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As we approach homecoming this weekend, I've been reflecting
about my time spent on the Banks. Like many, I put myself through
school working — always making time for football games, of course.
The University put me on the path to success. During my time here,
I earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry, a graduate degree in
education and even taught as an adjunct professor. Now, I'm running
for U.S. Congress and making your concerns — jobs and education — a
centerpiece of my campaign.
Everyone who thinks that the scope of Facebook CEO Mark
Zuckerberg's $100 million donation to the Newark public schools is
limited to him trying to make up for a bad depiction in "The Social
Network" is not paying attention. Well, they are to the
entertainment world but not to the educational system in our state.
On "Oprah," and during an educational summit in New York City, Gov.
Chris Christie and upstart Newark mayor Cory Booker interviewed
with Zuckerberg to accept the donation. Christie is playing the
part of the Republican willing to "reach across the aisle" and in
so doing he will be supposedly granting control of the donation to
Booker exclusively. This political and public relations gold mine
for both politicians will have huge implications come the midterm
elections in just five weeks. Since all representatives are up for
re-election this makes things dicey, especially in a state that
just confirmed via Quinnipiac poll in August that more New
Jerseyans approve of our governor than the Obama
This past week saw the start to one part of President Barack
Obama's health care bill, in which kids up to age 19 can no longer
be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Not many are
aware of this because this past week also saw Republicans unveiling
their "Pledge to America," a 21-page document detailing policies
that the GOP would like to enforce should they win back the House
in the November elections — policies that include repealing the
health care bill in its entirety.
I wake up on Friday afternoon to experience mixed emotions of
relief and anxiety. Relief that is finally the most anticipated day
of the week but anxiety knowing in the back of my head that I have
tons of work to do over the week — the myriad of readings,
mathematical calculations, papers — all under the pressure of
enjoying a good weekend. Truly mission impossible. As I walk out of
Neilson Dining Hall on the Douglass campus back to my room, I grab
a copy of The Daily Targum.
This is in direct reference to the editorial published on Sept.
23 concerning Kentucky Fried Chicken's alleged abuse of
college-aged women. The gist of the argument was that KFC was
paying college women $500 in exchange for wearing fitted sweatpants
with the words "Double Down" printed out across the "behind"
section of the garment. The Daily Targum provided two subjects of
derision: The first was that women in college should be ashamed if
they sell out to this rather explicit form of marketing; the second
was that KFC was wrong for doing it.
Cuba President Raul Castro recently announced that the
government intends to lay off 500,000 workers by March 2011 as part
of their plan to stabilize the economy by 2015. This is a major
shift in policy for the communist stronghold that is located very
close to the United States mainland. The island has been under a
U.S. trade embargo since its communist revolution and until
recently abided quite well in the cold shadow of the superpower.
The island has long remained a quaint agriculturally driven economy
abandoned long ago buy its economic drivers; Cigars, rum, gambling
and tourism. But just as Cuba's old Harley Davidson riders repair
their motorcycles with French Peugeot parts, due to the embargo,
Cuba has not only endured but flourished under communism. Allowing
independent farming cooperative and emphasis on education and free
medical care has greatly improved the lives of the average Cuban.
Before the communist revolution many Cubans were illiterate; now
free schools allow it to trade 30,000 doctors to Venezuela in
exchange for more than 80,000 barrels of oil per day.
You can tell your mom and dad to stop worrying it's not just
you. It's our whole generation and not only in America. Joblessness
around the world is affecting quarterlifers.
It has been quite a while since I last wrote to The Daily
Targum, but having seen the Sept. 20 editorial, "Money changes
college sports," I feel compelled to write once again. Lest readers
think I am anti-athletic, let me state, at the outset, that I
appreciate university athletics including big time football and
basketball. I was a student at the University of Florida during the
prime of Steve Spurrier's playing days and, years later, I did my
postdoctoral research at the University of Georgia. I had no
problem with the concept of university athletics and, in fact, I
participated in practically every intramural sporting event. I
continued playing competitive softball until age 51, sometimes on
four teams in the same season.
There are plenty of things to be angry about when you look at
yesterday's letter titled "Speak English in US." The opening
sentence proclaimed, "The United States is an English-speaking
country, not a bilingual or multilingual speaking country."
There are two types of people at the University: The first will
be offended at the masses that placate themselves through
debauchery and inebriation on the weekends, the other will get over
it and get on with their life. One could consider those who debauch
themselves to be a third category, but I am not too concerned with
them; they usually don't read the opinions page, let alone
The United States is an English-speaking country, not a
bilingual or multilingual speaking country. Our government conducts
all business in English. Our military communicates only in English.
Can you envision military commanders giving commands to attack in
numerous languages? US businesses typically communicate in English.
One of the many strengths of this country is its outstanding
Unknown to many American citizens is the disastrous state of our
country's infrastructure. Infrastructure consists of the
structures, services and facilities a society and economy require
to function. In specific, the technical structures include roads,
dams, power grids, sewage systems, water supplies,
telecommunications, harbors and various other vital structures.
Leaders are not always praised or recognized for their
contributions. They are not always in the public eye or the
much-coveted spotlight. In short, they are not always given their
proper due. As a matter of fact, they rarely do. One characteristic
that ironically separates them from the rest and unifies them as
one is their tremendous sense of selflessness. Leaders are the rock
and foundation of institutions, organizations and other entities of
similar structure. It is a rarity to meet such individuals, but the
New Brunswick campus of the University has been blessed with many.
They are in student centers, residence halls, classes, offices,
dining halls, buses and wherever else they are needed.
Unfortunately, it happens far too often that we fail to recognize
those that are most essential to our success.
Rutgers is a great university. Every day thousands of faculty
members and staff engage a student body 50,000 strong. In our
classrooms, laboratories and lecture halls we come together to
discover new knowledge, to teach and learn from each other. These
relationships constitute the university community and are the
reason Rutgers exists. Relationships and activities outside the
formal educational settings, such as governance and labor
relations, are also important because they teach by example.
The debate to build the mosque at ground zero is not about
religious freedom. The need to build something so controversial on
the site is insensitive to the tragedy to the American people
Incite. Polarize. Interpellate. Repeat. These are the steps used
by the "Islamophobes" in the media to proliferate an agenda of fear
and hate mongering. In the case of the Park51 mosque, constructing
a place of worship next to the site of the 9/11 attacks is
portrayed as a new seam tearing between Islam and the West.
While I understand the problems of those affected by the
cancellation of the L bus, their plight is in no way unique. I too
am a graduate student who must contend with the need to find
parking — impossible — and the necessity of taking the bus —
interminable. Department of Transportation Services was right to
cancel the least used bus on campus and should redirect the
resources saved into providing more buses for other routes. I take
the EE bus from the C-Town stop at Rockoff Hall in downtown New
Brunswick to the Student Activities Center on the College Avenue
campus nightly and it is always jam-packed past the point of sanity
or safety. If one of those buses were to get in an accident, many
students would be seriously injured. DOTS should provide more buses
on the EE and similarly crowded routes, not bring back a little
I do not understand why the commuters of Zone B have to suffer
with parking at the Stadium West Lot on Busch campus. In all
fairness, shouldn't the commuters — who have to drive to class
every day and then back home or to work — be given the parking
spots closest to the buildings on campus in comparison to those who
live on campus and therefore do not have to drive anywhere except
for recreational activities? If the University's aim is to become
greener, then just by giving commuters parking lots closer to
campus, it would eliminate the need for so many buses. But adding
on a 30-minute commute for a one-mile distance deters students from
actually going to class. I have experienced that personally and
have other commuters express the same feelings.
As a current sophomore, who watched some of the
University's future football stars debut last year, I entered the
stadium Thursday with my heart pounding and expectations high
despite the low projections from the media. Head coach Greg Schiano
said this team wouldn't get really good until November, which makes
sense considering the loss of key seniors, a young and fresh squad
of guys who aren't used to each other and their roles and a recent
history of starting off poorly. I entered the stadium expecting
them to roll over a very sub-par Norfolk State as a sort of dress
rehearsal for the big games to come down the road. Needless to say
I came close to hitting the panic button as I helplessly watched
with other frustrated fans in the standing room section.
Welcome, incoming first-year students, to the University and the
start of the rest of your life. Sounds intimidating, but you'll get
used to the fast-paced classes, the slow paced bus service (oh
Livingston busses) and of course this heated section of The Daily
Targum, where opinions collide and arguments are made — with or
without factual support — all to sway and let you, the reader,
decide who to agree with. And there in lies the suggestion I'd like
to pass on, especially in this election year — when considering the
options, political or otherwise, decide for yourself.