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Issues and Controversies

ICOF_ForProfitCollegesRecently Featured Controversies

  • For-Profit Colleges: Should for-profit colleges have to meet certain requirements in order to be allowed to receive payments from students made with federal financial aid dollars? Do for-profit colleges provide educational opportunities to students who might not otherwise have them, or do they charge extraordinarily high fees in return for an inadequate education?
  • Military Budget Cuts: Will a new plan to cut the U.S. defense budget streamline the military and better prepare it for the challenges of the 21st century, or will it endanger U.S. security by leaving the country unprepared to fight multiple wars at the same time?
  • Super PACs: Do super PACs–political action committees that can channel unlimited amounts of money into political candidates’ campaigns–allow the wealthy and powerful a louder voice than anyone else’s, and thus undermine democracy? Or do the super PACs facilitate free speech?
  • U.S. Policy Toward Iran: How serious a threat is Iran’s nuclear program? Should the U.S. and its allies launch a military strike to ensure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon, or are there still peaceful methods that can be used to resolve the situation?

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Today’s Science

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The Bridge DVD

Call number: RC 569 .B75 2007
The Bridge is an intense viewing experience, a documentary that addresses death with a candidness rare in any forum. It is far more respectful and nuanced than the shocking premise sounds, a moving thoughtful sympathetic rumination on the vagaries of mental illness. It opens and repeatedly returns to footage taken of the Golden Gate Bridge, showing it throughout the day, in different weather, following random pedestrians, before lingering on someone who looks like they’ll jump. The effect is to lull the viewer into a meditative state about his or her own mortality. However, director Eric Steel is walking a very precarious line with his repeated use of footage of people committing suicide, running the risk of exploiting the deaths for voyeuristic thrills.
This filmmaker’s dilemma is never discussed, instead focusing on the jumpers and their life story. But how to cover such a private moment in a public place seems like it should be addressed, especially since the audience is a participant as a silent viewer. Overall Steel’s approach is respectful without being timid. There are a few instances where awkward devices are used, particularly when needlessly manipulative pop ballad cues are introduced and when the film plays a cruel game of “will they or won’t they” with the audience in cutting from person to person. Anyway, a few mistakes can be forgiven when dealing with such a difficult subject, and The Bridge’s accomplishments are far more profound than its minor faults. ~ Michael Buening, Rovi

How to Start a Revolution DVD

Tracking number: 1218 GE

HOW TO START A REVOLUTION is a new documentary film revealing how one man’s work has helped millions of people achieve freedom in the face of oppression and tyranny. Gene Sharp is a shy, modest and little-known man. But his work has inspired a generation of people to challenge dictators through non-violent action in a tidal wave of revolutionary spirit and reform that has swept from Eastern Europe, though Asia and to the Middle East and North Africa. (From