizens”

Taking Personal Responsibility

It is not enough simply to believe it, but you must achieve it. Personal responsibility comes in many forms, financial, relational, spiritual, and more. The uniting factor is that it is taking control of one’s life, and owning it. Accepting personal responsibility is empowering, even if it is through accepting failure. This is the only way to learn from failure. Continue reading “Taking Personal Responsibility”

Syria Question Goes Before Congress

The question of whether to take military action against Syria is before Congress and has drawn support from some key members of both parties. On Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry began to make the case for intervention, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey sitting beside him outlining the parameters of the strike. Continue reading “Syria Question Goes Before Congress”

Syria is Unraveling

With reports from Russia coming out that the Syrian rebels have used chemical weapons, a conflict that has claimed over 40,000 lives continues to descend into chaos. All the while the Obama Administration does nothing. All of our policies are reactionary. We see smoke, but we wait for a fire. We can be sure that Iran is not taking such a passive role. Continue reading “Syria is Unraveling”

Syria Assad Uses Chemical Weapons

Secretary of State John Kerry said today that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria against civilians is “inexcusable” and “undeniable”. “This international norm cannot be violated without consequences,” he said. “Chemical weapons were used in Syria. The Syrian regime maintains custody of these weapons.” The most recent use of chemical weapons in Syria, which Kerry alluded to in his speech, claimed the lives of between 1,000 and 1,800 people, according to the U.S. State Department. Continue reading “Syria Assad Uses Chemical Weapons”

Suicide

Suicide has recently passed auto accidents as the leading cause of injury related death in the U.S.  The age-adjusted suicide rate is 12 per 100,000, or roughly 37,000 Americans, per year. This equates to a person committing suicide every 13.7 minutes. The rate is has risen 15% over the past decade. It is the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24. Continue reading “Suicide”

Why do we have Stereotypes?

The racial tension and profiling allegations behind the Zimmerman trial have thrown stereotyping into sharp relief.  While stereotypes are socially problematic, they also have an evolutionary function. While they are often false, they usually have their origin in some truth. While they form as part of our basic psychological processes, they can be cognitively altered. Continue reading “Why do we have Stereotypes?”

Changes in Christianity and Russell Moore

Russell Moore has something important to say as he assumes the leadership role in the Southern Baptist Convention. It is that Christianity is not and cannot be simply a political agenda. It is a deeper system of beliefs that is firmly rooted in the Gospel. He stresses a culture of acceptance and redemption, not of condemnation. This is the message that he wants to send to the youth who are growing up in an increasingly secular culture.

“If we don’t show that next generation how our involvement in the public square is rooted in the Gospel, then what’s going to happen is that they are going to check out and overreact,” Moore says. He goes on to say that, “The worst thing that we can do is assume that we are still living in 1950s America.” Continue reading “Changes in Christianity and Russell Moore”

Social Security Disability Insurance is Running Out

The Senate has just released a report on fraud in the Social Security Disability Insurance Fund. The report is titled “How Some Legal, Medical, and Judicial Professionals Abused Social Security Disability Programs for the Country’s Most Vulnerable: A Case Study of the Conn Law Firm”. It describes how a Kentucky-based lawyer named Eric C. Conn allegedly set up a scheme involving administrative law judges and a set of friendly doctors. Conn got 1,800 cases approved between 2006 and 2010. Social security paid Conn’s firm more than $4.5 million in attorney fees. Continue reading “Social Security Disability Insurance is Running Out”

Should We Increase Minimum Wage?

President Obama has proposed raising the Federal Minimum Wage from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour, saying that “no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.” There are of course two ways to bring his wish to fruition. The first is to prevent anyone in poverty from being able to work full time. The other, which Obama probably meant, would be to increase the wages of working full time so that those currently living in poverty will be paid more money. These are also the two areas that need to be examined when considering the effect of minimum wage laws on the economy: the effect on unemployment and the effect on cost of living vs. wage. Continue reading “Should We Increase Minimum Wage?”