Holocaust Ballet

By Immanuel Shalev In 2005, the Austen Ballet company put on a ballet depicting the Holocaust called “Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project.” Stephen Mills, artistic director of the Ballet Austin company put this ballet together at the behest of a survivor, Naomi Warren. According to Mills, he initially refused to take on such a project: “It’s hallowed ground,” Mills said. “You can’t wrap your mind around that much destruction and pain. And to distill it down to a theatrical experience felt like it would be insulting.” However, Warren disagreed: “I told Stephen he must make this ballet because he has the stage, the platform, to do it.” For Warren, and ultimately, Mills, while art cannot fully capture the scope of the tragedy, something is better than nothing. Mills had a platform, and Warren expected him to use it to remember something. The ballet attempts to focus on human


Super PACs and the Future of Political Campaigns

By Alvina Lopez The seemingly endless road to selecting the Republican presidential nominee has been fueled by a number of factors unique to the current political climate. For one, the Republican Party as a whole has been fractured in recent years with the emergence of the Tea Party and the resurgence of social conservatives. The nomination process has all but reflected the confused identity of the present Republican Party, where at times widespread popularity and support gravitated to a Texas governor, a former pizza magnate, and a former Speaker of the House. And the media has been sure to catalogue every moment of this process, which is why you can’t turn on the radio or the television without hearing about the upcoming primary in any state. But there’s a bigger explanation to why we’ve heard about the primary race for so long, one that may define the future of political


Can We Ever Trust North Korea Again?

By Philip Kim The nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula has been a source of headache for US officials since 1993, when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) first accused North Korea of violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, an agreement designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Although North Korea has undergone sharp economic decline during Kim Jong Il’s rule, North Korea’s grasp of nuclear technology grew rapidly. Even during the great famine of the mid-1990s, the Hermit Kingdom continued to invest disproportionate amounts of its limited resources into research and production of nuclear weapons. This was accomplished at the cost of great human injustice. During the famine, an estimated 3.5 million North Koreans starved to death. Despite this tragedy, North Korea has relentlessly pursued its status as a nuclear power. Kim Jong Il understood that nuclear weapons are valuable bargaining chips for negotiation. Indeed, many countries (including China,


The Republic of Apple

By Philip Kim Apple is on a roll. Apple’s shares reached as high as $546 this week, and Apple’s stock market value recently topped the $500 billion mark. This is a record high for the tech goliath. Only four other companies have been members of this exclusive half-trillion dollar club: Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Cisco, and General Electric. This comfortably places Apple at the top as the world’s most valuable company. Apple’s momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down either. Strong demands for the new iPhone 4S and iPad2 led Apple’s sales to grow 73% last year. With buzz around rumors of Apple unveiling the iPad3 on March 7th, Apple is on track this year to become the world’s largest consumer electronics company (measured by revenue), a title currently held by Samsung. It’s hard to imagine how Apple isn’t already. One cannot go a day in the Big Apple without seeing a


Time to Get Over the Holocaust?

By Immanuel Shalev Currently, Israel is the only country that has a law on the books requiring the spending of government resources on the commemoration of the holocaust. Perhaps more impressively,  Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and, most notably, Germany, have laws that make the denial of the holocaust illegal. While one might find it impressive that Germany takes responsibility for its past, pays reparations and makes it a crime for its citizens to deny their atrocities, the law to remember the Holocaust in Israel seems superfluous and unimpressive. Jews get it, they will always remember the holocaust. Yet in an op-ed article written last month at a Jewish University in New York entitled “Why It’s Time for Jews to Get Over the Holocaust,” the Jewish author, Binyamin Weinreich, demanded that it is high time to let the holocaust fade


Moral Crimes? Really?

By B. Shurin Human Rights Watch has recently released a report citing almost 60 cases of Afghan women jailed for ‘moral’ crimes. Details of the crimes include running away from an abusive husband, falling in love and eloping, and turning in a kidnapper to the police. While Afghanistan law is not overly lenient to women, running away is not a crime under the Afghan penal code. Rather it is an unofficial crime under the highest religious authority, the Ulema Council. Although Afghanistan’s President, Hamid Karzai, enacted the Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 2009 (E.V.A.W.), the traditional violence and objectification of women continues with acquiescence of those who hold the true power in the society; the religious authority. What is fascinating here is that legal codes are secondary to implied laws that are formed by centuries of religious traditions and behaviors. Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth


No Tweeting in My Courtroom!

By B. Shurin This week during oral arguments in the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of Obama’s Healthcare law, the members of the press were without their phones and mobile devices for the entire time they were sitting in and listening to the arguments. In our times, news is broadcasted almost instantly with the help of Facebook, Twitter, 4G networks and the like. This restriction, reinforced by the court, brings the reporters back to a time when they would have to run to a nearby payphone to call in a scoop after the big story broke. This week, those reporters wishing to report the details of the arguments needed to wait until after the two hour court session had ended or leave the courtroom in middle and risk missing out on something more newsworthy. This rule by the court agrees with the general psychosocial consensus as to how the technological


Is your Facebook Password your Boss' Business?

By Marissa Levy It’s a well-known fact that employers often use the Internet to vet their applicants, scouring Google and social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to aid in their background checks. But as these social networking sites roll out more stringent privacy protections that allow users to block access to their profiles, employers have started taking more drastic steps to get the scoop on their applicants. Rather than trying to get around these new privacy protections, probing employers are cutting straight to the source by asking candidates to hand over their Facebook login information when applying for a job. Others employers request candidates to open their Facebook profiles during the interview itself, allowing their would-be bosses to scroll through applicants’ private information right in front of their faces. Facebook stands by their terms of use, stating this practice violates their policies against sharing passwords. On Friday, Facebook


Self-Immolation as Spiritual Resistance

By David S. Since March 2011, at least 30 Tibetans, mostly Buddhist monks, have self-immolated to protest Chinese rule. The number is particularly staggering considering that self-immolation, while rooted in centuries-old Buddhist tradition, was virtually unknown in Tibet until recent years. The upsurge comes as China seeks to further tighten its grip on Tibet, which it has occupied since the 1950s. Americans are probably most familiar with self-immolation via Malcolm Browne’s iconic photograph of Thich Quang Duc, the Vietnamese monk who in 1963 set himself ablaze before the Cambodian embassy in Saigon. The act attracted tremendous worldwide media attention (and, ironically considering current events in Tibet, was used by Chinese propagandists to illustrate the cruelty of Western imperialism). But while images of a burning monks inevitably capture our attention to a degree that more conventional expressions of protest do not, it would be a mistake to characterize these acts as


SAT Cheating Scandal and Test Reform

Over the past year, dozens of Long Island high school students have been accused of cheating on the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. Twenty students from five different school systems throughout long island (Nassau County) were arrested last fall. Five of the twenty accused of taking the tests for the other students while the other fifteen accused of paying them between $500 and $3,600 for the service. The SAT is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board, a nonprofit organization in the United States. It was formerly developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service, which still administers the exam. The test is intended to assess a student’s readiness for college. It was first introduced in 1926, and its name and scoring have changed several times. The charges have sparked nationwide reforms in the