Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 21, 2021

Opinion

The opinions presented below are solely the views of the author and do not represent the views of The News-Letter. If you are a member of the Hopkins community looking to submit a piece or a letter to the editor, please email opinions@jhunewsletter.com.




Summit draws attention to problem

On Jan. 14 and 15, Hopkins hosted the Summit on Reducing Gun Violence in America. The Summit’s 450 participants included New York Mayor and Hopkins alumnus Michael Bloomberg, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Hopkins President Ron Daniels. Each presented research findings and a set of policy recommendations to curb gun violence. The Summit’s final proposals include establishing a universal background check system, instituting federal restrictions of gun purchases for the mentally ill, banning the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines and providing funds to research organizations to better understand the causes of and solutions to gun violence.



Pussy Riot affair displays struggle for freedom

It has been a bit over three months since the world was formally introduced to the Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot. Based on its bold band name alone, one might easily infer that this is a somewhat provocative, feminist group. When Pussy Riot made headlines across the globe, however, it was mostly labeled as an anti-Putin group. Ever since Vladimir Putin began his third term as president of Russia this past May, the country has seen some of the largest demonstrations against the government in its history. Russian citizens called for a more open and equal society, a movement that had become relatively quiet after the controversial arrest of the members of Pussy Riot.


U.S. should continue fight against nukes in Middle East

While U.S. foreign policy media attention has been focused on the recent conflict in Israel and the appointment of the next Secretary of State, it is only a matter of time before the eyes of the current administration refocus back onto Iran and its supposed nuclear program. Although major policy proposals in the U.S. government concerning Iran have remained virtually the same with camps split between sanctions and preemptive strikes, a past prescriptive plan has been resurrected by journalists and states with the intention of providing a peaceful method of promoting nuclear security.


Divesting stocks is the wrong strategy

Students for Environmental Action (SEA) organized a meeting yesterday to discuss Refuel Our Future, an initiative to petition the university to divest its endowment from fossil fuels and invest instead in green energy stocks and funds.


Lighting of the Quads electrifies

Given the low expectations that many within the undergraduate community had of the annual Lighting of the Quads because of last year’s technical difficulties getting the lights on, members of this board share in the awe and excitement of every student in attendance this past Tuesday. Beyond the more extensive lighting and the decision to illuminate the exteriors of Gilman Hall and the MSE Library Patio, the greater involvement of the audience in the countdown to the lighting and the surprise of a fireworks display has gone a long way to raise student morale as we enter final exams.



Libertarians might be the Republicans’ last hope

Believe it or not, the Republican Party used to be the party of liberty. From its roots in Jefferson’s democracy until Eisenhower’s presidency, the GOP actively saw the significance of free markets and free people. Jefferson saw the importance in freedom of the individual and recognized that the individual must play a vital role in a functioning democracy. He actively criticized unsustainable debt and warned that tangled foreign alliances would lead to global distress.


Rubio’s creationist comments create mess

In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was asked, “How old do you think the earth is?” His response, “I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that,” is troubling.


Taking on Thomas Friedman: Why I am not pro-choice

Recently, I came across an article in The New York Times by op-ed columnist Thomas Friedman which dealt with a topic that rarely generates fruitful discussion—abortion. After a few minutes of reading, it became clear to me that the article, entitled, “Why I Am Pro-Life,” was making a unique argument: rather than rehashing the usual talking points of either side of the abortion debate, Friedman was undertaking a larger critique of the misleading nature of activist terms such as “pro-life” and “pro-choice.”


Cutting languages cuts opportunities

The Hopkins Center for Language Education (CLE) is in the process of cutting language programs which it considers to be “less taught.” Over the past three years, the new CLE director and the Dean’s Office have whittled away at the department’s language offerings, cutting Hindi courses and altogether eliminating the Farsi and Swahili programs.


Plan on right track but lacks specifics

In Ten by Twenty, President Daniels presents his vision for what the University should achieve by the year 2020. It is an ambitious document that plans among other things, to make Hopkins an even greater research institution than it is, while also driving the undergraduate program to one of the top ten in the country.


Students sponsor events on hot topics

During the past week, the student groups Hopkins Helping the Homeless and Students for Environmental Action each hosted a panel of guest speakers, inviting Hopkins students to become involved in an effort to raise awareness for pressing social and environmental issues beyond campus.


Obama’s second chance to win over Arab World

Four years ago, President Barack Obama’s election suggested a newly positive direction in U.S.-Arab relations. Symbolically, his first television interview was with the Saudi-owned channel al-Arabiya. He then traveled to Cairo, Egypt in June 2009 and delivered an inspiring and compassionate speech. He even demonstrated a heightened awareness of the plight of the Palestinians. A renewed sense of hope flooded Arab streets and Obama’s refreshing rhetoric was welcomed with open arms. Following a Bush administration which left ties with the Arab people in disarray, Obama seemed to be saying all the right things and healing a diseased relationship.


Leveraging the fiscal cliff: Obama should hold firm

After last Tuesday’s election, we saw President Obama earn his re-election, the Democrats keep the Senate and the Republicans keep the House. The focus in Washington has now shifted towards the rapidly approaching fiscal cliff on Jan. 1. The fiscal cliff refers to the automatic expiration of the Bush tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts that will be implemented on New Year’s Day if Congress does not pass a new budget for the next fiscal year.


Why you should stay away from the retail stores on Black Friday

Towards the end of next week, most students will return home or at least gather with friends and family to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. But the last thing anyone should do is get up early the next day and venture to the biggest mess in American consumer culture, Black Friday.


It’s high time to end the War on Drugs and legalize marijuana

Last week Colorado and Washington made international headlines by becoming the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use. These measures contradict existing drug policy at the federal level, and many pundits anticipate a legal showdown that goes all the way to the Supreme Court. But the short-term outcome of these battles will do little to change the long-term necessity of ending the War on Drugs. Legalizing marijuana across all 50 states is long overdue, and whenever it inevitably comes to pass it will make our nation richer, safer and freer.


What President Obama’s victory means to me

Two days have passed since Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States. Eight years have passed since a young soldier named Matt Lynch was killed by a roadside bomb in Ramadi, Iraq. And over these past 48 hours, I’ve been attempting to reconcile the two. What do the past two days tell me about the past eight years?


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