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Showing posts from June, 2010

Norway’s New Prisons: Could they work here?

Originally @ Stanford Progressive

Much attention has been granted recently to the just-opened ‘luxury prison’ in Halden, Norway. The facility, which is being touted as the most humane prison in the world, features many amenities for its 252 inmates. And after 10 years of construction and a $22.2 million price tag, government officials say it will be worth every penny. This grand experiment raises the question: would this work in the United States? Unfortunately, the answer is probably ‘no.’

Halden Prison has drawn so much attention for the many different resources and perks it offers its lucky inmates. If you get tired of strolling the facility’s 75 acres, replete with $1.5 million of murals to add to the scenery, you can retire to your own private cell to eat from your personal mini-fridge or watch your own flat-screen TV. Hungry for something more? If you step outside of your suite, with its private bathroom and barless windows (to let in more sunlight), you can walk to the quality …

Homogenous xenophobia: Change we’d better believe in

Originally @ Stanford Progressive

The midterm elections are fast approaching, where all Americans get the opportunity to reevaluate what their government stands for and what they value in state and federal policy. This year’s hot topic? Taking comprehensive strides to eliminate heterogeneity from American society. That’s right, racism is back in vogue.

By now even most politically apathetic people have been exposed to various opinions and interpretations of the proposed Arizona bill SB 1070. The legislation proposes mandating that state and federal authorities check anyone they deem to be suspicious for proof of American citizenship. Suspicious characteristics, as defined by the bill itself, refer to telltale signs such as shoe brands (certain types of shoes are produced in Mexico but not the United States.)

Like so many laws, the bill will operate in practice differently than it is outlined on paper. Chances are, when the Arizona state police are on patrol, they will be paying more a…

Stanford Is Not the United Nations

Originally @ Stanford Review

With the renewal of the divestment debate that has recently surfaced on campus comes the question, “What is the role of student government in issues outside of Stanford?” Do our elected representatives in the ASSU have an obligation to take a public position on national and international issues or is this a deviation from the role of student government?

This episode, in what will undoubtedly continue to be a movement to have school policy address global issues, seems all too familiar. A student group, Campaign Restore Hope, in an effort to respond to human rights violators, asked the University to withdraw its investments from those companies. The Stanford-Israel Alliance student group, by contrast, found the proposed bill to be anti-Israeli, a one-sided proposal that unfairly targeted specific companies on the basis of their aid to Israel.

There is nothing new about students trying to rally our representative bodies behind legislation that makes a clear s…

On Life. (Or, if you can’t comprehend sarcasm, just skip the first half.)

Originally @ Stanford Daily

Other people at Stanford provide amazing insight to discover more about oneself. For instance, I’ve been fortunate enough to follow a series of pieces in The Daily this year that has informed me about my own character (no, that’s not a reference to this God-given gift of a column) by virtue of being a male.

I was fascinated to discover from another writer that, because I am a man, I engage both consciously and subconsciously in the subjugation of women. It was furthermore shocking to find out that I am a homophobe due to my association with the Greek scene, a chauvinist by virtue of having a Y-chromosome and a sex-craved, hormone-driven caveman because I have a penis.

If it wasn’t for a specific elucidating Daily column I followed each week, the opportunity for this catharsis would never have come about. I’m surprised that I wasn’t aware of how much of a stereotypical type-A sexist meathead I am–I must have been too busy promoting negative gender stereotype…