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America has been the womb of every civil rights movement, every
extension of freedom. Even this country's own birth was an
establishment of the principle that liberty applies to all. It was
this country's actions that led to a worldwide end to slavery as
well as an ongoing trend toward equal treatment and respect for
women. It does have at least one more stop, both politically and
socially, on its journey to true, unrestricted and unadulterated
equality and freedom.
The news of the death of an innocent young man this week swept
the University campus. Many are furious, many are heartbroken, most
of us are ashamed. University first-year student Tyler Clementi's
suicide is a stark reminder of how far we as a University still
have to go until we can call ourselves a school of diversity and
acceptance. The rest of the nation now sees that as well. But to
me, the most disturbing aspect of this story is not the fact that
someone would be despicable enough to invade a roommate's privacy.
No, the most horrifying part is the fact that Tyler felt ashamed
enough of his sexuality to kill himself because others had
discovered it and made it public. As much blame as we may want to
put on School of Arts and Sciences first-year student Dharun Ravi
for breaching another man's privacy or the University for failing
to set up "safe spaces," the blame lies completely with us — each
and every student and faculty member here at Rutgers — for failing
to create an environment where Clementi would have felt safe,
secure and comfortable with himself.
I feel like children surround my life. When you turn on the
television, a lot of shows deal with families and their children.
"Kate Plus 8," "19 Kids and Counting" and my all-time, trashtastic
favorite, "Teen Mom," are some of the shows that fill my nights.
None of these shows portray the "normal" nuclear family, which is
great because a lot of kids today are not growing up with that. But
what I am more interested in is how kids are being raised — how
parents teach, play with and talk to them. As a floating
preschool/after-school teacher for the past year at Campus Kids in
New Brunswick, I deal with children daily. I've seen that a lot of
times, their behavioral problems come from lack of parental
attention or just sheer negligence to teach kids the difference
between right and wrong.
Don't be surprised if the next crime alert you receive from the
Rutgers University Police Department describes the suspect as
sporting a crisp New York Yankees cap. The New York Times reported
earlier this month that a significant number of criminals in the
New York region have worn Yankees caps or some form of Yankee
paraphernalia while committing crimes ranging from locker room
thefts to violent crimes such as armed bank robberies and deadly
shootings. As an avid New York Yankee fan, this news is appalling:
Are we as Yankee fans simply brutal, violence-loving maniacs who
loiter the streets waiting for the right target? Of course not,
this would be a silly accusation to make considering that most
Yankee fans are not criminals and sport their team's apparel to
associate with their love of the game.
More often than not, Liberals more aptly named "Progressives"
want to control your life. The accusation is harsh but honest.
Their method is brilliant and so spineless those seeking
liberty-based initiatives can never mimic it. Progressives have
created an environment where all of their actions are viewed as
philanthropic initiatives to save mankind and the world. If I told
you that poverty could end, prosperity could boom, the world could
be saved and everyone will be treated as equals with no one bearing
the burdens of this cost, I would probably have your vote as well.
However, if I went into the methods of achieving these goals, your
position would probably change.
If you have been near a pharmacy at your local supermarket
lately, then chances are that you have heard about the newest
advertising tool for these stores: Free antibiotics. The concept is
simple enough. The pharmacy absorbs a small financial loss on the
antibiotics, but more than makes up for this loss through your
other purchases around the store. In the process, it may also
convince you to transfer your prescriptions over from its
competitors. On the surface, this quid pro quo appears to be a
win-win situation that gives patients more access to medications
while bolstering store sales. While this strategy does make certain
drugs more affordable, it also has great potential to hurt
Behind Hardenbergh Hall there is a flyer advertising a free
preview of the new Ryan Reynolds film "Buried." It's not to be
released until Oct. 6, but being the lucky University students we
are, we have ourselves a preview.
What if we didn't have Facebook? What if the human race was
somehow deprived of the few social media websites that keep us
talking to each other everyday? No more picture tagging or friend
requests. Kiss status updates goodbye. What if — you might want to
sit down for this one — we had to do all our socializing in person
or over the phone? The popular opinion that we're addicted to
Facebook is probably true in a lot of cases. According to NPR,
Internet users spend more time on Facebook than any other site. But
the other popular opinion that Facebook is bad for society is
debatable at best. I'm all about the unpopular opinion; I think
Facebook has been good to us. But a group of people — users even —
still give it a bad rap.
Much of the body politic is cynical and unsatisfied with
American government. According to the study, Trends in Political
Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2009, published by the Pew Research
Center for the People & the Press, more than three-fourths, 76
percent, of the people believe that "elected officials in
Washington lose touch with the people pretty quickly." The majority
of citizens, 51 percent, also believe that "people like me don't
have any say in what the government does." Citizens feel they lack
efficacy because they believe their voices are outweighed by the
influence that special interest groups wield over government
policy. A Taubman Center for Public Policy Survey from 2004
indicates that 64 percent of Americans agree "the government is
pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for
Pop culture is destroying America. More and more the message to
do something is being oriented around what a celebrity would want.
One of the most memorable instances is the "Vote or Die!" campaign
headed by Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and backed by a number of other
celebrities, like 50 Cent. Vote or die echoes Patrick Henry and his
famous "Give me liberty, or give me death" quote delivered to the
Virginia House of Burgesses. Clearly the message has not changed,
although Henry was supporting a war effort for our independence
while P. Diddy is promoting civic involvement. So why is pop
culture destroying America?
Words have power. Anyone who has been the victim of grade school
or high school bullying can attest to that, cruel words of others
can have a harsh, lasting psychological effect. By the time these
children become young adults and enter the world of higher
education — college, that is — most have grown beyond the point in
their lives where petty bullying and physical harassment are
unnecessary for social well-being. Despite the equality that should
pervade every college campus, if not every American town, tacit
discrimination is becoming more and more prominent. Most of the
offenders have no idea that what they're saying is offensive, and
the ones who do have some ill-formed logic to try to make them seem
innocuous. But, derogatory terms describing gay people are finding
themselves increasingly commonplace in our vernacular, which is
shocking not only due to this generation's lack of creative
vocabulary, but at the underlying implications about gays that the
words carry while flung about with ease.
The American economy is stale. The unemployment rate has landed
indefinitely on a plateau at 9.5 percent. Housing prices are still
stagnant. Credit is only starting to loosen in the aftermath of the
Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. catastrophe. Perhaps the most
concerning aspect, though, is that the short-term outlook is bleak.
Consumer spending, the largest part of GDP, is dreadfully slow.
Companies are reluctant to hire. The national trade balance is
almost irreversibly negative. Because of the frozen credit market
and lack of confidence in the economic future, capital investing is
not expanding either. What went wrong?
Smokers have already been forced out of cafes, restaurants and
other closed public spaces in the New York City area, and while
they have coped with that until now, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has
proposed a new ban that will affect my fellow smokers and me. Yes,
I am a smoker and I know about the health risks — the threat to my
heart, lungs or whatever else they figure on putting on the box to
avert my addiction. But Bloomberg's plan on banning smoking
outdoors in the New York City limits is over the line.
Slutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Now, there are two
types of people at this University. The first will be offended or
disgusted at this atrocious nickname of the supposedly prestigious
University, ranked rather high among this country's public schools.
The second type is made up of the lovely people who gave us the
nickname, and they will merely snicker when they hear it.
Surprisingly, the second category does not just consist of the
disgusting Ke$ha and The Situation wannabes who drunkenly run up
and down College Avenue on Friday nights, pathetically begging me
for a cigarette. No, I've sadly found that even the most
intelligent students here at the University contribute to the
University deserving this wonderful title. Of course, intelligence
is surely no indication of moral integrity and self-control, though
I did expect a bit more from the supposed future leaders of our
Has anyone noticed an increased amount of men wearing skinny
jean cutoffs? I know I have. I believe this bold fashion statement
must be attributed to the rise in the number of hipsters — I
dislike hipsters. "The Hipster Handbook" by Robert Lanham defines a
hipster as "one who possesses tastes, social attitudes and opinions
deemed cool by the cool." The definition sarcastically continues,
"Note: It is no longer recommended that one use the term "cool," a
hipster would instead say ‘deck.'" The hipster walks among the
masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces
to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream." I would like to
dissect these two of the clauses of the definition.
We all know that constant advances in technology have impacted
the lifestyle of everyone with access and simple tasks just getting
easier and easier. We can check exactly how many miles we can drive
before our gas supply is completely depleted, we can submit our
class assignments from the comfort of our beds and we can arrange a
rendezvous with an old friend in a matter of minutes. Technology
eliminated the hassle of many mundane activities, especially how we
document our lives.
Congratulations New Jersey. Today, Sept. 14, is Cost of
Government Day. What is Cost of Government Day you might ask?
According to the Center for Fiscal Accountability, Cost of
Government Day is based on the varying government burdens suffered
in each state. Meaning that the average N.J. resident works 257
days a year to pay off federal and state government tax and
spending burdens. Imagine that — before a N.J. resident takes any
money home for personal use, whether for gas or groceries, they
must work from Jan. 1 until today.
During the health care reform debates earlier this year, one of
the key issues of contention had been the need for medical
malpractice reform, with the debate largely centered on the savings
on defensive medicine that would be generated from such a change.
Republicans and others in favor of malpractice reform often cited
estimates that defensive medicine — extraneous tests and procedures
that physicians perform on their patients to reduce the likelihood
of missing a diagnosis and later being sued for it — can cost the
country as much as $200 billion per year or roughly 10 percent of
total national health care expenditures. On the other side,
Democrats and opponents of this reform cited much lower figures and
repeatedly brought up McAllen, Texas, which in 2006 still ranked as
one of the top health care guzzlers per capita in the country
despite the state placing a cap on non-economic medical malpractice
damages three years earlier.
About 15 minutes past midnight last Sunday, a female student
decided to relieve herself on the side of the house I share with
seven of my friends while two of her male friends tore the banister
off our front porch. I wasn't home when it happened, but four of my
friends saw what was happening and attempted to confront the trio.
Unfortunately, two of them fled before any conversation was held,
and the third guy denied everything vehemently, despite the fact
that my friends watched him deface our property. My friends had no
way of making this third guy stay, so he split well before the
police even had a chance to get there. We filed a police report,
but we don't expect anything to really come of it. The New
Brunswick Police Department obviously has far more important things
to do than chase down three students for petty vandalism. I can't
blame them for that. And even if the three hoodlums are ever made
to take responsibility for their disrespectful actions, that won't
change the fact that this rather depressing scenario occurred.
I recently swallowed my pride and sanity and watched the first
three Twilight movies. My sister, 14, and my mother, 50, have
always told me I should and that I'd probably like them. My
response has almost always been explosive. I quickly found myself