Category Archives: Senior Editorials

European financial crisis looms over US markets

John McGovern

Viewpoints Editor

The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced his decision to step down as the Head of Government. The act is pending approval of financial legislation to stabilize the economy, after failing to accrue a majority of votes in a recent vote in the Italian Parliament. Berlusconi fought opponents from the Democratic Party coalition and from within his own party for several months to retain control over Parliament, however 320 Members of Parliament opted not to vote in his measure on financial planning, with 318 for and one abstention.

This declaration stands in addition to reports that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will resign to pave the way for an interim government with an election next year. Papandreou’s decision follows his attempt to put the European bailout package to a national vote, which led the International Monetary Fund and several European leaders to declare that Greece wouldn’t receive any new aid until the referendum passed. Greece stands to gain €8 billion in aid by the end of the month from the European Central Bank.

The shuffle in high-ranking positions comes at a critical time in Europe’s slow and frustrating process to alleviate trillions of dollars of debt accrued by several European Union member countries. The creation of the European Financial Stability Facility in May 2010 allotted some €750 billion aimed at supporting banks across the continent. Part of this sum went to Greece, who eventually received an additional €110 billion through the International Monetary Fund and several European governments. Meanwhile, Italy possesses a debt of €1.9 trillion, and economists fear the country could easily find itself in a situation reminiscent of Greece or worse.

Portugal, Spain and Ireland loom on the horizon as nations susceptible to similar economic measures, however the focus remains largely on Greece. The financial problems have been attributed to an overabundance of loans following the abandonment of the traditional Greek currency, the drachma, in favor of the euro in 2001. This coincided with spending large sums of money on projects such as those in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

The crisis in confidence across several European nations comes at a time where many economists, political leaders and citizens express severe doubts in the longevity of the Eurozone. Of the 27 EU member states, 17 use the euro, with rules regarding inflation, minting and other fiscal policy under the direction of the European Central Bank. A central issue in the economic crisis remains how much the ECB will pay in recovery funds, and what role individual governments and the private sector will play.

As of press time, Greece had not selected a new leader, however speculation points to opposition leader Antonis Samaras or economist Lucas Papademos (NY Times). Italy could opt to keep the current coalition government in power with another leader, or elect a new Parliament to determine Berlusconi’s successor. Possible candidates include chief of staff Gianni Letta or economist Mario Monti.

Dudes doing dude stuff

Matt Porter

This month is celebrated by many college boys as a time in which they can grow pathetically wispy and patchy facial hair with little to no persecution because it is “no-shave November.” I often  do not participate in this because I tend to go “no-shave ever” since I have had a beard since age 17. I don’t begrudge other people for wanting to grow beards, and I understand the need to create a judgment-free space for the first couple weeks of growth because it can often look unkempt and scraggly.

However, I find celebrations like this to be somewhat limiting. We then tend to define ourselves as men based on our ability to grow hair. I am starting to fear that how we conceptualize ourselves as men is becoming restricted by quasi-ironic and over-thetop interpretations of dude stuff. The biggest place I see this over-blown sense of ironic dude appreciation is in how men look at each other as friends and how we view ourselves as consumers.

There has been an explosion in the portrayal of bro-mantic attitudes over the last couple years. It was as if some cultural event opened up the flood gates and made it okay to celebrate the love men have for other men in a very loud and vocal way; personally, I blame Judd Apatow. I have no problems with expressing feeling for your dude friends, but my problem is that men often do this while celebrating these relationships ironically. For some reason it is somehow funny that a man could share a nice heterosexual relationship with another guy, as if we men are just too insecure to admit we genuinely enjoy the company of other men. I don’t want to hear you say “no homo” if you want to give a guy a hug; that’s offensive and hugs are not something to be ashamed of.

Men have also been bombarded with over masculinized commercials and media representations of what it is to be a guy. I am in no way saying this is comparable to the way which women are marketed; we can all agree that’s worse but that discussion is for a different time. To some degree, I have come to accept this bombardment. I expect to see things like the Marlboro Man or the Old Spice guy just because of the nature of the products. I draw the line when I have to suffer through things like Coke Zero, Pepsi Max and Dr. Pepper 10. I like explosions and punching snakes as much as anyone but I just find it insulting that they don’t think I will realize it’s the same thing as Diet Dr. Pepper. You don’t need to trick me into liking diet drinks; I just don’t drink them because they’re gross.

I have no problem celebrating dude stuff, I just want to celebrate it genuinely, and I don’t want that to be the only way I can act as a man. Yeah I have a full beard, but I like taking baths (where I often make bubble beards for my real beard) and hugging other guys. As men, we need to be honest, and there ain’t nothing wrong with dudes doing dude stuff (property damage excluded).

More like daylight ‘slaving’ time

Dan Hanson

This Sunday, people around the country woke up to the yearly ritual of finding an extra hour added to the day when the strange phenomenon known as daylight saving time (DST) came to an end. Most students likely jumped for joy at the unexpected news. Hurrah, the tyranny of an arbitrarily subtracted hour has finally been lifted off of us. Now let’s all go show up to something an hour early and eat dinner in complete darkness.

The truth is, DST is an antiquated notion that North America, Europe and a handful of states across the world stubbornly cling to for outdated, if ever legitimate, reasons. A New Zealand entomologist thought of DST because he wanted extra hours of daylight after work to collect insects. The idea gained momentum in the United Kingdom, where wealthy Parliamentary Ministers decided that  Greenwich Mean Time didn’t give them enough daylight to play a full round of golf during the summer. Clearly, these are good reasons to make everyone change their clock once a year.

Other arguments, such as the need to conserve energy for light in the evening, were tacked on as allegedly legitimate justifications. Many proponents of the system still invoke this justification today for conservation of energy, yet most recent studies show that there is virtually no correlation between subtracting an hour from the summer and lower energy use. Any rationale for DST has either faded into history, been totally capricious, or entirely disproven.

Sure, everyone looks forward to sleeping in for an extra hour once a year, just as much as they dread losing it again in the spring when DST starts again. These don’t balance out into some happily neutral equilibrium for the whole year, but actually have legitimate effects on public health. The discombobulation just about everyone feels, whether it’s welcomed or dreaded, correlates with subtle increases in heart attacks, illness and workplace accidents in both fall and spring. And in relation to our daily lives, we have the inevitable missed lunches and over sleeping.

This time of year, I personally find the adaptation from early nights into way earlier nights beyond depressing, and I’m far from alone. Millions of people with Seasonal Affective Disorder who find their psychological well-being declining with the waning daylight do not welcome the onset of night at 5 p.m. after six months of reprieve. Newspaper delivery boys and morning people may find some benefit in a sunrise that is magically conjured to come an hour earlier, but let’s face it, 99 percent of human interaction and commerce occurs in the afternoon.

If that’s not damning enough, the majority of the world’s countries that once had DST have abolished it. The states that hold on to it are in a shrinking minority. Once again, the United States finds itself behind the curve for realizing that antiquated and pointless traditions are, well, antiquated and pointless.

Whether DST is scrapped altogether or extended throughout the year, no one has any real benefit from those two irrational shifts in an arbitrary time system. Just like the de-planeting of Pluto, DST is another example of humans thinking that re-categorizing uncontrollable natural processes actually means something.

Look forward to life after Wooster

After graduating from high school, I remember hearing many of my older family friends and relatives telling me to “live it up in college” because these were supposed to be the best years of my life.† I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard this, and as soon as I told anyone that I was about to start college in the fall, they would automatically begin reminiscing about some crazy story that happened to them in college, usually without me asking them. It seemed that college was going to be where my life began and ended, but after struggling with this for the entire year, I am sure that this is not where my life will end.† Yes, graduation is terrifying, and it will separate us from many of our friends, but it also opens up so many different opportunities and we should all be excited about that. Continue reading Look forward to life after Wooster