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Last Friday around noon EST, the NYC blogosphere, from Gawker to Gothamist to BrooklynVegan, lit up with rumors that Radiohead would be playing a “surprise show” for the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demonstrators in downtown Manhattan. We even wanted to share the news with you.. But then sometime after 1 pm, when the bigger news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, had picked up on the story, Radiohead’s PR firm came out and said something to the extent of ‘this isn’t happening’. Yet the OWS group insisted the performance was still on, so I made my way down there to check it out in case something happened. It just so happened that Radiohead did not play, though I thought I heard the makeshift band play some Radiohead riffs.

The OWS protest is noteworthy in and of itself however. My first impressions were that this was a mostly ragtag bunch of hippies, and while that may have been true, underneath the most outrageous appearances, there was some measure of organization and a message. As I plodded through their home in Zuccotti Park, I found areas designated as a kitchen, a makeshift medical station, a library and a media center with working computers. A group had gotten together to play music at one end of the park. A man in saffron walked around handing out cough drops. And most importantly, people were walking around asking for donations so the group could continue their protest. All the while, NYC police had created a perimeter, including vans and a lookout tower and occasionally made their way through the park to get people off the sidewalk.

When Ban Ki-moon, current Secretary-General of the United Nations, became the fourth man holding his position to give the annual Cyril Foster lecture at Oxford University, he did so at a moment which made his talk’s subject particularly timely. In keeping with the theme of peace and understanding requested of the lecture series by the man for whom it is named, Mr. Ban’s contribution was titled “Human Protection and the 21st Century United Nations”. Before he began his speech proper, Mr. Ban acknowledged its relevance to the crisis raging in Egypt, and mentioned his talks on that subject with British prime minister David Cameron earlier in the day.

To hear the UN’s position restated directly from its Secretary-General at such a crucial time made us feel fortunate indeed. I was among a group of postgraduate students from Keele University’s School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE)  who had skipped seminars and made the trip south to see Mr. Ban’s lecture. The journey was a hastily organised gamble; we’d learned of the Sec-Gen’s visit only 48 hours previously, and knew that demand to hear him speak would be substantial, with entry being far from guaranteed. When we arrived at the Examination Schools building on Oxford’s High Street, its shabby and scaffolding-covered exterior appearance meant that only 30 people had recognised it and begun to queue. By the time the doors opened at 5pm and we were let inside, that number had risen to around 1,000, only half of whom could join us in the main room in which Mr. Ban actually spoke. The others had to make do with the projector screens set up in an overflow room.

Delaware Senate Debate: 13.Oct.2010 – University of Delaware, Newark


Christine O’Donnell’s victory in the Republican primary for the Delaware U.S. Senate seat over nine-term Representative Mike Castle really stirred the political pot. O’Donnell is a Tea Party candidate with the backing of former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Her victory has drawn broad attention to the tiny state of Delaware (2009 est pop. 885,122). In the past couple of weeks, national news programs have broadcast from this state, which lacks its own network affiliated station. Rachel Maddow televised her show live from the Deer Park Tavern, a local bar/former lodging noted for hosting Edgar Allen Poe on one evening long ago. The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi recorded a segment, “Divided Delaware”, showing the cultural dichotomy between “Northern” and “Southern” voters within the state. University of Delaware college students are abuzz with all the attention Newark’s main street and campus have gotten.

by Sachyn Mital

6 Nov 2009

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Colin Powell may have graduated from the City College of New York with a 2.0 GPA in 1958 and he may not be savvy with computers, especially Facebook or Twitter.  But he worked his way up to four-star general, head of the NSA, Chairman on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State under George W. Bush.  And he likes hot dogs.

In his speech at the University of Delaware on November 3rd (Election Day), Former Secretary of State Colin Powell came to address “Diplomacy: Persuasion, Trust and Values” as the second guest in the prestigious UD Speaks series (2008’s guest was CNN news anchor, Anderson Cooper.)  While his speech was candid, humorous, and patriotic, it did not carry any substantive weight and deliberately avoided many major criticisms.

Entertaining and engaging the audience from in front of the podium, Gen. Powell never directly addressed any major topics from the previous administration, only making light of some of the policies put in place.  A couple of days after his entitled use of the company 757 passed on to Condoleezza Rice, Powell hurriedly entered Reagan National Airport, paid cash for a plane ticket before checking into his flight without any luggage.  You might guess where this is going: he was justly subjected to a very thorough TSA security screening.  After the screener acknowledged the General, he replied “If you know I’m Colin Powell, why aren’t you over there looking for Osama?”

Though he touched on other light topics including his grandson setting up a Facebook page for him, Powell gave a few words of wisdom to President Obama to “not be pushed by the left” and “don’t not decide” because of the right about increasing troop presence in Afghanistan.  Discouraged by the sight of 6 million children without health care, he also urged reform for universal health care to all Americans.

Gen. Powell’s advice came in the form of “4 E’s.”  Economics and its creation of wealth is the first most powerful political force he said. The second most important, energy combined with economics, generates emissions and leads to the third E, environment.  He urged people to confront global warming while reprimanding skeptics.  The final E, education, demonstrated his desire to educate children.

He also corroborated his faith in America’s positive image, sharing two stories.  The first was of a Japanese billionaire who picked New York City as his favorite city in the world in an interview.  When asked why, the billionaire replied, it was “the only city in the world where people came up to him and asked him directions.”  In the second story, a NYC hot dog vendor on Park Ave did not let Gen. Powell pay for a hot dog and instead thanked him because “America has already paid me.”

And its not just the hot dog vendor who knows that America is still the “land of hope” and opportunity, Powell noted.  There are lines at American embassies around the world were people say “I want to go to America.”

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

Courtesy of Kevin Quinlan, University of Delaware

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