Opinion: What Really Bugs Me… Ann Coulter

By Siobhan Rahilly

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/The Loop)  —  What really bugs me…. Ann Coulter.

(Do I really need to write an introduction before naming her as the subject of this post? I don’t think so.)
Ms. Coulter appeared at my school, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, yesterday to deliver a speech that was supposed to address the topic “Evaluating the Change in American Government.” What Ms. Coulter actually delivered was a litany of rude and crude one-liners aimed at Democrats, liberals, women, African-Americans, gays, the “coastal elites,” and several prominent government officials and celebrities. Instead of evaluating change, she tore apart the beliefs and practices of every segment of the American populace that she disagrees with. Instead of using her knowledge about the law to honestly evaluate where our government stands and how it relates to where we’ve been and where we’re going, she instead chose to use her time to tear her fellow Americans down.
I am not naive enough to believe that those who practice law will always be able to remain objective when it comes to applying law principles to real life. I do, however, believe that those individuals who have knowledge and the public spotlight on their side should remember that they are beholden to the public. Pundits like Ann Coulter speak on issues ranging from the government to Hollywood. They are introduced as intellectuals, and portrayed as experts in their field. What a lot of Americans fail to realize is that the field of expertise for many of these pundits is talk, not debate that aims to objectively evaluate issues and break them down so the viewing public can better understand them.
Ms. Coulter has made a name for herself by being unbelievably inflammatory, and supposedly for saying the things that “real Americans” believe and want to hear. While I appreciate that every American is entitled to their opinion, and under the First Amendment they are allowed to express those opinions, I do not believe that talk like Ms. Coulter’s is doing anyone any good. At a time in this country when the topic of divisiveness is being debated in schools and in the news, don’t the so-called experts have any sense of responsibility to use their knowledge for good? Is it unconstitutional to ask that pundits fairly debate issues instead of throwing barbs at anyone who doesn’t agree with them? What good does it do to hear Ann Coulter say negative things about every Democratic president going back to John F. Kennedy, with a heavy emphasis on Bill Clinton? Clinton hasn’t been president for nearly a decade and his past transgressions can’t be changed or erased, but they can be forgiven for the sake of moving on. Don’t we owe it to ourselves and to our country to use the lessons of the past to help us build a better future? Pundits like Ann Coulter would have people believe that mistakes are not to be learned from, they are to be used as weapons against those people and their constituents.
I wonder if anyone who sat through her talk yesterday learned anything new about the government. Did anyone walk out of that room with any insights into the constitutional ramifications of changes to health care? Ms. Coulter is a constitutional attorney, yet she barely mentioned the Constitution. She chose instead to say hurtful and completely subjective things about President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Hilary Clinton, just to name a few. America is a diverse country, and we enjoy a lot of freedoms. However, I believe that we have yet to learn that if we abuse our right to free speech by injuring and dividing our citizens, we may forever damage the fabric of this nation.
The last thing I’ll say on this topic is a positive one. The rebuttal offered by a professor from UTC’s English department was elegant in its simplicity. Dr. Rebecca Jones said exactly what I hoped she would – that there is no point in arguing against such inflammatory remarks. Would my views seem any more credible than Ann Coulter’s if delivered in a similarly divisive way? Good argument and debate can only take place if both sides are staying on topic and playing fair.
I went to see Ann Coulter because I believe that having convictions and beliefs requires knowing what “the other side” has to say. One can only stand firm on “their side” if they know what they’re standing firm against. I may not agree with anything Ms. Coulter has to say, but at least I listened to her side which is more than I can say for her. I am a proud liberal, a coastal leftist, a feminist and an American, and I don’t believe that the latter is canceled out by the former.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Top Ten Ways to Annoy Your Landlord

By: Laura Kelton

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/The Loop) – As first-time home renters, my roommates and I have an old house with many problems, most were not fixed before we moved in. Trying to correct these problems, we may have stepped on some toes, mainly those of our landlord.

Sarah Finley, a sophomore from Memphis, said, “I’ve found it difficult to find a balance in the relationship between tenant and landlord. I understand that this is their home, but it’s ours too.” She says that she has come downstairs and found her landlord, unannounced, sitting in a room, watching people make repairs.

Aside from our parents, this is the first encounter we have had with landlords. While searching for a home, I found there are many different types of landlords. You have the creepy landlord, the nosy landlord, the landlord that never calls back, and in our case, the cheap landlord.

Considering that fact, it seems that many of the issues have become “do it yourself.” Even if we took care of it, it has still become the landlord’s problem. Finley finished, saying, “Although the solutions may be a little out of bounds, I don’t think we have crossed the line.”

With that, I leave you “The Top Ten Ways to Annoy Your Landlord.”

10. Tell your landlord that you spent your entire first week cleaning, right after they finish ranting about how they cleaned it top to bottom.
9. Strip your wallpaper instead of painting over it as you were explicitly instructed to do.
8. Have your mother call and inform the landlord that they will be deducting from next month’s rent all of the expenses spent on improvement.
7. Insist that the landlord change your lock, because while you can unlock it, you cannot seem to lock it back.
6. Never have the utility bill switched over to your name, so your landlord still gets the bill.
5. Have three different plumbers look at your bathroom. You landlord pays for each one.
4. Never pay a pet deposit, but get a pet anyways.
3. Never cut your grass.
2. Use your front yard as a parking lot.
1. Have someone punch a hole in your wall.

Care to share a landlord experience? Or do you want to suggest a topic for a new Top Ten? Click on the link at the top of the page to contact me.


Want to read more?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sound Off! Do Students Really Use The Mocs Express?

by Alex Cooze (UTC)- With unreliable temperatures and an unruly weather patterns, many students are forced to walk to classes in very undesirable conditions. Battered from rain, and whipped around from the brutal winds, students have been using the Mocs Express bus system to help get them from point A to point B.

I am one of the few who have taking to the ever so free, ever so convenient Mocs Express that encircles this campus. Actually, the benefits of the bus system out weigh the negatives.


  • Online Tracking that pinpoints locations of the current buses on route. Allows for the student to know when the bus will be hitting the stop next to him or her.
  • Safety! The bus is safe, and is much safer that walking alone around town.
  • Speed! The bus can get you across campus in most cases faster than it would take one to walk by foot.


  • Costs $250,000 a year for us to pay CARTA, but according to sources CARTA handles most of that money.
  • There can be some shady people riding the bus, and this is one of the main reason students do not ride the bus now.

According to campus statistics, in 2007, the Mocs Express had 95,677 riders. I wanted to find out how many students actually use the Mocs Express, the system that I, myself have become accustomed to riding. I wanted to know why they didn’t ride the bus, and one answer stood out particularly.

Most students do not ride the Mocs Express simply because it is more convenient for them to drive. UTC is still a commuting school, and thus many students get a parking space close to where a majority of their classes are held.

Brett Burns, a senior, has most of his classes near the Fine Arts Center and thus tries to park near there. He doesn’t believe he would ride the Mocs Express just because it is not terribly convenient for him.

Many students agreed with the inconvenience Mocs Express may have with their schedule, but most students actually do not know of the new system that CARTA has introduced.  A new online system called Bus Tracker allows anyone with internet access to see exactly where buses are on routes, and can help avoid waiting a long time at a bus stop.

All CARTA buses also have free internet access which also you a few more minutes to finish that email.

For more information on CARTA and the Mocs Express or if you want to track a bus near you then check out their website!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Invisible Line

By: Carmen Stephens

Chattanooga (UTC)-The United States is the only nation on earth that had preserved for over three centuries a genetically discontinuous enclave of mostly African ancestry within a larger population of European ancestry. The phenomenon demands study.

Sometimes the things that separate us are often times the things that brings us together. Although we are no longer physically segregated, it is our mindsets that tend to keep us from getting out of our comfort zone.

As a student at UTC, the University Center is a place where students can go to eat, study, or just hang out. Something what tends to get the attention of students is the invisible line in the eating areas. As a spectator, it appears that where one sits is based on his/her ethnicity. However, there are always exceptions to every rule.

Shonda Foublasse, UTC junior agrees that the invisible line does exist in the UC. Shonda said that time of day has an effect on how how noticeable the invisible line is. She said, “It’s usually black people at top, white at the bottom and and a lil mix on the side.” In addition, she charges the seating arrangement to how people were brought up and what makes them comfortable.

Kristie, agrees with Shonda that there is a visual invisible line, but she does not however feel bound to those stipulations. She said, “there is a visual line, but I don’t feel like I am stopped from going to sit anywhere. I don’t feel like I need to stay on one side.”  This is an example of how some people acknowledge the fact the there is a stereotype, but does not let that determine where they sit.

The phrase color line was originally used as a reference to the racial segregation that existed in the United States after the abolishment of slavery. The invisible line could be dissolved if people begin to take the time to get to know one another.  Some people may wonder what all the fuss was about when civil rights leaders fought for equality.

Shanee Driver, UTC sophomore, says that her and her friends have certain names for the different sections. For example they use Africa to represent where the black people sit, China where the foreigners sit, and America where is where the white people sit. She describes “Africa” as being loud and rowdy.  She also couldn’t understand if the people’s decision was intentional or unintentional. She thinks the entire situation is sad but says, “this is just what we have chose to accept as reality.”

This is an example of how some people get so caught up in looking at situations from the outside in, that even though you think you may think you are not directly effected by the invisible line you inevitably fall in the stereotype yourself. 

 PBS did an article entitled “America Beyond the Color Lines” with Henry Gates Jr. The article gives insightful information of his impression of the color line and how it has changed over time.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A New Meaning for Black History Month

By: Carmen Stephens

CHATTANOOGA (UTC) — For many, Black History month is a time when you simply write an essay and make a presentation on an influential member of the civil rights movement or from Black History. Others sing Negro spirituals, and some treat it like another month of the year.  However, now that a African American is president, people seem to take more pride in the price that was paid for our freedom. 


The dreamer.

The dreamer.

Martin Luther King Jr. would be thrilled at the progress that has been made thus far. Nearly 46 years ago, he spoke the words,


“One day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.  We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal….Little black boys and girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.”  

Today not only have people come together as brothers and sisters but we have the first African American President.

Some may feel that over the years the dream has been forgotten or delayed.  Some may even feel that Black History month has somewhat lost its impact.  Cathrine McElhinny said “It’s not more important but since the recent inauguration, it has made people more involved and pay more attention.”   Black voices.com has interactive section on their website that allows visitors to quiz themselves, view galleries and gain knowledge on new information. 

Rap icon MC Lyte recently gave her opinions on the new president and its effect on the community.  She said, “all the excuses are out the window.” 


There is no reason why we as a people can’t succeed.  Anything can be as long as the time and effort are put forth.


Results of a dream come true.

Results of a dream come true.

The phrase “anything is possible” is more believable and in arm’s reach now more than ever.  In my personal opinion, I feel that Black History has allowed those individuals who were always told that they wouldn’t make it or they couldn’t make it because of ethnicity now believe that they can be anything. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and many others; this is what they and all of our forefathers fought and died for. And just as our President stated, “we are the keepers of this legacy.” Their legacy must live through us.


So what exactly does having a Black President mean?  Well, it means hard work and daring to be different pays off.   It means that dreams really can come true.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cartoonists Draw Blank on Obama


WASHINGTON, D.C. (UTC/AP)  — Political cartoonists had a relatively easy job for the last eight years.  When poking fun at George W. Bush, they often depicted him with big ears and a large overbite, or sometimes as a clueless doofus.  They are finding it much more difficult to come up with material for making fun of Barack Obama.

Bush had physical features that were easy to caricature, distinctive facial expressions, and largely unpopular political decisions that gave artists easy fodder.  But President Obama has arrived on the scene at a time of economic uncertainty when even political opponents are wishing him well.

“I had all my villains in place for eight years and they’ve been taken away,” said Pulitzer Prize winner Pat Oliphant one of the foremost political cartoonists.  “I don’t know that I’ve ever had this experience before, of a president I maybe like.  This is an antagonistic art.  We’re supposed to concentrate on finding things wrong.  There’s no point in drawing a cartoon that’s favorable.”

As the recession worsens, there is also the question of whether it is in good taste to ridicule a chief executive who is trying in earnest to guide the country toward economic recovery.  Last summer, racial sensitivities were also brought to light, in the uproar over the New Yorker cover of the Democratic candidate giving his wife a fist jab in the Oval Office.

Editorial cartoonists are finding themselves in uncharted territory, slowly coming up with material and ideas.

“It always takes awhile to get a handle on new administrations, getting to know the players and working on developing effective caricatures,” said Ann Telnaes, who draws the animated cartoons for Washington Post online and won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize.  “My earlier George W. Bush changed quite a bit over the first year.”

Some artists say that perhaps Obama may provide more fodder for their work after he has been in office for awhile.  An editorial caroonist at the Philadelphia Daily News, Signe Wilkinson, said that Obama’s tendency to attract academic eggheads and over-achieving intellectuals will provide one way to poke fun at the 44th president.

Copyright 2009 www.politico.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Observations on the Obama Inauguration

After months of preparations and excitement, the day has finally come.  Since November 3rd, this country has watched and waited for the president elect to show his true colors, to, by any chance, give them a reason that they shouldn’t have trusted him.  So far, I must say he’s handled the pressure pretty well.  And today, it becomes official.  Aside from the obvious historical moment that will occur in this country today, we will also bear witness to the eloquence and class that we have come to find synonymous with Barack Obama.

What I can’t help but be afraid of is the fact that this country is lazy and not easily motivated.  With our previous president leaving his crumbled legacy amid questions of failure, it makes me wonder what would any of us have done when faced with the events that this man had to go through. I, myself am very good at thinking on my feet and coping with stress, however, I do think that faced with countless international incidents, a home front attack, and several natural disasters, I would be in a room, vomiting in a corner when faced with the things this man has had to deal with.  I’m not saying he’s without fault, but I’m not sure when put in his shoes, I could do much better, so who am I to judge?

What I can say is that Mr. Obama conducts himself and his family with that befitting of a great dignitary.  I only hope for his sake that the people of his country will not be so willing to throw him under the bus they way we did the last one.  The attitude of this country seems to be to give up when the going gets tough on one problem, and look for another to try and tackle.  If we can’t get something right, keep looking until we do.  I find this to be lunacy.  We cause so many of our own problems, then when they come back to bite us, we look for someone else to blame.  Why is that?
As for the inaugural address, it was wisely short.  But at the same time, straight to the point.  It’s amazing to me that when the subject of terrorism was addressed, Mr. Obama said pretty much the same words;  “We’re not going to have it,” yet it was so much more constructive.  It just seems to me that to hear what he’s saying about how this country and the world will have to change to move on and progress.  It’s a wonderful idea; but I’m worried that this country will give up when it gets to tough for some to handle.
Hope in itself is a wonderful idea.  Change is a wonderful idea, when it’s for the better.  After almost a decade of an administration that either didn’t make the best decisions, or was not given the opportunity to make those, a change is of course the gut reaction of most people.  I only hope that this man, along with his family will set a good standard for the rest of us to follow.  Maybe next time, I’ll actually register to vote.  Only the next four years will tell; I only hope that the ground moves and shakes as much as was figuratively described today.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email