Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 29, 2024


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

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?

Voters missed opportunity for change

On Tuesday, the country missed the opportunity to vote for real change – actual, real and tangible transformations to our country. Change will come when we stop passing and renewing laws such as the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which egregiously violate the very basic principles this country was founded upon. It will come when we stop calling the dead children from the drone strikes in Pakistan “collateral damage” and actually put a face to these people who are no different from the rest of us.

Four more years: Where we are and where we’re going

Three weeks’ worth of misguided campaign strategies and unbecoming soundbites in the lead-up to this Tuesday’s election forecasted Romney’s downfall even before the race was called. In fact, the phrase “bleak prospects” would have seemed a gross understatement; by the morning of the election, the New York Times’ number-crunching guru Nate Silver had boldly pegged Obama’s chances of re-election at over 90 percent, and by 11:30 PM – before Florida and Ohio’s tallies had been finalized – none other than Fox News had declared a landslide victory for Barack Obama.

Romney win would have been disastrous

Now that I can safely say that Mitt Romney will not be elected our next president, I feel it’s necessary to reflect on what his presidency would have meant for the all-important and salient issue of disaster relief.

Daniels makes a necessary first step

Last week President Ronald J. Daniels wrote an op-ed piece in The Baltimore Sun in support of marriage equality in Maryland. Daniels briefly mentioned that he saw the issue as “a matter of justice and core civil rights,” but the remainder of his piece gave a less common interpretation as to why marriage equality is important: it is beneficial for business, especially for an organization like Hopkins. Proposition 6, which reaffirmed the right to marriage among all citizens in Maryland, passed on Tuesday night.

Hotel at Olmstead isn’t practical

On Tuesday, Alan Fish, the Vice President of Real Estate and Campus Services, introduced some of his suggestions for development at Homewood to the Student Government Association (SGA). One of the most ambitious projects Fish spoke about and the first one he would like to implement is the construction of a hotel on the vacant Olmstead lot on 33rd St. between St. Paul and N. Charles St. Fish told the SGA that the hotel would increase the quality of student life by bringing “really great restaurants” to Charles Village and would provide students with another place to “hang out.”

Opioids are not the answer for chronic pain

Opioids are among the world’s oldest drugs and are still used today to manage pain. Classified as narcotic analgesics, they are legally available by prescription. They work by binding to specific receptors in the nervous system and altering the way that the brain identifies and interprets pain sensations.

Sandy sheds light on candidates’ silence

Hurricane Sandy has finally come and gone, but she has left a trail of devastation in her wake. And environmental catastrophes like her are becoming more common and are a direct result of climate change. Unfortunately, in our modern society, climate change is one of the least publicized yet one of the most important issues that faces the next generation.

Uncovered grades? Why school administrators should think twice

A year ago, an article ran in The News-Letter which discussed the topic of covered grades. The article indicated that the Academic Affairs subcommittee of the Academic Council had recently approved a motion to eliminate the first semester grading policy, which indicates only a satisfactory or unsatisfactory performance in the course and does not calculate grades received in first semester classes into cumulative grade point average (GPA). This recommendation, if approved by President Ron Daniels, would take effect in the fall of 2014.