May 24, 2019 | 62° F

Week in review: laurels and darts


Why is it that "socialist" is the dirtiest word in politics these days? Opponents of President Barack Obama's every move never hesitate to fling the word at the president in hopes of denigrating him in the eyes of the public — and it works surprisingly well. More recently, N.J. Representatives Donald Payne (D-10th Dist.) and Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) were accused of being members of the Democratic Socialists of America by a variety of political bloggers and pundits. Politifact.com quickly dispelled the rumors, but the fact remains — "socialism" is a slur in modern politics, and using it as such reduces a nuanced system of theories and practices to an overly simplified swear word. We dart the people who engage in this sort of behavior, and we encourage those who do not understand what socialism is exactly to do some research on their own.

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As if the Livingston Dining Commons weren't enough, the University and the new bus operator, First Transit, introduced new and refurbished buses over the summer and along the way, presented its students with a newly appreciated way of traveling between campuses. If only these buses made the trip all the way to New York City. The new vehicles have a scrolling marquee at the front and a pleasant voice announcing the stops — thus creating a better system for students with disabilities, as well as first-year students. According to First Transit spokesman Timothy Stokes, the new buses will benefit the University by lowering costs on fuel, parts and service. And while the buses fall short on serving sushi and having reclining seats, we appreciate what Jack Molenaar and the Department of Transportation Services have done. We applaud their signing an agreement with First Transit, and we give them a laurel for their actions.

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According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and Press, college plagiarism hit a record high. Pew asked 1,055 college presidents about levels of plagiarism in their schools, and 55 percent of them responded that plagiarism increased over the last decade. The major culprit behind this rise seems to be the Internet, which 89 percent of the surveyed presidents cited as an important reason for the increased plagiarism. What makes the Internet great, of course, is the ease of access it provides to a copious amount of information. However, students would do well to take care to not let the Internet do their learning for them. If you are not going to do the work to better yourself, why go to college in the first place? We give students a dart for taking the easy way out. They all end up hurting themselves in the end.

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Have you ever wanted fine Mongolian dining at the swipe of a student ID? Perhaps freshly prepared pizza? The Daily Targum and its editors with meal plans can now kindly inform you of the newly renovated Livingston Dining Commons. The new facility replaces Tillett Dining Hall and is adjacent to the Livingston Student Center. The building features a contemporary design, consistent with the recent projects that have meant to renovate this previously avoided campus. And while most students may not have experienced this phenomenon firsthand, we would highly recommend it. The Daily Targum gives Livingston Dining Commons 5-out-of-5 stars as well as a laurel, and we are certain that if given the opportunity, the Michelin Guide would reward it with at least a star.

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President Barack Obama's uncle, Onyango Obama, is an illegal immigrant in the United States. He was also recently arrested for drunk driving in Framingham, Mass. Does any of this information matter? Well, not really — but there are a lot of media outlets reporting on it who would have you think otherwise. Barack Obama's uncle's immigration status — and his poor decision to operate a vehicle while intoxicated — have nothing to do with the presidency, nor should detractors use it to insult the president or question his birthplace again. Really, the people who have been giving the story such high levels of attention are doing nothing more than grasping at straws. We dart such people and hope to see a return to real issues as soon as possible.


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