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It may sound like a chapter out of "1984," but the new
partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and
Walmart could lead to much needed safe spaces. DHS Secretary Janet
Napolitano announced yesterday the inclusion of 230 Walmart store
in the department's "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign.
Walmart and DHS will help the American people play a role in
protecting the nation's security and ensuring its safety.
When it comes to approving prescription medications for sale and
distribution in this country, one of the crucial pieces of
information the Food and Drug Administration relies on are clinical
trials. These studies — most of which try to leave a lasting memory
through jazzy names such as JUPITER, IMPRESS and TRIUMPH, to name a
few — aim to compare the benefits and risks of the drug under
investigation against either a sugar pill or another relevant
therapeutic agent that is already on the market. While many of the
trials performed meet the criteria for informed consent of study
subjects and unbiased collecting of data, some of the other design
features of these studies — such as the characteristics of the
enrolled patients — limit their applicability to patients in the
real world. The same can be said of some of the statistical
analyses and the presentation of the results.
Rumor's surrounding the end of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" abound.
Recently the TV mogul announced that the 25th season is her last,
placing the end date of the show somewhere in or around the
beginning of September of next year.
Is Julian Assange a hero? WikiLeaks released a trove of
government cables less than a week ago with varying degrees of
secrecy, and in a matter of hours the super-secret inter-office
e-mails became the water-cooler conversation at embassies and
newspapers across the globe. It's not military secrets that came
out; no war strategy fell into the wrong hands. But gossip is just
as volatile. WikiLeaks, Assange's brainchild, confirmed Sunday that
governmental officials are pretty much like every other person on
the planet with a job. They talk smack on their colleagues. And we
can be sure that Assange is giving himself pats on the back for
riding in on his white steed and saving us proles from backroom
corruption. WikiLeaks had a chance to be an effective watchdog
group, but it blew its chance and has done less to salvage
democracy than it claims.
Rapper Kanye West mentioned in his "Lil Jimmy Skit" on the
"College Dropout" album that his father passed away and left him
with all of the academic degrees that he earned, joking that he was
so obsessed with getting degrees that he stole his son's as well.
"I'm gonna learn too, I'm gonna get super smart so that I to can
die without … I won't have any money. But I'll be the smartest dead
guy," he said.
The Transportation Security Administration began a new screening
policy on Nov. 1 at 69 American airports. The new rule allows for
the TSA to use X-ray machines to look under the clothing of
soon-to-be-passengers or perform a thorough shake down. These new
laws are a microcosm for the current state of individual freedom in
America. Yes, it is invasive and yes it is inconvenient, but is
anyone really surprised? The new voyeuristic and demeaning approach
to secure our airplanes has been in the making for years. With the
signing of the USA Patriot Act in 2001 by former President George
W. Bush, Americans have slowly but surely surrendered their freedom
in the name of security.
With the 2010 Big Chill 5K coming up in several weeks, I decided
to draw from my personal running experience to offer some training
and race-day advice for those who are aiming to set a personal best
time or just want to give a good effort out there.
There has been a general increase in cynicism and anger toward
elected officials and government institutions. A recent survey on
American attitudes toward democratic institutions found that
approximately 63 percent of respondents felt politics were corrupt,
55 percent believed politicians were lying and 94 percent
considered the government unresponsive. Voter knowledge is also
woefully inadequate. Eighty-six percent of voters surveyed knew who
Hannah Montana was, but only 45 percent knew the Supreme Court
could declare a law unconstitutional and exactly half could
correctly identify the number of U.S. Senators.
Religion, particularly the Christian religion, has been a
long-standing American tradition. Christianity — along with apple
pie, democracy, being white, baseball, and freedom — have for a
long time been the faces of America as depicted in the minds of
most politicians and demagogues. In recent decades, Judaism, and in
some cases, Islam, have garnered the same respect among fellow
believers in an Abrahamic God. Hatred and bigotry still do exist
towards these groups, but in most cases, a belief in God seems
sufficient enough to cement a person's values and moral foundation.
Yes, atheists are godless, but immoral? That seems a bit much,
especially in a land that was founded and settled in on the basis
of religious freedom — which of course would rationally include the
freedom to not believe.
Looking back, I feel underwhelmed with my academic high school
experience and the improvements it stimulated in me. Perhaps I feel
a little let down too.
I hope everyone who voted in the midterm elections last week
felt they did their civic duty by going to the polls. I hope they
feel like they did something for their country, made a difference
in America and exercised their freedom of choice.
It's been a little more than a week since the midterm elections,
and the speculation for the 2012 presidential election has already
begun. Some GOP political figures have received attention including
former Gov. Sarah Palin, former Gov. Mitt Romney, former Gov. Mike
Huckabee, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and even Donald
Trump. However, a recent Gallup Poll indicates that Democrats are
essentially split on whether President Barack Obama should face a
primary challenge, where 47 percent favor a challenge and 51
percent do not. Look out president, you may be in for a flashback
to the 2008 primaries, as a lot of evidence is pointing toward
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton preparing to initiate round two
of the Obama-Clinton race for the White House.
I know your secret — you know the one I'm talking about. Fine,
you might not since you might be doing it subconsciously. But don't
worry because I'm in the same boat and so are your friends and
relatives, and let's not forget the president of the United States
does it too. I'm talking about the act of "faking it," which
Stephen Dubner describes in his podcast titled "Faking It" in a
brilliant metaphor. He says, "If the human psyche were a big map,
nestled somewhere between the Sea of Cheating and the Valley of
Lying, you'd come to the Kingdom of Faking It." So what is faking
it? It's not directly lying or candidly cheating, but more of a
combination of the two. This brings us to the question of whether
people should actively resist from faking it, and is it really
wrong? I think not — in many aspects, we do it throughout our
normal day without realizing that we do, and, in a broader sense,
it's essential. Faking it helps us to blend into a particular
group, to assimilate into a culture and to appease as many people
as possible by being just like them.
I had the opportunity to attend a student-fee sponsored event
run by the University group BAKA: Students United for Middle
Eastern Justice. The mission of the event was to fundraise for a
U.S. sponsored flotilla, "The Audacity of Hope," to breach the
Israeli blockade on Gaza. The University saw the potential
ramifications of using student fees to pay for an event. However,
the event still took place, without any regard for the students who
may disagree with the extremity behind the ideology of the event.
So I trekked to Busch campus to attend. Armed with a video camera
and note pad I would make sure that there was at least one counter
perspective on the theme of the night. What I encountered was
One of the most ironic scenes from this past midterm election
season was Medicare beneficiaries at tea party events deriding the
new health care law. Fueled by House Republican leader John Boehner
and other right-wingers, the elderly demanded the repeal of the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) along with other
pieces of legislation passed during the previous two years of
President Barack Obama's first term. In this column I will look at
three key issues the opposition leaders have seized upon to rally
this age group against PPACA: the rationing of care, cuts to
Medicare and the law's purported violation of this country's
In the run-up to his new album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted
Fantasy," Kanye West directed a half-hour long film inspired by the
new music, which aired recently on MTV. The basic plot takes up the
relationship between West — playing some version of himself — and a
winged extraterrestrial, but the film adeptly creates a mood more
than anything else. No doubt West's movie has some kinks, but there
is something else at work. His foray into filmmaking suggests this
producer-turned-artist has shed his frat-boy skin for a get-up more
akin to Andy Warhol. The film signals a change in both West and
MTV, an artist now willing to make experimental pop art, and a
medium willing to show it.
Happy day after Election Day. And I do mean happy. Yesterday was
the one day in two years that Americans get to tell politicians to
shove it, instead of the other way around; yesterday was Judgment
Day. Although each congressman was held accountable for his — or
his party's — actions this midterm election was not about
individual races, it was really a national referendum on the
reckless, wasteful and poorly engineered policies of the Democratic
Party. That party suffered a serious political beating from the
American people, and they deserved it.
I have heard it called "blackout-in-a-can" or "liquid cocaine."
I've seen its aftereffects: a man running down my street in nothing
but some fresh Air Jordans and a vomit bib, students on the EE on a
Monday claiming no recollection of Thursday, Friday or Saturday,
news stories flashing numbers upwards of 0.35 or 0.40. These are
the results of America's obsession with "riding the Loko."
In approximately two weeks, University President Richard L.
McCormick will be meeting with students from the Latino Student
Council to discuss extending in-state tuition to undocumented New
Jersey immigrants. Costly out-of-state tuition denies many of New
Jersey's high school students, who were brought here illegally by
their parents, the opportunity to reach their full intellectual
potential. It is unjust to punish undocumented students for the
actions of their parents by denying them in-state tuition, yet the
administration has repeatedly dragged its feet in response to calls
Proponents of the legalization of marijuana often refer to
smoking weed as a "victimless crime." In some ways, that seems like
a pretty fair judgment. If you merely consider the isolated act of
rolling and smoking a joint, then smoking marijuana looks as
innocent as consuming alcohol. The only repercussion is someone
gets high. No one around that person gets hurt, and life continues
on the same way it always has. But the "victimless crime"
designation only holds true if you approach the act of smoking
marijuana as an incident isolated from the larger social networks
in which it is embedded. This is a glaring oversimplification of
the act, one that ignores where the marijuana you are currently
smoking may have come from, and what kind of tragic violence was
left in its wake.