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U.S. – Cuba Travel Restrictions Alleviated

By: David Cote

In a move which partially reverses almost 50 years of American foreign policy, U.S. President Barack Obama recently eased restrictions on American citizens wishing to travel to Cuba. The changes are expected to be enacted in three weeks.

Obama told reporters that by changing the long standing embargo he hopes to encourage “people to people” contacts between Americans and Cubans in academic and religious contexts.  He further hopes that the increased contact will encourage “civil society” on the communist island.

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Hu Jintao

By: David Cote

Hu Jintao was born on Dec. 21, 1942, in Taizhou, Jiangsu, China. His father owned a tea trading business in his hometown, and the family grew up relatively poor. When Hu was seven, his mother died and he was subsequently raised by his aunt. In high school, Hu excelled in singing and dancing, as well as succeeding in classes and demonstrating a photographic memory. After high school in 1961, he entered Tsinghua University in Beijing and joined the Communist Party. During his tenure as a student, Hu became chairman of the Tsinghua Student Union, and graduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering in 1965. While at the university, Hu met Liu Yongqing, who later became his wife. They now have two children, Hu Haifeng and Hu Haiqing.  Upon graduation, Hu elected to serve in Gansu and helped with the large construction project of the Liujiaxia Hydroelectric Station.

 

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Sarah Palin

By: David Cote

Sarah Louise Palin was born Feb. 11, 1964. Palin was the third of four children to science teacher Charles Heath and secretary Sarah Sheeran. As an infant, Palin’s family moved to Skagway, Alaska, where her father found work as a teacher, then moved again to Eagle River, Alaska, five years later. As a student, Palin played flute and attended Wasilla High School. In her senior year, she captained the basketball team to the Alaska state championship.

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Congress, Obama Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

By: David Cote

As one of the most controversial federal laws in American history, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy employed by the U.S. military has been the subject of intense debate since its inception, becoming a maelstrom during the term of President Barack Obama following his campaign promise to repeal the legislation.

    In two landmark votes on December 15 and 18, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, voted in support of a statute which would repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. On Dec. 22, President Barack Obama signed the statute into law, ending the 17-year ban on openly homosexual servicemembers.

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Pardon Strengthens Judiciary

By: David Cote

The distribution of the power of the government has been a significant issue throughout the history of the United States. Experience with the tyrannical (or perhaps just colonial) British Empire in the 1700s has left an everlasting stain on the American psyche in regards to concentration of power.

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Republicans, Democrats Forced to Work Together

By: David Cote

In the wake of last week’s midterm elections, the future of the nation remains uncertain. The large Republican gains in the House of Representatives have produced a split Congress, and the legislative effectiveness of the government hangs in the balance. With a Democrat in the White House and Republicans in Congress, will cooperation or disagreement result?

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Tea Party Candidates find Success

By: David Cote

The Tea Party, a populist movement that has made bedfellows of Libertarians and Republicans, has garnered national interest over the past year. The movement’s numerous goals include an overall lowering of taxes, the limiting of government spending, and the requirement of a balanced federal budget. Proponents often cite constitutional adherence and smaller federal government as effective ways of achieving those goals, policies supported by the majority of the movement’s political candidates.

In the words of Tea Party activist and now Kentucky Senator-elect Rand Paul, son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, “We have come to take our government back.”

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Interference Unconstitutional

By: David Cote

Last March, Congress passed health care legislation that requires American citizens to purchase a health care plan if they can afford it, or face up to $900 in fines. The bill also stipulated numerous government interventions in the health care market, such as the ability to regulate rates and premiums. The health care bill is blatantly unconstitutional in its regulation of private business, and unnecessarily increases government interference in areas of the private sector.

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Freedoms Must Come First

By: David Cote

Freedom of speech is a fundamental value of our society and one of the greatest rights of its citizens – a right that sets our nation apart from most nations around the world. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech … ” In its picketing of military funerals, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) exercises its right of free speech as set forth in the Constitution.

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