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“We Do Not Apologize.”

Limited Government. Traditional Values. America First.

Volume XXVIII, Issue 4 /

An Independent Publication November 4, 2009

New Face of the Student Assembly Roneal Desai ‘13 has high hopes and ambitious goals for the future of C.U. OLIVER RENICK / managing editor DENNIS SHIRAEV / campus editor


lass of 2013’s freshman representative in the Student Assembly, Roneal Desai sits down with the Review to talk about Cornell, the increasingly influential role of the SA, and of course, politics. A native Gujarati speaker, Desai identifies himself as a ‘negotiator,’ who ultimately surpassed premiere college offers in the fields of business and government for the ILR program at Cornell. CR: How has your first semester been? What are your initial reactions? How do you feel about your decision to come here? RD: Definitely impressed with the level of work at Cornell – professors, TA’s, everything, has been off the charts. The people that I have been able to study with – I have had a lot of good intellectual conversations with people that haven’t involved alcohol, which is always a plus. I haven’t regretted my decision at all. C R : A r e t h e g i r l s h e re really as bad as your friends warned you? Don’t worry; we won’t publish this part… RD: It has definitely exceeded expectations, I have been pleasantly surprised. CR: How and when did you decide that you wanted to be in the SA? Why? RD: When I originally looked into student government in high

school, I always liked being in a position of power and having the ability to make changes, but in high school all the student government really did was put on dances and hold pep rallies, and I wasn’t really into putting a lot of time into something that didn’t have the power to get anything done. I was really interested in doing student government when I came here, but I wanted to make sure we actually had the power to actually make changes; after realizing the SA here could do that, it was something I was interested in pursuing. CR: Why did the original community clause, resolution 4, fail? RD: As far as why it didn’t receive enough votes, at the time I was not on the SA but I was in the room when it was presented and when it was voted on. The general consensus that I got was that it gave too much power to people; one vote per person was just too much control, it didn’t allow representatives to control the SA like they were intended to, because that’s the voting power that they were given. It just gave too much control to the average person, you know, someone could just come in and, it basically took six hours to get a vote, and from there, it just wasn’t fair. CR: Right – and people often gave the example of the

Inside This Issue . . .

Catch up on campus events you missed:

Page 5 Slavery and abortion: Star Parker on life and death

Page 6 Bush v. Obama: who will bring Africa the most prosperity?

Page 7 Cornell Cinema loses funding. Deserving decision or unwarranted?

Page 8 Esteemed historian James McPherson commemorates Lincoln exhibit

Page Two The Daily Sun and Students to Unite Cornell sponsor a disucssion on program houses

entire Cornell Republicans or Cornell Democrats showing up. If Res. 4 had passed, who would you rather have taken over, the CRs or CDs? The CRs, you say? We agree. R D : We l l , a c c o rd i n g t o social statistics, Democrats should take over because there are more of them, but

Artwork by Anthony Longo

Republicans would take over because more of them would show up, and I’d rather have the Libertarians take over. CR: You, Rammy Salem, and Ola Williams all presented community Clause 2.0. Give us a little inside scoop; how long was CC 2.0 in the works? Were your gears already turning while res. 4 was failing?

RD: Basically, as soon as res 4 got shot down, we were already working up how to change it, how to revise it, and how to represent a new community clause. We actually had a number of meetings where we tried to read the rest of this interview, see DESAI, page 4

Savings or Smoke and Mirrors? ROMAN LESKO / staff writer


ver the last six months Democrats in Congress have made a colossal promise to the American public to deliver health care reform that will drive down the cost of care, and increase insurance coverage without adding to the federal deficit. But this begs the question, how will the additional coverage provided to millions of Americans be paid for? Certainly, liberals in Congress must realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch, yet conservatives are the ones being criticized for not

having any real plans for reform themselves. Not only are these criticisms unfounded, but conservatives do in fact support reform measures that actually get at the core of the skyrocketing costs of medical care; removing decision making power from third party intermediaries and returning to a model where decisions are made by patients and their doctors. ...see HEALTH CARE, page 2



November 2009

Health care in Congress ...continued from front page

One of the largest factors contributing to the escalating costs of health care is the exemption of employer based insurance benefits from taxation. This type of protection encourages employees and employers to place more and more of their pre-tax dollars into plans with low-deductibles and high premiums. This not only leaves employees without coverage when they lose their jobs, but it also leads to distortions in the health care markets because of the perception that “someone else” will pay for it. Do not let the rhetoric fool you, these distortions causing escalating costs of health care will not be solved by shifting the decision making power to bureaucrats in government or at an insurance firm. What is the Democrats’ plan to solve the problem of escalating costs? Creating a new public plan that will drive down insurance costs by “keeping insurance companies honest,” a line of reasoning that insults the intelligence of anyone who understands the American health care industry. Behind the façade of a market based solution to what ails our health care industry

there is hardly any real reform. Certainly liberals have made tremendous efforts to characterize the public option and government intervention as “increasing competition,” and “providing more choices” to garner support for their policies, but in reality these goals can be achieved without large scale government intervention. One such measure, the Health Savings Account (HSA), was authorized by federal law in 2003 under the Bush Administration, and is an example of how consumer driven health plans can make insurance more affordable while driving down the cost of care. You may be asking yourself, how can a savings account possibly drive down the cost of medical care? The answer is fairly intuitive; individuals can put away pre-tax dollars into a specified savings account that accrues interests that can then be used to pay for medical expenses out of the account. A low premium is then paid on top to cover the individual for any catastrophic medical expenses that the policyholder cannot pay out of the money in the account (that is there is a cap for what individuals

are expected to pay out of pocket for each procedure). By giving American households greater control over the health-care dollar, people and their doctors could show discretion in choosing a course of treatment and “shop” for the most cost effective measures. Thereby the distortions in the health-care markets linked to the current mentality of “someone else is paying for it” will be removed. Democrats attack these plans as infeasible, because they diminish quality of care, reduce preventative care, and only cater to those who can afford to save. Once again, this line of argument is an insult to the intelligence and capabilities of the American people. After all, who else but you and your doctor know best what type of care you really need? A study by the Manhattan Institute has shown that the amount of preventative care provided to people with HSAs is no less than those with more traditional health insurance plans. Furthermore, people put away money into their plans in years that they consume less on health care. This money is then rolled over year after year and can then be drawn upon in years when consumption

on health care is greater. Another argument that is often made alleges that the chronically ill would likely draw down their funds before they had time to accumulate. However, studies have shown that given the right deductibles, out-of pocket caps and marginal tax rates, even the chronically ill could benefit from HSAs. Amid all of the smoke and mirrors that liberals are parading as reform, true cost saving measures may be left on the chopping block. Americans stand to lose much if reform efforts are passed that do not include the freedom to choose one’s doctor and the freedom to choose the coverage in one’s insurance plan. Democrats’ claims that there are no dangerous or detrimental policies in reform plans may sound reassuring, but granting unbridled power to people promising “hope and change,” is a dangerous route that may ultimately diminish our freedoms, and in the case of health care, the freedom to control our health care dollars. Roman Lesko is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be contacted at

Future of program houses at Cornell




rogram houses at Cornell have always been a large part of the community. They provide students with mentorship from upper-class peers, and they create an environment that stresses “inclusion, engagement, and achievement of full potential.” But most importantly, they create so-called “safe spaces” for students who feel most comfortable around people of the same or similar background. In a discussion on Monday, students of the Cornell community joined a group of panelists in a casual debate over the future of program houses at our university. The panel included members of the administration and members from a few program houses, including Ujaama and the Center for Jewish Living. As many people already know, the future of these houses is at risk and many believe that “an end of program houses would mean the death of safe spaces at Cornell.” Panelist Zach Murray, a resident of Ujaama, told the crowd in Goldwin Smith that “some people aren’t used to interacting in diverse environments.” Program houses give people a sense of

security, especially if they are insecure about their identity and do not like being questioned about their personal opinions that they might deem as being “different.” Fortunately for those in support of program housing, Susan Murphy (VP Student & Academic Services) affirmed that, “program houses are NOT in danger of being removed.” Some of the problems that have arisen in the past include rare instances of discrimination, in which racial comments have been made from outside the house windows. A different problem that occurs each year is that North Campus housing runs out of space and sometimes automatically places students in program houses, thus forcing some students to live in an unwanted themed environment. The panel also discussed issues of possible self-segregation. In response, David Harris, the Deputy Provost, said that “the percent of black students in Ujaama is lower than the percent of white students in fraternities,” showing that program houses aren’t the only place where this ‘self-segregation’ exists. After the panel discussion, an anonymous student stood up and said that a program house

Deputy provost David Harris contributes on behalf of the administration

“shouldn’t be about a safe space, but it should be about a learning environment.” In some sense, his statement was accurate because program houses today have in many ways contradicted the university’s mission of diversity. Of course, students have the choice of whom they interact with on a daily basis. But as a firm believer in diversity, I believe they are missing out on the unique experience of meeting people with different cultures and opinions. I understand the several difficulties that some students face

when arriving to a completely new place. It is not the easiest task to come to a university that has people from so many different backgrounds, especially if you are not used to it. Yet the fact is in the real world you have to deal with it. The U.S. is one of the most diverse countries, and there is no question that people will have to interact with others who do not necessarily share the same culture as they do, especially after graduating from Cornell. My advice to those who ...see PROGRAM HOUSES, page 5

November 2009

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Scholar-Activists and other oxymorons Is anyone else getting tired of this? I’ve spent the past three years decrying this university’s histrionics on the subject of race, and to no avail, given the recent furor over the utterly inconsequential University review of the program houses. For once, I’m not going to focus on the absurdity of Cornellians’ beliefs that certain races need “safe spaces” on campus – the program house review panel is already covered on page [PAGE] – but on how such foolish racialist thinking can infect academic programs and inculate in students bogus race- and class-based worldviews that not only suffocate actual inquiry but actively promote the downfall of our society and economy under the guise of so-called “social justice.” Scholarly work demands objectivity. Without a willingness to root out the true cause of the phenomena under investigation regardless of one’s ideology, it devolves into what has been called “intellectual masturbation” - the fruitless churning out of articles with titles like “A Marxist Perspective on American Refusal to Adopt the Metric System” with no consideration of whether Marxist perspectives are adequate to analyze anything at all, particularly considering the abject failure of Marxism as an economic and political ideology. The net result of such work is a pile of papers and a few careers, yet we are no closer to understanding why we don’t use the metric system. Any university worthy of the name must maintain its commitment to objective inquiry in all fields of study – can you imagine the ridicule that would be heaped upon Cornell if one of our biology professors published “A Marxist Perspective on Dolphin Migration Patterns”? - except, curiously, in certain fields ending in “Studies.” There is more than a grain of truth to the old joke that any department containing the word “Studies” won’t require students to actually study anything; departments like Feminist/Gender/Sexuality Studies and Insert-Race-Here Studies seem to be breeding grounds for ideologues who earnestly believe that their duty is to indoctrinate students in one ideology or another and encourage “activism” rather than to teach students to analyze the complex factors driving, say, race or gender relations or even to question the validity of race-based inquiry into various phenomena. This vicious cycle not only shifts such departments to one ideological extreme, almost always the loony left – the only rightwing examples I can find are of the

Bible-thumping kind at backwater Southern colleges – but actively discourages students with different beliefs from taking classes in these departments – and worse, actively poisons what used to be open minds – thus ensuring that the next generation of professors will be even more ideologically monotonous. The Left’s obsession with a mostly imaginary oppressor-victim dynamic ensures that dissenters are not just people who have come to different conclusions but enemies to be defeated at all costs. Worst of all, the Left has managed to mislead all too many into believing that the legitimate anti-racism struggle of the 50’s, 60’s, and beyond was part of their fight against capitalism rather than an entirely separate affair. As I have already written ad nauseum, capitalism actively works against bigotry, so I won’t repeat myself here; what is important is that in the modern era, too many students come out of our universities brainwashed into earnestly believing that America is an evil, racist empire and that capitalism is somehow responsible. There is no more powerful way of ensuring that a group of people remains bound by your ideology than to make them believe that all competing ideologies are motivated solely by irrational hatred. I regret to say that Cornell is in the late stages of this ideological infection, and no symptom is more obvious than the enthusiastic reception given to former professor/ Communist Party presidential candidate and current anti-prison/ capitalism/reason activist Angela Davis. Speaking at the Africana Studies library this past Tuesday, Davis and her fellow ideologues did not even feign objectivity. The event was introduced amidst talk of how it is sometimes “taken for granted that one must be both a scholar and an activist” and a shameless plug for a book subtitled “How a radical socialist movement became an academic discipline.” I cannot stress enough that the role of scholar and activist could scarcely be more different. While everyone is entitled to their private beliefs and may partake in activism in their own time, there is absolutely no place for ideological indoctrination in the classroom, nor can useful research be produced through the lens of an unyielding ideology such as Davis’s. Davis spoke at length about the need to turn the university into a “community of struggle” and her belief that there is “never an alternative” to being a “scholar-activist.” Oxymoronic became just plain moronic when Davis, not content with dismantling objective research

(or, in her own words, “moving from the individualism of scholarly work to the collectivism of social justice”) compared her efforts to eliminate prisons (thus putting thousands of violent criminals back on the streets) to the abolition of slavery and voiced her opposition to improved womens’ prisons and prisoner outreach/rehabilitation programs on the grounds that they “helped institutionalize the prisonindustrial complex.” I suppose I should have expected as much when the introduction to the speech consisted of an open letter written to her in which it was claimed that “the change in black consciousness means the beginning of the end of America,” but the sheer, unyielding, almost religious fervor of Davis’s commands to transform the university into a modern re-education camp was profoundly disturbing. It is entirely appropriate for scholars to discuss what constitutes justice and how to best implement various forms of justice; it is not appropriate to teach students that “social justice” demands that they surrender their individuality into the Borg collective and fight for the downfall of America and/or capitalism and that if they don’t, they are enemies of blacks, the poor, and other “victims.” University ideologues are not only misleading large segments of entire races into believing that the rest of the nation hates them, but that the only way to overcome this hatred is to dismantle the very economy whose success has allowed widespread university education in the first place. There’s something inherently fishy about any alleged “justice” in which we are asked to unconditionally pledge our allegiance as “activists” fighting in the service of an ideology bereft of unbiased investigation into the actual causes of injustices. No, the scholar-activist is an oxymoron, barring the rare few who manage to successfully separate their academic from private lives. Given the current economic circumstances and some of the ludicrous cuts Cornell has made (first and foremost, the Physical Sciences Library), the administration would do well to trim ideologically-oriented “Studies” departments instead. As it stands, these departments only serve to indoctrinate students into becoming the foot soldiers of a radical movement and to close their eyes to the true pursuit of knowledge. A result more contrary to the purpose of the university can scarcely be imagined.

Kent Haegar is a Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be contacted at




November 2009

Desai ‘13 shows active role in Student Assembly ...continued from front page

make this something not just the SA was involved in, which is one of my personal goals of the year, which is to expand the power of the school to be on the SA. So, we had meetings where a number of people could come. We sent an email out to a number of people inviting them to come give their input, and we tried to get the voice of as many people as we could, outside the SA, to see how we could best build a community clause. I walked around talking to people while campaigning, and the general consensus I got was that res. 4 gave too much power to the general public, so basically we were all trying to figure out how to cap this vote -what’s the best way to give people a voice without giving them too much power, without giving them too little power, and we decided upon Resolution 11.


CR: CC 2.0 has the caveat that non-members can’t vote on funding and budgetary decisions, ability to make motions, or creation / dissolution of committees.  So what will they  be voting on? Aren’t funding and budgetary decisions the most important subjects right now during the financial meltdown at C.U? RD: So, specifically, what the community clause 2.0 does is it gives people the right to vote on sense of the body resolutions. We put those things in you mentioned to clarify to people later on so they know exactly what kinds of power we were giving the people originally. As far as procedure goes, that’s a matter of efficiency. As far as budgetary decisions, I feel that there is a different level of information that goes into making budgetary decisions as there is that goes into making sense of the body decisions. As far as a budgetary decision goes, you’re allowed to hear a group talk for a certain amount of time, and a lot of the times we’ll table resolutions for a number of weeks, and discuss them both in the committee and outside the committee. I feel this background information is something that should be needed in order to vote on budgetary decisions. At the same time, obviously the thing we’re afraid of is if a certain group is having their budget voted on, them just bringing in a large number of people into the room to sway the vote one way or the other, and I don’t feel that accurately reflects the minority the way the community clause is aimed to. Pretty much anything that affects the general public at large [can be voted on by visitors]. Resolution 15 that just passed about Collegetown housing; that was a sense of the body resolution; the resolution that failed last year to have concealed guns on campus, that was a sense of

the body resolution; the resolution to remove ‘Cornell’ from the Cornell Review was also a sense of the body resolution. So you’re definitely voting on important things. CR: When will the clause begin affecting the SA process? Have you seen an increase in visitors yet? When do you expect the influx to occur? We definitely have had an increase in input. I’ve received about nine emails just from freshman alone who have asked me, “I saw that in the paper, is that running yet?” It didn’t go into process this week, as it is awaiting the signature of President Skorton, who is currently in Asia. After that, an email will be sent out through CIT so all students know when they can start to take part. CR: Critics often complain that the SA is a huge bureaucracy that ultimately moves slowly and inefficiently - how can this change? RD: First of all, you definitely have to draw the line; slowly does not equal inefficient. I hate to be a government pundit here, but our own Congress is set up so that it moves slowly, and our founding fathers intended slowly to be efficient. We sort of see it the same way – there’s a number of times in committee where we reach a stalemate or it’s a general consensus that people just don’t know enough about the issue, especially when you get down to budgetary issues that are really complicated, go deep into the budget, have ramifications upon ramifications, and we’ll table something for a week or two so we can discuss it out of committee and get a better idea of it. I don’t think that’s inefficient at all; I would rather have someone take two to three weeks to really delve into something to know what they’re talking about, and come back and vote on it, instead of voting the same day and saying, ‘oh we’re being efficient.’

then we’ll have our representative from the SIC and residential life take it to the SA for you.’ Red tape is going to exist no matter what, there’s always a democratic process to getting things done, but this way, you’re taking that process away from the normal individual that has an idea he or she wants to contribute; so we still have to go through the process, but it’s helping the average person get his or her ideas through faster. CR: What kind of ideas are you currently working on in your head? What kind of resolutions can we expect to see in the near future? RD: Right now, I’m trying to get a library that’s open twenty-four hours a day. We have something going with the Cornell bookstore – they’ve been really bad about releasing book lists early in the year, so we’re trying to get them to request book lists from professors earlier on so students have a better idea of what books they need to get. One of my current plans is that I’m trying to get more trash cans all over campus, specifically starting with North, and trying to work down to Central and West. Something else I’m planning on doing within the next couple months, maybe even before the end of the first semester, is a mandatory finance test for everyone on the Student Assembly. I know that every club president, VP, and treasurer is required to pass a similar test. It’s a pretty straightforward test; it would be like driver’s ed., where you take the test as many times as you need to until you pass it.

CR: Where do you see the SA being six months from now? What kind of long-term ideas are you working on? RD: I have a lot of things that I want to go through. The main thing I’m working on right now is integrating health care into financial aid. We need to help immediately. I hope to have a financial aid policy where we allocate maybe 4 or 5 percent from the top of the financial aid bracket CR: You voted for the new to the bottom to help these students ‘Student Innovation Council,’ [who have an added cost of health to get ideas from students into care to their Cornell budget]. So, the SA with greater speed; is it’s not even increasing the amount this really going to be efficient of financial aid in the budget, just or is this just more red tape changing where some financial aid for ideas to move through? goes. So basically, if a [family] RD: More red tape? I think it’s makes between, I want to say about the exact opposite. With the SIC, $123-126K a year off the top of my someone can go directly to the SIC head, you’ll see a cut in your financial and say, ‘here’s my idea: I want aid. I think that’s a fair trade-off. more trash cans on campus,’ and it’s CR: There is a lot of talk right someone in the SICs job, who has an now about Program Houses. What understanding of all the committees is the SA’s role in this? What is and an understanding of the SA your ideal situation for the PHs? process to say, ‘ ok well this is what RD: I can’t honestly say that it’s [the SIC] is going to do – this is how something I’m super involved in or you draft that resolution, [the SA] is something I’m super knowledgeable going to draft that resolution first, about. If you were to go into this, I take it to Residential Life for you, would highly recommend talking to [the SIC] will get it passed there, Ola Williams; he’s kind of like the SA

expert on the Program Houses –sort of our liaison to the program houses. And I know Nikhil Kumar and Vincent Andrews also are involved in that, as well as Jonathan Rau. CR: This is a little bit before your time, but previously, SA members tried to remove (nonexistent) funding from the Review, and threatened to remove the ‘Cornell’ part. Can you promise us this won’t happen again? Thanks. RD: You know what, I think that would be a hard promise to make, because I am currently drafting the resolution to try that a second time. But if I were to try it, I can promise I would contact you beforehand. C R : Ve r y f u n n y. L e t ’ s get serious, here, down to politics: do you follow politics? Who do you go to for news? RD: I try to watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report every night, to stay updated. I read BBC for my main source of un-biased news. CNN basically gets most of their information from Twitter now, and I don’t watch Fox because [edited for non-conservatism], and MSNBC is a little too biased for me. CR: Which do you think Obama is taking more seriously, the War on Terror or the War on Fox News? RD: I think he was focusing on the War on Fox News, but after the Nobel Peace award, I think he kind of wanted to show that he cared about the international influence, so he moved over to the war on terror more. C R : Wo u l d y o u c o n s i d e r running for President? Who would be your running mate? R D : I n t h e w o rd s o f m y government professor Theodore Lowi, the only way I could be smart enough to qualify myself to run for president would be to say I wouldn’t want to run for president. CR: Who is your favorite political icon, of all time? RD: That’s a tough one. Bugs bunny made some noise in the 90s with some controversial cartoons…that’s a tough call. The opinions and statements made in this article are those of Roneal Desai and not representative of the Student Assembly as an institution.

Oliver Renick is a sophomore in the College of Engineering and Dennis Shiraev is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. They can be contacted at ojr5 and des255, repectively.


November 2009


The slavery of abortion

CURE founder Star Parker discusses the effects of abortion on the Black community



or the past three decades or so, the American polity and people have struggled mightily with the issue of abortion. Both the left and the right argue for or against preserving its legality, tossing arguments ranging from statistics to religious morals. It has inspired the people to rise up in protest for either its defense or repeal, sometimes unfortunately ending in high-profile violence. T h e e ff e c t s o f abortion are particularly felt amongst the black community, in which almost half of pregnancies end in the death of the fetus. To explain what these effects are, and how they can be stopped, the Cornell University College Republicans and The Cornell Coalition for Life brought in Star Parker, the founder of the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education and a former single welfare mother. Almost immediately upon taking the podium, Mrs. Parker compared abortion to slavery in that it is something that is legal but morally wrong. Just as abolitionists knew slavery was wrong and so fought against it, those who protest abortion are doing work for our country’s morality, even going as far as to say those who work at pregnancy care centers are like “modern Harriet Tubmans.” Some progress was made on the issue of abortion during the Bush administration, such as the signing of the Senate bill to ban partial birth abortion, in which a late-term fetus is delivered artificially and has its brain matter removed, while the body is disposed of. Mrs. Parker made sure to note that similar legislation was introduced during the Clinton administration, but then-President Clinton vetoed the bill. The pro-life movement has met much opposition since 2006, when the Democrats claimed both houses of Congress, and are encountering even more resistance now with the presidency of Barack Obama, who claims the issue is “above his pay grade.” Despite this, Mrs. Parker noted, President Obama has shown hostility to the pro-life movement in his actions and rhetoric. Mrs. Parker pointed out that much like a slave master denies the humanity of his slave, President Obama has denied the humanity of the embryo. Mrs. Parker then noted that the black community is the most vulnerable to abortion, as they have always been slightly less well off to begin with. Abortion looks the most attractive to the weak and unsure, such as college students and minority groups. The

problems with abortion and the black community began when abortion was introduced as a safety net, which was essentially the government telling all people that they no longer needed to be sexually responsible. Among blacks, this led to an increase in sexual promiscuity among both men and women, which increased the number of out of wedlock births in the United States, and caused an especially marked increase in the rate among African-Americans. The number of out of wedlock births, combined with the requirements of the new welfare system, helped to shatter the black family unit and led to the modern plight of African Americans, which sees 70% of African American children born either out of wedlock or into single-mother households. Parker went on to discuss how the ease of getting an abortion and its attractiveness among the black community has led to frightening results. According to Parker, abortion rates among the black community are so high that, in 150 years, no AfricanAmericans would remain in the United States. There are many factors which make abortions so easy to receive; for instance, Planned Parenthood, founded by outspoken racist and eugenicist Margaret Sanger, receives $330 million in taxpayer money from the government to set themselves up in inner city areas, where a large percentage of African Americans live. Also in some cases, large city governments subsidize abortions as a provision of welfare. These facts, plus welfare rules which require women to have fewer children, make getting an abortion a powerful alternative to having a child. Mrs. Parker mentioned other startling effects of abortion, some of which are not often thought about. For instance, she indicated that the single-parent situation encouraged indirectly by abortion has contributed to the rise in crime and the prison population in recent decades. The common factor among inmates, she says, is neither race nor ethnicity, but rather past family situation; 95% of inmates come from singleparent households. Since a parent (usually the father) is missing, the same stabilizing forces of marriage are not present in the life of a child, and this leads to a deformity of moral development, which pushes the young person

Star Parker, founder of the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education.

to a life of crime. The chain does not end here, however. In prison, said Mrs. Parker, young men will participate in acts of sodomy and bring the HIV virus from the prison to the outside world. It is largely for this reason that AIDS has become the number one killer of young women. F i n a l l y, a n d p e r h a p s m o s t importantly, abortion is beginning to show deep psychological effects on women even years after the abortion, according to Mrs. Parker. Around the United States, “postabortive ministries” are becoming popular. These often host memorial services for a woman’s unborn dead, and in the ceremony she will name the deceased baby as if it were still alive. Several women have accosted her in her travels, telling heartbreaking stories of having to tell their living children that they killed a sibling before them and of the intense pain it caused all parties involved. Mrs. Parker claimed that this could all be easily prevented by discouraging sexual promiscuity and teaching people of the horrible after effects and irreparable damages caused by abortion. This way, the American people, and as Parker pointed out, the black

community, can free themselves from the bonds of poverty caused by the abortion menace. Joseph Bonica is a sophomore in the College of Agircultural and Life Sciences. He can be contacted at

PROGRAM HOUSES ...continued from page 2

disagree with this - don’t always think that it’s only people of your background that share your opinions and also don’t set limits on yourself by defining yourself by one thing. If you take the time, you may realize that even the least likely person might share your “rare” belief that in reality was never that uncommon at all.

Jerome Tse is a freshman in the School of Hotel Administration. He can be contacted at




November 2009

SA brings major changes to Housing Lottery DENNIS SHIRAEV CAMPUS EDITOR


hat do you mean the new buildings on West are full already?” That’s the description on the Facebook group for Cascadilla Hall, the Collegetown dormitory that ended up being the backup plan residence for many rising sophomores on room selection day last year. After only three or four time slots had passed, it was almost impossible to block more than three people into one of the new West Campus dorms—an hour later all the remaining spots were gone. Many students settled with Cascadilla or the West Campus Gothics, while other stressed out freshmen spent the evening searching for unrented apartments or calculating how much a bus pass would cost to transport them from Akwe:kon to Central Campus every day. Well great news freshmen, you won’t have to go through the same ordeal this spring thanks to a set of recently-passed Student Assembly resolutions. Resolution 13 directly changes the order of selection for the housing lottery: on-campus rising sophomores get the first set of time slots, followed by on-campus rising

juniors, then followed by on-campus rising seniors, and finally students living off-campus get to pick last. These resolutions may lead to many shattered dreams of juniors who have waited three or more years—yes, people do start yearning for a room on West before they even get to Cornell—to get first dibs on a single in Bethe, but it seems only fair. Nikhil Kumar ’11, Vice President for Internal Operations of the Student Assembly and sponsor of the legislation, talked about the reasoning behind the change in policy: “The main motivation was student dissatisfaction. It doesn’t make sense that the University guarantees housing for freshmen and sophomores but has to guess about how many rooms to block for sophomores because they give juniors and seniors first preference. And from talking to Campus Life, it was clear that they also were open to the idea of giving sophomores the first pick from a logistical perspective.” For upperclassmen who are determined to stay live in a dormitory for their entire time at

Cornell, the in-house lottery system for West Campus will remain in place for now. Additionally, Resolution 12 proposed the creation of an in-house lottery system for Cascadilla Hall and Sheldon Court, which will most likely go into effect for the 2011-2012 academic year. Mark Du ’12, who managed to block into one of the last remaining rooms in Cascadilla Hall during room selection last spring, had this to say about the policy change: “It’s nice to see that the SA passed a resolution like this. As a freshman, you are more or less randomly assigned a dorm on North Campus. It’s only natural that as a rising sophomore, you should get first priority for housing selection in the spring. Also, Cornell’s housing office has always stated that it guarantees on-campus housing for sophomores, so I think this resolution helps to further ensure that.” Fortunately, this is not the last set of resolutions for reforming campus housing. Kumar told us that while these resolutions were steps in the right direction, a lot more can be done over the next

couple of years. New resolutions could address housing contract policies—possibly allowing students to end their contracts and give their rooms to people on waiting lists—as well as blocking procedures and anything else that could improve the room selection process. Kumar is optimistic that more changes will be implemented: “The really good news is that we have a very supportive team at the Dept. of Campus Life that has been extremely receptive to our suggestions and very willing to work with us to craft realistic solutions.” These all sound like worthwhile initiatives. Although this author has only been on campus for slightly more than a year now, it certainly appears that the S.A. is moving towards more efficacious and efficient governance. We look forward to writing more about new resolutions from the S.A. throughout the semester. Dennis Shiraev is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be contacted at des25

Can Obama surpass Bush on Africa? Van de Walle recommends new strategy for U.S. involvement WILLIAM LANE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF



eorge Bush’s touted successes are typically few, particularly in this academic setting. Thus the speech of Professor of Government Nicolas van de Walle, entitled “U.S. Policy Towards Africa: The Bush Legacy and the Obama Administration” ostensibly marked a change from the endless criticism he usually receives. In his speech, a part of the Issues in African Development Seminar Series, van de Walle acknowledged Bush’s successes in this area, but identified weaknesses in his approach that, in his mind, contributed to Africa’s slowness in growth. Van de Walle opened his speech, slated to run as an article in “African Affairs,” by taking a close look at post-Cold War Africa. During the Cold War, while America and the Soviet Union were racing to create their own spheres of influence, there was an influx of money to sub-Saharan Africa from all sides. The United States was particularly perceptive of the continent’s strategic importance. In 1970, the U.S. was a leading contributor to Africa, with 20% of all foreign aid to the continent coming from America.

With the end of the Soviet threat, however, there was less of a perceived need for American presence, as there was no global power threatening encroachment. Western diplomatic efforts began to decline, as did Peace Corps involvement in the area. Furthermore, the United States took less interest in bolstering Africa financially. According to van de Walle, “by the year 2000, USAID only had missions in 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa,” and monetary contributions had bottomed out in 1995, with the United States only supplying 10% of the world’s aid to Africa. He assigned blame simultaneously to President Bill Clinton and his Republican opponents in Congress. Republicans, no longer sensing any national interest in the maintenance of substantial aid to sub-Saharan Africa, began to call for its reduction in an attempt to balance the budget. In doing so, they pointed to a perceived failure for reform in the region, describing aid increases as “money down a rat hole.” Clinton and his Democratic allies in Congress, however, made an equally grievous error in not expending any political capital

to challenge these attitudes, van de Walle claimed. This lethargy had yet more serious consequences at times, including a failure on the part of Clinton and indeed of the international community to interfere in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. What few efforts he did make were misguided and ultimately failed—van de Walle identified the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) as a particularly bad example, as petroleum exporters took up 85% of the funds. After 2000, a precipitous spike in Africa spending seemed to reverse this trend. Bush increased spending in many existing programs and implemented several new ones, such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the use of faith-based initiatives to supplement direct government aid. At the same time, Bush increased military involvement substantially,

establishing a new regional command dubbed AFRICOM. The

nation had regained and perhaps even surpassed its prior importance under the Cold War presidents. But why did such progress occur now? Van de Walle enumerated several critical reasons why the Bush Administration would feel pressed to support African development. The most evident influence was the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. With the threat of international terrorism having materialized itself so horrifically on America’s shores, it became a presidential mandate to ensure that such a tragedy was ...see AFRICA, opposite

November 2009



Cutting Cornell Cinema: a 40-year tradition at stake KEVIN TANG STAFF WRITER


uring October’s last Student Assembly meeting, the assembly voted 10-10-1 to approve a devastating 22% cut of Cornell Cinema’s annual activities fee funding, in the face of 70-plus students and community supporters who were denied the opportunity to speak.  The funding cut ($31,680) coupled with setbacks in external funding due to the economic downturn meant that Cornell Cinema will head into next year facing a $45,000 shortfall. The decision will negatively impact the Cinema’s ability to provide good and cheap entertainment for students, and diminish its national stature (and the Cornell name) as a respected media arts center. Cornell Cinema has existed for 40 years and had 30,000 admissions last year, of which 20,000 were Cornell undergraduates.  Besides screening major blockbusters and other highly acclaimed movies to students for $4, they show a wide range of classic, independent, and experimental films.  In fact, Cornell Cinema’s primary purpose is educational: to expose Ithaca and regional audiences to alternative forms of cinema. What many students don’t know AFRICA ...continued from page 6

never repeated. The administration believed that with development, African nations would gain a measure of security, preventing terrorist organizations from taking root there. Bush simultaneously had an election pledge of being a “compassionate conservative,” which he sought to fulfill through aid to foreign developing nations. Finally, van de Walle hinted that the number of petroleum-exporting states in Africa may have been a factor in Bush’s decision to hasten their economic growth. Additionally, the political climate was more favorable under Bush than under past presidents. While Clinton had to face a Republicandominated legislature opposing his proposals, Bush found a more natural ally in them, particularly after the party had become identified with national security in the wake of 9/11. Van de Walle also cited the strong backing Bush received from the religious

is that the educational and so-called “artsy” side of Cornell Cinema has evolved into a media arts center with a national reputation. Professor Mary N. Woods of Architecture, a scholar of film and photography as mediators and

Yale, Columbia, or others, has anything close to Cornell Cinema – and it would be a shame for us to go down to their level.” Professor Dominick LaCapra, Bryce & Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies and

important than it would be otherwise, and adds value to your degree.” Cornell Cinema’s renowned film selection (over 300 films/videos are screened annually) is made possible by hundreds of hours of paid effort behind the scenes through functions such as box officers, house managers, and projectionists.  Volunteers cannot be relied on to do these jobs.  These positions (about 35 in total) pay minimum wage and amount to $36,000 a year. Director of Cornell Cinema Mary Fessenden, whose salary comes 75% from the Cornell Administration and 25% from outside funding, plainly stated that, “Cornell Cinema could not survive without paid staff.” Although these positions are mostly filled by students, their pay is not funded by the Student Activity Fee paid by every Cornell student – a significant point of misunderstanding that emerged during the Assembly meeting.  The Assembly made it clear that the Student Activity Fee should interpreters of space and building, forty-year educator at Cornell, also not be used to pay students, and testified at the Student Assembly encouraged the Assembly to look noted that the one student position meeting that, “Cornell Cinema at the “big picture question.” Prof. funded by the Student Activity Fee is an extension of the classroom LaCapra pointed out that, “Cornell was the Student Assembly clerk. for the students and faculty. No Cinema is very well known.  Its ...see CINEMA, page 8 other institution, not Harvard, existence makes Cornell more community as inspiration for his reliance on faith-based initiatives. Last, but far from least, of the political tools at his command was the growth of China as an opposing world power. With their increased investment in African development, the Chinese were in effect throwing down the gauntlet for the United States, according to van de Walle. American aid would have to increase to ensure American primacy on the international level. Yet, in van de Walle’s words, the media has “not been critical enough of the Bush Administration” in its Africa policy. While Bush did increase the amount of aid to Africa, his increase in spending there was not commensurate to the growth of the national budget as a whole. The 150 Account, which comprises the bulk of discretionary foreign aid, is now only 1% of the budget, having fallen from 5% under Kennedy. Van de Walle also questioned the nature of the Bush Administration’s emphases. Many of Bush’s advances, such as AFRICOM, came in the strictly military sphere

and at the apparent expense of the State Department. The failure to establish a solid diplomatic foothold before expanding militarily proved an obstacle, as the placement of an AFRICOM base in-continent garnered immediate opposition from every country. The new aid structure was also heavily uncoordinated, with nearly two dozen offices now giving aid, before the sole prerogative of USAID. Such bureaucratic disorganization only begets confusion among aid beneficiaries while at the same time being highly inefficient. However, despite Democratic control of both the executive and legislative branches, van de Walle “[expects] little change in the Obama Administration.” Some would expect his Kenyan roots to make him more amenable to African concerns, or the more leaderlike Hillary Clinton to give the State Department new life absent under Condoleeza Rice. Indeed, van de Walle predicts some minor change, with the antiterrorism facet of the Bush plan receding from

prominence, with diplomatic ties gaining more stress. Nevertheless, the overwhelming shadow of the financial crisis makes it unlikely that Obama will be committed to a major restructuring of the system, much less to a larger aid allocation. Ultimately, van de Walle says that the main avenue for improvement in America’s Africa policy is through reform of our existing foreign policy instruments. The State Department needs to return to its former position of primacy, and aid programs like AGOA need to be restructured if not replaced. In the end, it will be American responsiveness to African needs that dictates the nation’s future success. And with this administration doing more talking than listening, van de Walle notes, that success might not be soon in coming.

William Lane i s a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be contacted at wpl5@

The Review welcomes and encourages letters to the editor. Please send questions, comments, and concerns to




November 2009

Civil war historian looks back on Lincoln Princeton professor’s lecture opens Lincoln exhibition at Kroch Library PETER BOURIS STAFF WRITER


r. James McPherson, an award-winning Civil War historian and professor at Princeton, visited Cornell on October 20 to lecture about Abraham Lincoln and his presidency. Dr. McPherson’s visit was to commemorate the opening of Cornell’s exhibition “The Lincoln Presidency: Last Full Measure of Devotion,” which is to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Great Emancipator’s birth. One of his accolades is his book, Battle Cry of Freedom, for which he earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1988. He was also president of the American Historical Society in 2003, and is currently a member of the editorial board for Encyclopaedia Britannica.  Dr. McPherson has somewhat controversial personal views regarding his expertise, as he was one of the most prominent individuals to sign the petition earlier this year asking President Obama to break the Memorial Day tradition of the president laying a

wreath at the Confederate memorial in Arlington Cemetery. Rather than celebrate the nation’s heritage, Dr. McPherson is very vocal about how he believes this action reinforces white supremacist sentiments and rallies neo-Confederates.  But his strong view was not breached in the lecture, even by audience inquirers, as his knowledge regarding President Lincoln and his role in the Civil War was overwhelming. His lecture focused on much of what Lincoln had to endure throughout the Civil War and his quest to preserve the Union. At the start, he broke down what Abe had to do to win in three titles: policy, national strategy, and military strategy.  Policy involved Lincoln simply proclaiming that his goal was to keep the nation in one piece. Dr. McPherson discussed the motivation for having this goal, as he explored Lincoln’s thoughts on secession. Lincoln believed secession to be the “essence of

anarchy” because it undermines the idea of democracy, as it allows for the losers of elections to simply dissolve governments. Of course, Lincoln followed that the United States was founded upon the basis of secession and acknowledged that it is permissible as long as the cause is just. But he justifiably did not think his election as president was proper grounds for a secessionist movement. Dr. McPherson also mentioned some of the details regarding L i n c o l n ’s p r e d i c a m e n t s i n mobilizing the Union war effort, all of which fell neatly under his national strategy heading. Lincoln had adopted the idea that war is an instrument of policy; he did not see it as being autonomous from policy the way we may today. Because of this, the maintenance of public support was an important factor. One way he was able to maintain the support of many different constituencies was through his

appointments to high military positions. Individuals of many different groups, including Northern Democrats, were given high posts, even if they had little or no military experience. These appointments helped to garner the will of the diverse Northern population. Lincoln took other bold actions throughout the war, such as striking down John Frémont’s Edict of Emancipation in Missouri to ensure that it and other border states might stay loyal to the Union cause. Of course, the national strategy shifted as the war progressed, as did the policy. The war became more about ending slavery and less about preserving of the Union and democracy after the Emancipation Proclamation, which was originally part of military strategy to undermine the labor that was peddling the Confederacy. One implicit power Lincoln used

Committee to stand up, resulting in a true “I am Spartacus” moment, in which fifteen-twenty students in the audience rose from their seats. Cornell Cinema’s twenty-member Student Advisory Committee meets on a weekly basis to provide input on film selections based on word of mouth and informal discussion.  As a result of the Advisory Committee’s input, the Cinema will be showing recent hit movies such as “Inglorious Basterds,” “Julie and Julia,” and “District 9,” in November and December.  The Cinema also showed Pixar’s “Up” and the summer blockbuster “Star Trek” at the start of the semester. Assembly Member Matt Danzer (’12), LGBTQ, suggested that the Cinema could reduce the number of its screenings to cut costs, especially of the handful of shows that had ten or fewer in attendance.  Fessenden acknowledged that the Cinema had put on a number of special showings – at the request of other groups – which were poorly attended, and would not be doing those kinds of showings again.  One the whole, however, Fessenden noted that per show attendance was 100 or more for 42% of the shows, and that

even Sunday-Tuesday attendance (the more lightly attended days) attracted 45-60 students on average At the same time, Fessenden expressed a strong willingness to look internally at how the Cinema could continue to cut costs, as they had successfully done in the past prior to the economic downturn.  The Cinema was interested in putting out the best film offerings for the students, and maintaining the integrity of its diverse offering.  Their goal remained to expose students and the world at large to a diverse range of perspectives and experiences – precisely what the Student Activity Fee was for. The Cinema had originally asked for a 75-cent increase in their $11.00 per student allocation – the amount they received the past four years – to help cover the losses incurred due to internal and external cutbacks brought about by the economic crisis.  But now, they will have to deal with a substantial decrease in what, Fessenden described, felt like “the rug being pulled under them,” putting them in a very difficult position “that will bring to close a 40-year old tradition.” Though Cornell Cinema lost their

appeal of the funding cut (the vote did not receive the 2/3 majority of “no’s” needed reject the original recommendation), the decision is not binding until the final approval of the budget at the end of the year.  The Cinema’s budget could still technically be allocated at up to the $11.75 requested.  Many supporters hope that a middle ground can still be negotiated in the final allocations.  Tyler Dennis ’11, who works as a shipper for the Cinema hoped that the Assembly would eventually decide not to make such a drastic cut, “so the Cinema could at least be able to find another funding source in the meantime.”  Otherwise, they will have no choice but to cut back on the non-commercial programming that makes Cornell Cinema an asset on campus and to the University. Besides the educational opportunity that will be lost, a bit of prestige that helps makes Cornell great will be chipped away.

...see LINCOLN, page 11

CINEMA ...continued from page 7

“The Student Activities Fee won’t be used to pay students,” Fessenden confirmed, and further explained, “The Student Activity Fee does not even cover our direct costs.  We have other sources of funding that pay the students.” Cornell Cinema received $145,000 from the Student Activity Fee last year ($11.00 per student), while the Cinema’s direct costs – including pay to students – was $200,000.  The Cinema’s budget included student pay as an indirect cost, which was analogous to the standard applied to Concert budgets for paying electricians, carpenters, security, etc.  Though Cornell Cinema’s reserve seemed abnormally high ($79,000), it was to cover for highly expensive equipment that could break anytime, such as the 70-year old projectors used at Willard Straight (projectors cost $35,000 to replace), as well as to remain fiscally responsible for covering any deficits. The Assembly’s other concerns were a perceived lack of student input into the film selections and low attendance at showings.  In response to the lack of student input, Fessenden asked the members of Cornell Cinema’s Student Advisory


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Kevin Tang is a graduate student in th College of Engineering. He can be contacted at


November 2009


Reading, writing, arithmetic...Obama Obamania now part of the core foundations of learning ANTHONY LONGO STAFF WRITER

In conjunction with my article last issue, I feel the need to bring another important case of grammar-school indoctrination into light. I am appalled that it unfortunately takes place in my home state of New Jersey. But, I must be the bearer of bad news. Second-grade students at B. B e r n i c e Yo u n g E l e m e n t a r y School in Burlington, New Jersey are the subject of a scandal— just a small part of many other similar and recent scandals— involving the singing of songs of praise about our Messiah-inChief, President Barack Obama. What is even more horrible than the motivation and content of the song is the fact that it was posted on YouTube. Clearly, when a video is posted to YouTube, the poster intends it to be viewed, leading to his fame (and indeed it has). In this scenario, the young students taken advantage of receive zero fame. I am aware that many people feel differently about privacy issues, but in no way should children’s activities in school even be intended for uploading to the internet. This is a serious breach of school conduct. U n f o r t u n a t e l y, t h e t e a c h e r

Artwork by Anthony Longo

conveniently retired on pension before any of these charges could actually be applied to him. It would be bad enough if the story had stopped at this song. But apparently, worshiping and endorsing President Obama is part of a regular routine for these— and many—young schoolchildren across the nation. Adorned on the walls of every hallway are pro-Obama posters set up by the principal. In the secondgrade classroom where these students learned, the teacher had also ‘decorated’ her classroom with the usual “Yes We Can” paraphernalia. Even featured

in the school yearbooks are the p r e s i d e n t ’s o h - s o - w o n d e r f u l catch phrases. It is good to know that students nowadays are getting a good dose of reading, writing, arithmetic, and Obama. Let me give you a little taste of the lyrics of this “song.” Hidden in the already blatant lines about Obama’s greatness (“Barack Hussein Obama / He said that all must lend a hand / To make this country strong again / Mmm, mmm, mm!”) are little phrases such as “equal work means equal pay” and “to make sure everyone gets a chance.” Now, it might just be me, but do second-graders

really understand the implications of these tiny phrases thrown in the song? Do they truly comprehend a society based on “equal pay” and “everyone get[ting] a chance”? At this point, the students have not been taught about the Soviet Union (typically not taught until high school). And they also have not been taught about the recentdo-nothing liberal Congress, of which Obama was a constituent, that would have indeed made this country “weak” in the first place. Is there no accountability in school anymore? Does a radical principal have the right to do everything in his or her power to support a political candidate without punishment? How would you feel if you were exposed to this during your school years? Or what if you are a parent and your children are s ubjected to this day after day in lieu of learning about math or writing? Even if it was acceptable to introduce politics in a second grade classroom, intentionally post videos of students on the Internet, and deceive young minds that are still developing, there is still one more error with this story—none of Obama’s “great accomplishments,” as the song ...see EDUCATION, page 11

Black still golden? We all live in a hydrocarbon world, a hydrocarbon world... LUCAS POLICASTRO STAFF WRITER

This past Thursday, Cornell’s Institute for Public Affairs hosted John S. Lowe, a distinguished expert on oil policy and current International Legal Advisor on all things oil for the US Department of Commerce. His mantra is rarely heard in the 21st century but terribly relevant to humanity’s future: we live in a hydrocarbon world, and it’s going to stay that way. His statistics are enough to make one quickly forget the vitality of the Clean & Green movement—the world will face a 45% increase in energy demand over the next twenty years, most of which will have to come from oil. If production does not meet this demand, the world economy cannot move forward. Which countries are driving the demand for oil? China and India, of course. In twenty years, the world will experience a 100% increase in GDP thanks to these behemoth states, with

a corresponding 45% increase in energy demand. Can green technologies like solar, wind, and nuclear catch up? Not in two decades. Not in five decades, either. Sure, they will produce more and more—but so will oil. The peak of oil production has been speculated constantly for as long as oil has been around, but it has evaded us so many times that Lowe does not even speculate on it. The consensus, he says, is our hydrocarbonbased economy will be around for a long, long time. Oil has always been a point of contention, a bartering material for nations, even a market force. Demand has periodically exceeded supply, but those crises—1973 and 1979, for example—ended quickly enough. There is still a car on every road and a plane in every cloud. Has the world truly ever soaked up every barrel in production? Prices

have been high before, but more due to international tension and price speculation. Supply has, on average, met demand successfully. This will not be true forever, says Lowe. Although there is plenty of oil and gas in the ground, and despite continual technological advancements that allow us to obtain that fuel, demand growth may outstrip supply growth. The result, of course, is competition and higher prices, even without considering potential troubles due to the belligerence of certain OPEC nations. How do we prevent a disastrous supply crisis? Moreover, if such a crisis occurs within the U.S. and nowhere else, how do we prevent the resulting deathly trade deficit from utterly crushing our economy to bits? Lowe knows the answer: produce more, use less, and develop other energy sources. A dry oil well is far from dry—half the oil still remains. New technology will allow us to

come back for more. With respect to natural gas, the solution is simply to drill where no man has drilled before: into the vast reserves of “unconventional” shale gas across the nation. The government can help not only by encouraging private investment and technology development, but by establishing incentives (and disincentives—taxes) to i n c r e a s e e n e rg y e ff i c i e n c y. A m e r i c a w o n ’t c h a n g e i t s lifestyle drastically enough to prevent a supply crisis, so in truth, the only failsafe option is to keep alternative energy on the rise. Partisan politics aside, everyone needs to support every method of energy production. Only by maximally increasing production across the board will we keep our future safe. Lucas Policastro is a Freshman in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. He can be re a c h e d a t l j p @ c o r n e l l . e d u




November 2009

The referendum: three-way race in NY BRENDAN DEVINE STAFF WRITER


believe my party has gone astray. I believe the Democratic Party is a fine party,” said Senator John McCain, “and I have no problem with it, in their views and in their philosophy.” He may not have been cemented as heretic-in-chief last January, but McCain’s brand of Rockefeller Republicanism has left an indelible mark on a party searching for a new identity. Neo-conservatism, Gogoism, and heaven-on-earth legislation have all gone to the altar of politics and their remains elevated for all to behold. Oh what comfort!- for the over-earnest and precocious brand of Republicanism has perished. But how shall it be supplanted? Could that beast leave in favor of an illiberal, ill-suited centrism, the way of conniving calculators who, inevitably, assert very little? Or should it be replaced with an appreciation for the permanent things of society, a practical asseveration of exceptionalism, and an adherence to the affirmed ways? The race to replace John McHugh, who has absconded to become Secretary of the Army, is essentially a straw poll on these very questions. This race gravitates the spectator without any concession to manners. New York 23’s competition creates the dynamics of current politics: a leftwing Democrat, an irreverent Republican, and a conservative. Democrat Bill Owens, a Plattsburg attorney, undertakes the dubious role as the casual local devoted to “invest[ing] in jobs locally” and “attract[ing] new business” in the district. His campaign is in good spirit but wholly unspectacular. The meat of this race is between the devil and the aspiring exorcist: Dede Scozzafava and Doug Hoffman. Scozzafava, who one questions “why [she] is a Republican at

all”, is decorated in all the gaud and glitter of McCainism. A career politician, Ms. Scozzafava has drawn the wrath of numerous conservative groups, such as the “Club for Growth PAC”, which criticizes her for endorsing President Obama’s dissipations, impotent Stimulus Package, and social positions. “At a time when 100% of House Republicans did the right thing in opposing President Obama’s big spending ’stimulus’ plan that has failed to boost our economy, and a time when House and Senate Republicans have the unity and the votes needed to defeat big labor’s odious Card Check bill, it is outrageous to think that the New York Republican Party would offer up a nominee who supports the Obama/Pelosi stimulus and Card Check,” says the Club’s president, Chris Chocola. This “vocal advocate for Northern New York” bears the same morals as President Obama and his more moderate counterpart in history, Leon Trotsky. Malcontents in the GOP have seen fit to jettison party loyalty in favor of sacred principles; they are hoping Doug Hoffman may deliver them from evil. Doug Hoffman hopes to feed off the general dissatisfaction with the left’s excessive government. This career accountant and businessman represents a legitimate contrast to the liberalism of Owens (forgivable) and Scozzafava (irreconcilable): he opposes gay marriage, finds government bailouts to be anathema, and he loathes Card Check. If you are confused as to what Mr. Hoffman does believe in, you do not swim alone in that murky water. Mr. Hoffman has run a largely negative campaign, drawing parallels between Scozzafava, Owens, Obama, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi by posting animadverting television

spots that give few positive hints about the candidate, Hoffman. This is the nature of Hoffman’s campaign. Many of his more conspicuous backers are quite straight forward. “Throw your support behind conservatism ladies and gent; the clock starts now,” says Dana Loesch, a vocal opponent of Scozzafava. Many Republicans of great prominence have broken ranks with the GOP to endorse Hoffman, the conservative. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey have campaigned for Hoffman while Armey’s former superior, Newt Gingrich, has endorsed Scozzafava. Hoffman is the product of the Tea Party movement in many ways. The animosities experienced by backers of the Stimulus Package, Omnibus Spending Bill, and the several universal health proposals can be traced to a large network of nonpartisans, like my own largely apolitical family, who have simply become nauseated by government. The Politico, in their most recent coverage of the NY-23 election, notes Tea Party members are “viewing [this race] as the first electoral test of the nascent conservative movement’s political muscle.” Their efforts are paying excellent dividends. Scozzafava dropped from first to either second or third, depending on the poll one considers. Owens appears to have glided into second place or better in this race of fungible positions. Most interesting is the status of the prized moderates. The latest Siena Research Institute poll has Hoffman leading moderates at 31% with Scozzafava in last place. Many Republicans, conservative ones, have suggested dropping dear old Dede altogether considering her false allegations to police made

towards the Weekly Standard after a session of bullish questioning. National Review, the powerhouse publication of the right, comments: “When a candidate commits a crime, the usual bonds of loyalty that a party requires are severed.” Expunging Scozzafava would effectively hand over the Hoffman any Republicans clinging to the R next to her name (since it has already been proven Hoffman dominates moderates). Should Hoffman win he would be the first member of the New York Conservative party to hold a national office, and the first true third party member of Congress, since James Buckley (brother of the conservative patriarch William F. Buckley Jr.), who was also the last non-Democrat to represent New York in the United States Senate. I have spent little to no time deriding Bill Owens but he simply is not worth subverting. The notoriety of this election is that it is a microcosm of the GOP at the moment. Conservatives shall leap in exuberance should Hoffman win but his loss would not spell defeat for conservatives. After all, mustering a large portion of the vote into an underfunded third party candidate simply out of opposition represents a dark and foreboding referendum on liberal politics and President Obama, whose policies are consistent with two candidates. Great progress is being made in the GOP towards gaining a conservative identity but it must decide if that identity carries any weight with those pesky voters. The NY-23 race will be a heuristic first sampling.

Brendan Devine is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be contacted at

Reimagining from all different angles WILLIAM P. LANE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


The administration has recently made the momentous decision to cut four high-ranking university positions in an attempt to rein in excessive spending and reduce the size of the university bureaucracy. The move would save the university two million d o l l a r s a n n u a l l y, a n d t a k e s effect over the coming weekend. As both a conservative

and a student, I can only say good riddance. As a conservative, I applaud t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ’s m o v e simply on principle. While it is easy to pay lip service to fiscal responsibility, it is something else entirely to put it into practice well. Granted, the impact of the elimination of these positions and their attached bureaucracies is nominal. With a budget deficit in excess of $135 million, the

reorganization’s savings are but a drop in the bucket. But it is this kind of spending the university has to target to retain its solvency. If the university could restrict its cuts to this kind of irrationality, it could sail through with no disruption of its growth. Some of the positions sound almost lunatic to even mention—“Senior Science Advisor” conjures images of Skorton at the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Mr. Spock

at his shoulder. While these kinds of bureaucracies may serve a purpose, in the end they are clearly non-essential and frivolous, and their expansion to this point may have contributed somewhat to our financial woes. However, the avowed university priority to such reorganization and optimization can only go so far. ...see RUBBISH, opposite


November 2009


LINCOLN ...continued from page 8

in the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation was that which allowed him to seize enemy property that property being slaves. This incident is emblematic of Lincoln’s use of presidential war powers in his efforts to preserve the Union and eventually end slavery. Dr. McPherson emphasized the way Lincoln was the first president to truly use these powers in the modern sense. Many civil liberties and governmental checks and balances were abridged or outright eliminated during the period. From the beginning, Lincoln preempted Congress in declaring war. He also declared martial law rather quickly to ensure expediency in governmental decisions and military commands. Criticism of executive decisions became a crime for citizens, news outlets, and even other members of government. Lincoln even found himself at odds with the Supreme Court, as he blocked court issued writs of habeas corpus for many suspected dissenters in the border states. Lincoln understood that some of his measures were technically unconstitutional, but he compared his actions to those of a surgeon amputating a limb to save a life. Because Lincoln’s ultimate constitutional duty was to preserve the Constitution as a binding document, he believed he had the authority to take these bold actions.           McPherson ended by leading the audience into the meat and potatoes of Lincoln’s military strategy. He explained Lincoln’s tactic of using the Union’s superior numerical advantage to attack the

With such little transparency, it becomes nearly impossible to garner student trust for the ‘Reimagining Cornell’ campaign.

Confederacy on multiple fronts. If the Union continued to fight only on a single front, as General George McClellan wanted to do, then the Confederacy may have won the war, as this would have allowed them to concentrate in one area and compensate for their lack of manpower. Lincoln also believed in attacking the Confederacy where it was, or more specifically, where its army was. Because of this, he was less focused on capturing key areas, such as Richmond, because he believed the Confederates would keep fighting until their deaths, regardless of what cities were captured, though the Union navy did take New Orleans to control the Mississippi River.  Both of these strategies gave Lincoln many difficulties with his original generals, as none of them wanted to execute his plans. His early generals were more concerned with avoiding risks and ensuring that Washington, DC was adequately defended.  These conflicts led to Lincoln’s promotion of and close relationship with Ulysses Grant, who acquiesced to Lincoln’s approaches. Dr. McPherson’s lecture on Lincoln during the Civil War was a great precursor to the unveiling of the exhibit. Cornell has arguably the greatest Lincoln paraphernalia collection in the country, including one of the original witness copies of the Gettysburg Address. It is certainly worth visiting when you get a chance. The exhibit is open from 9am-5pm on weekdays and is located in the Kroch Library.

RUBBISH ...continued from page 10

There simply is not $135 million to cut just in the bureaucracy alone (although anybody who has had to correct an issue at the Office of Financial Aid might be inclined to disagree). The university has to look beyond its core administration to find programs worth cutting. Nevertheless, the university’s decision to cut the Swedish and Dutch programs outright is highly questionable. Firstly, the announcement comes shortly after a PR blitz in the form of open forums and town halls in which Skorton and Fuchs made myriad pledges to put largescale shuffling at the forefront of “Reimagining Cornell”. One might have expected the first

Peter Bouris is a sophomore validity of the Nobel Peace Prize. in the College of Industrial To me, it is unconscionable Labor and Relations. He can be that countless people so blindly contacted at support Obama and assume that he is improving our nation when in fact transforming every aspect of the United States into his vision for EDUCATION an equal world, in which ACORN (prostitution advisors), Reverend ...continued from page 9 Jeremiah Wright (“God damn America”), Van Jones (Green Jobs goes, are true! Obama has not Czar ousted for racial comments), united the country (“He said...all Bill Ayers (known terrorist), Kevin are equal in his sight”), solved the Jennings (did nothing to stop debt problem (“Mr. President we underage sex between a minor and honor your great plans / To make an older man), and countless other this country’s economy number radicals (most of whom don’t one again”), or restored the US’s seem to believe they have to pay international reputation (“He said taxes) are valued advisors and that all must lend a hand / To associates. Teaching ignorance to make this country strong again”). small children, however, is even In fact, Mr. Obama has inflamed more egregious because they do racial tensions (Cambridge police not know any better. Students, in incident), worsened the economy situations like this, are exploited (and costing us $787 billion via and become cogs in this radical his “stimuli”), and weakened the machine without informed consent. image of the United States (failed All we need now is a generation of Olympic bid, proposal to close young Marxists, and Obama can be Guantanamo Bay, apologizing sure his vision for a communistic f o r t h e U S ’s i g n o r a n c e a t America is met. He won’t even international venues, etc.). In have to pass that health care bill. addition, Mr. Obama’s health But at least President Obama isn’t care bill is a not-yet-implemented teaching these kids; if he was, they blow to the economy, his decision would be under the impression that to dictate bailout bank executive there are 57 states in the Union. pay violates Constitutional provisions, and his recent decision to incite a war with his political enemies like Fox News directly Anthony Longo is a freshman violates freedom of the press. But i n t h e C o l l e g e o f A r t s a n d I digress. Who am I, your humble Sciences. He can be contacted journalist, to criticize our great a t a j l 2 7 2 @ c o r n e l l . e d u Barack Obama? After all, he did simultaneously win and destroy the

few announced implementations to include shifts or mergers of majors. Instead, seemingly against their word and much to the chagrin of the student body, they took an axe-happy approach and began simply eliminating programs. What is most irksome is that the decision-making process is entirely veiled from the student body as a whole. Nowhere on the strategic planning site, the oftlauded home for all news about h o w C o r n e l l ’s r e s t r u c t u r i n g will proceed, is anything even remotely related to the language programs discussed. With such little transparency, it becomes nearly impossible to garner student trust for the “Reimagining Cornell” campaign. After all the open forums, to make a major change—the elimination of a language, one of Cornell’s

selling points—without giving students even an idea of the rationale behind the move is the ultimate reversal of the prior commitments to open discourse. It is lunacy to assume that Cornell will be able to make it through the entire crisis without making sacrifices of programs some hold near and dear. It may well be that the cuts to Dutch and Swedish are the smallest possible evil at this point, forestalling budget reductions more disruptive to a larger part of the community. All we ask is that these cuts not be made behind closed doors. After all, it is the education we’re paying for. William Lane i s a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be contacted at wpl5@

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The Cornell Review


November 2009

Wisemen: Charles Krauthammer If you’re an avid reader of the Cornell Review, then you probably recognize the back page as the area where the editors compile a list of quotes from wise men and foolish men. Earlier in the year, we dedicated this entire page to one man: Pat Noonan (see Vol XXVIII, Issue 3), and challenged readers to decide: is he a Wiseman or Fool? Today, we give you the answer, and present a new question. Answer: Fool. Question: Is Charles Krauthammer, columnist for the Washington Post and esteemed conservative icon, a Wiseman or Fool? You decide, here are his quotes. “The genius of democracy is the rotation of power, which forces the opposition to be serious -particularly about things like war, about which until Jan. 20 of this year Democrats were decidedly unserious.” Oct 9, 2009 “What happened to President Obama? His wax wings having melted, he is the man who fell to earth. What happened to bring his popularity down further than

that of any new president in polling history save Gerald Ford (post-Nixon pardon)?” September 4, 2009 “In the Barack Obama version, there are 50 or so such blameBush free passes before the gig is up. By my calculation, Obama has already burned through a good 49. Is there anything he hasn’t blamed George W. Bush for? The economy, global warming, the credit crisis, Middle East stalemate, the deficit, anti-Americanism abroad -everything but swine flu.” October 30, 2009 “About the only thing more comical than Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize was the reaction of those who deemed the award “premature,” as if the brilliance of Obama’s foreign policy is so self-evident and its success so assured that if only the Norway Five had waited a few years, his Nobel worthiness would have been universally acknowledged.” October 16, 2009 “Conventional wisdom always makes straight-line projections. They are always wrong. Yes,

Obama’s aura has diminished, in part because of overweening overexposure. But by year’s end he will emerge with something he can call health-care reform. The Democrats in Congress will pass it because they must. Otherwise, they’ll have slain their own savior in his first year in office.” July 31, 2009 “Resistance, however, is not part of Obama’s repertoire. Hence his eagerness for arcane negotiations over MIRV’d missiles, the perfect distraction from the major issue between the two countries: Vladimir Putin’s unapologetic and relentless drive to restore Moscow’s hegemony over the sovereign states that used to be Soviet satrapies.” July 9, 2009 “Not that Obama considers himself divine. (He sees himself as merely messianic, or, at worst, apostolic.) But he does position himself as hovering above mere mortals, mere country, to gaze benignly upon the darkling plain beneath him where ignorant armies clash by night, blind to the common humanity that only he can see. Traveling the world, he brings the gospel

of understanding and godly forbearance. We have all sinned against each other. We must now look beyond that and walk together to the sunny uplands of comity and understanding. He shall guide you” June 12, 2009 “And where is our president? Afraid of “meddling” [with Iran]. Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, womenshackling exporters of terror -- and the people in the street yearning to breathe free. This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America’s moral standing in the world. June 19, 2009

“When France chides you for appeasement, you know you’re scraping bottom. Just how low we’ve sunk was demonstrated by the Obama administration’s satisfaction when Russia’s president said of Iran, after meeting President Obama at the United Nations, that “sanctions are seldom productive, but they are sometimes inevitable.” October 2, 2009

In your heart, you know we’re right.

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Cornell Review XXVIII #4