opinion

OPINION

The skinny on your student fees

The Rutgers University Student Assembly Allocations seems to be a hot spot for debate these days. An editorial in Tuesday's Daily Targum illustrated important information about how our student fee money is spent. But aside from this editorial, the information is not available on their Web site. I encourage transparency.

OPINION

Missile tension

Not even a month into the White House, President Barack Obama has had a lot thrown at him. Between a failing economy, a war that seems never-ending and trying to find a way to fix it all, he is now being tested by North Korea. Recent reports have been released that North Korea is preparing to test launch its longest-range ballistic missile. The missile is designed to have a range long enough to hit U.S. territory. This is causing tensions to rise because the preparations are being made just days after the reclusive state warned that the Korean peninsula was on the brink of war. South Korean and Japanese news agencies have had unnamed government sources come to them saying that they have seen North Korea moving and transporting equipment that was used to launch Taepodong-2, the last long range missile they attempted to test launch. That missile test ended in the weapon self destructing and heading into the ocean. Because of the failure that occurred with the launch and the fact that it will take a month before any new testing can occur, that may be reason enough to not think much about what the North Koreans are doing.

OPINION

The era of mind your own business

On Tuesday, the Denny's Corporation became the nation's most generous, genuine and beloved breakfast joint in the United States for eight short hours. Denny's, the champion of middle America and the longstanding supporter of the family meal, offered the Grand Slam breakfast free to every customer from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. According to the Associated Press, their campaign was an attempt to "reacquaint customers with the brand" that they can afford, even in these tough economic times.

OPINION

The real makers of your Rutgers gear

Many students, including myself, own Rutgers apparel — clothing that shows our support for a school that we are proud of. But how many of us actually consider where that clothing is made? It is easy to pull a shirt off a rack and purchase it. It is equally easy to forget that these shirts do not just appear in campus bookstores — they are the labor of human beings. On Oct. 8, Russell Athletic, a supplier of apparel to Rutgers University, announced their decision to close one of their largest Honduran factories. The facility, known as Jerzees de Honduras, is located in the town of Choloma and employs more than 1,800 workers. Why did Russell decide to close its factory? Because workers there chose to unionize to fight for better wages and improve their working conditions. This closure represents a blatant violation of Rutgers University's code of conduct. President Richard L. McCormick must cut our contract with Russell Athletic immediately to ensure that brands take our University's labor standards seriously.

OPINION

On becoming bipartisan

Throughout the 2008 campaign season, then-Sen. Barack Obama repeatedly promised to bring a new political dynamic to Washington to end our recent tradition of inter-party squabbling and to promote a transparent and truly bipartisan government. Two weeks into his presidency, Obama indeed appears to be attempting to make good on his word. Since his inauguration, the president has made numerous efforts to accommodate the concerns of the Republican Party and to encourage a friendlier relationship between its members and those of his own party. This Sunday, Obama invited a bipartisan group of 15 legislators to the White House to watch the Super Bowl with him and his family. Reportedly, there was not much political discussion during the gathering, but it is just this sort of generally open, friendly and neighborly attitude that will allow for the establishment of the post-partisan spirit that Obama desires in Washington.

OPINION

Gaming stereotypes and misconceptions

I am writing this in response to the editorial "Violence in virtual reality affecting real life" from Wednesday's edition of The Daily Targum. I am an avid video gamer myself and I feel I must take issue with some of the points made in the article and how they were made.

OPINION

Young stars: Should they watch their actions

It seems as if the media is thriving off of scandal in young Hollywood these days. It is hard to turn on the news and not hear "Miley Cyrus this," or "Zac Efron that." Paparazzi and online bloggers, like Perez Hilton, make their living from these young stars doing stupid things that get them in trouble. There have been numerous stories about Disney pop princesses sending naked pictures to their boyfriends and sports stars doing drugs. The most recent scandals have been pictures that surfaced of Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps smoking a bong and Hannah Montana herself making a racist gesture against Asians. These things may seem funny and not a big deal, but they are part of a bigger problem troubling young Hollywood today. These kids cannot just live their lives and learn from stupid mistakes like the regular teens of the world. They are watched under a close microscope of agents, fans and paparazzi and are under the constant pressure to watch their every move. The argument can go two ways: It was their choice to have this life of fame and fortune and should have to be more careful, or the public should just leave them alone.

OPINION

PETA uses shock to "do good"

In response to The Daily Targum's opinion piece "NBC bans sexy veggie Super Bowl ad" published on Monday, we at PETA often do "sexy" or "shocking" things to get the word out about animal abuse, because sadly, the media usually do not consider the facts alone worth covering. Our purpose is to stop animal suffering, and we use all available opportunities to reach millions of people with powerful messages. The situation is critical for billions of animals who are suffering on factory farms and in slaughterhouses, and our goal is to make the public think about the issues. Sometimes this requires tactics that some people find outrageous or even "rude," but part of our job is to initiate discussion, debate, questioning of the status quo, and of course, action.

OPINION

Battling the busted bus system

As much as I love Rutgers, there are a few things about it that really make me mad. One of them, and I know many others agree with me, is the bus system. As I was waiting to catch a bus to Cook/Douglass from College Avenue it occurred to me that getting to or leaving Cook/Douglass is near impossible. I was at Scott Hall on the College Avenue campus waiting for an F or a EE, and in the time it took for just one of those buses to get there the following came and went: one A, two H's, two LX's, two ward shuttles and one L. I could have gone to Busch, Livingston or around the New Brunswick area at least twice in the time it took for one bus to arrive to take me to Cook/Douglass. Now we all know that the traffic around town is terrible, so before I let myself get too annoyed I assumed the delay was due to traffic. But after the same events happened morning after morning, I realized the inequality those of us traveling to Cook/Douglass were facing and decided to pay a little more attention to it.

OPINION

RUSA constitution is fair and balanced

There have been several articles and many ongoing discussions related to student government over the last few weeks. Specifically, some questions have come up related to the selection of the Allocations Board, both under the current system and the proposed constitution for RUSA. Under the current structure, the Rutgers University Student Assembly Allocations Board is a non-elected committee affiliated with RUSA; the committee functions as an advisory board to RUSA and is responsible for the allocation of the Student Activity Fee - Regular. These funds are allocated to student organizations registered with the Office of Student Involvement as well as various registered events on an as needed basis. The goal of the Allocations Board is to promote and support diversity of programming made available to Rutgers University students through the fair and efficient use of the student activity fees.

OPINION

Ads are watching you as you watch them

Americans are exposed to hundreds of ads everyday. Whether it's a catchy radio jingle, a bright colored billboard or one of those annoying TV commercials for the "Shamwow!" or "Snuggie," it seems almost impossible to escape advertisers' attempts to grab your attention. As technology is becoming more and more advanced, these marketing moguls are finding new ways to target society with ads specifically geared toward certain demographics. Web sites are now taking personal information from profiles and gearing ads at you through what other sites you visit. It's now impossible to go on Facebook without having an ad about your favorite band, sports team or even ads dealing with your relationship status appearing on the side of your screen. The technique of gearing certain ads toward an individual person is now coming out of the Internet world and into the real world.

OPINION

RUSA constitution: Troubled waters ahead

Only two years ago, student leaders from around campus were urging every student to vote on the proposed Rutgers University Student Assembly constitution. With a new structure and model in place for Rutgers, students were told it was vital to vote on a new document that would reflect the new structure of the University. Now it seems two years later — not literally — the same people who were imploring that the students vote for the new constitution are insisting this new constitution will fix all of the problems and that the document everybody voted for two years ago is a mess. It is clear that better communication between RUSA and the students they serve is necessary.

OPINION

NBC bans sexy veggie Super Bowl ad

Many of us spent yesterday with our eyes glued to the TV watching Super Bowl XLIII. Families across America rooted for their favorite teams and feasted on pizza, hot wings and the various other snack foods that you associate with game day. Another big part of the experience that people get excited for are those famous Super Bowl commercials. Millions watch these commercials, and the best are usually talked about for a while after the big day. Advertisers hope that they will score at least a 30 second spot for the price of $3 million, hoping that it is their product's advertisement that will cause a buzz because their ad was funny or inspiring and leaves the company name being said over and over.

OPINION

Lincoln's test of time

There has been a very recent revival in interest in Abraham Lincoln's presidency, just in time for his 200th birthday. The new president from Illinois has commonly invoked the legacy of his predecessor. During the speculation of President Barack Obama's Cabinet appointees, there was talk about how Lincoln successfully assembled his "Team of Rivals," as specifically described in Doris Kearns Goodwin's book. Clearly, Lincoln is one of our country's revered leaders.

OPINION

Clearing up facts in the Gaza conflict

In Thursday's article, "Gaza conflict halts Israel study," there are some factual inaccuracies in need of correction. The article states that the reason for the suspension of Rutgers' Study Abroad program in Israel is "the escalation in violence between Palestine and Israel." The most recent escalation in violence has been between the country of Israel and Hamas, the ruling political party in the Gaza Strip and a U.S. State Department and European Union-recognized terrorist organization. It is more accurate to refer to the Gaza Strip as part of the Palestinian territories, as Palestine is not an internationally recognized country. The article further cites the "recent increase of rocket attacks into Israeli settlements." The rocket attacks, launched by Hamas inside the Gaza Strip, have fallen on sovereign Israel and not "Israeli settlements." Israeli towns such as Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be'er Sheva, Gedera and others targeted are located in Israel within the internationally recognized 1967 borders. When reporting on such a complex conflict such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is imperative to check facts and terminology.

OPINION

Laurels and darts

Being a college student doesn't leave you with much money to spare. With expenses like tuition, books and other fees it's hard to come up with much pocket change, especially for things like recreational activities. The Rutgers Recreation Department has solved that problem with the creation of their new Dollar Menu. The menu offers 48 different one-time programs ranging from fitness to music all for the low price of $1. The reason for the low price of these programs is because many of the instructors are deans and professors volunteering their time to teach students the various topics and activities offered. It's a great opportunity to bring together students, professors and deans in sharing their interests and hobbies with each other. The idea of becoming a sort of RU "dollar menu-naire" is very appealing to students, as the programs all filled up very quickly. The success of the Dollar Menu shows promise that these programs will continue to be offered in the future, allowing students to explore new subjects and find people who share common interests with them. Laurels to the Rutgers University Department of Recreation and their great idea to offer students fun recreational activities at a price anybody can afford.

OPINION

Praise song of myself

If getting on the pedestal in front of the minutes-old president is all it takes, then Elizabeth Alexander joined an exclusive group last week.

OPINION

Violence in virtual reality affecting real life

One of the most popular hobbies that kids have today is playing videogames.  Their entire day revolves around when they can get their hands on that controller again.  The bell rings at school and many rush home to their sanctuary of a couch, or one of those specially made for playing videogames chairs, where they will plug in their Wii, Xbox, Playstation  or whatever system they deem is worthy of their playing (most kids have all of them anyway).  They lose themselves into a world of fantasy, where they have all the power to decide who lives, who dies, what to rescue and more.  They work hard, saving their progress as they go along, to hopefully pass through all those dangerous levels to become the victor. 

OPINION

The third way

I have a simple idea regarding student funding for the school newspaper. Make the current fee a recommended value and allow students to easily indicate that they wish to pay more or less than this amount. This way, students who feel strongly about the newspaper can pay more than the current $9.75 fee and students who might otherwise opt out may elect to pay a few dollars rather than give nothing. Surely this would generate more revenue than an opt out system and would be just as fair.


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