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PBJ: Politics, Bureaucracy and Justice Journal Volume 4, Issue 2

PB&J: Volume 4, Issue 2

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PB&J Volume 4, Issue 2

Article

Iraq's New War

Author: Kathryn English, West Texas A&M University

Abstract: Metal contamination in Iraq has occurred in the soil around areas of heavy fighting, such as in the city of Fallujah, and a wide range of congenital malformations has been reported along with a shockingly high infant mortality rate. Some deem that it is unclear whether this phenomenon can be linked to the metal contamination. For example, many point to other known environmental and internal factors that can lead to birth defects, especially in Middle Eastern countries. However, such explanations cannot account for the high increase of birth defects, variances among cases, and the change in the sex ratio. Because of this, researchers name depleted uranium as the cause for the anomalies found in Fallujah. The radioactive nature of the metal, the widespread use of depleted uranium in Fallujah in 2004, and the metal's lasting effects support this conclusion. Governmental officials continue to deny the link between birth defects and the use of depleted uranium while others call for government action and seek innovative solutions.

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Article

A Review of the Bureau of Prisons' Education Policy

Author: Terri Ann Reininger-Rogers, West Texas A&M University

Abstract: The United States is the founder of the modern prison system and the most incarcerated nation in the world. Punishment has been the primary function of incarceration with little success preventing recidivism. The national recidivism rate has held steady at approximately 66%. However, educational programs that have already been implemented have shown significant potential for reducing recidivism. By making education and occupational training a priority, recidivism rates can be reduced more effectively than in prison systems focused solely or mostly on punishment. This essay reviews the current Federal Bureau of Prisons' policies regarding inmate education, examines problems of implementation, and illustrates suggestions to improve educational programs in correctional institutions.

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Article

Resisting Tyranny: Human Rights Organizations, International Organizations, and Promotion of the Rule of Law in Argentina

Authors: Robert L. Oprisko, Indiana University & Olivia Grace Wolfe, Butler University

Abstract: The Madres de Plaza de Mayo successfully contributed to the peaceful overthrow of Argentina's military dictatorship and successive installation of a healthy democracy. It accomplished this through contributions to civil society: promoting human rights laws, accountability, rule of law, and social justice. We argue that the Madres' success must also be evaluated by their success in condemning military personnel for their human rights crimes. The Madres received aid from the Organization of American States' Inter-American Court and Commission on Human Rights, which influenced the government to establish more effectively rule of law by placing the accused soldiers on trial. Using Argentina's democratic transition and The Madres de Plaza de Mayo as a case study, we argue that human rights organizations can bring about nonviolent democratic transitions but not sustainable democratic institutions; however, in conjunction with intergovernmental organizations that have international legal jurisdiction, human right organizations can more effectively establish rule of law within the state, leading to a more sustainable democratic institution.

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Article

"But I Learned All This In High School": Understanding Why Students Drop Core Courses

Author: John David Rausch Jr., West Texas A&M University

Abstract: This study examines student attrition in core curriculum courses in one institution of higher education in Texas. The focus on core curriculum courses is important because students regularly report that they studied this material in high school and they often wonder why they must study it again. Despite the alleged exposure to the material, students still drop core courses at high levels when intuitively one thinks that they would thrive in a course on a subject they have already studied. The present research builds upon limited previous research on student attrition and finds that students who are more actively engaged in courses tend to stay in the course and earn higher grades. While the findings are not surprising, they are instructive and can lead to the development of strategies for helping students persevere in core courses.

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Article

Cosmopolitan Patriotism

Author: Anand Bertrand Commissiong, West Texas A&M University

Abstract: What is the value of patriotism in a globalized world? As the global increasingly penetrates the local and vice versa, our education and socialization strategies need to prepare future generations to think on multiple levels. This facility is especially necessary if the competing interests and institutions that work in and across states are to be made substantively accountable. This essay places into conversation cosmopolitanism and patriotism and argues that not only can cosmopolitans be patriotic, but also that patriotism must be reconceived with a cosmopolitan spirit. The essay also argues that the state must be the focus of political action, and that focus must be multifaceted, being cognizant of the state as a transnational process that operates on multiple levels and directions in particular contexts but also in the world beyond. Patriotism therefore must take the form of a love for something that is acknowledged to be not static, constantly moving and reforming. Cosmopolitanism is important for conceiving attachments to such a mercurial thing because it is itself a dynamic form of solidarity.

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Article

"The Response": A Day of Prayer and Protest

Author: Justin Hackett, California University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: This study examines two unique groups in the United States: participators and protestors of a religious event held in Houston, Texas. Texas Governor Rick Perry called upon Christians to come together on August 6, 2011 for a day of prayer and fasting. Survey data were gathered from participants and protestors of "The Response." Differences in values, psychological sense of global community, political conservatism, and social dominance orientation (SDO) were examined. Participators placed greater importance on conservation and self-enhancement values and were more conservative and higher in SDO than protestors. Protestors placed greater importance on self-transcendence values. Moreover, protestors scored higher on psychological sense of global community, indicating greater perceptions of belonging to a global community consisting of all of humanity. Respondents also rated the importance of current issues facing the United States. Participators placed significantly greater importance on economic and conservative concerns. Protestors placed significantly greater importance on social justice issues. This essay discusses significant and noteworthy differences in terms of the motivations for social change.

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