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Articles by Michael Veldman

STAFF COLUMNIST
March 13, 2012
Last spring, I wrote about the worrisome nature of the state-level, Republican-led fusillade of attacks on abortion rights. I am sad to report that the barrage has not relented. If you thought that last year’s legislation was shocking, then fetch the smelling salts because this new batch might just knock you out.
STAFF COLUMNIST
February 7, 2012
A new poll from Gallup confirms once again the widespread support for amending the Constitution to provide for presidential election by popular vote. For those unacquainted with the issue, in the United States, the president is not elected by direct popular vote. Rather, the framers of the Constitution saw fit to create a college of electors, appointed and regulated by their respective state legislatures, to choose the president by majority vote. While the procedure for the selection of electors has been modified in the intervening 200 years — for example, electors are now nominated by state political parties and elected on Election Day — the gist is largely the same. Currently, 48 states and Washington D.C. allocate their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis; only Maine and Nebraska delegate part of their votes on a district-by-district basis.
STAFF COLUMNIST
November 18, 2011
Certainly there is no shortage of people with “The Definitive Opinion” about Occupy Wall Street and its hundreds of offshoots, but I figured I would go the marginally less tired route of addressing the unacquainted, the undecided, and the just plain uneasy.
STAFF COLUMNIST
October 28, 2011
A new poll from Gallup confirms once again the widespread support for amending the Constitution to provide for presidential election by popular vote. For those unacquainted with the issue, in the United States, the president is not elected by direct popular vote. Rather, the framers of the Constitution saw fit to create a college of electors, appointed and regulated by their respective state legislatures, to choose the president by majority vote. While the procedure for the selection of electors has been modified in the intervening 200 years — for example, electors are now nominated by state political parties and elected on Election Day — the gist is largely the same. Currently, 48 states and Washington D.C. allocate their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis; only Maine and Nebraska delegate part of their votes on a district-by-district basis.
STAFF COLUMNIST
September 2, 2011
The debate over abortion is plagued by misconceptions and misinformation. Just last spring I received a pamphlet from a campus pro-life group claiming that abortion raises the risk of breast cancer, yet if we can consider the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health as a trustworthy source, this factoid has been thoroughly debunked. On the flip-side, some pro-choice advocates still maintain that an embryo is not alive. Even without this surplus obfuscation the issue is complicated and delicate; both positions in the debate represent legitimate values on their own terms. In the interest of clarity, I will attempt to put forth a reasoned argument in favor of a person’s right to an abortion.
STAFF COLUMNIST
August 26, 2011
While I realize that almost every freshman has some anxiety about their move to their new home, I know that some of you have worries beyond not finding friends, spending REX alone, or flunking out after the first semester (which I’ll have you know is impossible thanks to pass/no record). Some of you also have to worry about revealing an aspect of your identity that you might not even be comfortable with yourself. You freshmen who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender have the added burden of finding a living group and a circle of friends who accept your deviation from traditional norms.
STAFF COLUMNIST
June 3, 2011
House Republicans, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), recently released their Plan for America’s Job Creators. The document, as well as a shortened summary version, can be accessed from . When I first opened the full document, I thought I had chosen the summary by mistake. As Paul Krugman notes, it “has to rely on extra-large type and lots of pointless pictures to bulk it out even to 10 pages.” Indeed, the equivalent of four pages of the document consists of images of cars at the gas station, scissors cutting red tape, and the like. Another page is a platitude-ridden introduction that could be substituted by manic repetition of the phrases “common-sense,” “pro-growth,” “job creators,” and “remove Washington” to the same effect.
STAFF COLUMNIST
May 10, 2011
In the past few months, an epidemic of anti-abortion legislation has swept over our country. The recent passage of House Resolution 3, or the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Bill, is but one example among almost a thousand measures working their way through state legislatures. While the bill is vanishingly unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate, its language reflects frightening sentiments on the part of House Republicans (and the 16 Democrats who joined them). One of the most shocking effects of the bill’s becoming law would be necessary “rape audits,” conducted by the IRS, to determine if persons who receive federal funding for abortion in case of rape were lying about being raped. As Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) put it, “if you get raped, you better keep a receipt.”
STAFF COLUMNIST
April 29, 2011
It is certainly understandable that many men feel that they must go on the defensive in the ostensible intellectual battle of the sexes. After all, we have been hearing for years about women surpassing men in college graduation rates, mean GPA, and income. Wait, one of those doesn’t belong, does it?
STAFF COLUMNIST
April 15, 2011
Today you may see a few students in Lobby 7 and in your classes with duct tape inscribed with the phrase “No H8” over their mouths in support of an event called the Day of Silence. I suspect their numbers will be few in light of the fact that MIT’s atmosphere of masochistic pursuit of work leaves little drive for campus activism, but I digress. The Day of Silence is a country-wide effort to spread awareness of the bullying and name-calling of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth as well as the effects of the casual use and tacit acceptance of using phrases like, “That’s so gay.”
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