Donald Trump weighs in on Secret Service code name

Philadelphia, a World Class City

Emily B. Cyr

Last week, the United States received a great honor: it is now home to its first UNESCO World Heritage City. While many people might guess that New York, Washington or Los Angeles would be the city of choice, this title was actually given to the country’s City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.

For those unfamiliar with UNESCO, it stands for United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Formed in 1945 after World War II, it is an agency of the United Nations that seeks to strengthen cultural and moral ties throughout the world. They pioneered the idea of World Heritage, and created World Heritage cites to preserve places considered of universal value. There are over 1,000 sites throughout the world today and they are distinguished as cultural, natural or mixed. For example, Chartres Cathedral in France is considered the high point of French Gothic art and thus has been granted World Heritage status alongside the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, valued as the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem. UNESCO also indicates which sites are considered in danger, like the city of Damascus in Syria and the Birthplace of Jesus in Palestine. 

Currently, there are 23 sites in the United States including the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Another one of these sites is Independence Hall, which is what allowed Philadelphia to lobby for full World Heritage City status. Philly has now joined over 200 cities, including Paris, Jerusalem and Prague as a World Heritage city. The reason Philadelphia finally joined these cities is because as home to both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Philadelphia has produced some of the most influential political ideology to shape lawmakers throughout the world.  

There are many benefits to being a part of the World Heritage Cities Program, including increased tourism, cultural and educational exchanges with other heritage cities and what might be most important to Philadelphians: an increase in city pride.  Though Philadelphia is a vital part of American history, it has not been able to maintain the prominence it held in 1776. Often attributing Philadelphia’s lack of recognition to its location between New York City and Washington, DC, city officials have been looking for a way to restore confidence in the city.  This accomplishment combined with Pope Francis’ visit this past fall and the Democratic National Convention next summer show that Philly is on its way to becoming a recognized cultural hub.

Congratulations to the City of Philadelphia and congratulations to the many tourists who will soon know the taste of a real Philly cheesesteak.


NASA Recruitment

By Emily Cyr

For college students in their final year of school, here is good news. There is a new opening in the job market because NASA is looking for astronauts! For the first time in four years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will be accepting applications for a new class of space explorers. While NASA welcomes a wide variety of candidates, there are a couple things they do need in their candidates.

On NASA’s website, they highlight three main requirements needed for consideration.

1)      “A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institutions in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics.” So for those of you who entered college four years ago thinking you could not join NASA anyway so chose to study English, tough luck.

2)       “Degree must be followed by at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for experience as follows: master’s degree = 1 year of experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience.  Teaching experience, including experience at the K - 12 levels, is considered to be qualifying experience for the Astronaut Candidate position; provided degree is in a Science, Engineering, or Mathematics field.” This is where NASA really shows they mean it when they say they want diversity. So whether you have been teaching children or flying a plane, you are still a possible candidate!

3)      The third requirement is about physical necessities, which means some people could have all the experience and education but could simply be too short to go to space. Yes, one requirement is that you have to be no shorter than 5’2” and not taller than 6’3”. The good news is you do not need perfect vision, as glasses, or correctional surgery is permissible. You also have to have a certain blood pressure and pass the NASA Astronaut Physical but interestingly, there is no age requirement.

Even for those who do meet these qualifications, it will still be difficult to make it into NASA’s newest class of space pioneers. The last time NASA recruited, roughly 6,400 people applied and only eight were selected. This is about an 8% acceptance rate, however to give some hope for those wishing to walk on the moon, this is a higher acceptance rate than that of Harvard, Stanford, or MIT in recent history.  But what is it the astronauts will exactly be doing?

Some of the reason for new recruits is to help with ongoing NASA activities like spending time on the International Space Station. However, another potential mission is the one that will probably attract a whole class of dreamers: the mission to Mars.

So dream on, NASA hopefuls, and as Buzz Lightyear would say, “To Infinity and Beyond!”  


Krauthammer on reports of bomb on Russian airliner: ‘The Egyptians and Russians are deathly afraid’

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Thursday on “Special Report” that the Russians and Egyptians are both urging caution over reports that a bomb brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt – and for good reason.

“The Egyptians and the Russians are deathly afraid of such a verdict,” Krauthammer said.

For Egypt, Krauthammer explained, the reason for this fear is twofold.

“Number one, they depend hugely on tourism to get their foreign exchange. Sharm el-Sheikh is one of their number one tourist destinations. The only way to get there is by airplane. You shut down the airport, it dies,” he said, adding, “The second [reason they’re afraid] is that the Egyptian regime is in a death struggle with radical Islam in the country…  And now if they're able to bring down airplanes, the prestige of the regime in sort of winning the battle against the jihadists is really diminished.”

As for Russia, its own struggle with radical Islam is at play… and that country’s reputation for being tough on jihadists may be at stake.

“[Russia has] a reputation of being utterly ruthless. You don't want to mess with Boris,” Krauthammer said, “If this turns out to be an attack on a Russian airliner, they're going to have either their deterrent is going to be diminished, or they're going to have a furious response, which could incidentally help us, cause it would be against ISIS.”

Whiskey and Washington

By Emily Cyr

Happy Election Day! As candidates are in the final hours of campaigning, here is a look at how elections went down in early America.

Many Americans today might wish for a candidate like first President George Washington, but the residents of colonial Virginia were not originally so keen on him. In his first run for the Virginia House of Burgesses, a 24 year old George Washington lost in a landslide. The reason? He did not supply the voters with the appropriate refreshments.  

Yes, this is actually what Washington himself attributed his loss to, as mentioned in Dennis Pogue’s book Founding Spirits: George Washington and the Beginnings of the American Whiskey Industry. In this 1755 election, Washington only received 40 votes while his opponent, received 271 votes after generously supplying rum punch, beer, whiskey and wine to the electorate. This was a common practice in colonial times, with origins that trace back to Britain and even Ancient Greece. It was known as “swilling the planters with bumbo”, and voters expected barrels of alcohol in exchange for exercising their civic duty. Supposedly, American colonists drank about twice as much as the modern American does, with a single colonist consuming roughly five gallons of booze per year.

Washington himself drank quite a bit, making the Madeira, a fortified Portuguese wine, his beverage of choice. However, he provided more than just wine when the next election rolled around in 1758, suppling voters with 144 gallons of various libations. This resulted in Washington’s victory, each vote costing him about a half-gallon of alcohol.

Despite the commonality of this practice, it was indeed illegal due to a 1699 Virginia law prohibiting candidate’s purchase of alcohol or gifts for voters. Today, this practice has obviously gone out of fashion but for a while, states were very concerned about the mixing of alcohol and elections. Due to prohibition era blue laws, many states banned the sale of liquor on election days or at least during the open hours at the polls. Most all of these laws have been repealed, with the latest in South Carolina last year.

Though buying votes with alcohol is reprehensible, the colonists may have been on to something about making Election Day a celebratory event. So consider raising a glass (once you have already voted) to our Founding Fathers and democracy in practice, and have a Happy Election Day!  

Krauthammer: 'The [GOP] candidates should quit while they're ahead'

By Hayley Turner

Charles Krauthammer said Monday on 'Special Report'  that Republican presidential candidates' meeting to gain greater control over the remaining debate format is "pointless."

Advisers from at least 11 GOP presidential campaigns met Sunday to outline what they want out of the remaining debates following last week's controversial CNBC debate.

"The Republican candidates should quit while they're ahead," the syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor said. "The debate about the debate is over and they crushed the media."

"The general consensus, including in the liberal media, is that it was an awful debate run by disrespectful and kind of useless moderators, who clearly showed the world that there's a liberal bias, so the GOP won and, actually, came out of the debate looking good as a group. At this point, I think to continue to beat the horse is kind of pointless," Krauthammer added.

Steve Hayes: Admins plan does not show Obama is "serious about eliminating ISIS"

Steve Hayes told viewers Friday on "Special Report with Bret Baier" that the administration's plan to put several dozen Special Operations forces on the ground is Syria still does not show that President Obama is "serious about eliminating ISIS and removing Bashar al-Assad."

The White House announced Friday that less than 50 US forces would be moving into Syria to help train and assist local fighters. 

"We know what it looks like when the United States wants to eliminate an enemy. That's not what this looks like," Hayes said, adding that "they can be the most effective people in the world at what they do, and 50 of them won't make a substantive difference."

The White House refuted assertions that the move would constitute mission creep, claiming that though the troops could find themselves near the front lines of the battlefield, they are serving in a non-combat role.

"I think Josh Earnest is probably technically right, that this isn't a change of strategy. Because there is no strategy," Hayes said. "By definition, you can't change something that you don't have."

The Weekly Standard columnist also cited concerns about the US becoming involved with Russian efforts in Syria, as Russia has already reportedly deployed ground troops to the Syrian fight.

"I find it ironic that the administration is partnering with Russia on this," Hayes said. "We're sending many, many mixed signals - none of them suggest that the United States has any resolve with respect to Russia, Syria, Iran or the broader campaign in the region."


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Krauthammer says Cruz or Rubio should be the GOP candidate to challenge Clinton

By Nunu Japaridze

Charles Krauthammer told viewers Thursday on “Special Report” that GOP presidential candidates voters  would “want to go up against Hillary Clinton,” are Florida senator Marco Rubio and Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz. Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor explained that most likely outcome of Republican Presidential race is that “one of the two outsiders”- Trump or Carson remain as finalist and “one will come out of the other lane.”

Charles Krauthammer praised Rubio and Cruz as “the most dynamic” candidates and added that“ they really handle themselves.” Krauthammer said that “it’s likely that one of those two will be the one who come up against the outsider.” He quickly added that Texas Senator  Ted Cruz considers himself “as an outsider but he has more political experience than other so called outsider candidates. “He’s got some political experience. The others have none and that I think is the big difference,” said Charles Krauthammer. 


House Speaker Paul Ryan

The Speaker Saga that began when John Boehner announced his resignation last month has finally come to an end. Paul Ryan is now the 62nd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and while he was all smiles Thursday morning, Ryan has now assumed a role he said he never wanted.

A look back on Representative-now Speaker- Ryan’s career shows an early start in Washington politics. He has represented Wisconsin’s 1st district since 1999- after an election where he had to defend his character, his politics, even his age. Elected at the age of 28 years old, Ryan was only three years older than the minimum age required of representatives in Congress. However, he was able to convince voters that yes; he was old enough to shave and thus began his stellar career on the Hill.  

In his 17 years on Capitol Hill, Ryan has spent most of his time utilizing his econ degree, serving as Chairman of the House Budget Committee from 2011-2015 and then Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He has been remarkably successful in a Congress that is criticized for getting nothing done. His accomplishments include:

* During his tenure as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, every single one of his budget bills was passed.

* In 2013, he was able to negotiate the first budget agreement in the bitterly partisan Congress since 1986.

* In July of 2014, he introduced anti-poverty legislation, entitled “Expanding Opportunity in America” where he presented reforms to decades of anti-poverty legislation and proceedings. 

These achievements are the exact reason Ryan did not want to become Speaker.

Paul Ryan has made reforming American tax code a part of his platform since his very first campaign.  He has described himself as a “policy guy” and continually said that Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee has been his dream job. It is the job that could have let him finally rewrite and get passed a new tax code, especially if a Republican goes to the White House in 2017. Ryan was also unwilling to run for Speaker due to family reasons. He stated that the Speakership was a role for an “empty-nester”, and he wanted to be able to spend his weekends in Wisconsin. Unlike many families of Congressional members, the Ryan family has never moved to Washington, choosing to raise their kids in Janesville, Wisconsin.

But in the end, Ryan sacrificed his dream job because he flat out feared what would happen if he did not. Ever Since Rep. Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the Speaker Race, there has been a panic that no one could get the 218 votes needed to secure the Speakership. Fortunately, Ryan was able to garner 236 votes, which included all but six of the House Freedom Caucus members, the same Caucus many consider responsible for John Boehner’s resignation.

So today, October 29th, Paul Ryan once again took on a role that is usually held by an older man, becoming the youngest Speaker of the House since 1869. He has also taken the place of a man for whose congressional campaign he volunteered on in college, John Boehner. Boehner mentioned this story in his farewell speech, along with thanking his colleagues and wishing Ryan all the best.

Many in America are wishing Speaker Ryan best of luck as he prepares for what could be his first test as Speaker: next week’s Highway funding bill.




Coming Up

Don't miss New Jersey governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie tonight on Special Report.

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