Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

On Facebook, Privacy is not a Guarantee

13 April 2009

By Luis Mazariegos

Recently, the Washington Post printed an article asking students what they thought of police browsing Facebook profiles for evidence of crimes, such as illicit drugs, or for preventive measures, such as breaking up a fight.

Most students, at least according to the article, weren’t happy about it in the least.

“I think it’s an invasion of the student’s privacy,” said Sarah Steinberg, 18, a senior at Robinson Secondary.

“It’s not really [their] business to be looking at students’ profiles,” said Eleni Gibson, 15, a freshman at Robinson. “Because they might see something that students didn’t want them to see.”

Though privacy is an important right to have, the issue of how far we should limit privacy in the name of security has been an essential American debate for a very long time.

The Facebook issue is similar: police say they can use it to prevent crimes and help at-risk kids who are in gangs, while some students object on the grounds that it invades their privacy.

However, the Facebook case is a bit different. People should understand that if they post something on the Internet with little or no protection, it’s just as good as leaving it on the street.

If incriminating photos or text can be accessed without the use of hacking or other illicit methods, it’s functionally the same as leaving that same picture or note on the street outside your house.

If it helps police prevent a crime from happening, all the better.


Is using the word “retard” offensive?

13 April 2009

By Luis Mazariegos

The recent comments by President Barack Obama about his bowling ability has earned him reprimands from just about everyone and has sparked a national debate: is it ok to use the word retard?

But of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve had a referenduum on the appropiateness of a word: we’ve had similar debates about using “gay” to mean “lame” or “stupid” and because of Don Imus, we had a discussion about whether it’s ok to use the word “ho.”

So is the word “retard” offensive? Well, in a word, yes. Words that are meant as insults are just inherently offensive – even socially acceptable words like stupid or moron are offensive.

But other than being nice, is there a special reason why the word “retard” should be completely removed?

The answer, according to the people who support this, is that “retard” isn’t just insulting, it’s also discriminatory, targeting handicapped people.

But very rarely do we see people hurling insults at the handicapped at all. Even if someone did, we would be outraged regardless of whether this person was calling the handicapped person a “retard” or a “big poopy head.” It’s not acceptable regardless.

Banning the word “retard” is just going to make us go for a sillier, more complex word that’s “acceptable.” And then that word will become insulting. It’s happened before – the words “cretin”, “idiot”, “imbecile”, and “moron” were once considered legitimate ways of describing people with disabilities, but no more, of course.

The same is happening to “retard” and will likely happen to whatever word we have to use now – even “special” is becoming pejorative. It’s what we call the euphemism treadmill, and it points to the fact that we can’t really just replace words and make them not insulting.

So instead of focusing on using the right words, people should focus on changing people’s attitudes – showing people why disabled people shouldn’t be considered equivalent to a person making a mistake. Restricting speech is not an efficient way of going about this, and not a very honorable means to begin with.

Good Morning, Dear Readers

13 April 2009

Happy Tuesday.  You may not recognize this handle, and that is because I’ve never posted at this blog before.  But that should change, assuming I stay motivated to promoting our cause, which can be quite difficult these days, especially when it seems that most conservatives can’t even figure out who’s leading the Republican Party.

I’d like to introduce myself.  My name is James, and I am a junior at our fine university.    I’m a transfer student from New York.  I haven’t decided yet what I’ll post most often on.  Since I am not a native Marylander, I think I may have a harder time getting excited about local politics than some of you.  (But I’ll darn well try!)   I know Nathan wants us to write about something.

I transferred to this school in my sophmore year, but have not gotten involved with the Terrapin Times (and College Republicans) until recently.  Perhaps if I’d gotten involved earlier, we may have avoided this Obama disaster. (Stop laughing, its possible!  I can be very persuasive.)  This means that I have only recently met our proprietor Nathan.  I have already been blown away by his commitment to the paper,  and his ability to express his beliefs in general.

I have no fantasies about surpassing him in terms of quality of posts, but maybe I can beat him on quantity.  I already know that I wouldn’t mind sniping the Diamondback when it seems appropriate, but what else would you like to see at this blog?  Perhaps a link round-up at the end of the day?   I guess we’ll just see how it goes.

Black Friday!

28 November 2008

No. Buy Nothing Day.

Losing faith in Savior Sarah

6 September 2008

A tip of the hat goes to Larison for this.

What really distresses, but hardly surprises, me:

“A Greenie”: No. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR. [My emphasis. – NPO]

Mr Larison comments:

In this sense, she may very well be a “Sam’s Club Republican” in the narrowest sense of promoting the rise of box stores, but this is the same kind of “growth” agenda that the GOP has advanced for years and reflects the mentality of consumption and acquisition that Rod and Prof. Deneen have criticized so vocally.

I won’t lie: The “Sam’s Club” approach to the G.O.P., to some extent, appeals to me. This narrow sense, however, horrifies me.

Update: More from Larison, on Palin’s budget problems.

Cross-posted at Nathancontramundi

Welcome to The Terrapin Times!

17 August 2008

At present, as you can see, this web-log has little to offer. However, asking that you exercise charitable patience, I assure you that, in due time, soon after, if not before, the commencement of the 2008-2009 academic year, we shall begin to fill the pages of this web-log with right-of-center (of multifarious stripes) commentary on world affairs, national and Maryland politics, and the events, happenings, and doings on our campus, in College Park, and in the greater DC Metropolitan Area.