The other day I placed myself in an (entirely avoidable) unfortunate position.
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The other day I placed myself in an (entirely avoidable) unfortunate position.
March is a great month because it has a little something for everyone. Sports lovers have spring training and March Madness. The Irish have St. Patrick's Day. College kids have spring break. There is one unfortunate event during March, though, that brings much animosity to college campuses for one week every year: Palestinian activist groups sponsor Israeli Apartheid Week. The problem with Israeli Apartheid Week is not that it merely brings a dark cloud to an otherwise great month, but it is based on a dangerous lie that seeks to inflict pain not only on Israel, but on all of Israel's supporters as well.
All Republican governors' eyes are on Wisconsin and Ohio. If anti-union measures are successful in these two states, there is the strong possibility that similar policies will spread to other Republican led states. Our own Gov. Chris Christie is licking his chops in anticipation of a roast of public employee unions in these states. His finger-pointing rhetoric at union benefits and pension obligations during his recent annual budget speech gives some insight into his desire to bring an anti-union battle here to New Jersey. Luckily, we have a legislature that is less eager to blame others for our current budget crisis and instead focus on reasonable solutions and a way forward.
I watched the dark black cloud engulf the New York City skyline on Sept. 11, 2001, originating from where the two glimmering skyscrapers used to stand. I was 11 years old then. I stood watching an almost motionless screen, as if the world had paused outside the windows of my elementary school — Joseph H. Brensinger No.17 in Jersey City, N.J. I saw a drastic change in the way that kids who resembled me were treated after that day. I noticed my peers who were brown were suddenly being called "bin Laden" and the Middle-Eastern children were being pushed around. Did this monumental day suddenly help us elementary school kids in Public School 17 realize we were different based on our skin color, bringing racial acknowledgement to the forefront of our young minds? I wish that were true.
In the ironic words of our 35th president, John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country," Soon after his call to embolden the nation, Kennedy issued an executive order lifting the federal ban on government unions. Almost 50 years later, as the United States attempts to recover from a near catastrophic economic meltdown, public-sector unions continue to choke both taxpayers and state treasury departments. Much to the chagrin of the citizens who pay their bills, public union bosses refuse to remotely consider tightening their belts. They portray those who attempt to tackle budget deficits and billions of dollars of debt as villains and dictators.
I still remember one particular doctor's appointment many years back when I was 6 years old. I had arrived in the United States several weeks prior and needed to get a round of vaccinations done before beginning elementary school. My parents assured me that the whole process would be quick and painless, but I was in no mood that day to get jabbed with a needle. In fact, just the sight of it was enough to make me start tearing up and protesting. Nowadays, the anticipation of getting my blood drawn at my doctor's office no longer provokes the same response, but at the same time, it is still not something I look forward to.
The 21st century has been the death of the digital age of music. With the creation of the mp3 format and the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and the dawn of the age of piracy, from Napster to Limewire to BTJunkie, the music industry has incurred, what they consider, crushing blows. The market is shrinking, producers are taking losses left and right and we, the consumers, have become a culture of "pirates."
I cannot think of two sections that are more polar opposites than sports and opinions. Instead of immersing myself in world politics or the national debt, I spent the last few years in a press box at Yurcak Field or driving alone to Bethlehem, Pa., for a wrestling match.
Last week, IBM's quick-computing mega-machine Watson took to the screen in a special edition of the game show "Jeopardy!" Pitted against two previous record holders, Ken Jennings (longest run on the show) and Brad Rutter (highest winnings), the computer ran away with the victory, trouncing his measly human competition. His fans hailed the events as an unparalleled step forward for computer science. His detractors sneered at the faceless contraption. (Full disclosure: My friends and I are militantly faithful "Jeopardy!" fans. We schedule weekday mealtimes around its 7 p.m. TV slot. So I tend to side with the detractors. I'm also one-eighth Luddite.)
The Republican Party has launched a full-scale assault on the working and middle class in the United States. What is happening in Wisconsin and now in Indiana, Idaho and Ohio is nothing less than the largest attack on workers' rights in decades and the very survival of not just the unions or the Democratic Party, but the working and middle class is at stake.
The United States has been engaged in a multi-front war in Afghanistan and Iraq since Sept. 11, 2001, mainly to hunt down Osama bin Laden and exact retaliation for the terrorist attacks that killed over 3,000 people in the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the downed plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Then-president George W. Bush further explained the affront by affirming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that our military presence would ensure a rapid influx of democracy. Actual background research into Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi — fittingly codenamed "Curveball" — brought to light that the intelligence he presented to Bush's cabinet concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was entirely fabricated, and that al-Janabi himself was nothing more than a con artist and habitual liar. But at least we were spreading freedom, right?
For the past year, we have been the only people who read The Daily Targum from front to back every single day. Now we have passed the torch onto new copy editors, but before we leave, we have a few things to get off our chest. You probably don't care what we have to say, but we're funny — or at least we think we are — and our board cares. So if you want, you can skip to the crossword puzzle.
Much of the Middle East is in the midst of landmark revolutionary movements, which have been mischaracterized in many news media outlets. The subtle use of the word "anti-government" rather than "pro-democracy" in reference to the protestors has led to the widespread notion that anarchy is descending on the Arab world. It is easy to be afraid of this narrative, as it states that chaos would allow for an explosion of reactionary Islamist thought, which would rapidly replace the decaying political order. However, as I have argued in a previous article, this belief is unwarranted in many Arab states. Frustration with autocracy rather than religious fervor has been the inspiration for this political unrest, which, within 18 months, will radically change much of the Middle East.
As I sit in my room and write this column, I am realizing some pretty amazing things: I am in my room, my phone is not vibrating out of control, I am not part of a BBM chat between three editors anymore, and I am not harassing writers for their stories or making out the story list in my head. Instead, I am in my room writing this, I am actually thinking about the work I need to do for class and searching for blog ideas to bring to my editor at my internship tomorrow. What can I say? Am I free, or what?
Recent news has reported the volunteer efforts of citizens toward cleaning up Tahrir Square in the aftermath of 18 days of tumultuous protests. Among the remains of the assembly where impromptu shelters, smoldered debris and blood stains as witness to the early clashes with police, the trash-of-everyday-life left behind by hundreds of thousands and a forever-changed Egypt.
On a relatively normal day — Wednesday, January 15, 2009, to be specific — with temperatures hovering at about 26-degrees Fahrenheit, U.S. Airways Flight 1549 departed from La Guardia Airport in New York City heading northwest en route to Charlotte, N.C. Three minutes into the flight, a large flock of Canadian geese flew into the Airbus' engines, resulting in immediate loss of thrust from both engines. Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger became a worldwide sensation after landing the Airbus A320 almost seamlessly into the Hudson River, saving all 155 passengers on board.
To all the disappointed readers expecting an ode, I offer my deepest condolences. Upon reflection, I realized the only reason I wanted to write this send-off as an ode in iambic pentameter was due to denial — denial that my last days were approaching, a reality I didn't want to face and I still don't. I am writing this now because a columnist fell out, but I am not sure I would be ready to do it tomorrow or a week from now.
While reporting for an article to appear in The Daily Targum, one interviewee stopped — in the middle of relaying his emotional tale of living on campus as a gay male — and looked me in the eyes.
On Sunday evening, I partook in the truly American experience of watching the Super Bowl. Apparently, most of the world did as well — even though numbers are still disputed, it is reckoned that Super Bowl XLV brought in more viewers than the rendition of "Thriller" on "Glee" that followed it or Michael Jackson's funeral, which effectively gave the producers of "Glee" the rights to create said abomination. But I don't care to comment on the game itself or the musical failure that followed.
I have been reading the newspaper a lot lately, and an important story that may not have garnered as much attention as the protests in Egypt, the Super Bowl or Lindsay Lohan's apparent penchant for grand theft is the _______ (adjective) _______ (event) in _______ (country). The press has barely covered the story, with The New York Times running a blurb below the fold and The Wall Street Journal banishing the news to its iPad-only edition. Washington's _______ (adjective) stance on the event, though, has been lauded by some pundits and denounced by others. Crying, Glenn Beck promptly responded with the following quote: "America was founded on the ideals of _______ and _______ (patriotic nouns). Today, President Barack Obama _______ (past-tense verb) the American people yet again." For once, TV personality Keith Olbermann said nothing.