Showing posts from May, 2010

I Must Just Be Confused…

Originally @ Stanford Daily Watching my spouse die in the hospital was pretty difficult. At least, I imagine it was pretty difficult for his family, who were there with him. After dedicating ourselves to spending our lives together, in sickness or in health, I couldn’t stand by his side in the hospital because I had no legal right to do so. I didn’t even have the right to make medical treatment decisions for him when he was unable to. Being legally barred by hospital staff from comforting my spouse in his last hours was painful. It was especially tough because he wasn’t a legal citizen–we were unable to expedite his path to citizenship through marriage, a privilege granted to other, opposite-sex couples. His citizenship doesn’t matter now though–even if he had become naturalized, I would be prevented by law from obtaining his Social Security pension or other government benefits. That was the least of our concerns. Even years after the ceremony, after living together for so long,

With Apologies to Hawaii

Originally @ Stanford Daily Brief disclaimer: With regards to last week’s column, I’d like to offer a sincere apology to anyone who was offended by the content of my writing. I wrote a satire column indicting the United States for its failure to respond to genocide and for its weak justifications for doing so. As one of my editors adeptly pointed out, in making such a critique, one adopts the language of the culture/mindset they are critiquing, bringing some readers to the erroneous conclusion that I endorsed the viewpoints I outlined in the column. I can understand how people may have found such satire offensive. On that note, please do not take offense to this column, which compares the merits of the east and west coasts. This column does not represent the views of The Stanford Daily, its editorial staff, God or the school administration. This column is not meant to degrade, marginalize, offend or disrespect either coast, its inhabitants or anybody anywhere ever. We at The Stanfo

The Poor As Consumers

Originally @ Stanford Progressive A new trend is emerging in the field of poverty and inequality alleviation. The social attitude of firms and philanthropists towards addressing these grandiose problems is, more and more, resembling that of businesses rather than charities. The change in how poor people are being addressed reflects a growing categorization of the poor as consumers rather than as recipients. In his book, <em>The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid</em>, University of Michigan Prof. of Corporate Strategy C. K. Prahalad argues that firms should not view poverty as a problem, but rather should see it as an opportunity. By treating poor people as potential consumers instead of as recipients of aid, dilemmas like poverty and inequality can be addressed in sustainable ways that capitalize on market mechanisms. This attitude has manifested itself in a number of new companies with an exclusive focus on addressing poverty. For these firms, economic profit is no

With Regards to Brown People Killing Other Brown People

[Satire] Originally @ Stanford Daily Dear People of Africa (ATTN: Sudan), Re: Application for United States humanitarian aid, Please stop requesting humanitarian intervention in your civil wars, armed conflicts and miscellaneous ethnic skirmishes. While we empathize with your situation, we are not currently in a position where we feel it is appropriate to lend assistance to mediate your internal armed conflicts. As a reminder, please note that the United States is not a global policeman with infinite expendable resources that can be easily deployed to any international theater. The United States recognizes that, for the most part, it is a grave misfortune to be born African. Living in a country with scarce and unequally distributed resources, a corrupt government with no transparency and a dearth of opportunities to improve your position is an admittedly unfortunate position. Regardless, the lottery of birth is structured in such a manner that, given your geographic origin

Time for Tea at Stanford?

Originally @ Stanford Review It is comforting at times to think of Stanford as isolated in an apolitical bubble. Stanford students are generally too busy to remain involved and active politically. The competing demands of schoolwork and extracurriculars coupled with our insulation from the outside world create a cozy atmosphere where students can choose not to pay attention to national issues. This makes it remarkable that, recently, a new student group formed focused exclusively on one national political issue: accountable government spending and financial reform. The group, called the Stanford Tea Party, seeks to overcome the stereotypes attributed to the national movement and get students to focus on government tax and spending policy. The national Tea Party movement has picked up steam in the past half years, just in time for the 2010 midterm elections, where it is likely to play a major role as an issue determining how Americans vote. The Tea Party Patriots group, which lab

Correctness Can Be Incorrect

Originally @ Stanford Daily If you pay attention to the thrilling world of on-campus controversies, chances are you have heard of the homophobic fraternity e-mail scandal that has caught the attention of so many different groups recently. If you are a devoted<em> Just a Thought </em>groupie, you may remember that I briefly touched on it in my column a couple weeks ago. In light of the continuing coverage and disputes revolving around this incident, another point needs to be made. Political correctness is a campaign, not a crusade. Many people don’t seem to realize that. For those ignorant of how this flash-in-the-pan controversy arose, I’ll give quick background: a fraternity member e-mailed his house list asking people to stop using homophobic slurs. Another member responded implying that the request was a joke. There was no violent hate crime, there was no targeting, there was no consensus of bigotry. The miniscule nature of the initial offense does not excuse it o