Schools Opening Sports to Disabled

Few questions have perplexed scholars and philosophers more than what constitutes a “reasonable” accommodation. Today the Department of Education released guidelines applying to school athletics, including club, intramural, or interscholastic (eg., Freshman, junior varsity, varsity) athletics at all levels. The rules require the schools to create “reasonable modifications” or create parallel athletic programs that have comparable standing as mainstream programs to accommodate those with disabilities. An example given was to provide a visual starting cue to a deaf track runner. The extent of these accommodations, however, is a bit fuzzy. Continue reading “Schools Opening Sports to Disabled”

Return on Investment in Government

Imagine that you own a company like Proctor and Gamble, which produces a multitude of products. You have an advertising budget, and your funds are finite. What products would you pay to advertise? Do you advertise the hottest products or the slowest movers? Do you push the items with the highest profit margins? This is the same situation our government is in. With finite tax revenue, it must choose which programs to prioritize and where to allocate money. Continue reading “Return on Investment in Government”

Political Parties are Evolving

What would have happened to the Occupy Wall Street movement if they had a charismatic leader? How has the Tea Party changed national politics? These are the birthing pains of the next evolution in political parties. Part of this can be explained by dissatisfaction with the current parties. Another explanation is how political funding has changed. Continue reading “Political Parties are Evolving”

N.S.A. Update

As more information is released about the N.S.A. spy apparatus, it has been revealed that the U.S. spies on at least 35 world leaders, including some U.S. allies. One of such leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had all of her cell phone calls tracked for the past 10 years. In response to the revelations, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that she expects the White House would stop the program of spying on U.S. allies. Perhaps what is most troubling is that President Obama allegedly did not know about the spying. Continue reading “N.S.A. Update”

NSA Phone Data Mining

The Guardian published a leaked FISA court order that made Verizon give up phone information about all of their customers’ calls. The order said that Verizon must on an “ongoing, daily basis” give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems. This includes calls made entirely domestically, and is regardless of whether the callers are suspected of any crime. The document was top secret before it was illegally leaked to the Guardian. Verizon was not allowed to disclose the existence or content of the order, indicating that other phone companies might also be under such broad orders. Continue reading “NSA Phone Data Mining”

Should Sexual Orientation be a Protected Class?

There have been vocal requests for President Obama to sign an Executive Order which would ban employer discrimination based on sexual orientation for all Federal employees and contractors. Obama publicly supported such an action in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, but has yet to issue an order. The order would make, for the purposes of federal employees and contractors, sexual orientation a protected class, such as race, religion, sex, etc. Continue reading “Should Sexual Orientation be a Protected Class?”

Lerner Invokes Fifth Amendment

Lois Lerner, head of the Exempt Organizations unit at the IRS, invoked her constitutional right against self-incrimination, also known as “pleading the Fifth.” Nonetheless, she was required to appear at a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. She made an opening statement, which may have addressed enough core issues of the investigation that she waived her Fifth Amendment right: If you invoke it, you cannot speak in your defense. However this plays out, it should serve as a reminder that the constitution protects not only private citizens, but functionaries of the government as well. Continue reading “Lerner Invokes Fifth Amendment”

Legalize It?

With the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington, several important questions have arisen. First of all, should marijuana be legal. Deeper than that, though, are questions of appropriate medical uses for marijuana, under whose authority should marijuana be regulated or banned, and what are the societal and financial costs of both legalization and prohibition? Continue reading “Legalize It?”