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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. The day when most Americans will proudly thump their chests, claim distant Irish heritage (yes, we get it Karen, your great-great-great-great grand-mother was Irish) and raise a pint to the air, singing what they think sounds like an Irish folk song. There may be shamrocks and green glitter involved. If you’re trapped in lecture and counting down the hours to your own St. Patty’s Day celebration, take a moment to prepare your toasts for tonight and go over this week’s...

Darts & Laurels

Roughly a year ago, the Natural Environment Research Council in Britain held an online poll to name their brand-new $287 million dollar polar research ship. And of course, as the internet community is prone to doing, serious names were ignored, and the name “Boaty McBoatface” surged to popularity. The British government decided to go ahead and just name the boat after a respectable scientist (David Attenborough) instead. But the people cried out in protest and thus the remotely operated submarine that the boat would carry was dubbed Boaty McBoatface. Boaty McBoatface is set to depart today from Chile to the Southern Ocean, where it will explore the icy waters of the Antarctic. Though it’s not a boat and it doesn’t have a face, we’re bestowing a laurel upon Boaty McBoatface, for reminding us about the excitement of oceanic research, scientific innovation, and giving us a little chuckle as we round up the week.

Now about something that doesn’t appreciate scientific research and innovation — or enrichment in the arts and humanities. That’s right, President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. Now there is a lot going on in a budget. We’re not going to sit back and analyze each component of the proposed budget right now (ask us again next week probably). But we will say this is the first budget proposal in recent history that contains a total, 100-percent cut to public funding for arts programs. Since arts programs only take up .02 percent (not 2 percent, not even 0.2 percent — literally two hundredths of a single percent) of federal funding, eliminating them is not going to fix the national debt. There are 19 other government agencies that could potentially face big cuts, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, the Department of the Interior and NASA. The fact that a lot of those are programs centered around learning, knowledge, innovation, the environment and future generations is concerning to us. We’re throwing a dart through those particular cuts in the budget — for now. Keep in mind, the budget still needs to be approved and it’s already inciting outrage from Democrats and Republicans alike. So we’re throwing the members of Congress, who are fighting for the interests of their constituents and not their party, a laurel.

We’re not going to finagle our way into a fourth dart. Instead we just want to remind everyone that whatever your St. Patrick’s Day plans are, please be responsible. While it’s okay to have a little fun and blow off that mid-semester steam (just remember where you are and how you got there), you should not put your life or the lives of others in danger. Recruit a sober friend to drive. Take the bus. Call an Uber. Remember that and take this laurel to your weekend plans — be they celebrating your distant Irish heritage or hunkering down in the library for the post-break midterms.

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