Lauren Rabaino

A lot has happened in politics over the past month, so rather than expounding about one political headline while ignoring all the others, I’ve compiled a list of what I think are the most notable political events, ranging from the most uplifting stories to the most tragic.

The most positive political news: Averting total war with Iran

While everyone was freaking out during finals week, a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was released that revealed that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and can’t develop weapons until 2013 – assuming they even want to. Now, if it was possible to make the Bush administration look any stupider, then the NIE certainly did that, especially considering that in October, the President grinningly brought up the possibility of “World War III” with Iran. Fortunately, the Bush administration’s loss is a gain for the United States (funny how those two work in polar opposites) since we now won’t have to shell out billions of dollars to undertake another pointless war that will kill thousands of civilians and soldiers. I definitely consider Bush’s “nuke-yular” credibility meltdown at the hands of the NIE positive news for the country.

Another positive event that deserves mention is Barack Obama’s resounding victory in Iowa. I say this because, even if your favorite candidate didn’t win, Obama’s victory is indicative of how far American society has progressed. I don’t think many imagined that a Midwestern state like Iowa, which nearly elected Preacher Pat Robertson in 1988 and has a 94 percent white population, would have voted with such enthusiasm for a black candidate.

The most disappointing political news: Ron Paul’s political misconceptions

So far Ron Paul has been the only Republican presidential candidate that actually makes sense on many of the issues. Hell, listening to Paul oppose the Iraq War and the use of torture on Constitutional grounds almost makes me want to support him. Unfortunately, for all his attributes, Paul also carries some faults. One such fault is his stubborn belief in a blanket ban on all student visas from unspecified “terrorist nations,” which he recently revealed in a TV ad. The problem here is that, rather than continuing to carefully screen incoming foreign students from certain regions, Paul simply wants a blanket ban on them, which sends the unjust message that certain deserving young students aren’t allowed into the United States because of their birthplace.

In addition, Paul has some serious misconceptions about how to combat racism in America. According to his Web site, he states, “Government as an institution is particularly ill-suited to combat bigotry.” Here, Paul’s view on limiting government intervention is just flat wrong, since events like the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the 1964 and 1968 Civil Rights Acts, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act have all helped to lessen the amount of discrimination that minority groups face today.

The most absurd political news: The New York Times’ recent choice of editorialists

Apparently The New York Times has lost its mind because of all the bright and insightful writers they could have recently hired, they instead chose neoconservative, chickenhawk Bill Kristol and Russian dictator.I mean, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

In case you are unaware, Bill Kristol was once a member of the ultra-conservative think tank PNAC (Project for the New American Century), where he worked with such “intelligent” people as Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. Consequently, Kristol has been one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Bush administration over the past eight years and therefore nearly everything he’s written about has been wrong. Looking at this choice, the Times must have figured, “The hell with journalistic integrity and accountability, let’s get ourselves a fearmonger.”

However, as bad as Kristol is, the Putin selection is far worse considering how he has viciously silenced all dissension and limited the rights of the Russian people to speak out against him. According to The Independent, 20 journalists critical of the Russian government have been killed since Putin assumed control in 2000. Sadly, this fact isn’t all that surprising considering Putin was once a KGB agent; nevertheless, the Times should be ashamed of itself for hiring this fascist who contradicts nearly everything the paper stands for.

The most tragic political news: The assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Honestly, I really shouldn’t call it the most tragic news, considering events like the death of Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17-year-old girl who died when her multibillion dollar health insurance company (Cigna) wouldn’t pay for her liver transplant, have also occurred. However, when I think about Bhutto’s death, it’s hard to begin to express the immense loss the Pakistani people and international community have suffered. I guess my speechlessness is yet another testament to her powerful Democratic efforts, since it shows how much she meant to so many of people around the world.

Patrick Molnar is a business junior and a Mustang Daily liberal columnist.

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