Tag: United States


International Standards on Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the Press is an essential aspect of functioning democracies.  Be it an institution or an individual, the liberty to express openly is the most important of attributes.  The press, in particular, being the Fourth Estate of a democratic society, is expected to be bold and articulate.  But ground realities differ from ideal conceptions of the function of the press.  In the real world, an array of external factors coaxes or coerces the press into acting against democratic principles. These include advertisers, political parties, businesses and even special interest citizen groups.  In this backdrop, it is interesting to analyze the state of freedom of press in the world today. It is an interesting exercise to find out which countries are exemplary and which are at a nadir. After all, freedom of press has an immediate bearing on the lives and prospects of citizens. It is not an abstract idea whose relevance is confined merely to the academia.

The Freedom House . . . Read More

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How was the shift from behaviourism to cognitive psychology ‘revolutionary’ in the Kuhnian sense?

The advent of cognitive science at the centre of studying psychology is widely portrayed to be a revolutionary event.  It was in the 1950s that the shift from behaviourism to cognitive psychology took its first bold step.  There has been no reverting back to behaviourism as the dominant paradigm within psychology ever since. Cognitive psychology is one of the disciplines in psychology that focuses on studying internal mental processes.  How individuals perceive, conceive, recall from memory, articulate their views and arrive at conclusions, etc, are studied. As opposed to Behavioural psychology, Cognitive psychology adopts a scientific analytic method rather than introspective or speculative theorizing.  At the outset, it acknowledges the presence of such internal mental states as knowledge, belief, motivation, desire, etc. This essay will evaluate how ‘revolutionary’ an event, in the Kuhnian sense, was the placement of cognitive science at the centre of . . . Read More

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Should the USA lower, raise, or maintain its corporate tax rates?

Taxes are always a contentious issue in American politics. The two leading parties in the country have their own views on taxes.  The Republicans are mostly in favor of tax cuts for businesses, whereas the Democrats generally favor proportionately high taxes for the rich.  In my personal opinion I support a progressive tax regime that levies a greater tax rate on corporations and rich individuals.  The rationale for this position is the prevailing disparities in American society.  Despite being the richest country in the world, the United States lags behind in welfare and social security features.

The revenues collected through a progressive tax regime can be utilized to strengthen the public healthcare system.  As it stands, the United States has more than 50 million citizens without health insurance.  This is a shocking statistic, for with only a fraction of the yearly military budget, health access and healthcare outcomes in the country could be improved multifold. . . . Read More

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John O’Neill: The Man Who Knew

John O’Neill’s career in service of his country is one spent in frustration and futility.  Despite valiant efforts by this sincere and hardworking law enforcement agent, the terror attacks on September 11 2001 could not be prevented.  More tragically, John O’Neill himself would perish in the attack as he was then working in the World Trade Centre as a security officer.

John O’Neill has had an impressive career path covering various roles within and without the FBI. Always drawn to the allure of a special agent for the FBI, John’s first job was as a fingerprint clerk and tour guide at FBI Headquarters in Washington.  He was barely twenty years old when he started out with FBI in this modest fashion. He climbed up the career ladder steadily thereafter. His appointment as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) in Chicago is a notable milestone. But it is the World Trade Center (WTC) bombing at Oklahoma in 1993 that would prove to be a turning point in his . . . Read More

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Article Review – A Universal Healthcare System: Is It Right for the United States? By Marleise Rashford

Abstract

The prevailing healthcare system in the United States has drawn many criticisms – from healthcare professionals and citizens alike.  The American system fares badly compared to nationalized public health systems of Western Europe. Even in terms of overall costs, the American model is more expensive, which is significantly inflated by bureaucracy costs.  All comparative evidence points in one direction – that the country would benefit through an overhaul of the healthcare system. Single payer and universal insurance coverage are the cornerstones of the optimal system.  Posing hurdles for this noble objective are vested private interests in the form of private insurance companies, ideologically entrenched politicians and to a lesser extent, healthcare providers.

Why is the article relevant to our course discussions on the U.S. Healthcare system?

The issue of healthcare is a pressing social problem in the United States.  . . . Read More

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Asian American Woman before 1950s

It is fair to state that the status of Asian American women before 1950s was not any better than that suffered by minorities from any racial-ethnic group during this period.  This is amply attested by first-hand accounts of discrimination and maltreatment by early immigrants. We also have copious legal indictments handing penalties, jail sentences and deportations to early wave of Asian immigrants to the ‘land of the free’. Considering that it was beginning from the second half of the 19th century that steady streams of Asian immigration poured into America, it is apt to claim that their struggle spanned a century, ending with the Civil Rights movement of 1960s.  Prior to this the community endured a century of hardships that mitigated their integration into mainstream American socio-culture.  If racial prejudice was a sizeable challenge on its own, the issues were compounded for womenfolk.  The rest of this essay is an overview of the Asian American experience . . . Read More

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Community Policing in the USA and Britain

  1. Develop a typical “community policing” model utilized by local/American policing tactics. How would you deploy road patrol personnel to best promote the model of community policing? How would you instruct your officers to interact with the community?

The community policing model had found success in the United States because of its balancing of authority with community. A typical model would comprise of a squad of patrollers assigned to a locality.  They would come under the leadership of the delegated sheriff for that locality. The key feature of the community policing model in the United States is ‘participation’. Rather than acting like authorities in power, the patrollers strike camaraderie with local residents.  They develop a first-name calling rapport with the locals. The local residents serve as useful informants and witnesses for suspect activity. At the same time the patrolling officers do also monitor the regulars he comes . . . Read More

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The Eleventh Hour and Sick Around the World: Studies on the U.S. Healthcare system

What did I learn from the novel and the PBS videos?

Both the novel and the documentary film has been full of relevant information for me.  I learnt different things from the two different media.  The novel The Eleventh Hour is a unique mélange of fact and fiction.  That it presents details pertaining to the American healthcare system in the form of an engaging story made it easy for me to focus and keep track.  As the drama of the story unfolded I was able to pick up facts about the healthcare system that were erstwhile unknown to me.

Sick Around the World, on the other hand, offered me a comparative perspective on several leading healthcare systems. I was astounded that countries which are less economically powerful than the United States offer a better healthcare deal to their citizens.  The five countries studied by the PBS documentary crew – Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, Taiwan and Switzerland – all have cheaper average per . . . Read More

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How does the worldview presented in the movie ‘The Golden Compass’ converge or differ from a Christian worldview?

The Golden Compass is a bold movie in the sense that it tackles a major social malaise – namely religious authority.  Although references to Christianity in particular and God in general have been removed from the film version, there is no doubt that the sweeping authority of the Magisterium includes these two sources of authority.  The clue that religion, especially Christianity is being criticized is evident from the original novel by Philip Pullman that goes on to claims that “‘The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake… Every church is the same: control, destroy, and obliterate every good feeling…. For all its history [religion] has tried to suppress and control every natural impulse” (Pullman as quoted in Burke 2007).

The worldview espoused or promoted by the movie is very different to the Christian worldview.  The former suggests application of rationality and equitable humanism whereas the latter promotes dogma . . . Read More

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Two key events that shaped the field of Emergency Management

In the two and half century history of American history, the nation has seen a fair share of disasters and emergency situations.  Some of these events were man-made, like the great Wall Street crash of 1929. Others were natural events, like the high-magnitude earthquake that hit Los Angeles or more recently Hurricane Katrina.  For much of the country’s history there was no exclusive government agency that was mandated to prevent or manage emergencies.  Often the military or the paramedics would step in and, with the aid of volunteers, deal with the situation on an ad-hoc basis.  But the disorganized and unsystematic nature of these efforts would lead to less than satisfactory response to the event.  It is only in recent decades that organized and exclusive government agencies were set up to prevent and manage unexpected emergencies.

It is with the formation of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) in 1979 that the nation had a separate government body for tackling . . . Read More

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