The Daily Update: Wednesday, Sept. 22

September 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

The Daily Update: Wednesday Sept. 22 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Join us for today’s Daily Update where we will tell you all about Glenn Close, five time Oscar Nominee, visit to the hilltop, more on the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell”, and the new health care bill.

Students Talk Politics

November 13, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Panelists Charlie McCaslin, Grayson Walker and Jonathan Barger discuss politics with members of the College Republicans and College Democrats in Portico E of Hughes-Trigg Wednesday evening. (PHOTO BY EMILY KEISTER/DALY MUSTANG).

Panelists Charlie McCaslin, Grayson Walker and Jonathan Barger discuss politics with members of the College Republicans and College Democrats in Portico E of Hughes-Trigg Wednesday evening. (PHOTO BY EMILY KEISTER/DALY MUSTANG).

By Emily Keister
ekeister@smu.edu

College Republicans and College Democrats squared off to discuss the economy and other political issues for the first time ever Wednesday evening.

The meeting, as referred to as a discussion/debate by College Republican’s president Chad Cohen, was supposed to be a civil meeting between the groups, but still have the elements of debate.

Cohen, who moderated and hosted the event, asked questions of four panelists, two from each group, about issues affecting the country right now.

The first topic discussed was the economy. All four panelists chimed in before the question was opened to the club members in attendance.

David de la Fuente, president of the College Democrats, started off by saying that he is optimistic about the economy today. The general trend line of job loss has been slowly decreasing, he said, which is a positive.

Charlie McCaslin, a member of College Republicans, had a different opinion.

“We’ve heard about the so called recovery,” he said.

Yet McCaslin said he has not seen any sign of it. He also urged that there is a need to move in a different direction than the country is currently moving.

The “clash for clunkers” program caused a clash between the two clubs as well. Members of the College Republicans agreed that it was not working as well as expected. Democrats disagreed.

Most of the College Democrats agreed that there is a need to spend money to make money and the program has been a success because people have gotten more fuel-efficient cars out it.

The discussion on healthcare was the only one not completely dominated by the panelists. With bills in both the House and Senate and a possibility of them passing made the debate more personal.

Juan Lechuga spoke up about being happy with his current insurance. De la Fuente, on the other hand, thought the current system of private healthcare is unfair to those who cannot afford private insurance.

He argued that small business owners should be able to have insurance, but many cannot afford it.

In response to de la Fuente’s argument, McCaslin said that Medicare and Medicaid are meant to help those people who cannot afford private healthcare.

He also argued that the reason that most republicans are against the bill is because it is under closed rule in the House, which means no amendments on the floor.

“You have to let us in on the discussion if you want our support,” McCaslin said.

Jonathan Barger, a panelist for the College Democrats, argued that private insurance companies will not lower the cost of insurance on their own.

“It has to fall on someone’s shoulders to reform the system,” Barger said of the need for healthcare reform to pass.

The panelists and attendees also discussed the war in Afghanistan. Cohen asked the panelists to weigh in on the strategy going forward and what should be done about the war.

All of those in attendance agreed there needs to be an increase in troops, but the number of troops was the discrepancy. De la Fuente argued that it is very clear that troops should be increased from between 35,000 to 40,000.

He also mentioned Colin Powell’s opinion released Wednesday that Obama should take more time to make a decision.

McCaslin also believed that there should be an increase in troops, but agreed with other republicans saying, “Obama is playing politics with people’s lives.”

De la Fuente also pointed out that dwindling support for the war is partially due to other countries that supported the war before changing governments.

He said new parties have been put in place in countries like Australia, which has not made decisions about the war easier for Obama.

The final topic briefly covered due to time restraints was the environment. The Cap and Trade bill put the clubs at odds over whether or not putting caps on emissions produced by companies should be allowed.

It is a very bad idea according to McCaslin. It will only save a minimal amount of energy, he said, “one drop of sweat in the Texas sun.”

Though the clubs disagreed on most issues presented, the debate was civil and respectful.

College Republicans hosted the event at their usual meeting time and place so most in attendance were their members, but the discussion was equally weighed in on from both sides.

College Republicans club meets Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. in the Varsity in Hughes-Trigg Student Center. College democrats meet Wednesday afternoons at 4 p.m. in Hughes-Trigg Atrium A/B.

Juan Lechuga responds to questions raised in a political debate between College Democrats and College Republicans in Portico E of Hughes-Trigg Wednesday evening. (PHOTO BY EMILY KEISTER/DAILY MUSTANG)

Juan Lechuga responds to questions raised in a political debate between College Democrats and College Republicans in Portico E of Hughes-Trigg Wednesday evening. (PHOTO BY EMILY KEISTER/DAILY MUSTANG)

Women’s Activist Discusses Universal Healthcare

November 6, 2009 by · Comments Off 

By David Crawford
dcrawfor@smu.edu

A historic women’s rights activist, Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, discussed the importance of a universal public healthcare system at the twelfth annual Louise B. Raggio Endowed Lecture Series. The speech was given in the Hughes-Trigg Ballroom Wednesday night to a sold-out audience.

Elders spoke of the two truisms in healthcare reform; medical care and aid improves overall wellbeing and rich countries are typically healthier than poor countries. According to Elders America is the only industrialized nation not to have some form of a working collective healthcare plan for all of its population.

“The quality of health is more than the absence of disease, it’s about the overall value of the community, education, friends, and diversity,” Elders said. “A healthcare system can’t be successful if there isn’t a successful healthcare system.”

Elders said after the attempt to make healthcare universal under Teddy Roosevelt at the turn of the 20th century, improvements have been made in preventable causes of death but health care is not coherent, cost effective, equitable, and nor is it complete in America.

According to Elders, the closest America has come to a general form of healthcare was during the development of Medicare and Medicaid under Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, but now the future seems more uncertain than ever.

14,000 more Americans loose their healthcare insurance everyday as the barriers to entry increase rapidly for individuals unable to afford and maintain the rising healthcare cost. Elders said this statistic reflects a majority of women in the country, as three out of five women are unable to payoff medical bills and more women delay medical care due to the high fees.

“The health of any nation is directly related to the health and education of its women,” Elders said. “Women are the backbone to improve the quality of life in a society and lack of healthcare truly affects young mothers as well as poor and uneducated women, the ones who need it the most.”

In October 2009, the United States ranked thirteenth in the global gender gap between men and women in the workforce. By the end of 2009, 40 percent of women will be primary breadwinners in families, 50 percent of Ivy League presidents will be women, and 70 percent of working women will have children three and under. Elders also said there is an estimated 155 million women in America with a little over half unable to afford healthcare.

Dr. Josephine Caldwell-Ryan, a professor of human sexuality at SMU, said these are the facts and figures that matter most and the numbers policy makers should be considering while developing a reasonable healthcare system for those who are in dire need.

“It’s time to take the politics out of the equation and focus on the issues that affect those who are most in need of some kind of order in healthcare reform,” Caldwell-Ryan said.

According to Elders, the biggest reasons for the increase in health care costs are the increase in number of elderly, a greater burden of required medical equipment, and the growing number of disease each year. Elders said the major boundaries affecting healthcare are social and behavioral factors, like how people live their lives positively or negatively, an individual’s genetic makeup, a community’s environment, and access to quality care.

“The social and economic determinates of health related issues are the driving influence for the development of healthcare reform, a give and take of social and economic policies that determine our overall well-being and healthcare outcomes,” Elders said.

Knowing that many problems can be resolved by simply taking better care of one’s own health, Elders advocates teaching children at a young age the benefits of living responsibly and the dangers of not understanding commitment and control.

Honey Muigai, a nurse in Dallas who recently received her Masters in public health, agrees with Elders and recommends people try to take value in how they live before seeking reliance healthcare.

“It starts with people taking care of their own health, the more healthy people are the less likely they will be dependent on healthcare services,” Muigai said. “Education should be the first preventative measure people take on how to keep themselves healthy and aware.”

During the early 1990s, Elders became the first African American and the second woman to hold the post of Surgeon General of the United States. In that role, Dr. Elders initiated programs to combat teen pregnancy, the increase of sexually transmitted diseases and childhood immunizations.

In her memoir Joycelyn Elders, M.D: From Sharecropper’s Daughter to Surgeon General of the United States, she addresses the importance of good prenatal care, women’s concerns in society and reveals the evolution of her theories and ideas.