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Being gay: Why that tells you nothing about me

Human society is complex and balanced. When people accept a group into “the norm,” not everyone in the group is treated well. More specifically, some qualities are “more acceptable” in a group and closer to “the norm,” blinding our understanding of everyone else in that group. While moving forward to include diversity, it is important to take a second, sometimes third, look at what exactly we are accepting. Are we embracing diversity as it is, or our idealized version of it?

What Robin Williams’ death teaches us about mental health: Starting conversations about suicide

There is a poem by Charles Bukowski that reads, “the best often die by their own hand / just to get away, / and those left behind / can never quite understand / why anybody / would ever want to / get away / from them.” Suicide is not an easy thing to cope with for those left behind, especially when someone seemingly has it all. Robin Williams, to his fans, did have it all. He was a celebrated actor and comedian, a kind and generous person, and he touched people’s lives all over the world.

Aghast at Comcast: Why are we awarding a terrible company an anti-competitive merger?

With Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable looming, I’ve been spending some time wondering what the implications of a larger, uglier Comcast will be. I’m not the only one. Beyond the government regulators, who are largely expected to approve the deal at this point, the merger has been analyzed and criticized roundly by consumer advocates.

My dog and my paper: Saying farewell to both

I think my dog is dying. She might — hell, she’ll probably go by the time this is published. Mabel. She’s a long-haired, miniature dachshund, chocolate and tan, and she has liver failure and kidney failure and her back legs don’t work so hot and my mom’s getting acupuncture for her. We’ve seen dogs die before, we’ve seen people die too, but it sucks all the same. We got her when I was 8 years old. I’m 22 now. Fourteen is a long time for a dachshund, I’m told. 

Explosive crude oil trains: An issue no one knows about until it’s too late

Seattle residents have stood for hours this July protesting oil trains. What right do they have to protest when they knowingly moved onto a property bordering train tracks? Perhaps it’s because while both normal trains and crude oil trains are noisy, the latter have the potential to explode and take out the entire neighborhood in a fiery ball of death. 

International Students, cash cows for the UW

“If you’re studying, you’re not living,” the man at the residency office said. 

In autumn of 2010, I had gone to the residency office to turn in my Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit. I had been living in the state of Washington since January of 2007 and had graduated from a Washington state high school. I chose the UW over all other universities, thinking it would be the most affordable way to my diploma. 

Sharing is caring, but understanding is key

I am aware that sometimes my opinions are unpopular. I am OK with that because I am able to provide justification for the positions I take. But that doesn’t mean I think I’m always right. It means that I am content with agreeing to disagree once I have explained myself and heard opposing arguments. Just like everyone else, I am entitled to my own opinion, as long as I am not being ignorant or narrow-minded.

Living in a world of conflict: Why indifference is our biggest enemy

Though we strive for it, our world is not one of peace. A new story of war, of massacre, of hate, comes onto our screen every day as we scroll through Facebook or watch television. But the worst thing anyone can do in a world like this is stay indifferent, or stay ignorant. Though these are different (in)actions, by choosing to stay ignorant you are choosing indifference. 

Is the news still free if no one pays for it?

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrines some of our most basic values as a nation: the freedoms of religion, speech, assembly, petition, and the press. Although the amendment only guarantees that Congress will respect these freedoms and makes no effort to preserve them in the face of other oppressors, their inclusion demonstrates that these were the things held most sacred by the framers of the Constitution. 

Conflict in Gaza: Why, not how

Whenever there is an armed conflict, people get hurt.

Forget that Israel waited until over 150 rockets were fired at its civilian population before retaliating. 

Forget that Israel gives multiple warnings — through leaflets, phone calls, texts, flares, and non-explosive mortars (“roof knocking”) — to let civilians know that they’re going to be targeting an area where innocent people might be.