News & Features

Booming Black Businesses Fuel Brazil’s New Middle Class

Dion Rabouin

Fueled by a blossoming economy and a government program aimed at reducing income inequality, approximately 80 percent of the members of Brazil’s middle class are black. Over the past decade, the middle class has grown by 38 percent, according to government reports from the Strategic Affairs Secretariat of the Presidency. Incomes of black Brazilians grew by 123 percent between 2000 and 2012—five times faster than the rest of the population, according to a report by Globo newspaper in 2012.

The Social Renaissance of Science

Gabriella Tutino

Climate change. Creationism versus evolution. Deep space travel. Tesla electric cars. These are just a few buzzwords that have been repeatedly popping up in current news over the last few years. What ties them all together is that they’re science-related. From literature and entertainment to advertising and education, it seems as if science, and the appreciation of science, is entering a social renaissance in the 21st century. 

The Disappearance of the African-American Coach From Basketball

Stacy M. Brown

Like many, Ellerbe, 50, laments the glaring absence of African-American coaches in Division I basketball. Ellerbe stopped short of accusing anyone of racism and admits that a black coach today probably wouldn’t have to endure the bigotry faced by the legendary Thompson in the 1970s. However, when asked whether an old-boy network might be responsible for the dearth of African-American coaches, Ellerbe said the matter runs much deeper.

How Does the Obama Administration Propose to Fix the Immigration Crisis?

Nativo Vigil Lopez

The current humanitarian crisis of the explosive number of unaccompanied minors on the U.S. southern border, at last count 52,000, but increasing daily, is no mere accident. Over the past two years the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has tracked the incremental increase of minors attempting to cross the border, over two-thirds from Central American countries and the remaining one-third from Mexico. For example, DHS was aware that more than 25,000 minors arrived unaccompanied at the U.S. border seeking entry in 2013.

Invoice to the Taxpayer: Sex Change for a Convicted Murderer

Stephanie Stark

Michelle Kosilek, born Robert Kosilek, brutally murdered her own wife 25 years ago, and is serving a life sentence in a Massachusetts prison. She has a long history of hard drug use and sexual abuse. Similar to Laverne Cox’s character in Orange is the New Black, doctors have diagnosed Kosilek with Gender Identity Disorder (GID), a condition where the body is incongruent with the mind’s gender. To treat it, she has been in hormonal therapy, laser hair treatment and psychological therapy, but is still chronically distressed. 

Genius and Addiction: Creative Fuel or Speedway to Self-Destruction?

Benjamin Wright

We, as a society, feel a certain loss when we lose prematurely great actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman, comic geniuses like John Belushi, music legends like Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon and Janis Joplin, and brilliant poets like Dylan Thomas who open up our understanding of our world. But, it is also very possible that these figures, all geniuses in their own right, may never have fully realized their potential if not for their use of mind-expanding substances. It is likely that their addictions fanned the flames of their creative genius. 

Iraq Replaces Vietnam as a Metaphor for Tragedy

Andrew Lam

Two-and-a-half years after the U.S. pulled out of Iraq the country has crumbled into a bona-fide failed state, with Baghdad under siege by ISIS (jihadist militants from the Islamic State), who are having a run of Iraq, and some analysts now worry that ISIS will commit mass genocide against Iraq's Shi'a population if Baghdad falls. The war in Iraq started with Operation Shock and Awe but ended in a fizzle and, some would argue, in an epic exercise in human futility. 

Murder Rate Down, But Other Crimes Are on the Rise in New Orleans

Louisiana Weekly

You’re more likely to be raped, robbed or become a theft victim than to become a murder victim in New Orleans, according to crime statistics released last week by the New Orleans Police Department. The NOPD, which is undergoing the implementation of sweeping, federally mandated reforms, said in a news release last week that the “statistics represent a continued downward trend in murder and show that the number of murders in New Orleans is at a historic nearly 30-year low.”​

Pope Francis’ Gentle Revolution

Angelo Franco

Even with the incredible speed in which he has managed to shake believers and skeptics alike, Francis has generally observed an equally orthodox attitude towards Catholic teachings, albeit with a somewhat more broadmindedness that borders on the reformist by the standards of the Church as we know it.  From a decisively focused stand on interreligious relations to controversial claims about contraception and homosexuality to political opinions about the Maldives, Francis both kindles and quenches hope with reverberating strength, which helps capture his image as a highly influential game-changer. 

New Graduates: Welcome to a World of Debt

Ben Novotny

Outstanding student debt across the United States has reached $1.2 trillion according to Forbes, and is increasing at a faster rate than mortgages and auto loans. Seventy-one percent of 2013 college graduates had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 per borrower, and more than half of Californians have student debt with an average of $20,000, according to data compiled by the Institute for College Access and Success.

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