Author: Miha Vindis

We the Gamers

“Video games matter.” I have lost track how many times I’ve said that. It is not that I am trying to justify my interests; anyone who pays attention to social trends will notice that digital games are more prolific every year… as are debates about their influences. I make that statement, because they matter in policy. Unfortunately, too many studies do a poor job translating their research into policy language and many fail to make a policy relevant conclusion at all. This leaves policymakers interested in gaming policy poorly informed. I use the term “digital” instead of “video” in...

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The True Threat of Terrorism

Terrorism has been a big topic of debate in the United States since September 11, 2001. Previous attacks like the attempted World Trade Center and the USS Cole bombings did raise awareness, but because they were not as close to home or successful, the issue remained remote in the public’s consciousness. Terrorism was something that happened in Ireland, Israel, or India. The 9/11 attacks brought the issue to the forefront and serious debate finally began on how to appropriately react at home and abroad. There is little doubt that terrorism presents an immediate concern to the United States, but it does not necessarily represent a serious crisis. While groups like al-Qaeda have the resources to plan attacks, their capability to carry them out has significantly deteriorated. There are several reasons for this. First, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are more adept at acting in concert. The lessons from the September 11, 2011 attacks are fairly clear: lack of information-sharing, poor coordination and uncreative thinking were all part of the problem that allowed 19 men to carry out inventive, deadly attacks. New cooperation between agencies and information-sharing with international partners has made U.S. attacks much more difficult. Terrorist groups’ decisions to focus attacks on soft targets outside of the U.S. supports this assertion. For example, the 2004 Madrid train bombings sought to target a U.S. ally where attacks were easier...

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Lessons from the Past

  The tragic attack against the United States killed thousands. The protection granted by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans no longer mattered. On that day, everything changed. The world power base began to shift and the world order would begin a drastic change unlike anything in decades. The President declared that it was a date “which will live in infamy.” The date: December 7, 1941. The place: Pearl Harbor. Yet, how many of us think of Pearl Harbor as the major event of the 20th century? How many of us recalled the date before reading it here? I cannot recall December 7, 1941. To me, that day is part of a history which I struggle to understand through books, movies and documentaries. I appreciate its significance in 1941, but it does not play a great part in my interpretation of the world in 2011. I understand that it provided the United States the opportunity to declare war on Japan without being the aggressor and it drew the United States into a war in which it was desperately needed. Yet, if someone asked me today to identify the 10 most important events of the 20th century, it would not be on my list. It would probably not make my top 20, either. So what is the fate of the “new Pearl Harbor”? There can be no doubt that the September...

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Leadership in America

  The January 8 shooting in Arizona was a tragedy. A democratic society cannot condone political violence, and all sides of the political spectrum quickly condemned the attack. Yet, instead of uniting people, this event had a polarizing effect on a nation struggling to reach a political consensus on a just about every issue. The left blamed this attack on right's fiery rhetoric, and the right deflected such attacks by making them seem like an assault on the First Amendment. On the other hand, the right distanced itself from some who have made the most vitriolic pronouncements and blamed the usual "liberal agenda" for a degrading society. A less personal, but also tragic event is now unfolding in Wisconsin. In a democracy a legitimately elected government has the (people's) authority to conduct government operations. This includes passing budgets and laws. The people of Wisconsin, elected 19 Republicans and 14 Democrats to their senate. The Republican majority is not due to a coup or an oppressive security force which dictated the election outcome. The Democrats lost because their story was not as convincing and their way of dealing with it: Walk away and stop a democratically and fairly elected government from functioning. We can blame the rhetoric of either side for causing this, but the bottom line is the same: Both sides are behaving like upset children at the playground....

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Quick Jump