President Donald Trump has been extremely successful at turning attacks on him into attacks on his opponents. Take, for instance, the term “fake news.” The concept originated in 2016 as a description of shocking but false stories designed to circulate faster than they could be debunked. Many of these stories benefited Trump in some way, so the term was seen as hostile to him and implicitly critical of his own cavalier relationship with the truth. But Trump co-opted the label, applying it to any news organization he disliked; the mainstream media is now labeled the “fake news media” by his adherents.
On Nov. 7, Chlöe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old lawmaker, was delivering a speech in front of the New Zealand Parliament in favor of the Zero Carbon Bill, a piece of legislation designed to set a target for the country to be at zero carbon emissions by 2050. During her speech, Swarbrick was heckled by an unidentified older member of Parliament, whereupon she nonchalantly responded with the phrase “Ok, Boomer,” seeming to acknowledge, but parry the attacking verbiage of her detractor. Swarbrick’s choice of words here could be perceived as quite intriguing, as she was clearly referencing a viral meme referring to baby boomers, a generation of Americans and Western Europeans born in the two decades of economic prosperity and abundance following the Second World War.
As part of its experimental “Work-Life Choice Challenge,” Microsoft Japan closed its offices every Friday of August 2019, but still paid their employees for a five-day work week, and reported a nearly 40% jump in productivity. Additionally, the company found that the policy helped cut down on electricity usage and preserved a significant number of office resources such as printer paper and drinking water. What should other employers learn from this experiment? Given these results, do you think that a four-day workweek should be implemented on a larger scale?
In February, Charles River Senator Oliver Price ’20 plans to introduce an amendment to the Union Constitution that would allow certain members of secured clubs to be paid. According to a Nov. 5 Justice article, the amendment would give secured clubs the opportunity to request a wage-eligible status. Wage-eligible clubs could then petition the Allocations Board, which would decide whether or not club members would be paid, which select members would be paid and how much those members would earn. Though this board sees both potential benefits and potential downsides to implementing this amendment, we do not approve of its passage as it stands.
What does it mean to be diverse in 2019? The word has slowly integrated itself into conversations regarding the workplace and university populace. However, are the people involved in these conversations genuinely concerned with the homogeneous environment workplaces and universities have created, or rather how they will be perceived in this tumultuous time in American society?
Recently, the cesspit that is Twitter has found itself the battleground for a war between two of the Internet’s loudest partisan groups. No, they are not the Democrats and Republicans. It’s between the uber-fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and acolytes of legendary director Martin Scorsese.
Last week, the Brandeis Labor Coalition held a kickoff event for the nascent campaign to cut off Brandeis’ contract with Sodexo, on account of Sodexo’s contracts with private prisons and other institutions that violate human rights. A few organizers were brought in from a national activist group to help. At the start, one of these organizers spoke about how happy he was to have found as his political home one that was “anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-Zionist.”
I suddenly feel like I’m being followed, and not just online. I just read that Google bought Fitbit, the company that pioneered the wearables industry and makes devices that monitor fitness and health. My first thought was to ditch my Fitbit and buy an Apple Watch. But I have limited financial resources and even more limited space available on my left arm for a smartwatch to sit next to my analog watch. I am concerned about two main things: First, how will Google use my data and second, how does this latest acquisition affect the consolidation of companies, especially under the FANG (Facebook Apple Netflix Google) umbrella?
Chances are that you have heard talk of impeaching President Trump. On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted in favor of an impeachment inquiry, the fourth time that our nation has voted in favor of an impeachment inquiry for a sitting president. This impeachment case is primarily based on the accusation that Trump demanded information from the president of Ukraine about his political opponent Joe Biden in exchange for military aid. Whether or not Trump did in fact make these demands, I am most concerned with what will happen after he is out of office, whether that be through impeachment or the end of his term. I think that what would be most beneficial to the country as a whole would be to remove the President from office.
President Obama recently gave remarks about the phenomena of cancel culture and callout culture during an interview about youth activism with the Obama Foundation. “People who do really good stuff have flaws,” said the former president, who went on to express his discontent for the watered down and lazy activism that “wokeness” is creating. An angry tweet calling someone out about something they have done wrong is “not bringing about change,” according to Obama. President Obama’s comments get to the heart of a major problem causing division and rancor in America. Social activism and social change have been replaced by anger, expressed in unconstructive ways.
My hometown has been referred to as the ‘Gaza Strip of Kashmir.’ On the fateful night of Aug. 4, 2019, I was shaken from my sleep by the sound of an explosion. When I ran to check if my mother was alright, I found that she had already locked the main doors to our house. She asked me to hide in the attic. “The police have cordoned the area off,” she said.
This past week, several Brandeis Greek life organizations participated in an event aimed at raising awareness of sexual assault on campus, titled These Letters Believe Survivors. Each day of the week, two organizations — a fraternity and a sorority — set up a table in Upper Usdan with petitions to support legislation that would ensure that resources, like the Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center at Brandeis, are present in all Massachusetts universities. There was also an option for passersby to write a direct letter to Massachusetts representatives stating their support for this bill. Sexual assault is an epidemic, especially on college campuses, and it would be absolutely nescient to think that Brandeis is excluded from this conversation. This effort, which was organized entirely by members of Greek life themselves, was an effective way to raise awareness and to get people directly involved in the fight for prevention. However, efforts by members of Greek life to actively prevent sexual assault leave much to be desired.
Despite the existence of precise policies on paper, many University residents are still unclear about the Department of Community Living’s room inspections process in practice. This board calls on DCL to clearly convey their policies and to ensure that every DCL staff member understands and follows them. Without a uniform process, students are left in the dark about the current room check process and about any future changes.
On Oct. 24, University President Ron Liebowitz announced the formal implementation of his Springboard funding proposal, designed to achieve numerous goals of the President’s Framework for Our Future. The entire funding package itself is valued at $84.7 million, and is intended, according a University-wide email sent by the President, to “address gaps in University operations that must be filled before pursuing a major capital campaign.” This board commends this aspirational funding plan and the many aspects of University life it addresses.
For the past month, strong winds, dry weather patterns and, according to many scientists, a warming climate have prompted red flag warnings across California. Since Oct. 23, the Kincade Fire has burned over 76,000 acres of land, destroying over 200 homes. In an effort to prevent the spread of current wildfires and prevent new ones from starting, Pacific Gas and Electric cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes, surprising many residents who felt they had not received sufficient warning. Should PG&E's power shut-offs be seen as an appropriate method of preventing future wildfires, or should the company take other steps to ensure their equipment does not pose a danger to the state? What other measures can California, or the federal government, take to prevent and contain wildfires in the future?
Recently, I, along with a classmate, formed a club at the International Business School called the Retail and Fashion Club. For this initiative to exist, I had to collect a number of signatures from IBS classmates. I thought to myself: what better an opportunity to see how the perceptions of retail and fashion have changed over the years? Unfortunately people still think that retail and fashion are superficial. The looks on some of the students’ faces told me how disdainful they were toward my idea.
There’s a tweet I’ve been thinking about far too much. On Oct. 21, writer and columnist for The Intercept Kate Aronoff sent out a rather strange looking picture of Facebook CEO and possible lizard-man Mark Zuckerberg and presidential candidate Pete Buttegieg doing their best at mimicking human emotions while driving a car, captioned with the statement, “when you see a peasant being naughty.” It’s a combination of a singularly strange image and a perfect caption for the moment, and I really can’t get it out of my head.
On October 23, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress on Libra, or Facebook’s version of a global cryptocurrency. Zuckerberg states that Libra will help millions of people who don’t have access to banks complete financial transactions worldwide, and a coalition of companies called the Libra Association — consisting of 21 members including Spotify, Uber and Lyft — have signed on to use the currency. Zuckerberg’s critics, however, state that Facebook should not be the face of the currency, and call in to question Facebook’s ability to securely handle transactions of cryptocurrency, given its mishandling of private information in the past. What do you make of the potential risks and benefits of Libra currency in comparison to other cryptocurrencies? Should Facebook be the organization to represent it?
Last Tuesday, Scott Berozi and the Kindness Day team sent out an email to the University community asking students on campus with meal plans to donate a meal swipe in order to host a lunch to “thank our Facilities and Custodial staff for all that they do in our residence halls.” This board commends the efforts of the Kindness Day team to honor the commitment of our facilities and custodial staff, and we encourage students to participate in this event — without them, our college experiences would not be the same. It is important to appreciate them, whether it is by donating a meal swipe or thanking them in person. This event has been hosted annually since 2015, with approximately 100 facilities members in attendance at the lunch in Ridgewood Commons, and with food left over afterward, according to Berozi in an email to the Justice. This event has taken place with the same meal-swipe donation logistics for the past few years.
On Oct. 22, Student Union President Simran Tatuskar sent an email to the Brandeis student community announcing a potential partnership between the Student Union and the ridesharing application Lyft. For the two weeks around Halloween, from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5, students will be able to use a one-time use code to get up to $5 off of a ride to or from campus between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. This board commends Tatuskar for taking action to make this high-risk time of year safer for the Brandeis community.