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It is Wednesday at 10 p.m. Like clockwork, in the common room on the ninth floor of a building at the corner of N. Charles Street and 33rd, I close my Shakespeare anthology and position myself in front of an anachronistic wood-paneled spectacle of a television. Tonight is no night to burn the midnight oil and scour the seventeenth century sonnets of some guy who is long dead. No — tonight, I will set my work aside in favor of some well-deserved relaxation, because tonight brings this week’s episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”
Complacency is something that as Hopkins students we are mostly unaware of. Each of us was admitted into this university because of our desire to be better, to work harder. Hopkins has a reputation as a sweatshop of academics, where the classes are punishing and the hours, long. But these complaints are mostly from outsiders. To the insiders — the students — those long hours and extra classes are in pursuit of something bigger. That drive, the ambitious pursuit of our own future, is what makes Hopkins such a powerful university. But as insiders it is easy to get lost within the pull of Hopkins, surrounded by peers of similar charisma and discipline. What happens if you go outside of the university? To other schools? Does the same disciplined drive that we cherish at Hopkins also thrive in our nation as a whole? Or has complacency sunk its generous weight onto the back of our national ambitions?
Early in July, the Obama administration lifted longstanding sanctions on U.S. investment in Myanmar, also known as Burma. Such a change in the economic constraints on what was and could still reasonably be considered one of the poorest and least democratic countries in Asia would appear to be a primarily positive development. While it certainly is an important stepping stone in both improving the quality of life of Burma’s suffering people and integrating Burma into the international community as one of its more open and productive members, the hasty pace at which the U.S. is moving in on the Burmese economy runs the risk of undermining the worthier goals of ingraining a progressive, permanent democracy in Burma.
After more than 150 years as a united country and more than 67 years as a republic, Italy is about to undergo general elections in the upcoming spring of 2013. Parliamentary legislation and the presence of so many different small parties make the length of the prime minister’s term highly subjected to political transactions. Since 1994, when the so-called “Mani Pulite” corruption scandal put an end to the dominance of the moderate Christian Democracy, the prime minister has been changed nine times. However the upcoming elections are something completely unprecedented due to the precarious economic situation of Italy and the EU and to the contestants for the prime minister’s seat.
These are tense times in the Middle East. A new government in Cairo is testing the waters of democracy. The Syrian regime is in the midst of a bloody and protracted conflict with anti-Assad forces. Iranian leadership remains determined to pursue the nuclear route despite draconian sanctions and intense diplomatic pressure. Netanyahu continues to spew belligerent rhetoric from his perch in Tel Aviv.
On Tuesday, Hopkins was awarded a $7.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to enhance science, technology, engineering and math curriculum in Baltimore City schools. The program, named STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools (SABES), aims to improve STEM education for 1,600 Baltimore students in nine area schools through a partnership with Hopkins engineering faculty and undergraduates.
A woman was struck by a taxi at the corner of North Charles Street and E. University Parkway last weekend. She is the second pedestrian in a month to be hit near the Homewood campus. A broadcast email, however, was not sent out to notify students of the incident because the pedestrian was a non-affiliate and there was no imminent danger to other students. Campus Safety & Security has disclosed that it will soon launch a Twitter account to inform students of similar incidents in the future.
This fall, Chick-fil-A was added to the University’s list of vendors stationed at Homewood Field during games. It replaced previous vendors whose contracts were not renewed due to sanitation concerns. At Tuesday’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, there was discussion over a possible initiative to get rid of the association between Hopkins and the fast-food chain.
Nuclear deterrence is riskier than skydiving with the entire world in the harness or surrounding your house with 1,000 nuclear power plants. The threat of a nuclear exchange is higher now than it has ever been before. Preventing this doomsday scenario needs to be a priority.
The Student Government Association (SGA) announced an arrangement with Pier Six Pavillion this past August to offer Hopkins students a special discount on tickets for the Avicii concert. Despite the short advertising period, with tickets going on sale the day the SGA emailed the student body, they sold out of the initial 1000 reserved. This prompted the SGA to secure 1000 more, giving Hopkins students half of the 4000 total available seats.
1. With time, small talk becomes more tolerable.
Ever since Scott Van Duzer—a Fort Pierce, Fla. pizza parlor owner—bear-hugged the President on one of last week’s campaign pit-stops, he’s become a household name among political pundits. He’s also made countless enemies among the general population; the registered Republican, who voted for Obama in 2008 and plans to do so again in November, says his heartwarming, meme-worthy photo op drew slanderous rhetoric from the Right, who regarded his off-the-cuff, “everyman” endorsement as a searing betrayal. Within hours, Big Apple Pizza & Pasta’s Yelp! page was crawling with unsavory comments, including one user who cringed at the thought of “O’Hussain” visiting “Big Crapple Pizza.” These drew stubborn responses from Van Duzer, who stood his ground amidst the explosive weeklong controversy. “I don’t regret anything I did,” he insisted in one interview, marveling at how his five minutes of fame ignited a political firestorm. “It’s my vote, my voice, and I respect everyone’s opinion, but it doesn’t have to be as nasty as it’s become.”
The two-party system is so ingrained in American politics that rarely do citizens stop and question it. Election after election, charged “left” vs “right” rhetoric fills every American TV screen as incessant attack ads try to discourage indecisive voters from certain candidates. Regardless of the ineffectiveness and negative consequences of attack ads, there lies a more fundamental question about the modern American electoral process: is the two-party system the most effective and fair way to run the American democratic republic?
Throughout our nation’s lifetime, a contentious battle has unfurled every four years between the two major candidates for President of the United States. To say that this election is no different, however, would be a grave fallacy; this contest features an element never before seen during America’s brief electoral history. For the first time, one of the major parties– in this case, the Democratic Party– has voted to support same-sex marriage in its official party platform.
Opinions haven’t always gotten a good rap. Some 300 years ago, Voltaire argued that they’ve “caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Could Gary Johnson be a spoiler in the 2012 elections? This two-term governor and businessman from New Mexico was a GOP presidential candidate before dropping out of the race after polling around 2 percent in the primaries. Following his departure from the race, Johnson joined the Libertarian Party and eventually received its nomination for president.
On Aug. 31 the University launched the Roads Scholar safety campaign, a distinctive display of thousands of yellow and white shoes on the corner of 33rd St. and St. Paul St. This new addition marks one of Hopkins’s latest attempts to tackle the dangers pedestrians face when crossing roads near campus.
Since Student-Community Liaison Carrie Bennett retired last month, Charles Village residents and partygoers have witnessed an increase in the number of security officers on patrol. Bennett helped to shield Hopkins students from conflicts with Baltimore Police and Charles Village residents. In her absence, security officers and Baltimore Police officers have been appearing at off-campus fraternity parties for the first time in years. According to administration officials, a new student-community liaison has been chosen, but will not begin official duties until the end of the month.
On May 6, 2010, a community board in lower Manhattan unanimously approved plans to build a Muslim community center that would include an auditorium, a swimming pool, bookstores, restaurants, and prayer space. It would be open to all New Yorkers, not just Muslims. The building would be two blocks from Ground Zero.