Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Email from Congressman Sarbanes - Dec 19, 2023

Letterhead from Congressional email

December 19, 2023

Dear Mr. Molyett:

     Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to military assistance for Israel. I appreciate hearing from you about this important matter and welcome the opportunity to respond.

     As you know, on October 7, 2023, Hamas committed horrifying acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians. Israel responded with retaliatory attacks in the Gaza Strip. President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken continue to hold high level talks to ensure respect for the rules of war in protecting civilian life, providing humanitarian aid to civilians in need in Gaza, establishing a humanitarian corridor for Palestinians and securing the release of hostages. 

     I would be less than frank if I did not share that I have regularly supported funding for Israel to defend itself against the threat of terrorism and believe we should continue to support the Iron Dome and other efforts to protect Israeli citizens. However, I opposed H.R. 6126, the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, in part because it did not include any humanitarian assistance for Palestinian civilians – which I also believe to be critically needed. Unfortunately, this aid package passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 226-196 on November 2, 2023. I remain hopeful that we will be able to achieve a strong bipartisan path forward on an aid package that supports both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

     As a strong advocate for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would allow both communities a peaceful and secure future, I share your concerns regarding the impact of this conflict. I continue to strongly believe that the path to peace and security among Israelis and Palestinians must come from concrete and specific confidence-building measures, not from aggression or terror.

     On October 20, I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives in sending a letter to President Biden in support of the Administration’s efforts to ensure that food, water and medicine are made available to civilians in Gaza, as well as their ongoing efforts to facilitate safe zones for civilians seeking refuge. The letter also expressed support for the Administrations leadership in fostering a sustainable future for Palestinians and Israelis at the conclusion of this conflict.

     I was also supportive of the Biden Administrations decision in March 2021 to restore $235 million in economic and humanitarian aid to Palestinians, which had previously been cut under the Trump Administration. I had urged President Trump to unfreeze funding for the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides essential funding for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The bipartisan budget bill for Fiscal Year 2023 provided $75 million in additional funding for UNRWA to address rising food costs for vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. I voted in favor of this legislation when it passed the House of Representatives before being signed into law by President Biden on December 29, 2022. Although I am not a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over these issues, I will keep your views in mind when voting on relevant legislation in the full House of Representatives.

     Again, I appreciate hearing your views on this matter. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.


John Sarbanes

Member of Congress

Pdf Version: Email from Congressman Sarbanes

Monday, January 30, 2023

Preserving Academic Integrity in the AI Writing Age

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) language models in writing has brought about numerous benefits, including improved efficiency and greater inclusivity for writers. However, the use of AI language models also poses significant challenges to academic integrity and the credibility of knowledge. The ease of abuse and the potential for false or misleading information to be generated and spread through AI-generated text can undermine public trust in the education system and the validity of the information being communicated. To address these challenges, it is important to prioritize originality, authenticity, and critical evaluation in the use of AI language models in writing.

On the one hand, allowing authors to use AI language models can increase their productivity and make writing more accessible. For example, AI language models can generate draft text in seconds, freeing up time for authors to focus on more important tasks. Additionally, AI language models can help writers who struggle with language barriers or disabilities to communicate their ideas effectively.

On the other hand, the use of AI language models can also lead to a lowering of academic standards and a decrease in the quality of written material. As AI language models become more advanced, it is easier for people to rely on them to create written material without putting in much effort themselves. This leads to a decrease in originality and authenticity, which are key components of academic integrity. Furthermore, AI language models can also generate false or misleading information, further eroding the credibility of knowledge.

To combat these challenges, it is important to emphasize the importance of originality, authenticity, and critical evaluation in the use of AI language models. This could include incorporating guidelines for using AI language models into academic writing policies and encouraging students and authors to think critically about the sources of information they use. By taking these steps, we can ensure that the use of AI language models in writing supports academic integrity, rather than undermines it.

In conclusion, while AI language models bring about many benefits for writers, they also pose significant challenges to academic integrity. By prioritizing originality, authenticity, and critical evaluation, we can ensure that the use of AI language models supports, rather than undermines, academic standards and the credibility of knowledge.