• The Death of Gaddafi

    On October 20, Muammar Gaddafi--the tyrannical leader of Libya--was killed after being captured. President Obama hailed the end of his regime as an opportunity for citizens of Libya to choose their own futures in a democratic way.

    Discussion Starters:

    • Why did Obama view the death of Gaddafi as a positive development for our foreign policy?
    • What will it take for Libya to become a stable democratic nation as it moves forward?
  • Occupy Oakland Struggles

    Of all the Occupy Movements in the United States, Occupy Oakland has become the most violent. As protesters continue to grow in number and resolve, police have responded with increasing force.

    Discussion Starters:

    • Are police overreacting to the Occupy Oakland movement? Why or why not?
    • What could be done to create a more peaceful atmosphere by both protesters and police?
  • Soldier Convicted of Murder

    Calvin Gibbs was convicted recently of three counts of premeditated murder. He will face life in prison. While not entirely unusual, what makes GIbbs' case unique is that he is American soldier who now awaits sentencing for killing civilians in Afghanistan.

    Discussion Starters:

    • Why was Gibbs charged with murder? Do you think he deserved to be charged?
    • How can our military better prepare soldiers for the psychological aspects of war? Can individuals like Gibbs be prevented from killing civilians?
  • Handicapping the 2012 Election

    With the GOP field of candidates still battling amongst themselves, pundits have begun analyzing their individual chances against President Obama.

    The New York Times has gone farther and began presenting detailed data regarding the odds of each candidate based on myriad of factors. Perhaps the most interesting aspect examines different odds based on GDP growth (or decline) along with Obama approval.

    Discussion Starters:

    • What candidate do you believe has the best chance to beat Obama? Why?
    • Looking at the interactive New York Times graphic, what do you learn from playing with growth rates and Obama popularity?
  • Inside Information in Congress

    Washington, D.C. is a town that runs on inside information - but should our elected officials be able to use that information to pad their own pockets? As Steve Kroft reports, members of Congress and their aides have regular access to powerful political intelligence, and many have made well-timed stock market trades in the very industries they regulate. For now, the practice is perfectly legal, but some say it's time for the law to change.

    Discussion Starters:

    • In what ways do politicians gain inside information as it relates to the stock market?
    • Is it unethical to use this information? Why or why not? Should it be illegal?
  • Civility

    Lawmaking in the United States used to be a civil act. Senators worried more about following procedure and how they addressed each other than they did about name-calling or polarized issue stances. Despite our many differences in the United States, our elected officials have not typically resorted to physical violence. Other nations have.

     

    Discussion Starters:

    • Is our government civil? Does it matter if it is not?
    • Why do you think the United States has managed to not see its leaders turn toward physical violence in their disagreements?
  • The Herman Cain Ads

    Herman Cain had been surging in the polls for weeks prior to allegations of sexual harassment being made against him. More interesting, however, were two Cain ads put together by his team on launched online.

    The first shows Chief of Staff Mark Block talking about the campaign.

     

    The second discussed Obama's leadership.


    Discussion Starters:

    • What is the point of the first ad? The second? Is Cain successful in getting his point across?
    • Why do you believe these ads have gotten so much media attention?
  • A Different Kind of Terrorist

    In April 2010, President Obama gained attention when he permitted the addition of U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al Awlaki to a terrorist hit list. The debate centered on whether the U.S. government should be targeting its own citizens--regardless of where they lived or what they were possibly capable of. On September 30, the situation came to a resolution as al Awlaki was killed in Yemen while in a car. His death has resparked the debate on targeting U.S. citizens abroad.

    Discussion Starters:

    • Should there be limits on when the U.S. military targets American citizens abroad?
    • How does the killing of al Awlaki impact your view of Obama? Why does it have this impact?
  • Are You Ready For...Unemployment?

    Hank Williams Jr. will always hold a special place in the heart of American football fans thanks to providing the easily recognizable opening song for Monday Night Football. Yet Williams was released by ESPN this week over comments he made on Fox and Friends that compared President Obama and Adolf Hitler. Now, Americans are debating whether his termination was justified.

    Discussion Starters:

    • Do you believe Williams' comments warranted separation from ESPN and Monday Night Football? Why or why not?
    • What approach should public figures take when asked political questions? Is there a proper way to state a potentially unpopular opinion so it does not cause negative impacts?
  • Crime in Amish Country

    There has been major coverage in the past week devoted to activities occurring in Jefferson County, Ohio. This area--better known as Amish Country--is home to a large population of the group. At three different times, men have broken into homes and cut the beards of individuals they believe are not properly following the religion. The alleged perpetrators are arguing that it is a religious matter and not criminal.

     


     

    Discussion Starters:

    • Should this act be considered criminal? Why or why not?
    • Should local police be involved or should this debate remain within the religious community? Why?
  • Amanda Knox and International Justice

    This month Amanda Knox was freed from an Italian prison when her conviction in the murder of Meredith Kercher was overturned. She had been convicted in 2009. While Americans--on the whole--are thrilled that Knox will be returned home, the entire case raises questions about what happens when American citizens are placed into the judicial system of another country.

    Discussion Starters:

    • Should the United States intervene and prevent our citizens from trials in foreign countries? Why or why not?
    • What do you think about the Italian court's decision to overturn the conviction?
  • The View Tackles Racism

    The View undertook a serious debate amongst its panelists recently over the controversy surrounding Rick Perry’s leased hunting camp, which had a racially insensitive word in its title.The debate centered on Herman Cain's use of the word in response. During the show, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters both used the word and received different reactions from Sherri Shepherd.

    Discussion Starters:

    • Should the name of the camp be used against Perry as he runs for president?
    • What is your interpretation of the debate on The View? Who do you find yourself agreeing with? Why?
  • Occupy

    The Occupy movement is quickly spreading across the country and garnering more and more media attention. It has support from multiple generations. Some have referred to it as the liberal answer to the tea party, a wave of liberal patriotism, and others have decried it as angry people whining about their plight. Whether you love it or hate it, it's news. Despite being around for almost three weeks, we are seemingly still learning each day about the movement.

    Discussion Starters:

    • What are the goals of the Occupy movement?
    • How is this movement similar too and different from the Tea Party movement?