1/13/2011 11:38pm

Hug an art major: they need the love

I am proposing a new holiday for Jan. 18: “Hug an Art Major Day.” The holiday will be aimed at showing art majors how much we appreciate them and need their work in our society. Art is usually given a backseat in school curriculums.

1/13/2011 10:00pm

NCAA rulings hardly consistent

Help me with this. It took the NCAA a staggering four years, with nearly unlimited investigative authority, to arrive at the inevitable conclusion that Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and his mom, Denise Griffin, did not have the means to afford the luxurious $757,000 waterfront mansion where they resided during Bush’s undergraduate career.

1/12/2011 10:16pm

In D.C., there's plenty at stake

Washington, D.C., President Andrew Johnson said, is 12 square miles bordered by reality — or so one apocryphal quotation goes. Real or unreal, spring 2011 will be interesting in the capital. Take Republican gains in Congress, mix in White House staff changes, nascent 2012 presidential campaigns, and add a federal budget to fix and that should make more than enough to keep one’s attention — or so I hope. This semester, I’ll be writing from Capitol Hill. I’m one of fifteen Tar Heels who have temporarily relocated to D.C. on UNC’s Burch Policy Semester. So goodbye, student government. Hello, federal government! Capitol Hill may be six hours drive from Chapel Hill, but it’s unlikely that UNC will stray too far from my mind in the next few months: I’m living in a house with fourteen other UNC students. We have one day of class each week, and for the other four days, we will be off interning in a variety of placements: nonprofits and think tanks, on congressional committee staff and even with Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). (I’m at the Pew Research Center.) For now, though, we’re just arriving and finding our feet: unlearning everything Chapel Hill taught about jaywalking, reading the lists of what not to do as a D.C. intern, exploring the Mall in the snow and, of course, working out where to watch Carolina basketball. But as this semester progresses, I’m going to use this column to examine some of the decisions and events inside the Beltway of particular significance to our University community. The talk of the town right now — other than Saturday’s tragic shooting, which has left members of Congress and their staffers suddenly concerned about personal safety — is the federal budget. The new Republican House leadership has committed to reducing non-defense spending to 2008 levels. And that’s a huge deal for UNC because it includes federal research funding: The University benefited to the tune of $432 million in 2009 alone. To put that in context, $432 million is almost double what tuition and fees raise ($237 million), only one fifth less than UNC’s total state appropriations ($538 million), and 20 percent of its annual revenue ($2.2 billion). So as Congress approaches the March 4 deadline to come up with a new budget, one can’t blame UNC and its peer institutions for being a little nervous.

1/10/2011 9:22pm

Because everyone else is doing it

It happened again. It came and it went. As expected, “the most wonderful time of the year” left untold millions of dollars in credit card debt and thousands of pounds in guilty, sugared pleasures. It left trees, stripped of elaborate decor, at our curbsides awaiting pickup. It left Snooki having to change her plans for New Years Eve when New Yorkers firmly refused her request to ride the ball down in Times Square.

12/7/2010 9:53pm

Each year, a chance to reflect

The Year in Review issue is perennially one of our paper’s most important. I’m not saying that because I get paid to work here. I say it because it’s a chance to actually look at the big picture of what happened around us these past 365 days.

12/6/2010 10:14pm

I can't fake this feeling anymore

It is well-accepted that women can and do fake orgasms. Meg Ryan did her part in establishing this fact for all of posterity with her delighted delicatessen delivery in 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally.” But what about the guys? When it comes to orgasm, are men also lying while laying?

12/5/2010 10:33pm

Try a fantasy league of politics

On Friday, the president’s 18-member, bipartisan deficit commission failed to get the 14 votes it required to send its plan to Congress, though it still had majority support with 11 votes. The panel has been an interesting case study of compromise.

12/2/2010 10:38pm

To dream the possible DREAM

This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., re-introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would afford children of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and have no criminal record the chance to attend college or serve in the military.

12/1/2010 10:14pm

Finding faith in study abroad

Today is the last day of the study part of my time abroad. Not that I spent much time studying or that my classes were difficult, but, like all of you, I will be happy to finish another semester. Unlike most of you, though, my next trip is not hometown-bound. I will not be back to Stafford, Va., until January, with just barely enough time to hug my family hello and pet my dogs before I load up the car, say my goodbyes and drive down to Chapel Hill to move into a dorm I have never lived in — the day before the semester starts.

11/30/2010 10:39pm

The inherent value of learning

When I graduated from high school, there was one complaint I thought I would never have to hear from my classmates again: “When am I ever going to use this in real life?” I am sure everyone has heard it, and maybe they have said it themselves during some particularly obtuse lecture or another. Surely UNC is a place where we can all pick a major and then only study exactly what we are going to use in our future careers — nothing more, nothing less.

11/30/2010 10:37pm

Taking one step back and two steps forward

I graduated with a philosophy and psychology major two years prior. During exam time, I was much more devoted to the construction of the moat in my fraternity than to the tests which would ultimately result in the underwhelming grade point average with which I left UNC.

11/29/2010 10:24pm

Why I'm not a 'first-year' student

Freshman or first-year? Our class will probably never reach a consensus on the issue of our collective status. The reason for this polarizing debate is the same reason for all arguments nowadays: discrimination in the form of sexism. To some, the fact that “freshman” is used without any corresponding feminine term is an appalling representation of the ongoing subjugation of women, even in the 21st century. To them, “first-year” is preferable because it is sexless, and therefore a moderate alternative. The cause for change is understandable but irrational.

11/28/2010 10:21pm

We can't go 'home' again

Thomas Wolfe said it best: “You can’t go home again.” We all tried over Thanksgiving break. We made our strongest efforts to integrate ourselves back into our hometowns, our old friend groups and our families. Between bites of turkey, we attempted to remember how we used to do it — to remember where we fit into it all. Audience by audience, we noticed that things simply weren’t as we left them.

11/22/2010 10:20pm

Can you pass the humble pie?

The media has overly sensationalized the rough economy in which we live. For many families, this economy has indeed created dire times. But our quality of life is not as bad as many would have you believe nor as bad as many seem to believe. So this year, when you emerge from your college bubble, let me suggest giving thanks for a sadly disappearing generation that embodied being humble, independent and basically American.

11/21/2010 10:37pm

Sex and the older woman

It’s no secret that society wants older men to be the same sexual stallions that they were in their 20s. With Jimmy Johnson (Extenze), and Hugh Hefner (Playboy) leading the salt-and-pepper herd, men in their 50s and 60s are supposed to continue being sexually active. But what about older women? They have the images of the old maid and the spinster. Some changes are developing via the rise of the “cougar” stereotype (albeit with its own set of problematic implications), but the myth of the asexual older woman still remains strong.

11/18/2010 10:18pm

The immigrant economy

Fresh off their victory in the midterm elections this month, Republicans in Congress are prioritizing their agenda for the 112th session. At the top: jobs, debt, and the economy. Meanwhile all signs of addressing real and necessary immigration reform are fading quickly. In light of this, let’s take a look at how immigration reform could aid in growing the U.S. economy.

11/17/2010 10:56pm

Soda tax: A solution to a big problem

Beyond our nation’s borders, we are known as a country of fatties. When I was studying abroad in Argentina last fall, my host family thought they knew the answer to why so many Americans are fat — they eat too much peanut butter. My host family may have been on the right track, since processed foods and beverages high in fat, like peanut butter, are so much cheaper than fresh produce. Eating or drinking large quantities of processed foods and beverages is one of the major causes of our nation’s obesity epidemic.

11/17/2010 10:42pm

Fighting indifference, through tea

When Elie Wiesel recently came to UNC, he argued that our generation needs to work together better. And according to Wiesel, that requires “getting everyone in the same room talking.” This Friday morning, the Black Student Movement, the Campus Y, the Carolina Review, Carolina United, College Republicans, Cornerstone, Episcopal Campus Ministry, the Faculty Council, Hillel, Muslim Student Association, NAACP, the Roosevelt Institute and Young Democrats invite the community to the Campus Y for the first three cups of tea, coffee or apple cider.