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Denebola » Rebecca Goldstein 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 Former rivals put heads together on foreign policy http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/12/17/former-rivals-put-heads-together-on-foreign-policy/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/12/17/former-rivals-put-heads-together-on-foreign-policy/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2008 01:32:16 +0000 Rebecca Goldstein http://denebolaonline.net/denebola/?p=608 During the primary campaign, the foreign policy differences between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seemed like a classic conflict between hawk and dove.

But with the campaign season over and the challenge of governance looming, Obama and Clinton have both changed their foreign policy tunes, and at the same time, the foreign policy challenges facing the President-elect have come into sharp focus.

The true tension in foreign policy is that between realism and idealism. Foreign policy realists favor strong relationships with nations in key strategic positions geographically, economically, and demographically, while idealists favor strong relationships with nations whose ideals reflect our own.

The Bush Administration has pursued a largely idealistic foreign policy, stressing the spread of democracy, the war on terror, and the fight against so-called “Islamofascism. Barack Obama’s is a much more realistic view, preferring to take a pragmatic approach to international counterterrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the War in Iraq.

In this context, the choice of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State seems puzzling. As a “hawk, she supported the War in Iraq and has refused to apologize for that support and took a much harder line on Iran during the primary season. However, a primary campaign often becomes about candidates differentiating themselves from opponents who agree with most of their views, and it is likely that much of her “tough talk was a political move to distance herself from Obama, with whom she agreed on every major domestic issue.

Since the appointment, Obama and Hillary have both been careful to say that Obama will be making foreign policy and Hillary will be carrying it out.

Hillary is certainly qualified for the job. She commands respect from world leaders, many of whom she met either as First Lady or as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and she gave an oft-quoted speech at a women’s conference in China.

The staff she brings to the State Department will certainly be more hawkish and more seasoned than many of Obama’s foreign policy advisers, but they will likely be balanced out by foreign policy higher-ups such as Samantha Power, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author on genocide who famously called Hillary Clinton a “monster, and future United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, a longtime Obama supporter.

The proverbial “wild card in terms of Obama’s foreign policy, the factor whose specific effects will be unclear, is Obama’s overwhelming international popularity. From Paris to Beirut to Beijing, Obama is seen as heralding a new era of internationalism and cooperation. Will that make international policymaking easier at first? Probably. But high expectations can also lead to high levels of disappointment if the situations change in Iran, North Korea, or Russia and Obama decides to take a harder line, or if rapid troop withdrawal causes chaos in Iraq. All signs indicate that Obama’s foreign policy will be more popular than President Bush’s was, but as has often been said, the bar is quite low.

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Wall Street meets Brandeis Road http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/10/29/wall-street-meets-brandeis-road/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/10/29/wall-street-meets-brandeis-road/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2008 04:51:31 +0000 Rebecca Goldstein http://denebolaonline.net/wordpress/?p=387 “I think we learned an essential truth that in the long run we can’t have a thriving Wall Street if we don’t have a thriving Main Street, Barack Obama said in July.

Record losses in the stock market and troublingly high unemployment figures indicate that neither Wall Street nor the proverbial “Main Street are thriving. But what does Wall Street have to do with Center Street, Beacon Street, and especially Brandeis Road?

Before we even get to the wider consequences of this crisis, the worst we’ve seen since the Great Depression, I have two words for the more self-centered: student loans.

The current crisis has worsened the so called “credit crunch that began in force last winter. That means that banks are reluctant to lend money for homes, businesses, and for education.

Federal loans will be available at pre-crisis levels through the 2009-2010 academic year, but the worsening economy will increase demand for expensive and risky private loans. And for all you underclassmen, there are no guarantees about federal loan interest rates beyond next year.

Applications for financial aid are up 16 percent nationally from last fall, and 10 percent more Northeastern University students have applied for midyear aid than last year.

As tuition increases and loans get more expensive, more and more of us will face the prospect of leaving college with as much as $100,000 in debt.

If that doesn’t get you caring about the worsening economy, picture this: less spending money from your parents. Slimmer chance of getting a car once you get your license. Maybe there won’t be enough money for expensive SAT tutors, application fees, or college visits.

Consider too the $1 billion Governor Patrick is cutting from the state budget because of falling tax revenues. Public school is a government project, and less state money means fewer teachers, larger classes, and fewer supplies.

And besides the economic concerns that affect South students directly, this nation and the world are changing all around us, and we need to take notice.

Nationally, Congress could well end up spending $1 trillion trying to stimulate the economy and dampen the effects of the meltdown. Depending on which analyst you consult, this is either a crucial intervention or a futile effort that will needlessly swell our burgeoning national debt.

Globally, world leaders, including President Bush, are working on a retooling of the global financial system that will change the way this country engages in trade, investment, and banking.

We could very well end up with a highly regulated, European-style system that will either stifle business beyond the point of what’s reasonable, or prevent a future crisis – depending on whom you talk to.

What we know for sure is that the face of business and finance will be drastically different five years from now than it was five years ago, and the guarantees about the future we thought we had as students in a prestigious public school no longer exist.

As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, Wall Street, Main Street, and Brandeis Road are inexplicably tied.

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South students praise teacher http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/04/16/south-students-praise-teacher/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/04/16/south-students-praise-teacher/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2008 05:57:51 +0000 Rebecca Goldstein http://denebolaonline.net/wordpress/?p=282 After teaching at Newton South for seven months, English teacher Brody Lipton had a profound impact on many of his students. Following his resignation on April 9, students reflected on the teacher who many felt inspired them.
English department head Fran Moyer stated in an email statement that Lipton resigned for “personal reasons.
Lipton’s leave was unexpected. “When we got the news¦it was a complete surprise, sophomore William Lind said.
Lipton taught two blocks each of sophomore and junior Curriculum I English, and, according to his students, his creative teaching methods were one of the many engaging aspects of his class.
“He would take a small idea, something about the book we were reading or how to write, and just let us go with it. Wherever the discussion went, that was fine, junior Max Wechter said.
Wechter called Lipton “definitely my favorite teacher.
“English used to be my worst subject, sophomore Joseph Klickstein said “But with Mr. Lipton, that feeling is gone, and now I look forward to every class.
Lipton’s classes often consisted of unique activities. During one class, he cut up hundreds of slips of papers containing quotes from The Great Gatsby and asked students to match them to the character who said them. In order to help his students understand what believable fiction was, he played “Two truths and a lie with them.
“He never told us why we were doing [the activity], junior Tucker Berk said. “You had to find out your own lesson from it.
Multiple students recalled a particular class when Lipton ran an entire class without speaking. He initiated discussions by writing on the board, but never directly spoke.
“He went the whole hour without saying a word. That was really cool, and he did stuff like that all the time. So whenever you went into his class, you didn’t know what to expect. He kept you on your toes and you knew it was going to be something unexpected and usually kind of fun, Lind said.
Lipton’s teaching style extended to his writing assignments. Lipton rarely gave overly explicit assignments, and students were encouraged to write about topics of their own choice, in many cases positively influencing their opinions of English as a subject.
“He gave us hints during class, but his way of teaching was for us to figure connections for ourselves, sophomore Jacob Klickstein said.
“He wanted us to come to a natural connection between them, and just write about things as they came to us instead of planning everything out and writing a boring essay, Lind said. “We would make our own connections and come to our own conclusions. [It] was something I never got to do before. That was really interesting.
Junior Jay Epstein wrote a paper about his personal connections with Jay Gatsby, the central character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Epstein said he felt magnetically drawn to the tragic hero of the Gilded Age. Lipton played a critical role in helping Epstein make the links.
“He knew just what to say to coax your thoughts out, he said. “He knew us.
Epstein’s connection with Gatsby stuck; his friends often refer to him as “Jay Gatsby.
Lipton emphasized writing whenever possible, occasionally giving students a blank sheet of paper and telling them to, initially, write whatever came to mind.
“He took everything you wrote as something special, Berk said.
Lipton, a playwright, sometimes wrote plays for his classes, including one that satirized their confusion about an assignment. He used the play to tell his students that it didn’t matter if their writing didn’t explicitly conform to the assignment; all that mattered was the writing itself.
Lipton also had an original and sensitive grading style to motivate his students. Instead of grading according to a rigid standard, he based grades on how a student’s writing compared to their capabilities. If they made improvement, they were guaranteed a good grade. If they didn’t put in much effort, he would dock them, and encourage improvement.
Writing Center aide Jana McCarthy will take over Lipton’s classes for the remainder of the academic year.

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