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Denebola » Hattie Gawande http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 The King of Limbs, but nobody’s dancing http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/the-king-of-limbs-but-nobody%e2%80%99s-dancing/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/the-king-of-limbs-but-nobody%e2%80%99s-dancing/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 05:41:18 +0000 Hattie Gawande http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5827
Radiohead is the band that every teenage alternative and/or indie rock fan theoretically adores.
Specializing in electronic, guitar-driven songs, raw, wailing vocals and abstract lyrics, they are the definition of alternative.
Unfortunately, what nobody really wants to admit is that no one can take them in anything but small doses.
After a certain point, the lead singer, Thom Yorke, who may be considered a genius lyricist, is just profoundly creepy.
Take “Climbing up the Walls”, a song off of their platinum selling record Ok Computer, in which Yorke howls “Fifteen blows to the back of your head/ Fifteen blows to your mind/ So lock up the kids safe tonight.”
And this was before his bout of depression.
Furthermore, after about twenty minutes, Yorke’s excessively wailing goes from expressive and haunting to so much inarticulate wailing.
By the fourth or fifth song, all the tortured moaning sounds the same.
Radiohead is also one of those bands that prefers experimentation over melody.
Most songs do have some semblance of a tune, but it consists of Yorke’s howling rather than distinct chord progressions.
It’s certainly not the sort of thing that you can sing along to. However, Radiohead has surprised us before. From time to time they put out an record that keeps being interesting.
Their incredible second album, The Bends, a revolutionary piece of music (it’s considered to have opened the door for such contemporary English bands and musicians as Coldplay, Keane, and James Blunt), was one such record.
Their wonderful seventh album, In Rainbows, released in 2007, was another. Unfortunately, their latest, The Kin of Limbs, is not.
The eight songs on the 37-minute album are mostly typical Radiohead fare–the usual pulsing keyboards weave in and out of repetitive guitars and bass, all underpinned by delicate yet hyperactive drums.
Too many electronic riffs compete with Thom Yorke’s characteristic falsetto, giving the songs a crowded feel. At the same time, however, the album feels unfinished.
Of course, none of the songs are danceable or singable, but this is normal for Radiohead.
What’s strange is the lack of any melody at all, just repeated electronic noise and a bass.
Take Radiohead’s first track of the album, “Bloom,” which begins with a very pretty piano riff. This lasts no longer than eight seconds before high-pitched beeps are added, the piano cutting out only to be replaced by pulsing electronic noise.
Another six seconds go by and a stilted, clattering drum beat is layered on top. Forty-five seconds pass before the bass is added, and so on.
Yorke begins singing over the chaos after about a minute, only adding to the clutter.
Listening to the song stresses me out–every time I hear something I like it fades away, and then a minute later it reappears only to cut out again.
The tracks following “Bloom” follow essentially the same pattern.
I don’t mean to entirely pan The King of Limbs, though. In “Lotus Flower,” the sheer craziness seemed to add to the song rather than take away from it.
The vocals are much more interesting, and there’s a little more balance between Yorke’s insane voice and the background noise.
“Lotus Flower’s” strangely enthralling and immensely enjoyable music video, featuring an insanely dancing Yorke gyrating convulsively to the beat, may have slightly skewed my perception of the song, however: I had no idea anybody could contort their body that way.
There was one other song that was genuinely likeable. “Codex” is a piano-fueled ballad that is powerful in it’s simplicity.
Yorke’s voice and haunting lyrics are the main attraction here, paired with the piano and light strings with a simple trumpet part. “Jump off the end/ The water’s clear/ And innocent,” Yorke warbles.
It’s the most minimalist song on the album, and it’s quite also the best.
I find that the Radiohead songs I actually tend to enjoy are the ones where words and phrases are actually discernable.
But The King of Limbs is not unenjoyable, it’s just not what fans were hoping for after Radiohead’s previous album, the masterpiece In Rainbows, the culmination of over two years of work.
With every record, Radiohead improved and expanded their experimental sound, but this eighth attempt seems to be a regression.
It’s unexciting and, after all the hype, disappointing.

By Hattie GawandeRadiohead is the band that every teenage alternative and/or indie rock fan theoretically adores.Specializing in electronic, guitar-driven songs, raw, wailing vocals and abstract lyrics, they are the definition of alternative.Unfortunately, what nobody really wants to admit is that no one can take them in anything but small doses. After a certain point, the lead singer, Thom Yorke, who may be considered a genius lyricist, is just profoundly creepy. Take “Climbing up the Walls”, a song off of their platinum selling record Ok Computer, in which Yorke howls “Fifteen blows to the back of your head/ Fifteen blows to your mind/ So lock up the kids safe tonight.”And this was before his bout of depression.Furthermore, after about twenty minutes, Yorke’s excessively wailing goes from expressive and haunting to so much inarticulate wailing.By the fourth or fifth song, all the tortured moaning sounds the same.Radiohead is also one of those bands that prefers experimentation over melody.Most songs do have some semblance of a tune, but it consists of Yorke’s howling rather than distinct chord progressions.It’s certainly not the sort of thing that you can sing along to. However, Radiohead has surprised us before. From time to time they put out an record that keeps being interesting.Their incredible second album, The Bends, a revolutionary piece of music (it’s considered to have opened the door for such contemporary English bands and musicians as Coldplay, Keane, and James Blunt), was one such record. Their wonderful seventh album, In Rainbows, released in 2007, was another. Unfortunately, their latest, The Kin of Limbs, is not.The eight songs on the 37-minute album are mostly typical Radiohead fare–the usual pulsing keyboards weave in and out of repetitive guitars and bass, all underpinned by delicate yet hyperactive drums.Too many electronic riffs compete with Thom Yorke’s characteristic falsetto, giving the songs a crowded feel. At the same time, however, the album feels unfinished.Of course, none of the songs are danceable or singable, but this is normal for Radiohead. What’s strange is the lack of any melody at all, just repeated electronic noise and a bass.Take Radiohead’s first track of the album, “Bloom,” which begins with a very pretty piano riff. This lasts no longer than eight seconds before high-pitched beeps are added, the piano cutting out only to be replaced by pulsing electronic noise.Another six seconds go by and a stilted, clattering drum beat is layered on top. Forty-five seconds pass before the bass is added, and so on.Yorke begins singing over the chaos after about a minute, only adding to the clutter. Listening to the song stresses me out–every time I hear something I like it fades away, and then a minute later it reappears only to cut out again.The tracks following “Bloom” follow essentially the same pattern. I don’t mean to entirely pan The King of Limbs, though. In “Lotus Flower,” the sheer craziness seemed to add to the song rather than take away from it.The vocals are much more interesting, and there’s a little more balance between Yorke’s insane voice and the background noise. “Lotus Flower’s” strangely enthralling and immensely enjoyable music video, featuring an insanely dancing Yorke gyrating convulsively to the beat, may have slightly skewed my perception of the song, however: I had no idea anybody could contort their body that way.There was one other song that was genuinely likeable. “Codex” is a piano-fueled ballad that is powerful in it’s simplicity.Yorke’s voice and haunting lyrics are the main attraction here, paired with the piano and light strings with a simple trumpet part. “Jump off the end/ The water’s clear/ And innocent,” Yorke warbles.It’s the most minimalist song on the album, and it’s quite also the best.I find that the Radiohead songs I actually tend to enjoy are the ones where words and phrases are actually discernable. But The King of Limbs is not unenjoyable, it’s just not what fans were hoping for after Radiohead’s previous album, the masterpiece In Rainbows, the culmination of over two years of work.With every record, Radiohead improved and expanded their experimental sound, but this eighth attempt seems to be a regression. It’s unexciting and, after all the hype, disappointing.

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Libya and England divided by protest seperated in response http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/libya-and-england-divided-by-protest-seperated-in-response/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/libya-and-england-divided-by-protest-seperated-in-response/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 05:01:01 +0000 Hattie Gawande http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5781 At first glance—and even second, third, and fourth glance—England and Libya are polar opposites in terms of political situation.
England is a democratic country—the people have a role in the government and the separation of powers within the government prevents the absolute power of any ruler, much like here in the U.S.
People are allowed to speak against the government without consequence and they employ this right frequently.
Conversely, Libya is ruled by mentally unstable, violent Arab supremacist Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. He bombs his citizens for protesting his rule. According to the Freedom of the Press Index, Libya is the most censored country in the Middle East and North Africa.
On the surface, England and Libya have nothing in common.  Let’s take a closer look, however.
At the end of last month, massive protests occurred in England over public spending cuts that will limit welfare benefits for citizens, raise the retirement age to sixty-six, and slash 490,000 jobs.
Over 250,000 demonstrators marched through London protesting the cuts.
Unfortunately, things quickly turned violent. Flares, fireworks, and petrol and paint bombs were thrown, banks broken into, fires started, stores trashed, and police attacked. Protesters as well as five police officers were injured in the anarchy.
In Libya, Colonel Gaddafi has ruled with an iron fist since 1969. 10 to 20 percent of Libyans are under surveillance to monitor for rebellion. Public executions of dissidents are broadcasted on state television. Uprising has been rare until recently.
Recent protests against Gaddafi’s autocratic rule have provoked a shockingly violent reaction from the government.
Gaddafi has declared all-out war on his citizens, and the death toll has already surpassed 1,000. Threats from the western world have done nothing to deter him.
There is a disturbing similarity between these two situations,
In Libya, people are protesting an autocratic ruler who denies them their natural rights.
In England they’re protesting autocratic measures that they feel are being put in place against their rights (it’s ironically reminiscent of the idea that started the American Revolution—taxation without representation).
This begs the question: how could such similar circumstances occur in both a democracy and a dictatorship?
To answer that, we must look at the differences between the two situations rather than the similarities.
The same problems will always occur in both abusive governments and just ones—there will always be a question of how much power a ruler should have over his or her people.
The way that such crises are handled distinguishes democracies from autocracies.
First of all, in England, the protesters aren’t being condemned for speaking out against the government but rather for the destructive way in which they choose to express their displeasure.
Bob Broadhurst, the London police commander, told Reuters that it was the violence that angered him, as opposed to public sentiment against the government’s handling of the economic crisis. “It’s really just criminality.
They’ve attacked buildings, broken windows, thrown paint at them, and not been afraid to attack police officers trying to protect these buildings,” he said.
In Libya, on the other hand, violence escalated because of the government. Gaddafi’s bloody attempts to completely quash the public uprisings catapulted the country into civil war.
Gaddafi was blatantly indifferent to what his people had to say and was concerned only with his own power, stating that he would rather die a martyr than relinquish authority.
Back in England, the protesters were lent far more credibility. Many blamed banks for the shocking public spending cuts (which is why many were vandalized).
The government, aware of the public hatred for banks, expressed a willingness to levy higher taxes on them and made a previously temporary tax on bank balance sheets permanent, rather than ignore the people (which they had the power to do).
To put it simply, democracies care about their citizens. England isn’t taxing its people to boost their power, or to be cruel, and Libya is massacring its people to maximize the government’s power and to extinguish the free thought of the citizens.
Both Libya and England may be going through a period of public dissatisfaction, but in Libya they are stifling the emotion with death whereas in England they are appeasing it with compromise.

At first glance—and even second, third, and fourth glance—England and Libya are polar opposites in terms of political situation. England is a democratic country—the people have a role in the government and the separation of powers within the government prevents the absolute power of any ruler, much like here in the U.S. People are allowed to speak against the government without consequence and they employ this right frequently. Conversely, Libya is ruled by mentally unstable, violent Arab supremacist Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. He bombs his citizens for protesting his rule. According to the Freedom of the Press Index, Libya is the most censored country in the Middle East and North Africa.On the surface, England and Libya have nothing in common.  Let’s take a closer look, however. At the end of last month, massive protests occurred in England over public spending cuts that will limit welfare benefits for citizens, raise the retirement age to sixty-six, and slash 490,000 jobs. Over 250,000 demonstrators marched through London protesting the cuts.Unfortunately, things quickly turned violent. Flares, fireworks, and petrol and paint bombs were thrown, banks broken into, fires started, stores trashed, and police attacked. Protesters as well as five police officers were injured in the anarchy.In Libya, Colonel Gaddafi has ruled with an iron fist since 1969. 10 to 20 percent of Libyans are under surveillance to monitor for rebellion. Public executions of dissidents are broadcasted on state television. Uprising has been rare until recently.Recent protests against Gaddafi’s autocratic rule have provoked a shockingly violent reaction from the government. Gaddafi has declared all-out war on his citizens, and the death toll has already surpassed 1,000. Threats from the western world have done nothing to deter him.There is a disturbing similarity between these two situations,In Libya, people are protesting an autocratic ruler who denies them their natural rights. In England they’re protesting autocratic measures that they feel are being put in place against their rights (it’s ironically reminiscent of the idea that started the American Revolution—taxation without representation).This begs the question: how could such similar circumstances occur in both a democracy and a dictatorship? To answer that, we must look at the differences between the two situations rather than the similarities. The same problems will always occur in both abusive governments and just ones—there will always be a question of how much power a ruler should have over his or her people. The way that such crises are handled distinguishes democracies from autocracies. First of all, in England, the protesters aren’t being condemned for speaking out against the government but rather for the destructive way in which they choose to express their displeasure. Bob Broadhurst, the London police commander, told Reuters that it was the violence that angered him, as opposed to public sentiment against the government’s handling of the economic crisis. “It’s really just criminality. They’ve attacked buildings, broken windows, thrown paint at them, and not been afraid to attack police officers trying to protect these buildings,” he said. In Libya, on the other hand, violence escalated because of the government. Gaddafi’s bloody attempts to completely quash the public uprisings catapulted the country into civil war. Gaddafi was blatantly indifferent to what his people had to say and was concerned only with his own power, stating that he would rather die a martyr than relinquish authority.Back in England, the protesters were lent far more credibility. Many blamed banks for the shocking public spending cuts (which is why many were vandalized). The government, aware of the public hatred for banks, expressed a willingness to levy higher taxes on them and made a previously temporary tax on bank balance sheets permanent, rather than ignore the people (which they had the power to do).To put it simply, democracies care about their citizens. England isn’t taxing its people to boost their power, or to be cruel, and Libya is massacring its people to maximize the government’s power and to extinguish the free thought of the citizens. Both Libya and England may be going through a period of public dissatisfaction, but in Libya they are stifling the emotion with death whereas in England they are appeasing it with compromise.

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Forgetting the unforgettable: The lifespan of the world’s tragedies shortened among teens http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/forgetting-the-unforgettable-the-lifespan-of-the-world%e2%80%99s-tragedies-shortened-among-teens/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/forgetting-the-unforgettable-the-lifespan-of-the-world%e2%80%99s-tragedies-shortened-among-teens/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 05:49:15 +0000 Hattie Gawande http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5628 We live in a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult to care about death. Our brains have become so saturated with news of bloody crackdowns in Libya, bombings in Afghanistan, and nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, that we are no longer moved by extreme violence or widespread death.
On the contrary, we tend to treat death like a trivial, everyday occurrence.
This is not to say that death isn’t something that happens every day, because it does. But it is always essentially to remember that loss of life is terrible, common or not, and becoming desensitized to it is a serious problem.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what has been happening.
Throughout Newton South, discussion about the tragedies that happen each day is nearly impossible to find. Most would rather complain about teachers or talk about classes. The result? An almost callous lack of concern for the horrifying.
It’s not as though we couldn’t see this coming. Newton South has a long track record of forgetting—even ignoring—terrible events seemingly as they happen.
Exhibit A: The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. A little over two months ago Representative Giffords was, in broad daylight, shot in the head at point-blank range by apparently anti-authoritarian madman Jared Lee Loughner. A nine-year-old girl and a federal judge were also murdered in the killing spree.
The following Monday Newton South had a moment of silence at precisely 10:45 AM.
It was a nice idea, and intended to be moving. Why wasn’t it? Because of what happened after the moment of silence.
Or rather, what didn’t happen after the moment.
There was no further discussion of the incident in the class I was in after the moment of silence. Speaking with friends later I learned their teachers had also returned to their lessons without a word about the killings. For the rest of the day I listened to see what students’ opinions were on the matter, but no one seemed to think it was worth discussion.
No one found the shooting spree disturbing, or shocking, or even sad.
No one found it curious that the shooting was of a House Democrat whom Sarah Palin had put on a “target list” of twenty politicians she wanted ousted in the midterm elections (reportedly tweeting the phrase, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”). No one found it appalling Sarah Palin’s aide blamed Democrats because the gunman, Loughner, professed to be liberal.
No one deigned to offer so much as a “that sucks”.
Exhibit B: The 2010 Haiti earthquake. The disaster that killed somewhere between 100,000 to 300,000, leveled the capital, Port-au-Prince, and left 300 million in need of emergency aid happened just over a year ago, which most would argue is a sufficient amount of time before we can forget about the disaster without feeling bad about it.
However, according to an Oxfam report, only 5% of the rubble from destroyed buildings has been cleared away at this point. No major reconstruction has been started. According to UNICEF, one million are still displaced, and according to Amnesty International, the displacement camps are crowded, dangerous breeding grounds for disease—rapes are common and deaths frequent.
The U.S. government, as well as other donor countries, preoccupied with other concerns, are indecisive over how much aid should be given. As a result, the flow of aid to Haiti is a mere trickle in a situation that requires an ocean.
Initially so ardently moved in participation or aid, the population’s interest has fallen off. Clearly, in this case, our society’s lack of sympathy has had a deadly effect.
Exhibit C: Japan. The Sendai earthquake hit Japan less than a week ago. It hasn’t been quite enough time for us to forget, but, alarmingly, indifference has already started.
In my physics and math classes we discussed the earthquake at length.
That is, we discussed the science and mathematics of it—the ten thousand left dead and 450,000-plus displaced were, somehow, forgotten. Some talk about the disaster in the halls, but they are very few in number. Japan, it seems, is going to be the next Haiti.
The difference? It has been several days, not four hundred. It’s too soon, even for we the embarrassingly short attention spans of we teenagers.
I leave you with this: In a world in which death is rampant, we can only save ourselves if we care. Don’t succumb to the apathy of everyone else—save the sensitive.

We live in a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult to care about death. Our brains have become so saturated with news of bloody crackdowns in Libya, bombings in Afghanistan, and nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, that we are no longer moved by extreme violence or widespread death. On the contrary, we tend to treat death like a trivial, everyday occurrence.This is not to say that death isn’t something that happens every day, because it does. But it is always essentially to remember that loss of life is terrible, common or not, and becoming desensitized to it is a serious problem.Unfortunately, that is exactly what has been happening. Throughout Newton South, discussion about the tragedies that happen each day is nearly impossible to find. Most would rather complain about teachers or talk about classes. The result? An almost callous lack of concern for the horrifying.It’s not as though we couldn’t see this coming. Newton South has a long track record of forgetting—even ignoring—terrible events seemingly as they happen.Exhibit A: The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. A little over two months ago Representative Giffords was, in broad daylight, shot in the head at point-blank range by apparently anti-authoritarian madman Jared Lee Loughner. A nine-year-old girl and a federal judge were also murdered in the killing spree. The following Monday Newton South had a moment of silence at precisely 10:45 AM.It was a nice idea, and intended to be moving. Why wasn’t it? Because of what happened after the moment of silence.Or rather, what didn’t happen after the moment.There was no further discussion of the incident in the class I was in after the moment of silence. Speaking with friends later I learned their teachers had also returned to their lessons without a word about the killings. For the rest of the day I listened to see what students’ opinions were on the matter, but no one seemed to think it was worth discussion. No one found the shooting spree disturbing, or shocking, or even sad. No one found it curious that the shooting was of a House Democrat whom Sarah Palin had put on a “target list” of twenty politicians she wanted ousted in the midterm elections (reportedly tweeting the phrase, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”). No one found it appalling Sarah Palin’s aide blamed Democrats because the gunman, Loughner, professed to be liberal. No one deigned to offer so much as a “that sucks”. Exhibit B: The 2010 Haiti earthquake. The disaster that killed somewhere between 100,000 to 300,000, leveled the capital, Port-au-Prince, and left 300 million in need of emergency aid happened just over a year ago, which most would argue is a sufficient amount of time before we can forget about the disaster without feeling bad about it.However, according to an Oxfam report, only 5% of the rubble from destroyed buildings has been cleared away at this point. No major reconstruction has been started. According to UNICEF, one million are still displaced, and according to Amnesty International, the displacement camps are crowded, dangerous breeding grounds for disease—rapes are common and deaths frequent. The U.S. government, as well as other donor countries, preoccupied with other concerns, are indecisive over how much aid should be given. As a result, the flow of aid to Haiti is a mere trickle in a situation that requires an ocean. Initially so ardently moved in participation or aid, the population’s interest has fallen off. Clearly, in this case, our society’s lack of sympathy has had a deadly effect.Exhibit C: Japan. The Sendai earthquake hit Japan less than a week ago. It hasn’t been quite enough time for us to forget, but, alarmingly, indifference has already started. In my physics and math classes we discussed the earthquake at length. That is, we discussed the science and mathematics of it—the ten thousand left dead and 450,000-plus displaced were, somehow, forgotten. Some talk about the disaster in the halls, but they are very few in number. Japan, it seems, is going to be the next Haiti.The difference? It has been several days, not four hundred. It’s too soon, even for we the embarrassingly short attention spans of we teenagers.I leave you with this: In a world in which death is rampant, we can only save ourselves if we care. Don’t succumb to the apathy of everyone else—save the sensitive.

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ObamaCare Repeal: Will it actually happen? http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/obamacare-repeal-will-it-actually-happen/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/obamacare-repeal-will-it-actually-happen/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 10:35:49 +0000 Hattie Gawande http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5120 The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care for America Act’€known as, according to right-wing Yahoo! Bloggers, “The Apocalypse, “The Making Grandma Shovel-Ready Act of 2010, “Screw the American People so that the Narcissists can have a Legacy, or simply, the health care bill’€was passed on March 23, 2010.
Rasmussen Reports, an American polling company, immediately set up a poll tallying whether voters wanted the bill repealed. The numbers fluctuated in the months that followed, but a slim majority has always been in favor of repeal.
The most recent tally from November 29, however, showed that almost 60 percent of those polled are in favor of rolling back the bill. Republicans, with their recent win in the House, have exploited this support with renewed promises of repeal.
So will the bill, which took President Obama almost two years to pass, be revoked?
In a nutshell, no. Not if Republicans want to enjoy their newfound popularity among voters.
You see, before the bill was passed insurers had the power to deny anyone, including children, with preexisting conditions access to health care. Depending on the company, preexisting conditions could be defined as anything from lung cancer to high blood pressure. Domestic violence was in many cases considered a preexisting condition.
Stories abounded about children with asthma and other minor conditions being denied access to their parents’ plans and about women whose husbands beat them being unable to find an insurer who would provide them with a plan.
The health care bill now prohibits insurers from denying children access to health coverage on the basis of preexisting conditions. This provision will be extended to adults in 2014.
The thing is that the provision relies on the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to buy health insurance, the number one problem Republicans have with the bill. Getting rid of the individual mandate would mean getting rid of protection for those with preexisting conditions.
The individual mandate may not make voters particularly happy, but preexisting condition protection is a right the public is entitled to. So the answer is simple, right? Don’t repeal the bill.
Wrong. Somehow in the controversy before and after the bill’s passing, Republicans with the help of right-wing advocates and bloggers, were able to convince the public that the bill would instead do the opposite. Over half of the population believes that the bill will now let health insurers have their way with us.Hence the reason behind a Yahoo! blogger who called the bill, “The-Kill-Grandma-With-a- Pillow-So-She-No-Longer-Has-a-Preexisting-Condition-Plan.
Republicans have catered to the public’s ill-will towards the bill, declaring that the bill goes against American values and will take away our freedom and all these accusations without actually discussing the content of the bill.
They’re more than happy to tell voters that it will cost the country a fortune, that most Democrats haven’t read the bill, and that it’s socialist, unconstitutional and anti-American. But they haven’t bothered to tell us that repealing the bill will mean kids with leukemia will be denied health coverage, that teenagers will be removed from their parents’ health plans the second they turn eighteen (the new bill lets those under twenty-seven remain on their parents’ health plans), and that the coverage gap for the Medicare provision for prescription drugs for seniors, which Republicans backed in 2003, will be uncovered once again.
Basically, the minute Republicans get serious about repealing health care all of this will be revealed to voters, and the GOP’s popularity will drop again.
In short, the Republicans will never repeal health care. If they were actually to attempt such a thing, not only would they most likely lose but their approval ratings would be knocked down. The GOP is enjoying its renewed popularity among voters far too much to risk it.
Despite this, the controversy over the health care bill isn’t just going to die down. Sometime in the very near future the Republicans will have to face the fact that the public is going to find out the truth about the bill and the specific benefits it covers. The GOP may be safe for now, but it won’t last long.

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Cultural differences should not be overlooked with burqa http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/cultural-differences-should-not-be-overlooked-with-burqa/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/cultural-differences-should-not-be-overlooked-with-burqa/#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 09:20:43 +0000 Hattie Gawande http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4963 A French ban on the burqa and similar face and body coverings was cleared by the French Constitutional Council last week.
The ban will come into effect this spring, effectively prohibiting Islamic face coverings in public.
When the law is implemented, a fine of 150 euros (190 U.S. dollars) will be imposed on violators of the ban.
This new law has, of course, sparked international controversy.
From a man claiming to be Osama bin Laden to Amnesty International, many have demanded that France not go through with the ban.
Bloggers have had a field day with the news, shouting that the ban is a violation of human rights, Islamophobia, persecution.
How can a government that professes to be democratic pass a law prohibiting an article of clothing of such importance to many of the six million Muslims that live in France?
Conversely, France and its supporters claim that the burqa itself is a violation of human rights.
The French government has called it “a new form of enslavement that the republic cannot accept on its soil. They believe that making a woman wear a burqa is demeaning and dehumanizing, and they, rather paternalistically, believe that it is their duty to put a stop to it.
French philosopher and writer Bernard-Henri Lévy said himself that “if there is even one woman in France, just one, who enters a hospital or city hall imprisoned in a burqa, she must be set free.
In response to the protests of many women that say they wear a burqa voluntarily, they compare the article of clothing to slavery: the “happy slave never criticized the practice, and neither do Muslim women.
It was my own instinct to cry “Islamophobia! along with Amnesty International and many others.
After all, I, as an American, champion the freedom to express my beliefs as I see fit.
However, there was one huge flaw in my reasoning, and that is this: France is not like the U.S. in its beliefs and values, which I think has to do with the history of how each developed their freedom of religion.
The U.S., since its revolution, has given its citizens the right to express their religious beliefs however they want, whenever they want, wherever they want’€in other words, they interpret the word “freedom literally.
The French government, once dominated by the Catholic Church, is now aggressively secularist to avoid a repeat of the past, when all were required to be Catholic.
They don’t want religion having anything to do with affairs of the state, as it did 200 years ago.
Citizens can now believe whatever they want and express their beliefs however they want behind closed doors, but in public they are only one thing: French.
The burqa, which is considered an “overt religious symbol, is a threat to that secularist belief.
France sees the “imprisonment of women in burqas as similar to the imprisonment of the French by the Catholic Church during the revolution, so they feel that their burqa ban is justified.
The U.S. doesn’t have the same history as France, so it doesn’t have the same fears and beliefs.
We were never ruled by the Church, so we don’t fear an overly religious public, instead we fear the opposite: the restriction of our freedom to express our beliefs outside our homes. Because of this, we believe that the French burqa ban is wrong.
This issue is not as simple as right and wrong. A lot of it has to do with context.
History and social norms both play a role in the U.S.’s and France’s opinions on the burqa ban.
For France, with its history and considerable Muslim population, this ban can be justified.
For America, with our belief in the freedom of expression and not-so-considerable Muslim population, this ban would be inappropriate.

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Starbucks: to pay, or not to pay? http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/starbucks-to-pay-or-not-to-pay/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/starbucks-to-pay-or-not-to-pay/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 10:01:42 +0000 Hattie Gawande http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4795 The other day we walked into a Starbucks for a little overpriced, overrated goodness and came up short. We were flabbergasted.
Our formerly modestly populated Waban Starbucks was packed with South students, most of whom were not from the area, implying that they were there because they genuinely wanted to, and not just for the convenience.
We were bewildered and then suspicious: what was our little neighborhood café chain doing to attract teenagers?
We knew they had to be up to something. After all, as they say, “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
In other words, if Starbucks looked like it was using underhanded tactics to lure teenagers’ wallets to their dooms, then it probably was.
Now, it probably sounds like we’re jumping to conclusions. We teenagers like sugary drinks, and we like to hang out with friends.
Throw in a little background music, maybe a sofa or two, and we’re in heaven. Why wouldn’t Starbucks be the place for us?
Well, there is one main reason: Starbucks is expensive with a capital ‘ËœE’.
And, in our experience, teenagers usually have less money than more.
Going out with friends is a serious drain on the savings. Since not going out is simply not an option, one should think that students would try to conserve their funds and go somewhere cheaper’€Dunkin Donuts, for example. Why, then, are they crowding their local Starbucks’?
We, knowing that it was our patent duty to get to the bottom of this, decided to find out.
Our theory was that the Starbucks logo essentially functions like the Apple logo: one look and you need whatever it is they’re advertising. It’s like hypnotism.
Thousand dollar laptop? No sweat. Five buck coffee? Not a problem. Take one look at all the people sitting in the windows of Starbucks with their MacBooks and cappuccinos and you know that there’s a link between the two companies.
So, we did a little research, conducted a few interviews, and found out that we were… wrong. However, the results were still interesting.
Among the people that we talked to, there are two main factors in Starbucks’ popularity.
The first is atmosphere. Starbucks is the master of creating an atmosphere that lures you in’€and keeps you there.
Instead of the garish color schemes of Dunkin Donuts (magenta? orange?!) they go for relaxed colors. Wood floors and a thankful lack of fluorescent lighting complete the picture.
If that doesn’t say “Come in, buy some expensive coffee, and stay awhile, we don’t know what does.
Second is that you can order almost whatever you want at Starbucks.
In all seriousness, you can order anything from a regular coffee to a double ristretto venti nonfat organic chocolate brownie frappuccino extra hot with foam and whipped cream upside down double blended.
Or a cookie or a sandwich.
You don’t even have to like coffee, you just have to be willing to shell out too much money, which everyone does.
Basically, our findings told us that Starbucks is duping teenagers not with quality, but by imitating a European café, which hypnotizes them into Starbucks-obsessed freaks.
They’re too awed by the fact that they’re ordering a coffee in a size so coolly (and, in our opinion, annoyingly) called ‘Ëœventi’ that they don’t even realize that they’re paying more than they should to get it.
Wake up, South. And don’t smell the coffee.

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Opposing Viewpoints: Apple’s iPad is useless and overpriced http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/opposing-viewpoints-apples-ipad-is-useless-and-overpriced/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/opposing-viewpoints-apples-ipad-is-useless-and-overpriced/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 10:05:41 +0000 Hattie Gawande http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4711 With an increasing number of students buying iPads for school-related reasons, it’s about time the question we’re all wondering was asked: is the expensive gadget really worth it?
Before answering that, let us first establish that the iPad is pretty awesome. It’s sleek, is half the size of the average laptop, and weighs only about a pound and a half.
And wouldn’t it be so convenient to keep all your textbooks at school while having alternate copies available at your leisure at home on your iPad?
Well, no. The cheapest version, at $500, has 16 gigabytes of memory and the most expensive version, at $700, has 64.
However, if this price seems okay to you, take this into consideration: these prices are for the iPad with solely WiFi as an outlet for internet capabilities.
If you want to be able to use the web at your leisure, or 3G, you have to pay either $15 or $25 each month, depending on how much data you are going to use. Yes, this means that the iPad’s internet usage is limited.
Additionally, with 3G, not including monthly fee that racks up really quickly, the iPad costs $630 and $830, respectively.
With the assumption that the average student would go for the relatively cheaper (and yet still exorbitantly expensive) version, it would be impossible to download an iTunes library, a few apps, a movie or two, and multiple textbooks.
Aside from the fact that the iPad can store a very select amount of data and information, the iPad is inconvenient for other reasons.
To begin with, on the iPad, one cannot type using a keyboard, and the many people who enjoy using keyboards will be disappointed to use solely a touch-screen for all their internet needs.
The iPad’s lack of keyboard detracts from the appeal of it; laptops have keyboards, and the iPad is unable to compete with it in that sense.
Another downfall about having an iPad is that it would seriously limit social interaction. You can deny it until you’re blue in the face, but the statistics speak for themselves: as of January, according to USA Today, the average kid from the ages of eight to 18 spends seven and a half hours “using media each day.
In a society where face-to-face conversations are brief, imagine what adding a cool new gadget to the mix would do. Between time spent “using media and schoolwork, we would have no time left over for friends and family.
The iPad serves virtually no purpose. It is the same price as a laptop, but with significantly less data, capabilities, and speed. One may argue that the $500 iPad is far cheaper than the average laptop, yet it has approximately one-fifth of the data of it.
The cheapest iPad, valued at $500, which does not have 3G privileges, is simply nothing to brag about.
To those of you who are not aware of what 3G encompasses, I’ll make things simple: it allows its owners to use the internet.
If you buy the iPad without the 3G, which many people do, is it even a laptop? No, not really.
Alas, despite all that has just been said, you and I both know the truth: I want an iPad. You want an iPad. Everyone wants an iPad. They’re sleek, shiny, and from Apple, and that’s reason enough for us.
Who cares if they are overly expensive, and awkwardly large? There’s no shame in wanting one’€just don’t claim to have a good reason.

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Bipartisanship occurs as a result of priest’s radical move http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/bipartisanship-occurs-as-a-result-of-priests-radical-move/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/bipartisanship-occurs-as-a-result-of-priests-radical-move/#comments Thu, 30 Sep 2010 10:02:39 +0000 Hattie Gawande http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4717 The media and internet have been hijacked by people with no desire to learn the truth.
Lies are presented as facts and the facts are forgotten.
Pandemonium is created over non-issues.
This is life today. A gross exaggeration?
Think back to the 2008 presidential election. Bloggers had been circulating the claim that Obama is a Muslim.
It was a lie so obvious that it was thought that all the controversy would die down after a while and people would eventually realize the allegations were false.
But as of last month, 20% of all Americans believed the claims.
More recently, an Islamic community center that was to be built two blocks from Ground Zero received “unanimous approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission in New York.
Then the media and the bloggers got ahold of the story, blew it completely out of proportion, and suddenly the center was embroiled in controversy.
These cases prove how much our lives are ruled by what we read online and in the news.
Unfortunately, the internet is full of radicals on both ends of the political spectrum that spew whatever fabrications help their case.
We believe them because it’s easier to be angry than to give the benefit of the doubt.
And now the internet and media have done it again. It all started on July 12, when Terry Jones, the pastor of a tiny Christian fundamentalist church in Florida, announced his plans for an “International Burn the Koran Day on the anniversary of 9/11.
Thirteen days later Jones posts an anti-Islam video on YouTube, which catapulted Jones to fame.
Suddenly everyone was blogging, tweeting, IMing, and Google Talk-ing about Jones.
Extremist Islamic leaders seized the story and ran with it. Anti-American demonstrations popped up across Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The media smelled a story, splashed it across their headlines, and the world was aflame.
Everyone from here to the Vatican had something to say about Jones, Islam, and the First Amendment.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went on national television to do damage control.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a personal phone call to Jones pleading for him to call off his event and even General David Petraeus in Afghanistan had something to say.
This all occurred because of an ignorant idiot with fewer than sixty followers. leaving the millions of level-headed people in the middle wondering “what happened?!
We give radicals power through the media and the internet.
They steal the international spotlight while also preventing progress in Washington DC.
Now, because of Jones, the Pentagon has to minimize the damage done to relations with Afghanistan.
And there isn’t even a clear way to resolve our problem, as we can’t restrict neither the internet nor the media as it would be a violation of the First Amendment, not to mention that it would make a whole lot of people unhappy.
There is, however, one difference between this recent controversy and prior cases that hints at hope for the future.
In previous instances, liberals and conservatives have used controversy to their advantage; for example, back in 2008 conservatives did their best to further amplify the allegations that Obama is Muslim in the hopes that he would not get elected.
This time, however, both Democrats and Republicans have taken a step back and agreed with another that Jones has gone too far.
Politicians from both sides have criticized Jones and all agree that Jones has endangered soldiers in the Middle East.
This surprise alliance has left many wondering: is this the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it part of a never-ending cycle?

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