Official newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

All content by Sam Groves
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Dreaming of a green (and ethical) Christmas

November 30, 2018

In many ways, the holiday season is the ultimate embodiment of American consumerism — so naturally, it’s fraught with ethical complications. Amid the festivities, there are serious dilemmas...

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Paperless voting machines are a democratic debacle waiting to happen

November 20, 2018

Turnout in the 2018 midterm elections was extraordinary. In Texas, 8.3 million people voted in the Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke, or 53 percent of registered voters — the highest...

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Student organizations shouldn’t need UT’s permission to invite guest speakers

November 19, 2018

When stern-faced pundits warn of a free speech crisis on college campuses, there’s usually good reason to be skeptical. As I’ve written before, students have an unprecedented level of access...

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For anyone planning to live past 2040, climate change is personal

October 25, 2018

Climate change is going to ruin your life. Yes, you. Not your children or grandchildren, not other people living in a far away time and place — you. If you’re a student who’s planning...

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YCT demonstration had nothing to do with free speech

October 19, 2018

In the aftermath of a demonstration on the West Mall earlier this month, the Young Conservatives of Texas released a statement insisting they “wished to engage in good faith dialogue with our peers...

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Austin workers deserve paid sick leave, and students can help them get it

October 11, 2018

Last week was supposed to be historic for labor rights in Texas. The first paid sick leave ordinance in the state was scheduled to take effect in Austin on Oct. 1. Instead, protesters gathered outside...

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Make sure you’re registered to vote in the right place

October 4, 2018

Like plenty of UT students, I moved apartments this summer. While I didn’t move very far — according to Google Earth, my new apartment is less than 1000 feet from my old one — I was surprised...

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University offers little justification in request for removal of Gun Free UT signs

September 26, 2018

Evidently fearing the impression UT employs people with common sense, University officials have asked faculty to remove “Gun Free UT” signs from their office windows, as well as any other outward-facing...

More public charging stations would make students’ lives easier

September 26, 2018

Glued to our phones, constantly connected, extremely online — the worst stereotypes about the modern college student all seem to center around our dependence on technology. But while it’s true...

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Don’t separate the art from the artist

May 3, 2018

In the early history of the universe, things were so hot and dense that three of the four fundamental forces were unified as a single force. This lasted for an inconceivably tiny period of time —...

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Texas isn’t as conservative as you think

April 26, 2018

Last week Quinnipiac University released a poll showing state senator Beto O’Rourke just three percentage points behind in his quest to unseat incumbent Texas senator Ted Cruz this November. Although...

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New UT study shows importance of respecting transgender identities

April 19, 2018

A new study conducted by UT researchers that was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows an undeniable link between the mental health of transgender youth and the extent to which those around...

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Sinclair poisons local news with a partisan slant

April 12, 2018

If you happened to be browsing CBS Austin’s website on Tuesday, you might have noticed a banner ad at the top of the page reading “CNN’s hypocritical attack on Sinclair.” The ad...

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Tillerson is a bad fit for UT

April 5, 2018

Where does a man go after wrecking the State Department and getting canned as the nation’s top diplomat? If you’re Rex Tillerson, apparently you go to Texas. Reports last month named him as...

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Counterpoint: We shouldn’t expect “terrorism” to mean the same thing to everyone

March 30, 2018

Editor's note: This column appears in a point-counterpoint regarding reactions to the Austin Bomber. Read this column's corresponding counterpoint here. “Recently our community was shaken...

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Spotify’s efforts to combat sexism in music are a mixed bag

March 22, 2018

This month, Spotify unveiled two new features aimed at marrying music streaming to social good. The first, a tool called the “Equalizer,” analyzes your listening history and determines how...

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You don’t need to be a gun expert to understand America’s gun problem

March 8, 2018

I’ll give this much credit to the National Rifle Association: By opposing all sensible gun control policies, they’ve made the American gun debate strikingly simple. Other hot button issues...

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Don’t waste your vote in another party’s primary

March 1, 2018

Texas is one of 15 states that hold open primaries, which allow voters to cast their ballots in whichever party’s nominating contest they choose — regardless of previous affiliation. Even if...

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Toxic masculinity and gun culture form a deadly combination

February 26, 2018

The perpetrators of the 10 worst mass shootings committed by a single individual on a single day in U.S. history all have one thing in common. It’s not their race, religion, mental health or motive....

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Baldwin and Trump reflect the worst in each other

February 15, 2018

According to the pop culture database tvtropes.org, method acting is a practice in which “an actor tries to replicate the life circumstances, mannerisms and emotional feelings of the character he...

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Congress should ensure artists compensation

February 9, 2018

“Happy days are here again,” Billboard magazine declared last March. In the last six years, music streaming has rejuvenated the American recording industry, bringing an end to 15 years of declining...

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Grammys fail to recognize women — again

January 31, 2018

If Neil Portnow didn’t watch the Grammys on Sunday night, he would be far from unique among Americans. The awards ceremony billed as “music’s biggest night” suffered its worst ratings...

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Pop stars pivot to politics, with mixed results

January 26, 2018

There’s never been a dumber time to be a rebel without a cause. There are so many good causes on behalf of which to rebel in 2018, from climate change to income inequality to systemic racism personified...

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Lawsuits over song similarities reveal unreasonable standard for originality in music

January 19, 2018

Earlier this month, singer Lana Del Rey alleged in a tweet that Radiohead was suing her over similarities between her song “Get Free” and their 1993 hit “Creep.” Radiohead’s...

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The so-called “war on Christmas” is a divisive fantasy

December 7, 2017

“Guess what?” exclaimed a jubilant President Donald Trump at the Values Voters Summit in October. “We’re saying Merry Christmas again!” And with that, he resumed his annual...

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Net neutrality should not be a partisan issue

November 30, 2017

Net neutrality didn’t have to become the partisan issue it is today. There’s nothing fundamentally liberal or conservative about the idea that the companies connecting you to the internet shouldn’t...

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Twitter can crack down on hate and harassment while preserving free speech

November 21, 2017

Twitter garnered criticism last week after it cracked down on a handful of alt-right figureheads on the site, revoking verification from several and suspending one. For a group that derides its opponents...

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Cruz and Cornyn refuse to fully condemn Roy Moore

November 15, 2017

I think we can divide the people who still support Judge Roy Moore’s Senate campaign into three categories. First, there are those who don’t believe the allegations against him: inappropriate...

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Revelations show threat of Russian meddling in Texas

November 8, 2017

Last week, lawmakers released samples of more than 3,000 Facebook ads purchased by Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election, shedding new light on the breadth of Moscow’s effort to...

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Hiking entry fees aren’t the best way to improve national parks

October 31, 2017

Whatever else can be said about the United States, the natural beauty contained within our borders is perhaps unparalleled in diversity and grandeur. It’s a sometimes underrated part of what makes...

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Bush’s role in rise of Trump should not be forgotten

October 25, 2017

As difficult as it is to imagine a worse president than Donald Trump, try and picture this: Sixteen years from now, such a president is in office. From his presidential library in the basement of Trump...

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Including girls in the Boy Scouts is an empty gesture

October 18, 2017

At first glance, the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to begin admitting girls seems like a good-faith attempt on the organization’s part to put its history of regressive politics behind...

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Banning bump stocks is a distraction from real gun reform

October 10, 2017

The number I keep coming back to isn’t 59, the number of people killed in last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. It isn’t more than 500, the number of people who were injured, either. To...

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Everyone must be wary of free-speech hysteria

October 4, 2017

Presumably, there are few things on which Sen. Ted Cruz and Susan Rice, former Obama administration national security advisor, agree. But at the Texas Tribune Festival last month, they struck similar notes...

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NASA needs better leadership

September 20, 2017

Back on the campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump bemoaned the state of the American space program: “Look what’s happened with our whole history of space and leadership,” he told...

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On Russia, Americans deserve accountability from Facebook

September 14, 2017

Last week Facebook announced that fake accounts controlled by Russian operatives had purchased more than $100,000 in political ads on the site over the last two years. Just how serious are these revelations?...

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Trump’s visits necessitate public response, protests

September 6, 2017

The president was in Texas last week, and wherever the president goes, protests follow. A crowd of several hundred including protesters, supporters and spectators, lined up along Koenig Lane last Tuesday...

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Trump’s Interior Department isn’t doing its job

September 4, 2017

Whenever things get bad in the U.S., I like to remember that America isn’t just a country, or an idea, or a possibly doomed experiment in democracy. It’s also a 3.8 million square mile expanse...

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In defense of big classes and lecture-based learning

August 7, 2017

At some point in their higher education experience, almost every college student finds themselves packed in a giant lecture hall with 300 of their peers, listening to a professor—who doesn’t...

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Of U.S. states, Texas stands to suffer most from climate change

August 4, 2017

With average global surface temperatures exceeding the 1950-1980 average by 0.94 degrees Celsius, 2017 is poised to go down in history as the second warmest year on record — beaten out only by 2016. You...

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Bigotry, not pragmatism, lies at the root of anti-transgender policies

July 28, 2017

Can there be any justification for President Donald Trump’s recently announced intention to ban transgender people from serving in the military? In one of the tweets he fired off on Wednesday morning...

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Any cooperation with Trump voter fraud commission supports its repugnant aims

July 14, 2017

It’s a classic sitcom trope — a character makes some ridiculous boast or claim, refuses to back down out of pride, and eventually spends the whole episode going to absurd lengths to support...

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The problems with our politics predate social media

July 7, 2017

“MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL” — that’s how President Trump defended his use of social media in a tweet on Saturday. Others have been less flattering: after the president tweeted an...

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Cruz opposes Senate healthcare bill for all the wrong reasons

June 30, 2017

Occasionally, Sen. Ted Cruz actually stumbles into doing something useful for his state and country. Last year, he became the unlikely hero of Trump opponents on the left and the right when he pointedly...

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Russia issue should matter to ordinary citizens, not just politicians

June 23, 2017

Democrats have been criticized from within their own ranks for focusing on the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election when an economic message could be more effective against Republicans,...

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New texting while driving law doesn’t do enough

June 18, 2017

Ever the paragon of leadership, the state of Texas became the 47th in the nation to sign into law a ban on texting while driving last week. The law is set to take effect on Sept. 1. In a legislative...

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As Trump moves America backward on climate change, Texas can still move forward

June 17, 2017

Last Friday, President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, a historic agreement among nearly every nation on Earth to work in tandem for the preservation of the planet....

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Coulter’s right to free speech was not violated

May 4, 2017

“It is a dark day for free speech in America,” absurdist right wing commentator Ann Coulter told her 1.49 million Twitter followers last week after her speech to a conservative student organization...

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Science and politics cannot be separated

April 27, 2017

The March for Science, which drew protesters across the country and around the globe into the streets on Saturday, presents a kind of contradiction. Implicitly if not explicitly, the march was a reaction...

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Proposed laws threaten to move Texas backward on LGBTQ equality

April 20, 2017

To paraphrase the famous words of associate Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, states are the laboratories of American democracy. With their considerable autonomy, state governments can test out new...

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Trump could dismantle Obama’s LGBTQ legacy

April 13, 2017

There’s been some degree of relief among liberals that the legacy of President Barack Obama is proving more difficult to dismantle than many — including President Donald Trump — had anticipated....

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Scientists must not acquiesce to demands from Pluto Zealots

April 6, 2017

Do facts matter? Can they be objectively determined, or is truth ultimately subjective? In our fragmented society, can there be any such thing as a consensus? These are all questions raised by the most...

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Trump ejects earth sciences from NASA

March 30, 2017

The biggest national news story of the past week concerned something President Donald Trump didn’t do: He and his party failed to pass a bill repealing and replacing Obamacare. The health care debacle...

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Town hall protesters must allow discourse to occur

March 23, 2017

It isn’t hard to understand the appeal behind calling yourself part of a “resistance” movement. The word “resistance” is evocative of a dystopian epic — like something...

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Trump settles for conventional Republican lunacy on climate change

March 9, 2017

Donald Trump is not just any Republican president. He is an unstable autocrat perpetually torn between his desire to exert control and his desire to say breathtakingly stupid things. But even as the man...

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On space exploration, Trump should match empty words with action

March 2, 2017

In a speech riddled with confused rhetoric, where leering ethno-nationalism and the flaccid specter of traditional American exceptionalism seemed to wrestle for control of the podium, President Donald...

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CPAC inadvertently shows logic behind political correctness

February 23, 2017

Two weeks ago, conservatives were up in arms about the treatment of Breitbart tech editor and alt-right online superstar Milo Yiannopoulos, who was, to hear them say it, being rudely deprived of his free...

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Concern over fake news gives way to confusion

February 16, 2017

More than three months later, it’s clear that the post-election panic over fake news has backfired. Instead of shattering the alternate realities Americans constructed for themselves online, the...

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House GOP fails to make the EPA great again

February 9, 2017

How does one make the Environmental Protection Agency great again? Rep. Lamar Smith, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology — and represents parts of Austin including West...

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Democrats must not adopt Tea Party tactics

February 2, 2017

It’s been suggested that in opposing President Donald Trump, Democrats should pursue tactics similar to those of the Tea Party movement. This is a strange idea, given the fate many leading voices...

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Assume Trump’s failue at your own risk

January 20, 2017

Is President Trump — his title as of today, Jan. 20 — a populist hero elected to root out corruption and rebuke coastal elites? Or is he a dangerously inexperienced demagogue who flaunts the...

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Trump’s rise provides answers to Fermi paradox

November 29, 2016

The Milky Way is billions of years old and composed of billions of stars. If life is a fairly typical and unremarkable process, and not an aberration in the history of the universe, then by now there should...

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Trump’s first appointments foretell a bleak future

November 22, 2016

It was reported after last week’s meeting between President Obama and Donald Trump that the President-elect was “surprised by the scope of White House staffing duties.” Since then, Trump...

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GOP must check Trump’s power upon arrival in Oval Office

November 15, 2016

The coalition that elected Donald Trump president is comprised of two wings. The deplorable wing is made up of members of the so-called “alt-right,” white nationalists baffled by the notion...

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Fragmented media landscape facilitated the rise of Trump

November 8, 2016

Compared to past backdrops, among them the Great Depression, the onset of World War II, public dissent toward the Vietnam War and the collapse of the American housing market, the context of today’s...

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Appeal of third parties remains greatly overstated

November 1, 2016

Apparently, everyone is sick of the two-party system. People crave a third party alternative, but as that system’s most fervent critics will tell you, all the forces of the establishment are colluding...

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Trump’s paranoia jeopardizes democratic proccess

October 25, 2016

During last week’s presidential debate, Donald Trump made headlines by suggesting that, rather than pledging to accept the results of the election, he would prefer to “keep you in suspense”...

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With the possibility of humans becoming interplanetary, Mars must remain unowned by corporations

October 18, 2016

Let’s say you backup your computer to an external hard drive. Your computer works fine — better than fine, actually. Let’s say it’s the best computer in the world. But there’s...

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In Sunday’s debate, Trump stumbles over lowest bar

October 11, 2016

Twenty four hours prior to Sunday’s presidential debate, the Republican Party stood at a fork in the road. They could either disavow their presidential candidate, who was exposed on Friday gleefully...

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Vice Presidential debate must be taken seriously

October 4, 2016

Last week’s presidential debate was the most watched in history, drawing in some 83 million viewers. Since then, Donald Trump has blamed the perception that he lost the debate on the media, a faulty...

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Texas must adopt online voter registration

September 27, 2016

What do the states of Texas, New Hampshire and Montana have in common? Not much, but they all share one distinction: They’re among the last 12 states in the nation that have not taken action to provide...

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Not even aliens can distract Americans from Trump

September 20, 2016

Almost since the moment Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign last year, pundits have speculated as to what, if not an ounce of their own personal restraint, could halt the flood of free media...

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Johnson’s lack of foreign policy knowledge makes him unfit for office

September 13, 2016

  There’s something tragic about Gary Johnson’s present situation. Late last week, the Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico governor went on MSNBC’s Morning...

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Secession remains unviable for Texas

September 1, 2016

This is a weird election year — on that much, everyone seems to agree. But could it get even weirder? A new poll says that most Texans who back Donald Trump for president would support secession...

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Prof. Weinberg’s gun ban preserves free speech

February 2, 2016

  With the controversial campus carry law set to take effect in August, Nobel laureate and UT physics professor Steven Weinberg says he will ban guns in his classroom beginning in the fall semester....