September 30, 2009

"Death Panels" v. "Die Quickly"

In a suffocating move of hypocrisy, Republicans, who previously and overtly stated that President Obama secretly wanted to murder the elderly though the use of "death panels", are now calling on a Democratic Congressman to apologize for the following remarks made regarding health care:
"It's a very simple plan," Grayson said in the speech Tuesday night. "Don't get sick. That's what the Republicans have in mind. And if you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly."

The Republicans want to introduce a bill condemning Grayson for his comments just as Joe "You lie" Wilson was, but they seem to forget that Wilson's outburst was condemned because of its timing, not substance.

Power

In my International Politics class, we spend some time reading about... international politics. We read about important things like the balance of power and just how much power individual countries have. These are things that are good to know.

And while I was reading a chapter in my textbook today, Russett's "World Politics: the Menu for Choice," I came across an interesting chart. It was meant to demonstrate the different ways of evaluating power. There was "Geography and Demography" (this great nation third in both area and population), "Economic and Military Strength" (first, of course), and finally "Human Resources" (first in "Scientific Articles," and... somewhere out of the top ten in "Human Development"). This last category gave me pause. Human development is a measurement of "longevity, education, and wealth." And we're not in the top ten?

Call me a self-centered American but I'd always thought we'd be first in that category, too. I guess we've been eating too many cheeseburgers and skipping out on school a little much. Incidentally, some of the countries that are beating us? Iceland, Norway, and Australia.

Of course, we could think of this in nicer terms instead of making it a competition. But, let's face it. We're talking about power. And as much as I'd like everyone to just get along and be equal, that doesn't happen. And I'm very interested in just how much power my government- my country- has when dealing with foreign states.

I'm more interested when there are things going on overseas (and when are there ever not?). There are times when you just want your country to be in charge, times when it's starting to seem like the other fourth graders are hanging out together in the corner of the playground and whispering about beating you up. Take now, for example: We've still got two wars over in Iraq and Afghanistan, and China's funding the development of Iran's oil fields. Sounds like a great combination if we're talking about being a tad anti-democratic. If George Bush was still president we'd be hearing another speech about the "Axis of Evil" (maybe this time it would expand to include China, and probably ten other countries as well... seeing as "evil" seems to mean whoever's against us, and there are always lots of those). If we were on the top of that "human development" list, maybe we wouldn't have quite so many enemies. We'd be the well-adjusted fourth grader who has lots of friends and gets elected "Most Likely to Succeed." That would be infinitely preferable to the current state of events.

And aside from thoughts of power and relative control, let's think about the fact that we're higher on the military power list than we are on the human development list. What does that tell us? As the infamous bumper sticker says: It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber. Especially speaking as a student, I support that statement. Shouldn't we, as the supposed greatest country in the world, be focussing a bit more on education and literacy than on beating everyone else up?

So today I'd like you to think: Think about where this country is in the world (not literally, though it'd be nice if you could pick it out on a map, too). Think about our power and just how much of it comes from the military. Think about which fourth grader you'd like to be. (Pick the well-adjusted kid... he's got extra peanut butter cookies.)

Is Abortion the New Slavery?

“Abortion is worse than slavery.” So said a pastor I interviewed this summer for an article on Black pro-life groups. Does that statement make any sense?

To read the rest of this post, go here.

September 29, 2009

The Invisible Man

There are always two sides to an argument, and oftentimes we are swayed by the side that we witness the most. I say that so you may know where I come from.

The recent debate over the Mexican border and illegal immigration in the United States has supporters on both sides of the issue—those who are against it, and those who tend to empathize with illegal immigrants. Regardless of the side that you represent, take the time to consider...

In the United States, we pride ourselves on the liberties that we provide to our citizens. We, under the Declaration of Independence state, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, but this implies only to those who are citizens on our land. So, let me ask you this question—what right does a country have to deny basic rights to those who give back to the country? As a Texan girl, I can with great confidence tell you that my gardeners we illegal, as were my cleaning ladies. They worked tirelessly, sometimes in the torrid Texas sun to trim the lawns, or clean the house until it was up to our standards.

As working individuals in society, they provide to us a great service—and let us not forget that what they do, they do for a price significantly lower than their peers.

I guess it’s also easier to imagine what life must be like for an illegal immigrant once you have met their family. Berna, my cleaning lady, had two young children—both born in the United States. Could you imagine what would happen if their lives were suddenly torn apart? What about basic rights for Berna's children? If they were to get sick, would it be correct to deny them adequate care?

We as citizens won’t understand clearly why these immigrants can’t follow the traditional route to citizenship. Perhaps they are in need of money. Perhaps, like my parents, they come ascertain a better education for their children.

But let us remember this—we pride ourselves on the liberties given to our people. Whether you realize it or not, anyone in the United States is a person who contributes to our society. To treat these individuals of society as undesirables, we are in fact limiting their liberties.

*This article is in response to the debates that have spurred by the new health bill. Under the new bill, illegal immigrants are denied certain rights, such as health care. ("What we are trying to prevent is anyone who is here illegally from getting any federal benefit," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.)

The wonder that is Moosilauke

It's only been a fortnight since I set foot on the land of opportunities, and boy is that right. Somehow before I left India, I felt that my stay in the US was going to be marred by homesickness, being ostracized and an overall feeling of emptiness. But lo and behold, I felt like I had walked head on into the loving warmth of a family, the Dartmouth family. The past ten days has been a torrent of activities, most noteworthy of mention being The Moosilauke Ravine Lodge Trip organized by Thayer School of Engineering.

Around 70 of us were packed and ready to leave on a warm Friday evening to Moosilauke, the car journey was uneventful for the most time, until of course we almost got lost in Vermont (another story another day :-D). We reached the lodge just in time for dinner (frankly everything that night seems to be a bit of haze now), but the Dartmouth students and Alumni there did a wonderful job with it. With the dishes cleared began the party! (a small insight into parties in India, they aren't as colorful and as happening as you would expect it to be) And wow, what a beginning. (For my personal safety, I can not divulge the "nitty gritties" of the happening, but it was amazing.)

Check out this video made from Screen shots of the Moosilauke Thayer Trip

(Thanks to Brittany Kaplan for making and sharing this video)

The next morning began "bright" and "shiny" (for some of us at least), and we formed a team of about 15 people to do the whole hike (a little under 4 and a 1/2 hour thing,) The hike up was preceded by breakfast, again quite a spread. We set out for the hike on what seemed a warm fall morning, doing good time, at least that's what veteran hiker Eric (presently pursuing his PhD in Thayer) said, we reached the peak in just around 2 hours. The view from the top was simply breathtaking, tons of bright red and gold all throughout, signaling the onset of fall. Pictures can be viewed here. The climb down and the drive back home were relatively subdued, except for the awesome ice cream Eric treated us to at Fat Bob's, an ice cream parlor in the middle of nowhere.

On the whole, the trip was amazing, and probably the best welcome present any student could ever wish for.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (...Or Green Eggs and Ham)

Twelve years ago, two ingenious young men graduated from Dartmouth College. Phil Lord '97 and Christopher Miller '97 were classic Dartmouth grads: smart, fun-loving and ready to make a difference in the world. Now, over a decade later, they have completed that goal... not as one would think by founding another Partners in Health (shoutout to President Jim Yong Kim) but rather by... animating my favorite children's book.

That's right. Phil and Chris decided to step up and provide the world with a movie version of "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," (or, in Dartmouth-speak, "Cloudy with a Chance of Green Eggs and Ham,") also known as the great and long-enduring fable of the town of Chewandswallow. While this may not seem as altruistic as Jim Yong Kim's endeavors, I for one take my hat off to the two '97s for their creativity. "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," besides being among the greatest children's stories ever written, possesses an important moral of which we should not lose sight.

In "Cloudy," (the movie version) an enterprising inventor creates a machine to end world hunger. The machine, long story short, goes nuts and ends up in the sky, causing incredible amounts of strangely edible weather. In the end the machine has to be destroyed (oops- plot spoiler- didn't hear it from me). What does this tell us? More accurately, what does this tell children around the world?

Hmm. Well, for one I'd assume that it's a bad idea to go around inventing stuff if it's going to end up having a mind of its own (this, several hundred B-class sci-fi A.I. movies have already shown us). For another thing, and the true moral of this story: Be careful of your actions, for the consequences can be far-reaching; and always be responsible for those actions. In the movie, Flint (the main character) ends up stopping his creation from destroying Chewandswallow.

"Cloudy" is a great story with a solid moral and is in all probability a great movie; and I'd just like to send some appreciation the way of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller for drawing attention to the inherent creativity and general awesomeness of Dartmouth alums.

Bill Clinton Supports Gay Marriage

Bill Clinton now supports gay marriage...

To read the rest of this post, go here

September 28, 2009

You don't have to go home, but...

Is it just me or are the only '09s still lingering around campus the ones we never want to see again. Take the hint, graduate or gtfo.

Iran's Secret Nuclear Plant

Iran has now admitted to having a secret nuclear facility....

To read the rest of this post, go here.

September 27, 2009

Yale, the Gay Ivy?

While I've long considered this distinction to be Brown's, conventional wisdom has increasing coalesced around Yale as being the so-called "Gay Ivy." Illustrated again with this PostSecret:


The Noise Last Night

Filligar > Gym Class Heros > Mike Posner > WalE

Note to WalE: if you want to win over the crowd, I have two suggestions for you. (1) Don't just talk over good songs like you're at a Karaoke bar and (2) get the name of the school you're performing at right. We are Dartmouth COLLEGE. There is no such thing as Dartmouth UNIVERSITY. That's what every student was screaming at you whenever you said what you thought was our name.

And Filligar: You guys rock. 'Nuff said.

September 25, 2009

Apathy

As a teenager in this day and age, it's easy to forget about the rest of the world. Our lives are just so interesting that it's all too simple to just become self-absorbed. And it happens. We forget about current events and think only of our next Foco froyo.

And then we see something like this...


This picture (Robert Stolarik for the New York Times) was taken in the area surrounding the G-20 conference, a naturally controversial zone- complete with armed policemen and tear gas. The man being arrested was a protester of the conference.

This in and of itself is not unusual at all. Whenever world leaders get together, something like this happens. However, what I think we fail to do is examine why things like this happen. What is this man protesting? He may be wrong or he may be right but he's passionate about this conflict. More to the point, if there is conflict such as this in the world, why are we sitting back and ignoring it instead of thinking about what's going on? And taking stances on these issues?

A few decades ago, the teenagers and youth of this country were among the most politically active groups in the nation. Perhaps this can be blamed on the draft; when the draft was in effect, eighteen-year-olds had to worry about the feds calling them to fight and die for their country. We the present-day teenagers, on the other hand, are not going to be sent overseas to fight- so we don't have a personal life-and-death reason to protest (at least, no immediate reason). And so we don't protest.

I think that we should reconsider our generational apathy. Let's take a good look at our collective political identity. Does it even exist? Especially we, as Dartmouth students and therefore among the most intelligent in the nation, need to examine the role we take in these crucial times.

So think about it. Will we be apathetic? Or will we decide to think and participate... and make this world a better place?

Budget Reconciliation and Healthcare

Frustrated Democrats have been talking for some time about using reconciliation to get healthcare reform through. Under this relatively obscure parliamentary tactic, Democrats would just need 51 votes to pass reform. They could afford to lose wavering moderates like Evan Bayh or Kent Conrad...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

September 24, 2009

Glen Beck Boils a Live Frog, Is Ridiculous

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
-Shakespeare's MacBeth V.5.

tip to Nate Empsall.

"Fight for Freedom"

In the past twenty-four hours, I've run into quite a few interesting concepts. One is class. This is apparently something we have to go to in college. Strangely, this class thing often involves work (gasp) and extensive amounts of time spent not being able to hit Foco, or play squash, or randomly travel around exploring campus.

I wasn't really expecting "school shock" to hit quite so hard in college. Yeah, I was wrong about that.

But attending my first two college classes, though exciting and amazing, wasn't even the most intriguing or thought-provoking part of my day. That distinction ended up belonging to a few minutes in Collis at the Activities Fair. (I'm on so many new blitzlists now it makes my head spin.) But the point of this story isn't blitzlists-- or the free pizza we were given-- or even the equally free candy. The point of this story is the three words I heard coming from a stranger's mouth.

"Fight for freedom!"

Interesting enough in general, but at an activities fair? Perhaps the words came from a secret rebel Dartmouth society. Or from the organization that promotes awareness about the suppression of North Korea. Or from the marching band (an interesting new campaign against Harvard?).

But as I turned to glance in the direction of the person who had uttered those fiery syllables I saw no rebels or Korean activists or horn players. No, I saw someone in uniform-- a uniform with the words "U.S. Army" printed right on the front. It was a soldier, promoting the United States Army, recruiting a few fresh young students to his cause.

My first reaction upon seeing the truth of the source of the words was admittedly a bit of disbelief. I knew the military would be present at Dartmouth, of course, but for some reason I hadn't through of Dartmouth kids as the kind to drop out of, well, Dartmouth to join the United States Army.

But the important thing here really isn't my prior misconceptions about the existence of the armed forces at Dartmouth. The important thing is those three words and their meaning: "Fight for freedom." Now, the soldier was probably talking about the fact that the American armed forces are over in Iraq and Afghanistan and presumably working toward democracy and a fairer government... to freedom. However, there are many ways to think of the statement "Fight for freedom." One would inspire thoughts of rebellion from the Army (which isn't necessary because I'm not joining up. Thank God). This first makes me chuckle a bit with wry laughter because the Army is generally the institution faced with little trepidation about "the Man"; in fact there have been times in our history in which the Army has enforced the Man's word without a second thought.

"Fight for freedom." I honestly did shake my head at the bitter humor of those words. The Army, one of the most conventional and traditional institutions on Earth, exhorting young people to rise up and "fight for freedom"? Of course, once you walk over there and sign your name down, you have to do what you're told (a.k.a. can't talk badly about the college, classes, food, or anything else that isn't politically correct). But in that moment this bored (or exultant in the line of duty-- I sure don't know which it is) young man inspired me to think about what, exactly, it means to fight for freedom. In one literal sense, as I said, it speaks of the two wars the United States is now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. In another it could mean to fight against the Army, against organized government, against all that is our traditional American hierarchy.

"Fight for freedom." But which freedoms are we fighting for? And how hard will we fight? These are questions worth asking...

The Gadson Review's Healthcare Plan

I’m not in Congress, and so no one cares what my healthcare proposals are. But I’ve decided to share a plan that I think would solve at least some of the problems...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

September 23, 2009

Should Women Fight on the Front Lines?

I saw an interesting article on this topic last week. Whether women should fight in combat is an issue that Australia is currently debating...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

I quit.

Effective today, the first day of classes, I have resigned from The Dartmouth and thus brought my unbroken three year tenure with that paper to a close. I wish I could have done LGB and The D, but alas, D policy forbade and thus the decision was clear.

Here's a look back at some of my favorite opinions, humorous and serious.

Atheist Shout-out
26 January 2009
Unlike other groups who are gradually being accepted and incorporated into American culture — homosexuals and religious minorities — atheists exist as a boundary marker: the definition of what America is not. (I'm pretty sure Tucker started organizing a humanist society after this one).
Cause For Caution
24 November 2008
Our country, given its racial (or arguably, racist) history did an amazing thing on November 4, but we must not lose sight of what actually happened. It chose a black man as one of two candidates, the other being a straw man for the most hated president in American polling history.
Summer School
27 June 2008
Many see Hanover’s remoteness as a curse. But by being “trapped inside,” as it were, students are forced to come into more contact with each other, live similar lives, share some of the same joys, pains and aspirations and forge the strong connections to Dartmouth and each other that define what the College is all about. (My theory for Dartmouth's greatness)
Booting the Bill
4 December 2007
This systemic policy of punishing a group for the transgressions of a select few individuals is not an effective policy and directly goes against Dartmouth’s egalitarian principles. (See how many synonyms I use for "vomit")
Dartmouth’s Mascot Void
13 November 2006
How much longer are we willing to be the only Ivy League school that has no idea exactly who we are cheering? (The foundational argument of the Moose mascot campaign).
Click here for a comprehensive list of my Dartmouth opinions.

Crady and the AMP Policy

The refreshingly frat-friendly Dean Crady left under a cloud of questions: perhaps because of his more casual attitude towards administrative intrusion into greek life or perhaps for his own personal ambition to become a College President. The proof is in the pudding, perhaps, and the pudding in this case is the to-be-announced Alcohol Management Program policy to be distributed later today (this afternoon). Frats have been fighting tooth and nail to get greater leniency in terms of its event management (kegs) and punitive consequences (to be not put on probation). The announcement today is expected to be more of the same hard-line we've seen so far, further retarding progress and raising questions on the political reasons for Crady's departure.

A Green President

Today was a good day for Dartmouth College. Why? Well, today, of course, was the inauguration of Dartmouth's seventeenth president and the first Asian-American to hold that title, our beloved Jim Yong Kim. As indicated in the speeches by the delegates from Brown and Harvard, President Kim used to think he was a Brown Bear, and then was deluded into thinking he rooted for the Crimson. But as we saw today, President Kim bleeds green. And we're very proud to have him as one of us. Student Body President Frances Vernon, at one point, offered up the same advice to President Kim as to the freshman class... and in many ways he is part of the Class of 2013. We are all in a new environment, awed at the amazingness that is Dartmouth, and determined to beat Harvard in football.

The esteemed delegate from Harvard went so far as to say he was suffering from "separation anxiety" at the fact that he would lose President Kim to Dartmouth, and that it caused him pain to think that Dartmouth was taking President Kim away from Harvard. The president of Brown seemed to attempt to take credit for President Kim's success by blaming it all on his undergraduate years at her university. In short, it was an interesting example of the unique power dynamic and rivalry between the schools of the Ivy League (of which we all know that Dartmouth is the best... -cough- undergrad ed).

At some point one of the speakers mentioned the fact that though the Ivy League schools are rivals, they are sibling rivals, and siblings most of all. In other words, the members of the Ivy League are more unified than they are in opposition to each other. Perhaps this is true; perhaps not.

However, regardless of exactly how many almost-biting comments the Ivy administrators make in their speeches ("If you're a musician, you can perform music that inspires people. If you're a football player, you can beat Harvard. This year.") I'm sure of two things: One, that Dartmouth is the greatest school on Earth; and two, that we're very, very glad to have President Jim Yong Kim with us.

So, President Kim, let me be among the first to officially welcome you into my freshman class; and let me assure you that despite the fact that you've been an Ivy Leaguer all of your life, now you are something even better- part of Dartmouth.

Welcome, my fellow green freshman...

September 22, 2009

The Most Insane Mayor in America

Sallie Peake, the Mayor of Wellford, South Carolina, has recently signed a simple ordinance: local police may not chase criminals- not in their cars, not on foot. This means that cops are only effective against criminals presently in their reaching distance; so long as any criminal flees, it seems, they are immune to law enforcement. The video is simply must-see, if only to see what a complete raging lunatic the Mayor is. Be sure to look our for her literally psychotic reaction to the reporters exceedingly reasonable crime scenario.



This unfathomably stupid, nuttier-than-chipmunk-droppings policy is ostensibly designed to lower insurance costs: if cops don't run after suspects, they won't get hurt as much and therefore the town's insurance premiums for police would probably go down. I've heard arguments against high-speed police pursuits and watched COPS enough on TV to know the idea has some merit, but banning all chase effectively criminalizes any non-passive apprehension of suspects. If police can only capture suspects by surprise and power-walking, the crime rate is going to go through the roof and every single victim will be able to go back to this video and look into the eyes of the singular person responcible.

Gadson Review Looking for contributors

I'm looking for people who want to write about politics and religion. If you want to write for the Gadson Review, send a blitz to: marcus.a.gadson@dartmouth.edu. Include a writing sample and tell me about your previous writing experience.

Go here to see what the blog is like.

Is Racism driving opposition to Obama?

As President Obama’s popularity has suffered some Democrats have said that race is what motivates the mounting opposition to Obama...

To read the rest of this post, go here

September 21, 2009

Reflections on Reflections on Leadership for Social Change

As part of the celebrations around College President Jim Kim's inauguration, a panel discussion forum occurred tonight including such leadership heavyweights as Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University, Jeff Immelt '78, Chairman and CEO of General Electric, Ed Haldeman '70, Chairman of the Trustees of Dartmouth College and CEO of Freddie Mac, and Paul Farmer, the founder of Partners In Health and Chair of Harvard's Department of Global Health. Moderated by Tuck Professor Sydney Finkelstein, the panel began with some light conversation about the important influences in these luminaries' lives and eventually progressed into a discussion of organizational leadership. Jeff Immelt and Ruth Simmons were by far the most interesting speakers, the former more than the latter. Here's the highlights:
  • Immelt: Tells a story about how he was Kemeny's TA for the one class he taught while College President and whenever he met with him to discuss the performance of the class, Kemeny would spend 10 minutes discussing who was having trouble and 50 minutes asking him questions about his Dartmouth experience. The moral of the story: the best leaders ask the best questions and ask more questions than they answer.
  • Simmons: 'The land of the successful has very little diversity.' Leaders who make it often exhibit similar characteristics, have similar drive, lead similar upper-class lives. It's important for these leaders to venture outside their bubbles and broaden their perspectives in order to have a better understanding of the world they live.
  • Immelt again: Previously there existed a false paradigm between what was good for business and what was good for the environment. Now, "green is the new green." This line got a resounding applause-- Immelt is downright magnetic -- though I think it is a bit revisionist to say that businesses didn't get into green technologies until after it made financial sense for them.
  • Update 9/22: One I forgot, Simmons: I haven't been this excited about an inauguration since my own. [Muted laughter from the crowd, realizing a rather important intervening inauguration, Mr. Obama's]

Better luck with your next Dartmouth Card.

Have you ever done something nice for someone and have them not recognize it, or worse, treat you with disrespect? I'd like to think that the people at my Dartmouth are thoughtful and courteous enough to recognize when someone is doing them a favor. We usually reserve our best face for strangers. (They might be useful to us in ways not immediately apparent.)

But we're also hopelessly self-absorbed. Everything that happens to us is a miracle or a tragedy: never mediocre; no middle ground. Any inconvenience is avoided and everything around us is expected to be exactly to our liking. We leave our stuff around the stacks, claiming the best study spots so no one can use them during our multiple-hour-long breaks. And that makes for rather poor manners.

Take a recent example. I happened upon a Dartmouth ID belonging to-- let's call her Kelly-- and immediately went about trying to get it back to her.
--- Nathan wrote:
Hey Kelly,

I found your Dartmouth ID and have it with me now in Rocky 02. Please come and find me if you'd like it back. I should be here for the next couple hours.

Nathan
--- end of quote ---

[many hours later]

--- Kelly wrote:
hey there.. can i meet you at some point tomorrow morning to get my card? or could you drop it by [inconveniently located residential location] at any point tonight? thanks for keeping my card safe.
Well done! Curtious, respectful, presents a number of options so the Samaritan can choose the one that is most convenient. However, this is well into the pong-playing night and I could not respond in time. We resume our adventure the next morning.
--- Nathan wrote:
I'm going to be booked for the next few hours so I've taped your card to my door at [dorm room]. Come by and get it when you're free.

Sorry for all this confusion.

Nathan
--- end of quote ---

[many hours later]

--- Kelly wrote:
i don't feel comfortable going to your dorm room. please drop my card off at collis info desk or the library info desk or any other place that does not require me to personally meet wtih you. tomorrow morning before 10 would be nice because I have to work at 10. blitz me to tell me where u left it.
So thanks for finding my ID (which authorizes all my DDS and DA$H purchases)! I'd love to get it back but I really don't want to have to look at you while I do it. Even having me stop by your locked and vacant dorm room would be too much contact. Instead, please go somewhere and leave it with a stranger. KThanksBye. Please never talk to me, good Samaritan!
--- Nathan wrote:
Well, Kelly, I had assumed that you came and retrieved your ID from [my hallway door] because when I returned from the errands I was running all day, I saw that it was no longer there. If you don't have it, I have no idea where it went and therefore am no longer a party to your predicament. The only consolation for you, I guess, is that you will not have to meet me in person.

Nathan
Snarky, sure, but nothing she didn't already say. Treating someone who is trying to help you like a leper or a knife-wielding rapist is never a good policy of interpersonal politics. Then again threatening them isn't either:
--- Kelly wrote:
Well, Nathan, you should have done what any normal person does in the first place when they find a card, which is bring it to the collis info desk. it's really sketchy for a guy to force a girl to meet her in person in order to retrieve their card. whether or not you intended to act like a creep, YOU DID. thanks a lot for losing my card man.

p.s. you should work on your manners and learn some respect and common sense. i have EVERY RIGHT to be creeped out by a person like you and you don't need to respond to me with a smart ass tone when i tell you that i don't feel comfortable meeting you in person. on top of all that, im going to have to buy a new card because you did exactly what you shouldn't have done when you found mine. i could probably report you. maybe i should.
No, please do file that report. It's not like you agreed to meet in blitz #2 or anything. Has Kelly confused a Hanover Dorm with a back alley in The Bronx? And for the record, someone really did come and take her card and it is unfortunate that it wasn't her.

Here's some free advice. If you ever want someone to do something for you, being friendly and assuming good faith are great starts. Self-importance and douchbaggery never wins many favors -- or friends.

Will Republicans Take Over Congress?

The President and the Democrat’s declining approval ratings make many Republicans think that they can make a strong comeback in next year’s election...

To read the rest of this post, go here

I'mmaLetYouFinish

As an aficionado of facebook status updates, I would be remissed if I didn't bring up this gem from Nathan's feed. ImmaLetYouFinish.com is a new website aggregating Kanye West memes made in homage to this particualrly uncomfortable moment from TV: (The best examples to follow)







Healthcare, Health, and H1N1

Well, we've all been hearing about the healthcare debate... Or, rather, we've been sighing and changing the channel on the TV when yet another politician comes on the screen to tell us what to think. I guess we've had enough rhetoric at this point.

But the fact remains that, no matter how sick we are of hearing it, the healthcare debate is among the more important debates this country has heard in a long time. And the fact remains that healthcare is something that we all need... In fact, something we can't live without, especially considering the recent outbreak of H1N1 (also known as the swine flu, in case you haven't heard). While there is no actual cure for the swine flu, it sure would be nice to have some healthcare when that unwelcome visitor swings by this flu season.

And the threat of the flu seems very real. Small indicators of its existence are beginning to show up on Dartmouth's campus. Signs recently put up on doors that warn anyone who gets sick to STAY AT HOME. Signs recently put up in our bathrooms reminding us that washing hands is the best way to prevent disease. Those fist bumps we received at our matriculation ceremony instead of handshakes...

All of these not-quite-subtle things help me reach two conclusions: One, that our college administrators realize the threat of swine flu, and two, that they're trying to find the balance between keeping back mass concern and making sure that we all know what's going on. So far I think they're doing a pretty good job of the second.

And I'll help them out by adding my own little reminders: Be sanitary. Be safe. Wash your hands and don't participate in close-contact activities like handshaking with large amounts of people. The swine flu will be or is here; but all we have to do is follow those few simple rules and we'll probably be fine. And it's a good idea to follow the healthcare debate as well. We should know what's going on with healthcare in a time of an outbreak of disease like this.

So, maybe, next time you see one of President Obama's speeches running on TV, don't change the channel. Next time you get the chance to read over the healthcare summary, don't pass it up. Sure, we shouldn't panic about either swine flu or the healthcare debate, but we should be informed. Read up. Know healthcare... and be healthy.

September 20, 2009

And So We Were Commanded

We humans are impressionable creatures. We can be influenced quite easily by many pressures and institutions- religion, government, media, society. All of these are things I've written about before. But there is one rather simple pressure I've neglected to mention, and that is human-to-human direction. Perhaps this omission is by virtue of the fact that, on my virtual soapbox, I have very little face-to-face contact with readers. Perhaps such direction is so common that it is not noticeable. But the fact remains that simple commands have great influence over our lives.

Take as an exaggerated example the performance I saw earlier tonight. Sailesh the hypnotist visited the Hop in a special performance geared toward the freshman class. Thirty of my classmates were invited on to the stage. Most were consequently hypnotized and subject to Sailesh's control (via the power of suggestion and peer pressure) for the few hours of the performance. Their "hypnosis," of course, was helped greatly by the fact that they were all willing volunteers, hyped-up teenagers and subject to the power of the mob (a.k.a. the audience). But regardless of the reasons for their (absurd) behavior, it was eye-opening to see the amount of control one human can exert over another simply through the use of commands and social pressures.

This method of control is often used, to a lesser extent, as a political tool in small campaigns. It is often dominated by more "big-picture" strategies in larger campaigns due to the fact that it is simply ineffective to attempt to influence large groups of voters individually. But I've met a few politicians in my life, especially in the past few days, and I can tell you that the use of eye contact, assertive statement, and firm handshake is still very much in use.

Politicians (and everyone else with an agenda, which is pretty much everyone) have attempted to harness the power of simple commands and the resulting "mob effect" in the context of bigger crowds. Even presidential candidates travel throughout the country to shake the hands of steel workers, bank clerks, babysitters, the unemployed. This is not only because of the inherently present and invaluable photo opps; this is because these people know the power of human-to-human direction.

And so tonight I ask you to ponder not hypnosis, persay, but its close cousin, human direction. Think about just how much you are influenced when someone close to you gives you a command or makes an assertion. It may be more than you know...

September 19, 2009

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

It seems like people are starting to take notice how not dead The Little Green Blog is! First it was my editors at The Dartmouth (who presented me with an ultimatum of providing them exclusive content or be fired). Now it's the scourge of the Dartmouth Administration, DartBlog, with a rather kind and in-depth post by my friend and DartBlog contributor, Jake Baron (formerly '10, now technically '09?). Full disclosure: I have contributor privledges on DartBlog, though I have yet to use them. Commenting on our phoenix-like resurrection, Mr. Baron had this to say:
But oh, the beauty of the information age! With naught but a password whispered to an eager inbox, lo, the blog is resurrected! My friend and classmate Nathan Bruschi ‘10 appears to be behind the effort, calling himself LGB’s “editor” and authoring the first several posts after its two-year dry spell. He is supported by a coterie of other contributors, including Marcus Gadson ‘10, another friend, who writes on politics and religion. Mr. Bruschi and his gang gained full control two months ago, in July. I apologize; I was remarkably slow on the uptake.

As for LGB’s tone and content, the blog’s current iteration appears to bear little resemblance to the mouthpiece for hotheaded screeds that was its former self. Mr. Bruschi is decidedly centrist, and though some among his coterie do lean to the left, their writing is, for the most part, measured and temperate.

So welcome back, Little Green Blog! May you learn to scoop The Dartmouth by only slightly less time than Dartblog does.
Mr. Baron is quite right that The Little Green Blog no longer intends on being the mouthpiece for the racial, flag-burning, quasi-Marxist, Che-Guevara-T-shirt-wearing, anti-hetero-normative left. Instead we'd like to be the more messy, if you will, side of Dartmouth politics -- an open forum where a host of writers can post a diverse selections of opinions, and you, the forever anonymous commentators, can either advance the arguments or just make total asses of yourselves. Like the Planeteers, the power is yours.

In addition to the the great Marcus Gadson '10, who Mr. Baron mentioned, The Little Green Blog is proud to boast the contributions of "BL" '10, Arnold Tungsten '10, Chris Chavis '12, and Laura Neil '13. Applications are open for those who would also like to write for us. Please consult the banner at the top of this page for details.

So call off the grave-robbers, baby! The Little Green Blog is back and better than ever!

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

As a country, we're very familiar with the concept of freedom. Though we may ignore their presence, the freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and press granted us by the First Amendment play a large part in our lives.

Too, as a generation we like to think we know about freedom. As college students, we're just beginning to explore life on our own, minus parents and minus rules. This freedom is something we welcome with open arms and something that practically defines college life.

So, we've got freedom covered, right? However, regardless of our great knowledge of freedom (which is something I sometimes doubt), there's something else we can't really come to grips with, and that is the concept of free.

Orientation events are of course geared toward freshmen and usually provide some kind of charge-free sustenance. Whether it be cinnamon doughnuts or turkey wraps, the "FREE FOOD!!!" lures the 'shmen in to whatever the event may be. And that is what they call a free lunch.

Wait a minute. I thought there was no such thing as a free lunch. Apparently I was wrong. But-! Not so fast. Remember all those thousands of dollars we're paying to the college this year and in years to come? Perhaps lunch wasn't so free after all.

The same realization rings true for our country. Perhaps we should pay attention to the circumstances leading up to the development of our Declaration-given rights. Better yet, maybe we should pay attention to what's happening now.

So, as a human, a freshman college student, and the latest advice-giver on what I'm sure is a long list of advice-givers, I'd just like to revisit that old cliche one more time. "There's no such thing as a free lunch." The point about the tuition is valid; the lunch is not actually free at all, not even close.

Orientation is to free lunch as life is to certain freedoms, like total freedom of religion or press. These things are unattainable but we attempt to attain them anyway. If there's no such thing as a free lunch, then we've got ourselves in trouble, because we can't truly fathom the concept of "free."

Today's challenge for you, then, is to contemplate what exactly is a "free lunch" and what does not deserve the term. Perhaps you'll find that some lunches really are free, or that most are actually very expensive. But all have the potential to make us think about their (free?) existence.


September 18, 2009

Trays in homeplate

Gone forever? The sign says it's a way to green-up DDS but, noble as that is, it makes it rather difficult for the non-jugglers to take their food to the register. Is this going to be the norm at all DDS locations?

Choices

Inherent in life are choices. Some are easy, some are difficult; some are rashly made, some well thought out. But regardless of these distinctions, they are all choices, and must be made.

Starting college is a challenging activity. Attempting to do everything at once is a tall order, especially in such a tempestuous time in our lives. As we learned tonight at the Class of 2013 Night at the Hop, there are an incredible number of options open to us as far as art and music are concerned. Of course, this is one of the reasons why we chose Dartmouth (or, rather, one of the reasons we were chosen by Dartmouth). But we can't possibly do it all. So, we must make choices.

President Obama must share this realization, seeing as he must face choices concerning decisions that will have much more impact on the world as a whole. Take this infamous health care plan. He and Congress (and probably also a few interns) will have to make choices about where it will go.

And then there are the American nuclear defense systems. Which to use and where will they stay? Choices, choices, choices.

And I won't tell you which sports team to try out for any more than I'll pretend to know about the best strategic placement of nuclear defense systems. That's not my job. My job is to remind you that choices must be made, and have been made, and always will need making... My job is to make you think about making some choices, some solid decisions. Don't be afraid. Learning to make choices is what being a college student (or a world leader; either one) is all about.

So take this moment to reflect on the choices you must make... and make a few.

How Do you Interpret the Bible?

Previously on this blog, I used a judicial framework to look at why God (if we grant that he exists) would send people to hell. Today I want to use two of the major frameworks we use to interpret the constitution and see how they would apply to interpreting the Bible...

To read the rest of this post, go here

September 17, 2009

The Moral of the Story

Today was an eventful day, that's for sure. The entire Dartmouth Class of 2013 fist-bumped (no handshakes due to swine flu concerns) representatives from the Dartmouth Class of 1963. In the "Passing of the Class," we were officially given into the care of the college and became full students of Dartmouth. Later on, we went to a dinner with our class and our new president, Dr. Jim Yong Kim. Then, we heard remarks from and a discussion between President Kim, Dr. Paul Farmer, and Ophelia Dahl (also known as our three new favorite heroes). In short, today there was much applause and many words spoken, many compliments given and much made of us and our honored guests and administrator.

But there was one little moment, among all of this profundity and excitement, that made me stop and think. Dr. Farmer had just said something about the great impact our generation would have on the future, or how much we could accomplish, or the amazing deeds we'd do. I smiled but brushed his words off as another cliche... After all, how many times have we heard that we are the future? That we will succeed and change the world where so many before us have failed?

But as I scoffed, solid in my cynicism, the student sitting to my right said something that stopped me in my tracks. That student was Nathan Friendly '13 and his words were as follows: "Look what they've done."

And I sat back and realized that he was right. I can wax cynical about just how horrible the world is and just how many times people have tried to stop its downward spiral... But Nathan was right. In front of me were three people who had made an enormous difference in the world. The moral? It can be done.

And so this is what I learned today. The actual tune (and not the tuneless melody of crowds) of the alma mater, thanks to the beautiful singing at our matriculation ceremony; the great art of attempting to embarrass old friends and ex-lovers onstage (Dr. Kim, guilty as charged). But most of all I learned that great things can be done. Because today I heard speak several people who have done them. All we have to do is work toward those goals and give our every effort to their completion... And we, too, can change the world for the better.

Religious Freedom in Peril?

An important case on religious freedom was decided recently...

To read the rest of this post, go here

September 16, 2009

Over the Horizon

This is the time of change. This is the time of hope. This is the time in which we can all look ahead. And if we are uncertain of what we see we will move forward regardless...

These are words that generally apply to the younger generations. Now, as this generation is starting college, they apply especially well. Dartmouth will have a fresh start- new freshmen, new president, new chance to beat the other Ivies in pretty much everything (again, that is). The sun is breaking over the horizon and it's time for us to step up and make the world of the future a better place.

In just a few short hours I will shake the hand of President Jim Yong Kim and officially matriculate at Dartmouth College. That moment will mean much to me. It will also mean much to my class, and our new president, and our college. It will mean change, hope, progress. (We have a busy year ahead of us.)

And what will we do? With this brand new cleaner slate, what will we do? I know the path we choose will lead to greatness and I know we will hike it well (thanks to the preparation of DOC trips). Dartmouth has been the greatest college in the world since its establishment and I am sure it will continue to hold that title. We will continue to hold that title.

And as I wait eagerly for the sun to rise and the time to come when I matriculate at last, I feel as though the future will be a nice place. It's a good feeling. Of course, I'd still like to know which path we'll be taking...

So I'll leave you now with a challenge: Think of which path you, we, the college will take in these next few days and months and years of our new beginning. Think of exactly how we'll help to create a better future. Think of this as the sun comes over the horizon...

Howard Dean Leading a Liberal Revolt?

Howard Dean may have come to prominence based on his opposition to the Iraq war in 2004, but now he has another issue: healthcare...

To read the rest of this post, go here

September 15, 2009

Safe Money

These days, the Bank of America in Hanover is doing a brisk business setting up checking and savings accounts for many of the incoming freshmen, myself included. Of course, we don't really know that much about the bank itself or even its economic stability, just that it seems to be the recommendation of a few upperclassmen to set up an account there, and it doesn't seem to be closing its doors due to bankruptcy (always a good sign, especially in this economy).

However, it doesn't hurt to keep an eye on the news, and Bank of America hasn't been far from the headlines. The company recently attempted to reach a thirty-three-million-dollar deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had leveled a suit against it to question the nondisclosure of bonuses paid by Merrill (recently taken over by Bank of America) before the merger occurred.

The judge who heard this case decided that the settlement was corrupt, and that Bank of America and SEC were only satisfying appearances of doing their jobs by settling. And so he has decreed that the court case will move forward... the investigation into those bonuses paid by Merrill will continue.

The question at the bottom of it all seems to be this: Did Bank of America lie to its shareholders about the bonuses? Did it violate the bond of trust that had been forged with those shareholders? Did the company break the law?

I don't know the accurate answers to these questions, yet, but I sure am looking forward to that court case to see just what will happen. One thing is for sure- I'll be watching my new bank closely. What with the economic downfall, etcetera, I don't need my bank lying about where the money's going.

So, this is just a heads-up. The bottom line is this: Think about which companies you place your trust in. Don't run away from a company because of the existence of a court case, necessarily, but don't automatically hand over your money to a company you know nothing about.

In short, know your facts, or at least some of them. Get to know the companies in which you invest and with which you do business. Ignorance may be bliss...

But being well-informed is the key to keeping your money safe.

Virtues and Vices of Federalism

The US is renowned worldwide for its unique federalist system. But is it a good system?

To read the rest of this post, go here.

September 14, 2009

Jon Stewart on Wilson

"...That outburst came from Joe Wilson (R-youfuckingkiddingme)..."

The Essentials of Life

Food, water, shelter, clothing... these are the essentials of life. In Hanover, the first category often includes Pavilion cookies and the last category a black North Face... There are relative definitions, but as I said. The essentials of life.

And we take them for granted sometimes. We all do. All of us privileged kids who are receiving a Dartmouth education, at least, and all of us living above the poverty line here in this beautiful country. Yes, some of us work for a living, myself included, but at the end of the day I would guess that not many students on Dartmouth campus are seriously concerned about starving to death.

And that's how it should be. We're in college. We're supposed to be learning how to save the world, how to be the future, how to raise this earth and country and fine educational institution up to greatness. We're not supposed to be worrying about being underfed or malnourished.

But there are people- many, many people- in this world and this country and this state and within a few miles of here who do worry about such things as food and water and shelter and clothing. What if there's no next meal? What if there's nowhere to sleep tonight? What if there's no clean water to drink?

I know that when we were younger our parents admonished us to eat our leftover brussels  sprouts because there were children starving in China. And we probably rolled our eyes, threw the brussels sprouts in the garbage, and forgot about those children in China. After all, it's just something parents say... right?

But it's not. There are people starving...

And as I begin my new and independent life I'm thinking more and more about just how easy it would be to starve and how difficult it would be to survive were I not provided with certain advantages. And so tonight I leave you with a challenge: Ponder your good fortune. Think about just how lucky you are.

Count your blessings.

What Burke Has To Teach Liberals

Edmund Burke was an influential conservative thinker, but his lessons are particularly useful for Democrats trying to push healthcare reform...

To read the rest of this post, go here

September 13, 2009

The greatest human being... and you've probably never heard of him.

Norman Borlaug, the Nobel Prize winning agricultural scientist widely credited with saving one billion people from starvation, died today at age 95. Borlaug made a career introducing high-yield disease resistance crop varieties in impoverished and food-poor areas. He won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, but perhaps the most moving tribute he recieved was this gem from Penn & Teller's Bullshit.


September 12, 2009

Welcome Home, '13s

Home is a concept we all long to know well, something we all wish we had. And most of us do, in some way or another. Some of us are even lucky enough to find a true home, somewhere we are always welcome and happy and at peace.

Today was not one of those days when I was at peace. Today was tumultuous, gut-clenching, heart-wrenching. I lugged all of my belongings up four flights of stairs, unpacked my life into my new room, looked around and tried to adjust to the fact that I'm going to be here for a while. And I will adjust. I'm going to love it here, and I do, and this is my new home... And I think it may even be my true home.

I'm referring, of course, not to my dorm room but instead to all of Dartmouth, and Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. And I realize I know very little about this place I'm starting to call home. But I was walking down the street today (predictably part of a 'shmob)  and I saw some other '13s across the street showing yet more freshies the Salty Dog. And I don't care if it's mostly just a freshman thing and if it's danced most at Trips... what matters to me is that for a moment there I felt part of something bigger, something bigger and comforting and beautiful. And isn't that how home's supposed to feel?

Later on, I was wandering around again (still part of a slightly smaller 'shmob, I'm afraid) and a rather nice-looking older couple stopped to speak with me. They were visitors, wanting to know why the campus seemed so empty. I explained that classes wouldn't start for a few more days. They smiled, thanked me, asked what I was going to study, and bid me adieu... But as they turned away, that feeling hit me again. This was my new home...

I realize this little essay of mine screams freshman naivete; but behind the cliche there is a certain amount of truth. We young '13s coming to college for the first time are not only finding an education here, but also a home. We'll learn a lot as we go along and by senior year we might even dare to call it our turf as well... For now, I'll stick to asserting my intuition that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Though we freshmen may be queasy at the thought of leaving what was our home, though older and wiser upperclassmen may scoff at our wide-eyed excitement, though the next few days may well be the most nerve-racking of our lives so far... As the sign over the DOC trip office reads, "Welcome home, '13s."

September 11, 2009

Healthcare, Frisbee, and Other Important Things

Our illustrious soon-to-be-inaugurated President Jim Yong Kim was to be seen on television screens across the nation today, speaking his mind about healthcare and answering the question many have been pondering: Why would someone voted one of America's twenty-five "best leaders" (U.S. News and World Report, 2005) and one of the hundred most influential people in the world (Time magazine, 2006) choose to lead... a few thousand teenagers?

Well, Mr. Bill Moyers, our president's host, asked that question; and our new president, thankfully, answered well. It seems that his motivation for trading in his career in promoting world health for a career in collegiate administration is simple: It's no trade. He hopes to continue to make the world a better place by influencing the young (that's us!) to view the earth's problems as their own and to work for a healthier future.

The time came, of course, when President Kim discussed the problems the American and global healthcare systems face. One fault of these systems, according to President Kim, is the lack of the use of "evaluative clinical sciences." One example he used to lay out his position concerned the different numbers of children with tonsils taken out in two different counties in Vermont. The reason for the drastic differential was not health-related, but instead due to the preference and benefits of one doctor in one of the counties. This "outcome variation," says Dr. Kim, is very important to study... One of the keys to lessening the inefficiency of healthcare (in this country as well as globally) may be targeting outcome variation.

As the interview continued, Mr. Moyers and President Kim spoke on a few more subjects, one of which was (of course) Frisbee, because what's an interview without a Frisbee reference? The two spoke about the prevalence of student participation in sports at Dartmouth, and President Kim sounded eager at the thought of being able to toss around a football with the team. Long story short, he seems genuinely happy at the thought of becoming our leader... and genuinely sincere in his hopes to inspire us to bigger and better things. He thinks we're "fascinating young people."

Let's not disappoint.

To see the whole interview, follow this link: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/09112009/watch2.html

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was a very special anniversary. The date was September tenth. This day may not seem as though it stands out in history but, oh, it does. It commemorates the September tenth of eight years ago, a day of peace and calm and nonviolence. A day that was the end of an era.

Because after September 10, 2001 came September 11, 2001. After that peaceful day of normality came a day of war, and hatred, and death...

I was ten years old when the terrorist attacks of 9-11 came crashing into my homeland and my sense of security. I was in fifth grade. I didn't know much. My teachers enlightened me of very little concerning the attacks. One teacher feared he'd lost his daughter in one of the WTC towers, but he stayed in school to reassure the children, not that there was much reassurance going on. It was a horrible day of strained smiles and "Oh, it'll be okay"s that I won't ever forget. And then- when school got out for the day and the truth of the matter was revealed... Then came the shock, the sadness, the terror.

Two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-four innocent people died that day. Twenty-four remain missing. The two World Trade Center Twin Towers were decimated, part of the Pentagon ruined, a field in Shanksville, PA scorched (what if that fourth plane had landed in Washington, D.C., as it was supposedly meant to?). And who did this? Nineteen men, in physical truth; more broadly, fanatacism and the increasingly violent anti-American fringe counterculture.

But I knew none of this. I was only ten. And just one day before, all of this had not yet intruded onto my beautifully innocent world. I was nothing but a nice little schoolchild. I had few ideas of death or destruction. Yes, September tenth was a great day...

Now that I am a few years older and much, much more cynical, I look back and realize that September tenth was really not that much less significant than its infamous successor. It was another "day to live in infamy" (and so help us all, how many will there be?). September eleventh is famous as the day so many people died. September tenth is not famous as the day so many people lived. One of these days stands for an end, one a beginning; one relative peace, the other war.

So today I call your attention to this: Think of those who died, and of their families, and may their souls be well. ...And think of those who lived, and could have lived, and will live for all their lives with the memory of September eleventh (and the loss of days such as September tenth!) forever engraved in their minds.

And now the clock has turned and it is September eleventh, the ninth September eleventh to become a day of sorrowful remembrance. To honor the 2974, I ask you not to spend this day in hatred (for there's more than enough of that in the world) but instead to remember the victims and contemplate ways in which we the living can make the world a better place. In their memory, let us not only cry-- let us work to create a better future in which there are fewer days to live in infamy and many more days as September tenth once was, days of innocence and safety and happiness.

To honor the 2974, let us find our way to peace...

Remembering 9/11

Today is the 8th anniversary of September 11. It’s difficult to believe that so many years have passed already. So much has happened: the war in Iraq, hurricane Katrina, the “Dean scream,” the election of our first black President...

To read the rest of this post, go here

September 10, 2009

We Need Bipartisan Health Reform...If Possible

A lot of Democrats are so frustrated by the difficulty they’ve faced in passing healthcare reform. So they’re willing to write a bill, and use reconciliation to get it through, thereby eliminating any need for bipartisanship. Bad idea...

To read the rest of this post go here

September 9, 2009

Presenting... DOC Trips 2009

A man with bluish hair was climbing up the side of our bus. A woman wearing shoulderpads started screaming rather enthusiastically in our direction. And suddenly we were surrounded. On all sides, we the naive little 'shmen saw colorful insanity.This was our introduction to the awesomeness that is DOC Trips 2009.

And did we run? Did we hide? Did we yell for our mothers? No- well, only a little bit; for we soon learned that these amazing people were H-croo, also known as some of our new bestest friends. They put us at ease the second we saw their flair and crazy hair. Shoutout to H-croo, right here!

The next group of people we met were our trippees, of course- the people with whom we'd be spending the next four days (and incidentally the next four years). To put it mildly we were excited. To put it a little less mildly we were totally psyched! We discovered that our trippees were pretty much as cool as we could have imagined... and just as nervous and awed as we were (shared freshman ignorance is bliss).

And then came yet another few dozen miracles! These were dressed pretty funkily, too, with Mardi Gras necklaces and animal suits and neat hats that must have been one of a kind. Who were they? How could there be yet more impossibly cool people at Dartmouth? And yet there were. They were our trip leaders, our fearless trip leaders, ready and willing to lead us into the forest- to learn about Mother Nature, to fight off the bears, and to eat gorp and pita! (And to answer quite a few questions with the word... sausage.)

So it was, and so we were off into the wilderness. We learned a few Dartmouth "secrets" (which of course I can't reveal), played a few name games, were quickly educated in the traditional core subjects of Wa and Pterodactyl and Mafia and Mingle. We hiked. We laughed. We bonded.

And at the end of a few all-too-short days, we were off again- this time to Mousilake Ravine Lodge, a.k.a. the Lodj. We eagerly jumped off of the bus or hiked up that last trail. The lodge was in sight! And so were our crazy-haired friends! But wait! These people weren't H-croo... They were Lodj croo, another few dozen of the coolest people on earth! There at the "Party at the Lodj" (yes, Miley Cyrus, your hit song has been Dartmouthized), thanks to Lodj croo, we learned some nifty dance moves as well as a few more key Dartmouth traditions.

I won't give away any secrets until Section J has returned home to Hanover and there are no more 'shmen to be awed by Trips this year. But I'd just like to express my gratitude and amazement at just how magnificent H-croo and trippees and trip leaders and Lodj croo are.

And so here I pay well-earned homage: To H-croo! To trip leaders! To Lodj croo! And to Dartmouth, our unique and crazy and awesome home.

Miss California Sues For Religious Discrimination

Ms. California Carrie Prejean is suing for religious discrimination. She says pageant officials forced her to resign because of her religious beliefs. Prejean said she opposed gay marriage, and on the Today show said that she’d rather be “Biblically correct than politically correct.” Is it a legitimate lawsuit?

To read the rest of this post, go here

September 8, 2009

Obama's Indoctrinating Your Kids...Be Very Afraid

I got to read Obama’s speech to the nation’s students yesterday. And I have to say, I don’t understand all of the hoopla....

To read the rest of this post, go here

September 7, 2009

Why Democrats Can't Pass Universal Healthcare

Healthcare reform may not happen this year. If it does, it’s likely to be a watered down version that displeases most Democrats. Why is universal healthcare so difficult to achieve?

To read the rest of this post, go here

September 5, 2009

Outside the Beltway

I've finally completed my Capitol Hill internship, packed up the apartment, and flew back to the good ol' 518, thus ending my series of posts relating to DC life. If you want to review my series again, just click on the "DC" tag at the end of this post.

September 4, 2009

How Will Healthcare Reform Affect Dems Politically?

Healthcare reform is floundering right now, although Democrats are showing no signs of ending their efforts to change the system. I want to consider what will happen politically under various scenarios...

To read the rest of this post, go here.

September 3, 2009

Preconceptions, Etcetera

Stop.

You're crowding in with your preconceptions already. Everything that happened to you today and everything that happened yesterday and everything that you think will happen tomorrow, all of these things have already started whispering to you, telling you what to think.

Don't listen.

Forget about what your second-grade teacher taught you. Forget long division (fourth grade, wasn't it?). Forget those girls in the lunchroom in middle school who wore short skirts, and that day your mother yelled at you for the first time, and even the license plate number of the jerk who cut you off last night. Just forget it all.

And who are you?

It's an answerless question because you haven't forgotten any of it. Not even masters of compartmentalization (very few of whom I know personally) can forget anything completely. Even if we think we've forgotten, we haven't. Our experiences aren't all that make us but they do become part of us. They can be set aside but not forgotten.

This isn't a negative thing and it's not quite positive either. That's just how it is. We can make it negative by harping on about our bad memories, make it positive by thinking about the good ones and building on them for a better future. Or (and this is the most likely option) we can just muddle on in the middle somewhere, not really thinking much about philosophy or life or any of it, really.

And this is what we do.

I guess the middle road works pretty well for most of us; contemplating the way things are and the way they work doesn't necessarily contribute to eternal happiness, and neither does living a life of complete ignorance and absence of thought. So, okay, let's keep on taking that middle road.

But we should think a little bit about just how much our preconceptions influence our lives. It's true, they do sometimes keep us from experiencing new things or making snap decisions or being spontaneous or even living. They also help us out sometimes; we use all the information we have accumulated in our lives to make decisions, and educated decisions at that.

But... it's still a good idea to stop.

Think.

As the centuries roll past, more and more prejudices and traditions have built up and been passed down in the form of preconceptions. Every day that passes, stereotypes and what we think of as unshakable truths are ensconced more and more into our minds. That's just how society works. And that's fine. But preconceptions can easily lead to prejudices, which can easily lead to societal conflict, which can all too easily lead to war and all of those other nasty problems we run into rather often... And so it won't hurt you to ask yourself:

Just how much control do your preconceptions have over you?

Romance at foco?

From (The Customer is) Not Always Right:

(When I was in college, I used to work in the cafeteria. On this day, two girls are making fun of a third.)

Mean Girl #1: “Oooooh, a hamburger? So much for that diet.”

Mean Girl #2: “Are you kidding? She’s never been on a diet in her life!”

(The third girl who they are talking to is, for the record, very nice looking.)

Girl #3: *taken aback* “I…I worked out today. I need the protein.”

Me: “Come on, leave her alone. She can eat whatever she wants!”

Mean Girl #1: “Yeah, I guess you don’t have to worry about what you eat if you’re already fat and ugly!”

(One of my coworkers has been listening from a distance. He walks over, looks all three girls up and down, and then turns to the third.)

Coworker: “Excuse me, miss, but do you think I could get your phone number?”

Girl #3: “Are you serious?”

Coworker: “Completely! Who wouldn’t want a date with a beautiful girl who knows how to take care of herself?”

(This was five years ago. I’m going to be the best man at their wedding.)


I Respect Jesus, But...

“Jesus was a great man, and a great moral teacher. I just don’t believe that he was the son of God or anything like that.” I’ve heard this refrain many times. But I wonder if it makes any sense....

To read the rest of this post, go here.

September 2, 2009

Wildfires and Consequences

Consequences are pesky things. They follow us around all of the time, haunt us when we just wish they would go away. Impulse decisions, well-thought-out decisions, decisions with unexpected effects, all result in consequences... Sometimes good, sometimes bad.

Now, I'm not telling you anything you haven't known since kindergarten when the teacher yelled at you for stealing your neighbor's cookies. I'm just thinking out loud here. But I'd like to point out that cause and effect has more truth to it than you might think.

Take a look at the recent Los Angeles wildfire tragedy, for example. Apparently officials are saying it was started by a human. Does that person even know he or she started the fire? Was it sparked by a cigarette tossed casually aside after dinner? An overheated lawn mower? Even not-so-dead ashes from the family barbeque?

There's no telling, for now. It could even have been arson, though I can't think why someone would do something like that. At any rate, now there are two firefighters dead in the line of duty, thousands of people evacuated, and miles and miles of land burned to a crisp...

This incident reminds me of a few things. The fall of King Arthur, for one- when his army faced Mordred's, a soldier drew his sword to kill a snake, and the war began. Thousands of people were killed, practically every main character of the story died- all because of that snake. (Arthurian legend is actually quite good at demonstrating just how capricious fate, or error, or whatever you'd like to call it, can be.) Take quite a few divorces, for another- how many times has something completely unintentional been the reason for a permanent separation? And how about those cookies you took by mistake in kindergarten? What a consequence that lecture was...

I'm not really one to advocate painstaking caution in decision-making. But I do think we should all think about those fateful moments- the wrong lunchbox picked up, offense taken where none was meant, ashes tipped out onto dry grass...

Because sometimes small sparks cause wildfires...

RIP Ted Kennedy

It’s great to be back here at the Little Green Blog. It’s been a busy summer between my internship and beginning research for a project I’m doing on campus in the fall. I apologize for my lack of consistency in updates, I’ll work towards having at least one update a week from now on. Anyway, my summer will be coming to close tonight at midnight when I start the long drive from North Carolina back up to New Hampshire so I should have a little more free time (at least until classes start).

I was originally planning something a bit longer but my progress stalled when I had to start packing, start getting stuff ready for Orientation (join the DPU Independents, just saying) and go around and say goodbye to family.

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Last week our country lost a great legislator when Ted Kennedy passed away at his home in Massachusetts after a long bout with brain cancer. Kennedy’s record of legislative achievement was impeccable and his work for the less fortunate in our country was outstanding. Kennedy’s impact transcended the Bay State and his achievements were felt by people from all walks of life in all regions in the United States. Whether it was Kennedy’s fight to abolish immigration quotas or to establish equal funding for men’s and women’s sports or his fight to increase cancer funding, he always fought to right injustices that he saw in our great country. It’s just sad that Kennedy’s biggest fight wasn’t won before his death. For years, Senator Kennedy fought for health care for all and unfortunately, he died before he could see the fruits of his labor.

Rest in Peace Teddy. May your legacy be forever felt.

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I’ll probably post a longer tribute when time allows. I just wanted to check back in and reassure everyone that I should be back to posting as usual within a few days. I’m looking to continuing to preview Senate races. The races in Florida and now Massachusetts have gotten really interesting in these last couple of weeks.


Frittering Away Millions of Dollars

A teenage lottery girl in England is in the news for wasting away her winnings...

To read the rest of this post here

September 1, 2009

Crime and Punishment

"Be sure that no crime or atrocity will go unpunished." So said Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran. And I would love to believe him, I really would... But I don't. Though I guess it all depends on how one defines the word "atrocity."

For one thing, I'd call it an atrocity that protests of the recent Iranian elections were quashed violently in the streets by armed government forces. I'd call it an atrocity that the procedures of those elections were hidden if not twisted by the reigning administration. I'd call it an atrocity that political prisoners of the current government of Iran are tortured and abused (or so the rumors and the case of Mohsen Ruholamini indicate).

Ironically, the Ayatollah's words were meant to reassure the Iranian public concerning Mohsen Ruholamini's death. Mr. Ruholamini, the twenty-five-year-old son of a conservative Iranian politician and one of the protestors of the presidential election results, reportedly died from the harsh and cruel treatment to which he was subjected at the hands of Iranian prison authorities. This admission was issued from the Mehr News Agency of Iran; the sad truth came as no surprise, but the openness with which it came was more startling. The news agency is only semiofficial and not quite under government control, but the fact that the admission comes from any agency even vaguely related to the government surprises me.

Perhaps the Ayatollah thinks that if he addresses such outrages openly and "punishes" the perpetrators then the Iranian public and the world community will separate the "bad guys" (i.e. the Iranian prison authorities guilty of abuse) and the "good guys" (wouldn't the Ayatollah like that title?), and stop giving him such a hard time about the endless civil rights violations of which we hear. However, I don't particularly hold out much hope for the Ayatollah's publicity ratings anytime in the near future.

"Be sure that no crime or atrocity will go unpunished." Ayatollah? Check your dictionary... and look around. It seems as though there are quite a few unpunished atrocities rampant in the country under your control. I guess you'd better get to punishing...

Dartmouth Media Digest

College mentions:
  • A study by the College in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found systemic over treatment for likely that harmless prostate tumors.
  • Dartmouth researchers contributed to a study in which more than a mile of ice core will drilled out of Greenland to study what life on earth was like during the Eemian Period that ended about 120,000 years ago. In that period, the earth was warmer than it is now, similar to what scientists predict earth will be like in the future due to global warming.
  • Dartmouth is mentioned as being a top school for business economics.
  • Some ridiculous Indian blog rates Dartmouth ridiculously low on some ranking. Behind University of the South at Sewanee and Transylvania University? Really? You sure you don't need to fart? Because you look like you're full of shit.
  • Dartmouth Profs call health insurance companies on their bullshit that malpractice lawsuits are driving up health-care cost.
  • Dartmouth teamed up with Northwestern to figure out if consumers are motivated by abstract ideals or concrete services? Did they buy their TiVos because it brought them more freedom of because they wanted to slow down sports games?
  • Jessica Black gets idea for play about civilians' experience in Iraq War while at Dartmouth.
  • And the Hippy Gourmet talks with the Big Green Bus.

Mentions of Dartmouth People:
  • David Russ, a former manager of Dartmouth’s endowment, mentioned briefly in a larger article about asset strategy in college endowments.
  • Obituary for Erich Kunzel '57, conductor of the Cincinnati pops
  • Passing sports mention of the founders of Grass Roots Soccer.
  • Bruce Sacerdote, a researcher at Dartmouth College who studies economics and society finds that people are drawn to become friends by (1) proximity, (2) "a common race or heritage."
  • Professor James Moor, with others, publishes a report on the ethics of human enhancement.
  • Hany Farid, professor of computer science, contributes to an article about photoshopping Oprah's face onto someone else's body.
  • Mathematics Professor Emeritus John Lamperti penns a column-- Honduras: Lessons From the Coup: Or, Why Are We in Honduras Anyhow?
  • Mary Flanagan, Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Digital Humanities, writes a book: Critical Play, Radical Game Design.
  • Russell Young '08 plays baseball.
  • Dartmouth Linguist Professor Lewis Glinert investigates direct-to-consumer drug advertising.

Why Does God Send People to Hell?

How does a loving God send people to hell?

To read the rest of this post, go here.