There’s a lot to dislike about Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Aside from generally being an unpleasant person, he invented modern fascism, killed thousands of dissidents in horrible ways and fought on Hitler’s side in World War II. Nonetheless, it’s widely stated that he made the trains in Italy run on time, which apparently makes up for all of that.
Last Thanksgiving, I got up at four o’clock in the morning to go to Logan International Airport in Boston. When I left, it was freezing cold; my flight was briefly delayed on account of the snow. As I watched it fall through the terminal window, I remember thinking how happy I would be to be back in California, where my hometown’s last snowfall was in the 1960s.
For those of you living under a rock, let’s briefly go over what happened last week in Washington, D.C. After a pair of marches there, a group of students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky were approached by a small number of Black Hebrew Israelites who proceeded to shout racial epithets and homophobic slurs at them. To defuse this, a group of Native American marchers led by veteran Nathan Phillips stood between the Covington students and the Israelites, playing their drums and chanting.
There have been a number of high-profile deaths on the national stage lately — Senator John McCain, President George H.W. Bush, civility in politics in general — and I thought it was interesting to watch our reactions to them. Some of us quietly mourned or paid their respects. Others, like a “Views on the News” contributor last December, danced on their graves. Still others, like President Liebowitz, didn’t seem to notice at all.
It’s easy to miss the local news these days. With so much going on in the world and with finals rapidly approaching, students understandably have other things on their minds. Small wonder, then, that it was news to many of the first-years I spoke to last week that electric pianos were coming soon to a lounge near them.
In this regard, anonymity is extremely valuable. However, it comes at a cost. It largely removes the consequences of one’s speech, meaning one is as free to lie as to tell the truth. Worse still, it is possible for someone to say hurtful things, whether true or not, with the intention of offending someone and the expectation of not getting caught. I’ve never understood the appeal of offending others for laughs, but clearly some do. The existence of certain less-than-friendly online groups – 4chan comes to mind – is evidence enough of that
Last spring, Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia commonly known as MBS, came to visit the city of Palo Alto, California, where I grew up. During his six-day stay, which coincided with Brandeis’ spring break, he rented out East Palo Alto’s entire Four Seasons hotel for himself and his entourage. Naturally, curiosity got the better of me, and I passed by the Four Seasons several times, hoping to get a glimpse of him. I wasn’t the only one. Whenever I was there, there were groups of demonstrators at the gates — sometimes few, sometimes many, but all protesting MBS and his connection to war crimes in Yemen and human rights abuses at home.
After a 25-year lifespan in which is helped define the economic relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico for the start of the 21st century, the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA, has finally been replaced. Its successor, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, contains most of NAFTA’s provisions, with a few updates that help bridge its shortcomings. President Donald Trump, who was sharply critical of the old agreement, helped to negotiate the USMCA, alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
With this in mind, there should be little debate over the necessity of an investigation into the allegations. To delay the nomination is not ideal, but it would be infinitely worse to ignore them altogether and rush to confirm him, only to find out they were true later. Given that Supreme Court Justices serve for life, the last thing the Court needs is an undisputed sex criminal deciding the legal fate of this country for some 30-odd years. The Senate realizes this, and as of this writing, Dr. Ford has agreed to testify before the Judiciary Committee about the matter. An FBI investigation, which she also insisted upon, is likely to follow shortly