President Barack Obama arrives in Tucson, Arizona, to attend a memorial service for victims of last Saturday's shooting rampage. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The losses suffered Saturday at a Tucson, Arizona, Safeway Supermarket are numerous and nefarious. As our ravenous news cycle has already reported in devastating detail, suspected gunman, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, opened fire on a small crowd gathered for a meet and greet, wounding 14 people and killing six -- including federal Judge John M. Roll. As of this writing, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords -- who was shot at point-blank range in the head and appears to be the primary target of the attack -- remains in stable but critical condition.
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses a panel on women's health and security at the U.N. Women's Conference in Beijing, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1995. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
In 1995, then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton stood before the U.N. Women's Conference and declared, "Women's rights are human rights." It was a profoundly radical assertion. A little over 15 years later, it's accepted wisdom.
(And, not to be overlooked, that first lady in a cotton-candy-pink suit and a long blond flip is now the secretary of state who tells reporters to keep their questions to themselves when they ask her who her favorite designer is.)
Students and police at protests over tuition hikes in London last month (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
As 50,000 students in the United Kingdom took to the streets last week in protest of pending budget cuts for school tuition, it was hard not to wonder: Where is the student movement here in the U.S.?
There is one, to be sure. It's fueled, in large part, by the frustration of first-generation college students who are eager to make good on their parents' and grandparents' efforts to get the next generation to the promised land of higher education. And what a promised land it is -- high school graduates are three times more likely to live in poverty than college graduates, and eight times more likely to depend on public-assistance programs.
Presidential hopeful Barack Obama speaks to an MTV studio audience in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Expectations weren't high for young-voter turnout in the midterm election. Indeed, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement reports that youth turnout was pretty paltry -- only about 20 percent of voters were under 30 years old. The news that only 9 million young people cast a ballot sobered youth organizers and inflamed middle-aged columnists. In his "Letter to a whiny young Democrat," Mark Moford of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Politics is corrosive and infuriating, de facto and by definition, even with someone as thoughtful as Obama in the Big Chair. Understand it. Deal with it. Get back in the game. If you don't, we all lose. Your choice, kiddo."
A participant of the Oct. 30 "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" holding a sign in front of a Fox News satellite truck (Flickr/Andrew Bossi)
The mood at last weekend's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, co-hosted by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, was undeniably self-congratulatory -- the clever signs, the funny costumes, the motley sing-alongs. After such a long, dark season of economic depression, legislative disappointments, and overexposed "mama grizzlies," it's understandable that people want to laugh away the blues. But if we really want to claim the label of engaged citizens, our laughing must be accompanied by some good ol' self-examination of where and how we get our news.