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Brandeis University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1949 | Waltham, MA

Coronavirus panic wreaks havoc on the global economy

When I first thought of writing this article regarding the economic impact of the coronavirus (officially known as COVID-19), I knew things were going to get worse before they got better — and they have. There has been a delayed impact on the United States, but as of March 7, there has been a total of 17 deaths and 308 cases. A state of emergency has been declared in California, New York and Washington and more. A cruise ship with 21 confirmed cases so far is quarantined near San Francisco, and in limbo as to when test kits for all the passengers will be available. They have finally been allowed to dock in Oakland, CA, which is odd, since Oakland is just a short drive from San Francisco, so I’m not quite sure what they’re trying to prevent.  


Is eliminating plastic straws really the answer to climate change?

Unless you have been living under a rock, then you have probably noticed the introduction of reusable straws around campus. The supposed intent behind this new green initiative is to cut back on the use of single-use plastics, of which I am completely in favor. The abundance of single-use plastics in existence has exacerbated the effects of climate change by contributing to greenhouse gas emissions around the world. This initiative to stop using plastic straws is not just isolated to Brandeis University — this is a global movement in which the consumer is being challenged to consider how even the smallest actions, such as using a straw, have drastic consequences on the environment. However, though I am in support of holding ourselves accountable for climate change and its impact on our environment, I am not on board with the focus on blaming the consumer. Instead, I believe that we should shift our collective gaze on the giant conglomerates responsible for the mess we find ourselves in now and hold them accountable for the absolute destruction these companies have caused in our world. 


Reflecting on the current state of the Democratic primary

As Joe Biden comes off with what was widely recognized as an unexpectedly strong showing on Super Tuesday, looking to all but put the nomination away tonight, Sanders is continuing his energetic rallies to galvanize supporters to his side, particularly in Michigan, the largest state to vote on the 10th. What we are witnessing, however, is a generational divide, the likes of which perhaps the Democratic party has never before seen. Some exit polls suggest Sanders won 58% of those aged 18-29, whereas it is almost flipped for voters aged 65+, with Biden earning 48% (with Sanders trailing far behind with 15%). 


Letter to the Editor from Robbie Goldstein

My name is Robbie Goldstein. I am a primary care doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, and I’m running to be the next representative in Congress for the 8th District of Massachusetts. 


Friendship should drive self-improvement

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of collaborating on the writing of an editorial discussing Sodexo’s recent insertion of special dining pamphlets into various dining locations around campus. At first glance, the pamphlets seemed to be encouraging a healthier diet, instructing students on how to build plates that maintained appropriate portion sizes, how to use water as a means of suppressing one’s appetite and secretly physically exert oneself doing mundane tasks in order to burn calories. Evidently, these seemingly harmless pamphlets encourage weight loss, something many attempting to have a healthier lifestyle do not seek to do.  


Democracy is about more than just winning the most delegates

In the twenty-four hours before I wrote this article, three candidates dropped out of the democratic presidential primary: Tom Steyer, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar. Shortly after this article will be printed, the polls will open in Massachusetts and a basket of other ‘Super Tuesday’ states. The consensus among the pundits is that this is now basically a two-person race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Bloomberg, my former mayor, is still dumping obscene amounts of money into advertising, but I don’t think people expect him to go very far. Tulsi Gabbard remains a darkly interesting footnote, pulling reassuringly negligible numbers as she continues to apologize for far-right leaders around the world. This leaves us with just one other candidate: our own senator, Elizabeth Warren. She’s been the focus of much pressure in the last few hours to follow her recent competitors and drop out, and, if she wishes to remain influential, cast her lot with someone who can actually win. 


Views on the News: Super Tuesday Predictions

On Feb. 22, United States Democratic Presidential candidates competed for the votes of 36 pledged delegates during the Nevada Caucus. Sen. Bernie Sanders won the caucuses, which demonstrated that he could expand his platform beyond white liberal supporters to minority groups such as Latinos, African Americans and Asian Americans. Does this performance build momentum and prepare him to come out ahead on March 3, Super Tuesday? Of all the current presidential candidates, who do you believe is best equipped to succeed on Super Tuesday, and what is their most likely path to the nomination? 


EDITORIAL: Commending University’s SipChip intiative

On March 4, the Student Union and the Prevention, Advocacy and Resource Center will launch their new SipChip initiative. SipChips are drink-testing devices which, upon contact with a cold drink, will indicate whether it has been tainted with any common “date-rape” drugs. SipChips will be available in numerous locations around campus, and this test run will help determine future supplies. This board applauds the SipChip initiative and sees it as a positive step forward in sexual violence prevention. 


The screw up at the DNC is a self-inflicted injury

Wednesday, Feb. 19 marked the first time United States presidential candidate, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared on the debate stage. Bloomberg had only announced his candidacy on Nov. 24, 2019, almost a year and a half after the other candidates declared their run for the presidency.  


AIPAC snubs reveal group’s increasingly partisan nature

Want a break from the partisan gridlock of the Beltway? Want to hear major politicians from all around the globe speak in relative harmony on one subject for once? Want to be on the frontlines of American statecraft and international relations? Boy howdy, do I have a conference for you. It’s another year, so that means it’s time for another American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference, a three-day celebration of the American-Israeli alliance attended by politicians and Zionists of all stripes. At least, it used to be.  


Views on the News: Delayed Iowa Caucus Results

 On Feb. 3, United States presidential candidates competed for the 41 pledged delegates in 1,679 precincts during the Iowa Caucus. Iowa’s Democratic Party planned to release the results of the caucus through a smartphone app designed to calculate and release the results more quickly to the public than in previous years. However, the app had the opposite effect — results were delayed by almost a day and only started being released Tuesday afternoon. The IDP confirmed that the delay was due to transmitting errors between the app and the IDP. How do you think the delay in the release of the caucus results will affect what some see as already wavering public confidence in our voting systems? Considering the fragility of technology, should Democratic parties in states with upcoming caucuses and primaries take precautions to ensure the results are released without similar issues? 


EDITORIAL: Reduce ambiguities surrounding study abroad

 According to the Office of Study Abroad website, Brandeis University offers over 200 different programs in about 60 countries, allowing students to customize their experience. However, there are often logistical issues associated with gaining course credit from classes taken abroad, which may dissuade students from taking advantage of these opportunities. This board urges the OSA to address these issues.  


EDITORIAL: Sodexo pamphlets: Good intent, harmful impact

Recently, Sodexo has begun supplying students with nutritional information through a series of “Mindful by Sodexo” pamphlets available near Sherman Dining Hall. On the surface, the initiative seems like a great idea, and this board appreciates the dining company’s attempt to connect with our community. However, many of these pamphlets promote unhealthy attitudes towards food and body image. This board calls on Sodexo to reevaluate the messaging they use to connect with students, as well as for other campus organizations to closely scrutinize the ideas they promote. 


Iowa Caucus debacle: The good, the bad and the ugly

 As of Feb. 9, only two days before the New Hampshire primary, there is still no officially announced “winner” of the Iowa Democratic Caucuses. Nevertheless, it seems as if the campaigns have moved on, with the fallout from Iowa likely cemented no matter what the candidates might have to add a week later. What is interesting, however, is what that fallout — either predictably, or unpredictably — might be. 


As a woman of color, the Super Bowl halftime show was inspiring

 This year’s NFL Super Bowl halftime show was fabulous, or so I thought, as I watched the festivities while doing my homework. I had resolved to stay disconnected while watching the game on Sunday, Feb. 2. The game was such a good one, and although I didn’t like all the commercials, they were nonetheless interesting (or confusing) enough to sustain my interest. The game itself held my undivided interest, and though I was not rooting for either team, I was rooting for the totality of its spectacle: the snacks, the ads, the throwback to the olden days of four TV channels and, long before I understood the game itself, the halftime show. 


Appreciating the right to vote as an African American

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Trump was acquitted of all the impeachment charges leveled against him. While this does not come as a shock, it certainly reflects the current value system the American government strives to uphold. Trump’s first term as president has challenged concepts of justice and equality in American society, and his impeachment acquittal is no exception. If the Republican-controlled Senate refuses to punish a man who has continuously abused his power as president, how can the American people rest knowing that the rights currently enjoyed are not at risk of being taken away? This fear is especially true for African American voters who celebrated the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment on Monday, Feb 3. This anniversary is made even more significant not only by the current state of American democracy, but also by the fast-approaching general election 


Analyzing Trump’s State of the Union shenanigans

President Donald Trump gave his final State of the Union speech before his re-election campaign kicks into full gear, but you might not have even realized it. With Trump’s acquittal on all charges of impeachment and the chaos of the bungled Iowa Democratic caucus completely dominating the airwaves, comparatively little ink was spilled on Trump’s address to the nation. If you’re nonplussed, you’re not alone, as congressional Democrats seemed downright bored during the proceedings.  


The war in Syria hasn’t improved; Americans have just forgotten about it

Over the last week, the Russian and Syrian government forces have committed the same sort of war crimes that they’ve been committing daily since 2015 at an exceptional rate in and around the Syrian city of Idlib. More than a hundred airstrikes were launched over the course of a three day period. Warplanes have targeted hospitals and open markets, just as they have on a daily basis for the last many years. According to the Syria Campaign — an organization that I will return to in a moment — at least 1,648 civilians, including 392 children, have been killed since this escalation began in April.  


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