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If someone walked into a classroom or up and down College Avenue
flaunting a Heinrich Himmler T-shirt, it would be sure to cause
some stirs, and rightfully so. After all, it is deplorable for
anyone to joyfully personify a genocidal mass-murderer. Yet for
some reason, people worldwide — most notably, American college
students — stand silent when their friends and fellow classmates
don the image of the Marxist, murderous, Cuban parity to Himmler,
Ernesto "Che" Guevara. I am going to make an optimistic, general
assumption that the vast majority of Che admirers know little, if
anything, about this terrible world figure.
I caved. It took nearly a year, but I took the plunge into
territory I swore off at the onset of this mess. It happened late
Tuesday evening as the snow began to dissipate any streetwalkers
into the safety of their homes. I had finally settled into bed
after a long day of trekking through the city, but slumber wasn't
coming easy, so I grabbed Mack from his shelf — yes, my laptop is
anthropomorphic — and opened up all sixteen of my favorite blogs.
Then, against my better judgment, it happened.
I thought this was going to be my first, last and only piece
written for The Daily Targum. But alas Targum is full of surprises
and you learn how to roll with the punches.
While I expected to watch NBC's coverage of the Vancouver Winter
Olympics Opening Ceremony Friday evening, I was confronted by the
horrific stop-motion images of 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar
Kumaritashvili's death. During a morning practice run on the
Whistler Mountain Olympic luge track, Kumaritashvili, coming out of
the 16th curve at approximately 90 mph, launched over the track
wall and collided with an exposed steel beam. NBC televised it
Gay and lesbian Americans have been prohibited from serving
openly in the U.S. armed forces for more than 16 years by
Department of Defense Directive 1304.26, popularly known as the
"don't ask, don't tell" policy. Issued by former President Bill
Clinton's administration, it reads, in part, "Sexual orientation
will not be a bar to service unless manifested by homosexual
conduct. The military will discharge members who engage in
homosexual conduct, which is defined as a homosexual act, a
statement that the member is homosexual or bisexual, or a marriage
or attempted marriage to someone of the same gender." While the
directive, which prohibited the longstanding practice of conducting
official investigations against enlistees suspected of being gay or
lesbian, was arguably an improvement over previous policies
regarding homosexuality in the military, it upheld and further
legitimized the practice of stigmatizing and discharging such
individuals purely on the basis of their sexual orientation. More
than 13,000 gay and lesbian members of the armed forces have been
undeservedly dismissed under "don't ask, don't tell" since it was
instituted in 1993, including 498 last year alone.
On Monday, The Daily Targum published a column about the
arguments for big government. I'd like the readers to hear both
sides of the issue.
These are the core principles of the Tea Party Patriots —
"constitutionally limited government," "fiscal responsibility" and
"free markets" — a group that calls itself "the official grassroots
American movement." This conservative group hopes to ensure that
public policy is made in a manner that is consistent with these
principles. They claim that once these core principles are
instilled into our policy-making process, public policies will go
on to protect individual liberty.
The Pentagon's announcement that it would begin to ease
restrictions on the nation's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which
bans gays from serving openly in the military, is long overdue. The
new policy would disallow informants from outside the military to
prompt an investigation of a service member's sexuality, and only
generals and admirals will have the authority to discharge members
for being gay. While these steps are admirable in ending this
discriminatory policy enacted by the former President Bill
Clinton's administration, the law should be repealed in its
Since Athletic Director Tim Pernetti came out with his plans for
the "renaissance of the RAC" I have been trying to decide whether I
am for it. As a sports guy and part of the sports media I'm all in
— but as a student of the University and a resident of the Garden
State, I am in limbo.
There are certain things we University students know will never
change; for example, Nextbus will never be dependable and the
Grease Trucks will continue to be our greasiest claim to fame. But
the one thing I am most certain of is that alcohol will continue to
flow freely on Thursday and Saturday nights. The University has
changed so frequently that many of its alumni would have a
difficult time recognizing its current incarnation. It has changed
from a school dominated by the Dutch Reformed Church to a place
where religiously devout students feel outnumbered by "godless
liberals." It has also morphed from a small, private, liberal arts
college servicing a white male community to a state university best
characterized by its massive size and diversity. However, no matter
how much our school changes, I am willing to guarantee that it will
continue its love affair with alcohol. Why is it that even after
our community has poured countless resources into educating us
about the consequences of drinking, we continue to binge drink?
Day one of my journey abroad, the word "stereotype" began
playing over and over in my mind. There are preconceived
expectations walking into any new situation. I had several notions
about my time in Florence before arriving. Coming into a culture
where alcohol intake and noise levels define Americans, I realize
that an unfamiliar culture always falls victim to judgment. Going
down the list, every culture suffers from inaccurate stereotypes —
Americans are loud, drunk and brash and the French are rude.
Alternatively, my experience abroad teaches me that stereotypes
never live up to expectations.
Winter break is almost upon us, and a reprieve from the semester
is always welcome. One could only dream of six months from now when
students across the country are free to sunbathe, road trip with
friends or get a summer job for a few extra dollars. There are
pockets across the country, however, where summer break as we know
it does not happen.
This year was supposed to be the next step for Rutgers football.
The veteran offensive line was returning completely, with legit NFL
stud prospect Anthony Davis as the anchor. They had a senior
quarterback returning — albeit without any career starts — but at
least he could provide some leadership. The two-headed running back
monster of Joe Martinek and Jourdan Brooks returned, as was Kordell
Young. The defense had all its key cogs returning, aside from Pete
Tverdov and Courtney Greene. In the words of Eric Foster, it was
supposed to be "R Year." This season's freshmen class was regarded
as the best in school history, anchored by linebacker Antwan
Lowery, running back DeAntwan Williams and quarterback Tom Savage.
It was all looking up. This was supposed to be even better than
2006. The Scarlet Knights were the favorites in the watered-down
Big East, even picked by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett and Sports
Illustrated's Stewart Mandel. Then Cincinnati came to town.
After three months of professedly exhaustive strategizing with
top advisors, on December 1, President Barack Obama announced that
the United States would send an additional 30,000 soldiers to fight
members of al-Qaida in Afghanistan. The additional forces will be
deployed over the next six months, the president stated in his
address, and the U.S. will begin to reduce levels of U.S. military
personnel in July 2011. Within a week, however, top White House
officials started to shy away from any suggestion of a troop
withdrawal deadline. It has become increasingly apparent that,
rather than devising any sort of new war strategy, the president
has decided to stay the course set by his notorious predecessor,
former President George W. Bush. This essentially grants, in full,
the requests of the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A.
McChrystal, and asks the American people to support a plan
remarkably similar to the Iraq troop surge, something Obama
criticized so relentlessly last year. While the open-ended nature
of Operation Enduring Freedom has been clear since the campaign
began in the fall of 2001, the strategy Obama endorsed last week
marks a striking departure from his campaign promise to end the
conflicts of indefinite duration and expense initiated the previous
administration and championed by the neoconservative movement.
On paper, 2010 is a scary number. It's not 2012 end-of–the-world
scary, but still, it means that Rutgers is kicking me out this May,
and that is pretty much the same thing. With that said, I wanted to
use this space to hold on to 2009 for as long as possible. Thus,
below, I attempted to highlight some of the ways in which this past
year was noteworthy:
Today, the New Jersey Legislature will consider a proposal to
grant same-sex couples the right to marry. The proposal will be
considered today by a Senate committee and could be posted for a
full Senate vote later in the week.
When the Rutgers University Student Assembly decided during the
election season to neither endorse nor oppose the ward campaign, it
claimed that it does not take political sides. Yet last week, when
RUSA reaffirmed the cherished meal-swipe program belonged to the
Palestine Children's Relief Fund, it may have made one of the
largest political statements at the University in the past decade.
This program, meant to unite the student body, has instead torn us
apart and has further compromised relations between supporters of
both Israeli and Palestinian causes.
Amsterdam, Brussels and Dublin: trying to fit 10 days' worth of
clothing into a carry-on suitcase is an art. The plan was to hit
three different cities in three different countries within the
10-day fall break. Basing my decision to travel these cities for
recreation, I was surprised by how much each city taught me when I
looked a little deeper.
Everyday the proverbial naughty and nice list is growing. This
is not a reference to Santa's famed inventory of children but
rather, the positives and negatives of our international Internet
addiction. The advantages of Internet research databases, social
networking Web sites and online shopping markets definitely seem to
outweigh the cons of the big, bad World Wide Web. But let us not
forget that in an emotional or stressful or inebriated moment, our
e-mail can be our worst enemy. Unfortunately, it is often our
professors on the receiving end of a poorly constructed, ill-timed
According to the Central Intelligence Agencies official Web
site, the CIA has a handful of responsibilities, all channeled
toward protecting the United States and ensuring intelligent
conduct internationally. As the Web site says, "The CIA director's
responsibilities include: collecting intelligence through human
sources and by other appropriate means … correlating and evaluating
intelligence related to the national security and providing
appropriate dissemination of such intelligence." Note that in this
small except from their "About the CIA" page, the word
"appropriate" is used twice; the CIA promises to administrate their
power in appropriate means. Irony arises when one reads their
statements and, in turn, studies the history of their behavior and
their current-day policies. To put it bluntly, the CIA has proved
itself to be anything but appropriate in certain areas of conduct.
In particular, the interrogation tactics of the CIA have been a
controversial subject of heated debate. Their harsh tactics when
questioning terror prisoners have been questioned from not only a
moral standpoint but a legal standpoint.