Week in review: laurels and darts


Editorial


For individuals on both sides of the aisle, the recent resurgence of debates concerning religious liberty has not come without frustration. The tension was made more apparent yesterday during a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on religious liberty and birth control. Three Democrats walked out of the hearing after House Committee Chairman Darrel Issa, R-Calif., refused to let progressive women testify on the panel, which consisted exclusively of men from conservative religious organizations. For us, there is much to take issue with here. First, Issa’s refusal to include representatives of both sides of the argument regarding these issues is nothing short of unnerving, and, as one of the rogue Democrats described, closely resembles the dealings of an “autocratic regime.” Yet these Democrats who walked out of the hearing are also to blame. Progress cannot be made on these issues unless there are those who are willing to fight to have both sides of the argument heard. In this case, both parties deserve darts. Handling an issue that affects so many with such biased action is inexcusable. But giving up is no solution, either.

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Medical practice has made great leaps in recent years, and we can find a testament to this fact at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, which recently became one of the first hospitals in the country to offer groundbreaking aortic valve replacement technique. The treatment, called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, allows surgeons to replace a dysfunctional aortic valve more efficiently and neatly than older methods, like open-heart surgery. The U.S. News and World Report has also ranked RWJUH one of the country’s best hospitals. It’s good to hear such an established health care center, working with the most state-of-the-art technology and techniques, is right here in our own city. RWJUH deserves a laurel for its dedication to providing residents of Central Jersey with top-of-the-line medical care.

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Everyone knows romance, relationships and sex are the key ingredients to concocting the perfect Valentine’s Day. It’s what makes the holiday so grand and the cheesy Hallmark cards bearable. But subjects like sex cannot be tossed around as easily as can all the cheap chocolate we buy for our loved ones on this day. It’s important to learn about the pros and cons of these things before we dive headlong into them. In this respect, the University’s Latin American Student Organization has our backs. In preparation for V-day, the organization held an event in which students were able to talk and learn about relationships, sex and the implications they can have for college life. Students learned secrets to a healthy sex life at the event through condom demonstrations and flashcard games. The Latin American Student Organization deserves a laurel for their efforts to educate students about these issues.

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The town of Keene, N.H., is by many standards a relatively unassuming location to find examples of the increased militarization of our nation’s police forces. The town has a population of 23,000 people, and has seen only two murders since 1999. Yet, despite the apparent innocence of such a place, the town has just accepted a $285,993 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to buy a Bearcat. Now, if you’ve never seen a Bearcat, we’d advise you to look it up. Weighing eight tons and concealed behind a thick layer of armor, the personnel vehicle bears close resemblance to a tank. Our question is, what could this town possibly need a vehicle like this for? Police forces across the country, whose main purposes are to protect a town’s citizen, do not require an armored personnel vehicle to accomplish this task. Keene deserves a dart for equipping their police force with a Bearcat. We see no reason for any township to own such a vehicle.

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Adding to the list of states that have embraced same-sex unions, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire on Tuesday signed into law the state’s first same-sex marriage bill. “I’m proud our same-sex couples will no longer be treated as separate but equal,” she said. The legalization of gay marriage in Washington is just another indication that U.S. citizens are warming up to the idea of equal rights for homosexual and heterosexual couples alike. Our own state just yesterday passed a same-sex marriage bill that will likely be vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie, and it deals with the same issue, — states like Washington provide a guiding light for the rest of the nation to follow. Washington deserves a laurel for recognizing the importance of equality and legalizing same-sex marriage.

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