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Denebola » Editorials and Opinions 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 School spirit suddenly surfaces http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/south-alum-orgnaizes-japan-benefit-concerts/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/south-alum-orgnaizes-japan-benefit-concerts/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 07:55:45 +0000 Rutul Patel http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5742 On Wednesday, April 13, South pride was not just evident, but it was palpable. The students donned more than just the mundane jeans and t-shirts; they sported the Lions’ blue and orange.
It’s not that Denebola particularly likes the stereotypic perceptions of society about American high schools. It finds there is a lack of school spirit that shouldn’t exist.
Newton South has only one pep rally a year, and a shame the majority of the South students cannot unite under one cause for one hour.
Are mainstream athletics not engaging? Yet a high per centage of South students are involved in sports, at all levels, and the theater and arts productions are lively.
Is the auditorium too small to house a significant audience? but that was never its intent, and its purpose is well served in that there are so many events held in it, lecture hall and black box, that each student could acquire a ticket to at least one.
Are South students so overwhelmed by pressure-cooker Newton? Or is it that students don’t care anymore?
Football games are played to half-filled stands, and students don’t even realize that there is an enthusiastic Girls’ Hockey team.
Why does it take a remarkably concentrated display of talent – that conveniently gets students out of classes for the day – to arouse appreciation for Newton South’s overflowing well of genius on stage, at a desk, or on the court or playing fields?
This Wednesday, the school bubbled with unmatched flair and enthusiasm. The convergence of the kickoff of spring sports, the performance of Tertulia, and the quick approach of spring break were required to arouse the student body to open its eyes and realize the spectacular feats accomplished daily.
Smiles were pervasive, optimism apparent. Students were loud, active, involved – they enjoyed the day, whether it was because they spent time watching classmates sing, dance, and accomplish remarkable feats, or because they were enjoying all this with friends.
It has always been the mission of any high school newspaper, including Denebola, to offer a source in which all elements of student life are found.
With Advanced Placement tests, college admissions exams, and finals still looming large, the “window of opportunity” in which students can enjoy the high school experience within the walls of South wanes rapidly.

On Wednesday, April 13, South pride was not just evident, but it was palpable. The students donned more than just the mundane jeans and t-shirts; they sported the Lions’ blue and orange.It’s not that Denebola particularly likes the stereotypic perceptions of society about American high schools. It finds there is a lack of school spirit that shouldn’t exist.Newton South has only one pep rally a year, and a shame the majority of the South students cannot unite under one cause for one hour.Are mainstream athletics not engaging? Yet a high per centage of South students are involved in sports, at all levels, and the theater and arts productions are lively.Is the auditorium too small to house a significant audience? but that was never its intent, and its purpose is well served in that there are so many events held in it, lecture hall and black box, that each student could acquire a ticket to at least one.Are South students so overwhelmed by pressure-cooker Newton? Or is it that students don’t care anymore?Football games are played to half-filled stands, and students don’t even realize that there is an enthusiastic Girls’ Hockey team.Why does it take a remarkably concentrated display of talent – that conveniently gets students out of classes for the day – to arouse appreciation for Newton South’s overflowing well of genius on stage, at a desk, or on the court or playing fields?This Wednesday, the school bubbled with unmatched flair and enthusiasm. The convergence of the kickoff of spring sports, the performance of Tertulia, and the quick approach of spring break were required to arouse the student body to open its eyes and realize the spectacular feats accomplished daily.Smiles were pervasive, optimism apparent. Students were loud, active, involved – they enjoyed the day, whether it was because they spent time watching classmates sing, dance, and accomplish remarkable feats, or because they were enjoying all this with friends. It has always been the mission of any high school newspaper, including Denebola, to offer a source in which all elements of student life are found.With Advanced Placement tests, college admissions exams, and finals still looming large, the “window of opportunity” in which students can enjoy the high school experience within the walls of South wanes rapidly.

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Breaking News! Your essays may be plagiarized: Turnitin not foolproof http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/breaking-news-your-essays-may-be-plagiarized-turnitin-not-foolproof/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/breaking-news-your-essays-may-be-plagiarized-turnitin-not-foolproof/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 05:59:47 +0000 Jarrett Gorin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5779 Plagiarism is the easiest way to fail. No ifs, ands, or buts.
There have been rumors going around—as there are each year—about so-and-so plagiarizing on his or her history paper and thus earning a zero.
Most students react in shock or disbelief. With our teachers’ numerous lectures, most onlookers are surprised that anyone would even think to try something so stupid.
Plagiarism can be unintentional, however. Scouring essays for copied work is tedious and annoying, and writers naturally assume that all their work is what it seems—entirely their own.
Accidents do happen. Certain phrases stick in our minds when we’re researching, and these turn up in our papers. We can rarely prevent this—it’s just the way our brains work.
And what if a coincidence happens? There are times when the phrasings of certain sentences can align with those of another source, even if a writer has never seen the source.
Our teachers try their best to prevent this sort of thing from happening, but using just their own intuition doesn’t seem to cut it. Now, Turnitin.com, a website that checks essays and papers against original sources for copied work, does it all for them.
Unfortunately, Turnitin has more than a few flaws.
First of all, the teachers’ settings for the site don’t include text sources. It only checks the internet and other submitted essays. Don’t many of the sources that we use for essays and such come from books? Sure, some books’ text is online, but most of the time this is not the case. This is clearly an enormous gap in the website’s ability to provide accurate assessments of work.
On top of that, Turnitin looks at everything in a paper. That means that there is not a single phrase that is omitted, even if it’s something simple, such as “The other day I went…”.
On my history paper, it said that my page numbers were plagiarized. Page numbers.
Turnitin is essentially useless. Of course, it catches some things; if you were to fob off an entire piece of work you would get caught.
However, Turnitin doesn’t catch the right things, but rather catches all the wrong things. Books are left out as sources, and citations, quotations, and even page numbers are counted. I don’t really see how anyone thought that this would help us.
Despite this, many teachers take Turnitin very seriously. My history teacher threatened to give a zero to anyone who didn’t submit their paper to the site by a certain time the night before it was due.
As for the actual issue of plagiarism, yes, it is a problem, and yes, it can be stopped.
Is Turnitin the answer to this problem? No, because it just doesn’t work.

Plagiarism is the easiest way to fail. No ifs, ands, or buts.There have been rumors going around—as there are each year—about so-and-so plagiarizing on his or her history paper and thus earning a zero. Most students react in shock or disbelief. With our teachers’ numerous lectures, most onlookers are surprised that anyone would even think to try something so stupid. Plagiarism can be unintentional, however. Scouring essays for copied work is tedious and annoying, and writers naturally assume that all their work is what it seems—entirely their own.Accidents do happen. Certain phrases stick in our minds when we’re researching, and these turn up in our papers. We can rarely prevent this—it’s just the way our brains work.And what if a coincidence happens? There are times when the phrasings of certain sentences can align with those of another source, even if a writer has never seen the source.Our teachers try their best to prevent this sort of thing from happening, but using just their own intuition doesn’t seem to cut it. Now, Turnitin.com, a website that checks essays and papers against original sources for copied work, does it all for them.Unfortunately, Turnitin has more than a few flaws.First of all, the teachers’ settings for the site don’t include text sources. It only checks the internet and other submitted essays. Don’t many of the sources that we use for essays and such come from books? Sure, some books’ text is online, but most of the time this is not the case. This is clearly an enormous gap in the website’s ability to provide accurate assessments of work.On top of that, Turnitin looks at everything in a paper. That means that there is not a single phrase that is omitted, even if it’s something simple, such as “The other day I went…”.On my history paper, it said that my page numbers were plagiarized. Page numbers. Turnitin is essentially useless. Of course, it catches some things; if you were to fob off an entire piece of work you would get caught. However, Turnitin doesn’t catch the right things, but rather catches all the wrong things. Books are left out as sources, and citations, quotations, and even page numbers are counted. I don’t really see how anyone thought that this would help us.Despite this, many teachers take Turnitin very seriously. My history teacher threatened to give a zero to anyone who didn’t submit their paper to the site by a certain time the night before it was due.As for the actual issue of plagiarism, yes, it is a problem, and yes, it can be stopped.Is Turnitin the answer to this problem? No, because it just doesn’t work.

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Opposing Viewpoints http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/opposing-viewpoints/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/opposing-viewpoints/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 05:56:24 +0000 Ilana Sivachenko http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5777 The new ice cream in the cafeteria is…

Pro

…delicious and necessary.

Usually I order sushi or go out during my free lunch block; occasionally I bring a sandwich from home, but last Wednesday was different…
As I walked toward the cafeteria, I saw a freshman holding a delicious, ice cream cone.
My mind was reeling from the shock. How could a 15 year-old be holding an ice cream cone in the hallway? Did his mother drop it off? Where did this mysterious and delectable snack come from?
I decided to put my top-notch investigative skills to work, but first I wanted to grab something for lunch. As I walked through the cafeteria door, I found myself surrounded by ice cream cones, and for once, I wasn’t hallucinating.
People were really holding ice cream cones!
I consider myself an epicurean, a go hard or go home fan of fine food so my journey to find a cold ice cream cone quickly turned into a contact sport.
I pushed my way through a horde of underclassmen to find the hub of the entire operation, a cooler filled to the brim with tasty frozen snacks.
After purchasing an ice cream cone, I was met with a number of disapproving stares.
Some people may say that ice cream is bad for your teeth, or that it is bad for your health. In fact, a food that contains milk as opposed to excess sugar, like Sour Patch Kids, is preferable any day of the week. In addition to this, there is also a positive psychological aspect: people love ice cream!
In fact, the average American eats 23.2 quarts of ice cream and other frozen dairy products each year. Scientists working with ice cream don’t try to remove the sugar or the calorie count, instead, they merely try to add nutritional value.
Ice cream is far from unhealthy, in fact a bowl of ice cream has less calories than your favorite soda, compare 200 calories per serving to ice cream’s mere 40.
To all the haters that nay-say sorbet, ice cream is healthier than many of the other products in our cafeteria.
The majority of ice cream on the market is made from natural sugar and milk, but it’s also important to remember that 60% of an ice cream cone is still water.
Every food, from meat to spinach, can have an undesired effect on your body.
Adding ice cream to the menu is certainly not the most damaging decision Newton South High School will ever make, and if it brightens the days of our students, I’d say it’s worth a few extra calories.
Complaining about ice cream when there are so many scholastic and social issues that need to be solved is both counterproductive and silly.
Ice cream cones are delicious, cold, refreshing, creamy and crunchy, and most importantly, sweet, and if there is one thing a Newton South student needs on a daily basis it is a healthy mixture of sugar and caffeine.

sually I order sushi or go out during my free lunch block; occasionally I bring a sandwich from home, but last Wednesday was different…As I walked toward the cafeteria, I saw a freshman holding a delicious, ice cream cone.My mind was reeling from the shock. How could a 15 year-old be holding an ice cream cone in the hallway? Did his mother drop it off? Where did this mysterious and delectable snack come from?I decided to put my top-notch investigative skills to work, but first I wanted to grab something for lunch. As I walked through the cafeteria door, I found myself surrounded by ice cream cones, and for once, I wasn’t hallucinating. People were really holding ice cream cones!I consider myself an epicurean, a go hard or go home fan of fine food so my journey to find a cold ice cream cone quickly turned into a contact sport. I pushed my way through a horde of underclassmen to find the hub of the entire operation, a cooler filled to the brim with tasty frozen snacks.After purchasing an ice cream cone, I was met with a number of disapproving stares. Some people may say that ice cream is bad for your teeth, or that it is bad for your health. In fact, a food that contains milk as opposed to excess sugar, like Sour Patch Kids, is preferable any day of the week. In addition to this, there is also a positive psychological aspect: people love ice cream! In fact, the average American eats 23.2 quarts of ice cream and other frozen dairy products each year. Scientists working with ice cream don’t try to remove the sugar or the calorie count, instead, they merely try to add nutritional value.Ice cream is far from unhealthy, in fact a bowl of ice cream has less calories than your favorite soda, compare 200 calories per serving to ice cream’s mere 40. To all the haters that nay-say sorbet, ice cream is healthier than many of the other products in our cafeteria. The majority of ice cream on the market is made from natural sugar and milk, but it’s also important to remember that 60% of an ice cream cone is still water.Every food, from meat to spinach, can have an undesired effect on your body. Adding ice cream to the menu is certainly not the most damaging decision Newton South High School will ever make, and if it brightens the days of our students, I’d say it’s worth a few extra calories.Complaining about ice cream when there are so many scholastic and social issues that need to be solved is both counterproductive and silly. Ice cream cones are delicious, cold, refreshing, creamy and crunchy, and most importantly, sweet, and if there is one thing a Newton South student needs on a daily basis it is a healthy mixture of sugar and caffeine.\

Con

…unhealthy and excessive.

I scream. You scream. We all scream for…

Ice cream. Duh. Reading that pro over there, you probably have your wallet out ready to buy some delicious Choc-Tacos or frozen Twix bars.

But wait! Something is amiss in this picture. Imagine yourself walking into the cafeteria. All you see are posters asking you if you got milk, (we’re not cows; we don’t carry milk on us) and telling you to live healthy. So why would a cafeteria that is so fond of promoting healthy eating sell ice cream?

Maybe it’s because they realized that most of the good food is gone by the time the majority of the students go to get their lunch.

Or maybe out of the goodness of their hearts they wanted to give us some delicious goodies to eat for dessert after we have our lunch. (A pretty pricy desert might I add. Someone should mention that $2.00 for a Klondike Bar is pushing it.  But then again some people may do that for a Klondike Bar.) Or it could be that the cafeteria wants to make more money.

You have to know your demographic. If you were in a retirement home, prune juice would be the way to go. If you were selling stuff in New Jersey, then you’d need a truck filled with hair gel and spray tan. As the kids in the entrepreneurship class would say, its basic business.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with making money—capitalism all the way, otherwise the commies win. But the problem with selling ice cream in school is that you’re selling ice cream in school. What happened to healthy living?

Ice cream gets 48% of its calories from fat. And even the low fat alternative has 25% calories from fat. Giving kids that have a wallet filled with cash a virtually endless supply of ice cream is like giving Charlie Sheen the keys to Colombia’s cocaine factories.

As many of you know Charlie appreciates it, but it’s just not good for him.

There’s a reason that America is leading the world in childhood obesity. We refuse to moderate our needs.

If you eat one bar of ice cream every week, then you’d be all right. You would relish the treat while you have it, and you’d eventually work it off.

But if you had a virtually endless supply of ice cream, then guess who would gain 40 pounds and start taking the elevator instead of the stairs?

All I’m saying is that the cafeteria is hypocritical for have a slushie machine and a giant tub filled with ice cream surrounded by health posters.

If you wanted to keep kids healthy then ice cream wasn’t the best way to go. Also, the greasy food might not be the most clever way to promote good health, either. But that’s a rant for another time.

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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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Rethinking American Policy in the Middle East http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/rethinking-american-policy-in-the-middle-east/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/rethinking-american-policy-in-the-middle-east/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 05:59:20 +0000 Dylan Royce http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5698 In October 2010, the US announced two billion dollars in military aid to Pakistan. This is only the latest in a long series of aid packages to the country, both military and humanitarian.
America pours a huge amount of money not only into Pakistan, but into the entire Middle East. Discounting the enormous sums spent on combat and development in Iraq and Afghanistan (and lost to corruption there), the government spends billions of dollars on aid to various countries, most of which have autocratic regimes and/or generally anti-American populations.
The hope is that aid will both coerce the recipient governments to support American policies and stabilize the volatile region, freezing these hopefully pro-American governments in place. Essentially unconsidered is whether the regimes we are hoping to perpetuate are actually worth supporting, or whether they are even on our side.
Some nations are clearly not, shamelessly taking our money while simultaneously refusing to support or actively opposing American goals.
Our government must make it clear that while all peoples are entitled to humanitarian aid regardless of their governments’ policies, military aid is not a right, but a privilege—one that can be revoked at any time should a recipient go against American interests. In order to reestablish (or, perhaps, establish for the first time) American influence in the region, the United States must reconsider the relationships it has with every country. Countries found to be undeserving of military aid must either shape up or face the loss of it.
The best example of such a country is Pakistan. Despite receiving multiple billions of dollars annually, its government has not only failed to defeat the Taliban, but is almost certainly actively supporting it.
One Taliban logistics officer estimated that it provides 80 percent of his organization’s funding. While this particular figure is unverifiable, the general assertion that Pakistan is aiding the Taliban has been corroborated by other sources, including American diplomatic cables released on WikiLeaks, as well as Afghani officials. Afghani officials, in fact, have repeatedly stated that victory in the war will be impossible unless Pakistan stops supporting the insurgents.
The irony is that some of the money that Pakistan gives to the Taliban is probably American aid. Even if it is not, we are still funding the supporter of the enemy, which we already armed in the 1980s. We do not need to give them any more help.
If arming America’s main enemy in the War on Terror is not enough, Pakistan is also possibly sheltering Osama bin Laden.
Some sources, such as an anonymous NATO commander quoted by CNN, assert that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the same one that supports the Taliban, is also providing America’s greatest enemy with houses in Northwest Pakistan. Rather than living in a cave, he may be shuttling between various dwellings subsidized by American funds.
We must demand that Pakistan crack down on religious extremism, cease funding terrorism of all kinds (especially the Taliban, but also Islamic terrorism in India), give up bin Laden if it has him, and launch an actual attempt to defeat the Taliban.
If it fails to do so, we will have no choice but to cut military aid and henceforth regard it as an unfriendly state. This would essentially be recognizing it for what it is: a nation that supports America’s enemies and passively harbors the perpetrators of 9/11. Pretending that it is our friend and continuing to pour money into its (and therefore the Taliban’s) coffers will not solve anything.
If we refuse to get tough with Pakistan and countries like it, we materially support the enemy while wasting our own finances, making us appear both weak and stupid to allies and foes alike.
In short, failure to reform our diplomatic efforts in the Middle East will destroy any remaining influence that we have in the region, as well as our chances of finally winning the War on Terror.

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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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Denebola editors oppose the proposed student activities http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/denebola-editors-oppose-the-proposed-student-activities/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/denebola-editors-oppose-the-proposed-student-activities/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 05:10:59 +0000 Denebola http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5626 As part of the plan to mitigate the effects of the FY12 budget cuts, the Superintendent is proposing a $125 student activities fee.
This fee, intended for middle school Triple E programs and high school clubs, would help the district to counteract the consequences of insufficient funds to maintain and grow the programs and services provided district-wide.
Denebola recognizes the gravity of this year’s budget dilemmas and commends the central office for seeking creative solutions to a difficult situation.
But as students who devote significant time to an extra-curricular activity – the school newspaper – we fear that the proposed activities fee will negatively affect student activities – and the students involved in them – throughout the city.
It’s long been common practice to charge such fees for athletics, so it may seem fitting to impose similar fees for other after school programs.
The proposed fee concerns us, however, since there does not seem to be a correlation between the addition of fees and an increase in funds available to support activities, like advisor, coach, and director stipends.
Nor does this fee account for the varying degrees of interest, participation, and time-commitment in different clubs.
For example, some clubs meet during Wednesday J-Blocks, but others – like theatre and publications – work into the evening and on weekends.
Why should a student’s family be obligated to pay the same amount to participate in a once-a-week club as for a clearly more intense and involved activity? For us it is a problem that the proposed plan for the FY12 fees do not address what is effectively inequity.
Furthermore, we worry that an activities fee – even with a mechanism for addressing special financial circumstances – will discourage students from joining activities that would end up being beneficial to them.
We know firsthand the positive impact of activities like Denebola – activities that not only provide us with an important community of friends and colleagues, but are also key to defining who we are as learners and as people.
The $125, no matter how logical a fee or how fundamental to maintaining Newton’s high academic standards, will likely stand between a student with potential interest and the activity he or she wants to participate in.
If we were freshmen with interest in joining Denebola, this fee would certainly influence our enthusiasm to join the newspaper – and we can only imagine this is the same case with prospective speech, theatre, mock trial, and student union participants.
Denebola is, for the reasons outlined, opposed to the implementation of a student activities fee.
But we appreciate the financial climate in which this idea was proposed, as well as the central office’s effort to maintain as many academic programs as possible.
We nevertheless stress that this type of fee will almost certainly impact the ways in which students think about extracurricular participation – commitments that, in our experience, are a significant part of a Newton South education.

As part of the plan to mitigate the effects of the FY12 budget cuts, the Superintendent is proposing a $125 student activities fee. This fee, intended for middle school Triple E programs and high school clubs, would help the district to counteract the consequences of insufficient funds to maintain and grow the programs and services provided district-wide.Denebola recognizes the gravity of this year’s budget dilemmas and commends the central office for seeking creative solutions to a difficult situation. But as students who devote significant time to an extra-curricular activity – the school newspaper – we fear that the proposed activities fee will negatively affect student activities – and the students involved in them – throughout the city.It’s long been common practice to charge such fees for athletics, so it may seem fitting to impose similar fees for other after school programs. The proposed fee concerns us, however, since there does not seem to be a correlation between the addition of fees and an increase in funds available to support activities, like advisor, coach, and director stipends. Nor does this fee account for the varying degrees of interest, participation, and time-commitment in different clubs.For example, some clubs meet during Wednesday J-Blocks, but others – like theatre and publications – work into the evening and on weekends. Why should a student’s family be obligated to pay the same amount to participate in a once-a-week club as for a clearly more intense and involved activity? For us it is a problem that the proposed plan for the FY12 fees do not address what is effectively inequity.Furthermore, we worry that an activities fee – even with a mechanism for addressing special financial circumstances – will discourage students from joining activities that would end up being beneficial to them. We know firsthand the positive impact of activities like Denebola – activities that not only provide us with an important community of friends and colleagues, but are also key to defining who we are as learners and as people.The $125, no matter how logical a fee or how fundamental to maintaining Newton’s high academic standards, will likely stand between a student with potential interest and the activity he or she wants to participate in. If we were freshmen with interest in joining Denebola, this fee would certainly influence our enthusiasm to join the newspaper – and we can only imagine this is the same case with prospective speech, theatre, mock trial, and student union participants.Denebola is, for the reasons outlined, opposed to the implementation of a student activities fee.But we appreciate the financial climate in which this idea was proposed, as well as the central office’s effort to maintain as many academic programs as possible. We nevertheless stress that this type of fee will almost certainly impact the ways in which students think about extracurricular participation – commitments that, in our experience, are a significant part of a Newton South education.

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First lunch places last: lunch one a chaotic mess http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/first-lunch-places-last-lunch-one-a-chaotic-mess/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/first-lunch-places-last-lunch-one-a-chaotic-mess/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 04:57:35 +0000 Jarrett Gorin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5609 Ever since the semester started, first lunch has been uncomfortably overcrowded. When the lunch schedule changed, no one realized that the two most crowded areas of the school, the 2000’s and the 6000’s, would be eating at the same time.

Now, the first lunch line is comparable to a mob, lacking only pitchforks and burning torches.

The ensuing chaos causes some students to wait in line for the duration of lunch, forcing many to bring their lunches to class, while others choose not to eat at all because of lines.

To make matters worse, the entrance, a very small doorway, is nearly impossible to squeeze through, and it is anything but pleasant trying to navigate the various lunch counters beyond the doorway.

I’m not claustrophobic but sheer volume of people in the lunch line would likely scare King Kong, let alone hungry South students.

Two of my classes have swapped lunches to relieve crowding, yet the situation remains the same. Cancelled freshman classes take first lunch; adding at least fifty extra students to the first-lunch crowd every day.

The new policy mandating the first floor of the 6000s to take second or third lunch has yet to yield results.

The cafeteria staff have made efforts to clear the jam by moving the registers outside the doors. The tactic has allowed more space where no food exists, but doesn’t change the high concentration of students surrounding the counters.

Following the current lunch situation’s trajectory, I doubt anything will by fixed by the end of the year.

Nearing the end of the third term, there may not be enough time for a proper solution, which is unfortunate when students are forced to go without food and seek places to eat outside of the cafeteria.

The simple solution to the problem would be to rearrange the lunch schedule to reflect the traffic, which would eliminate the problems.

But seeing as there are no imminent solutions, there are only a few small things we can do to make life easier during our half-hour of culinary solace.

The first thing is frustratingly simple: pay with smaller bills. Students stand in line watching people pay with fifty dollar bills, which is ridiculous. Or, even better: put money in your lunch account!

Another solution, although it might be “retro,” would be to bring lunch from home.

Your parents would surely be happy to save at least $17, and if you still have that refrigerated Power Rangers lunchbox from third grade, you can eat a chilled lunch!

So, why complicate life when you don’t need to? Do your part to speed up the lunch lines and we’ll all be rewarded.

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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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Shamed seniors shafted by cold cut http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/shamed-seniors-shafted-by-cold-cut/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/shamed-seniors-shafted-by-cold-cut/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 10:30:53 +0000 Tony Wang http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5125 As we all heard during the school-wide This I Believe assembly, principal Joel Stembridge echoed the school’s thoughts when he said, “We love our school. And really, we should. What other school in the state, in the country, oh what the heck, in the world, has an entire bulletin board dedicated to the hind legs of a hog?
Yes, I am talking of none other than the legendary Wall of Ham, the wall that I worship and praise to be the epitome of South Spirit, just barely edging out the incredibly successful Crazy Fridays.
Seriously though, this had some serious potential? Imagine it now: Ham Fridays, show off your inner cHAMpion! Or what about Ham Competition: Bring sHAMe to Lady Gaga and her MTV outfit!
Everyone says school spirit is so important to foster a good learning environment or whatnot. “School spirit activity is one of the best ways to bring students and teachers together in a positive learning environment, Bob Sheldon said, on his website that encourages school spirit. Attending school games or wearing school apparel may be too much for the common individual to bear, but something like a ham hat or ham purse shouldn’t blow anyone’s mind away. Sometimes, the absurdity of simplicity is beautiful.
But of course, we all know why school spirit is working so well at South. As Sheldon mentioned, teachers are key in developing school spirit. HAMlet galore, English teachers! History teachers, a chapter devoted to Alexander HAMilton, please. And whatever happened to AP sHAManism? Chemistry teachers, it’s about time we started using cyclophospHAMide and etHAMbutol. Math teachers, we must pay our respects to MuHAMmad ibn MÅ«sÁ al-KhwÁrizmë, who first presented the systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations (google him, he’s real). Clearly, teachers are the key to developing a spirited student body.
But why am I writing all this? This really shouldn’t be necessary. Ever since our childhood days, Dr. Seuss has encouraged green eggs and HAM. Sports fans have idolized Mia HAMm and David BeckHAM. For half of my high school years, I’ve tried to distract myself with more productive things, like colleges and the SATs. One day, I decided to take the Princeton Review’s SAT practice test. After a strenuous four hours of long passages, essays, charts and diagrams, and sentence completions (alpHAMeric? Say what?), I was ready to turn my test sheet in, so I began to sign the certification statement at the bottom of the page, only to find myself writing, “I HAM what I HAM.
I’ll be honest, it made my day.
Clearly, all this talk of ham has made you hungry now. No problem, take a bite out of your ham pants. Ewwww, that’s gross! Next time you’re in the lunch line eyeing that HAMburger suspiciously wrapped in tin foil, think again. Don’t take me too seriously though; I’m not at all suggesting any ideas… Really, I’m just giving you a heads up. If you feel someone in line behind you start munching on your ham pants, don’t be alarmed!
My great-grandfather used to say, “Where there are noodles, there are Chinese people. On a similar note, where there is ham, there’s bound to be bread. So now that December has come, the S and E have been returned to their respective positions on that holy slab of wall outside the library to house our rejection letters. What a sHAMe.

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