Day: November 19, 2008

Dialectica Radio: Show Nine – LBJ Journal

This week on Dialectica: Spotlight on the LBJ Journal. Hosts Sean Reyna and Jon Rogers present the role of op-eds in decision making. Writings from Barksdale English, Amy Katzen, Amanda Barstow, and James Tanner are featured. [soundcloud url=”” params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true”...

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Dialectica Radio: Show Ten – Sustainable Food

This week on Dialectica: Sustainable Food Systems. Karen Banks and the Sustainability Work Group discuss sustainable food systems and sustainable agriculture. Joy Casnovsky from the Sustainable Food Center is our guest. [soundcloud url=”″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true”...

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How Do We Fund Obama’s Health Care Plan?

The flavor of last month seemed to be health care policy in America. It has taken a back seat to the overall economic crisis, but is still lingering in the minds of voters and the politicians who sought their vote. Barack Obama is promising a health care policy that gives health insurance, or a government equivalent, to those who cannot afford it themselves. The question that has not been answered is: How will he fund this? Hopefully not in the way that the government runs Medicaid and CHIP. These programs are funded through federal funds and mandated state funds. Designated funds are decided by the federal government, with little regard to the ability of the state to maintain this cost in their budget. The current Medicaid burden is already hurting states, with Governor David Paterson of New York asking the federal government for “direct and immediate fiscal relief” because of this program and the current economy. Louisiana is no longer able to run on its current budget with state health expenditures expected to rise by $450 million, according to Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine. With expected state budget cuts of more than $1 billion, Levine will probably have to make serious cost-cutting decisions that might even cost people their lives. Even Governor Rick Perry recently sent a letter to the heads of all state agencies in...

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Economic Crisis or Information Failure? New Evaluation Techniques for Pakistan

Recent news headlines like these have led American politicians to worry about the stability of a Pakistan equipped with nuclear arms: Squandering US$10 billion from precious reserves in less than 10 months, the country goes begging for $10 billion more… Standard and Poors downgrades the country’s credit rating to junk… Double digit inflation shoots by 25% within an economic quarter… Real estate values are depleted by 20 to 30 percent and foreign exchange reserves are reduced by more than half… As Pakistan’s conflict with religious extremism grew post-September 11, foreign involvement grew. Now that economic instability grows, the world’s anxiety grows too. Consequently, American president-elect Barrack Obama has claimed that, “we have to support their [Pakistani] efforts to democratize. This does not just mean providing military aid; it means helping them to provide concrete solutions to the poverty and lack of education that exists in Pakistan. So I want to increase non-military aid to Pakistan.” Donors and organizations like the United States and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) understand the urgent necessity of improving the economic situation of the region. However, they do not understand the erroneous fiscal priorities that have historically resulted in the inefficient channeling of foreign aid supplied to Pakistan. Donor organizations have long emphasized the need for fiscal measures like increasing discount rates, devaluing the economy and stringently collecting taxes. What they have forgotten to...

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Make Net Neutrality a Reality

After numerous deaths in committee, failed amendments and missed opportunities, network neutrality is returning to the foreground as a key priority of President-elect Barack Obama's technology agenda. Senators Byron Dorgan and Olympia Snowe have also stated their intention to reintroduce legislation on the issue. With a new administration and a new Congress, the time has come for Washington to finally enact meaningful network neutrality regulation. Network neutrality principally requires Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all legal Internet traffic equally, regardless of content, source or destination. It guarantees consumers’ rights to use their bandwidth how they see fit. Whether paying your electric bill, watching viral videos or chatting with a friend, the network should faithfully facilitate the data transfer without interference. Network neutrality, an essential part of the Internet since its inception, has been in jeopardy since 2005 when a series of FCC and Supreme Court rulings eliminated the existing non-discriminatory regulations that applied to Internet providers. At the time, cable and telephone companies cheered the decisions, stating publicly their desires to see a less open Internet. Executives from BellSouth, AT&T and Verizon promoted the concept of a tiered Internet, where the service provider could arbitrarily speed up, slow down or block traffic depending on business arrangements. With a tiered system, an Internet provider could set up an exclusive arrangement making, for example, Yahoo the preferred search engine. The ISP...

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