Letters to the Editor: December, 10, 2009
I was deeply offended by a cartoon from Wednesday, Dec. 9. “Office Doodles,” by Sam Kennedy, depicts an intoxicated Snow White and several dwarves, apparently about to rape her (“Who’s first?”). This cartoon makes light of rape, and this is completely unacceptable. With hundreds of thousands of people raped and sexually assaulted every year, it is a disgusting cartoon that deserves serious consequences for the cartoonist and the editor that printed it.
I was waiting at the bus stop a few days ago when I heard two students discussing the merits of a bottle of juice. One of the ingredients was cane juice, and they didn’t realize it was another name for sugar.
Many Americans don’t know what goes into their food, especially when it comes to sweeteners. High-fructose corn syrup is an extremely prevalent sweetener, and it may be a cause of Type-2 diabetes. Many Americans satiate their cravings with candy, which is bad enough, but some turn to artificial sweeteners. Sucralose and Aspartame are two popular substances that may not be safe for consumption in large quantities. The FDA cannot always be trusted to deliver honest information to Americans. People should read the labels of the foods they consume, but some ingredients seem to require a PhD in nutrition to decipher. More importantly, they should know that stores pay attention to trends involving customers’ purchases. Each purchase is like a vote, and every vote counts.
On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States released an evil onto this world: the Nuclear bomb. It was and is the only time in our history that a nuclear weapon has been used offensively in war. What the United States did has been the subject of debate since it was done. It ended the world’s greatest war; however, it would launch the world into the 20th Century and since cause problems.
In our current times, President Obama wants to end nuclear proliferation in the world, starting with such extremist countries as Iran. In my opinion, it is very hypocritical of him to do this. Why not let other countries have their nuclear power and bombs when the United States has a full cache of them, waiting to be used? If Obama is so obsessed with ending the constant nuclear struggle in the world, why not start with his home turf? It was the United States that started the nuclear problem in the first place. He should put his Nobel Peace Prize to work and try to rid the entire world of nuclear bombs, not just countries he finds threatening.
The war in Iraq started in 2001. The United States has invested more money in this war than any other. The U.S. economy has been rapidly declining since the country’s involvement in the war. The government has been taking money from citizens by raising taxes and spending it on the war efforts. The money is going towards planes, weapons and vehicles being used in Iraq.
With all the money invested in the war soldiers still don’t have weapons that work. In a report from the New York Times, a soldier’s gun stopped working during a raid. Not only are insane amounts of money being spent, but they are being spent unwisely on ineffective weapons.
Increased taxes and decreased wages are preventing U.S. citizens from spending money on clothes and toys for their children, causing many businesses to close down. Millions of Americans have become unemployed because businesses lack resources to pay them. This is disheartening because the government still hasn’t realized that the reason the country’s economy is in a recession today is because of the war in Iraq. If spending on war efforts was decreased, the U.S. economy would gradually come out of its current recession.
Google spent over $1.65 billion on stock to buy YouTube, the online video website, in order to transform their company into a global media powerhouse. Google pushes YouTube to sell video advertising to boost the revenue to create a new audience for the targeted advertising. However, YouTube’s copyright is a huge hindrance to boost Google’s profits. YouTube has been racing to sign deals with media and entertainment companies to license their content and head off any additional litigation, generally agreeing to share online ad revenue with the content owners.
Even though more than 100 million people view clips on YouTube, it hasn’t been the most popular site with big corporate advertisers. While YouTube is losing money, Google could charge a nominal fee to people to upload videos on YouTube if the video isn’t appropriate for advertising to improve their profits. Charging a fee will help YouTube improve its profits in the short term, but in the long run it will damage Google and the essence of the YouTube brand with customers, advertisers, investors and the technology community. Since Google is still a developing competitive company, protecting and standing upon Google’s reputation is paramount.
Most students associate plagiarism with the inappropriate copying of another’s work without proper citations. But then again, to most, the specific constituents of the definition for plagiarism seem muddled. The fundamental question boils down to why students commit plagiarism even though they are aware of its dire consequences.
During a Secondary Academy workshop on Plagiarism and Copyright Issues held on March 29, 2003, Bob Hempel and Paul Denise collected statistical and theoretical data on plagiarism and concluded that students are in fact “unaware of what constitutes actual plagiarism.”
Interestingly, it seems like neither does the world of literature. I believe that the literary world’s failure to come up with an accorded definition of plagiarism singles everyone to be plagiarizing because of the diverse acceptance of practices considered as plagiaristic in our community. Blum argues in her book, “My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture,” that the literary world “pretends that the standards [for plagiarism] are firm and fixed” to which Randall comments in her book, “Pragmatic Plagiarism,” that plagiarism is taught differently as diverse “textual practices” and considered as literary theft to some but not to others.
Although some of the blame does fall on the student’s deliberate dishonesty in upholding academic integrity, as part of a bigger literacy community we have failed to concur upon a consensus in the definition of plagiarism. Is it not important as a community to consent on a universal definition before pointing fingers? Self-plagiarism is an example of such “textual practice” that evidences the fact that some think this controversial element of plagiarism should be a guilty act of literary theft while others think otherwise.
Self-plagiarism is the unlawful copyrighting of one’s own work without citation. Through my personal experience, I can tell you that some of my own high school teachers considered copying from previous works created by myself as an illegal act of literary theft but here in college, professors seem more lenient. Now, I ask you, where do you draw the line? I cannot use a part of the work that I myself created? So then, what is plagiarism?
I have been following the Nation’s constant political and ethical battle in deciding if we as a country should declare English as our national language and have to wonder what exactly doing so would add to this country. Would an official stamp of English bring us closer as a country when the country is built up of people who speak many languages?
President Obama has spoken of the importance of multilingualism. But to be honest, the government officials are not the ones who make this case. It is the people all over our country. Many immigrants and multilingual Americans have reached a consensus that learning standard English will benefit them in trying to be successful in this country.
We have bilingual education courses in schools all over the country hammering the importance of understanding the English language. If people are learning English, and accepting that it is a necessary part of living here, what will it really add to our great country to make it official?
In the same way, each citizen is perfectly capable of having loyalty to his or her own language, and the language spoken typically as a whole here in America. This harmony in our country is what makes us unique. It shows tolerance and acceptance and it is a trait of which we should be proud. It doesn’t make us any more disjointed than any other country with its own national language, but it is true to our identity.
People come here for freedom, like the Pilgrims and Quakers did. During the years of Ellis Island, people from all over came for a new beginning. There were people here before English speakers arrived in this country. And to be honestly true to the roots of this country, and how it has thrived over the years we should remain neutral, and embrace our many different peoples, here in this country to become one people.
I think the idea of declaring English our national language will alienate Americans with their strong ethnic and lingual backgrounds by saying their language is less American, when it’s not. If action must be taken, I think we should first consider ideas like declaring multiple languages our official language like Canada. This country is based off the people, not the other way around and our national language should reflect that ideal. We are united just like the states. Why fix what is not broken?
Repeat a lie several times and it’ll seem to be true. According to Nature magazine, 125,000 years ago, the sea level was five meters up and the temperature was six degrees Celsius higher. This happened when there were no significant carbon dioxide emissions from humans.
Nowadays, we’re being violently warned against this alleged global warming, that is to happen in a couple of centuries based on studies from 60 years back, while meteorological predictions for the next day can’t even be accurate.
What’s the point? The United Nations Population Found wants to spread the so-called “reproductive rights” (contraception, sterilization and abortion) in order to reduce the world’s population for the sake of fighting global warming. For them, the world is on the brink of climatic disaster.
Says Peter C. Smith, from the International Right to Life Federation: “The real and imminent danger is the demographic reduction of the developed world, that’s being stopped only by the immigrant flow from the Third World.” The UN’s report praises the drop on birth rate in Japan and Europe and criticizes its raise in the United States.
During my first semester here I’ve noticed that many students do not recycle even though a fairly good, extremely convenient recycling program is implemented. This arises two concerns: Why aren’t students recycling and how can a better program be put into place? To answer my questions I researched what makes recycling programs successful as well as interviewed UMass Students about their recycling habits. I then followed my research with a research paper.
After interviewing students I received several different responses. One of the most common themes as put by Whitney Baumiller, is, “It’s just hard. When I have people over in my room, they always throw all their trash in any of the cans. It’s too much work to sit there and go through all my trash before I throw it all away.”
The other main cause of recycling negligence is the simple ignorance that certain items can be recycled, such as shampoo bottles and Easy Mac containers. A typical reaction was that of Claire Kiss, when she stated, “Dude, I eat Easy Mac all the time, I didn’t even know you could recycle those.”
I also researched aspects of recycling programs that prove to be successful. According to an article “The Social Context of Recycling,” having a program that requires little effort from people is essential as well as establishing goals and incentives, educating certain key people in communities and knowing others are recycling.
There are a few important aspects of a successful recycling program that UMass seems to have left out. Providing incentives, for one, would definitely increase the recycling rate. One way to do this could be to have a competition between floors of buildings resulting in a prize at the end of the semester for the winning floor. Visually keeping track of progress in recycling is also likely to boost rates. If students are able to see how they measure up compared to different floors, they will likely be inspired to recycle more. Also, putting permanent signs of things that can and cannot be recycled in strategic locations such as the trash rooms would educate students for the future.
Getting RAs, key figures on each floor, to advocate recycling will likely be a positive addition to the recycling program. Even though UMass has made recycling easy for students, advocating recycling more through incentives and communication on a personal level rather than just placing bins in dorms, would likely increase the rate of recycling and therefore success of the program.
After designing this potential recycling program for UMass, I interviewed students to see whether or not they would respond and recycle more, and got overwhelmingly positive feedback. I asked 100 random students whether they would recycle if my new plan was implemented and 81 of those 100 students said yes.
College students today are the people who will be running society in the very near future. It is important to instill responsible environmental stewardship and form environmentally conscious behaviors now so that the future of our environment can be secured. I definitely think reforming the recycling at UMass is something to consider.
Christmas is right around the corner, and people are rushing around stores to buy stocking stuffers for friends and family. Many of these gifts will be Disney toys for children, but other than the fun movies and catchy songs, do we even know much about Disney?
Well, this Christmas I would like people to be more enlightened about the messages their gifts are sending. People need to know that Disney acts as an agent of socialization for children. Because children are exposed to Disney at young ages, they learn through Disney. Disney shows children that it’s okay for Cinderella to scrub floors all day and take abuse, because one day Prince Charming will come to her rescue. Consequently, when people buy Disney products for kids, they are reinforcing the values present in their films.
I’m not saying that Disney is bad, just that the times have changed, and we need to make it clear to young girls that they should take charge of their own lives, rather than wait for a man to pick them up off the floor. Perhaps a nice stuffed Mulan or Pocahontas toy would serve as a better example.
The pregnant mare urine industry in the United States and Canada has been a problem for 50 years and, unbelievably, most Americans are completely unaware.
Pregnant mare urine is collected to obtain hormones for hormone replacement therapy. However, the method for collection, and what happens to the resulting baby horses, is unacceptable. The collection method is so stressful that mares exhibit severely abnormal psychological behaviors in order to cope with their abhorrent conditions. The foals, a byproduct of this industry, are sent straight to slaughter.
Most women who take the medication, Premarin, only see the pill, and not the suffering. Few people know about the industry and its horrors, so few know of the many alternatives to PMU ranching.
There are medications that use plant-based hormones instead of hormones from pregnant mare urine, and other methods of urine collection that are more humane. The U.S. and Canada do not need to use inhumane methods of collection, and women do not need to choose a pill that results in death and suffering. With some simple information, women can choose to boycott the pills and the industry, and thousands of innocent lives can be saved. We just need to be made aware.
Sara Suzanne Lovotti