The feud between Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly is continuing into it’s fifth month. Who started it? Debatable to some. Trump has long said derogatory, insensitive and sexist comments about women; Kelly challenged such statements at the debate she co-moderated on Fox, recalling his words: “You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.... You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees." Subsequently, Trump took to Twitter and CNN alluding to Kelly's hostility and later, this past week, Trump refused to participate in the debate hosted by Fox News.
The bottom line is, Trump won’t back down from slandering Kelly, releasing photos of her GQ spread and consistently calling her a “bimbo” on Twitter, and Kelly won’t back down to allow defeat from Trump. She has held her head high above victimhood, which landed her the cover of Vanity Fair. Now the question has become, is Megyn Kelly a feminist role model? Will she consider herself one?
1. Do you see Megyn Kelly as a feminist role model for the strong stance she has taken against Donald Trump?
2. Should Megyn Kelly be held accountable for "provocative" photos in GQ (taken three years prior to her Fox News show) as a limitation to be taken seriously in the (conservative) political sphere? ...who else does this remind you of? 1984...
3. Kelly has been known to not identify as a feminist because of it's liberal connotation. Is she missing a significant opportunity to bridge the partisan gap in an effort to unite women?
Barbie Makes the Cover of Time
Barbie may be the most iconic toy in history. In 2014, Elsa passed her up in popularity. Sales were down and many attributed this to the lack of diversity and the unrealistic body type/image Barbie portrayed. In 2016, Mattel released 3 new body types: Tall, Curvy and Petite. In the VIDEO released by Mattel featured in the Time cover story, members of the creative team share what motivated the reinvention: sales, criticism on social media, lack of relatable image.
1. What is your reaction to the General Manager of Barbie stating "Of course this was inspired by sales" as opposed to "We needed to change female body image for young girls." Is money always going to be the driver?
2. Mattel released dozens of new barbies with ranging body types, skin and hair color as well as fashion in order to represent what it means 'to be growing up as a girl in America.' Should Miss America represent what it means to be growing up as a girl in America? If so, do we have enough diversity?
3. Consider the quote "We are in a position of progress right now, not perfection. And that's ok." What other issues besides body image might this relate to? How could you use this as a pivot in an interview setting?
Laquan McDonald—One of the Many
Laquan McDonald is yet another name to remember in the sensitive and ever-prevalent issue of police brutality and race relations. The synopsis: October 20, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois, McDonald—a 17-year-old black male armed with a 3-inch knife—was shot 16 times in 13 seconds by Police Officer Jason Van Dyke from approximately 10 feet away. Video of the shooting, captured on dashboard cameras, and with the autopsy report showing the amount of bullets that entered his body, were withheld by Chicago PD until an investigative journalist Jaime Kalven forced them into the public eye in November 2015—over 13 months later.
Trump has categorized Hillary as an enabler of sexual indiscretion. Hillary has made the treatment of sexual assault victims a key issue in her campaign, stating, "I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault. Don't let anyone silence your voice. You have a right to be heard and you have a right to believed. We're with you."
1. How can Hillary authentically fight for women's rights if she did not stand up for her own during her marriage?
2. Do you think that 'sexual assault' and 'consensual infidelity' should be lumped together in this discussion?
3. When you see Bill Clinton campaigning at rallies for Hillary, do you see it as a potential apology and long-standing favor, or do you think he believes his wife is the best candidate for the job?
Trump Skips Fox Debate
Whether it was because of Megyn Kelly or to take the heat off himself and put it on his competitors, Ted Cruz in particular, Donald Trump skipped the Fox News debate four days before the Iowa caucus and instead held a rally and fundraiser for war veterans. In addition to wishing Fox 'good luck' with the ratings in his absence, he cited "When somebody doesn't treat you properly, you've got to be tough."
1. Was it politically wise to skip a debate this close to the Iowa caucus? How were other candidates able to shine, positively representing the GOP, in his absence?
2. On Twitter, Cher (of all people) tweeted that if Donald Trump can't face this woman, how will he face Isis? Does this concern resonate with you?
3. Trump was still on the front pages of so many papers on his decision to skip the debate. From Sarah Palin's endorsement to his volatile Twitter wars, is all press good press? Is Donald Trump just playing more and more into the role and character that society expects him to be?
Which Presidential Candidate is for You?
OnTheIssues.org is a running aggregate of all presidential candidates (and rumored candidates) organized by issue. See how they have voted on previous legislation, what their stances are on a wide variety of issues and also see what their passion points are that are driving their individual campaigns.
What WAS the Theme of the 2016 Super Bowl Halftime Show?
Super Bowl 50 brought in the third largest ratings in television history at a whopping 111.9 million viewers on Sunday, February 7, and while Football was the game being played, the real story stems from the halftime show starring Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Beyonce and the... Black Panthers?
In a time of heightened awareness about race relations in America, police brutality and the justice system, Beyonce's halftime performance of her new single Formation was publicized as being a celebration of black culture— to the tune of her female backup dancers wearing costumes that resembled the uniform of the Black Panther Party (BPP), a black nationalist organization whose "core practice was its armed citizens' patrols to monitor the behavior of police officers in California." The Black Panther Party has not historically been seen as a peaceful organization, and therefore,Beyonce's display of pride in this group from America's past has raised major controversial flags, even spawning direct comparison to the white supremacy group the Klu Klux Klan (KKK).
Former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani called Beyonce's performance an "attack on police" while others have accused her of highjacking the halftime show to advance a political message. In the past, Beyonce and her husband, Jay-Z, have supported political movements and have recently donated $1.5 million to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Since Super Bowl 50, the singer has remained silent on the topic of her performance, only taking to the internet to announce the "Formation World Tour."
1. Is the Super Bowl the time to make such a strong political statement?
2. Do you think that her message was one of celebration or one that was intended to spark true controversy?
3. People have accused this of being a "stunt." Are "stunts" like this the only way we can hold America's attention long enough to bring awareness to an agenda that is aimed to spark social and societal change?
Supreme Court Vacancy and Justice Antonin Scalia
In 1986, Antonin Scalia became the first Italian-American Supreme Court Justice, appointed my President Ronald Reagan. Justice Scalia was known for being one of the most influential conservatives in America, often being the voice in the court who turned away the slightest attempts to depart from the Constitution. On February 13, 2016, Justice Scalia passed away.
With this being an election year, Justice Scalia's sudden death poses a significant problem within the Supreme Court. The President of the United States is the only person who can appoint a Supreme Court Justice, but this has posed a question a time or two in the past.
Right now there are 4 Democratic Justices and 3 Conservative with 1 "Swing" vote. With President Obama being a Democratic President, and already having appointed two of the 9 justices, the idea is that he will nominate another Democratic Justice— heavily influencing the Supreme Court with a liberal bench.
Mitch McMconnell (R-KY) said, "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president." However, that's not what he has said in the past, and this call to hold-off action is an attempt for Republican Party to wait and see if there is a Republican President before the next Justice is appointed.
1. Should President Obama exercise his Constitutional right to appoint another Supreme Court Justice to take Justice Scalia's place?
2. Polls show that it is likely we will have a Democratic President. With a Republican Congress and a potentially Democratic Supreme Court bench, is it possible for our country to be politically balanced?
3. Do you experience the role of the Supreme Court in your daily life? If so, how? In your opinion, what is the most significant Supreme Court decision
Miss America's Outstanding Teen Demands Debt Conversation
Miss America's Outstanding Teen, Allie Nault, has created quite the splash in the Presidential Campaign. Allie has attended town hall meetings and pressed Presidential Candidates on their ability to address America's National Debt Crisis, often being dismissed or receiving surface-level answers.
From Donald Trump, to Dr. Ben Carson, and even Hillary Clinton, Allie has asked for answers on an issue she knows will heavily influence her generation. Watch Allie's Fox Interview HERE.
1. Do you think the Presidential Candidates are taking Allie's concerns seriously in the upcoming election?
2. Seeing Allie's impact through MAOTeen, how could you potentially make a statement this way for the Miss America Organization?
Yesterday, a New York court judge ruled in favor of Apple, not forcing them to unlock an iPhone from a drug dealer case involving an iPhone 5S running iOS 7, which the company does have the ability to unlock. The difference in this case versus the San Bernardino iPhone is that Apple is not able to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone 5C with iOS 9 without creating new technology that they have called a "government OS." The concern here lies in the fact that this technology could be used and abused beyond its intention of this single case.
1. Amongst the list of 1) convicted felons, 2) suspected terrorists, 3) people of a certain race, 4) immigrants, 5) all people over a certain age, 6) all people — For which group(s) should Apple [or any other company] unlock phones for the government? Or none of the above/other?
2. Should there be an age under which or over which phones can legally be unlocked by Apple for police or government matters?
3. What are potential ramifications if this precedent is set?
4. Fundamentally, your view on this issue could come down to one simple question: Which do you value more, security or privacy?
Happy Super Tuesday!
We know what Super Tuesday is [or if you don't click here] - it's the biggest day during the presidential primary election when the largest number of states hold their nominating contests. Traditionally, the candidate who wins the most delegates on Super Tuesday has gone on to become the party's nominee. Today, 661 Republican delegates will be allocated, and 865 delegates for Democrats.
To break down the nomination process HERE is a really helpful article to help you understand the process. The key to winning the nomination for each party is ultimately not about the popular vote. It is about securing the number of delegates needed to win the nomination at each party's convention - July 18-21 in Cleveland for the Republicans and July 25-28 in Philadelphia for the Democrats.
Democrats and Republicans nominate their party's candidate differently at the convention. Here's a breakdown. For starters, pledged [or bound] delegates are allocated by each state to represent the primary vote at the conventions. The Democratic Party also has unpledged delegates [superdelegates] who may change their candidate of choice all the way up to the convention - these are wild cards.
If you are like us, you have probably found yourself asking the question, "What is the difference between a Caucus and a Primary Election?" It's all a little complicated! Here is a simple breakdown:
Primary Election: State level election where party members choose a candidate based on their political party. As of today, thirty-four states in the U.S. use the primary model. Primaries are funded by the state.
Caucus: A "local meeting where registered members of a political party in a city, town or county gather to vote for their preferred party candidate and conduct other party business." Sixteen U.S. states have a caucus and Iowa, the first, is known for being the most significant. Caucuses are funded by the candidates.
Here is a simple explanation of the process, or you can watch this TestTube video here.
1. Do you think that the method of choosing the candidates for the Presidential election should vary from state to state?
2. Do Caucuses confuse the voting process?
3. Does one process offer more of a benefit than the other?
Are We Scared Yet?
“Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.6 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.” –Global Footprint Network
One of the most pressing issues facing our world today is the over-consumption of our planet. Climate change, deforestation, overgrazing, fisheries collapse, food insecurity and the rapid extinction of species are all part of a single, over-arching problem: Humanity is simply demanding more from the Earth than in can provide.
In addition to human demands, pollution and lack of sustainability are costing humanity physical dollars and increased health risks. Fourteen billion pounds of trash make it in to our ocean every year, and carbon emissions coupled with ocean pollution are causing rapid rates of biodiversity loss.
This past December, world leaders met in Paris for COP21 conference to discuss how we can globally protect our planet moving forward, and celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio have increased awareness and funding for environmental issues as well. Take a listen to Leo's Oscar's speech here.
1. The statistics surrounding biodiversity loss and the decline of our planet's resources are alarming. Do you think world leaders are truly taking these issues seriously?
2. In New York City, it is law that citizens must recycle their waste. Do you think recycling should be a federally mandated practice?
3. The technology to increase sustainability is there. Should the government subsidize companies or industries that are making concerted efforts to implement more efficient and sustainable practices?
Michael Bloomberg Declines Presidential Candidacy
Many people may not know who Michael Bloomberg is (unfortunately his campaign research showed that he only had 20% name recognition across the country) , but there were once high hopes that he would enter this presidential race in the last hour. Mr. Bloomberg is the former, three-term Mayor of New York City, and has been known for his moderate policy, and effective communication style. A businessman [read billionaire] turned politician, Bloomberg has always been able to sit in the middle of the aisle and make friends on both sides; something we would hope for all presidential candidates. Sad day, though... Bloomy (as he is affectionately called) isn't running. Take a look below for more details.
1. What does it say about our current political climate that American citizens were hopeful for a new, different and independent candidate in the upcoming election?
2. If Bloomberg were to enter, he would have relied solely on the November election of popular vote as an Independent. Should candidates be allowed to enter the race so late in the "game" without participating in the debate and campaign process and giving the American people an opportunity to 'get to know them'?
3. With his centrist, Independent political views, do you see Bloomberg on a potential ticket as Vice President? As a Democrat in NY, you would think Hillary/Bernie, but as a billionaire businessman, would he compliment Trump?
Erin Andrews' $55 Million Lawsuit
Erin Andrews has been in and out of the news for the few past years for the lawsuit against the man who stalked and filmed her getting out of the shower, nude, as well as the hotel that allowed him easy access to her room. Initially, she asked for $75 million in damages. The guilty verdict released March 7th awarded Andrews $55 million. The stalker, Michael Barrett, was found 51% at fault, owing $28 million; while the Nashville Marriott 49% at fault, owes $26 million.
Here’s a recap of the timeline: Barrett filmed and released the video in 2009; he pled guilty in 2010 and served 2.5 years in prison; the verdict and damages were awarded in 2016, all after 17 million people saw the video.
1.Some people [the defendant’s attorney specifically] argue that Andrew’s career only flourished since 2009, including a Reebok endorsement and additional fame. Is any press good press, even if includes scandal like this? She wasn’t filmed in any sexual manner, just a daily activity we all do, getting out of the shower.
2.Andrews claims the damages were in her personal life, affecting her relationships moving forward and giving her significant anxiety entering and staying in hotel rooms, which is an essential part of her job. Is $55 million a proper settlement? How do you put a number on the amount of pain and embarrassment someone is caused?
3.With suspicion that the defendant won’t pay, and the hotel won’t pay in full, in combination with the 40% legal fees that the lawyer will take, it is rumored that Andrews will in the end only receive as low as $6 million after taxes. Is this fair? Is it fair for the lawyers to come out with more money than the victim?
4.And just for fun, if you checked into a hotel room with a pseudonym, what would it be? :-)
Kim Kardashian's Selfie v. Feminism
Kim Kardashian West — queen of selfies, breaker of the internet, mother of two — shared a nearly nude selfie with her almost 64 million followers on Instagram last Monday. This is not the first time, and most likely will not be the last, Kim has shown the world her hourglass figure completely unclothed.
Kim took to social media and responded to her “haters” the day after the photo was posted. In her response, she is quoted by writing, “I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin.”
2.We spend so much time empowering young women to love their bodies and be comfortable in their skin. Is Kim’s photo a display of this? Or, with all of the rumored plastic surgery, etc., does it contradict healthy body image?
Today is a big day! Five states (Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio) cast their vote in the presidential primaries. While there are less states than "Super Tuesday," there are almost as many delegates at hand. These primaries are crucial for the Republican party, as Ohio and Florida are major states in the race for delegates. IF Donald Trump were to win Ohio and Florida, he would essentiallybecome a shoe in for the Republican nomination. However, with former Governor John Kasich polling higher in recent weeks, specifically in his home state of Ohio, he could potentially pull off a win in the state that holds 99 of the 367 votes that are up for grabs.
If Trump wins Ohio, most analysts believe it will be difficult for any other candidate to win enough delegates to overtake him for the party's nomination, as many of the remaining states to vote award their delegates on a winner-takes-all basis.
1. Curly Haugland, a Republican National Committee (RNC) member from North Dakota and longtime RNC Rules Committee member, once said she thought that the nomination was rigged for "establishment guys" (Walker or Bush), but as we have seen, Donald Trump is prevailing. Should the RNC be able to overthrow a candidate who has won the nomination through public vote if they could potentially be detrimental to America?
2. How do you feel that the protests and violence at Trump rallies will impact voter turn-out on such an important day like today?
March 8th was International Women’s Day and on social media especially, we saw celebrations of women, both from history and in our current-day society. From Malala to Rosa Parks, Michelle Obama to Pearl S. Buck, the message of gender equality and gender parity. We highlighted a few on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too!
You can take the pledge for International Women’s Day and beyond…HERE.
1.“Gender parity is linked to economic prosperity. It's an economic imperative. Women’s advancement and leadership are central to business performance and economic prosperity.” -IWD Should it be federally mandated that public companies have [a certain number of] women on the board or in leadership positions?
These women are perfect for the common questions:
1.Who is a female role model (besides your mom) that you look up to?
2.If you could have a dinner party with people, dead or alive, who would you invite?
The Brussels Terrorist Attacks
On March 22nd, three coordinated bombs occurred in Belgium - two at the Brussels airport (in the British Airways Terminal and in Starbucks) and one at the Maalbeek train station 10km from the airport). 35 dead including the 3 suicide bombers, and over 300 people injured. ISIL has claimed responsibility for these attacks. You can view the attack timeline in photos HERE.
1. Should the US have a military response on ISIL for this attack in Belgium?
2. How do these attacks make you feel, relative to the cities/states you live in? Do you fear an attack on American soil? Do you find yourself more observant or potentially judgmental of middle eastern people or others? Do you find yourself praying for humanity, or making extra efforts to be more accepting of others?
4. The world focused on Brussels a few weeks ago, but meanwhile, many more terrorist attacks occurred in Pakistan, Nigeria and Iraq. View MSNBC coverage HERE. Let's not forget these lives lost as well.
Just prior to his arrival, Cuban authorities arrested many "Ladies in White" who demonstrate every Sunday against the Castro regime's 'atrocious' human rights record. This is something President Obama vowed to address with Castro.
1. How far should the US role as a global super power extend in improving the human rights issues in other countries?
3. Some feel this was a photo op, either for President Obama's legacy or one that gives too much credit to the Cuban leadership, however President Raul Castro was not there to greet the president. Do you see this is a red flag for the rebuild of this diplomatic relationship? Their joint press conference made for some interesting moments including a 'wink' to the audience regarding prisoners in Cuba...yikes?
1. Most states require that all electoral votes go to the candidate who receives the majority in that state, but not all. Do you think that the popular vote should ever be disregarded in the election process?
2. The polls for candidates continuously change, but (as we all know) a few candidates are rising to the top. Have you found the polls to be an accurate measure of the political climate as of late?
1. Both quoted executives and company representatives in the article are female. Do we need females in executive leadership positions in order for these changes to happen?
2. More than two-thirds (68%) of Facebook's staff are men, according to the company's most recent diversity report. This article finds that to still be a shortcoming, even though "the 32% of staff who are women have pay parity." Do you think this is an accomplishment, or does gender equality need to mean 50/50 split of men and women in the work force? Is that even realistic?
3. Tech is an industry that in that past has had one of the largest discrepancies in pay parity for women. Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, think that this problem starts back in middle school. Check out this article and TED talk on her thoughts on what we need to be teaching girls from a young age.
MissAmerica.org's New Look
Miss America released the press release this week revealing the newly redesigned website. Here are a few things we noticed:
- No longer is the header focused on the four points of the crown or STEM; less focus on Dept. of Education partnership - 3 target audiences: Contestants, Volunteers, Parents - Main images and headers focus on the competition/pageant, children, the military and performance - A new tab devoted to Miss America Serves
What do you see in the new site - additions and things removed?
Many times we are asked in interviews, what's something that can be done to improve the MAO? One thought we've always had was taking a note from Miss USA or other franchises and offering an official template website for all state franchise - and local franchises too! - to use in and effort to support the visual brand of Miss America across all levels of the organization. Could this be next?
1. Miss America Serves Day is presented by the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. What is the relationship between the two? Do all state Miss America Serves Days have a fundraising requirement for CMNH on that day or is the point to serve their individual communities?
2. What is the benefit of appealing to parents on the Miss America website? Was your involvement a team effort with your parent(s)? Who introduced who to the org, you to your parents or a parent to you, suggesting a desire to compete?
3. From the website, who do you feel the site, or national org, is branding Miss America as: a public speaker, a servant in her community, a talented performer, an advocate, etc? What do you feel Miss America (and state and local titleholders) should be known as? How do you suggest that the organization or you as an individual get that message and branded identity across?
Hey, Arizona— You're Being Sued
In the Democratic Arizona Primary, things got a little messy. National Democrats plan to sue the state of Arizona on behalf of citizens who were subject to long waiting lines at the polls due to state cutbacks.
Now, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Arizona Democratic Party are filing a lawsuit alleging that the state made it difficult for voters, and particularly voters of color, by reducing the number of voting sites so dramatically and by not counting provisional ballots cast.
1. Do you think Arizona is the only state where there is an attempt to discourage minority voters?
2. If cutbacks in the state were due to budget, will suing the state add to the problem of fewer polling opportunities?
We have noticed something unusual in this Presidential race...Where are the spouses? Aside from making the occasional appearance here or there, this race has been far less inclusive of the potential First Person. That's right. Hillary's campaign and the potential for there to be the, first ever, First Man (is that even what we will call him?) is making things interesting.
First Lady, Michelle Obama, is a graduate of Harvard Law School. Her Ivy League education makes President Obama and his leading lady the first couple in the White House to both hold Ivy League degrees. Pretty impressive, huh? Let's take a look at our potential First...People?
1. How important is the role of "First Person" in the White House? What sort of legacy do you hope for as a citizen?
2. What will Michelle Obama be known for? What will each of the "First Person" options above be known for?
On April 19th in a corporate press release, Target "continues to stand behind inclusivity" by allowing its transgender employees and customers to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. In reaction, over half a million people signed a petition and flocked to social media, Facebook for example, to boycott Target for supporting transgender people. A very interesting article in The Daily Beast highlighted the HRC Corporate Equality Index and challenged people to be reasonable and consistent with their stances. IF one might boycott Target because of its support and protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, then that person would, logically, also boycott places like McDonalds, Facebook, Apple, Coca Cola, while also not getting groceries from Kroger, or using their AT&T phone service, or watching a Disney movie -- all because these companies, among many others, have scored 100 on the CEI with transgender protections and inclusive policies.
1. In todays' society, what does a boycott of this size and publicity do? Are people ever going to actually stop using a product they love because of the corporation's stance on a social issue?
2. How has our society evolved since these other faith-related boycotts in the past 5 years as outlined from a different perspective by The Blaze. Are we moving in the right direction?
3. Does the company that you work for, your parents work for, or that you aspire to work for have a high rating on the HRC Corporate Equality Index? Is this important to you?
Is Hillary Playing the Woman Card?
This past week has been a "woman card" war between Presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Senator Hillary Clinton. After announcing that Senator Clinton would fill half of her Cabinet with women on Monday, Donald Trump accused her of playing the "woman card" on Fox and Friends. Later saying that if Clinton were a man "I don't think she would get 5% of the vote." And later added, "The only thing she's got going is the woman's card, and the beautiful thing is, women don't like her."
Tuesday evening, after Donald's interview, and after Tuesday's primaries, Clinton addressed her supporter crowd by saying, "If fighting for women's healthcare and paid family leave and equal pay is 'playing the woman card' then deal me in."
1. Trump remarks that Hillary is not well-liked among women, however polls show that women do not favor him. Many have argued that this election will come down to the millennial vote. Is it possible it could, in fact, come down to [us] women?
2. It could be argued that those who are appointed to the Cabinet should be 'the most qualified for the job,' and in many ways, that may be true. However, until it becomes commonplace for women to be seen in Cabinet positions, should there be an effort to regulate gender equality?
On the Ticket? Carly Fiorina
On Wednesday, April 27, Ted Cruz formally named Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate -- a last-ditch move to regain momentum after being mathematically eliminated from winning the GOP presidential nomination outright.
It appears that Cruz is attempting to keep himself relevant in the minds of Americans after Trump's momentum in the 2016 race, and specifically after winning all five of the East Coast states this past Tuesday.
1. During a CNN interview earlier in the election, Fiorina said "Ted Cruz is just like any other politician. He says whatever he needs to say to get elected." According to Gallup, Cruz has a more positive rating among men than women. Is Ted Cruz pulling the "woman card?'
2. There is much debate about the impact that a running mate may have on delegates. At this point, Ted Cruz is the only Republican who has secured a running mate. Do you think this will help him secure the next primary (Indiana)?
Music Video Co-Stars?
Joe Jonas, frontman of new band, DNCE, has cast Ashley Graham as his love interest in the upcoming video, "Toothbrush." A size 16, Ashley was the first plus-sized model to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issueand is the face of clothing company, Lane Bryant.
The average child watches 20,000 television commercials every year and there has been a plethora of research to indicate that women are negatively affected by constant exposure to models that showcase the unrealistic media ideal of beauty. With that being said, we think it's safe to say that having a plus-sized model starring in a mainstream pop music video is a huge step in the world of body diversity in the media. The push for change has been slow, but it looks like the changes in visual media may be well on their way to impacting the runway shows we see at Fashion Week events around the globe.
1. Physical appearance is emphasized and reinforced early in most girls' development, and studies have found that nearly half of females ages 6-8 have stated that they want to be slimmer (Striegel-Moore & Franko, 2002). Should we be legislating more diversity in the media, or do you think that the perception of beauty is simply changing like it has again, and again, in the past?
2. Do you think that having a front-man like Joe Jonas visually "accepting" Ashley Graham as beautiful will help change attitudes toward women of less-traditional "model" size?
3. Men own 90% (six major corporations) of the media we consume. If you could sit down for a meeting with them, what would be at the top of your priority list?
Crossing the Line (?)
As we all know, Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has had his fair share of media moments. From his comments on Mexicans to his offensive stance on Muslims around the world (not great for Foreign Policy), or even his continued flip-flop on his issues, he has used sound bite after sound bite to remain a topic of conversation in mass media.
This weekend, however, The New York Times released an article highlighting interviews of women that Donald Trump has come in contact with over the last few decades. Former girlfriends, colleagues, and Miss Universe contestants reveal moments where Trump left them feeling, at best, on display. The writer goes in-depth to take the reader through the long history of his "off color" remarks and pompous attitude of Mr. Trump.
1. Donald Trump has had a history of making rude or marginalizing remarks about women over the course of his campaign so far. At a time in history where Women's Issues and Equal Pay are at the forefront of progression, can we trust Donal Trump to be an advocate for women's rights?
2. This New York Times write-up highlights some uncomfortable situations involving manipulation and control. If you were in the workplace, and your boss asked you to do something that you weren't comfortable with, how would you handle the situation?
Robinson previously served as commander of Pacific Air Forces, another role in which she was the first woman to serve. The defense secretary described her as having "very deep operational experience," "very good managerial experience" and, it "just so happens, would also be the first female combatant commander."
1. "She was selected because she was the most qualified officer," Carter said. "I hope that the excellence she represents is an inspiration to women to join our armed forces." Do you think this promotion will encourage women to join the military? Would you ever serve our country in this way?
3. Should women be able to or be forced to serve on the front lines in military combat? How should the military decide if they are at the level of physical strength, mental acuity, and emotional stability to serve in this capacity?
On GunBroker.com, Zimmerman described the Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm as "a piece of American history," that he claims has interest from The Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Zimmerman also states that the proceeds of the $5000 gun sale would be used to fight violence against law enforcement officers and Hillary Clinton's anti-firearm rhetoric. Fear not, the gun was taken down fairly quickly after posting.
1. This shooting was essentially the catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement. Does this attempt to sell the firearm reinvigorate the movement?
2. Do you think a weapon like this should be in the Smithsonian or any other museum as a "piece of American history"?
3. Trayvon Martin's case was in 2012 - 4 years ago - what progress have we seen in the relationship between law enforcement and the black community? Are we moving forward? Sliding backwards? Staying neutral?
Hillary Clinton: She's With Us Concert
On Monday, June 6th in LA, there will be a one-night only concert with Christina Aguilera, Andra Day, John Legend, Ricky Martin and Stevie Wonder, featuring remarks by Hillary Clinton. Tickets start at $45 and range to $5,000 for the "Madam President" level .(www.hillaryclinton.com/concert)
1. Generally speaking, much of the entertainment and performing arts industry leans left. Does this celebrity power engage and involve young/more people or does it abuse celebrity influence and mask political endorsement with music?
2. Would you ever attend this concert because it was a great way to see these artists all together, regardless of whether or not you support Hillary? (Knowing that "Proceeds from this concert will benefit Hillary Victory Fund. The full amount paid by each individual, except for applicable delivery charges, is considered a contribution to Hillary Victory Fund...")
3. Should candidates be allowed to use entertainment, celebrity or athletic base to promote their political campaign? Or on the flip side, should these entertainers and athletes be able to publicly endorse a political candidate?
Donald Trump Donates $5.6 Mil to Veterans
In January 2016, Donald Trump opted out of a Fox News debate and, instead, hosted a charitable event to benefit the veterans of the United States. After the event, Trump said that he raised "close to $6 million dollars," which included a $1 million personal donation, and that it would be allocated to several different veterans affairs organizations.
In recent weeks the press began to question Donald Trump's contributions to the nation-wide organizations, calling for the dollar amount donated and a list of recipients. Many claim that it was the pressure of the media that set the ball in to motion for donations to come to fruition, however Trump stated that the delay was due to a process of "vetting" the veteran organizations. It is still unclear as to whether Donald Trump donated from his own pocket.
1. Donald Trump was quoted saying, “I wanted to keep it private because I don’t think it’s anybody’s business if I want to send money to the vets.” However, he very publicly used the fundraiser as an "out" of the debate. Is this hypocritical? Or does he have a right, as a Presidential hopeful, to keep his 'donations' private? Even if the donations came from a public benefit?
2. Campaign Finance Reform has set boundaries on the amount of money that an individual can donate to a Presidential Candidate during the campaign process. Some might argue that donating nearly $6 million dollars to veterans affairs is a ploy to gain the military community's vote. Should there be a cap on the amount that a Presidential Candidate can donate during the tenure of their campaign process?
California Governor Endorses Hillary Clinton
Democratic California Governor, Jerry Brown, released a letter of public endorsement to former Secretary of State and Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton, on May 31. His letter called for California Democrats and Independents to realize that "The stakes couldn’t be higher. Our country faces an existential threat from climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons. A new cold war is on the horizon. This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other."
Governor Brown joins a group of sixteen other current U.S. State Governors who have publicly endorsed and supported Hillary Clinton's campaign.
1. It can be inferred that a Governor's endorsement sways the opinion of his constituents. Should sitting elected officials such as Governor Brown be allowed to publicly endorse a candidate for the upcoming election?
2. Governor Brown ran in the 1992 campaign, as a Democrat, against former President, Bill Clinton. Why do you think he is now openly supporting his wife, Hillary?
Katie Couric's 'Misleading' Edit
Katie Couric is under fire for an editing decision she approved as executive producer of the new documentary Under the Gun[Watch the trailer here],which explores the epidemic of gun violence. In an interview with the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), Couric allowed an edit to remain in the final documentary that drew out a lengthy pause following a question regarding "the ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun." The pause was apparently only about 1-2 seconds, wherein the documentary, editing stretched it to 8.
1. As a journalist reporting hard news, Katie Couric is to be as unbiased as possible and report the facts of events occurring in our world. As the executive producer of a documentary, should she be held to the same journalistic standard, or does she have the freedom of expression to edit footage in order to support a specific perspective on an issue?
2. If Michael Moore edits a response, is he held to the same standard as Katie Couric? Or would something like this just be expected and accepted from him?
3. "Before this film is over ... 22 people in America will be shot." "In America, there are more gun stores than Starbucks and McDonalds combined." Are there two legitimate sides of this argument when facts like this are true?
The Bigger Picture: Is there such thing as an unbiased journalist or an honest politician?
The Pope and Beauty Bloggers
"Pope Francis isn't, like, a regular pope, he's a cool pope." As part of his continued effort to connect with the digital generation, the Pope met with 12 popular YouTubers at the Vatican this weekend. They discussed a variety of topics including religion, immigration, extremism and the need for the message of beauty.
Just FYI: Review a BBC Profile of Pope Francis HERE.
1. Pope Francis refers to the [beauty] vlogosphere as a place for people to "belong to a circle, at least virtually," and notes that social media like this creates "paths of optimism and hope." When you consider the positives and negatives of social media, could this be a point for the "pro" column?
On June 7, 2016 Hillary Clinton became the first woman candidate in history to clinch the Democratic nomination for the presidential race. With 2,384 delegates secured, Clinton has one more than necessary to gain the official nomination.
1. There are two different types of delegates that exist: pledged delegates that are awarded based on the results of primaries and caucuses, and super-delegates that are so called "free agents" and can basically support whomever they desire—party insiders who receive a vote at the party convention and are not bound to back any candidate, like the elected “pledged” delegates. Bernie Sanders supporters have stated they feel that the voting process is unfair due to Hillary's longevity in the party (she has known these super-delegates for years!). Do you feel that the voting process is fair, or does it support the "system" that Bernie Sanders has run against in his campaign?
2. In the wake of this announcement, Bernie Sanders' campaign has stated that they will not concede, and instead will continue to power through the campaign trail. Some believe that this further divides the Democratic party. Do you agree or disagree?
3. Hillary Clinton's nomination is a huge step for women in America and around the world, however some worry that she will not become elected due to a perception of trust issues. What do you think she can do as a candidate between now and the November's general election to regain the public's trust?
Sidebar: Have Netflix? Chelsea Handler has an episode titled "Election Math".... it's a good one ;)
Donald Trump Bans Washington Post
Republican nominee, Donald Trump, posted the following statement this past Monday,
"Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post."
This reaction was due to the Washington Post's article stating that Donald Trump suggested that President Obama was somehow involved in the Orlando shooting. The Washington Post elaborated on this statement that Mr. Trump made on Fox News Monday morning:
"Look guys, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart or has something else in mind.”
1. Does the Trump campaign have the right to ban whomever they like, or is this an infringement on freedom of the press?
2. This is not the first news outlet that Donald Trump has banned, and the news outlets he has banned are widely considered more "liberal." Being that most millennials receive their news from outlets such as these, how do you feel these bans will impact the younger voter demographic?
3. Would you feel comfortable if the President of the United States began banning certain publications from his press conferences? Is this constitutional?
Well, admittedly, this one is tough to recap, summarize and assign questions to without bias. So let’s focus on what we know (not assume), which is highlighted here in USA Today and in the New York Times.
High points: Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old US citizen killed 49 people in a gay night club in Orlando, FL. It was the worst mass shooting in US history. He executed this shooting with guns that he purchased legally. In his 911 call, he claimed allegiance to ISIS, yet there has not been confirmation of communication or directive from ISIS. Mateen was killed by FBI in the raid.
1. We predict that Orlando can come into your interview or on stage question in multiple ways, specifically in these buckets: gun control, LGBT discrimination/violence, ISIS and Muslims in America. Which of these issues (or something else) do you feel is most important to bring topic to bring to the forefront of conversation in reaction to the tragedy?
2. Who should we be focusing on for a solution: legislation…leaders, parents and teachers creating a culture of acceptance and religious tolerance...ourselves?
3. Many celebrities and politicians have spoken out about the tragedy, offering condolences to the families who have lost people. Many have also taken a specific stand on political or social issues, including Gretchen Carlson going a little off the FOX standard and Donald Trump’s controversial tweet. Do you feel it is appropriate and/or necessary for a titleholder to use thousands of followers to: express condolences, share prayers or thoughts, take a stand in reaction to mass tragedy such as this?
4. Do you support the legal sale of military grade assault rifles? In the circumstances that Omar Mateen was in – previously investigated by the FBI for terrorist connections, however removed from the terrorist watch list – should someone be able to legally obtain any firearm? If you are currently on the no-fly list, should you be able to buy a gun? If previously on the list?
Take a moment to think about your human reaction to the news of Orlando. Before or in addition to getting into all of the topics/issues surrounding it, share your compassion for humanity with the judges, because at the end of the day, we may be politically or socially divided, but we all need more compassion in the world, and it can start with you.
Anne Hathaway named United Nations Goodwill Ambassador
Today, UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, announced Anne Hathaway as its newest Goodwill Ambassador. Hathaway has been a long-time, vocal advocate of gender equality, women’s and girls’ rights. Her focus will be on “key barriers to gender equality… affordable childcare services and shared parental leave at both government and corporate levels.” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director said “For too long it has been difficult or impossible to view raising a child as being truly an equal responsibility for both parents.”
1. [not so much a question, just a statement] When we’re asked over and over in interviews, “Who is a female celebrity role model?” or “Who is a woman you look up to (besides your mom)?” take a look through the UN Women of recent years and see if you resonate with anyone, and if you learn something new about a celebrity you’ve seen in movies/TV/magazines.
2. Anne Hathaway has stepped out of the spotlight a bit in recent years as she entered into marriage and motherhood. How could this new phase of her life affect her message around empowering young girls? Does it become more or less powerful as she steps into these traditional gender roles?
3. Do you support paid paternity leave? If so, what should that look like? How about government-funded childcare for working families or single moms?
The Stanford Rape Case
We didn’t cover it in the last newsletter, but let’s not let Orlando cover up the Stanford rape case that still needs to be discussed. Brock Turner, a 20-year-old Stanford Swimmer, was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus. Two graduate students were riding their bikes through campus when they witnessed Turner on top of a woman who did not appear to be moving. When Turner tried to flee, they chased him down and held him until the police arrived. Turner’s blood-alcohol level was double the legal limit at the time, and the woman’s was three times the legal limit. The woman regained consciousness in the hospital where she was informed that she had been sexually assaulted and was asked to proceed with paperwork and a rape kit. Turner never assumed responsibility for the rape, and although the standard recommended sentence for this type of attack is 6 years, he has been sentenced to 6 months in jail (shorter on good behavior).
There are many aspects that make this case complicated. Here's a good article in The Atlantic.
Three powerful and thought-provoking letters have been written and published online:
1. What do we need to do in our society to change the rape culture on college campuses?
2. The judge presiding over the Stanford rape case has recently been removed from other sexual assault cases following a large petition for him to be removed from the bench entirely. Should this judge be removed based on the decision he made in this case?
3. Do you feel that good academic or athletic standing should come into play when determining a sentence for a defendant? But should race (when there is presedence of similar cases with a black defendant receiving much longer sentences)?
The Dalai Lama says kindness is the answer
You might not know about the U.S. Conference of Mayors, however it took place in Indianapolis last weekend. The core message was broad to our entire country and world. In an odd partnership [perhaps], Lady Gaga joined him.
The Dalai Lama spoke about war, violence, gun control and about the shooting in Orlando, all through the lens of compassion and kindness as the answer to solving such complicated issues. He says, "compassion is the antidote of anger, frustration and violence."
In a time/interview during which you are expected to have the answer on what laws we should put in place to stop terrorism, gun violence, etc., perhaps these six steps from His Holiness can offer you an alternative to legislating change and instead focusing on changing the culture we live in.
1. What comes first or is more effective, social change or legislative change? It is a 'chicken and the egg' scenario?
2. What can YOU do as one individual to make this world a better place in regards to these issues?
3. Is universal kindness possible? How can we motivate people to be more kind and compassionate when so many are at polarized edges of social issues?
"I never consider I am something special," he said. "We all, actually 7 billion human beings, mentally, emotionally, physically — we are (the) same." If the Dalai Lama says this, then let's all think about how we are the same, equal...or should be.
US Supreme Court strikes down TX Abortion Law
This is the perhaps the most important supreme court case about abortion in 20 years.
Texas imposed 2 restrictions on abortion clinics:
1. Doctors have to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. 2. Facilities have to be upgraded to hospital-like standards.
Supports of the Texas law state that these restrictions will raise the quality of care for women; opponents of the Texas law state that it would force so many clinics to close that it provides a major obstacle for women seeking abortion—which is unconstitutional.
The Constitution states that no state or institution may put an "undue burden" on women's rights to seek an abortion.
The Supreme Court decision was 5-3 and said that Texas' restrictions did indeed put an "undue burden" on women's rights. This vote is highly in favor of abortion rights, or those who support a woman's right to choose. See FOX and CNN and NPR for various perspectives.
1. Justice Anthony Kennedy was the swing vote, who moved in favor of abortion rights (and consistently has voted in favor of abortion rights in other Supreme Court cases). Even with a Republican or pro-life supporter as the 9th justice, the decision would have been voted 5-4. Therefore, how do you feel about Trump's statement that his justice would have upheld Texas law?
Lynch and Bill Clinton met on an airport tarmac after the two realized they were in the same place. The encounter took place ahead of the public release Tuesday morning of the House Benghazi Committee's report on the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya.
The meeting is raising questions about whether the independence of the Justice Department, which is conducting an investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server, might have been compromised.
1. A "chance meeting" with the Attorney General involved in Hillary Clinton's FBI case and former President Clinton appears to be bad politics at play. In an effort to remain fair in the court, do you think that Lynch should be removed from Secretary Clinton's pending FBI investigation involving the email scandal?
2. This type of public relations could be detrimental to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Should we continue to hold Hillary accountable for the actions of her husband, Bill?
3. It has been reported that surrounding staff and those on the tarmac were instructed to put away phones, recording devices and video equipment. Does this further add to suspicion that this was not a chance meeting at all?
Trump Vice President Picks
Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, could announce his running mate pick before the party's convention in Cleveland, OH.
A number of senators — including Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Bob Corker of Tennessee — are also being reviewed as picks.
1. Donald Trump has a reputation for un-presdiential rhetoric and demeanor. What type of personality traits should Trump bring in via the Vice President to balance his public perception?
2. What political policies do Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich bring to the table that you agree with? Disagree? Which one of them would be your personal pick for the Republican ticket?
Bye, EU. Brexit.
We are not experts on this topic. However, BBC breaks it down in digestible terms here. So does the Economist.
What happened? A referendum - a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part - was held on Thursday, June 23, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 52% to 48%.
But what is the EU? The European Union is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries. It began after World War II to foster economic co-operation, with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other.
How are we affected? The EU binds Europe together economically and politically; therefore Brexit is a significant disrupting factor there. A unified Europe, allied with the United States, is important for American economic and political interests.
1. British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was against leaving the EU and has since stated that he will step down from PM in October. If the leader of a country (and 16 of his cabinet members) so strongly opposed this vote, should this be something decided upon by the democracy and a popular vote?
2. How do you expect Brexit to have an impact on the United States? Click here to read how 17 of the world's top economists predict the next 5 months and 5 years.
3. Donald Trump's rhetoric around Brexit and NATO has been quite disturbing and worrisome. What happens to our foreign relations and European/UK alliances with Donald Trump as the leader of the US? CNN has something to say about that.
4. Why in the world should a pageant girl in the Miss America Organization have an authority or understanding of Brexit?! But seriously... ;-)
Justice Ginsburg Apologizes For Trump Comments
"On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them," Ginsburg said in a statement Thursday morning. "Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect."
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest Supreme Court Justice at 83 years old, has called Donald Trump a "faker" and criticized his refusal to turn over tax returns, referencing her late husband .
Trump responded, calling Justice Ginsburg to resign (on Twitter) and then claimed he would replace Ginsburg on the bench when he becomes President. The Week feels that his response is even more disturbing than her comments initially.
Read the war of words exchanged between the two, put together by the Washington Post.
1. Should anyone on an appointed branch of government, as opposed to an elected official, be able to comment on Presidential candidates?
2. What does Justice Ginsburg's comments say about the future of the Supreme Court in regards to bias? Do you feel she is a fair judge to continue in this service?
3. Does a public [PR] apology right the wrongs of politicians and celebrities?
Death Toll in Nice Rises to 84
Yesterday, France experienced its third major terrorist attack in 19 months. In Nice (in the south of France), during a Bastille Day celebration, a white truck drove through crowds of people killing 84 and wounding over 200 more.
The driver was a 31-year-old Tunisian man who lived in Nice since 2005 and was not on a government database of radicalized militants, according to the New York Times "What We Know; What We Don't" (very helpful article on terrorist attacks).
1. What is or should be the United States' role in protecting other countries from terrorists attacks or retaliating against them?
2. Donald Trump says we should use NATO and utilize Congress to declare war on ISIS. Hillary Clinton says we are "already at war with the terrorists groups and what they represent," but that "it's a different kind of war." What constitutes war? Does the United States need to bomb or invade a country in order to be "at war"? Is this World War III?
4. Does this additional terrorist attack change or deepen your personal opinion on accepting the 10,000 Syrian refugees slated to enter our country by the end of the year?
Indiana Governor Mike Pence Announced as V.P. of Choice
Donald Trump announced his pick for Vice President: Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
Mike Pence has been serving as the 50th Governor of Indiana since 2013. Previously an attorney, Pence joined he previously represented Indiana's 2nd and 6th congressional districts in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013 and served as Chairman of the House of Republican Congress from 2009 to 2011. Pence is a conservative Republican and a longtime supporter of the Tea Party Movement.
—In 2014 he signed into law a package of tax cuts for business that would give Indiana one of the nation’s lowest corporate tax rates.
—After losing early campaigns for Congress, he wrote an essay apologizing for running negative ads against an opponent, Rep. Phillip Sharp. The Indianapolis Star has reported Pence "swore off harsh political tactics."
1. Do you think Mike Pence will help or hurt Donald Trump in the general election?
3. What positive attributes do you think the Trump/Pence ticket could bring to America?
FBI Director James Comey + Hillary Clinton's Emails
Earlier this month, FBI Director, James Comey, recommendedno chargesfor Hillary Clinton in regard to her email scandal after a suspect meeting between Attorney General, Loretta Lynch and former President, Bill Clinton.
1. Do you think that Hillary Clinton should be charged? Many government officials and people communicated with Hillary through her personal email account. If you think she should be charged, should she be solely responsible, or should they be charged, too?
2. The Clinton's have a long history of political power and are often considered a "dynasty" in politics. Is the meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch before the dismissal of the email scandal simply proof that they can get away with anything?
3. Do you think that this investigation is necessary, or is it merely a Republican tactic to take attention away from the real issues at hand?
Republican National Convention
The Republican National Convention was held in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18-21, 2016. With daily themes of "Make America Safe Again", "Make America Work Again," "Make America First Again", and "Make America One Again." While former and current Republican law-makers and members of public office were in attendance, Ohio Governor and Republican candidate, John Kasich was not. Here are some of the people who stepped up to the plate during the convention.
1. How does the theme of "Make America ____ Again" resonate with you? Is there a time when you feel that America was better than it is today? If so, what time and why specifically?
2. What policy solutions were present in the RNC speeches?
3. Do you think it is possible for one person to change the course of the country?
4. Peter Thiel is an openly gay man. Do you consider him supportive of his party, or is he betraying the LGBT community (specifically in light of Mike Pence's LGBT stance)?
Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention (DNC) was held July 25-28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Wells Fargo Center. In attendance were representatives from the House and Senate, members of the Hispanic, Black and LGBT Caucuses, family members of young men and women who have perished due to gun violence, and even Mr. and Mrs. Kahn, the Muslim parents of a U.S. soldier who was killed in combat. A variety of speeches, from those in public office and in Hollywood, engaged Americans of all walks of life, and culminated in Chelsea Clinton's introduction of her mother, the first woman nominated for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton.
1. How do the atmospheres at both conventions compare?
2. FLOTUS' statement, "Every day I wake up in a house built by slaves," raised quite the controversy (some said that there were slaves, but also paid workers, etc). What do you think of her statement?
3. Despite the politics, how does it make you feel to see a female offiicially on the ticket for President of the United States?
4. After watching Bill Clinton's speech, do you see their marriage (and history) as a positive or negative for the Democratic Party?
2016 Rio Olympics
Political turmoil, Russians and nasty toilets – the 2016 Rio Olympics are off to a sloppy start. Pardon the French, but The Daily Beast wrote a great article about NBC’s stance and defense of the 7,000 hours of coverage of the upcoming Olympic games, despite a rocky start with Opening Ceremonies on Friday.
- Sewage runs in water through Olympic venues, resulting in water athletes being advised to “not put their heads under water” or “keep their mouths closed.” In addition, Zika has been a growing concern in Rio.
1.Cities put millions of dollars into preparing to host the Olympics, yet few are ever fully equipped. Where would you like to see the Olympics? Could you ever see it hosted in your city/state?
2.How should athletes be compensated or treated knowing that the water conditions are unsanitary or at least not ideal?
3.Doping has been a significant problem (since 1968 when they began drug testing, 119 athletes have been banned); Should these athletes be able to compete in future Olympic games if they have been banned for illegal drug usage? Bringing it back to Miss America, should Miss America contestants be drug tested?
Zika Virus Spreads in Florida
There are now at least 15 people in the Miami, FL area with Zika virus. Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that causes microcephaly and other birth defects, and is commonly spread from pregnant women to their fetus. There is no vaccine for Zika at this time. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says there are 336 people with Zika in Florida who traveled to the state from elsewhere; 4 have been identified as contracting the virus locally.
1. This Zika outbreak has activated the CDC emergency response team. How much focus should we be putting on domestic emergency response as opposed to foreign aid? How does this outbreak affect your position on this?
2. What are you doing to avoid contracting Zika, or has it ever been top of mind for you, specifically geographically?
3. Would you travel to Florida, especially Miami, right now?
Famously, Chrissy Tiegen made some interesting commentary on Twitter regarding the "diversity" of the top five and also Hay's commentary on social media.
1. Is it more important for contestants and titleholders to clean up their social media when competing, or to not have posted things at all? Should we be held accountable for tweets from years ago?
2. Do you feel the Miss Universe Organization handled the situation appropriately by not taking away her crown (after taking away the crown of another USA titleholder recently?)?
3. Do you think it was fair or appropriate for Miss Alabama Teen USA to make comments on the issue to Cosmopolitan magazine as a fellow competitor?
Clinton Chooses VA Sen. Tim Kaine as VP
We know it sounds like old news, but this happened right at the time that our last newsletter came out! So, let's take a look back at Hillary Clinton's choice in selecting Tim Kaine as her Vice Presidential running mate.
Tim Kaine is a centrist democrat who favorably served the swing state of Virginia as governor and senator (and more). He is a devoutly religious Catholic, Harvard-educated lawyer with a career focus on social justice (shared with Hillary) and current focus on racial reconciliation, says the NYTimes. As governor, he led Virginia through the Virginia Tech massacre and was seen as a "unifier."
1. Did Hillary strategically wait to select a running mate after Trump's decision in order to make the best opposing choice? (Politico does.)
2. What can Tim Kaine do for Hillary in the voting population of African-American and Hispanic voters? White male voters? Hillary's challenge has been young voters who devoutly support(ed) Bernie. Does Kaine help in bringing these voters on board?
So many stories have come out of the Rio Olympics! Aside from the water issue covered in the last newsletter, here are some of our highlights with questions along the way. You should have your favorite too! We predict the Olympics to be a popular topic in upcoming pageants.
Following the shooting of Sylville Smith at the hands of a black Milwaukee Police Officer this past Saturday night, the entire city has literally and figuratively gone up in flames. Smith was armed and the shooting came after a routine traffic stop. Smith's death followed a string of violence on Friday. After two nights of protests and rioting, the National Guard was called in for backup and is expected to arrive ready to continue the string of arrests that followed Smith's shooting.
1. In this instance, both the Police Officer and the victim were black. Do you think the police/population issue is one that is truly about race, or truly about power?
2. Many claim the violence this weekend is not, in fact, about Smith's death. Instead, protestors are acting out over the issue of heightened racial divide in Milwaukee—going as far as Smith's sister encouraging protestors to take their anger to the "suburbs." Does this timing give the #BlackLivesMatter movement a bad name?
Who Lies More? Presidential Candidates +
Click on the image to the left to enlarge and study it.
1. Hillary Clinton's emails have been the number one source of "lying" in her reputation, yet she ranks so low in the "Pants on fire" or "False" section. What label would you give her email situation based on the labels provided?
2. Michelle Bachmann isn't even running for office, yet has a loud presence in the Republican Party, and has made some pretty eccentric claims recently. You know the phrase, "we are the company we keep"? How does the company of each of our presidential nominees affect their individual reputations?
3. Bernie Sanders has the overall best record of truth based on this graph, with John Kasich or Jeb Bush close behind. What does it say about our country that the "most honest" candidates from both parties did not receive the nomination? Does the nice guy always win? Or do you need to play a little dirty sometimes in order to win the Presidency?
Kaepernick's choice of protest has caused outrage across the United States; many stating that a bi-racial football player making "$120 million a year is not oppressed," and that his refusal to stand is a slap in the face to those who fought for his freedom.
On the other hand, veterans have come to his defense with phrases like, "This is exactly the freedom we fought for!" and initiating the #VeteransForKaepernick.
1. Is Colin Kaepernick being disrespectful or is he exercising his Constitutional right to peacefully protest?
2. If we demand that Americans stand and salute/place their hand on their heart for the National Anthem or the Pledge, is it really a choice to pledge allegiance to the United States?
3. Because Kaepernick was raised by Caucasian parents and has experienced success in his career, does that mean he should not use his voice for greater good? Are people dismissing his "voice" due to wealth simply because they do not like the nature of what he has to say? Does this standard ring true for Beyonce? What about Oprah? If Oprah did the same thing, would we have the same reaction?
4. Should Kaepernick be punished by the NFL?
War on Makeup— Alicia Keys and the VMAs
“I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.” — Alicia Keys
As of recently, Alicia Keys has made several public appearances with little to no makeup present, and at the 2016 VMAs, it caused an outrage.
There's really not much to say other than....huh?
1. In the age of feminism, redefining beauty, body positive, etc. is this choice so "out there?"
2. How do you feel about her no makeup look? Does this say bravery or lazy?
3. As a title-holder, do you think you would ever make the choice to go bare-faced to a public appearance? If your answer was "no," then why not?
4. Often women feel that they must wear makeup to look professional. Is this something we have done to ourselves, or is this perpetuated by "the man?" (our bosses?)
Betty Cantrell says, "Parades are the Worst."
Perhaps to the rest of the world, Betty Cantrell's comments on her year as Miss America aren't quite the "hot topic," but we would be remiss if we did not address this public relations faux pas.
1. Who do you feel is to blame for the tone of this interview? Do you believe that the journalist worked with what she was given, or that she had an agenda all along?
2. As a title-holder, do you feel that Betty was being real, or that she was being ungrateful? Is this a true insight in to her personality, or do you think this was a slip-up on her part? Are you allowed this kind of slip-up 11 months in to the job?
3. The job of Miss America can be a tough one (we know!). Should the public know the struggle of Miss America so that they may understand her more? Or, should we keep our dirty laundry to ourselves?
4. Do you think that by understanding the struggles that Miss America faces, the general public may see her more along the lines of 'normal,' or will it make her seem average?
5. Do you think the general public cares?
There She Is...Savvy Shields!
Miss Arkansas stole the show on Sunday night during the ABC telecast of the 2017 Miss America Competition (Pageant? Scholarship Pageant? Unclear.).
A Senior at Arkansas State University studying Art, Savvy wowed the celebrity judges with her interview, talent (she won a preliminary talent award) and on-stage presence. Her platform, "Eat Better, Live Better" focuses on encouraging Americans to take control of their health and wellness.
1. What did you think of the Miss America a) winner b) overall competition c) telecast d) branding/marketing of the organization in the most largely publicize outlet of the year? We suggest you take some time to journal or outline your review so that you can then build your suggestions on what to keep, what to change and how to improve and build out org.
2. We noticed an addition to the final announcement, "Receiving a 6-figure salary, $50k in scholarships..." Do you think this addition will entice new competitors on the local level? Is it anyone's business how much Miss America makes?
3. Also, Savvy has continually referenced winning $90k in scholarships (adding up her Miss A as well as Miss Arkansas $25k plus all of her prelim/overall awards, plus perhaps her teen awards as well?). What is more of a draw for new contestants -- salary or scholarship?
4. Do you think she is doing a good job of getting the Miss A sponsors out there? How about keeping it fresh throughout her various interviews?
1. Should all presidential and vice presidential candidates have to share all medical information publicly prior to the election, or should this be reviewed internally by the government?
2. The President doesn't get time off for sick days - should she power through the candidacy as if she was the President, or should she be taking time away from the campaign in order to potentially enter the presidency at peak health performance?
3. Donald Trump took to popular television to announce and share his medical exam results with Dr. Oz. Is this the best way to share information to a broad audience or is it odd to share on a popularized TV show?
Donald and Ivanka Trump Roll Out 'Family Leave' Plan
Together with the support and collaboration of his daughter, Ivanka, Trump revealed his new plan, which includes six weeks of "paid maternity leave" and lower child care costs plus deductions.
The cost of childcare is the single-most expensive cost for American families. Ivanka Trump explains the importance on Fox's The Kelly File. The campaign claims that this would be paid for completely without raising taxes, by taking money out of unemployment insurance, reducing unemployment fraud.
Trump proposes a tax deduction of the average cost of childcare from taxes. This also includes elderly care. Additionally, new accounts for dependent care can be contributed to at $2,000 per year, untaxed, until the age of 18 which then can be used for higher education.
1. It is unusual for a Republican to provide a plan for family leave, does this allow Donald Trump to reach across the aisle? How will this affect his voting support from women, specifically?
3. The Trump campaign has challenged Hillary's campaign on not speaking out with more comprehensive plan for family leave. Review Hillary's plan here -- which do you support?
Keapernick Influences Continues
Colin Keapernick's stance against racial inequality continues to spark conversation and controversy. The 49ers quarterback decided to remain seated during the national anthem in the NFL preseason and, in doing so, has ignited a heated debate among Americans, but... also caught on like wildfire.