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November 2005 Issue

Human compassion more important than profits

Mainstream economists tend to be cautious about fair trade, even skeptical about it, even critical of it, in terms of its potential effects on consumers and on the owners of coffee plantations. Mainstream economics is not geared to worry about, let alone take into serious consideration, the lives, working conditions, and human realities of workers in fields, factories, offices, and other institutions.


Long term benefits from supporting Fair Trade

Next week, we will have a campus-wide vote on switching Brandeis to Fair Trade coffee. On the face of it, this vote may not seem like its that important, but a vote in favor is a key step in helping alleviate poverty among many third-world coffee farmers and in putting Brandeis face at the front of a growing university movement.


The Buzz on Fair Trade

– According to the FTB web site, there are now over half-million farm families in over 300 coops in 23 Latin American, Asian, and African countries producing fair trade coffee.


BEST exchanges bulbs

Now that its starting to get darker earlier (and Im talking about macroclimatic patterns, not the daily world news) Im sure many of us are beginning to start our papers and lab write-ups earlier, so that we can complete them in the comfort of daylight. Right? Good! But for those of us who arent doing so (and I know its a small minority) well, I have some news for you! Actually, youve probably heard it already. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are more energy efficient than your typical incandescent light bulbs. Pretty elementary stuff, right? You probably already know then that they use about 34% the energy of a normal light bulb, and that if each household in America replaced one light bulb with a compact fluorescent, the amount of pollution prevented would be roughly equivalent to removing 1 million cars from our roads. What did you say? Light bulbs are powered by our oil and coal burning power plants? Dont those plants release harmful toxins like mercury and sulfur dioxide in our air and water ways and increase rates of childhood asthma, especially in impoverished urban communities? Well, yes. But the Bush administration has made it clear through its Clear Skies Act that those plants are here to stay at least for a little while longer. Enough politics back to bulbs.


Why I Love College Basketball

It is an exciting time of year to be a sports fan, and not just because Im rolling through the playoffs in my Xbox season. The last month brought us the return of both hockey and basketball, the hot stove league is warming up, and were half way through the football season and heading towards the playoffs. The BCS debates are beginning their annual take over of the sports page as the college football regular season has only a few more weeks before it gives way to bowl season. If the mainstream sports arent your thing, last weekend saw the Los Angeles Galaxy win the MLS Cup and the NASCAR Chase for the Cup is in full swing. All of this is good, but the reason it is great to be a sports fan? The greatest of all sports, college basketball, is about to begin.


MBasketball season preview

First-year orientation takes place on Labor Day Weekend, but it is the Brandeis mens hoops team that is saying welcome to first-years this November.


Letter to the Editor #2

I was interested to read Kevin Montgomery's column advocating for office software based on open standards. A couple of his points seem erroneous, and they are important ones for this debate. First, software that complies with open standards is not necessarily “cost-free…”


The Brandeis Bubble: Think globally, act locally

This past Election Day, one of the best community initiatives in recent years passed in Waltham and Brandeis ashamedly had no part in it. Question one, or the Community Preservation Act, passed by a narrow 9-vote margin after previously failing by a 17.5% margin in 2001. This vote shows that a progressive base is growing in Waltham who are concerned about preserving open-space, supporting the low-income residents of the city, and maintaining the citys parks and playgrounds;

all causes that Brandeis students should be concerned about. However, Brandeis students concern regarding the ballot initiative was practically non-existent.


Letter to the Editor #1

To the Editor:
Over two years ago, groups in this relatively resource-stricken region of the African nation of Sudan took up arms against the ruling government to the east. The rebels asked for a greater role in the national government and a fairer distribution of resources in the country. Instead, they received mass murder, pillaging, and rape. The Sudanese government unleashed on Darfur vicious, state-armed militias, the worst of which called themselves the Janjaweed. As had occurred often in a separate conflict between northern and southern Sudan, the targets of the attacks were primarily disinterested and innocent civilians. Defenseless villages found themselves facing attack helicopters and regiments of blood-thirsty horsemen equipped with automatic weapons. The men were murdered and the women were raped repeatedly.


BIPAC goes to Washington

The Brandeis Israel Public Affairs Committee (BIPAC) traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to lobby Congress and to attend a meeting at the White House.