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Denebola » James Palmer 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 Latin students raise their voices for the holidays http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/latin-students-raise-their-voices-for-the-holidays/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/latin-students-raise-their-voices-for-the-holidays/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 09:05:36 +0000 James Palmer http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5136 Only one word could describe the Latin trip to the 63rd annual Brown University Latin Carol celebration: divine. 
On December 6, 28 Latin scholars (both current and past students) set out from South at 6:30 PM for the First Baptist Church in Providence, Rhode Island, en route to a night of jubilant celebration of the holiday season and of the simple joy of the Classics.
Accompanied by our faithful magistra Alice Lanckton, as well as the World Language Department Head Susan DeRobert, the History Department Head Robert Parlin, and history teacher Pilar Quezzaire, we climbed on the bus just as a few flurries began to fall (a sign that the Roman augurs would consider auspicious).
After about an hour bus ride, filled with a joyful rendition of Gaudeamus Igitur (a song that any serious Latin student will have memorized by the end of his or her first term in the class), we arrived at the church.
When we walked inside the front doors I was stunned to see the sanctuary filled with so many gorgeous people. Of course I shouldn’t have been so surprised because as we all know, students who take Latin are not only the most studious and cleverest but also are the best looking.
On that note, when we walked in we were all disappointed not to see Emma Watson in the crowd. With all the subjects Hermione takes you’d think she would at least be in Latin II.
Our large group moved forward through the crowd, found seats along the left side of the chapel, and awaited the beginning of the non-denominational service.
At eight o’clock the sing-along started with a Salutatio (welcome), given by Jeri Debrohun, the Associate Professor of Classics at Brown University.
Starting with the first carol of the night, “Adeste Fideles (“O come all ye Faithful), the entire crowd burst into song at the familiar tune, even if the words were a bit tricky.
The night continued with other traditional carols sung by the entire audience in Latin including “O Urbs pusilla Bethlehem (“O Little Town of Bethlehem), “Ecce Chorus Angelorum (“Hark the Herald Angels Sing), and “Ornate Ramosis Aulas (“Angels We Have Heard on High).
As much fun as it was singing in Latin, I will not deny that I did butcher my share of lyrics.
Interspersed between the songs were readings in Latin and Greek both from the bible and Greco-Roman mythology.
Additionally, there were performances by different choral groups of other familiar carols like “Duo Dies Natales (“The Twelve days of Christmas).
The service continued for a little more than an hour. After the final tune, we applauded and headed outside.
While waiting for our beloved instructor, we gave the crowd milling outside the church a heart-filled rendition of “Gaudeamus Igitur (“Therefore let us rejoice) and headed back to the bus where Mrs. Lanckton handed out a batch of chocolate chip cookies for the ride home.
The entire night could really be summed up by Latin IV Honors senior graduate Zoe Newberg: “It was awesome! 
From the bus ride to the carols to the man who held up the plaudite (applause) sign, the night was fun, edifying, and downright hilarious. 
For me, as someone who took Latin for three years at South but did not have a chance to continue this year, the trip was exactly what I needed.
I think I can safely speak for all of us Latin graduates that this trip really did help to ease the pain of not being in the class anymore.
Going through the day without the same class that I have been with since we were freshmen in Latin II Honors has not been easy, and there has been a definite void in my life left by the lack of Ovid.
The trip to the sing-along in Providence did to some extent alleviate that pain. But, even though my hankering for some bread and jam, Catullus poems, and marching may have been eased a little, I really think I could use another tutorial from our beloved Latin teacher on how to use Google Images.

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Opposing Viewpoints: Question three is a solution to big government http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/opposing-viewpoints-question-three-is-a-solution-to-big-government/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/opposing-viewpoints-question-three-is-a-solution-to-big-government/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 10:06:13 +0000 James Palmer http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4785 In addition to congressional elections, Massachusetts voters have the option to vote for a reduction of the state sales tax from 6.25 percent down to three percent on November 2, 2010. The rate, raised from 5% in 2009, now may be sliced in half. Although opponents of this proposal may argue that this would dangerously cut government funding for necessary services, this reduction would overall be very beneficial for the state of Massachusetts. The decrease in sales tax would force a reduction of unneeded government spending, leave more money in the hands of taxpayers, and as helping the economy of the state.
Those against the proposal will immediately attack the reduction as a huge blow for state-funded services such as public education, and the police and fire departments and those who work for them. The fact is that the bill would cut $2.5 billion annually from tax revenue, but who says this needs to be a bad thing? Who says that the money needs to be taken from these essential services when the government already wastes money that could be put to better use in the private sector?
Inherently, government spending produces significantly more waste than private companies. According to Rollbacktaxes.com, the reduction would reduce state government spending by 5 percent, back to the 2009 level. This significant decrease in funding could be the impetus needed to force significant cuts of wasteful spending. As it is, government jobs provide significant benefits and salaries are generally much higher than those of the private sector. Additionally government employees retire an average of 13 years earlier those working in the private sector. According to the website, a higher salary means that “In many cases, we’re paying the cost of two government employees when only one is actually doing a job.
The Boston Herald editorial staff endorsed the proposal, putting forth similar arguments: “Count us in the Yes on Question 3 camp ¦ The state spends too much!¦Taxpayers and voters are just fed up with lawmakers who listen more to special interests, more to public employee unions, more to advocates than to those paying the bills. If the money were reinvested in the private sector, it could be put to more effective use, while the government reevaluates the efficiency of its spending.
In the private sector the $2.5 billion could be put to better use. If the proposal passes, the average family will save $900 annually. This money may be used to buy other consumer goods, helping to invigorate the economy or to simply pay the bills. The fact is that this money would be much more useful in the hands of the taxpayers than in the government. The more people are taxed, the less economic growth there is. In fact according to Rollbacktaxes.com, if the $2.5 billion were reinvested in the private sector, 33,000 jobs could be created, far more than the reduction in spending would cost.
Additionally, especially around the state borders, the reduction of state taxes would also mean a significant increase in business. Of course all consumers would be more likely to spend with extra cash in their pocket, but the lower sales tax might also promote in-state sales even more positively.
Rather than traveling across the border to New Hampshire, Massachusetts consumers would be far less tempted by our northern neighbor’s non-existent sale tax. A reduce in the sales tax might also draw shoppers from New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, hoping to save by stocking up on goods in the Bay State.
In addition to these economic benefits, this proposal is a chance for the voters to take control. Whether you support or are opposed to the proposal, this is a chance for voters to choose whether the government continues to spend as it does at the moment, or force it to reevaluate and restructure, reducing wasted money that could be used to reinvigorate the economy. Right now, taxpayers are looking for ways to save, not spend money. Let’s face it, if it is left to the Massachusetts state government, the people can only expect more increases of taxes, like the 2009 increase of the sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25percent. As the Boston Herald’s editorial puts it, “Sometimes voters have to shout to be heard. This is one of those times.

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Midterm elections stir up age-old conflicts http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/midterm-elections-stir-up-age-old-conflicts/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/midterm-elections-stir-up-age-old-conflicts/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 10:02:14 +0000 James Palmer http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4793 America is divided. There are liberals and there are conservatives. As November 2 draws closer, we are constantly reminded of the division between these groups as the tensions are rising as both groups scratch and claw their way into office or remain in their seats.
With hundreds of seats on the line in Congress and the senate, not to mention individual state legislatures and governorships, both Republicans and Democrats are fighting for control of the country.
As it stands, the Democrats, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll., are facing significant loses and I for one, like much of the country, look forward to it.
As shocking as it may seem to hear this from a Newtonian, bred in our excessively liberal political environment, I do not lie when I say I hope the Republicans, even those “Tea Baggers, win a majority of seats in the legislature.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not want the Republicans to the control of the country – far from it. I just don’t think we are any better off with the Democratic Party in control.
The key to freedom and prosperity in our great nation is and always has been balance.
Since the founding of our country over 200 years ago and the establishment of the Constitution, Americans have been fiercely opinionated and aggressive when it comes to their government, fighting for the values and policies they believed would benefit themselves personally as well as the entire country.
These early citizens organized themselves into groups that held similar values and began the never-ending, if sometimes interrupted battle of American Politics, as the heart of which is the Two Party System.
Since the beginning of this internal struggle, those who have evolved into conservatives and liberals, have brawled in an excessive battle of wits, cunning, bribery, and beliefs that has many times psychologically, and once, literally torn this country apart.
Both sides use slander and abuse the message of their enemies while extolling their own virtue.
The liberal democrats promote their ideal of a country where everyone is treated with equality and respect, while given equal opportunity to better themselves, sometimes aided by their government if needed.
The conservative Republicans see the country of freedom and prosperity, where they live unobstructed by excessive taxes and bureaucracy and where hard working people can fully receive the fruits of their labor.
The fact is that neither of the scenarios is very likely if either party is in control. Were either party to gain unrestricted control of the country, we all would be facing a hell of epic proportions.
If the United States were controlled solely by conservatives and the Republican Party, the country would be headed for trouble.
Chances are the national debt would go down, as would taxes, and the economy would probably recover faster without the tax burden.
Unfortunately however, there would be a few problems. Aid to the poor would decrease significantly and these families would be left without assistance.
Lack of regulation could result in a repeat of the economic recession. Additionally, there would likely be a decrease in public works due to less tax revenue.
The road the country would face with a solely liberal government is just as foreboding.
Though public works and aid to the poor would likely increase, and the regulation of the economy would likely prevent another major recession, the administration would not be successful.
Higher taxes would mean that the economy would recover much more slowly.
With high taxes to pay for government programs and bureaucracy, businesses would not be able to hire as many people, and as a result, more workers would continue to be unemployed.
More people out of work would need government aid and the government would need to raise taxes further, hurting the economy even more.
It would create a vicious cycle of taxes and recession.
I believe that the reason that the United States has been able to become the most powerful country in the world is because neither one of these scenarios has been able to transpire.
The success of America is the balance between these two groups.
Neither the liberals nor the conservatives have been able to dominate one another – at least not for an extended period of time.
When one group becomes too powerful, the results are usually disastrous. Take, for example, the Great Depression, which occurred after a decade of Republican control of the government, or the great recession of the 70s after the democrats held the government for a long period.
Only through balance and moderation can the country succeed. Look at some of the United States’ most successful eras. In the 50s, under Dwight Eisenhower, the economy boomed under a Republican president and a Democratic Congress.
During the Regan years, there was a Democratic Congress, and during the Clinton years a Republican Senate and Congress.
When power is split, the two sides are able to balance one another out.
The conservatives can combat high taxation and an over-expanded government, while the liberals can fight for the necessary government projects and the funding to pay for them. A divided federal government is best.
With this we come back to the elections in the coming week. As is stands, the country is run by a Democratic president, Congress, and Senate and let’s face it, things are not going well.
The economic crisis is far from over as thousands of people are still being laid off from their jobs every month. It might not be the dire situation it was, but the recession is far from being over.
On November 2 we have a chance to change this. We have a change to end the domination of one party and bring back some balance. I believe this is the only way that we can get our country back on track. So for those hardcore conservatives out there, I am with you on Election Day.
And for those liberals out there, who dread this day that might reverse all that they worked so hard to achieve since 2008, this possible turnover isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it just might be what the country needs.

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Tea Party zeal distracts from beneficial platforms http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/tea-party-zeal-distracts-from-beneficial-platforms/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/tea-party-zeal-distracts-from-beneficial-platforms/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 08:06:04 +0000 James Palmer http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4508 Today, when I first clicked on the link to the link for http://teapartypatriots.ning.com/, a Tea Party Movement website, I immediately saw links to posts such as “Impeach Obama Petition Now Online, “UNITED NATIONS TO TAKE OVER IN PLACE OF CONGRESS, and “SAY NO TO MOSQUE BEING BUILT AT GROUND ZERO.
Now, to many these articles seem to be slightly, well, more than slightly, ridiculous. Honestly, a lot of them are. Clearly the president will not be impeached by an online petition, the United Nations will not take over the country, and no one is planning to build a mosque at ground zero (a Muslim community is being planned a few blocks away).
Although these articles may seem absurd to us here in Newton, the fact is that the Tea Party movement is becoming a revolutionary force in politics today, and for good reason. With the economy down, the legislative and executive branches under the control of a single party, and with all the turbulence in the world and at home with issues like heath care reform and immigration, many people feel alienated from the national government and just want to stop (what they see as) the madness.
The movement began in February, 2009 when Rick Santelli, a correspondent for CNBC, denounced a proposition for a $75 billion plan to protect homeowners from foreclosures. Stanelli, speaking from the trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade asked, “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage who has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills? He went further saying, “We’re thinking about having a Chicago tea party in July. All of you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I’m going to start organizing it.
After Stanelli spoke the movement spread quickly as millions posted videos on Youtube, blogged, and launched websites dedicated to Stanelli’s sentiments. Those who consider themselves supporters of the movement believe that with all the bailouts and stimulus bills, coupled with the growing national debt, and now the new health care bill, government is simply getting too big.
Since early 2009, the Tea Party movement has sprung up as a new powerful influential force in the country, even holding a rally in Boston this last April where Sarah Palin spoke. The the movement has spread to the entire country.
The movement, according to the official website, states that it is “committed to standing together, shoulder to shoulder, to protect our country and the Constitution upon which we were founded. Tea Partiers are in general devoted to lowering taxes, less governmental regulation, closed borders, and many conservative social issues such as a pro-life stance on abortion.
On a national level one of the most controversial aspects of the Tea Party movement has been a suspected association with racism and general ignorance. Throughout rallies and demonstrations there have been a number of incidents where members of the nearly entirely white crowd have displayed signs derogatory language. Although this clearly represents a small portion of the entire movement, in many parts of the country this image has tarnished opinions of the movement.
With all of that said, I do not support the Tea party Movement. That is not to say that I don’t share quite a few concerns about the country today that many of its members do.
I like to consider myself socially liberal but economically more conservative. The way I see it, the country today has a deep and pressing fiscal issues; namely the deficit and the national debt.
At the time that I am writing, the national debt is at a whooping $13,006,961,245,112, going up every second. The more we spend, the more it goes up. In that sense I really do feel like I can relate to the Tea Party movement and what these people are protesting.
Like the Tea Partiers I believe that there should be a limit to big government. Take now for instance with the economic crisis. If you spend money to stimulate the economy and give relief money you can do a lot to help individuals and the economy as whole.
But, if you have a deficit and a huge national debt, if you spend, you need to borrow, if you borrow you will eventually need to pay your lenders back, to pay them back you need to raise taxes, if you raise taxes, you hurt the economy, if you hurt the economy and don’t want to incite a recession, you need to pump more money into the system and provide more relief, if you pump money you need to borrow more¦well you get the idea.
Those who support the Tea Party movement would like to see the cycle end by reducing government spending and cutting taxes.
However unlike the Tea Partyers, I don’t believe that simply cutting all taxes and refusing to provide relief will fix all our problems. If you just cut taxes then you will create an even bigger deficit while if you cut all the programs that they fund that will in turn hurt individuals and the economy as well.
I believe that the answer lies in balance. Throughout the history of the United States, some of the greatest economic prosperity lay within times of balance and moderation. Reagan, Clinton, Eisenhower all led the country through times of huge economic growth and prosperity.
Although their respective parties would like to take credit for the economic growth during those presidencies, it was not a one-sided show. For much of their respective terms in office, Reagan and Eisenhower had Democratic legislatures while Clinton had a Republican one.
Personally, I believe that our current economic and fiscal crises cannot be solved by simply following the will of one party. This is why I hesitate to consider myself a supporter of the Tea Party movement. I fully support their fight against an administration that they do not feel is dealing appropriately with the challenges facing our country, but I do not in any way support their direct attacks on the President who, like the Tea Partyers, is simply doing what he believes if best for the country.
Neither they, nor the president, has the best solution for fixing the economic crisis.
In conclusion I do in many ways support the Tea Party movement for what it represents: a challenge to the current domination of the government by a single group. I believe that many of their arguments are valid though many are not. Although they may seem somewhat militant in their zeal, it is no different than the dozens of other American parties that have existed throughout history. They are simply fighting for what they see as the right path for our country.
I believe the key to our country’s success is not simply the work and beliefs of one side or that of the opposition, but the balance the two groups provide. America, like its constitution, is based on and prospers because of the checks and balances each party provides against the other.
Besides, what fun would politics be without a little arguing?

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Too much, too fast, too soon http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/too-much-too-fast-too-soon/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/too-much-too-fast-too-soon/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 09:13:06 +0000 James Palmer http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3903 The recent debate over health care bill has been one of the most controversial and important political battles within my lifetime and for most of it, I have been extremely confused.

It seems as though every day there is a new component, different battle, or new vote in congress over new provisions. And every day on the front page of the paper there is a new story trying to explain the madness.

In the past few weeks, as more stories were published, the debates seem to be getting uglier, the politicians fiercer, and my position clearer. I do not support Health Care Reform.

Recently I have seen and heard about the constant push by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Barrack Obama to get it passed. To me at least, it seems as though they have been constantly pressuring everyone to get it done quickly and efficiently, while many Americans don’t know the first thing about what is going on.

When I first found out about these tactics, I couldn’t help feeling as though they were slightly underhanded.

If they really want to be successful and truly believe that this is what Americans want, I don’t understand why they are trying to get the bill passed while many people remain in the dark and while many people are adamantly against it. If everyone did see what was going on, would they like what they saw?In fact, already many Americans do not agree with what they see.

A very substantial portion of the American people does not support what has been deemed “Obamacare. Although they do not agree on what to change or how to reform healthcare, they do believe that this bill is not the way to do it.

Recently, in the Wall Street Journal, Grace-Marie Turner explored how effective the Massachusetts healthcare system has been since passed in 2006.

According to Turner, the state-wide health care plan has failed. Although the rate of uninsured has fallen to just 3%, there have been many downfalls: namely cost and efficiency. In this state, more than half of the newly insured, an estimated 408,000 pay nothing for their insurance. This means that the rest of the state is paying for their medical costs.

I do not believe that anyone who is truly sick should be refused emergency medical care because they cannot afford to pay, but I do not think that this system, very similar to the national Health Care Reform being considered, is the best way to help these people because of what else it will cost for the nation.

In Massachusetts, the new health care system has been a significant financial burden on a large portion of the population. Rates for insurance are significantly higher than the rest of the nation, 27% higher on average.

Although one might expect rates to fall because more people are becoming insured, “The state’s stubbornly high health costs are partly the result of intrusive government regulations that stifle the market and strict mandates on what services insurance must cover, Turner said.

If the entire nation is put under a similar system, the results will likely be the same; in addition to paying for the $940 billion of healthcare, regulations may also cause increases in insurance rates.

I also have to wonder, after hearing all of the horror stories about people dying in Canada and Britain due to the lack of immediate care and long-term attention, will the new system do more harm than good?

Based on the nation’s experience with Medicare, most likely the new system may cause significant problems in the medical sector.

I believe that people who cannot truly afford insurance due to difficult financial circumstances should receive emergency and life-saving care, compensated by the federal government. However, I do not believe that all Americans should simply be given healthcare. The money does not come from the government; it comes from the people.

At this point, with the debt of the national government reaching $13 trillion, I don’t believe that an additional $940 billion over the next ten years will be well-spent when the state-wide healthcare in Massachusetts, a very similar system, has not been beneficial.

I see the healthcare debate as an issue of extreme importance. As it is, it seems as though many politicians in Washington are trying to push through this bill without considering what many Americans really want: a system that will work.

I do not see it as a choice between doing nothing and trying to reform a corrupt system.

I see it as a choice between passing this bill, here and now, and taking the extra time and effort to improve the nation’s health without unnecessary intervention, undeserved handouts, and high rates for those already insured.

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