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Limited Government. Traditional Values. America First. www.cornellreviewonline.com / www.cornellinsider.com
Volume XXVIII, Issue 11
May 5, 2010
photo by Lucas Policastro Clara Dickson Hall
Cornell’s 142nd academic year was an incredible journey. In the Review’s last issue, we revive the good, recount the bad, and remember the fallen.
The Top Ten Cornell Stories of 2009-2010 Oliver Renick Joe Bonica Dennis Shiraev
fter an entire year of ‘Cornelling’ (hopping frat parties, sleeping in libraries, cruising Collegetown bars, arguing for those 3 points back on a prelim, swimming in gorges, screaming at Lynah Rink, and taking midnight trips to Turning Stone), it can be hard to recall just what exactly went on for almost 9 months at C.U. Well, as the end of this year closes out a decade, we’ll
help refresh your memory — Big Red style. Here are what we believe to be 2009-2010’s biggest events. Although we’ve experienced what is arguably one of the most difficult years Cornell has seen, there were certainly some incredible peaks to help return our spirits to equilibrium. Here’s the lineup.
Student Deaths – The loss of a fellow classmate in a college of over 13,000 students is virtually unavoidable. But Cornellians felt this heavy burden time and time again throughout this year. With
Inside This Issue . . .
Catch up on campus events you missed:
Page 4 Victorious! Cornell Repubs. named debate victors!
Page 4 A student’s reflections on ILR Prof. Daniel
Pages 8 & 9 The Ship of Fools sets sail — and Kent’s last humor page!
Page 11 Cornell students successfully lobby for Puerto Rican liberty
Page 5 What to do if you really want to save Darfur how to go about making change.
twelve student deaths, the Cornell community has seemed plagued with a series of somewhat bizarre and unexpected tragedies. Mark Von Butcher ’11 died suddenly after a head injury from snowboarding, and Warren Schor ’11 succumbed to complications from swine flu. Unfortunately, the surprising deaths were not limited to just the undergraduate body. Professors Kenneth Torrance (Engineering) and Cletus Daniel (ILR) both died suddenly at relatively young ages. ...see TOP TEN, page 6
First Year Reflection Freshman ruminates on first year at college Anthony Longo
s I reflect on my first year of college, I find that I have many praises for Cornell and very few complaints. I’ll try to stick to general or political themed points, but I have a bad habit of making everything I don’t like the fault of Democrats, so be warned. One great thing about Cornell is ...see FRESHMAN, page 7
Elie Wiesel: A Night About Despair, Against Despair Brendan Patrick Devine Campus News Editor
any have become familiar with Elie Wiesel after reading his renowned Holocaust memoir “Night.” Others know the Nobel Laureate from his humanitarianism and rights advocacy. Last Thursday evening, Cornell found a reason to believe in peace, not from professors or theoreticians, but from a well traveled person,
versed in the wisdom of his ancestors and the knowledge of contemporary anxieties. Wiesel’s ruminations followed two rather simple foundation stones. The first of these was Wiesel’s idea that a good mind is always inquisitive: “There are no answers,” he taught. We just move from “one question mark to another… Answers change, questions do not.” Asking ...see WIESEL, page 2
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questions elicits an educative culture. There is “nothing more noble” than education; for Wiesel it is the best hope against the protracted, dreary instances of man; education and inquisition provide hope that these shadows of the past will not soon again pass over us. The second foundation stone that Wiesel built his lecture on is the commonality of men. “People are living links to one another,” he instructed. Yet, people are different. These differences inspire learning; it is the “otherness of the other” that sparks the imagination to delve into good histories and literature. Transcendence, to Wiesel, is difficult to ascertain but it is there. Deeply based in his Judaic roots, Wiesel elucidated common history that all peoples share: “We all have the same grandfather and grandmother.” It is the mystique around these ancestral roots, masked in a smog of difference, that drives inquisitiveness. Curiosity about his Jewish roots fueled Dr. Wiesel’s Biblical scholarship. This inquiry eventually landed him at Isaiah 43:10; “‘You are my witnesses,’ says the Lord.” God created man in His own image but the Lord did not impress His essences on man, only some of His accidents. Because of our divine depravity, we must bear witness to God whenever we see Him. To Wiesel the tragic figure in the Bible is God. Through our great offences we distort His vision for the world. “Whatever we do to His creatures we do to Him.” By our great divergence from His plan, we “turn what could be paradise into Hell.” This rootless state, devoid of His grace, leads man into the “madness” that produced the Crusades and the Inquisition. “History,” said Dr. Wiesel, “becomes an aberration or an error” when “madness” prevails. These aberrations have taken two toxic forms in the twentieth century, those being racism and political fanaticism. Wiesel, who witnessed both hells, noted that political fanaticism does not necessarily attract a limited kind of following. Communism, for instance, attracted many believing Jews. After reading the Talmud, many Jews “would read Marx and Engels” at the synagogue. The same Germany that produced Goethe, Kant, and Schiller, gave the world Himmler and Goebbels. This holistic appeal of fanaticism is especially dangerous to Wiesel; Jews “loved whatever Germany represented” because of its rich culture; the Jewish love of German literature made accepting the reality of the Holocaust even more difficult in the 1940s. In short, the Jews could not believe what the Nazis were doing until the deportation trains arrived in the ghettoes. The old Romanian still cannot believe what Germany did, nor can he believe what the United States
Campus did not do. Why did President Roosevelt, a puissant and effective wartime leader, decide not to bomb the concentration camps? Dr. Wiesel has known six American presidents; he has asked every one this same question: “Why did America not bomb the camps?” 6,000 Jews went into the gas chambers and the fires every day while Americans gave their lives for innumerable unnamed European villages but not for the Jews. Wiesel’s only understanding of the Holocaust is a curious one. To Wiesel, God hid His face, not so man could be hidden from God, but so that God could be hidden from the horrific sins of man. For all man’s culture, his discretion has not improved nor has he eviscerated his violent tendencies. Before Wiesel was sent on a train to Auschwitz—ten days prior to the Allied landing on Normandy—an illiterate Christian woman offered him and his father passage into the mountains and a place to hide. How was it that the intellectuals “did not know what Auschwitz meant” but this simple illiterate did? Wiesel does not blame God for the plight of the Jewish people, nor did he lose his faith as some may have inferred from his book “Night.” “I have not divorced from God;” in doing so, he would have betrayed his ancestors. Faith remained in Wiesel, but “a wounded faith.” He mused, “No heart is as whole as a wounded one.” His relationship with the Maker is more painful, but no less resolute. With his experience in Germany stowed in his memory, waiting to be recalled at another time, Wiesel took a position as a foreign news correspondent in America. It was in the American South that Wiesel saw, this time from an observer’s perspective, the second great toxin of the twentieth century: racism. For the first time in his life Wiesel felt “shame for being white.” Again Wiesel recalled the wise words of the prophets, this time Leviticus: “Thou shalt not stand idly by thy neighbor’s blood.” Later in his life, Wiesel visited South Africa and witnessed the hotter hell of apartheid. Many good things came during the twentieth century. Communism, Fascism, Nazism, imperialism, and colonialism all ended. Reflections on the twentieth century must be tamed though; the end of the century saw the beginnings of genocide in Rwanda and Darfur, indicating that racism, unlike the fanaticism of political ideology, has not yet subsided. “Has the world learned from its mistakes? No.” One may be tempted to believe that despite persistent violence, the world is generally better off than it was at the beginning of the twentieth
century. Wiesel confutes such a brash leap. The financial crisis has weakened more than the integrity of financial markets and banks; it has created a general “distrust” of “authorities” and the traditional financial “genius Wall Street used to represent.” “Conquest,” of anything, “means nothing.” The
culture of conquest has created pervasive distrust among people. Dr. Wiesel reveals his most dire fears in the times to come, admittedly from his Jewish bias. The loss of firm, moral culture could make for a less rooted, more dubious world. “The more Jewish you are, the more universal you are,” Wiesel told his students. What was “the reason for the Jewish survival?” Wiesel illustrated his answer by adducing an exchange with the Dalai Lama. After the communists expelled him from Tibet, the Dalai Lama said to Dr. Wiesel, “Your people left home 2,000 years ago… teach us survival.” “When we left Jerusalem,” answered Wiesel, “what did we take with us? A book.” This book contained the wisdom of prophets, fathers, and philosophers. This book gave rise to other books and cemented the identity of the Jews for centuries. “Solidarity,” he told the Dalai Lama. “Tell your people” that solidarity will save them. “Memory… made people strong enough” over the years. It will continue to make people strong. Such allusions to the ancient Jewish people and cultural identity invite mention of Israel, a nation that, to Wiesel, is nothing short of remarkable. Jewish identity is so vibrant in Israel that even Hebrew, a language that—like Latin—had at one point been forgotten to all but clerics and scholars, is again spoken as a common language on the streets. “There was never a state” called Palestine before there was a state called Israel, mentioned Wiesel, but there is a Palestinian state now. A two state solution is possible, he insists. Dr. Wiesel held a conference on the conflict between the two states in Petra several years ago. Both the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers attended the summit. After a gentle embrace, the two ministers began tearing, then those other delegates began tearing just the same as their leaders. Moments like these
May 5, 2010 revive hope for a two state future in the Plain of Acre, and “Hope is the national anthem of Israel.” The prophet Ezekiel once told the people “we have lost our hope.” No, Wiesel retorts the prophet, “we have not.” “Hope is not God’s gift to human beings. Hope is our gift to one another.” These words brought a
storm of thunder in Bailey Hall, many rounds of applause from an audience that had just heard the words of the world’s most prudent, wisest, and least doctrinaire humanists. Dr. Wiesel’s deep reflections add to the quality of intellectual life on campus; his lessons cannot be inserted into a syllabus. According to outgoing chairman Konstantin Drabkin, the Cornell Republicans “stimulate and add to the quality of discourse on campus by holding events and bringing in speakers” like Elie Wiesel “to address the issues affecting our nation and the world.” Dr. Wiesel has been the same dark shadow that has now enveloped Darfur and other places throughout the world, Drabkin asserted; “Rather than staying quiet after living through unspeakable horrors during the Holocaust, Dr. Wiesel used his experience to promote peace and human rights around the world.” Even an 81 year old Holocaust survivor cannot deliver a major lecture unscathed. Wiesel’s event was protested by a Muslim extremist organization called “United for Peace and Justice in Palestine.” The group, which holds terrorist sympathies, passed out pamphlets replete with stories about the ills befallen on Palestine during Israel’s military presence in Gaza. Protests aside, the evening was among the most special Cornell has seen this year. Dr. Wiesel should not be seen as a scholar, but as a man who has survived great trials. He asks why he and so many others had to run these trials, but the question has never left him to despair. During the Question & Answer segment, an English teacher asked Wiesel what he would tell students about his book, “Night.” “Night,” like the evening’s remarks, “is a book of despair, but it is meant to be a book against despair.” Brendan Devine is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He email@example.com
May 5, 2010
Founded 1984, Incorporated 1986 Volume XXVIII Number 11 Ann Coulter Jim Keller Jerome D. Pinn Anthony Santelli, Jr.
On four years of conservatism on East Hill William P. Lane Exiting Editor-in-Chief
Dennis Shiraev Editor-in-Chief
Oliver Renick Executive Editor
Raza Hoda President
Lucas Policastro Managing Editor
Joseph Bonica News Editor
Hannah MacLean National News Editor
Campus News Editor
Treasurer Original Artwork by Anthony Longo
Lucia Rafanelli, William Lane, Kent Haeger, Willam Wagner, John Farragut, Roman Lesko, Justin DiGennaro, Peter Bouris, Zachary Waller, Kevin Tang, Roman Lesko, Peter Bouris Faculty Advisor Michael E. Hint firstname.lastname@example.org Board of Directors
Christopher DeCenzo, Joseph E. Gehring Jr., Ying Ma, Anthony Santelli Jr. The Cornell Review is an independent biweekly journal published by students of Cornell University for the benefit of students, faculty, administrators, and alumni of the Cornell community. The Cornell Review is a thoughtful review of campus and national politics from a broad conservative perspective. The Cornell Review, an independent student organization located at Cornell University, produced and is responsible for the content of this publication. This publication was not reviewed or approved by, nor does it necessarily express or reflect the policies or opinions of, Cornell University or its designated representatives. The Cornell Review is published by The Ithaca Review, Inc., a non-profit corporation. The opinions stated in The Cornell Review are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the staff of The Cornell Review. Editorial opinions are those of the responsible editor. The opinions herein are not necessarily those of the board of directors, officers, or staff of The Ithaca Review, Inc. The Cornell Review is distributed free, limited to one issue per person, on campus as well as to local businesses in Ithaca. Additional copies beyond the first free issue are available for $1.00 each. The Cornell Review is a member of the Collegiate Network. TheCornellReviewpridesitselfonletting its writers speak for themselves, and on open discourse. We do not all agree on every issue, and readers should be aware that pieces represent the views of their authors, and not necessarily those of the entire staff. If you have a well-reasoned conservative opinion piece, please send it to thecornell.review@ gmail.com for consideration.
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I’ve known for some time that I would have to give a retrospective of my undergraduate experience at Cornell. I’ve always been good at looking back and distilling out the “would haves, should haves, could haves” of life. Hindsight is, as they say after all, 20/20. Yet this time I have had a hard time making an end of it. Somehow, I haven’t felt all that finished with Cornell. But when last week’s flash freeze snowstorm knocked out my building’s power and I took it as the proper time to smear raspberries all over my face and run around my apartment with a knife advocating anarchy, I figured that was a pretty good sign I was finished. So, free to look back on my Cornell education, I want to take some time to reflect on a question I am often asked by underclassmen, particularly those who have not known me for very long: what are the experiences of which I am most proud? In past off-the-cuff responses, I have been quick to cite my theatrical performances at the Schwartz during my freshman and sophomore years. While those have been truly great and aweinspiring memories, I think they lack the sine qua non of any truly pride-worthy achievement, that is to say, they did not bring me face to face with my own beliefs and cause me to come out stronger than I went in. More bluntly, I did not learn anything about myself from those experiences. Of this type of experience I have had several. The first and probably one of the most prominent of these was during S.A. Resolution 17, which for those of you who weren’t here in spring 2008 or don’t remember resolution numbers that well, was the attempt to get the Student Assembly to recognize the rights of students to carry concealed weapons pursuant to all applicable New York State laws. Coming on the heels of the dreadful Virginia Tech massacre, this was meant to offer some means for students to feel more secure. I wasn’t a major proponent of the bill at first, but was galvanized to act when I heard the cavalier dismissal of the proposal by the editors of the Sun, which portrayed Republicans
as backward and violent, and of the S.A. who laughed off evidence of similar programs’ success because it happened in Utah (the implicit criticism being Cornellians are less responsible than Utahans). I don’t intend to relive the whole issue, but I researched like a fanatic to see whether the topic was so black-and-white, and wrote the only column I ever got published in the Sun as well as spoke in front of the Student Assembly on behalf of the resolution. Obviously it didn’t pass, but I felt even being there was triumph enough. The other big ordeal was the now infamous Clubfest protest of fall 2008. When the outrage over the article (which I feel obliged to mention had run for two years prior without incident) boiled over and the chanting and megaphones came out, only about three of us were actually at the booth. Many of the others (myself included) were scattered about Barton, trying to distribute our papers. ThenManaging Editor Kent Haeger and I were in the Social Justice section trying to navigate the daggers being stared directly into our eyes and occasionally spit at our throats when things began to go down. We too k a l o o k over and noticed a ring around the booth with police at either end. It might have been easy enough to slink back and just watch things unfold. But reflexively, as one, we ran in and stood together in the face of the protest. The next couple months, from friends and acquaintances, I couldn’t dodge the questions about The Review, and the occasional jokes about how much of a racist I was. Outwardly I took it in stride, but it was a trying experience nonetheless. The important commonality between these two examples is not the fact that they involved politics or even conservatism. The more important tie is that in both cases I needed to take a stand, generally on an issue where I had mixed feelings. I wasn’t wild about concealed carry to begin with, and while I appreciated Shive’s humor, I wouldn’t necessarily have printed it. Neither choice was made lightly and sometimes I would agonize for days about whether I had chosen
correctly. But deciding not to stand up for the greater principles at play would, in hindsight, have been a far greater sin than giving too much counsel to my slight reservations. If there were to be a single lesson that I have learned here, then it would be essentially that. Issues can be extremely complex, and acknowledging both sides can be important. However, sometimes you need to take a stand, and having a set of core beliefs which can help guide you through these tougher moments can be invaluable. Clearly, I have made many allusions to politics, since that has been one of my greatest preoccupations while at Cornell. But the applicability of the lesson does not end with politics, as any number of dilemmas can arise which the maintenance of a code of beliefs can ease. So, with my departing remarks, I would encourage those who follow me, both on The Review and in Cornell at large, to try and establish a code of their own. The purpose of an Ivy League education is to get as fulfilling and complete an experience as possible—without learning something about your character, about the ideals and morals that drive you, the education would be far from complete. If you are as lucky as I was to have received the mixed blessing of being put in a position where you have to take a stand, then perhaps this lesson will arrive sooner rather than later. In that sense I believe conservatives to have a real advantage over liberals in this environment, as those situations more regularly occur for them in this politically charged atmosphere. But there truly will never be a better time than college to write that code and complete the learning process. Godspeed, and I wish the new Cornell Review staff all the best in the coming year. William P. Lane, for the editors.
May 5, 2010
Cornell Republicans Victorious in Financial Crisis Debate Lucia Rafanelli Staff Writer
n Monday, April 12, the Cornell Democrats, Cornell Republicans, and Cornell Libertarians faced each other in a debate about the country’s recent financial crisis. The debate, moderated by Assistant Director of Speech with the Cornell Forensics Society Chris Langone, dealt with several facets of the financial crisis– namely, what caused it and what policies would be best suited to solve the problems it has precipitated and to prevent a similar crisis from occurring in the future. The debate consisted of six total rounds: a round of opening statements, four rounds for the three groups to build their cases and respond to their opponents, and a round of closing statements followed by a brief question and answer period. In their opening, the Cornell Democrats presented transparency, competition, and market integrity as the three pillars of their position. They portrayed the financial crisis as the result of a trend of deregulation of the financial sector. They specifically pinned the blame for this on Republicans in Congress who held power in the years leading up to the crisis. In order to deal with the aftermath of the crisis and to prevent future crises, the Democrats proposed the creation of an FDA-style regulatory agency to oversee the financial industry. Further, they insisted that “too-bigto-fail” firms should not be allowed to dominate the financial sector, thereby “crush[ing] the little guy” and endangering the stability of the sector itself. They also proposed that there be better plans for dismantling
large firms in case of bankruptcy. The Cornell Republicans agreed that the existence of too-big-tofail firms is undesirable, but they also emphasized the importance of free-market allocation of resources to the creation of competition necessary to check the power of large firms. The Republicans argued that, overall, government responses to the financial crisis resulted in the government shielding large firms from the impacts of their risky investments, and thus only encouraged more undue risktaking. They also made a distinction between what they termed “good regulations” and “bad regulations”. Good regulations, they said, protect individuals' rights to take part in “free and fair transactions” and prevent fraud and other wrongdoing. Conversely, bad regulations attempt to impose a moral agenda on the firms they regulate, and result in over-involvement of the government in the economy. This, in turn, cultivates among financial firms a sense of entitlement, which increases greed and prices, as firms are convinced they will be provided for by the government with taxpayer money. To illustrate their point about the potentially devastating effects of government regulation, the Republicans cited the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which they asserted mandated more loans and credits to lower-income, higher-risk borrowers with the understanding that the government would “bail out” lenders if these loans defaulted. This, the Republicans claimed, created a culture of greed within the financial community that encouraged firms to issue risky loans. Finally, the Republicans argued that the
differences among the philosophies of various political groups regarding government involvement in the economy should be a focus of any financial crisis debate. The Cornell Libertarians then took the Republicans’ skepticism about government regulation one step further, arguing that government regulators and mainstream economists did not foresee the recession, and cannot be trusted to handle its aftermath at all. They asserted that the Fed’s prerecession NEWSTATESMAN lowering of interest rates encouraged excessive borrowing and speculation, which ultimately caused the financial crisis. Another contributing factor according to the Libertarians was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s practice of buying loans, grouping them into “bundles”, then selling these bundles to investment firms. They claimed agencies were ineffective at channeling money in this way because they were under government control. The Libertarians asserted that it was the government that created the financial bubble, and, ultimately, the collapse. Their proposed plan of action was to privatize Fannie and Freddie, to repeal the CRA, to abolish the Fed, and to stop all government bailouts. After making their opening statements, the three groups continued with the subsequent rounds of debate, each defending their position. The Democrats emphasized the importance of
effective regulation, and said that the CRA was not key to the financial crisis, and that CRA-covered institutions were in fact less likely to make subprime
loans. The Republicans argued that the culture of greed created by the CRA spilled over into the workings of Fannie and Freddie, and further tried to delineate between their version of “good regulation” and the type of regulatory policies put forth by the Democrats. The Libertarians continued to assert that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans fully grasped the importance of eliminating government involvement in the economy, and that creating a fully free market is the only way to successfully protect the economy from crisis. Finally, the three teams presented their closing statements, and the judges left the room to deliberate. Ultimately, they named the Cornell Republicans the victors of the debate, saying they presented the best, most comprehensive analysis of the issues at hand. Lucia Rafanelli is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shoutout for Professor Daniel Peter Bouris Staff Writer
rofessor Cletus Daniel, head of ILR’s Credit Internship Program and Labor History instructor, passed on Sunday, April 18 at age 66. Professor Daniel’s personal story made him a mythical figure at ILR. He was born into a working class family in northern California, where he had eight siblings. After high school, he went to work at a Campbell’s Soup factory in Sacramento. While there, he had his first experience with the Labor Movement when he was unknowingly registered in a closed shop with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (the history explaining why the
a conveyor belt in the factory, he decided a different path would be wise. It was at this moment that he decided to go to graduate school and enter academia. He eventually found himself at Cornell in 1973. Professor Daniel was well known by most throughout the ILR School for one reason or another. In 1979 and 1982, Daniel received the ILR Excellence in Teaching Award. In 1992, he received the University Paramount Professor for Teaching Excellence. Many students knew him as “D-minus Daniel,” indicative of his supposedly CORNELL Teamsters represent soup workers difficult grading. This, however, is in California is too lengthy for this a gross exaggeration. Students who piece). One day, after accidently had taken a class with him knew allowing several cans to fly off of better. While he certainly assigned
a heavy workload, his reputation for tough grading far outstripped the reality. Any student who had the privilege of working under his tutelage will tell you that he was one of the most caring, humorous, and real individuals of anyone at Cornell. He had a simple teaching philosophy in which he demanded great effort from his students, and those who met this demand were rewarded with success. But there was much more to him than his teaching style, which would almost daily leave students falling off their chairs from laughter by the end of lecture. Professor Daniel was a leader in his field. He ...see DANIEL, page 5
May 5, 2010
Save Darfur? Save your money instead Columbia professor Mamdani reveals the true nature of the Darfur conflict
Roman Lesko Staff Writer
arguing that Rraising awareness is instead wants to portray the events not necessary, but simply deceiving and the solutions in a fanatical people into donating money is not way. Activists motivated by Save fulfilling any moral prerogative. If Darfur often call for the US to you actually go to If you actually go go “out of Iraq and into Darfur”, to the savedarfur.org website, you but cries like these clearly show a will find no information on the causes limited understanding of the issues at hand and obscure the motives of conflict in the region; of humanitarian relief efforts. rather the organization Why then have so many seeks to mobilize young Americans decided the public based on to support intervention misinformation and in Sudan but are so emotion. The ashamed by US website is full of military presence what Professor in the Middle Mandani calls a East? It seems “pornography that so many of of violence,” the same people or pictures who have called and accounts George Bush a of atrocities terrorist for the meant to elicit Iraq War are more emotion from than prepared to people, but advocate for military nowhere on intervention based on their site will nothing more than halfyou find the truths and heuristics. history or the Professor Mamdani region or the suggests that Save Darfur true root of has created somewhat of the problems a “feel good movement” in Darfur. rather than a true activist Save Darfur’s campaign. It is certainly campaign has plausible that people are had a positive willing to give money impact in so far to a charitable cause as it has brought to feel good about attention to the themselves rather than humanitarian crisis supporting a war that occurring in that they are embarrassed region, but it has or ashamed of. But simultaneously don’t be fooled; just fueled falsehoods because one may be that the media has giving money to perpetuated. For Save Darfur, or example, Professor feels good about Mamdani went supporting the cause, into detail about the does not mean s/ origins of the crisis Mark Knopfler and explained that the expresses his concern he is making a positive impact. widely held notion that Ultimately a proper solution to the the conflict is about Arabs versus Africans is misleading crisis in Darfur rests upon a proper and based on half- understanding of the nature of the truths. Demonizing crisis and the history of the region. the enemy (like the Just because it feels good to sport media has), he argues, the Save Darfur slogan on a t-shirt will only lead to doesn’t mean you are doing a good further problems as thing. An educated response is far the people of Sudan superior to any emotional responses and the international elicited by heuristics and slogans. community work While so many people are throwing together so that all their money away by following of the citizens of that misinformation, I’ll save mine. country may one day coexist peacefully. But Roman Lesko is a senior in the it has become clear that Save Darfur would rather not work College of Arts and Sciences. He can to for a peaceful resolution and be contacted at email@example.com. SAVEDARFUR
o many, conflict and civil wars in Africa seem to be an unavoidable problem with no solution in sight. The Second Congo War has left over 5 million dead as of 2008, and 3 decades of civil war has ravaged the population and economy of Angola. In light of all of the warfare occurring on the African continent, why is it that the genocide in Darfur has received so much more media coverage and has elicited a much greater response from the public in the United States than any of these other conflicts? Professor Mahmood Mamdani of Columbia University gave a lecture last Thursday that provided some key insights to the answer to this question. In the event entitled “Lessons of Darfur: Human Rights and Activism in Africa,” Professor Mamdani shed some much needed light on the nature of the conflict in Darfur and the private aid that has poured into the region over the last several years. Relief efforts have come from a plethora of NGOs and nonprofit organizations like Oxfam, UNICEF, and the Red Cross to name just a few. Surprisingly absent from this list is an organization that received over fifty million dollars in donations in 2007, namely, Save Darfur. It seems that pictures of celebrities sporting “Save Darfur” t-shirts, caps and bracelets has inundated the popular media over the last few years, but following the latest fad will likely not provide the relief that the people of Darfur need to survive famine and drought. Save Darfur, an advocacy group, provides no money for direct relief assistance to Darfur. In the words of Professor Mamdani, the organization is nothing more than “an advertising campaign”. In other words, the money that people donate to Save Darfur and the profits that are SAVEDARFUR made from sales of their popular t-shirts and caps simply goes into more advertising. In fact, the president of Save Darfur is also on the board of directors for the advertising firm that the organization hires for their publicity. I am not
DANIEL ...continued from the page 4
was a very well respected scholar who was often cited as a source in books regarding anything to do with the Labor Movement in America. In 1992, he was asked to address the annual AFL-CIO convention due to his expertise. When given this opportunity, he told the labor confederation that its leaders were crazy for supporting less than ardently pro-labor southern Democrat Bill Clinton. Needless to say, calling things the way he viewed them without any reservation was one of his strong suits (the AFLCIO never asked him to return). He is also known throughout labor world for being the last to interview former Teamsters’ head James Hoffa before Hoffa disappeared somewhere in the New Jersey Meadowlands. Professor Daniel’s greatest legacy will be the ILR Credit Internship Program, which he almost single handedly developed into one of the greatest work experience programs at Cornell when he took over in 1989. He was dedicated to ensuring that students were able to gain valuable work experience before finishing their undergraduate studies. The students who went through this program under Professor Daniel were the ones most touched by him, as they had front row seats to his level of commitment and great altruistic desire to help students. While I never had the opportunity to work with Professor Daniel in the Credit Internship Program, I was fortunate to be one of the last to have him as an instructor. He did not tolerate sloth or nonsense from his students because he wanted all of them to succeed. Daniel bestowed all the tools necessary for success upon his students. It was then left to the students to capitalize. Until I get hit by a car and get amnesia, I do not anticipate forgetting Professor Daniel sense of humor and his ability to captivate a classroom when discussing what would otherwise be a mundane and esoteric topic. However, his passion for his work and genuine care for his students are the primary reasons why I will remember him. Indeed, some of his left-leaning rants would make my blood boil at times, but I could never lose respect for the man because of the reasons hitherto mentioned. Cornell is lesser place without him. It is a shame that the best among us always seem to go the earliest. Peter Bouris is a sophomore in the ILR School. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 5, 2010
TOP TEN ...continued from the front page
Suicides – Bradley Ginsburg ’13, William Sinclair, ’12, and Matthew Zika, ’11 were at least three of the students believed to have taken their own lives this year. In response, the
to cut costs and restructure the distributed throughout campus. budgets, faculties, and operations Every student received a multitude of all seven colleges. The newest of emails discussing preventative version of the strategic plan, measures, and signs were set up entitled “Cornell University at Its in public places to encourage care. Sesquicentennial,” While the necessity of some of aims to move past these measures were debated, many the crisis and return of them were also credited for Cornell to its place in ending the outbreak in the late fall/ the top ten research early winter. universities in the country. But what Nancy Pelosi – Invited As will this mean for Commencement Speaker - While the undergraduate it doesn’t take a rocket scientist c o l l e g e s ? W i l l to guess how we at the Review the Cornell of ten years from now even resemble the Cornell of today? This story remains unfinished, and will University has erected fences along likely be among our list of top our bridges. The bottom line is that stories for 2010-2011 as well. any recognition of the suicides is heartbreaking and unwanted. People Basketball Run – While the put underwear on the fences— Penn Quakers managed to tarnish awkward; people put flowers on what would have been a perfect the bridges—feels like a cemetery; Ivy League season for the Red, people paint the fences—it’s… this didn’t stop us from taking groovy? We obviously won’t find a third consecutive Ivy League a unanimous way to ease the pain C h a m p i o n s h i p . T h e m e n ’s feel about the Commencement over the suicides. But Cornellians basketball team’s success continued Committee’s choice of speaker, took measures to show one another at the national level, where the team it does not change the fact that they care – vigils, gatherings, and secured two huge victories over landing the third most powerful memorials all encouraged class Temple and Wisconsin before losing individual in United States politics unity. Students that are adapted to in the Sweet Sixteen at the hands of is an enormous deal. Pelosi was the unforgiving weather in Ithaca the all-NBA first ranked Kentucky announced right at the year ’s are used to finding the sliver of Wildcats. It was the most successful beginning, and caused excitement daylight on a cold dark day. There Ivy League team run since 1979. among some communities and is no reason to assume they won’t But all good things come to pass: disdain among others. While this this time. Steve Donahue left for BC shortly is a huge gain, it does continue last after the season ended. Enter Bill year’s trend of liberals who did Program Houses – In early April Courtney. Can he lead the Red to not even attend the school coming of last year, The Review reported another Ivy League Championship? to speak (last year’s speaker was on an odd funeral march that took 2011 will tell. David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign place on Ho Plaza. The manager). mock-funeral march was initiated by the program Resolution 44 houses in an effort to – Much was bring attention to what made across the was believed to be the campus about ‘killing’ of these houses Resolution 44, the at Cornell. Over a year so-called “nonlater, the program houses discrimination have not yet undergone clause”, introduced any serious revampment in the Student by the administration. Assembly by Though all the houses still Andrew Brockman stand, the racially-focused ’ 11 a n d M a t t FUELED BY RAMEN Danzer ’12. Among h o u s e s n e v e r t h e l e s s artwork by Lucas Policastro made center stage again this year. other things, the clause would have Ujamaa RHD Ken Glover was Swine Flu – Right at the beginning banned clubs from removing an reinstated after much protest arrived of the academic year, with swine officer or preventing someone to after his transfer early in the year. flu hysteria at its peak nationwide, become an officer based on a conflict But the idea of PHs disappearing Cornell endured its own outbreak of beliefs. This resolution polarized lingered on throughout the year, as of the disease. By the time the the Cornell community, being met the Program House Review panel epidemic had subsided in the late with both steadfast support and examined the current state and fall, thousands had become ill, and, outspoken opposition. While the apparent precarious nature of the sadly, one student (Warren Schorr bill passed the Assembly, President houses. ’11) was lost to complications of the Skorton chose not to sign it, saying illness. The University’s response that Cornell’s current speech Reimagining Cornell - The was rapid and diverse. Gannett policy was strong enough. Many financial crisis of 2008 made offered shots for the disease as soon opponents of the bill anticipated a significant dent in Cornell’s as it became available for mass use, this reaction from Skorton, and the endowment, prompting an initiative and hand sanitizers were set up and bill has received little press after
the refusal. Since this resolution would have prevented clubs from enforcing the principles upon which they were founded, few consider the bill a major loss. Hydrofracking – When energy speculators expressed interest in Tompkins County as a site to extract large reserves of natural gas through a process known as “hydrofracking”, the opposition was loud but not unanimous. Citing claims that hydrofracking damages the beauty of the surrounding
artwork by Anthony Longo
environment, large numbers of protests were held against the measure, trying to lobby the city of Ithaca to refuse to grant rights to the gas companies. In doing this, however, the citizens of Ithaca denied themselves an enormous number of job opportunities, as the natural gas companies would bring a whole new industry into Ithaca. The conflict appears to be nearly resolved, but in a way neither side expected; further analysis of the shale deposits in and around Ithaca have shown that Tompkins County is not as fertile of a natural gas depository as initially thought, and that the nearby Tioga County has a much larger reserve. It will still be intriguing to see how this develops. Blazej Kot Murder Trial – Somewhat buried under the year’s other major news stories was the interesting trial of graduate student Blazej Kot, who just last week was found guilty of brutally murdering his wife and then trying to burn down their house to hide the evidence. Kot’s team employed a fairly ridiculous insanity defense, which did not work. Kot currently remains un-sentenced. This story didn’t get a huge amount of publicity because, as earlier mentioned, it coincided with other major news stories like the suicides and fence construction. Also, because Kot was a graduate student, rather than an undergraduate, the story was less discussed in the Cornell community. From everyone at the Cornell Review: see you next year!
May 5, 2010
Teeing off with Drew Baity, Cornell Golfer Zachary Waller Staff Writer
fter a tough season on the links, Cornell golfer Mark “Drew” Baity ’12 sat down with Cornell Review writer Zach Waller to talk about life as a Cornell athlete as well as the status of conservatism within the Cornell athletic community. CR: Could you tell us a little about yourself? Drew: My name is Drew Baity and I live in Greenwich, Connecticut. I’m currently a Communications major in CALS (2012). Last year I attended UConn and made the decision to transfer to Cornell this year. I walked on to the golf team this year as a sophomore. Cornell athletics has a short history in my family; my brother, Phil, was the captain of the swim team last year and a multiple school and Ivy record holder. I used to be a swimmer as well but I enjoyed golf more and figured I had more of a future with the game. I started playing competitively in 9th grade. I also played waterpolo and swimming throughout high school. CR: How has it been making the transition from UConn to Cornell? FRESHMAN ...continued from the front page
the freedom of expression and the vast opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities (including this newspaper). That sounds like something right out of a college brochure, but this is really true. I have been able to establish myself as a conservative and simultaneously get great experience as a political and newspaper writer, two arenas in which I have never once been involved before this year. Cornell’s statuses as a powerhouse research institution, a closelyknit community, an Ivy League school, and a sports giant are not in name only. I have experienced all of these aspects of Cornell, and they are indeed true. As a research institution, Cornell is peerless; a few weeks ago, Cornell researchers identified a treatment that seems to halt the metastasis of cancer. As a community, Cornell is incredible; after the horrid gorge incidents this past semester, the university’s quickness of response has proven effective. As a member of the Ancient Eight, Cornell stands at the top. The academics here are intense, and our status as “the hardest Ivy to graduate from” is very true
Drew: The transition to Cornell has been great. I'm surrounded by more people with similar ambitions and backgrounds that I can relate to. The professors expect more out of you here but that is part of being at an Ivy League institution. It’s nice having a golf course so close to campus. CR: What is a typical day like in the life of a Cornell athlete? Drew: Cornell athletes try to frontload their schedules and avoid having class on Fridays because we travel so much on weekends. I go to class in the morning then take a short break before heading up to the golf course to practice for a couple hours in the afternoon. After practice, I try to do some work; however, we’re usually pretty tired. Golf is both a mentally and physically difficult sport. The combinations of the countless hours spent on the course and the general fatigue make it very difficult to get work done in the free time that we do have. When we're on the road it is almost impossible to do work because you are either competing, resting, or having fun with other team members. The most
important part of the golf team is the camaraderie. Everybody gets along great and I have a lot of fun when I’m around other members of the team. CR: Seeing as this is the Review, we're going to have to get political. How would you define yourself politically?
indeed. As a sports competitor, I think all that should suffice for this explanation is: “Sweet 16.” The hippies here aren’t too bad. They’re not as hardcore as they are at most schools. When I say hippies, I am of course referring to real hippies/socialists/ progressives/real liberals/ free hug people/Nancy Pelosi/a cappella groups/ the people who won’t let us have paper towels and instead force us to use to use hot air machines that take an hour to warm up and mostly blow cold air/vegans/ Greenpeace people/whoever decided that wheat bread is better than Wonderbread/ Che Guevara supporters/ Maoists, et cetera. I like that our University is expanding. I hope our construction will be like that of Rutgers, which now encompasses five towns. I hope someday that Cornell covers all of New York state, except the natural parts (which I guess is most of the state, actually). However, when construction is completely in the way of student life and daily transportation, it's a problem—especially when our
parents are paying upwards of $50,000 a year for us to go here. Perpetual construction should not be a deterrent to current and future Cornellians’ educations. I walk to all of my classes, and I was willing to accept the fences and the
tend to fall into the same social arenas for the most part. Any college campus is going to have a mix but I would be very surprised if conservatism was the majority. You could look at almost any fraternity, sorority, or sports team on campus and almost always find a mixed bag of political opinions. CR: There's a stereotype that golfers tend to be more conservative than other people. Does that stereotype ring true for the Cornell golf team? Drew: The conservative stereotype rings true for the golf team. The majority of the members on the team are conservative or come from conservative backgrounds. It just happens to be a more conservative group; however, this trend does not hold true Drew: Socially moderate, for all schools in college golf. There is no way of sugar coating conservative otherwise. CR: How do you feel about the the fact that golf has been known as status of conservatism on campus? a conservative sport in the past due Drew: I think the percentage of to the assumed correlation between conservatives on campus is clearly wealth and conservatism; however, inferior to the number of liberals. this trend is slowly fading away as There are a lot of conservative golf is becoming more accessible individuals on campus and they ...see GOLF, page 8 Cornell is a great place at which to spend your college years. Just look at the sheer number of visiting alumni and the strength of our alumni network. I mean, even the ghost of A.D. White comes back to visit from time to time.
artwork by Anthony Longo
occasional obstructions, but now fences have completely blocked off the old paths that were already partially blocked off, and important Anthony Longo is a freshman in the links like the footbridge over Beebe College of Arts & Sciences. He can Lake are completely inaccessible. be contacted at email@example.com
The Review welcomes and encourages letters to the editor. Please send questions, comments, and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Last Voyage of the Ship of Fools Kent Haegar Exiting Executive Editor
o it’s come to this – my last article for the Review. I can already see your eyes moving on to the next article, so hold up a second, I’m not going to waste my last article on a narcissistic “my four years at Cornell” – this isn’t a blog or a Sun column. Instead, I thought I’d offer a general synopsis of what needs to be changed about campus administration and culture so that future generations might be spared nuisances like mandatory diversity indoctrination. For those of you who haven’t seen my Ship of Fools before (aww, look at the cute widdle freshmen!), this column typically examines one aspect of life at Cornell – the obsession with diversity, the very idea of “offensiveness” and speech codes, the fact that speakers can preach the violent overthrow of the United States without anyone complaining – and then I proceed to make compelling intellectual arguments intermingled with a little profanity and name-calling. In this last issue, I’d like to offer a general critique of my Cornell experience in the vain hopes that the powersthat-be or campus culture in general will realize just how… well, foolish a lot of life at Cornell is. First and foremost is the beast we’ve tangled with more than any other over the years – Cornell’s diversity fetish. By now, even the thickest of you have gathered that “diversity” doesn’t mean diversity – it just means that we have a special set of rules for some people, and if you question those rules, you’re a racist. I’ve gone over this many times over the past four years, so I’ll try not to repeat myself too much, but the bottom line is this: the current obsession with diversity is not only filling students’ heads with visions of imaginary oppressors but is actively harming race relations. The statement “not enough minorities attend Cornell” is, given a fixed capacity for educating a certain number of students, functionally equivalent to “too many white people attend Cornell” – but no administrator would dare utter the second. It’s interesting how readily we accept the first, isn’t it? Likewise, establishing special program houses and Cornell-funded organizations for students of various races takes away funding that could otherwise be used for the benefit of all students. The same fallacy that underlies most left-wing thought – failure to realize that giving resources to one entity entails taking them from another – is a hallmark of modern concepts of diversity. No
sane observer could fail to conclude that giving special benefits to members of certain races is a racist act – but it’s okay, because it’s the good kind of racism, the kind that helps Designated Victim Groups. We need to move beyond Designated Victim Groups – we need to stop seeing the world as the struggle between cruel oppressor and blameless oppressed. It is a hallmark of leftist ideology that constant, ham-handed interference by an authority – run by the morally superior leftists, of course – is necessary to prevent the forces of evil from taking advantage of minorities. Rather than recognize that people are people and move on with our lives, diversity programs take perverse delight in illustrating all the ways we are different, and the omnipresent specter of racial division hangs over the campus like a bad smell. We cannot move beyond race while diversity programs exist, or while the Africana Studies department exists to remind us all that blacks are different – after all, there’s an entire academic program devoted to studying them! By pointing out how we are all “different,” then ceaselessly drilling students with the need for tolerance – as if adults need to be reminded that in 2010 it’s not okay to burn crosses! – diversity does nothing but exacerbate racial divisions. Do you see how easy it is to twist a population’s perceptions of reality by changing a few words? Campus radicals sure do, and the administration is often all too happy to bend to their will. When the government takes half your income and pisses it away in labyrinthine bureaucracies, it’s not systematic theft and waste, it’s “social justice.” When terrorists detonate GOLF ...continued from page 5
with charity groups such as “The First Tee.” It’s a well-known fact that most country clubs in the U.S. are very conservative by nature. CR: How about Cornell athletes in general, do they tend to be more conservative than most students? Drew: I think there is definitely a mixed bag of political opinions when it comes to athletes at Cornell. Every player that I know personally on the lacrosse team is very conservative. However, this does not hold true for other
May 5, 2010
themselves on public buses, they’re not religious fanatics, they’re “freedom fighters.” When the West invests in developing countries and builds factories that employ local labor, it’s not a wonderful symbiosis, it’s “exploitation.” There are no arguments given, just terms carefully calculated to influence your opinion – after all, what kind of monster would oppose justice? Conservatives are, in this twisted worldview, not people with different ideas for improving the world – they are enemies of progress, enemies of minorities, enemies of any Designated Victim Group you’d care to name. And thus they must be stopped. You literally cannot go a day at Cornell without hearing this kind of Orwellian language rape, so here’s a thought – why not replace one of those mandatory freshman writing seminars with a class on figuring out peoples’ agendas? If Cornell is really committed to creating well-rounded human beings, which is its stated rationale for asinine requirements like foreign language proficiency, an ability to understand all the little psychological tricks people use to sway you would prove invaluable. “Now, when someone says that ‘justice’ can only be achieved by surrendering all of your money and personal control to a monolithic central authority, what kind of agenda might they have? And when your classmates talk about oppression, do they really understand the dynamics of the situation, or are they just trying to feel morally superior?” Speaking of agendas, it would be remiss of me not to mention our “cousins” at the Daily Sun, analogous to your crazy cousin Harvey – you know, the guy you’re technically related to, but who you take great pains to distance yourself from after he got arrested for sexually assaulting that vending machine. Yes, we’re both campus publications, but the Review is explicitly political and does not try to hide the fact; the Sun is ostensibly a newspaper and should not be political. You know, the news
media, that thing that’s essential to a well-informed electorate? Yeah, it doesn’t work so well when every page is dripping with barely-hidden agendas. I’m not saying all of the articles are politically slanted, but enough of them belong on the opinion page that the paper is just not a valid news source anymore. A school paper is a useful source of information for students – I’m not arguing against the Sun’s existence – but when that paper abandons journalistic neutrality, it only serves to reinforce the biases of a politicized campus, and that’s something we could all do without. Despite all this – despite the chokehold that left-wing politics has established on campus life – I’m genuinely grateful for the education I’ve received from Cornell University. Aside from a very few issues I have with a very few classes, our physics and engineering departments are topnotch, and I don’t want anything in this article to be interpreted as disrespecting Cornell’s academics. The heart of it all is perfectly fine – I paid my tuition, lived four years in Ithaca, and got a damn good physics education – it’s just that all the fluff surrounding it - the endless attempts to politicize every facet of life, the rampant immaturity of children chasing imaginary oppressors, and the like – detracts from the experience. Yes, college should be a time of personal growth, and it certainly was for me – it’s just a shame that so many on campus interpret growth as bending to their political will. Cornell should not be a place where heads are filled with political ideologies, nor should it be a boot camp to train soldiers in the cause of “social justice.” As I step off the Ship of Fools onto the vast and unexplored continent of the real world, I’d like to leave you with some inspiring words, but there’s really nothing left to say. This is your university now – it’s up to you, the students, to ensure that Cornell remains a bastion of dispassionate, intellectual inquiry.
teams such as track. I knew some guys on the swim team from my brother’s experience and there is an assortment of political backgrounds on that team. The topic of politics is not discussed very often among different teams so it is really hard to tell which political backgrounds makeup other teams. CR: Who is your favorite political icon and why? Drew: Governor Tom Ridge from Pennsylvania. He was largely responsible for the unbelievable response to the September 11th terrorist attacks and the efforts to rally support. I had a chance to
talk with him at one of our golf tournaments and he gave great advice to the players about the future of the United States and showed great integrity. He set a great example and reminded us that there is always someone else putting on the show for us. For example, golf tournaments cannot be run without volunteers and a great maintenance crew. He may be running for president in the next election. Zachary Waller is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
See the opposite page for Kent’s final humor piece!
May 5, 2010
Spagglegromper Industries Presents: The Rest Of Your Life Why hello there! I am Cornell alumnus and professional success Theodore Q. Spagglegromper IV. While not all Cornell graduates will experience the thrill of running a once-profitable company into the ground and emerging unscathed thanks to friends in Congress, you do stand to benefit greatly from your degree, no matter the field you chose to pursue. As I still feel great affection for my own alma mater, mate I have compiled the following handy guide to the rest of a Cornell student’s life, neatly organized by your major. Good luck in all your future endeavors, and remember - Spagglegromper is always hiring! Economics and other business disciplines: Despite the precarious position of the economy, you will have little trouble finding work. In the coming years, however, much of what you learned of economics will need to be re-learned - for example, the supply of goods is whatever the Supreme Leader says it is. Once society breaks down, your natural talent for noticing and modeling behavioral patterns will prove invaluable in identifying who among your band of survivors is most likely to become a cannibal. Pre-med: Expect more of the same - medical school will be a grueling series of all-nighters, much like Cornell. Be sure to learn how to treat bullet wounds and radiation poisoning - these skills will come in handy during your career. By the time you finish medical school, doctors will be in high demand; expect to be kidnapped and bartered for guns or working vehicles fairly frequently. On the bright side, you will likely be too valuable for the cannibals to eat. Pre-law: By the time you finish law school, most of the legal principles you studied will be laughably out of date. Using constitutional arguments against the warlord whose men currently have the knife to your throat is a bad strategy; you must learn to be adapatable in your trade. Try convincing him that a having a highly skilled negotiator on the team would help him convince other warlords to cooperate. He’ll still kill you, but at least he’ll be entertained. Natural sciences, math, or engineering: You will likely go to graduate school and then end up either in academia or doing research for a technology company. In either case, you will have literally weeks of exciting and challenging problems to work on before the breakdown of civilization shifts priorities from developing fusion power to repelling attacks by cannibals.Your extensive experience with video-game combat will likely prove useful in this regard, as will your ability to repair the weapons and vehicles of whatever faction takes you in. With some luck, you might even salvage enough technological know-how to rebuild society! Hotel school: You will likely find a job in the hotel industry. Once armed gunmen start taking up residence in your hotel on a regular basis, get to know the leaders of the groups; with any luck, your building will prove valuable enough to serve as a stronghold for one of the warring factions, and if you are on friendly terms with their leaders they might not kill you before seizing the building. ROTC student: Obeying the orders of a Neanderthal for several years is a small price to pay for having access to the best toys. If you play your cards right, you might even retain the loyalty of a small band of soldiers once the chain of command breaks down, and very few other warlords will have access to military-grade hardware. Useless fields ending in “studies”: Real jobs will use your resume as kindling; the manager at McDonald’s will call you overqualified. After a few years of unemployment and possible chemical dependency, your only choice will be to join a political movement as an “activist,” utilizing the radical left-wing politics you were taught at Cornell. Once society breaks down, your activist group may seize power - if you’re lucky, you may even get to call yourself “Dear Leader” for a few weks before being killed and possibly eaten by the next person to want that title. Be sure to convince minority groups that you “totally understand their struggle, man” so you will have allies to fight for you when the cannibals come. English: You will be the first to be eaten. T. HAYASHIDA
May 5, 2010
Court cases really aren’t boring, I promise! Hannah MacLean National News Editor
o, really—seriously… Most people look at me strangely when I tell them I love reading about the Supreme Court and lots of court cases. Granted, some cases are really, really boring. But some are very interesting and deserve more attention, particularly the ones about which people feel strongly. For example, there are two incendiary cases before the court right now regarding freedom of speech/practice of religion—one (Snyder v. Phelps) is about that provocative (and I would argue that they are crazy, as well) Westboro Baptist Church which went around to dead American soldiers' funerals and picketed with awful signs such as "God Hates Fags"; they basically trespassed and invaded the privacy of the late soldier's funeral and intentionally inflicted "emotional distress" on those grieving the marine's death. Not only that, but the group posted an essay (called "The Burden of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder") on their website (which I do not suggest checking out, as it will probably just make your blood boil), which said that the soldier's parents “raised [Matthew] for the devil,” “RIPPED that body apart and taught Matthew to defy his Creator, to divorce, and to commit adultery,” “taught him how to support the largest pedophile machine in the history of the entire world, the Roman Catholic monstrosity,” and “taught Matthew to be an idolator". Hmm. Those are some pretty serious accusations. Another case is actually parallel to the Chi Alpha incident last year. Christian Legal Society (CLS) v. Martinez is about a Christian group of students at University of California - Hastings College of Law; the students lost their status as an official school group because they required student officers and voters to adhere to the CLS Statement of Faith. Hmm, sound familiar? Chi Alpha did not lose its status, though many argued that it should — oh wait, wasn't that what Resolution 44 passed by the Student Assembly in February was about? Resolution 44 is eerily similar to the rules by which the University of California dissolved the group. I'll get back to this later. Let's talk about the more absurd of the two cases first. I'm all for freedom of speech, and I'm also all for freedom to practice one's religion freely. But there has to be a limit. After all, who would condone suicide bombers (or attempted suicide bombers) or other behavior that purposefully harms other groups of people? The members
of Westboro Baptist believe that American soldiers are dying because God is punishing America for tolerating homosexuality. Okay, whether you believe in gay marriage or civil unions or [insert pro-LGBT sentiment here] or you believe that marriage between one man and one woman is sacred, I say that you ought to be able to make your voice and opinion heard. After all, that's what this country is about: open discourse about the issues in order to find the most ethical, efficient, and equitable decisions for all who live here. But the point is not to propagate hate. We Americans have all been raised with the knowledge that we should challenge the status quo, that we should stand up for what we believe in, that we should never take for granted our rights and liberties. But there's a line, right? I mean, even if we believe it moral to go around hurting people, does that mean the laws should let us practice it? Didn't that end with the Koolaid? Unfortunately not. So, there's a line, but where is it? Perhaps "America is doomed" isn't so bad; I mean, it certainly isn't pleasant and it is controversial, but it isn't necessarily hurtful. Even "You're Going to Hell" is nasty, contentious, and judgmental, but it ought not be against the law (unless, of course, it's displayed in a place where it will cause undue harm to someone else, namely, a deceased soldier's funeral). Perhaps it was crossed with "Thank God for 9/11" or "Semper Fi Fags"? As much as I think these are mean-spirited, gratuitously ignorant, and wrong, I think people have the right to think these things. However, they should not have the right to harass other people—especially those who are hurting already, and especially not families of dead veterans. Hate speech and purposefully incendiary and hurtful speech (with no value other than to incite violence or hate) has never been protected by the Supreme Court. Hopefully it will not be this time. Religious freedom and freedom of speech are incredibly important to this country. The Court has not yet heard the case (meaning the oral argument has not
even taken place yet, but it will fairly soon), but it is an interesting case that we should be watching. But it isn't just about free speech
and religion; we have a name for this kind of thing here—it's called "defamation", which, if done on purpose, is usually not legal in the United States. Okay, so that case obviously isn't boring. How about something else to chew on? Pretty much all non-freshman Cornellians (as well as some Freshmen who have been informed) are aware of the events surrounding Chi Alpha last year, and most students on campus have heard of or are familiar with Resolution 44 (the anti-discrimination clause). While President Skorton supported the Student Assembly's vote in that he says that discriminatory groups may "lose funding" (which is voted on by the Student Assembly anyway), but that they will still be recognized. He also rejected the move to add "religious practices", among a few other things (height, ancestry, immigration status, socioeconomic status and weight), to categories of non-discrimination. He argues that the university bans all forms of illegal discrimination. In other words, clubs and groups like Chi Alpha, which, in accordance with the first amendment in the Bill of Rights, exercise their religion (without hurting people I might add; if you don't believe what they believe, you are free to come and join the service
and be an active part of the group— just not on leadership, which is supposed to guide the students on the group in accordance with the tenants for which the group stands) just like all other religious groups on campus, may lose funding (not that they get much, anyway) because they require their leadership (not the general assembly) to abide by its beliefs. What's the point of collective association around a set of beliefs if the group is not allowed to practice it? Assuming there is no "clear and present danger" (i.e. yelling "fire" in a crowded theater), it is protected by the first amendment (thanks to an old and somewhat amended but still important precedent from 1919). Granted, this precedent applies to free speech, not religion, but I would argue that both are protected under the first US DOJ amendment and share similar boundaries. Speech is protected (but not slander), just as practice of religion is protected (but not, for example, blowing up planes, abortion clinics, or any other kind of action meant to hurt people). So, because this case is so parallel, it could very well have ramifications for groups like Chi Alpha or other religious (read: Christian) groups on campus. Granted, there is a loophole; the University of CA Hastings law school is a state school— Oh, wait! Aren't several of the colleges of Cornell University considered state schools? Okay, so that's a little shaky, but Cornell is still considered a private institution, which means that the Student Assembly and President Skorton are not (yet) required to abide by whatever the Court decides. The case before the Supreme Court now will determine whether or not a school can cut off funding to a religious group based on its leadership requirements; it may not directly affect Cornell (yet) because of the school's status as a private institution, but that doesn't mean President Skorton won't take notice of the Court's decision. Hannah MacLean is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be contacted at hem47@ cornell.edu.
May 5, 2010
A Lobbyist’s Perspective on Puerto Rico House Repubs. make poor choices on PR, Cornell students lobby to set things straight Matt Truesdail Staff Writer
n Tuesday evening Julio Cabral, Roneal Desai, Josh Robinson, and I departed Ithaca by car and traveled to Washington, D.C. Our mission: lobby in as many congressional offices as possible for the passage of HR 2499, or the “Puerto Rico Democracy Act.” HR 2499 is a simple bill. It allows for two plebiscites in Puerto Rico. The first would give the people the option of remaining in the StatusQuo, or for a change. If the change option won, the people would then vote again, choosing between Statehood, Independence, or Free Association with the United States. However, these plebiscites would be non-binding. Nothing would officially come of them unless Congress chooses to act. The bill also provides that the first plebiscite be repeated every eight years until Puerto Rico’s political status changes. Essentially, the bill is harmless. It would create a survey whose results Congress would have to recognize, nothing more. It is an easy concept to understand. What is harder to comprehend is why the GOP largely voted against this bill when it came to the floor of the House. There are numerous reasons why every Republican in the House should have voted for its passage. There were more reasons why political commentator Glenn Beck should have supported this bill than for him to frame it in his latest conspiracy theory. First, if Puerto Rico becomes a state, residents of the 51st state would almost certainly vote for
Republicans in national elections. The island’s residents are socially conservative, showing strong support for the protection of marriage, for the right to life, the presence of the Ten Commandments on government property and prayer in schools, and for voucher system in public education. The island’s government is dominated by the New Progressive Party, the platform of which is statehood. The majority of its members are registered Republicans in the United States party system. Republicans represent about twothirds of the government of Puerto Rico, including its Speaker of the House, Jennifer Colón; President of the Senate, Thomas Schatz; an its governor, Luis Fortuño, who spoke here at Cornell only recently. Fortuño, a strong Reagan conservative, was elected by the widest margin of victory on the island in the last 44 years. Second, it is important for everyone to recognize the importance of the people’s right to self-determination. Even though the American people seem more polarized now than ever, there are certain American principles we can agree on. Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States for 112 years, and didn’t have a Constitution until 1952. Even now, the island is subject to the whim of the federal government through the Territorial Clause of the US Constitution, but has no meaningful representation in any national governmental body. Puerto Ricans can be subject to the draft, hold U.S. citizenship,
and pay derived federal taxes, they cannot vote for their commander in chief, or elect any voting members in Congress. The United States pours billions of dollars into encouraging Democracy abroad, yet there is no democracy here at home. Contrary to what Glenn Beck says, the movement for HR 2499 is not an elaborate scheme to force statehood on the island and enfranchise an additional four million voters for the Democrat party. Having taken part in this movement at its core by working personally with all of its leaders, I can safely say that proponents of the bill seek nothing more than political equality and liberty. The bill promotes the basic ideas of self-determination, freedom for oppression, and “consent of the governed”, three maxims of conservative libertarians if I am correct. However, the word “progressive” appearing in the name of the party that expressly supports this bill, along with the phrase “social justice” in the party’s platform, appear to be enough to disqualify the movement to many conservative thinkers. Without seeing things in
context, I understand how that can be scary. However, it is important to point out that the “progressive” in the New Progressive Party simply means that the party would like Puerto Rico to progress from the tyranny of the current system to the liberty of statehood. The term “social justice” in the party platform also has different meanings on the island of Puerto Rico than here in the United States. The NPP promotes social justice in that the GOP promotes “liberty and justice for all”. Glenn Beck, please chill. Fortunately, the bill has passed in the House 223-169. Only 39 Republicans, including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, voted in favor, while 128, including Minority Leader John Boehner, voted nay. On a note of personal success, 16 of the 19 congressman we lobbied voted in favor of the bill’s passage. Matt Truesdail is a freshman in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Cornell Review
May 5, 2010
Wisemen (and Women) The Cornell Review’s incoming staff for 2010-2011! EDITOR IN CHIEF
Dennis Shiraev is a sophomore Economics major and College Scholar in the College of Arts and Sciences. A classical liberal at heart, Dennis derives all his political views from the idea that man has the right to freely exist for himself and preserve his liberty against the coercion of the state. Although many of his views coincide with those of the Libertarian party, he considers himself to be a mainstream sociallyliberal conservative when it comes to real, pragmatic dialogue about pertinent political and economic issues.
Raza S. Hoda is a junior Classics major in the College of Arts & Sciences. Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, Raza is new to the whole ‘snow’ thing. He belongs to the school of Neoconservatism and is still a staunch supporter of the Bush administration and its effective policies. He hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Raza’s back up plans include law, political punditry, stand up comedy, and graduate school for microbiology (in that order). Raza also contributes on 93.5 WVBR’s‘The Soapbox’ to voice his opinions.
NATIONAL NEWS EDITOR
CAMPUS NEWS EDITOR
Oliver Renick is a sophomore Joseph Bonica is a sophomore Materials Scientist Engineer in Biology major at Cornell Cornell’s College of Engineering. University’s College of Agriculture Politically, Oliver considers and Life Sciences. His political himself a Jeffersonian democrat. beliefs are a happy balance between He believes that he is entitled fiscal conservatism and social to very little from the state conservatism, and tolerates peaceful government and prides himself beliefs different from his own.. Joe on his individuality and selfbelieves in the power of the freest worth. His core beliefs revolve possible market, and the power around a very small national and personal responsibility of the government and a strong emphasis individual. Onerous regulations on national security as a primary by the current administration concern. Although an engineer by trade, Oliver is very interested (and to a somewhat lesser extent in both editorial writing and journalism, which he will continue the last one) have threatened to develop through an internship at The New York Post. this for future generation, and this is why Joe fights for the cause. Lucas Policastro is a freshman Brendan Devine is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. History major in the College of Arts He will pursue a career in surgery, and Sciences. A conservative out but for now he’s getting started by of the mold of Burke and Adams, studying Chemistry. A proud New Brendan is a stout Federalist and Jerseyan, Lucas speaks softly but social traditionalist. He dismisses carries a big stick. Don’t expect overly eager philosophies that him to distill his politics down to purport to have all the answers a single label of convention like as imprudent, instead relying ‘conservative’ — what’s good for on ancestral wisdom and old Americans is good for him. He is prescription. Just as some believe excited to witness his generation in separation of Church and State, grow up with the wisdom of Brendan believes in the separation yesterday’s patriots and a desire of Business and State. Above to help others. He rouses this call all, Brendan follows John Randolph’s old axiom: “I love liberty, with a hoot and a holler as a member of The Cornell Review. I hate equality;” men are not equal because no two men are alike.
Hannah MacLean is a freshman in Arts and Sciences planning to double major in Philosophy and English, while trying to decide between teaching English and serving as an attorney or judge. She believes in small government and low taxes, and tends to lean right in moral and social issues. She is and always will be a debater at heart, happily entertaining views contradictory toward when parties are both informed and respectful. She is wary of overly intense, heated arguments in which everyone loses their head and is also wary of taking politics too seriously and therefore prefers to use some measure of humor to get her point across.
Anthony Longo is a freshman Biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences. Hoping to pursue a career in medicine (however not in socialized medicine), Anthony plans on attending medical school to study cardiology. He considers himself a true ultra-conservative in every aspect, believing in fiscal responsibility, small government, Catholic values, and true capitalism. Born and raised in Northern New Jersey, Anthony witnessed how a conservative upbringing and a sense of self-reliance can help propel future generations to succeed. He enjoys writing opinion pieces related to national news, and is responsible for most of the original artwork seen in The Review.
Cornell Review XXVIII #11