Paul Ryan’s House

The Speaker was a public ally – and a private adversary – to the president.   After a month of the government in shutdown and a declaration of national emergency, Paul D. Ryan, the oft-considered inconsequential Speaker of the House, feels like a distant memory. Politics in the nation’s capital has trudged along, rendering Ryan dust in the wind of history’s heartless march forward. As the government returns to regular business, though, and the political tumult simmers temporarily, a legacy conversation is in order for the 20-year old congressional veteran…

Trump’s Withdrawal From International Agreements Makes the Nation Worse Off

Since his inauguration in January 2016, President Donald Trump has repeatedly withdrawn the United States from international, multilateral agreements. He claims withdrawal from such agreements is to the benefit of the United States; he is wrong. Withdrawal from such agreements is to the detriment of the United States’ standing as an international leader. According to the international relations theory of liberalism, international order is produced and maintained through processes of repetitive interdependent relationships among global participants. This school of thought asserts that an international balance of power is needed to…

The Pipe Dream of Donald Trump as “Uniter-in-Chief”

With approximately two years of the Trump presidency having already elapsed, most have, by this point, become more than familiar with the pattern of the new, Trump-driven news cycle.  Every few weeks, some kind of tragedy, controversy, or other drama will unfold, the president will inevitably make a tone-deaf or divisive remark which will briefly set the mainstream media in an uproar, and then the next scandal begins.  So the cycle goes on and on like a Mobius strip.  Every time such a situation makes the headlines, discussion regularly turns…

Sustainable Development No Longer a Focus as Trump Administration Battles Multilateralism at the United Nations

2018 marks the third year since the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The agenda set forth 17 goals for the international community to reach by the year 2030. Among these are the ambitious objectives to end hunger and poverty. With total buy-in from world leaders, many of the goals and their respective “indicators” (smaller, more targeted goals) could be achieved in the remaining years of the commitment. Unfortunately, progress on achieving the SDGs is hindered by the ongoing struggle of the Trump Administration to define the role of the…

The Problem with Public Schools: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go

Of all government-funded projects and services, the public education system is one of the most important – and not just for individual students. Access to a robust public education gives students lifelong skills, increased job prospects, and a greater likelihood of future family stability and financial independence. In the aggregate, a more educated population (on the local, city, state, and national levels) leads to improved public health, civic engagement, and economic prosperity, as well as reduced crime and unemployment.  Undeniably, public education has the power to help everyone.  For many…

America: Land of the Unfree

Conjure an image of ninth graders, fourteen-year-olds who have just barely entered high school, putting tape over their laptop webcams in an effort to thwart U.S. government spies. When I was in ninth grade, this trend was all the rage. Many of us feared that the FBI agent “personally assigned” to us would snitch on us for going on Facebook during class. Most students did this as a joke, but some of my slightly less-informed peers surmised that the government could – and would even bother to – watch them…

How Much for a Little Afghani Girl?

Welcome to Afghanistan: home to some of the world’s most gorgeous mosques, breathtaking national parks, and booming markets for selling little girls. Every American is probably well aware of the war that we have been fighting in Afghanistan for the past 17 years, but there is a more sinister aspect of Afghanistan that we are not told about. Families have now found themselves in situations where they need to sell their daughters in order to provide for their other children. You might ask: how could a mother or father do…

No, Amazon in New York is a Terrible Idea

“It is a great day for New York City” said New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, as he and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the plan to host half of Amazon’s headquarters in Long Island City. Yes, the same guy who suggested that private property just doesn’t make the cut in New York City is now welcoming a company through billions of dollars in incentives. He even said “I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which…