The Yadam Seven 7′s: Man of the Year
All introductory malarkey aside, this is the first ever Yadam Seven 7′s, a special list prepared for your reading enjoyment where 7 contributors will unleash a cascade of 7 lists of what they believe best exemplifies 2012. The second revealed topic goes hand-in-hand with the first: Man of the Year.
By Adam Bross
Nothing changes the psyche of a nation as an unspeakable act. It does not matter if you were a sports fan or not, the Jerry Sandusky scandal shook not only the Penn State family but the entire country. The idea a man having been entrusted with other people’s children and violating the trust traumatized all of America. While events such as Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 Election, and London Olympics stole headlines; child abuse has never been so prominent and defined as in 2012. Sandusky changed the paradigm of people toward child abuse as the list of victims of the disgusting former Penn State assistant grew exponentially as more and more people stepped forward. Sandusky’s story grabbed front page headlines and made people realize how serious the atrocity of sexual abuse of children has become in today’s society. Some experts hypothesize 1 of every 3 children experienced sexual abuse; although, the usual estimates hover around 25% of girls and 20% of boys. With the prevalence of this plague, how can a parent feel safe sending a kid to a cub scout meeting, tutoring, summer camps, or even sports practices? Who knows what type of ogres may be hiding amongst the ranks of den masters, teachers, counselors, and coaches? Jerry Sandusky is a monster and one who deserves far worse than the 30 years of prison he was sentenced; however, there is an extremely bitter silver lining to the story. Sandusky allowed the world to be unshackled and see just how far sexual abuse of children has spread and the severity of the issue in today’s United States.
By Cameron Conrad
Ron Paul is undoubtedly the most consistent conservative libertarian politician of the past 30 years. Many consider him the modern-day Thomas Jefferson because of his belief in liberty and individualism and his opposition to big government programs. He has been nicknamed “Dr. No” because of his refusal to vote for legislation that is not explicitly authorized by the Constitution. Some contend that he has had more lone “nay” votes on legislation during his service than all other congressional members combined. He said he doesn’t mind the nickname because in saying no to so many proposed laws, he sees himself saying yes to liberty and the Constitution. He has promised never to vote to raise taxes and he claims to have never voted to approve of a budget deficit. He is my man of the year because he has raised so much awareness about issues related to American freedom, especially among young people. When he first took office, few people cared to listen to his ideas about changing the monetary system and ending the Federal Reserve, but today there is a growing movement of people who are passionate about bringing real change to this country, thanks largely to the ideas and writing of Ron Paul. After serving in Congress for 23 years over a 36 year period, Paul will retire from public service in a few weeks once he finishes serving his final term. He recently delivered his farewell speech on the House floor, which to be honest with you, was mostly more of the same: warning us about the expanding warfare-welfare state in the U.S., the growing deficits, the loss of liberties through legislation such as NDAA and the Patriot Act, and the lack of differences between the two major parties who often compromise their principles to continue government expansion. Once you read enough about Ron Paul’s stances on the issues, you can get a pretty good understanding of how he would vote on almost any piece of legislation because he’s so consistent. His goals when he was first elected in 1976 were the same as they are today, which is why his farewell speech was mostly more of the same. I encourage you to read one of his books (especially Liberty Defined, End the Fed, or the Revolution) because you will realize how informed and knowledgeable he truly is. His undergraduate degree was in biology and he became a doctor, but through reading and studying on his own he is easily knowledgeable enough to also have degrees in history, economics, and political science. Paul has expressed his support for the Austrian School of Economics (http://mises.org/etexts/austrian.asp), which is why he has authored legislation to audit the Fed and hopes one day to End the Fed in order to transition to a more authentic free market. As a supporter of the foreign policy of our Founding Fathers, Paul believes in the use of diplomacy and free trade with all with all nations. At the same time, he favors nonintervention and avoiding entangling alliances. Many people have accused Paul of being an isolationist, simply because he prefers not to use force and violence, but this accusation couldn’t be further from the truth. True isolationism avoids and shuns interaction with other countries; Paul does not support this, he just prefers a more peaceful foreign policy than most of his conservative peers and believes diplomacy should be tried before force is used. Keep an eye out for my future blog articles on the Arab Spring and U.S. Foreign Policy as I apply some of Paul’s ideas to past and present-day events.
Joseph Kony/Jason Russell
By Vince Kampel
Central Africa is right at the top of the list of “Places You Really Don’t Want to be Right Now”. Specifically, present day Uganda is a nation with really no redeemable qualities. On par with several of its African neighbors, the country is troubled by a poor economy, widespread AIDS, government corruption, and frequent drought. The rest of its worries, well, you can pretty much blame a man named Joseph Kony. Over the past 20+ years, Kony and his guerilla group the Lord’s Resistance Army have formed a cult of personality in Uganda and its neighboring countries. Some of the LRA’s hobbies include religious genocide, child-sex slavery, child-abduction-and-soldier-fication, and plenty of other forms of unspeakable debauchery. They’re not good people. Estimates put the number of child soldiers at about 100,000 and displaced people at roughly 2 million. “This is terrible!” you say. “Someone should spearhead a campaign to stop this wicked man!”
Enter: Jason Russell: director, activist, humanitarian. Russell formed a group called Invisible Children in 2003 with the purpose of helping the African children affected by Kony and the LRA escape the horrors around them. After almost a decade of activism and documentary shooting, Russell ultimately released a little half hour video called Kony 2012 that quickly went viral to the tune of 100 million views on Youtube. The video simultaneously launched Joseph Kony almost instantly to worldwide infamy and propelled Russell and his crew to prominence. For a couple weeks, Kony’s name was everywhere on social networks, blogs, and the lips of Americans across the nation. Russell’s plan to raise awareness worked better than he could have ever expected. Things pretty much go downhill for him after that. On March 15, Russell was detained in San Diego drunk, in his underwear, vandalizing cars, screaming incoherently, and “possibly masturbating”. As you may have noticed, all of these things fall under the category of “Things you really don’t want to be caught doing in public, especially if you’ve recently achieved national fame”. On top of that, critics began to speak out against his movement, noting that he really had no foreign affairs or international diplomacy knowledge/experience. In addition, reports claimed that only about 31% of Invisible Children’s donations went to the cause. Needless to say, the movement began to lose some steam. All in all, you can’t deny the influence Kony and Russell had on America in 2012.
By Jack Marcheschi
Quick, what’s the best movie you’ve seen? Inception? Titanic? The Departed? Gangs of New York? All good movies, all great movies. Now, use that big ole brain of yours to figure out what all of these movies have in common….and brainblast! Leonardo DiCaprio is in all of those movies and he keeps churning out hit after hit. Directors probably have cage matches to even decide who gets the chance to present a movie idea to this guy, and it’s not even a guarantee that he won’t laugh in their faces when he hears the wounded movie conductor’s idea, and then beat their ass even more. Oh, and this guy has been pulling in girls that us guys literally dream of. Like this one, this one, this one, and oh, yeah, her, too. He’ll probably pull in a couple Oscars to add to his collection. His role in Django: Unchained is timeless. See it if you haven’t already. At this point, its Leonardo DiCaprio’s world, and we’re all just living in it. Seriously though, this guy is well rounded. He’s a huge environmentalist, as well as philanthropist. He makes many donations to Los Angeles’ schools and public library system. Also, he’s donated $1,000,000 to Hati’s relief foundation ever since that wretched earthquake they had back in 2010. All in all, Leo is my pick for Man of 2012.
By Matthew Murphy
Adam “I’m a giant douchebag” Lanza is responsible for the greatest tragedy of 2012. On December 14, 20 year-old Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary and fatally shot 20 children and 6 adult staff at the school making it the second deadliest school shooting in American history. I don’t even think words can do justice to the sickness and evil of this man’s mind, and I can never even begin to fathom how a person decides shooting up a school is the best course of action at the time. This was and still is a terrible tragedy, and my deepest grief goes out to the families of Newtown, Connecticut. But nothing is more frustrating than seeing the media constantly focusing on Adam Lanza and his life and his situation and whether or not gun control or better mental health treatment would’ve prevented the situation. Instead of giving him the attention he obviously wanted, why not focus on the 26 lives that were cut short and how those families can be helped? I feel like that should be really obvious, but alas, the news chooses to focus on a psychopathic killer. Well, congratulations to you Adam Lanza for committing one of the worst acts of violence in American history. You are the worst man of 2012.
By Zac Reid
Imagine the world had actually ended on the 21st(see Events article). Imagine the world was finally coming to an end, and Judgment Day had finally come. Do you think you would be ready to come face to face with all of your actions? If you had to count up the amount of good deeds you’ve done, the amount of times you’ve done the right thing, the amount of people you’ve treated the right way, would it outweigh all the bad things you’ve done, or even more so the amount of times you could have done the right thing but chose not to? I hope you are can say yes, but I sure as hell can’t. On November 14, a street photographer caught an NYPD officer kneeling down next to a homeless man, clothed in a raggedy jacket and shorts, with no shoes or socks at all. This officer went to a nearby shoe store, bought a new pair of sneakers, and bestowed them upon this man free of charge. Among all of the disasters that occurred during 2012, this small act shows that humanity always has a silver lining. With such events like the Sandusky cases and the shootings in Newtown, people tend to become disillusioned in their belief in humanity. Everyone seems to sensationalize huge disasters that ruin the lives of many, and acts of kindness tend to go unspoken for. But small acts like this can give us great hope in times of despair. They help maintain that small strain of sanity that these terrible disasters try to tear. I don’t know anything about this man, and in fact I don’t want to. His action served as something greater than just a man to look up to. It gave us all just a little something to believe in—a hope in a brighter future. Lawrence DePrimo served his fellow man better than I have and most people I’ve ever met.
By Ted Schoen
Founder of the free education video series on khanacademy.org, Sal Khan has greatly impacted the realm of learning over the past few years. The first videos he created were intended to be helpful tools for his teenage cousin studying algebra. His videos have now transformed into a vast library of lectures covering topics of math, science, history, economics, and more. The intuition and conversational nature of the videos makes people of all ages and backgrounds comfortable with learning. For students with foreign professors, or students that don’t like going to class, his videos have been a lifesaver when studying for finals. His new book, The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined, covers the history of different styles of learning and ways people learn best. He remarks on the standardized educational system people have become familiar with over the years, discussing how the Prussians, who were heavily influenced by the industrial revolutionary, developed the system. Sal has reimagined the way of learning, believing that self-based learning online can revolutionize how students can master information. Khan discusses ideas such as flipping the school day, which involves students doing the lectures at their own pace and practicing problem solving in class. Sal’s great gift of spreading knowledge and intuition has made him one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. His overall influence on people’s learning is untold, as he continues to help educate millions of viewers. Thanks to Sal, one can acquire a great deal of intuition by frequenting khanacadamy.org.