October 31, 2009

Too Much Sleep Just Might Be Bad

A recent study shows that too much sleep is a bad thing.Try breaking the news to the average Dartmouth student.....

For more information, check out this link.


October 30, 2009

Random News of the Week- 112 year old man marries 17 year old girl

A picture of the happy couple is on the right and a link to the story is here

What an incredibly bizarre marriage. 

October 29, 2009

Lieberman Logic

Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) won’t support a public option under any circumstances. He said “It's going to cost the taxpayers and people that have health insurance now, and if it doesn't, it's going to add terribly to our national debt.”

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 28, 2009

The Brewing Republican Civil War

In an upstate New York congressional district, the GOP is in civil war...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 27, 2009

Valuable skills for Thayer students

Trust me, it will come in handy after you get your B.S. in Engineering.

Granite in their hearts

Over homecoming, campus was aswarm with alumni braving the rain and nasty weather to watch Dartmouth win its first football game since 2007, and to reminisce and visit their old campus haunts.

At Phi Tau, the co-ed where I'm a member, a bunch of alumni came back for our annual meeting. We had some members going as far back as 1978. The truly amazing thing to me, though, is how many Phi Taus come back with rings on their fingers -- and have married other Phi Taus.

How About Decriminalizing Drugs?

Last week, I devoted time to the debate over legalizing drugs. Some of you are probably wondering if I am not presenting a binary between sending drug users to jail, and completely legalizing drugs. So why not pursue a middle course of “decriminalization” of drug possession? In other words, don’t punish drug users for doing drugs, but continue to punish sellers...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 26, 2009

'13s = worst class of all time! OF ALL TIME!!!

From The Dartmouth:
In a buck of tradition, no students touched the Homecoming bonfire on Friday or rushed the field at Saturday’s football game.

There were also three arrests for non-alcohol related charges — two for simple assault and one for using false identification — according to Hanover Police.

“We did not have a single incident of any kind during the bonfire or during the game,” Montas said. “And that is a first.”

Hanover Police Chief Nicholas Giaccone said he could not recall a bonfire when there were no arrests.

Seriously guys, I don't think you will ever fully understand what a disappointment your class is to this school and every generation who came though its doors before you. Everyone lines the fire ring and attends the game to show their spirit, yes, but mostly to watch your class prove itself by touching the fire and rushing the field.

This weekend, your class proved itself unworthy. The '13s have officially lost the right to jeer any and all subsequent classes as they engage in Homecoming "traditions," or the ability to show their faces at future bonfires without some look of shame. Of course, it makes no individual sense for you lowly freshmen to touch the fire (under fear of arrest and second degree burns), but your class exists in the aggregate, and in homecoming is the glory dispersed.

If one of you had touched the fire, we might pass you on the green -- you wearing that green shirt with your class numerals -- and wonder, "was that the freshman godly enough to redeem his/her class and make Ol' Wheelock proud?"

But now we know. It definitely wasn't you. Because none of you did it. worstclassever.


These past few days I've been honored to celebrate all that is Dartmouth. This weekend, of course, was Homecoming, and quite a few alums were around to celebrate with me. Looking around on Friday and Saturday I was happy to see that those alums seemed to agree with my sentiment: Dartmouth is our home.

I'm still a green little freshman even after what seems like a (blissful) eternity here at Dartmouth. But at least now I've had the privilege of attending classes and running around the bonfire. I've had the chance to attend the Homecoming football game; I've waved at Jim Yong Kim as he cheered on our team from the sideline; I've gasped in pleasant surprise as the Big Green football team scored touchdowns. All of these things can't begin to encompass that which is Dartmouth, I know, but participating in these things makes one truth evident to me: Once Dartmouth, always Dartmouth. Dartmouth will always be my home.

And so today as I write from here in Hanover I'd just like to express my gratitude and happiness at the fact that all of us Dartmouth students and alums can come together to honor our school, our family, and our home. Whatever happens to us in the coming years will never change the emotion we feel when seeing the "Welcome Home" sign over Collis, or when cheering for the bonfire to be lit, or when screaming in support of the good old football team.

We are family. We are green. We are Dartmouth.

Why Are Democrats Losing in Virginia?

Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds is (probably) set to lose his race for Governor of Virginia come November. So now is a good time to ask if he could have done anything different...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 24, 2009

Dartmouth Wins!

Amid an unrelenting downpour, the Dartmouth Football team broke its 17-game losing streak this homecoming weekend against Columbia.

October 23, 2009

'13 Pride?

Is it just me, or does everyone who's not a pea-green freshman look upon all this "'13 Pride" nonsense the same way Nebraskan farmers must look at "Gay Pride" banners?

Should Drugs Be Legalized?

Having laid out all the arguments in this debate, the Gadson Review will now evaluate them...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 22, 2009

Ann Coulter Needs to Learn the Importance of Silence

Ann Coulter's assertion that only liberals have been assassins is outrageous even by her standards.

A Sad Reminder

I saw this when blitzing out to an old upperclassmen list.


Can't handle the pressures of college life? Hire a personal assistant!


If you've ever wondered how to handle the stress of the Dartmouth quarter system, just look to this example. After all, who wouldn't want someone to handle the mundane things in their life? 

Of course, I'd rather just do the mundane things myself. Paying someone $10/hr. to do them? I can find better uses for my money.

The Case Against Legalizing Drugs

Yesterday, I began by providing arguments invoked in favor of legalizing drugs. Today I will do the same for drug legalization opponents. Here are arguments they typically make...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 21, 2009

The (s)he wolf haunting my dreams

If you haven't already, check out Shakira's mind-trip of a music video for "She Wolf." I'd post it but the embedding is disabled.

A freshman tipped me off to the remake below ("He Wolf"), which is remarkable in that it probably took just as much time, money, and effort as the original to create.

And if you want to watch them side-by-side...

Safety First!

--- Forwarded Message from "Dean of the College" ---

>From: "Dean of the College"
>Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 16:32:44 EDT
>Subject: Bonfire and Homecoming
>To: All Undergraduates:;

October 2009

Dear Dartmouth Students,

As you all know, this weekend marks the annual celebration of Dartmouth Night and Homecoming, and the lighting of the bonfire. This is a wonderful Dartmouth tradition that brings students, alums, and community members together.

With that said, large events such as these require increased attention to individual and community safety.

I need your help to keep these events safe and enjoyable. In recent years, we have made progress in limiting behavior that could put members of our community at risk. Your class representatives and administrators on the Homecoming & Bonfire Committee have developed procedures that will contribute to campus safety and guide the construction of the bonfire, Class of 2013 participation in the Homecoming Parade, and the first-year sweep.

Please note the following procedures:

* Students are expected to follow the direction of the sweep leaders, maintain the designated route and will not be permitted to enter campus buildings during the sweep.

* Construction lights will illuminate the area around the bonfire and additional Safety and Security and local police officers will be on hand to assist with management of the event.

* Students and others are required to stay on the outside of the painted area around the bonfire itself and for obvious reasons, climbing the structure or touching the fire is prohibited.

* Individuals and organizations who violate College regulations and compromise the safe management of these events will be subject to disciplinary action, which could include suspension or separation from the College, or suspension or revocation of organizational recognition, depending on the violation.

If you have questions about the weekend's events or bonfire procedures, please call the Collis Center at 646-3399 or visit http://www.dartmouth.edu/~sao/.

I would like to remind you of the "Good Samaritan" policy, which can be found on the web at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deancoll/documents/goodsam.html. Taking care of each other is of the utmost importance within our community, and we expect that if someone is in need, you will call for help. Students and organizations that call Safety and Security for help are not subject to disciplinary action for alcohol violations, nor are the students who require assistance. Please do not risk the health and safety of anyone in our community by failing to call.

I appreciate your cooperation and support in making this Homecoming successful and safe for all involved.


Sylvia C. Spears, Ph.D.
Acting Dean of the College

The Spit in the Fahey Elevator and the Noble Monument

First, some context:
--- Forwarded Message from Brittany Medlin ---

>From: Brittany Medlin
>Date: 19 Oct 2009 11:47:36 -0400
>Subject: elevator clean up
>To: (Recipient list suppressed)

Hi [Fahey/McLane Dormitory floors] 2, 3, and 4,

I received the following information from operations:

10/15 McLane
spit all over number buttons and metal wall

I think we can probably all agree that this was a pretty gross mess for the custodians to have to clean up. If anyone knows who is responsible or would like to take responsibility themselves, please let me or your UGA know ASAP. Otherwise, it is likely that the charge will be prorated to your floors.

Thank you,

Brittany Medlin
Community Director, Russell Sage Cluster
Office of Residential Life, Fahey 113
(603) 646-[XXXX]

--- Forwarded Message from Brittany Medlin ---

>From: Brittany Medlin
>Date: 20 Oct 2009 09:52:23 -0400
>Subject: charge reduction
>To: (Recipient list suppressed)

Hi Fahey Mclane 2, 3 and 4,

After reviewing respectful student input on this charge and in consultation with my colleagues in residential operations, this charge has been reduced to $50. Please note that I appreciate respectful responses to damage charges, however, not all of them are reducible or revocable. Thank you for being critically engaged with your residential experience.


10/15 McLane
spit all over number buttons and metal wall
$150.00 - reduced to $50
Brittany Medlin
Community Director, Russell Sage Cluster
Office of Residential Life, Fahey 113
(603) 646-[XXX]

I have a lot of problems with prorating cleaning costs over an entire dorm for reasons I will share with Ms. Medlin and perhaps this blog in a later post. Suffice it to say that my inbox is rather full of similar bills from Ms. Medlin for damages I have not caused in places I do not frequent. The purpose of this post is to highlight the humorous sign -- monument, really -- I found in the elevator (on this rare occasion that I used it to get to the basement) to the senseless amount money wasted in the clean-up. Click on the picture to enlarge it (the text is worth the read).

The ultimate irony is that when I returned to take a picture of the sign, someone had spit on it.

The Case for Legalizing Drugs

In the next two days, I want to deal with the issue of drugs, and the so called “drug wars.” Today, I’ll begin with the case for legalizing drugs...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 20, 2009

The Death Knell for Bored@Baker

As of today, every computer that uses the much maligned and highly read Bored@Baker will have its posts identified by a unique three character string. My prediction: a lot less racist and homophobic language, rapid decrease in personal defamation, and rapid evacuation of readers from the site. ding dong ding goes the death knell. Anonymity was all the fun.

Thoughts on Mandatory Minimums

Congress recently acted on the disparity between crack and powder cocaine in mandatory minimum sentencing. But that still leaves the fundamental issue of whether we should have mandatory minimums...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 19, 2009

A Learning Experience

This past month I've been here at Dartmouth, I've learned a lot. I won't imagine that I've yet accumulated nearly as much knowledge as an upperclassman, but I'm worlds away from being the same wide-eyed youngster who stepped onto campus not knowing which building was Baker. I've learned a lot in my first few classes, of course, but that's not exactly what I mean when I say I've learned a lot. No, I'm talking about the surprising number of life lessons I've managed to garner just by being here a few weeks.

I've learned that friends are more valuable than practically anything else and that there are times when it's really, really good to have them around (Foco... cough). I've learned that it's possible to change one's life philosophy just by hearing one sentence from someone's mouth. I've learned that spontaneity is underrated... and I've learned that continuity is valuable, too. I've learned everything, basically, that my corny intermediate school teachers tried to tell me; I've learned everything they say at the end of those dumb high school movies when everyone's realized the truth of those great cliches we hear so much about.

And I've learned- and here's my point- I've learned that there are times when you just have to make a tough decision. At times someone's life may actually be on the line. I guess you've all heard this before because I'm talking about Good Sams.

I've had the dubious honor of having to make the decision to call the Good Sam line and trust me, I'm very glad I did call. I know I made the right decision. Everyone knows that Dartmouth kids party a bit (ever seen the "Drinking Time" video on YouTube?) and that the drinkers here like to think they can hold their alcohol. But there are times when it goes too far and then it gets a little scary and then we start thinking, shoot, where did I put that Good Sam card again?

Homecoming's right around the corner and let's face it, there's probably going to be some alcohol involved. Don't be too stupid. Know your limits and know the Good Sam number so that if someone goes too far you can help them out.

603-646-4000. It's worth it to save a life.

Will Pot Be Legalized?

To cope with its financial woes, many in California are now openly discussing the possibility of legalizing marijuana...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 17, 2009

Was "Balloon Boy" a hoax?

Read this piece in the (otherwise decidedly b-side) USA Today about the boy who seemingly took off in a weather balloon to the terror or an entire nation.

Two points of note: First, when the baloon touched down miles away from where it took off and was intercepted by helicopters and emergency rescue vehicles, authorities found it empty. People immediately feared that he had fallen out somewhere along the balloon's path. But before long, the boy, Falcon (age 6), was found hiding in the garage, apparently fearful that his dad would be angry at him for releasing the balloon. This eccentric family of self-proclaimed science nerds (the Heenes) had a history of pursuing reality TV show contracts and participated on "Wife Swap." However, this fact and the possibility that this bizarre event was all part of some media attention blitz would have not been raised had it not been for a single comment made by Falcon during a news interview:
Doubts over the Heene's story surfaced after a CNN interview in which Falcon told his parents "you said we did this for a show" after his father asked why he did not come down from the rafters during the search Thursday.
It seems like young Falcon let the real story slip and now everyone is laser locked on the story. Better keep it straight! When will the second shoe drop?

Second, and also noteworthy:
The family made the rounds on morning talk shows Friday, and Falcon threw up during two separate interviews when asked why he hid.

October 16, 2009

What Happens if Iran Gets the Bomb?

Iran may be close to acquiring a nuclear weapon. Can we live with that?

To read the rest of this post, go here

October 14, 2009

Abortion and the Parties

There are pro-life Democrats and pro-choice Republicans. But they are the exception, not the rule. Why?

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 13, 2009

Whatever, bro, you know?

The Marist Institute for Public Opinion published their most recent poll of what word or phrase Americans just can't stand. According to them, the easiest way to send your fellow countrymen into a psychotic rage is to utter any of the following:

  • Whatever, with 47% of votes
  • You know, with 25%
  • It is what it is, with 11%
  • Anyway, with 7%, and
  • At the end of the day with 2%.
I like to think I'm not a language pedant, but I have to admit -- if someone came up to me and said, "At the end of the day, you've got to get up in the morning", I would have a few choice words of my own for them.

If they'd polled exclusively Dartmouth students, I wonder what the results would have been. My front runners for "most annoying word" at Dartmouth:

  • Flitzing -- Come on. It's just too cutesy. And the last dating refuge of the socially inept.
  • 'Schmob -- Sounds almost as unpleasant and annoying as the hordes of freshmen clogging up the grill line.
  • 'Tails -- Not the most elegant way to describe an evening of cocktails. Then again, booze served in pong cups isn't exactly elegance defined.
  • Random and sketchy -- It's not so much that they're annoying; it's that their meanings have been so thoroughly bleached by overuse that pretty much anyone and anything can be accurately described as "random" or "sketchy". The dinner special at FoCo can be random. My grandma is sketchy. I think we need some more adjectives around here.

Why Does God Allow Evil in the World?

This is something that has puzzled me for some time. Why do we have wars, crime, and other forms of evil? So let’s consider some possible explanations...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 12, 2009

Yo dawg!

Another internet meme that has recently attracted LGB's attention is the "yo dawg" meme. The meme features Xzibit, the host of the television show "Pimp My Ride," wherein Xzibit takes participants' cars and customizes them to the participants' unique preferences, in ways cars rarely are. When debuting a renovated car to someone who likes to cook on the show, for example, Xzibit might say, "Yo dawg, we put an oven in your car so you can bake while you drive."

The meme went viral with the first image pictured below and continued along the same format. Have a look. I think Xzibit's curiously pleasant smile really adds the extra kick. (Bonus points if you can guess which of the ones below was generated by a Dartmouth student).

Should You Go to Law School?

It’s getting harder and harder to find an entry-level job in finance, as many college graduates will tell you. So there’s a stampede of college students applying to law school. Is it a good idea?

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 11, 2009


Unless you've played Team Fortress 2, this will likely not make any sense. But if you have it will be incredible.

Also check out this one.

October 10, 2009

How to feel about Obama's Nobel

Disbelief was bipartisan Friday morning as news broke that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize. The honor would have likely make it Obama's way eventually, but American commentators seemed uniformly convinced that awarding it to him now was premature to say the least. Obama is still a very green President, who has set out a bold agenda but has not made much headway in accomplishing it. Case in point: Guantanamo. Though he used his first act as President to authorize its closure, he is unlikely to meet his self-imposed one-year deadline in actually shutting it down.

That is the perception among Americans. No results, no award.

But American commentators did not decide the winner. The Nobel Committee (which is based out of Norway and selected by the Norwegian Parliament) did. And their perspective is decidedly different.

For non-Americans generally, and Europeans specifically, Obama's abrupt change in the the tone of U.S. Foreign Policy is results enough. Obama has moved America back into a leadership position in world affairs. By reengaging the Middle East, by working to finish and win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by working to ameliorate the world's major social ills, Obama is doing more for peace and "fraternity between nations" than any other human in the world today.

The Nobel Committee could have given the prize to an inspiring, though largely irrelevant social worker in some grim corner of the world (the right-wing has wasted little time in arguing for this point), though that would not have been true to form or Mr. Nobel's wishes.

World Peace, Guilt, Etcetera

We're all familiar with the concept of the "guilt-trip." We ourselves most likely get tripped up a lot; our parents call and ask why we haven't emailed them back yet, or we stand someone up at Foco because our alarm didn't go off, or we miss a class and our prof gives us That Disapproving Look. But apparently the art of guilt-tripping isn't limited to our little college-student world.

No, Sweden'sNorway's giving it a try...

Probably most of you have heard by now that President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Some people hate this idea. Some people love it. Some people are too apathetic to care and sit around watching the Simpsons. Yeah.

Me, I'd just like to comment on the fact that guilt trips exist, and on the fact that instead of rewarding past efforts, the Nobel Foundation might be attempting to influence world politics juuust a bit by awarding this prestigious prize to a future peacemaker, President Obama. After all, there're certainly no specific and amazing resolutions that our great president has singlehandedly masterminded in these past eight months. I give him credit for a lot of things, but not ending too too many wars in any spectacular fashion.

So, then, what are the motives of the Nobel Foundation? (There are always ulterior motives, right?) In this case I think those motives may just be a desperate gander at making the world believe that Obama will make peace. I sure hope that he will, and I choose to believe that he will. But I'm just saying- he hasn't done it yet, much.

I don't object to President Obama's reception of the award; I figure that the Nobel Foundation may be right and it may guilt-trip the president into working for peace. It would look pretty bad for our president if he received the prize and then started World War Three (-cough- Iran). And, hey, if giving him the prize makes him choose peace over war, then I'm all for it. We've had enough violence and nuclear proliferation for now.

But we'll just see if this strategy works or not. All I know for sure is that sometimes guilt trips fail (i.e. the little sixth grader trying to stop a bully by invoking conscience and goodwill) and sometimes they succeed (yeah, you should really call your mom more often). I just hope President Obama's a lot more like you than that bully on the playground...

October 9, 2009

Mo' money, mo' problems

This just in from College President Jim Yong Kim:
October 9, 2009

Dear Members of the Dartmouth Community,

As we settle into the new academic year, I want to express appreciation for the
warm welcome you have extended to my family and to me. With the celebration of
Convocation and Inauguration on September 22, many of us had the chance to
reaffirm our commitment to each other as members of the Dartmouth community,
and to the pursuit of excellence in education.

In less challenging economic times, you might expect that my first letter to
you as president would focus largely on our aspirations for the coming year.
But these are not normal times. I am writing today to update you on
Dartmouth's financial picture, and the difficult work we face in continuing
to bring the College's finances into balance.

The global economic crisis has created significant challenges for every
institution of higher learning, but Dartmouth remains committed to providing
the finest education in the world. Our priorities are clear: to enable the best
students to attend Dartmouth, regardless of their financial means; to continue
to attract superb faculty who are both great scholars and great teachers; and
to build on our reputation as an exceptional place that offers a personalized
educational experience for leaders who will shape the future.

Generous friends, parents, and alumni have once again enabled Dartmouth to act
according to its priorities. The level of giving held up extraordinarily well
over the past year, despite the recession. However, unprecedented volatility in
global financial markets caused substantial losses in virtually every part of
our endowment in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.

Here is an overview of key financial metrics for fiscal year 2009:

Endowment Losses

* Dartmouth's endowment fell 23 percent to $2.8 billion (a decline of 19.6
percent due to investment performance, with the balance as a result of spending
from the endowment, somewhat offset by new gifts to the endowment).
* This loss of $835 million equates to approximately a $50 million reduction in
annual operating revenue available to the College.
* Long-term endowment performance, however, has been excellent. Dartmouth
achieved an 8 percent annual return over the past decade, when the performance
of the broader stock market was flat, placing it in the top 5 percent of all
endowments and foundations.

Endowment Spending

* Dartmouth increased its rate of endowment spending several years ago to
support key initiatives including enhanced financial aid, additions to the
faculty, and critical facilities projects.
* Endowment spending of $227 million represented 32 percent of Dartmouth's
revenue last year (total revenue of $701 million) and, after tuition, was the
largest source of revenue for the institution.
* We are making conservative projections about future endowment performance.
Given these projections and the decline in the value of our endowment,
contributions to Dartmouth's budget from the endowment will be flat or will
decline over the next several years relative to fiscal year 2009 -- further
reducing revenue to fund operations.

Prospects for Recovery in the Endowment

* While the stock market has recovered somewhat in recent months, college and
university endowments, because of their asset allocations, generally have not
rebounded as quickly. Dartmouth's endowment, with only 26 percent of assets
invested in public equities, is no exception.
* We do not expect our endowment to return to its fiscal year 2008 level of
$3.66 billion for quite some time.

Fundraising Progress and Goals

* The Dartmouth College Fund raised $38.1 million in fiscal year 2009, down
from the record $42.2 million raised in the previous year. Alumni participation
remained high at 46 percent, off just one percentage point. The Fund provides
unrestricted dollars which directly support financial aid, faculty and academic
programs, athletics, the arts, and service opportunities for students around
the world.
* Volunteers are hard at work to meet our $40 million goal for the fiscal 2010
Dartmouth College Fund.
* The Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience is now raising the final $60
million necessary to meet its $1.3 billion goal, which we anticipate achieving
by December 31. These gifts are generally restricted to specific priorities,
and are not available to fund general operating expenses.

Efforts announced last February to cut the operating budget have affected all
parts of the institution. These efforts have included reducing the work force
and holding compensation flat for most employees. These were not easy actions
for the campus community. While these actions produced meaningful savings and
helped address the immediate shortfall in the budget, they are not enough to
cover the gap we face.

No single path will be sufficient to address these serious financial
challenges. We will proceed on three fronts:

* First, we will reduce expenses. This must be done thoughtfully. We will work
collaboratively and creatively to arrive at innovative solutions. We will be
called upon to make some difficult choices.
* Second, we will aim to increase philanthropic giving to Dartmouth, in part by
continuing to demonstrate to donors that we are using our resources efficiently
and effectively.
* Third, we will pursue new initiatives that build upon the strengths of
Dartmouth and produce revenue while addressing the evolving needs and potential
of our students and of society.

As we address these challenges, we will seek campus input widely, through
meetings and forums, and will continue to communicate with you in the weeks and
months ahead. Meetings are already underway with the Arts & Sciences'
faculty Committee on Priorities and with the institution-wide Budget Committee.

In my Inaugural address, I spoke of pursuing our most cherished goals not only
with passion, but also with a tough-minded practicality that will allow us to
deliver on those goals. I am confident that we will overcome these financial
challenges and realize our aspirations, and that the character of this
community will not just sustain this institution, but enable Dartmouth to
continue to thrive.


Jim Yong Kim
Dartmouth College

A Nobel Prize, Really?

To say the least, I was shocked when I opened my web browser this morning to discover that President Obama has been given the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009. Perhaps what surprised me the most about President Obama's selection was the reasoning behind it: "He has created a new international climate"*, says the Nobel Committee. Well, I have yet to see it.

I admit openly to you that I am a Democrat. I was a strong supporter of Hilary Clinton, but when she pulled out of the race for the presidency, Barack Obama won me over. I think that President Obama represents a step forward for our nation, but I have not seen any solid proof that he has done anything that he promised he would do.

The Nobel Peace Prize is meant to be an award that honors a member of society who has done something to promote peace or justice in the world. What has Barack Obama done? Sure, he has spoken about promoting peace in the Middle East, but words do not mean action. And so far, we have seen little change in the Middle East.

Perhaps most distressing about this year's selection process is that the standard which is usually upheld in selecting the winner has dropped. No longer is the emphasis on action. No longer does a person get honor after they do something of merit-- intention, apparently, is enough.

Consider the people who were looked over, people such as Greg Mortenson, a humanitarian who has dedicated a significant portion of his life (he started his initiative in 1993) to building schools for the under-priviledged children in rural villages around the Middle East. Unlike President Obama, Greg Mortenson has done.

Although nothing will be done to change the outcome of this year's selection process, one can only hope that things will be different next year. But for now, I sincerely hope that President Obama, fulfills his promises to the world.

This article is in response to the Nobel Peace Prize selection of 2009. For more information, check out: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/10/world/10nobel.html?_r=1&hp. To learn more about Greg Mortenson, visit his website at:http://www.gregmortenson.com/

*Quote from The New York Times

Does Israel Hate Obama?

One of President Obama’s biggest goals as President is to broker a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That task became more complicated as a recent poll revealed that just 4% of Israelis found him to be “pro-Israel.”

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 8, 2009

Critiquing the Logic of Christianity

Christianity has logic to it, with a big caveat. For the purpose of this post, we’ll assume that there is a God who judges us for our sins, and a heaven and a hell...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 7, 2009

Obama Launches a War on Trade...or Not

Add the phrase “war on trade” to the war on drugs, and the war on terror. The latest war, according to conservatives, was of course created Barack Obama. This year, a 35% tariff has been levied on Chinese tire exports...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 6, 2009

The Virus is Spreading

Bad news. Wash your hands.

Of the 175 currently diagnosed cases of influenza on campus, two-thirds are H1N1.

I repeat, please wash your hands. often.
--- Forwarded Message from "Dr. Jack Turco, Director, Dartmouth College Health Service" ---

>From: "Dr. Jack Turco, Director, Dartmouth College Health Service"
>Date: Tue, 06 Oct 2009 13:40:17 EDT
>Subject: H1N1/seasonal flu update, Oct. 6, 2009
>To: All:;

As part of my regular updates to the Dartmouth community, I want to share with you additional information on what we know about Influenza-Like Illnesses (ILI) and H1N1 on campus. Presently, we have diagnosed approximately 175 students with ILI.

The clinical diagnosis is a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater and/or a cough or sore throat, as defined by the Center for Disease Control. In our role as a surveillance site for the state of New Hampshire, we are doing random swab testing for H1N1 so the state public health department can determine what percentage of patients who fulfill the clinical diagnosis of ILI actually have the H1N1 virus. This allows for the state to better monitor the prevalence of the virus. We are finding approximately two-thirds of the random tests are positive for H1N1, which means that at Dartmouth, like at other campuses across the country, we are experiencing an outbreak of illness caused by the H1N1 virus.

The majority of the students diagnosed with ILI have developed mild to moderate flu-like symptoms that last for a few days and fortunately no one has needed to be hospitalized. We are continuing to encourage all students diagnosed with ILI to voluntarily isolate themselves until they are free of a fever for at least 24 hours. We're also encouraging all members of our community to practice good hygiene during this time, which is an effective way of minimizing your chances of contracting viral illnesses including the H1N1 virus.

For more information about H1N1, watch the flu information page on Dartmouth's Emergency Preparedness web site, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~prepare/swineflu/

Behind the numbers: Hodes trails Ayotte

Across the board, President Obama and the Democrats possess a declining brand. Per usual, the Republicans are out-maneuvering their rivals. Politics is rough-and-tumble, and when you have to explain away myths, you’re losing the PR war. The Republicans know that and use it to their advantage.

Here in New Hampshire, we have a unique opportunity to observe a highly competitive race for U.S. Senate. Paul Hodes ‘72, the twice-elected Congressman from New Hampshire’s second district, is vying to replace retiring Senator Judd Gregg. Kelly Ayotte, the state’s former Attorney General, is presumed to be Hodes’ Republican challenger.

A recent poll by the American Research Group puts Ayotte ahead of Hodes by seven points, 41 percent to 34 percent, marginally outside of the poll’s MoE of 4.1 percent. Rasmussen shows similar results, with Ayotte besting Hodes 46 percent to 38 percent.

Looks bad for Hodes, right? Sort of.

First, the bad news. Hodes, who as a sitting Congressman comfortably won reelection in 2008, should be seeing higher numbers - if we control for the current climate. Rasmussen’s internals show Hodes’ net favorability ratings down at -4 percent (19 percent very favorable minus 23 percent very unfavorable). Ayotte fares much better at +16 (22 percent very favorable, 6 percent very unfavorable). Ayotte also enjoys a 17-point lead over Hodes among independent voters.

But not so fast. Looking closer, we would also see that almost half of independent voters in the ARG survey are still undecided. And in a recent poll by UNH, only 6 percent of respondents had decided for whom they would vote.

Curiously – (sarcasm) – the approval numbers for Hodes closely follow trends in public opinion on the economy. As in the 2008 elections, voters are choosing almost exclusively on macroeconomic perceptions. Only 4 percent of residents think the economy is strong, while 47 percent say it’s “poor. “ And voters are marginally pessimistic about the ability of the government to appropriately respond to the crisis; 51 percent fear the government will go too far in trying to fix the economy.

Across the board, the Democrats are suffering from sociotropic views of the economy. ARG shows that 37 percent of residents disapprove of Governor Lynch’s (D) job performance – the same number who disagree with his handling of the economy. Obama faces a similar fate.

Considering the awful assessment of the economy, and that Governor Lynch’s net approval rating is -3 percent, despite the fact that he won reelection with more than 70 percent of the vote, I’m surprised that Hodes’ numbers aren’t worse.

Granted, optimism because the awful news isn’t as bad as it could be seems a bit feeble. Still…

Most voters don’t know for whom they’ll eventually vote. Ultimately, I see this race following broader economic trends. If Democrats generally can exonerate their brand and induce some semblance of economic recovery, Hodes wins. If the economy stays depressed and health care reform fails, Ayotte’s Republican-cum-libertarian message will play well here.

Current prediction: Probability of Hodes winning at 55 percent. (TOSSUP)

I bet this would actually work too.

New Anti-Smoking Ads Warn Teens 'It's Gay To Smoke'

Obama and the Olympics

Despite the fact that President Obama flew all the way to Copenhagen to make an in-person pitch to the IOC, he was rebuffed. The 2016 games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, not Chicago...

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October 5, 2009

Roman Polanski Belongs in Jail

After more than 30 years, Roman Polanski was finally arrested, and now faces justice. Despite his crime—he gave a 13 year old champagne—and then had sex with her, celebrities in Hollywood are coming to his defense...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

October 3, 2009


Today I had the great honor of meeting a Dartmouth '76, a man by the name of Dr. Paul Stockton. He also happens to be the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense- a rather imposing title. He divided his time with me and about ten other students between giving us career advice and pontificating about the nature of power and the international dynamic. Words on both subjects were of course most welcome from such an expert.

After Dr. Stockton's short, informal lecture, I approached him to introduce myself, thank him, and ask him two questions. He was most willing to oblige. My first question, which only had the purpose of setting the stage for my next, was "Do you believe that the United States is the most powerful country in the world?"

His answer, of course, was "Absolutely." What else could I have expected a senior official of the government to say? And he's right. (I was only practicing good law- never ask a question to which you do not already know the answer.)

My next question was more important, and I prefaced it as such. Then I asked: "How long do you think that will last?" I was eager to hear his thoughts on the perhaps-imminent or perhaps-imaginary fall of the United States. I mentioned the fall of the Roman and British Empires and the fact that the U.S. has followed a similar pattern to the top of the international hierarchy.

Dr. Stockton's answer was rather stoic. He replied that it was a crucial question, but that he believed that the U.S. would hold on for a few more generations. I then asked the next important question, being, "What happens after that? Will the countries just keep moving through this cycle and take turns being superpowers?"

His answer was yes.

This made me think. Will the world really have the same hierarchal structure forever, with just changes in which specific country is in power at the time? Dr. Stockton thinks so, apparently... But I'm unsure. For one thing, nothing can go on indefinitely. Therefore, there must be an end to this cycle of the transfer of power. Mustn't there? Mustn't there be another international hierarchal system that will rise to the occasion of changing times?

The international dynamic is something that is crucial to all our lives. There's only one Earth, obviously; and so there's no way to escape international politics, at least not until we colonize Mars. And so I believe it is important to think a little bit about this question. What will happen? Will China take over and become the next superpower? Will Russia? Or will the status quo hang from the ledge by its fingertips and (perhaps) manage to eke out a few more years of existence?

Either way, it's good to think about where we're headed... where this country's headed... where this world as a whole, anarchy aside, is headed. So think. What will happen when, if, America falls?

Do you have an answer?

College Blogging-- A Do, or Don't?

Imagine my surprise when I was applying for colleges-- MIT has its own blog for prospective students where prospectives are free to ask whatever their heart desires about the application or life at MIT.

I was a little surprised when I flipped through The New York Times and found out that the trend of a prospective blogging website is spreading quickly to colleges across the nation: Amherst, Vassar, Wellesley, and Yale, to name a few.

The concept of college blogging is so important to MIT that students get paid to answer questions on the blog's website. So the benefits? The colleges appear to be more approachable-- and prospective students get a view of college life before actually ever stepping foot on campus. The drawbacks? What if something unpleasant is posted by a student? Can the college censor what's posted?

Well, from a person who spent a significant amount of time browsing the college admissions blogs (I say this with the utmost shame), I can understand why schools would be concerned about the image that their students spread to potential students. To me, it seems unnecessary for a school to even get into the business of blogging-- why get mixed up in the mess associated with censorship? After all, there are other resources for students who are truly concerned about a college's admission process or even the food on campus (i.e. College Confidential).

Stay out of the mess, and focus on other more important things. The issue of censorship isn't the college's biggest priority.

October 1, 2009

The keystone of responsibility

The GLC wanted to make the '13s feel extra welcome this fall. On September 20, wide-eyed freshmen attended barbecues all along Frat Row, listened to panels on Greek brotherhood and service, tie-dyed at Sigma Delt and laughed uproariously at skits at SAE. They left the party educated about the frats and more likely to feel included and safe at Greek events.

Or at least, that was the plan.

The formal convocation in Dartmouth Hall was woefully underattended, and the barbecue at Tabard swarmed with blue-shirted volunteers -- about five for every freshman present. As each new freshman arrived, the horror blossomed on their faces as a horde of eager GLC reps bore down upon them.

We decided to nix the brotherhood panel due to insufficient attendance -- it hardly seemed fair to make the poor things listen to us pontificate about frats before we gave them their burgers.

And it was probably a good thing, too. At the planning meeting for the panel, we discussed possible Q-and-A topics that might come up and how to handle them.

"What if they ask if we card them at the door for parties?"

Sticky question. And a great opportunity to be honest and up-front with the incoming freshmen. Right?

Nope. We were instructed to deflect, either by outright refusing to answer -- "I'll personally discuss this with you later" -- or to sneak around it: "Official college policy is..."

A golden opportunity to give the '13s a heads-up to what they'll be experiencing -- but the truth wasn't P.C. enough.

A lack of knowledge about the realities of alcohol on campus is a huge issue facing freshmen in their budding social lives. Nebulous rumors circulate; stereotypes abound. Most of the class comes to orientation with the notion that Dartmouth has a ubiquitous drinking culture -- to some degree, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Drinking -- 'tails, pre-gaming, playing pong every night -- seems like the magical key to finding a place in the social structure of Dartmouth.

Freshmen also seldom get a straight answer about Good Sam, S&S and the Hanover Police. In theory, the Good Samaritan policy is hugely beneficial: it not only encourages those who need it to get adequate medical care, it acknowledges that college students -- even if they are under 21 -- are capable of acting like responsible adults.

In practice, it's a different story. How many people will really call S&S to take care of their drunken friend if they know that calling an ambulance automatically brings H-Po to the scene? It's dishonest, and frankly, it's disrespectful. It fosters distrust between the police and S&S on one side and the students on the other. Rather than take full responsibility and act like adults, the underaged see drinking as even more of a game -- avoiding punishment, like some half-grown-up game of hide and seek. They aren't concerned about health and safety as much as they are about "getting away with" something.

Most freshmen are in a transitional period between childhood and adulthood, where their elders treat them like neither. This dichotomy is hard to live with. It's difficult enough to establish an identity and grow up in a new environment -- add to that misinformation and the fact that the administration treats First Years with kid gloves, and it starts to sound like a recipe for developmental stagnation. How can you act responsibly when all the world is already convinced you won't?

The GLC and administration are reluctant to give students accurate information on the drinking climate at Dartmouth. Meanwhile, Dartmouth has the most arrests for alcohol violations of any Ivy League school -- and I'm sure it's not because Princetonians abstain, or because Yalies are all Mormons. It's because Hanover Police (assisted at times by the best intentions of S&S) are quite aggressive in apprehending students.

Perhaps the way to reduce the antagonism between the authorities and the students is to practice a bit more mutual respect. Freshmen might not be 21 yet, but they're not exactly toddlers, either.

Maybe we should have leveled with the freshman at the barbecue. "No, your ID probably won't get checked at the door. But you're currently attending the Ivy with the most arrests for underage drinking, so you'd better think twice about getting plastered."

Treating people like adults -- for example, by telling them the unfettered truth -- often has the consequence of making them act like adults. Maybe we should try it out.

What Clery Tell Us

Dartmouth published its statistics on crime and enforcement as mandated for institutions receiving federal funds under the Clery Act. A lot of it is repeated information about College rules, regulations, and contingency plans, but it also includes interesting stats on rule infractions and arrests. These are summarized above in our table. Click it to enlarge.

Update: Joe Asch at DartBlog notes that the much emphasized drop in alcohol-related arrests, as reported by The Dartmouth and shown in their graph below, is still outrageously higher than at our peer schools.

You know you're a Socialist when...

you visit youknowyoureasocialistwhen.com/ Warning: not for those who can't comprehend effete liberal humour.

Healthcare As a Constitutional Right

John Conyers is thinking of offering a constitutional amendment declaring basic healthcare to be a right...

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