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10 reasons the U.S. should participate in foreign aid

Even in the United States’ early years as a new country, our leaders have been arguing over our nation’s involvement in foreign aid. The best interest of the United States has often been the top priority in debates regarding the country’s involvement in foreign affairs. Though it is worth consideration that by assisting in the development of the world, the United States is able to participate in the benefits.

The United States is a developed country. In 2018, America had the leading Gross Domestic Product at 20,865,462, which is around 24 percent of the world’s GDP and double the amount of China (13,457,267). And yet the country spends only a small fraction on foreign aid.

“US foreign aid is a tiny share of the country’s GDP 0.1% to 0.2% and thus the cost to the country is quite low even though the popular impression is that the figure is very large,” said Dwight Perkins, professor of political economy at Harvard University. The country stands to give – and gain – a lot from investing in foreign aid as well.

Here are several reasons why participating in foreign aid would be a good idea for the United States:

  1. Foreign aid improves the world’s health

Foreign aid allows the United States. also does its duty to minimize any possible health issues and diseases from traveling overseas or across borders, like the current virus causing countries to lockdown. Chipping in to improve the health conditions in a developing population will improve the quality of health around the world, particularly with HIV/AIDS. USAID  Supported training for more than 250,000 healthcare workers to deliver HIV and other health services. https://www.usaid.gov/global-health/health-areas/hiv-and-aids.

2. Foreign aid strengthens the global economy

While it may be typical to consider money lost when assisting with foreign aid, there is money to be gained as well. An educated, food-secure and healthy population is much more likely to participate in the world economy than a population that is not. And a population that is participating in the world’s economy is something the United States can benefit from.

3. Foreign aid helps the with trade

Foreign aid is an investment – it helps to create the foundation needed for developing countries to build up and become workable states. According to Professor Perkins, this type of foreign aid is designed to provide technical assistance to less developed countries to help them manage their economies and societies better. That promotes political stability and economic growth in those countries and that is important for the US for its own sake but it also may have some impact on US trade.

“Foreign direct investment as contrasted to foreign aid is generally more important in promoting trade than foreign aid but the latter does have some positive influence on trade,” said Perkins.

4. Foreign aid expands educational opportunities

It has been proven by research that countries receiving aid will see an increase in enrollment. UNICEF alone has helped enroll 100 million more children around the world in primary/secondary schools as of 2017. https://www.unicefusa.org/mission/protect/education

5. Foreign aid can help the environment

Here’s how it works: foreign aid creates a diversity in energy sources. Diversification of energy sources means new jobs and resources for everyone. As the global economy grows, harmful emissions will go down.

6. Foreign aid helps with national security

Keeping stability in developing countries is crucial to preventing political issues and battles. By participating in foreign aid, the citizens of the United States can sleep a little easier knowing their countries’ security is growing.

7. Foreign aid inspires innovation

Take a leaf out of Bill Gates’s book – the Microsoft company is responsible for the startup and funding for several products that wouldn’t have been developed otherwise. The Cardiopad, a touchpad device for heart exams and a serious development in medical technology, was invented in Cameroon.

8. Foreign aid decreases terrorist attacks

Terrorist groups are more common in impoverished regions, luring people in with the promise of money, resources and comfort. If foreign aid provides those resources first, it can decrease the number of people involved in terrorist organizations.

9. Foreign aid promotes equality

It’s less common for women to have successful careers while maintaining their home lives, due to poverty and lack of education. Reducing poverty gives women access to education and healthcare, greatly improving their social independence on top of their financial situations.

10. Foreign aid inspires hope in those with little

Though some may argue it’s not the job of the United States to get involved in other countries’ affairs, it is the job of every nation to protect our world and ensure its’ success. Even a small step towards improving a developing country is what motivates these nations to keep going. Installing hope is the most effective way to keep our world moving forward.

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Amazon’s new teen drama falls short

Austin Abrams (Euphoria) and Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) star in Amazon Studio's original movie Chemical Hearts
Austin Abrams (Euphoria) and Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) star in Amazon Studio’s original movie Chemical Hearts

Amazon studios has taken a stab at reinventing the young adult drama with the movie Chemical Hearts, but as is the case with most films about young people created by those who no longer remember what it is like to be young, it misses the mark quite a bit. Instead of understanding and exploring the complexity of teenagers today, the story feels overly preachy and lacks any real depth. It tries to do too much with too little.

The film’s protagonist is Henry Page (Euphoria’s Austin Abrams), an awkward high school senior who is more comfortable writing at people than he is talking to them. His self-proclaimed unremarkable life is thrown for a loop when he meets Grace Town (Riverdale’s Lili Reinhart), a transfer student recruited to help him edit the school newspaper. What follows is a brief, complicated, and intense friendship that tries to become something more but ultimately fails.

If you’re interested in watching this movie, I have to warn you the rest of the review is going to contain massive spoilers, so this is your warning.

Henry can’t help but feel drawn towards Grace – because she’s a shiny new toy, because she’s mysterious, but mainly because her withdrawal from the world around her is like looking into a mirror. Grace has been struggling with life since a car accident that ruined her knee and killed her boyfriend. Henry tries to support Grace help her move on, but their relationship meets its end when she can’t move forward at the pace he needs her to, though they are both supposedly forever changed by each other.

To be fair, Chemical Hearts does pose an interesting take on the angst required in the teen coming of age genre. The movie’s concept is that when you’re a teenager you’re in “limbo” – the awkward, intense, terrifying transition from being a child to an adult. Grace explains to Henry that adults are “just teenagers who were lucky enough to make it out of limbo alive,” and argues that we should be talking about it baldly, not ignoring it.

 The problem is that it’s hard to buy what this movie is selling, because it tries to sell too much in too little time. To cap matters off, it never follows through on what it promised to deliver. The movie spends entirely too long focusing on Grace’s depression and how she came to be in so much pain, but never do we actually get to see her move past them. After Henry and Grace part ways, she takes time for herself and he avoids her until the movie’s final minutes. We are able to see that her condition is improving and she is doing better, but we never got to see how she got there.

As a viewer, I feel robbed of what was supposed to be the center of the movie. As someone who has known individuals who live with mental illnesses, I’m disappointed that Grace’s grief and suffering are exploited for the sake of another character’s story. And for the sake of all those who have similar experiences or relate to Grace, I’m upset that they are only allowed to see her pain and don’t get to see how she lives through it. It would’ve been cathartic to see Grace’s full road to recovery, and would’ve provided an excellent chance to actually educate the target audience on how to cope with such hardships.

Much more time is devoted to our protagonist Henry, who has his own journey to follow – but he never actually goes on one. He talks to Grace, tries to woo/console her, they date for a little while, their relationship falls apart, he mopes, they have one more meaningful interaction before they part ways. But his character never learns or evolves throughout the movie, despite the big impact Grace was supposed to have on him.

According to the movie’s premise, we’re supposed to see Henry grow as an individual – make it through limbo alive and mature from a child to an adult. But the Henry we see at the end of the movie is the same Henry we were introduced to. He would still prefer writing over a conversation, and he hasn’t gained any new confidence or tools he can use as an adult. Quite frankly he’s a disinteresting character. We don’t anything about him other than he’s socially awkward and he likes kintsukuroi (A Japanese art of breaking pottery to glue it back together again). We never find out why, or learn anything of substance about his personality. We don’t know his dreams, his past, or his opinions about anything. We know less about him than we do Grace, and he’s supposed to be the main character. It’s hard to understand why Grace would befriend him or feel any attachment to someone we know almost nothing about.

The biggest problem with Chemical Hearts is that it doesn’t ever show us this creative description of making it through some of the hardest times of your life. There’s a reason movie’s like The Breakfast Club are so beloved by many. They don’t need to tell you that the kids are struggling, and they don’t put it in these fancy terms that no one uses in a real-life conversation. The point of a movie is to show, not tell – to put language to ideas that are too complex to be put into words. Instead, we’re treated to a movie that spends so long waxing poetry about suffering that it comes off very pretentious, and we never get to see any of these philosophies proven.

Chemical Hearts had the kernels of a great movie inside it, but spent too much time on the tragedy of the story to heat things up, and never saw it’s product to the end. The story would’ve drastically improved if Grace was the main character, and the story focused on her journey and how she made it through “teenage limbo.” That would’ve made for a more interesting movie, rather than put her pain on a pedestal for the sake of entertainment. The only thing that can be attractive about suffering is that when something is broken and put back together – like Henry’s pottery – it can become stronger. The ability to heal is what makes humans stronger, and what ultimately gets us through limbo. 2.5/5 Stars

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Ten Movies to Watch in Quarantine

Because we’re all super bored and constantly need things to watch

By Celia Brocker

To be blunt, quarantine sucks. Online school is a struggle, you can’t see any of your friends and the weather is finally getting decent. But you can’t deny the definite perks, otherwise, you’ll be pulling your hair out in frustration. 

A definite plus is the near-endless opportunities to kick back and watch a favorite movie or TV show. With the number of streaming services, the number of choices you have can seem overwhelming. But to help you get started, here’s a list of movies you should definitely watch while you have the chance. 

1. Home Alone

This might hit a little too hard right now, but who could turn down such a feel-good classic? Kevin McCallister lives every little kid’s dream when he’s left home alone during the Christmas holidays – no parents bossing him around, eating whatever he wants, and thwarting criminals with hilarious booby traps – until he realizes that being with your family is better than being alone. 

2. Onward

If you have access to Disney Plus, streaming this movie is a good idea. Pixar continues to knock heartwarming movies out of the park, packing an emotional punch to the gut while making you laugh at the same time. 

3. Yesterday

This lighthearted comedy about a failing musician who is the only one who remembers the Beatles also packs in some interesting questions about humanity. How far would you go to achieve your dreams, and what should your dreams even be? 

4. Lady Bird

Before Little Women, Greta Gerwig gave us this indie film about a self-centered teen who’s only goal is to get out of her hometown Sacramento. Half the film is spent admiring Lady Bird’s quirky/blunt personality, and the other half has you wanting to shake her until she realizes that her life is not as terrible as she makes it out to be. It’s a good thing to remember right now, that for all you’re going through you should be thankful for what you do have. 

5. E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial 

Feeling nostalgic for childhood? Look no further than Spielberg’s classic tale of boy meets alien. 

6. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Who do you relate to more right now? Ferris shrinking his responsibilities, or Kevin’s lack of desire to do anything, let alone go out. 

7. Midsommar

Nothing like being stuck inside with a good horror film, and this one is unlike any other – the most uneasy and freaky parts of the movie happen when everyone is outside and the sun is shining bright. 

8. Anything Disney

It’s hard to pick just one, and everyone has a different favorite from their childhood. Relive your favorite memories by watching your old favorite, or by just watching all of them.

9. The Breakfast Club

Like anyone should need an excuse to watch this classic.

10. Harry Potter franchise

Technically putting more than one movie in a spot is cheating, but there’s a reason channels are having Harry Potter marathons constantly right now. If you have nothing to do all day and need a time-consuming activity, this is it.

Here’s some links to find me –

Times-Delphic profile: CELIA BROCKER

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/celia.brocker.7/

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Review

“A Story From a Different Closet” Book Review

In honor of Pride Month

The genderqueer pride flag

By Celia Brocker

Genderqueer: A Story From A Different Closet” is only about 200 pages, but is still able to keep things real. From the little things to the major events that shaped them, Allan D. Hunter walks through their journey to self-discovery. 

There are several things that make this autobiography stand out, the first being the narrative format of the story. There are a smaller number of chapters in the novel, and each part of the story is told in fragments. The second a thought ends, there’s a paragraph break and we’re on to the next part. Everything is short, sweet and to the point.

Another key part of Hunter’s storytelling style is that every event in their life is treated with the same amount of importance. From something as mundane as to something as big as, the description style never changes. It’s as though everything that ever happens to you is as huge or inconsequential as you want it to be. 

Hunter’s autobiography focuses on every detail of their life, both good and bad, never sticking too much to either side. Rightfully so, because to make the novel aggressively either would’ve been false. Life is a mixed bag of woes and winnings, happiness and hurt. To focus on only one aspect of life discredits someone’s whole experience, so it was good that Hunter paid equal attention to their triumphs as well as their sorrows. 

One critique of the novel would be that there’s a bit too much time spent on some early life experience and not enough time for the college and onward part of the narrative. None of it was disinteresting, but there were parts that felt repetitive, and it felt like it took a bit too long to get to the story’s climax. By the time the story reaches its conclusion, it almost feels like there was more to talk about, and there are some thoughts that were left off the page. 

By far the most compelling part of the novel is some of the final sections, where Hunter discovers the spectrum of sexuality and gender, and finds the area where they seem to fit. Though this part is towards the end, it’s clear from the beginning of the novel where the story is heading. Hunter introduces their ideas of gender at the start of the novel when they talk about their personality as a child  – how they don’t identify with the rough behavior usually prescribed to the male gender – and these thoughts stay with them and influence their growing up. 

When the revelation is made, it’s not something that comes out of left field. Because of course it’s not – these things don’t just appear one day like a magic trick. It’s always there, even if it’s not super obvious at first. 

Overall Hunter’s autobiography, though a bit slow at some parts, was an informative and well-developed glimpse into their mind. Almost like an essay a college professor would provide for their class to read, since their autobiography is very educational.

Here’s some links to find me –

Times-Delphic profile: CELIA BROCKER

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Article

Drake Broadcasting Systems Adjusting to Remote Campus

Keeping programs running during social distancing

By Celia Brocker, May 2020

Despite months of planning, the Drake Broadcasting System (DBS) has had to rethink its coverage of the Drake Relays after it was announced the event was postponed until June due to concerns over COVID-19. 

The Drake Relays are without a doubt the biggest event hosted by Drake University every year. It takes months of preparation, and people come from all over to compete in the track events. 

Other organizations like DBS also put in significant work to prepare for the Relays, planning coverage of the event for those who cannot attend. 

DBS is one of Drake’s student-led media groups, helping students gain more experience in practicing journalism. DBS involves video production, radio streaming, podcasting and more. But since Drake has moved to virtual learning to prevent spreading Covid-19, DBS’s coverage plan has to adapt to the current climate, including their coverage of the Drake Relays. 

“Given that our broadcasts require large casts and crews, we are going to take a substantial hit in involvement over the summer as most students will no longer be in Des Moines,” DBS President Lucius Pham said. “We are trying to adapt to the changes and, while we might not have our conventional broadcasts, we’ll still try and keep some content rolling.”

During the Relays, DBS becomes more active than ever, since they have a larger audience to reach. According to Ty Patton, the assistant athletic director of Drake University, 40,000 fans on average come to the Drake Stadium gates that week to celebrate the competition. 

“It is one of the biggest annual events in Des Moines that attracts a wide range of fans and visitors, from friends and families of competitors, track fans, alumni and the community as a whole,” Patton said. “Coverage from a media perspective helps highlight the city of Des Moines, Iowa and Drake University as a whole.”

The athletes themselves also benefit, since they receive a great deal of support and recognition, something they may not have received without media coverage. 

“Media reports are often viewed as the first draft of history, and history is made every day during the Relays,” Patton said. “Coverage can provide nuance and background to how and why an athlete was able to set a national record that the sheet with the results cannot adequately show.”

Since the Relays, initially scheduled for April, have been postponed until this summer (the date is still to be determined), DBS has had to re-plan their broadcasts without the Relays. And because learning has gone remote, there is an added challenge. 

“DBS relies heavily on on-campus involvement in collaborative projects such as videos and live-studio productions,” Pham said. “Additionally, many students won’t have access to radio booths in their homes, but we’re still trying to field and publish as much content as we can remotely.”

DBS has needed to put a lot of time and effort during Relays week in the past to produce the best content possible. The biggest time commitment is the pre-show broadcasts leading up to the Relays, where DBS tries to get competing and visiting athletes on their shows. 

Drake senior and former DBS President Adam Heater has been involved with the program since his first year at Drake, and has firsthand experience of the opportunities Drake students earn covering the Relays, including meeting famous athletes. Heater was able to get an Olympian on one the DBS programs –  Georganne Moline, a competitor in the 2012 Olympic games for the 400 meter hurdles. 

“That was the most surreal experience, getting to meet the people who are actually going to compete the next day,” Heater said. 

DBS provides students with lots of opportunities to practice and improve their skills in the field, and not just during the Relays. Despite the current situation, the doors are still open for students to get involved with DBS. 

“Students wanting to innovate and create content remotely over this period should definitely get involved with DBS and we can make something happen,” Pham said. 

To find out more about DBS or get involved with the origination, find them on social media or reach out via email.

Website: drakebroadcasting.com

Mail: drakebroadcasting@gmail.com 

Facebook: Drake Broadcasting System

Instagram and Twitter: @drakedbs

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Introduction

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog. My name is Celia and I’m a journalism student at Drake University. I’m majoring in News and am currently learning the how to navigate the digital media world. I’ve created this blog to be a digital portfolio of some writing I have been doing.

I’ve been fascinated with storytelling since I was a little kid, as well as the various formats that exist today that can tell stories. Our technological developments have opened up a new world of storytelling – say what you will about the Internet, but you can’t deny that it’s a useful tool.

I’ve been writing stories for Drake’s newspaper, The Times-Delphic, for about two years now. I’ve written news stories as well as commentary pieces. Last year I became the Commentary editor for the newspaper. This means that I decide what topics will be written/published every week, I proofread and edit them and then design the pages to fit in with the rest of the paper. It’s something I’ve enjoyed immensely, and has given me some great experience before I head into the professional field – I didn’t have the opportunity to work on a newspaper staff in high school, so it’s been nice to finally experience being a part of the field I love so much, no matter how small.

While my major is in News, I am also earning a concentration in Film Studies. My family introduced me to the film world early in my life, and that has had a massive influence on me. While news journalism may be my professional passion, studying/critiquing film(s) is my professional hobby. I enjoy writing film reviews in my free time, and have had them published in my school paper as well.

Someday I’d like to work in a real newsroom, and do my part to keep the public well-informed so they can make the best decisions possible. I would also like to be a film critic someday.

Here’s some links to find me –

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/celia.brocker.7/

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