Fri03242017

Last updateWed, 22 Mar 2017 3pm

Politics

Medicaid Cuts in GOP Health Bill Could Reduce Services for Elderly, Disabled

Medicaid Cuts Reduce Elderly ServiceVital health care services for more than 17 million of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens could be on the chopping block if the Republican health care bill becomes law.

If Medicaid home and community-based services are cut for children with special needs and adults and seniors with disabilities, many would end up in costly nursing homes, require more assistance from struggling family members or simply do without the care that allows them to live independently.

Many of these low-income patients are functionally and cognitively impaired. They require home health aides, personal care attendants and day care programs to help with basic activities like eating, dressing, bathing and mobility.

Medicaid, the state-national health care plan for poor people and those with disabilities, is the largest public provider of these nonmedical services, covering 30 percent of working-age adults with disabilities like cerebral palsy, mental illness, and traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

Unlike coverage for nursing home care, which is mandatory under Medicaid, home care services for the elderly and people with disabilities are optional.

Patient advocates fear that states will trim those optional Medicaid services if the program faces the 10-year, $880 billion cut in federal funding that the GOP health care bill proposes.

If the legislation becomes law, and states roll back their home and community-based services, many Medicaid patients with special needs and disabilities will end up in nursing homes, said David Certner, legislative policy director at AARP.

“This really threatens the ability of people to live independently in their homes,” Certner said. “We can take care of three people at home for the cost of one person in a nursing home, so it’s bad policy and it’s bad in terms of what people prefer.”

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Riots Erupt in Sweden as Refugee Debate Escalates

Sweden Riots Refugee Debate 1Riots broke out in Rinkeby, a district within Stockholm, Sweden — is largely populated by immigrants, late Monday, Feb. 20.

Participants threw rocks at police officers and set several vehicles on fire, the Swedish police department said.

The violence succeeded police attempts to arrest a citizen of the area on drug charges.

Swedish police also accredited the riots to “increased pressure on criminals in the area.”

Christopher DeRosa, the Director of the History Program, also said a “dimension of the unrest that should not be ignored is that it was preceded by an increase in aggressive policing.”

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Trump Cabinet Members: Qualified or Not?

Trump Cabinet 1

Secretary Of Defense:

Gen. James Mattis

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Michael Flynn Resigns as National Security Advisor

Michael Flynn ResignationNational Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn resigned after misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials of the nature of his calls between the Russian ambassador to the United States on Monday, Feb. 13.

Flynn’s resignation surfaced less than a month after his tenure began when the Justice Department alerted President Donald Trump of Flynn’s innacurate recollection of his communication with the ambassador. The Justice Department also warned the administration that the former National Security Advisor was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

In his resignation letter, Flynn wrote, “I inadvertently briefed the Vice President and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.”

He continued, “I know with the strong leadership of President Trump and Vice President Pence and the superb team they are assembling, this team will go down in history as one of the greatest presidencies in U.S. history.”

According to CNN, Flynn’s resignation makes for one of the shortest-serving senior presidential advisors in modern history. Representative Devin Nunes, a California Republican and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said, “Washington, D.C., can be a rough town for honorable people, and Flynn — who has always been a soldier, not a politician — deserves America’s gratitude and respect.”

An administration official said of Trump’s reaction, “He’s moving on.”

However, the sudden departure of one of Trump’s closest and most senior advisors, who has assisted the President on issues of security and foreign policy since early in the presidential race, has been added to the list of tumultuous events in his first month in office.

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New Jersey: Highest Car Insurance Rates in the Country

NJ Car Insurance Rates 1For the fifth year in a row, vehicle drivers in New Jersey paid the highest amount of car insurance in the nation.

According the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average New Jersey driver pays about $1,905 per car for auto insurance. Compared to the nation’s overall average of $907, New Jersey motorist pay nearly $1,000 more on car insurance than the average driver in the U.S.

Motorists in the state’s largest cities pay an average of $1,982, while those who live in more suburban areas pay an average of $1,304. Since 2014, the average cost of insurance in the state has gone up $642 according to the report.

New Jersey has infamously been known for being an expensive state, recently being ranked the 5th most expensive state to live in.

Along with auto insurance, the state also comes in first for highest property taxes, and also has one of the highest cost per pupil for public education as well.

Claude Taylor, Advisor-in-Residence for Academic Transition and Inclusion, believed that the cost of auto insurance in our state is “justifiable considering the volume of drivers and the number of accidents and claims filed.”

Considering that New Jersey has more people per square mile than any other state.

According to the World Bank Data’s World Development Indicators, “New Jersey’s 2008 population density of 1,168 people per square mile is more than ten times that of the country as a whole.”  More people results in more accidents.

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Betsy Devos Confirmed as Secretary of Education

After a 24-hour vigil held in the Senate that was dedicated to Democrat opposition and Vice President Mike Pence’s historic tiebreaking vote, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Trump’s Secretary of Education on Feb. 7 at 12:29 p.m.

This was the first time a vice president was called to break a tie in the Senate, which held firm at 50-50 with two Republican defections who denounced DeVos.

The Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska deemed DeVos unfit for the position due to her support of school vouchers and charter schools: “I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of education who has been so involved in one side of the equation…that she may be unaware of what actually is successful within the public schools, and also what is broken and how to fix them,” Murkowski said at the time she announced her disapproval.

However, those who voted in her favor asserted that DeVos is first and foremost committed to what is best for children. In a New York Times report, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said that Democrats opposed the Secretary of Education simply due to her political affiliation.

On Feb. 10 several protestors prevented DeVos from entering Jefferson Middle School Academy. ABC 7 news reported that DeVos remained in her sport utility vehicle as she was heckled. One demonstrator threw a cardboard sign at her, while another yelled, “Go back! Shame, shame.” She eventually was escorted into the school and said, “It was really wonderful to visit this school, and I look forward to many visits of many great public schools.”

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President Trump Introduces Neil Gorsuch as Nominee for Supreme Court Vacancy

SCOTUS Neil GorsuchPresident Donald Trump announced on Tuesday, Jan. 31, that he will nominate Neil Gorsuch, Judge from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, to be the newest Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court.

The vacancy in the nation’s highest court came almost a year ago when Justice Antonin Scalia passed away on Feb. 13, 2016. Scalia, a conservative and strict constitutionalist, was a very consequential loss because it threatened the conservative tilt of the Supreme Court. Gorsuch, the 49 year-old Harvard and Columbia alumnus, has similar conservative leanings in his jurisprudence as Justice Scalia. Johanna Foster, Director of the Sociology Program, considers him to be “extremely qualified, with exceptional credentials.”

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Deeper Look Into the Travel Ban

President Trump signed an executive order on immigration, banning Syrian refugees from entering the United States as well as citizens from seven Muslim majority countries, on Friday, Jan. 27.

The order prevented Syrian refugees from seeking asylum in the U.S. indefinitely. It also bans travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and withheld all refugee admissions for 120 days, according to the New York Times.

As a result of the ban, those traveling to the U.S. were stopped in airports both in the United States and abroad – legal residents as well as visitors and students in Cairo, Dubai, and Istanbul were blocked; others were sent back after arriving.

President Trump considers the immigration ban a success: “It’s working out very nicely” Trump said the Saturday following the executive order’s signing, reported CNN. “You see it at airports. You see it all over. It’s working out very nicely and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban.”

The Department of Homeland Security also agreed to impose the president’s executive order. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus assured green-card holders from the seven banned countries that they would be able to return to the United States.

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MU Community Responds to the Future of Education Following Secretary Appointment

MU Community Betsy DeVos 1The nomination of Betsy DeVos incited controversy following her appointment as Secretary of Education on Jan. 31. .

Some of the areas of disagreement between parties includes her stance on guns in schools, the legal rights of disabled students, questionable positions on LGBTQ+ rights, or the future of public schools.  

On Jan. 17, DeVos attended her senate confirmation hearing in which she was consistently interrogated by senator after senator with questions that ranged from her tax returns, which previously have never been an issue for other nominees in the past, to her possible conflicts of interest and the debate on proficiency versus growth.

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Celebrities Stand Together at Women’s March

Celebrities Womens March 1On Jan. 21, according to Vox, half a million women marched in Washington D.C alone, which was said to be the largest rally in years.

The Women’s March sent a strong and bold message to our new government, and to the rest of the world that women’s rights are important. Both women and men from all over the country marched to have their voices heard in the support of women’s rights, immigration reform, LGBT rights, racial justice, health care reform, among other issues.

The crowds were enormous and marches took place in Washington D.C., New York City, and Chicago, and other cities around the world. Additionally, the terror and anger that came from President Donald Trump’s rise to presidency resounded protests all over the world in places like Paris and London.

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President Trump’s First Executive Orders in Office

Trump Executive OrdersSince taking office on Friday, President Donald Trump has been working hard to fulfill some of his promises to “Maker America Great Again” and signed several executive orders that affect both national and world wide situations.

The first 100 days of a new president’s term is crucial to the term. What the president does, or does not do, set the standard of how they are viewed by the public. Yes, first impressions do matter.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt took office, he reshaped the decline of America’s economy, passed 76 laws and 9 executive orders. Since then, ghost of “100 days” has lingered through all presidential terms.

The first executive on Trump’s agenda was to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade negotiations, which was one of Obama’s signature trade deals. Although the trade deal had not been fully approved by Congress, the fact that President Trump scratched it off completely suggests that his administration is staying true to taking a more aggressive stance on foreign competitors.

President Trump heavily criticized the partnership several times during his campaigns last year and claimed it was a bad deal for American workers.

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45th President of the United States: Donald J. Trump

45th President TrumpAfter over a year and a half of hard fought political campaigning, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

The forecast called for rain. Thousands of people from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. on Friday morning, clad in rain jackets and rain boots. Vendors were selling plastic ponchos among their memorabilia inauguration merchandise. The weather did not bother the adamant supporters, who were determined to watch history – rain or shine.

Trump commented on the suspected rain the day before, welcoming the potential waterworks, “It may rain, it may not rain. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. If it pours, that’s okay because people will realize it’s my real hair, and that’s okay. It might be a mess, but they’re going to see that it’s my real hair.”

A rather unusually warm day for the month of January, the weather seemed to hold up. During the swearing in of Vice President Mike Pence, rain drops began to drip down. The crowd didn’t seem to mind. Minutes later, Trump stepped up and then the rain suddenly began to stop.

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Cuban Leader Fidel Castro Passes Away At 90

Death Fidel Castro 1On Nov. 25, Cuba’s former president and one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, Fidel Castro, died at the age of 90.

Castro’s younger brother, Raul Castro, and successor announced to the world that the man that survived over 600 assassination attempts, had passed away of natural causes.

He ended his announcement with the revolutionary slogan that became the battle cry for most leftist movements across Latin America, “Towards victory, always!”

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Trump Secretary of State Pick Under Scrutiny

Trump Secretary State PickPresident-elect Donald Trump is in the process of choosing the members of his new administration but the process has not been without infighting and division among the Republican party and the members of his transition team.

The most highly contested position in the Trump’s transition process is for who will become the next Secretary of State, the most powerful foreign diplomat in the United States. Former GOP nominee for President in 2012 and outspoken critic of Trump during the Republican primaries for president, Mitt Romney, and former New York City Mayor and Trump loyalist, Rudy Giuliani, are viewed by many as the top two contenders for the position.

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FBI Special Agent, Alumnus Speaks to Hawks

FBI Special Agent Visits MUMonmouth University alumnus and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Brian Cotter attracted over 60 students when he spoke at a Guardians Club meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 9 in Magill Commons.

Cotter graduated from the FBI Academy this past February and now works for the Counterterrorism Task Force in New York City. He shared how his experiences at Monmouth prepared him for his future in the FBI.

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Monmouth Debate Team Wins Awards at Liberty University and MU Tournaments

MU Debate Team Wins LUThe Monmouth University Debate Team won awards at debate tournaments held at Liberty University last weekend (Nov 4-6) and again this weekend at Monmouth’s 6th annual Jersey Shore Invitational (Nov 12-13). At Liberty University, MU debaters Kaitlin Allsopp and Emely Diaz made it to the octa-final playoff round by compiling a four and two record in the preliminary rounds— before losing in a close decision to a team from James Madison.

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NJ Voters Make Choice on Election Day Ballot

Voters of New Jersey were asked to vote on two state-wide questions during the election. The questions dealt with casino gambling and the gas tax. The two yes or no questions were located on the November 8, 2016 ballot.

Question one on the ballot was about allowing casino gambling in two other New Jersey counties besides Atlantic County and 78 percent of the New Jersey voters chose no on this issue.

Over twenty groups were against the measure and based on the ballot it seems many New Jersey residents agreed. If this amendment was voted in, two more casino locations would be allowed to open in Northern New Jersey.

The amendment would take away a great deal of power that Atlantic City has had over the years. Many people note that this measure would halt the monopoly Atlantic City casinos have had in New Jersey since 1976. The amendment noted that the casinos would have to be at least seventy-two miles away from Atlantic City.

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Trump 'Towers’ Over Clinton: A Businessman Becomes President

President Trump 1Donald J. Trump has been elected as the 45th president of the United States of America on Nov. 8th 2016— performing a surprising victory as many polls and political pundits doubted his ability to gain the votes necessary to win the presidency.

This year, Trump was able to tap into the anger and frustration of the voters in a way that no candidate has been able to do in many years. Assistant Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University, Dr. Stephen Chapman, said, “In an increasingly polar political climate, he’s run a populist campaign that rings true to many Americans.”

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FBI Reverses Course on Clinton Email Investigation as General Election Arrives

FBI Director James ComeyFBI Director, James Comey announced on Sunday that there will not be criminal charges brought against Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton over handling of classified information over her private email server. This comes as somewhat of a surprise as he just wrote a letter to Congress late last month that he would re-open the investigation. The latest developments are attracting much controversy and scrutiny because they are coming out so close to the election.

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Clinton Ally Donates Over $500,000 to the Senate Campagin of Dr. Jill McCabe

News has surfaced that Clinton’s longtime ally, Governor Terry McAuliffe, of Virginia, donated money to the Senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe.

Over a period of time, donations exceeded over $500,000. Many wonder if this is somewhat politically charged since Dr. McCabe is the wife of an FBI official who was later set to be in charge of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.

Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton has been centered in many scandals during the 2016 presidential campaign. Granted, it is near impossible for any political campaign to be free from some sort of corruption or scandal. Throughout history there have been contentious political debates, campaigns and elections. Many would not find a donation to a political campaign from a political action committee (PAC) to be problematic, yet this donation was a large sum of money. Andrew McCabe is the Deputy Director of the FBI. Over 1/3 of the campaign funds raised for McCabe’s campaign came from this source.

Associate Professor of political science, Dr. Joseph Patten said, “Terry McAuliffe is an old friend of the Clintons. There is always the suspicion of wrongdoing when candidates receive campaign contributions from people that want favors from them.” Then said, “It only becomes a violation of law if prosecutors can establish the bribery standard, which links to a quid pro quo of money for public favors, which is difficult to prove. No one has ever been convicted of bribery for receiving campaign contributions to my knowledge.”

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Political Science Club Straw Poll Displays Conflicting Outcomes

MU’s Political Science Club Adds to Political Awareness Through Latest Straw Poll


Straw Poll 1Monmouth University’s Political Science Club conducted a non-scientific straw poll this week to create excitement about the upcoming election, which is only six days away.

The straw poll turnout in the Monmouth community included 1,244 participants. Full-time faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff members were all able to express their opinion on the 2016 election through the poll.

The Political Science Club members have been working diligently to raise awareness in the Monmouth community by expressing the importance of each vote and how people can contribute their voice to America’s great democracy through the act of voting.

Areebah Zia, a political science student, said, “I think its great what the Political Science Club is doing, it’s raising awareness and informing people who would not otherwise take part in politics, and bringing light to their constitutional right to vote.”

 

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Special Guest Visits Monmouth Political Science Class

Special Guest Melissa SherryStudents in Professor Reinhart’s Constitutional Law class last Friday, Oct. 21, were fortunate to receive a visit from Melissa Arbus Sherry— a former clerk for the Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens, who was hired as Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States by Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan. Stevens has argued ten cases in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. Reinhart, a lawyer himself, specialist professor, and Director of the Kislack Real Estate Institute at Monmouth, was able to get the high profile lawyer to visit campus.

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Is It All Just About Attitudes In The World of Politics?

This upcoming November, citizens will face a choice of, perhaps, the most unique presidential election in the entire history of the United States. What makes this election so unique are the attitudes, both of the candidates, as well as the attitudes voters sport in reaction to each candidates’ policies.

The first Presidential election of this cycle was the most ever tuned and watched debate. Many different media outlets and news agencies claim that one candidate won over the other in the debate. However, what is it that really matters to voters and what’s more important to voters? Is it their attitudes and feelings towards the potential presidential candidates or do voters put more of an emphasis on the presidential candidates’ agenda and/or policies?

Some even believe that third party candidates may play a major role in this election and should be allowed to partake in the widely publicized and televised presidential debates. However, Katharine Dix, a junior political science student, believes “this is not the election to vote third party.”

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The Race to the White House 2016: What is It Truly About?

The 2016 general election for president of the U.S. has been at the center of news media and social media; a definitive change from prior elections. With mass media and social media at the forefront, the polls can be easily swayed since information is so vastly available.

Nearly two weeks away from the general election and many voters do not know much about either candidate except for the negative attacks being thrown from each side. Some have thought this election would prove to be advantageous for the Republican establishment since a Democrat has held office for eight years. However, with the election coming closer it seems both candidates are ready for the final push.

According to RealClearPoltics polls from various pollsters, one candidate is up by anywhere from 1-20 points over the other. Some polls note a tie. There are variations in the polls based on the news outlet or poll conducting the research. A tight race has ensued leaving each candidate trying to secure their spot in this election. The problem with this election is that each candidate has ardent supporters or they are loathed. This factor is one that makes this election rather heated since each candidate has many negatives against them.

Regardless of each candidate’s flaws, many people note that this election has been dirty. It has not been centered on policy or the American people. At this stage in the race, Clinton is touring the country with supporters, such as First Lady Michelle Obama.

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Trump and Clinton Go Head to Head in Second Debate

debateOn Sunday night, 66.5 million eople tuned in to watch the second debate between presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

A part of the election cycle since 1992, the second debate has a town hall setting. The candidates were away from the podium and have the ability to answer questions from audience members. Other questions were taken from social media, or asked by the moderators, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ Martha Raddatz.

Lorna Schmidt, Director of Advising, said, “I felt that the two of them were trying to convince each other of their point, and those are the last people they should be arguing to. They should be arguing to the audience. You never going to convince the person you’re debating, its those people our there you have to convince.”

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MU Polling Institute Named in Fake Memo

An apparent fake, leaked polling memo that was intended to spin polling results in favor of Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, surfaced in the media late last month from the Monmouth Polling Institute— and left the polling institute members answering angry social media users.

On Sept. 21, a website called Real True News published a story claiming that a leaked Monmouth polling memo surfaced that urged the poll to change the narrative of the election. The website claimed that the accomplished pollster from fivethirtyeight.com, Nate Silver, had sent the memo. However, the name on the memo was blacked out.

The story came out shortly after the polling institute released its latest numbers, showing Clinton regaining momentum in Florida and criticizing them because they had published two polls that favored Donald Trump the week before.

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Bridgegate and Impeachment: Politics or Corruption?

On Sept. 9, 2013, two toll lanes were closed to the upper deck of the George Washington Bridge. Many officials such as police and emergency medical workers claimed not knowing of the lane closures during the morning rush hour was an extreme threat to the public safety of the city.

Many wonder what the true intentions were behind this potentially dangerous act. Several theories swirl throughout the media and internet.

However, the prevailing notion is that the closures were to be a form of rebellion and attack against the mayor at a hefty price tag to locals. In the scandal, many of Christie’s employees resigned in fear of backlash. Port Authority Director, Patrick Foye required the lanes be reopened and they were finally reopened after much struggle on Sept. 13, 2013. Members of the Fort Lee community note that people could have very well died in this dangerous attempt to be cynical for a political statement.

The motives of officials have always been questioned throughout the trial; namely Gov. Christie. Time and time again, people speculate whether or not the New Jersey governor had any inclination that this would occur on a Monday morning rush hour. Legal implications and charges were set against Christie’s former Chief-of-Staff, Bridget Anne Kelly and Port Authority employees appointed by Chris Christie; Mr. Baroni and Mr. Wildstein. All three people were charged with conspiracy of fraud for political motives. Eventually, they all resigned.

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Sparks Fly at First Presidential Debate

First Presidential DebateLast night was the first of three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton held at Hofstra University and aired on CNN— where more than 80 million people tuned into the debate between the two candidates, making it the most watched televised presidential debate in United States history.

Sparks flew early and often during the debate but the candidates did not spar as hard as many would have thought. Dr. Stephen Chapman, a professor of political science, said that this wasn’t unusual because “the first debate is usually about feeling each other out.”

He referred to President Barrack Obama’s performance in the first presidential debate against Mitt Romney in 2012. He said, “Many people have said that Barrack Obama came out flat and lost the first debate but he took that debate to feel out his opponent and come up with strategy.”

Nonetheless, Chapman concluded that the first debate is still important. He commented, “I think it’s crucial since it was the first time they are on the stage together after all of this campaigning.”

The debate included multiple topics and issues that were important to the candidates who are still trying to reach out to undecided voters. Both candidates were expected to be able to answer tough questions.

For Trump, the Director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute and specialist professor Peter Reinhart said, “There are several lines of questions that may prove difficult for Mr. Trump.”

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‘Rock the Vote’ at Monmouth

Rock The VoteOn Sept. 26, Monmouth held the first of its three “Rock the Vote” events in front of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center on campus where students quickly and easily registered to vote in this year’s presidential election while enjoying live music from “Band Not Scared.” The event was hosted by the University’s political science club and was sponsored and received help from the Student Activities Board (SAB) and many other on campus clubs and organizations.

Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Joseph Patten said, “We are having a lot of success drawing people [to register] in between classes.”

According to Patten, the club encouraged roughly 50 students to register within just one hour.

Patten also said that this would be the first of three Rock the Vote events. He said that they will be hosting two more before the Oct. 18 voter registration deadline.

According to Patten, the events registered about 170 student voters last semester. He aspires to do even better this semester.

Students from the political science club that participated in helping with the event stressed the importance of the University assisting its students with voter registration.

Junior political science student Angela Ryan said, “I think this event is great and that we had support from many different clubs and organizations. It’s really good that we’re getting students to register to vote. It will help them to be make informed decisions when they vote in November.”

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Election Polling Update 9/28

9/19 Sienna College
Florida Poll:

Trump: 43

Clinton: 43

9/19 Loras College Illinois Poll:

Clinton: 47

Trump: 33

9/18 Minneapolis Star
Tribune Minnesota Poll:

Clinton: 44

Trump: 38

9/18 Sooner Oklahoma Poll:

Trump: 51

Clinton: 36

9/17 Morning Call/ Muhlenberg Pennsylvania Poll:

Clinton: 47

Trump: 38

9/15 Emerson College Arkansas Poll:

Trump: 57

Clinton: 29

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Politics and Terrorism: How Does It Affect Elections?

Ronald ReganAfter the weekend of many terrible tragedies throughout the country, citizens have turned to the people we have elected in our moments of crisis. But what exactly do we look for in these public figures in our times of need?

One of the most iconic speeches to be delivered in a time of crisis was in Jan. 28, 1986, when President Ronald Regan addressed the nation of the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

It was the day President Regan was to prepare for his State of the Union address, but instead delivered a speech that would be one of the highlights of his career.  “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.”

He honored the lives that were lost and made the country feel united. Former House of Representatives Tip O’Niell wrote in his book, “it was a trying day for all Americans and Ronald Reagan spoke to our highest ideals.”

The nation looks for comfort in the people they vote to put in office and that is what they should be getting.  Once a tragedy takes place, people expect that politicians know the details of the occurrence and do what they can for everyone to be safe. 

According to The Hill, “Civilans need to know if they are safe, if this is or is not an attack, and what they should do to stay out of harms way.”

With the election only 50 days away, how a politician, or a candidate, reacts to an attack or a tragedy can effect how the public perceives them.

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Election Polling Update 9/21

9/19 Sienna College Florida Poll:

Trump: 43

Clinton: 43

9/19 Loras College Illinois Poll:

Clinton: 47

Trump: 33

9/18 Minneapolis Star Tribune Minnesota Poll:

Clinton: 44

Trump: 38

9/18 Sooner Oklahoma Poll:

Trump: 51

Clinton: 36

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Debate: Opening Weekend of the NFL Gets Political, Against the Protest

NFL Gets PoliticalLast Sunday was significant to many Americans as it was the opening weekend of NFL football, and more importantly, the fif-teenth anniversary of the attacks on our nation suffered on September 11th, 2001. However, perhaps what was getting the most at-tention from the fans this year were the actions of the players before the game and not during– due to the symbolic protest of not standing during the national anthem because of racial inequalities started in the preseason by San Francisco 49’s quarter-back, Collin Kaepernick, that has caught on with players from around the league. These protests represented the controversial topic of race that has especially consumed the nature of the media and politics of the nation over the last year and a half and the topic is much bigger than football. However, it is my firm belief that some of these NFL players are demonstrating on this issue the wrong way.

To be fair, there were some players that showed strength and symbolism in noncontroversial ways. For example, there were ru-mors swirling around the media that the entire Seattle Seahawks team would kneel during the national anthem. However, they in-stead chose to all link arms for the anthem. By doing this, the Seahawks took the high road by showing respect to the flag on the an-niversary of a great tragedy, while showing unity among their players– white and black.

It was upsetting to me that many players did not stand for the national anthem, especially on the anniversary of 9/11. Although race relations in our country have improved a great deal in the past few decades, there is no denying that racial tensions still exist. However, disrespecting our nations flag isn’t going to help the cause. First, demonstrating frustration in that way just adds fuel to the fire. The NFL players that didn’t stand are not the only people in the country that have used irresponsible rhetoric in response to this problem.

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Debate: Opening Weekend of NFL, For the Protest

NFL Gets PoliticalFootball is America’s favorite sport, and millions tune in to watch during the season, let alone opening weekend. So when Colin Kaepernick decided to not stand up during the National Anthem, it caused a huge discussion of the nature of protests.

Something that I have always found astonishing about American history is that some of the greatest social developments have been advanced with the help of protests. Women, racial and even animal rights have had their breakthroughs in society because brave men and women have voiced their opinions and stood for what they believed was right, sometimes even when the consequences could have been deadly.

And of course, this is the “Land of the Free” and the very first amendment that our founding fathers wrote was the freedom of speech. It sets America apart from other countries, and is the reason why the progression of the quality of life and people’s rights has been what it is and I hope that never changes.

Having Kaepernick take a stand by not standing because of the racial inequality in America has sparked a conversation of the issues at hand. He knew he had the platform to get the nation’s attention and he went for it. He risked his career and having his peers look at him differently for something he believed deserved to be looked at. And now other people have fallen in his footsteps.

Many people, however, have disagreed with the actions of these players, deeming it disrespectful to the country and to the men and women that fight for our rights.

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Governor Cuomo Enacts $15 Minimum Wage for New Yorkers

Governor Cuomo Minimum WageGovernor Cuomo of New York signed legislation enacting a statewide $15 minimum wage plan and a 12-week paid family leave policy. The legislation was passed as a part of the 2016-17 state budget as an attempt by the governor to restore economic justice to working families in the state of New York.

Cuomo signed these two pieces of legislation prior to attending a huge victory rally, which included workers, labor leaders, along with elected officials. The rally took place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. Senior communications Major Matthew Spineli said, “It may seem like a good idea, but I personally hope it doesn’t limit the amount of jobs available for people.” Then continued, “It’s overall going to cost employers a ton of money to provide that minimum wage to every single employee.” 

Professor Jennifer Shamrock, lecturer of communication, said, “The overall increase to the minimum wage has the ability to help out individuals in a positive way, and allow workers to earn a much more stable income that will hopefully help them live a more comfortable lifestyle in the near future.”

The Governor had the following to say about the overall policies, “By moving to a $15 statewide minimum wage and enacting the strongest paid family leave policy in the nation, New York is showing the way forward on economic justice, these policies will not only lift up the current generation of low-wage workers and their families, but ensure fairness for future generations and enable them to climb the ladder of opportunity.”

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Do Celebrity Endorsements Influence Political Elections?

Candidate Celebrity Endorsement 1In modern times, it isn’t surprising to see or hear many celebrities endorsing, appearing, and supporting political figures. Whether it’s at a rally, through social media sites such as twitter and Facebook, or even recognized news and magazine sites such as the New York Times coming out with articles whenever a celebrity makes a statement whether the statement is political itself or is related to political figures.

Dr. Michael Phillips Anderson, Associate professor of the Monmouth University’s Communications Department commented that “we see it more now with more media outlets and social media.” Professor Claude Taylor added that there is “Too much media saturation on celebrities and even on information sources on policy issues” and that even “Media sources are splintered into party affiliations.” Professor Taylor also mentioned that “Every day people are skeptical of celebrities endorsements.” Mostly because celebrities are not seen or considered to be experts in the political field.

The question however, is do celebrities have any pull on their fans when it comes to voting? Arguably, it was movie star and singer Al Jolson who was first used as the first celebrity to endorse Warren Harding as a presidential candidate in 1920. Ever since then, multiple candidates have attempted to use celebrities to help receive more votes.

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New Jersey Democratic Primary Preview

NJ PrimaryNew Jersey’s presidential primaries historically don’t matter because the party nominations are secured by the time the Garden State holds its contests in June.

That may change this year however, as Hillary Clinton fends off a late rally from her rival, Independent Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont.

Sanders won the last seven contests leading up to a potentially decisive contest in New York on Tuesday April 19. With Clinton polling 51 percent to Sanders’ 39 percent in the Empire State according to the latest Monmouth University poll, it is unlikely that New York’s 247 unpledged delegates will give Clinton a decisive victory according to the state’s proportional allocation where delegates are awarded based on the percentage of the vote received by candidates.

Clinton could however, cash in on New York’s 44 superdelegates (an unelected delegate who is free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination at the party’s national convention, regardless of state vote results), at least a half dozen of which have already pledged their unwavering support for Clinton.

After New York, the next highest-stakes contest is Pennsylvania (189 delegates) on April 26, followed by California (475 delegates) and New Jersey’s “winner take all” primary (126 delegates) on June 7.

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Divide in The Republican Party Continues to Grow

GOP DivideRepublican front-runner Donald Trump shook up the GOP race for the presidential nomination in the Mar. 15 primaries by winning the states of Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri, and Florida and then Ted Cruz responded by winning the crucial state of Wisconsin. However, one factor of the race has stayed the same–the divide in the Republican Party between the “outsiders” and the “establishment.”

Chair of the Political Science  Department, Dr. Joseph Patten, said, “The rules of the party have changed were the [Republican] establishment and party elites have lost control.”

That loss of control was evident last week as Trump rolled through the primaries, winning four of five state contests with the only exception being Ohio, which was won by the state’s governor, John Kasich. Mr. Trump’s most significant win of the night was in Florida, whose winner-take-all primary awarded him all 99 of the state’s delegates and effectively knocked Florida Senator, Marco Rubio, out of the presidential race after suffering a crucial loss in his home state.

The loss of Rubio is significant to the establishment. According to Fredreka Schouten of U.S.A Today, Senator Rubio’s Super Pac raised $25 million in the month before the Mar. 15 Florida primary. Republican donors that prefer an alternative to Trump viewed Rubio as that viable alternative. For the past eleven months, Senator Rubio has tried to toe the line between establishment and anti-establishment, in hope that the voters would see him as the best alternative to Trump and someone who can unify the party.

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The Leak of a Century: The Panama Papers

Panama PapersOne of the most discussed topics in the news and overall world of politics currently is the Panama Papers. These leaked documents revealed how some of the world’s most powerful people may have used offshore bank accounts and shell companies to conceal their wealth and or avoid paying taxes.

The papers were a collection of millions of leaked confidential documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama, since 1977 to 2015. These documents  identify business leaders, celebrities, and various international politicians.

All of the individuals mentioned were noted to be in multiple traces of suspicious financial transactions. Overall, this groundbreaking story has sparked concerns about security and corruption in the global financial system.

Some of the most well-known names that were mentioned in the leaked documents were associates of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, the father of Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain and relatives of President Xi Jinping of China. Along with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson who resigned as prime minister of Iceland. And lastly soccer superstar Lionel Messi who happens to be one of the world’s wealthiest athletes.

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How Involved are MU Students in Political Issues?

MU Politcal Involvement 1 (Front)For something so important to the country and its wellbeing, college students seem to lack the care and/or knowledge of why their democratic system is so important. They do not realize the impact of their vote and how it can make a difference. It isn’t just our vote matters, it is the message that that vote carries—it says “I am here” and “I care about our country’s future.” With the upcoming presidential election, it is a good idea to step back and reevaluate the ideals of our age group according to the US Census.

According to the Census, 46 percent of young adults vote in New Jersey elections. In 2012, the age group of 18-29 year olds voted at lower levels than any other age group nationally. That means that less than half of young are voting in any election. For such an opinionated demographic, they are not utilizing the tools available, such as voting, to get their points across.

On campus there is a lot of push to get students involved and aware of the elections, registering to vote, and pledging to vote. Monmouth holds on campus events, like Rock the Vote to keep students involved. Furthermore, the political science club hosts viewings for every debate with food and friends to have a great time and get informed on the election.

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Red Bank Hosts March For Bernie Sanders

Red Bank Bernie MarchN.J. supporters of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders gathered in Red Bank to march on April 2. Over 400 individuals were in attendance to bring awareness about the candidate for the upcoming election.

Organizers Kate Triggiano and Boris Kofman, with the help of others, planned for about a month in advance after being inspired by the similar acts that happened in Asbury Park a couple months prior.

Pat Dunn, an avid Sanders supporter, was the inspiration behind the march in Red Bank. Marc Adamo, who is a labor activist and participated in “Occupy Wall Street”, explained how the idea of the march started. In Asbury Park, Dunn was able to bring together 200 people to come out to support Sanders on the boardwalk, on very short notice.

Dunn explained on Facebook, “I was sitting home & saw the marches happening all over, yet nothing seemed to be going on in N.J. I’m just some guy. I picked a day/place/time and threw it on Facebook. [I] didn’t know what to expect at all. Before long, people I didn’t know were responding in no small way. I received more help and enthusiasm than I could have anticipated.”

He continued, “Asbury Park was wonderful. It came from one person’s idea and 100s of folks I never met came out and yelled and marched with joyful purpose. Kate took that and followed suit and built an amazing event in Red Bank!”

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My Experience with March For Bernie Sanders

Experience in Bernie MarchBefore this event, I had never experienced being a part of a political march. So it was to my excitement to go out and experience it about 20 minutes away from campus.

Before the March

A week before the march, I added myself to the “Red Bank N.J. March for Bernie Sanders” group page on Facebook. There, I had realized that this march was being planned out for over a month. The organizers, Kate Triggiano and Boris Kofman, were very active in answering people’s questions and keeping everyone up to date.

Nights before the march, people began to post pictures of their posters and signs and others commented being supportive. They bounced ideas off of each other, and they were getting rather creative with slogans and paints.

One of the biggest reminders that was mentioned on the page was that during the march, the most important thing was to remain peaceful. The organizers wanted to make sure that the message that was being evoked was positive. They suggested not to litter or be rowdy, to shop in the local stores, and eat at the local restaurants. Most of all, support Red Bank in the best way possible.

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Debate: Capitalism vs. Democratic Socialism

Capitalism

BrendanGreve | Politics Co-editor

Much of America’s youth has been “feeling the Bern” and have been gravitating towards the self-described “Democratic Socialist”, Bernie Sanders. The Senator from Vermont is the first politician that has ever ran for President with the label of “Socialist” and it is shocking to me that he has made it so far. I believe that much of Mr. Sander’s youthful supporters do not understand the ideas of socialism and how dangerous they are.

Let’s start off with Merriam- Webster’s definition of socialism. It is, “a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies.” This is similar to th idea of communism, which is the form of government that has arguably brought the most pain and suffering to the world through terrible dictators like Joseph Stalin, Kim Jung-un, and Mao. Leftists believe that these horrible idea’s of massive government control will someohow work in America, despite failing everywhere else. Why would anyone want to implement a system that would even remotely resemble the system that has brought on the atrocities like those of the North Korean and Soviet regimes that have consistently failed and brought devastation though out the history of mankind?

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Political Science Club Hosts Rock The Vote Event

Rock The Vote EventThe Political Science Club had the honor of hosting the Rock the Vote event on Mar. 23. The event was to help promote college students to register to vote for the next presidential election.

The event was hosted on the patio of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center, with food and a music performance by music group, Band Not Scared.

The Political Science Club held a smaller Rock the Vote event, on Mar. 2, to spread awareness. In total, they had 117 student register to vote, and 138 students pledge to vote.

e patio of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center, with food and a music performance by music group, Band Not Scared.

Angela Ryan, a junior political science student, and President of the club, said, “I think the biggest success was that everyone showed up to register or pledge. Most people showed up did not care for the free t-shirt or food which is amazing it shows that our students actually care.”

Stephanie Deats, senior political science student and Secretary and Social Media Chair of the club said, “The band was really good. They did a lot of covers, and I think that’s what attracted people the most. They saw we had live music and they came over. They saw free t-shirts and food, and realized that if they hadn’t registered, they had time to do it.”

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Debate: Are Senate Republicans Wrong for Refusing to Give the President’s Supreme Court Nominee a Hearing? Affirmative

Merrick GarlandThe Republican-dominated Senate’s intractable decision not to vote or even hear the President’s nominee for the Supreme Court is obstinate and perverse.

By refusing to vote on or even hear the case for his nomination, the Senate is engaging in a zero-sum game in which the stakes will only rise with their prolonged, rigidly uncompromising position.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has invoked Vice President Biden’s own words from 1992 when George H.W. Bush was president and Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to explain why he intends to block President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick in an election year.

The so-called “Biden Rule,” which allegedly justifies the Senates position to not hear the nomination in an election year, does not in fact provide a precedent.

Biden presided over the nomination hearing of Clarence Thomas, a conservative judge, to the Supreme Court in 1991. Biden’s floor speech was on June 25, 1992, more than three months later in the election cycle than it is now. He said,

“Mr. President, where the nation should be treated to a consideration of constitutional philosophy, all it will get in such circumstances is a partisan bickering and political posturing from both parties and from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. As a result, it is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow, or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not — and not — name a nominee until after the November election is completed.”

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Debate: Are Senate Republicans Wrong for Refusing to Give the President’s Supreme Court Nominee a Hearing? Negative

Merrick GarlandIt is a shame that both sides of the isle have turned the death of the great Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, into a political firestorm. However, with the possibility that the next Supreme Court justice can change the direction of the court and the meaning of law for the next quarter century– that firestorm is here.

Now that President Obama has made his choice in nominating Merrick Garland, the Senate will have the constitutional opportunity to deny his choice. Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and many conservatives have made it clear that they will take that opportunity. Conservatives have depended on Antonin Scalia’s constitutional decisions for many years and they do not trust Barrack Obama, who has not proven to be as fierce a defender of the Constitution as Scalia, to make such a consequential choice. That is why they have decided to take the political gamble and hold off on hearing Obama’s nomination and to let the next president in 2016— Democrat or Republican— make that decision.

Of course, Democrats are furious with the decision and are trying to shame them into submission, as if they haven’t been put in the same situation before. Democrats all over are interpreting the rules and making up precedents in their favor. President Barrack Obama said for the Republicans not to hear or vote for Judge Garland’s nomination would be “a betrayal of our best traditions and a betrayal of the vision of our founding documents.” He even said, “If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty– it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair.”

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Debate Hawks Win 8 Awards At Western Championship

Debate Hawks Win 8 AwardsThe Monmouth University Debate Team won 8 team and individual awards at the Western National Debate Championship at Sacramento State University in California on the weekend of March 12-14, 2016.  Four of the six Monmouth teams competing in the tournament made it into the playoff rounds.  The MU team of Matthew Toto and Prachi Patel made it to the semi-final round (final four) and the teams of James Hawke and Sabrina Saenger with a record of 5-1 and Gregory Harpe and Emily Mastocola with a record of 4-2 made it into the quarterfinal (final 8).  Team captain Danielle Doud and Victoria Borges made it into the quarter-final round in the experienced division before losing a close decision to a University of Washington team.

The tournament included debaters from approximately 10 universities including the University of Washington, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Northridge to name a few.   Each year a topic is picked to be debated at every tournament.  The topic for this year is: Resolved: The United States should significantly reduce its military presence in one or more of the following: the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, the Greater Horn of Africa, Northeast Asia. The Monmouth team researched and wrote three separate cases involving each of these three strategically important regions.

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President Obama First President to Visit Cuba in 9 Decades

Obama Cuba VisitPresident Barack Obama created history on March 20, by visiting Cuba for the first time any president has in over nine decades. He arrived with First lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters Malia and Sasha.

“I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas,” Obama said in a speech at the Havana’s Grand Theater, the same building where President Calvin Coolidge spoke 88 years ago.

But many have questioned his intentions on this trip. While there, he is going to be meeting with President Raul Castro, as well as Cuban dissidents. He will also attend a baseball game against the Cuban national team and Tampa Bay Rays, as well as do a television address for Cuban citizens.

The White House said that Obama will raise the problem of Human Right violations, while speaking to President Castro and have a separate meeting with human right activists.  

This is extremely historical for many since there has been a trade embargo on Cuba for almost half a century. The Obama administration has been trying to chip away at it for over a 15-month period, with more travel leeway, have access to direct mail, and more importantly, the U.S. struck Cuba from the “State Sponsors of Terror” list.

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Divides in The Republican Party Escalates

Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, shook up the GOP race for the presidential nomination in the March 15 primaries by winning the states of Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri, and Florida. However, one factor of the race has stayed the same–the divide in the Republican Party between the “outsiders” and the “establishment.”

Chair of the Political Science department, Dr. Joseph Patten, said, “The rules of the party have changed were the [Republican] establishment and party elites have lost control.” That loss of control was evident last week as Mr. Trump rolled through the primaries, winning four of five state contests with the only exception being Ohio which was won by the state’s governor, John Kasich. Mr. Trump’s most significant win of the night was in Florida, who’s winner take all primary awarded him all 99 of the state’s delegates– and effectively knocked Florida Senator, Marco Rubio, out of the presidential race after suffering a crucial loss in his home state.

The loss of Mr. Rubio is significant to the establishment. According to Fredreka Schouten of USA Today, Senator Rubio’s Super Pac raised $25 million in the month before the March 15 Florida primary. Republican donors that prefer an alternative to Donald Trump, viewed Rubio as that viable alternative. For the past eleven months, Senator Rubio has tried to toe the line between establishment and anti-establishment, in hope that the voters would see him as the best alternative to Donald Trump and someone who can unify the party.

When he announced that he would be suspending his campaign, he said, “From a political standpoint, the easiest thing to have done in this campaign is to jump on all those anxieties I just talked about, to make people angrier, make people more frustrated. But I chose a different route and I’m proud of that” but then said, “That would have been -- in a year like this, that would have been the easiest way to win. But that is not what’s best for America. The politics of resentment against other people will not just leave us a fractured party, they are going to leave us a fractured nation.”

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Governor Chris Christie Endorses Donald Trump for Republican Nomination

Christie TrumpN.J. Gov. Chris Christie, two years removed from being selected chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association by his peers, suspended his once-promising presidential campaign and endorsed his party’s frontrunner, Donald Trump, for the 2016 presidential nomination in quick succession last month.

For those who thought that Christie’s time spent campaigning out of state would diminish with his conciliation speech, Christie’s endorsement of Donald Trump may seem like a bad dream. Critics of the Governor find a silver lining in this newest development. However, the endorsement drew fire from within Christie’s own party for being short-sighted and opportunistic. 

“Showtime is over. We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief,” said Christie during a campaign event in New Hampshire in January.

“Showmanship is fun, but it is not the kind of leadership that will truly change America,” said Christie.

While Christie is now an outspoken supporter of Trump, the entertainment factor won’t seemingly diminish as quickly as his presidential aspirations.

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Latest MU Polls of Crucial Upcoming Primary States

MU Polls 1

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In Memory of Nancy Reagan

Nancy ReaganJuly 6,1921-March 6,2016

While first lady of California from 1967 of 1975, Nancy spent many hours helping Vietnam veterans, the elderly, and the emotionally and physically handicapped. She also led the Foster Grandparents program, which paired senior citizens with special-needs children.

•As first lady of the United States, she campaigned against drug and alcohol abuse among youth, acting as a spokeswoman for the “Just Say No” campaign.

•In 1985, she hosted the first ladies of 17 countries in an international conference on youth drug abuse.

•She launched the Nancy Reagan Foundation to support after-school drug prevention program

“There’s a big, wonderful world out there for you. It belongs to you. It’s exciting and stimulating and rewarding. Don’t cheat yourselves out of this promise.”

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Former Chief Justice of New Jersey Pays Visit to MU

Chief Justice NJMonmouth University had the honor of hosting a meet-and-greet with Deborah Poritz, the former Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, on Feb. 21. Justice Poritz is the Public Servant in Residence at the University and was asked to give a lecture for the Political Science department.

Prospective law students watched her speak, regarding her success as the first woman Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, how her gender has impacted her decision-making, and the reputation she established for herself in a male-dominated workforce, as well as shedding some light on the evolution of the same-sex marriage case.

Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Justice Poritz graduated from James Madison High School in 1954 and then went on to graduate from Brooklyn College in 1958. She chose to continue her education at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Justice Poritz made New Jersey history when she became the first female Attorney General of New Jersey in 1994, where she served until 1996. Defying the odds yet again, she became the first woman Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1996, where she served until 2006. Becoming the first woman to hold two of the most prestigious positions in NJ politics, she has inspired thousands of women to break the gender barrier that surrounds politics.

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A Nomination for the Books

Hayden PrattPresident Obama has made a nomination for a lifetime government position— not for a Supreme Court Justice— but for the Librarian of Congress. The New York Times reported that President Obama nominated Dr. Carla Hayden on Feb. 24. According to Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times, not only would she be the fourteenth person in America’s history to hold the position, but also the first woman and African American to be the Librarian of Congress.

The White House has released President Obama’s nomination, “Michelle and I have known Dr. Carla Hayden for a long time, since her days working at the Chicago Public Library, and I am proud to nominate her to lead our nation’s oldest federal institution as our 14th Librarian of Congress,” he said

“Dr. Hayden has devoted her career to modernizing libraries so that everyone can participate in today’s digital culture. She has the proven experience, dedication, and deep knowledge of our nation’s libraries to serve our country well and that’s why I look forward to working with her in the months ahead.”

Dr. Hayden still needs to go through the confirmation process, but President Obama said, “If confirmed, Dr. Hayden would be the first woman and the first African American to hold the position – both of which are long overdue.”

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What’s Coming Up After Super Tuesday?

Presidential Primary ScheduleRepublicans

March 1- Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia

March 5- Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine

March 6- Puerto Rico

March 8- Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi

March 12- District of Columbia

March 15- Florida, Illinoise, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Northern Mariana Islands

March 22- Arizona, Utah

Democrats

March 1-8- <>Democrats Abroad

March 1- Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont Virginia

 

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MU Debaters Strive to Make a Difference

Debate Team PictureTen Monmouth debaters— who in addition to preparing for college debate tournaments— have been busy coaching Asbury Park high school students every Thursday after school and accompanying them to debate tournaments affiliated with the Urban Debate League.  On the weekend of February 8th, the MU debaters coached the Asbury debaters at a tournament at the Institute for Collaborative Education in the South Bronx and February 12th to the 14th. MU debaters took the students to a tournament at Harvard University.  The team won several individual speaking awards at both tournaments.  The Asbury debaters met with the 2015 New York City Policy debate champion Dante de Blasio, son of the city’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio.

The Asbury Park debate team gives special thanks to MU Debaters captain Danielle Doud, Angela Ryan, Kaitlin Allsopp, Prachi Patel, Abdullah Rashid, Kevin Ospina, Emely Diaz, Angel Soto, Marasia Laster, and Victoria Borges. 

In his 2012 State of the State address New Jersey Governor Chris Christie highlighted o Asbury Park High School as one of the state’s lowest performing high schools.

While New Jersey had a comparatively high graduation rate in 2014 —88.6 percent—, Asbury Park high school remained an outlier; graduating only 49 percent of its student body, making it one of the few high schools in the state that had more students’ drop-out of it rather than graduating.             

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Bernie Sanders Could Be The First Jewish President

Bernie Sanders JewishDr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department, said “not many people know that Bernie Sanders is Jewish.” Is this just a coincidence or is it more than that?

 It was only eight years ago when history was made in America with the election of the first African American, President Barack Obama. Now, for the upcoming 2016 presidential elections once again history can be made with either the first Female President, Hillary Clinton, or the first Jewish President, Bernie Sanders, who are both running for the democratic presidential nomination.

Both Jews and females have made giant strides politically in the U.S. throughout history, yet both have failed to get to the ultimate prize, the American presidency.

Joe Lieberman was the first Jewish person to run on a presidential ticket as Vice President for Al Gore in 2000 and then sought the presidential nomination in 2004, but failed and didn’t even end up running.

It’s important to note the role and inspiration these leaders display for African Americans and other minority groups in what they can achieve and accomplish.

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Donald Trump Threatens to Sue Ted Cruz Over Eligibility

Trump Sues CruzWith the 2016 election just around the corner, candidates from the Republican Party are suspending their campaigns and with only five candidates left, Trump has on numerous occasions gone after Ted Cruz for being born outside the United States. Trump has threatened to sue Cruz for running for President due to the issue of citizenship and eligibility. According to Trump, Cruz is automatically not a “natural born citizen”.

Considering Trumps definition of natural born citizen, Cruz would not be able to run for office due to Article two Section two of the United States Constitution.  It states “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.” The reason this requirement was put into the Constitution was to ensure that foreign influence would never impact or harm the American people. The debate and controversy with that part is with the term “Natural Born”.  Nowhere in the constitution does it define the exact terminology.

Professor Cathy Bartch of the Political Science Department shared some insight about the issue. She said, “As someone who has taught American Constitutional Development, I prefer to view the Constitution as a ‘living document’, one that can be interpreted according to the changing times. This does not mean the ‘original intent’ of the framers of the Constitution should be ignored, but I think their intent can be considered in the context of societal transformations and progress.”

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Beyonce Delivers Controversial Super Bowl Performance

Beyonce Super BowlOn Feb. 7, Beyoncé preformed the half time show at Superbowl 50, along side artists Coldplay and Bruno Mars. However, the performance quickly received backlash, for some thought the performance was a bit too controversial for television.

 Beyoncé preformed her new song, “Formation”, a song about being in touch with her black culture, with lyrics such as “I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros - I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils” and “ I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making”.

And to go hand in hand with the lyrics, her performance included a theme of black empowerment, featuring her and her dancers dressed in honor of the Black Panther Party of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Marni Senofonte, Beyoncé’s stylist for the halftime show, explained in an interview with Essence magazine, “It was important to her to honor the beauty of strong black women and celebrate the unity that fuels their power. One of the best examples of that is the image of the female Black Panther. The women of the Black Panther Party created a sisterhood and worked right alongside their men fighting police brutality and creating community social programs.”

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Nation Reacts to Passing of Supreme Court Justice

The nation is healing from the loss of Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, who passed away Saturday morning at the age of 79 years old.

Justice Scalia has served on the Supreme Court since he was nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1986.

President Obama addressed the nation on Saturday afternoon and said of Scalia, “He influenced a generation of judges, lawyers, and students, and profoundly shaped the legal landscape. He will no doubt be remembered as one of the most consequential judges and thinkers to serve on the Supreme Court.” He added, “Justice Scalia dedicated his life to the cornerstone of our democracy: The rule of law. Tonight, we honor his extraordinary service to our nation and remember one of the towering legal figures of our time.”

His passing was also addressed during the Republican debate in South Carolina Saturday night by the GOP presidential hopefuls. New Hampshire Primary winner, Donald Trump, said, “Justice Scalia was a remarkable person and a brilliant Supreme Court Justice, one of the best of all time. His career was defined by his reverence for the Constitution and his legacy of protecting Americans’ most cherished freedoms.” Senator Marco Rubio said, “Justice Scalia was one of the most consequential Americans in our history and a brilliant legal mind who served with only one objective: to interpret and defend the Constitution as written.”

Iowa Caucus winner, Ted Cruz, said, “Today our Nation mourns the loss of one of the greatest Justices in history - Justice Antonin Scalia. A champion of our liberties and a stalwart defender of the Constitution, he will go down as one of the few Justices who single-handedly changed the course of legal history.”

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President Obama Issues Executive Order in Response to Cyber Attacks

On Monday, February 8, the contact information of 20,000 FBI employees were published when FBI computers were hacked— according to CNN. Names, titles, email addresses, and phone numbers of the federal employees were among the information released. The hackers posted the information on Twitter, via the account of @DotGovs. It read, “FBI and DHS info is dropped and that’s all we came to do, so now it’s time to go, bye folks! #FreePalestine.” They also posted, “Well folks, it looks like @TheJusticeDept has finally realized their computer has been breached after 1 week.” The Justice Department is investigating the security breach. Justice Department Spokesperson, Peter Carr, told CNN that it does not appear to be sensitive information — such as social security numbers— that were compromised. The hackers continued their Twitter communication and posted, “When will the US government realize we won’t stop until they cut relations with Israel.”

Monmouth University’s Professor Yessir Gallagher previously worked for the State Department, and commented on the United States’ relations with Palestine, “I am most pessimistic about the long-term future of Palestine. The Israelis have allowed more than half-a-million settlers to move into Palestinian territory in the West Bank despite repeated pleas by American presidents and the United Nations that they not do so.” He continued, “I can’t imagine how they could ever peacefully move those people out of their settlements.  I have little hope for a positive resolution of this problem in the near future.  Continued violence - including more cyberattacks - is likely.”

This has become a concern for the federal government, and has prompted President Obama to take action. The White House has informed the press over the week that they are working to increase the security of federal computer systems. Last Tuesday, President Obama signed an executive order to establish a federal privacy council that will ensure all federal branches of government are using the best security practices when protecting employees’ information, in addition to classified government information– according to White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest.

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Debate: Should the University Rename Wilson Hall?

Renaming Wilson HallAFFIRMATIVE

When analyzing the morality encapsulating the particular actions of past influencers, should the context of the era in which they exist be considered? Or are some forms of thought so outdated that they can no longer be reconciled with a modern generation?

An ongoing series of conversations “on race and inclusion” hosted by Monmouth University aims to answer these questions and more.

While not explicit in their purpose, these conversations will be used to gauge student interest in changing the name of Wilson Hall, named for President Woodrow Wilson, who rented the original Shadow Lawn Mansion and gave speeches from the front balconies during the election of 1912. 

Although Wilson was Governor of New Jersey at the time, he was born in Virginia, and later became the first President from a secessionist state in almost fifty years and the first since the end of the Reconstruction Era.

With the memory of the Civil War still prominent in American society, racial inequality was an unfortunate commonality of Wilson’s administrations. Despite the passing of the Pendleton Act in 1883, which stipulates that government jobs are to be awarded on the basis of merit and made it illegal to fire or demote an employee for political reasons, President Wilson mandated that all applicants for federal jobs be photographed before they were hired.

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Iowa Caucus Has Unusually High Turnout; Clinton and Cruz in the Running

Iowa Voter RegisitrationThe 2016 election officially kicked off on Monday, as Iowa voters went out to cast their votes in the caucus, resulting in Ted Cruz as a big winner for the GOP, and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders ending it in a draw.

According to ABC News, more than 180,000 Republican Iowans voted in the first 2016 caucus, compared to the previous record of only 121,000 people in 2012.

Cruz won with 28% of the votes with Donald Trump right behind him with 24%, while Marco Rubio received 24%. On the Democrats side, Martin O’Malley received less than 1% of the votes.

This is the first time actual voters can weigh in in the presidential nomination. Dr. Stephen Chapman, Assistant Professor of Political Science, said, “The Iowa Caucuses are so important simply because they come first. The media plays this up mainly because it is the first taste of actual votes being counted towards the presidential nominations. This causes increased ratings for media outlets.”

However, the time consuming process of the caucuses results in a lower turnout. According to the Iowa Caucus Project, on average one out of five registered voters shows up, Democrat or Republican, which is why it was surprising to see such a huge turnout this term.

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Patterson Cop’s First Amendment Case Taken to U.S. Supreme Court

On Jan. 19, former Patterson cop, Jeffery B. Heffernan, plead at the Supreme Court. According to NorthJersey.com, the officer was tried for “overt involvement in a political election.”

In 2006, Officer Heffernan was spotted obtaining a political lawn sign supporting a mayoral candidate, Lawrence Spagnola, who was trying to unseat the current Patterson mayor, Joey Torres, by another Patterson officer. This eventually spread to the chief of police in Patterson, who was a Torres supporter himself. Heffernan was then demoted to foot patrol.  As a result, he sued the city for monetary damages.

NorthJersey.com reports that Heffernan retired in 2011, but his case did not end there. The former officer has been consistent in his claim that he was in no way active in the Spagnola campaign, and that he was simply picking up the sign for his mother, who was bedridden.

 It is due to him claiming he was not exercising his right to free speech that he appeared in front of the Supreme Court last month. Heffernan had no platform to exercise his first amendment rights, therefore had no reason to sue the city for damages.

Heffernan’s attorney spoke to NorthJersey.com about the case. Attorney Mark B. Frost said, “If a police officer can constitutionally be demoted because his supervisor incorrectly believes that the officer supports a candidate for mayor, then any public employee could be demoted or even fired because her supervisor incorrectly believes that she is a Democrat or a Republican,”

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Hillary Clinton’s Email Controversy Still Lingering During Iowa Caucus

Democratic front-runner candidate for the presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, has been dealing with an email scandal that is just not going away.

For the last year, the FBI and Department of Justice have been probing into Clinton’s emails that were on her private server during the time she was Secretary of State.

According to an article written in the New York Post last week by Jamie Schram, “Over the past year or so, investigators have flagged dozens of Clinton’s emails marked as confidential or classified — and recently it was reported that her private server contained intelligence from the government’s most highly classified programs.”

Last week, former House majority leader, Tom Delay, said, “I have friends in the FBI and theysay they’re ready to indict her.” Delay continued, “They’re ready to recommend an indictment and they also say that if the attorney general does not indict, they’re going public.”

Then on Jan. 29th, Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times wrote an article saying that, “The State Department on Friday said for the first time that “top secret” material had been sent through Hillary Clinton’s private computer server, and that it would not make public 22 of her emails because they contained highly classified information.”

Brian Fallon of the Clinton campaign said this story, “appears to be over-classification run amok.” Then said, “We understand that these emails were likely originated on the State Department’s unclassified system before they were ever shared with Secretary Clinton, and they have remained on the department’s unclassifiedsystem for years.”

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Monmouth Polls Show Surging Sanders and Indomitable Trump

A recent national survey conducted by the University’s Polling Institute that was released on Jan. 19 shows a surging Bernie Sanders cutting into Hillary Clinton’s share of the most likely liberal voters.

The poll, which questions the popular perception of Hillary Clinton as the inevitable Democratic nominee for president, was mostly completed prior to the latest Democratic Primary Debate held in Charleston, SC on Sunday January 17.

According the poll’s latest findings, Clinton has the support of 52% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters nationwide, down from 59% in December. Sanders received 37% support, which is up substantially from his 26% support level last month and narrows Clinton’s lead to 15 points.

Just last month, a Monmouth poll suggested Sanders lagged behind Clinton by 33 points nationally. In Iowa Tues., where polls reported the two in a statistical tie, Sanders asserted that he’s confident he can win.

“When we started, we were in three percent in the polls,” said Sanders. “We were fifty points behind. Today, the inevitable candidate does not look quite so inevitable as she did eight and a half months ago.”

This marks the first time Clinton’s lead has dropped below twenty points in a national Monmouth poll.

“Clinton has lost ground with nearly every major Democratic voting bloc since December,” according to a report paired with the release of the poll’s results, with her biggest drops recorded among “self-described liberals,” from a 57% – 31% advantage over Sanders one month ago to a 42% – 51% deficit in the current poll.

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Detroit Public School Teachers “Sickout” Protest

On Jan. 20, 88 schools closed in Detroit, Mi., due to a teacher “sickout” protest against the underfunding of public schools. 44,790 students were unable to attend school that day.

The first “sickout” started with the closing of five schools, led by Steve Conn, the ousted president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers Union, who was expelled in August after the local’s executive board found him guilty of internal misconducted charges.  This affected over 6,730 students ability to attend school.

Owing 3.5 billion in outstanding debt, Detroit public schools system could be insolvent, or unable to loans by April of this year. This could affect a recovering city trying to overcome bankruptcy; without a good standing education system, new families are not likely to move in and support the economy of the city.

 Enrollment numbers are down, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. In 2006, only 20% of students attended charter schools, and since 2014, this number has gone up to 55%. Other parents have opted to send their children to other public schools in suburbs.

Detroit has also come last in education every year since 2012, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress Exam. 

When aware of the protest, Mayor Mike Buggan ordered district wide school inspections. He came across a dead mouse in an elementary school.

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Iran Prisoner Exchange With the U.S.

On Jan. 17, President Obama informed the nation of the return of Iranian held prisoners, in exchange for Iranians prisoners held in the U.S. With a hopefull spark to better relations with Iran through the Nuclear deal in 2015, the Obama Administration hoped to take a more diplomatic approach and this exchange was able to be negotiated in about 14 months of meetings between the U.S, and Iran.

A senior level administrator explained the situation to CNN Politics saying, “A window opened up after the nuclear deal with Iran, and we wanted to take advantage of that window.”

With the window of opportunity being small, the U.S.and Iran were able to strike a deal for an exchange.

Historically, relations have been trying between the U.S. and Iran. Nick Whittaker, a senior political science major, explains the tension between the United States and Iran saying, “The tension between Iran and the United States has loomed for over three decades. This incident has come under much scrutiny because of the nuclear arms deal that preceded it.”

The countries have not always been on the best of terms, and with countless embargos and sanctions in place as a result of a tumultuous relationship, the U.S. had Iranian prisoners being held on crimes that had to do with providing goods and services to Iran that were unavailable to them do to the embargo.

For example, an Iranian man by the name of Ali Saboonchi was being held in the U.S on seven counts of exporting manufactured products to Iran. According to CNN Politics, Saboonchi was just one of seven prisoners being held in the United States for similar crimes.

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Monmouth Revisits the Watergate Scandal

University had the honor of hearing John Dean speak about his experience and trials he experienced due to the Watergate Scandal. There was an array of people in attendance. From Deborah Portiz, former Attorney General of New Jersey to President Brown.

“There’s a cancer in the presidency and it’s growing.”  This quote stated by John Dean, has been notorious in regards to political scandals. The Watergate Scandal regarding President Nixon changed not only the Executive but also ethnics within society. Caught up in the mixed of this scandal was former white house counsel to President Nixon, John Dean.

Dr. Rekha Datta, Interim Vice Provost For Global Education, raved about the event. Along with that she expressed the courage Dean embodied. “The Watergate event was outstanding. It was engaging and had universal appeal that cut across generations and scholarly and general interest surrounding an issue that laid the foundations of many ethics reforms in American public policy. We were fortunate to hear from a key player as the Watergate Scandal unfolded, and a historian who contextualized the day to day developments as they evolved on those fateful days in the 1970’s. It also highlighted the importance of integrity.”

She continued, “As White House counsel, a young lawyer, John Dean, was a true profile in courage in standing up to the highest office in the country. He followed the courage of his conviction, and made a tremendous contribution to strengthening the institution of government; but not without backlash. An important takeaway is that as in the government, in other organizations too, this can happen.” She continued to say “John Dean demonstrated the importance of standing up when rules and processes are violated in any organization. In that sense, he was truly a ‘profile in courage.’” and that “It was a historic event that was a wonderful learning opportunity for the campus community. I thank the speakers, and Dean Moliver, Peter Reinhart, Joe Patten, and others who made this event possible.”

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U.N. Holds Conference on Climate Change in France

On Nov. 30, in Paris, France the U.N. Conference on Climate Change began, and it will conclude on Dec. 11. According to the COP21 website, this is the 21st U.N. Conference on Climate Change, and there are representatives from any and all nations that wish to take action on behalf of the environment.

Dr. Ken Mitchell, associate professor of political science,  speculated on the ability for such different countries to work together, “The Paris conference reveals the potential for global governance, as well as the challenges for global governance. The problems and challenges have been identified, but science cannot take us much further. We are now in the realm of global policy making, and this is a realm we know very little about.”

Zachary Dix, a masters student at the University of Iceland studying Environmental Sustainability, attended the conference said “The conference brings together countries of the world to create a document that is internationally binding with the United Nations.  The nations come together and used the scientific knowledge about how to mitigate and adapt to climate change and try to reach a consensus internationally on how to handle climate change.”

According to Dix and the COP21 website, a large aspect of the negotiations is how many degrees Celsius the world temperature my increase. Dix explained, “A lot of the previous agreements have aimed to increase no more than 2 degrees Celsius from pre industrial levels.” He said, “However the recent increases in intense weather events and the severity of sea level rise is displacing nations such as Micronesia as we speak; these islands are literally sinking and the people are being forced to relocate almost immediately. Consequently, now the majorities of countries are feeling as though 2 degrees Celsius is insufficient and need to move it to a 1.5 degree goal.  Scientists have been studying the global temperature, and in their latest report they started degree scenarios where they emit different amount of greenhouse gasses to create global temperature scenarios. Right now the big thing they’re pushing for is a scenario of no more than a global temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

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Should There be More Study of Philosophy, Religion, and Interdisciplinary Studies at Monmouth?

According to the United States Census Bureau, there are over 322 million people living in the United States and over seven billion in the world. This is remarkable but there is one issue, how can all of these people get along? Humans have been at war with each other for as far back as history can trace. This is evident in the current terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, CA and  in Paris in which the Islamic extremist group, ISIS, has taken credit for. Today, the challenge for Americans is to quell threats like ISIS, while still being open and tolerant to those who hold different ideological, political, religious, and cultural beliefs. There is not a simple answer to this problem but according to multiple University professors, learning more about interdisciplinary studies which include ideological, political, religious, and cultural beliefs.

Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Interdisciplinary Studies, Dr. Golam Mathbor, who is from Bangladesh, said “The number one problem in the world is ignorance. The core point of interdisciplinary studies is to learn about each other.” Unfortunately, Monmouth University students cannot major or even minor in interdisciplinary studies. According to Mathbor, there are only seven or eight courses available in his department during a given semester. He said, “We need a strong interdisciplinary or global studies program.” This could help quell tension between different groups because it would help students to develop “holistic thinking” and to “see what is happening in the grassroots.” However, most of these interdisciplinary topic can only be found in other majors and is not a program itself.

Professor of Political Science Saliba Sarsar, who teaches various classes on Islam and the Middle East said, “As global citizens, we have an obligation to learn as much as possible about the world around us” and “By learning about others, we can learn more about ourselves.” Sarsar’s interesting background has especially allowed him to see various perspectives. According to Elaine Durbach of New Jersey Jewish News, Sarsar spoke in front of the Jewish Community Campus (JCC) on April 29 of this year and said, “My father was a White Russian prince” and his mother was Greek. Born and raised as a Christian in Jerusalem, which was under Jordanian control at the time, Sarsar “grew up caught between the Jewish and Muslim communities, and with memories of fleeing during one of the periodic eruptions of violence.” Sarsar explained in front of the JCC that it wasn’t until the six day war in 1967 where he realized that Jews were not the enemy like he was taught, and that “they were just like us.”

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Monmouth Debate Hawks Won Team and Individual Awards at University of Rochester this Weekend

Debate HawksThe Monmouth University Debate Team won a team and an individual speaking award at the University of Rochester’s Debate Tournament this weekend (Nov 21-22). Payal Patel and Matthew Toto made it into the playoff rounds and Sabrina Saenger won an individual speaking award.  MU had 24 debaters (12 teams of two) compete at the tournament this weekend.

When asked about how she felt about making the playoff rounds, Patel said, “It was my last debate tournament so I was really nervous going in. But I had a good partner (Toto) and we made it through five rounds and into the playoffs, By the end of the tournament I was really happy because it was a good way to end my Monmouth debate year.”

Matthew Toto adds that the tournament was a learning experience. “We fought hard against schools like New York University, and Cornell and succeeded so that’s pretty cool. It is cool to show the younger debaters that what school you go to does not matter. Anybody can succeed if you work hard enough.”

Team Captain Danielle Doud and partner Victoria Borges competed in the varsity division that includes debaters on debate scholarships.  Monmouth debaters competed against other debate teams from teams from New York University, Cornell University, the West Point Military Academy, the New School and other teams from the tri-state area.

Doud said, “Overall, the Rochester Tournament was a great experience. Bringing twelve teams, we had the largest showing, meaning that pretty much every round in the Novice Divison involved one of our teams. It was great to see the new kids, and  the ones enrolled in the class taught by Dr. Patten, hold their own against students from big schools like Cornell, NYU, Binghamton, and Rochester.”

 

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Obama Administration to bring in 10,000 Syrian Refugees

After the Paris Attacks three weeks ago, The White House has released to the press and on their website that President Obama is going to welcome 10,000 Syrian Refugees into our country within the next fiscal year. This has sparked debates throughout the country on if this is the right way to go.

Some say no, because they could be radicals and pose a threat to our country, and that we need to first take care of our own citizens before taking care of those from other nations. Others say yes and are sympathetic to the situation the refugees are coming from.

Not all states are as welcoming as President Obama. CNN reported in Nov. that 31 states are not allowing refugees into the country. These leaders mainly oppose allowing refugees to enter the country because they believe they will be security threats.

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, professor of political science, also had thoughts on whether or not we should allow refugees into the United States. He said, “We have millions of refugees who find themselves in this tragic condition because of a civil war or conflict that has been going on for years. Many have found a temporary home in the Middle East or Europe. This is a tragic and humanitarian issue. I am very supportive of helping refugees find a permanent home. Many refugees say that if peace comes, they want to return back home. They lose loved ones and property because of war so I am very sympathetic. There is a fear that within these refugees, in these numbers, there may be a few radicals posing as refugees and that they may be members of the Islamic State. This is something that concerns me and all of us.”

He continues, “But what I want to explain is that the U.S., with President Obama indicating taking about 10,000 refugees, requires potential refugees to go through organizations such as the CIA or FBI. At the end of the day, there is no guarantee. But we need to trust the system and welcome them with open arms. It is mostly women and children that are looking for a new home and it is our moral obligation and human response to give them one.”

There is a very complicated process that anyone must go through before becoming a refugee. A video on the website “attn.” narrated by Secretary of Defense Jeh Johnson describes the situation step by step.

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What’s Next for France After Friday’s Deadly Attacks?

Paris 2According to BBC, over 129 lay dead and many more injured in Paris after the latest and most devastating attacks to be attributed to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to date.

Compounding this shocking attack were the string of bombings in Baghdad, Iraq and Beirut, Lebanon, once known as the “Paris of the Middle East,” which killed and injured hundreds last week just prior to the Paris attacks.

 According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the downing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt last month could be easily forgotten in this maelstrom, but was also an unequivocal act of terrorism,

Twin explosions that killed nearly 100 in the Turkish capital Ankara on October 10 during a rally for peace were never claimed by IS, however it is speculated their complicity resulted in this massacre as well.

“They’re becoming bold in their outward attacks against any civilization they perceive as un-Islamic,” said Monmouth University graduate student, Bryan Larco. “It’s time to strike back lest they believe they can attack again with impunity.”

   In a similar retaliatory act to that of the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11, France, already an active participant in the war on terror, unleashed air strikes on the ISIS capital of Raqqa, Syria.

Although the efficacy of the airstrikes has yet to be determined, it has been postulated that this unilateral action taken by France may be used later to invoke a multilateral European response through Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), according to The Washington Post.

This deterrent allows any attack on a NATO member to be perceived by all as an attack on the whole, which may prompt certain member states that have not yet been overt in the global fight against terrorism (like Germany) to step up their involvement. Our own strategy for dealing with IS will admittedly undergo “intensification,” said President Obama during a conference in Turkey on Monday. 

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GOP Candidates Spar Over Issues That Surface After Paris Attacks

GOP Rand PaulGOP candidates sparred over numerous issues last week in the Milwaukee debate hosted by the Fox Business Channel and hosted by the Wall Street Journal. Do to new debate rules, two candidates– Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, and Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie– did not make the cut for the main stage debate.

Governor Christie seems to be frustrated with his lack of progress in the polls. A week before the debate, he referred to the Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, Patrick Murray, as a “political weatherman” in an interview with NJ 101.5. According to an editorial in the Asbury Park Press, this is the second time the Governor has taken shots at the pollster since July when he said of Murray and his poll, “there couldn’t be a less objective pollster about Chris Christie in America” and that the poll was created just to “aggravate me.”

Chair the Political Science Department, Dr. Joseph Patten, said about Christie, “He is being upstaged by Trump and he doesn’t have a lane.” Patten referring to Trump because Christie is known for his straight forward and brutally honest ways discussing issues is hidden beneath the flash of the billionaire celebrity real estate mogul and television personality, Donald Trump.

Assistant Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University, Stephen Chapman said, “Context is everything. In 2012 ,people were begging him to get into the race but after Bridgegate, he really sunk his chances.”

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Quentin Tarantino Under Fire About Police Brutality

Quentin TarantinoControversy is still in the air over the famous film maker, Quentin Tarantino’s, statements last month at an anti-police brutality protest.

The original controversy was reported after Tarantino allegedy referred to cops as “murderers” during the event on Oct. 24 of last month— just four days after the fourth New York City police officer this year, Randolph Holder, was shot and killed while on duty. 

Tarantino’s exact words according to The Washington Times were, “When I see murders, I do not stand by. I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”

Tarantino has faced backlash over those comments being accused of instigation and worsening an already tense situation between police officers and the general public.

In particular, police officers have been the most outraged by his statements. In an interview with the WNYM- 970 AM radio station, New York City Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton said of Tarantino, “Shame on him, particularly at this time when we are grieving the murder of a New York City police officer.” Bratton also said in the interview, “There are no words to describe the contempt I have for him and his comments.”

According to The New York Post, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), Patrick Lynch said, “It’s no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater, too”

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Free Education: A Popular Topic of Presidential Race

With the release of Bernie Sanders’ free education plan the topic of free higher education has become one of the most discussed topics of the race for the White House in 2016.

According to Sanders’ website, berniesanders.com, the plan starts by making tuition free at public colleges and universities. One thing regarding this is if Sanders were to be elected president and his plan were to pass through congress, Monmouth University would not be free.

Right now, according to Sanders’ website graduates are forced to pay five to seven percent on their loans, when an average car loan is 2.5 percent. According to the Monmouth University website a current student is paying $33,028 for tuition.  If they are taking loans, with interest it might cost them an extra $2,312 annually. This could be an extra $9,249 over four years.  If a rate like Sanders purposes was in effect,  that number might drop to, roughly $3,302, saving a typical Monmouth student $6,000 in interest.

Another thing Sanders would execute in his plan is increasing federal work study. He would increase it almost three times of what it is now. Federal Work Study is a plan that services lower income students based on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) that allows students to work on campus jobs and has universities only pay a portion of the wage, and the federal government covers the rest.

Hilary Clinton, currently is the democratic front-runner, also has a plan in order to make higher education more affordable, the New College Compact. Her plan does not take the full cost out of college education.

According to Clinton’s website, hilaryclinton.com, she is proposing that no student should have to borrow money for books, tuition, and any other fee associated with higher education.

In the New College Compact, Clinton also proposes the students will work ten hours a week in order to help finance their college education. Also the federal government will help to fund more universities.

John Henning, Dean of the School of Education at Monmouth University, feels education should be a national priority. Henning said, “In a global economy that is highly competitive, where knowledge is king your human resources are the best thing this country has, so if we have a significant amount of our population not having the opportunity (education) it actually hurts everyone.”

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What’s In A Name? A Look at the Washington Redskins

Native American mascots have been a wildly debated topic for years; the most prominent mascot being the Washington Redskins.

The term ‘red skin’ can be considered a racial slur toward Native Americans. Yet, it is being chanted at football games and being sold as a logo. The use of Native American mascots is a form of cultural appropriation.

According to The Washington Post, cultural appropriation is the practice of one culture taking control over aspects of another culture and using them in an inappropriate manner.

In the case of mascots, the dominant culture in question is making a monetary gain because of the Native American race. 

However, Heidi Bludau, lecturer of Anthropology at the University, said, “Not all Native American tribes agree on everything, including the issue of mascots.  Some are against it and some are able to capitalize on it.”

Some sports fans believe that the Native American mascots are not mocking the Native American race and culture, but are exemplifying their fighting spirit.     

Journalist Naomi Riley wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal and said that they are an, “exciting addition to football games.”

When asked if there are currently any laws against Native American mascots, Professor Gregory Bordelon, professor of Political Science at the  University said,“To my knowledge, there are none. But any time that you pass any law that restricts a mascot, to the extent a mascot is an expressive statement (pride, team spirit, etc.) you possibly are treading on first amendment grounds.”

However, some Native Americans believe that teams parading around their mascot is demeaning to them and their culture.

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The Reality of Drone Warfare by the U.S. Military

Drone“I’m going to repeat one more time,” said President Barack Obama in a lengthy 2013 speech at the National Defense University in Washington D.C.

“As a matter of policy, the preference of the United States is to capture terrorist suspects. When we do detain a suspect, we interrogate them. And if the suspect can be prosecuted, we decide whether to try him in a civilian court or a military commission,” said the President.

According to the Monmouth University Polling Institute, 76 percent of American say law enforcement agencies should be required to obtain a warrant from a judge before using drones.

New documents leaked to The Intercept reveal that the President’s claims were at best intentionally misleading and at worst patently false.

The Intercept is an online start-up news site launched in Feb. 2014 by First Look Media— the news organization created and funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The magazine serves as a platform for the documents leaked by former NSA cyber security contractor, Edward Snowden, and employs journalist Glenn Greenwald, filmmaker Laura Poitras, and author Jeremy Scahill as editors.

The response to the latest leak of classified military documents has been largely restrained but has provoked some outspoken critics, such as the Qataristate-funded media network, Al Jazeera, which said, “the U.S. drone program is imprecise and arbitrary and a grave risk to civilians everywhere. It is also a program over which the president exercises little control.”

The American-based Foreign Policy Magazine published that The Intercept’s reporting “is less one big ‘bombshell’ and more of a synthesis of over a decade’s worth of reporting and analysis, bolstered by troubling new revelations about what has become routine.”

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Presidential Candidates Take On College Affordability

As the national student debt plan continues to rise above $1.2 trillion, according to The Washington Post, many young voters have turned to the Presidential Candidates for the best solution when coming into office in 2016.

A couple of the candidates, such as Jeb Bush and Ben Carson, have said that tuition prices have doubled under President Obama’s two terms. Tuition prices have gone up 86 percent since he took office.

However, after the 2008 recession and the high amount of job loss, more and more students enrolled into college to ensure work. And with the rise of enrollment, comes the rise in tuition prices, according to Donald Heller, the Dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University.

Former Governor Jeb Bush wants to see students use for-profit and online schools be used more. He also wants more responsibility from the schools to ensure that students graduate in four years, and not see them as money suppliers.

When asked about this in an interview on C-SPAN, he said, “If kids can’t graduate with a four year degree in four years, there ought to be some pay back to them or their family. Or have some support for the loans they have taken out. We have to make sure a four year degree can be done in four years.”

Former Hewlitt- Packard CEO Carly Fiorina also believes that if the technology is available, online classes would help the debt situation. She wants the idea of government involvement to be non-existent to help college affordability.

When asked she said in a speech, “I would return the free market to the student loan industry. Secondly, I would enable as much choice and competition in higher education as possible. For-profit university do a very good job of educating a lot of people at a lower cost.”

Many have turned to see what Former U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has in plan for college affordability, since she has years of political experience. Her plan would not make college completely free for student, like her opponent Bernie Sanders plan, but would highly rely on federal state partnership. And for students who choice to stay in-state, they will not have to borrow loan money for in state college.

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Monmouth Debate Team Wins Team and Individual Awards at West Point Military Academy this Weekend

MU DebateThe Monmouth University Debate Team won a team and two individual speaking awards at the West Point Military Academy tournament this weekend (October 23-25).  Christopher D’Elia and Kevin Ospina made it into the playoff round before losing to a team from West Virginia University.  Victoria Esler also received the first place individual speaking award and Allison Ferraro received the second place speaking award in their division of 70 debaters.  They all received their awards in front of approximately 250 debaters and coaches from across the nation.  The awards banquet was held in West Point’s historic Officer’s Club that cradles and sits above the picturesque Hudson River. (see photo below).

Team Captain Michelle Grushko and Saliha Younas scored victories in the experienced division that includes debaters on debate scholarships.  Monmouth first year student James Hawke and Sabrina Saenger went 3-3 in the six round tournament, and narrowly missed making it into the playoff rounds.  The two person teams of Kaitlin Allsopp and Prachi Patel and Abdullah Rashid and Omar Moustafa also scored impressive victories in their debating debut.

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Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush Offers Alternative to Affordable Care Act

Jeb BushWith the upcoming Presidential election in 2016, candidates from both the Republican and Democratic side are taking a stance on current issues affecting the American people. In particular, Republican candidate Jeb Bush has taken a stance on an alternative to President Obama’s healthcare plan.

Recently, Bush has released a plan to replace Affordable Care Act if he is elected President in 2016. According to CNN, the plan entails having the individuals choose coverage with high deductible with less coverage, which will then lead to increasing the contribution to health savings account.

A big aspect of Bush’s plan involves reduction of government involvement. He believes healthcare can be improved if private sectors were the source of health IT systems.

Another component of the plan includes, full disclosure for the patient. The patient at any time has the right to take ownership of his or her own records.

This would then go on to force Medicare and Medicaid centers to publicly release claims data.  Bush claims he would like to go beyond the idea of just expanding health coverage. He would like to increase medical technology usage in order to provide more efficiency within the health care process.

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Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act Among Topics Discussed in Budget Deal

Obama and BoehnerA two-year budget deal in the nation’s capital foreshadows the uncertain future for retirees as lawmakers face choosing between benefits promised to the elderly and a shortfall in funding.

If approved by Congress, the deal hammered out between the White House and departing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, would raise federal government spending by $80 billion over the next two years. It would offset some of that spending with tweaks to Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.

While the deal would avert a showdown over the federal debt ceiling by raising it enough to last past the 2016 elections, it punts on long-term fixes for the biggest drivers of government spending, the entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Consequently, tens of millions of current workers face an uncertain retirement.

A key part of the deal involved Medicare and the Social Security Disability Insurance program, which provides income to workers who have suffered injury or illness before the official retirement age of 65.

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Debate: Is the Benghazi Controversy Still Relevant?

HillaryAfter getting through a tough eleven hours in front of the Benghazi panel without any disastrous gaff’s, Clinton supporters everywhere are claiming that Hillary has emerged victorious.  After months of uncertainty about the former Secretary of State, Democrats everywhere are eager to chalk up Mrs. Clinton’s performance in front of the Benghazi Panel as one in the win column. However, they should not get ahead of themselves and declare that Mrs. Clinton is out of the woods just yet.

One little detail that most media outlets are failing to report on is that it was that Hillary admitted to telling an outright lie. The biggest controversy over the Benghazi attacks in 2012 was not the lack of security or the tragic deaths of four Americans. Although the attacks were a horrific tragedy, this is not the first time an American embassy was attacked. What made this attack a scandal was the fact that the White House and the State Department– led by Hillary Clinton at the time– spread the lie that these attacks were a result of spontaneous protest over an anti-Mohammed video that surfaced on the internet.

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Is the Library of Congress in Need of Updating?

Library CongressContrary to the depiction of the Library of Congress in “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” with large secret compartments and elaborate designs– the library is actually on the decline. There is no question that the library has every book a political science major could ask for, but are they living in the past? 

According to Politico Magazine, the current Librarian of Congress, James Billington, has given the library a reputation for being behind the times in terms of technology. It is so far behind, that the library could not even calculate how many computers they have. 

Politico reports that Billington is stepping down, and the library is looking for a replacement to bring them to the 21st century. If the library fails to make this shift, collections could potentially become inaccessible, according to Library of Congress employee Daniel Schuman.

According to American Libraries Magazine, as time goes on and the Library of Congress continues to fall behind in the Internet Revolution, will become less relevant and not nearly as useful as it needs to be. 

Professor of English, Noel Bellinski said, “The Library of Congress needs to remain relevant in the digital age. It is not only important to preserve documents, but also to make them accessible as technology advances.” 

She continued, “Mr. Billington has been the Librarian of Congress since before the advent of the Internet. The Librarian of Congress should at least be comfortable and familiar with technology.” 

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Russia and Syria: Conflict Turned Into a Proxy War

Syria RussiaRecently, much controversy has been made over Russia’s air strikes in Syria. The target of these air strikes has been the Islamist extremist group, the Islamic State. 

According to Reuters, Russia’s planes had flown 64 stories, striking 63 targets, and destroying 53 fortified positions on Sunday Oct. 11. 

Professor of Political Science, Dr. Saliba Sarsar said, “Russia’s military activities and buildup in Syria are designed to prop up the embattled Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, fight against Islamic extremists, including ISIL and the al-Nusra Front, and protect its assets that consist of, among others things, an air base near Latakia and a naval supply and maintenance base at Tartus.”

He continues, “This enhanced Russian presence comes at a time when the United States is shying away from a deeper involvement in the Syria crisis, limiting its actions to air strikes against ISIL, funding and arming elements of the Syrian opposition, and assisting Syria’s refugees.”  

According to Reuters, the strategy of the Obama Administration, which has led a separate bombing campaign against the Islamic state for a year, failed to establish strong ties with the fighters on the ground. Washington, and Moscow have the same enemy in the Islamic State, but have differing viewpoints on where the conflict should see an end. 

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Debate: Have We Become An Armed Society?

GunAFFIRMATIVE

In the wake of several campus shootings, the most deadly being the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech University, states are increasingly considering legislation about whether or not to permit guns on college campuses. 

For some, these events point to a need to ease existing firearm regulations and allow concealed weapons on campuses. Others see the solution in tightening restrictions to keep guns off campuses.

In 2013, at least 19 states introduced legislation to allow concealed carry on campus in some regard and in the 2014 legislative session, at least 14 states followed up and introduced similar legislation. 

In 2013, two bills passed, one in Kansas that allows concealed carry generally and one in Arkansas that allows faculty to carry.  

At the University of Colorado at Boulder, a dormitory was commissioned for students who wished to covertly carry their guns around on campus by day and safely tuck them into a safe in their room at night. 

In 2015, Texas became the most recent state to allow concealed carry weapons on college campuses. 

On the other hand, recent shootings also have encouraged some legislators to strengthen existing firearm regulations. 

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The Daily Show 2.0: Trevor Noah Takes Over

Daily ShowComedian Trevor Noah took over the infamous seat of Jon Stewart, as the host of The Daily Show on Sept. 28.  The anticipation of his arrival as host started shortly after Stewart decided it was time to give up his position after hosting for 14 years. 

Noah opened his first episode by talking about the other people who were asked to host the show by saying, “Comedy Central tried and those people declined. And so once more, a job Americans rejected is now being done by an immigrant.” 

Noah has been a comic for about a decade now, but did not make his political vocal on screen debut until he became a political correspondent on The Daily Show in 2014. With this, Comedy Central had many reasons on why to choose him as the new host. 

Michele Ganeless, President of Comedy Central said, “He is a student of our culture. But he looks at it from a very different perspective. [Noah] really understands our audience, because he is one of them.” 

Noah comes from a different background than the audience is use to, which could really impact the show greatly, but he does not lack experience.  Growing up in South Africa, Noah was able to host different events such as the South African Film and Television Awards, and had his own stand- up special. 

GQ describes Noah as a “quick-minded South African guy marveling at American culture and being astounded by what he finds.” 

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Will the Clinton Email Controversy Effect Her Campaign?

Hillary ClintonIn the heat of the 2016 presidential race, Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has been involved in an email controversy involving the use of a private email accounts. It was first brought to attention in 2011 by Ann-Marie Slaughter, the State Department’s Director of Policy Planning.

Slaughter suggested Clinton release a statement regarding how the, “State’s technology is so antiquated that no one uses a State-issued laptop and even high officials routinely end up using their home email accounts to be able to get their work done quickly and effectively.”

According to The New York Times, Clinton had used her personal email account, “clintonemail.com,” to contact General David H. Petraeus and the commander of the United States Central Command. These emails were said to have been sent in January and February of 2009, the first two months of her term as Secretary of State.

According to CNN, it seems the emails between Clinton and Petraeus do not contain any classified information, but an official decision has not yet been made. Clinton told NBC that, “There was a transition period. You know, I wasn’t that focused on my email.”

The New York Times has stated that thirty thousand emails have been deleted, and 30,000 have been sent to the State Department for archiving. CNN gathered that Clinton willingly turned over her work related emails but kept the ones she deemed private, however the FBI has been able to recover the personal emails from Clinton’s private server. The FBI is currently working to recover the emails that have been deleted to determine whether or not classified information was put at risk.

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Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner Resigns Effective End of October

John BoehnerJohn Boehner resigned from the House of Representatives in a press conference on September 25th, 2015. He will step down at the end of October.  

Freshman student at the University, Sierra Jordan said, “I look at it as a weakness because they (the Republicans) lost one of their big name leaders.”

In his tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives he was able to lead his party to a majority in the House during the  2010 Congressional elections. As a whole, according to CNN politics, The Ohio Republican’s tenure as Speaker has been marked by clashes with conservatives -- especially when it comes to fiscal policy.”

According to CNN, he struggled to push through legislation to increase the debt ceiling and was facing another showdown next week to keep the government open. The Speaker has often relied on Democratic votes during these moments, a strategy that has infuriated conservatives.

Often subject to criticism by his own party, with him choosing to leave at the end of October he is paving the way for someone more conservative to take the lead in the house. Associate Professor of Political Science, Dr. Steven Chapman, said, “With Bohner leaving the speakership there will be a more conservative stance taken by the party,” and during his tenure “he was attempting to corral the party and was unable to do so.”

According to Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department said, “The primary reason Speaker Boehner is stepping down is because of tensions in the House Republican caucus.  The conservative wing of the party has been dissatisfied with Speaker Boehner’s leadership over the last couple of years.  One of the issues centers on Speaker Boehner’s reluctance to shut the government down in the upcoming budget debt ceiling battle if Democrats refuse to cut federal funding of Planned Parenthood.” All of these are contributing factors in a departure from the House.

According to a CNN article capturing multiple reactions to John Boehner’s resignition,the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell said, “When some said Republicans could never recover, he never gave up. When some gave in to defeatism, he kept up the fight. Because he did, Speaker Boehner was able to transform a broken and dispirited Republican minority into the largest Republican majority since the 1920s. That’s a legacy few can match.”

Boehner’s resignation received mixed reviews from conservatives. Presidential Candidate for the Republican Party and current Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, said of the critics of Boehner, “A lot of the people who are doing the complaining and saying, ‘Why isn’t anything getting done, maybe they ought to look in the mirror.’”

Republican Presidential Candidate and Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio said, “I’m not here today to bash anyone– But the time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leadership in this country.”

With the party shifting to a different stance, there is also going to be a focus on finding someone to take the place of Speaker Boehner.

Patten said, “The expectation is that his replacement will be House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, though some Republicans are now angry with McCarthy because of his recent gaffe that suggested the House Benghazi investigation has been successful in hurting Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.”

He continued “This statement strengthened Democratic suspicions that the Benghazi committee was primarily serving a Republican partisan agenda against Clinton, rather than primarily investigating whether security lapses contributed to the deaths of US diplomats in Libya.  Other Republicans are now stepping up to challenge McCarthy’s candidacy for Speaker.”

According to CNN this leaves the party scrambling to find a successor. Big republican names like Paul Ryan, Paul Labrador, and Jason Chaffetz are being tossed around.

Image taken from ThyBlackMan.com

Students Gather for Republican Debate

GOP Debate

University students gathered at the GOP Debate viewing party in Wilson Hall last week to watch the pack of presidential hopefuls battle for their shot at winning the nomination for the Republican Party. 

The viewing party was organized by first year instructor of political science at Monmouth University, Cathy Bartch. Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department said, “I would like to give thanks to Professor Cathy Bartch for organizing the event. It is her first year here and she is already making a big splash.” Dr. Stephen Chapman, assistant professor of political science said, “I thought it was great to see that many students attending the event this early in the process. It was impressive.” 

According to the Huffington Post, the debate which was aired on CNN attracted an estimated 22.6 million viewers which made it the most viewed program in CNN’s 35 year history. Patten said, “A lot of those rating are because people want to see Donald Trump. He brings a celebrity factor to it” Chapman said, “I think CNN was really motivated by ratings. You could see it in the debate.” 

The debate which was moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash from CNN, and Conservative Radio Host, Hugh Hewitt, consisted of many questions that encouraged the candidates to clash with each other. A senior political science student, Tyler Vandegrift, said, “The CNN debate was less about getting candidate’s names out there than the Fox debate, but instead they chose to focus on personal attacks and Donald Trump. It is nice, however, that some of the better candidates are getting the attention they deserve.” Most notable were the clashes between Donald Trump and numerous other candidates like Carly Florina and Jeb Bush. 

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Bernie Sanders: College for All Act

Political Showdown: College Tuition Crisis


Presidential Candidates Edition

As the nation’s student-debt tab has raised to $1.2 trillion, according to The Washington Post, students are eager to find a solution to the tuition crisis in an era where it is required to get a college diploma to land a stable job. 

The average student in the class of 2015 would be paying back $35,000 in loans (not including graduate school!), making them the most indebted class ever. Six months after graduating, many will have to start paying their debt back, in an economy where about 8.5 percent of college graduates between 21 and 24 are unemployed, according to the Economic Policy Institute. 

To work hard for four years, graduate, and automatically feel stressed about how you are going to pay off your loans can be a huge burden on someone. The luxury of trying to save up money for that white picket fence is no longer there. Instead, the life after college is living pay check to pay check.

With this, stagnant wages, declining federal and state funding to schools, and rising tuitions, many families only have the choice to either borrow money or send their children to a cheaper schools. Why should a person’s education be based on their monetary funds and not on their quality of work? 

Many presidential hopefuls have mentioned lessening the burden of college education debt, but Bernie Sanders has brought up a detailed plan to his objectives.  

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Planned Parenthood Discussion Could Lead to Potential Goverment Shutdown

AMSDAn undercover video from The Center for Medical Progress, surfaced recently, raising questions about the biggest women’s healthcare provider, Planned Parenthood. This has caused tensions to rise between different party members stance on the organization.

In the video, Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Medical Services of Planned Parenthood, had a conversation with a co-worker about selling and donating organ tissue to be used for research. 

Within four minutes of the video, Dr. Nucatola begins to discuss issues dealing with donating and selling organ tissue. 

“I don’t think it is a reservation issue so as much as a perception issue because I think every provider who want to donate their tissue, they just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as ‘this clinic is selling tissue, this clinic is making money off of this’. They need to [...] .they want to come to a number that is a reasonable number.” 

Later on in the video she admits that organizations are having these conversations behind closed doors, in order to promote stem cell research. 

Although the video with Dr. Nucatola is what started the outrage, there are several other videos that The Center for Medical Progress have submitted on to their website. Most of their videos have several different directors who were associated with Planned Parenthood discussing prices of organs. 

In order to preserve the organs the unborn child provides, what most clinics do is perform a partial birth abortion.

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Marco Rubio: Student Right Before You Go Act

Political Showdown: College Tuition Crisis


Presidential Candidates Edition

Marco RubioAmong the many topics that will be hot button issues during the 2016 Presidential Campaign, higher education and student loan debt should be the forefront of important issues for college students at Monmouth University and around the country. 

According to Debt.org, the total amount of student debt in America is 1.2 trillion dollars. Also according to Debt.org, $3,000 dollars of student loan debt is accrued by students in this country every second (Yes, every second!) and the average amount of debt for 2014 graduates is a whopping thirty three thousand dollars. For 2015 graduates, that total will only grow if the current broken system of higher education is left unchanged. 

Speaking for myself, my vote in the 2016 election will go to the candidate with the best solution to this problem– as a student at Monmouth University, my life after graduation will be directly affected by student loan debt. 

Many young Americans have flocked to the side of Bernie Sanders. This attraction is due to his proposal of the “College for All Act,” which will attempt to make all public four year colleges and universities tuition free. Although this plan sounds good in theory– and in a perfect world, of course I would love my college education to be free– in reality this plan will never work. 

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Sanders Leads Clinton in Latest Monmouth Poll, Biden Identifies as Potential Sleeper in 2016 Election

Joe BidenBernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton in support among likely Democratic Party voters in New Hampshire, according to the latest Monmouth University poll that surveys candidates for the 2016 presidential primary. 

The poll, conducted from September 10 to 13, 2015, may come to a surprise for some as the longtime but still longshot Independent Senator from Vermont leads Hillary Clinton overall (43 percent to 36 percent); as well as among both men (44 percent to 34 percent) and women (42 percent to 38 percent). Sanders leads Clinton among voters under 50 years old by 46 percent to 35 percent and voters age 50 to 64 by 44 percent to 34 percent, while Clinton only edges Sanders by 42 percent to 35 percent among those age 65 and older.

Just 19 percent of Democrats say they would be very unhappy if someone other than their chosen candidate won the party’s nomination. 

“Either way, it looks like most Democratic voters will be able to live with however this nomination contest turns out,” wrote Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth Polling Institute. 

The biggest shock however, may have been delivered by the performance of Vice-President Joe Biden (13 percent), who as of last weekend, had not publicly announced his candidacy.

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Syrian Refugee Crisis: 11 Million People Displaced

Syriaian CrysisThe civil war occurring in Syria since 2011 has caused over 220,000 deaths, and it is suspected that over half of these people are innocent civilians according to Mercy Corps. Eleven million people are displaced, causing Syrian citizens to flee the country for refuge in other countries.

There are currently 3.8 million Syrian refugees, and the United Nations believes that by the end of the year, the number will rise to over 4 million; this is the worst exodus since the Rwandan genocide. 

Monmouth student Mary Fitzgerald believes there should be more media coverage of this. “More people need to pay attention to the tragedies in the world.” The refugees are trying to enter Europe, but the European Union is only distributing 160,000 throughout the region. The UN believes that over half of the refugees are children. 

Some countries, such as Germany, are eager to welcome refugees. According to The Washington Post, hundreds of German citizens recently held up signs welcoming refugees into the country. The reason is simple: population: Germany has an elderly population; therefore they need new citizens in order to fill the working class. 

The head of a car manufacturer in Germany recently said that refugees are often young, educated, and highly motivated. This will benefit Germany’s economy significantly; retirees are being financed by welfare, which is funded by very few working citizens. 

Great Britain on the other hand, is expected to become Europe’s most populated country by 2060. Britain is concerned that there will be competition over jobs between citizens with the population influx; the exact opposite concern of Germany. 

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US Cities Prepare for Pope Francis’ Six-Day Visit

Pope FrancisPope Francis’ arrival in the United States this week will drive politicians and interest groups on each side of America’s political divide to claim him as one of their own.

They may well discover that nobody puts the pontiff in a political corner.

That’s not to say political Washington won’t try.

“This pope is a very independent figure and we know from his previous travels that we don’t know what he’s going to say until he says it,” said Charles Kupchan, senior director for European Affairs at the White House National Security Council. “In that respect, we are fully expecting that there are some messages with which we may respectfully disagree or have differences.”

The Roman Catholic leader arrives at a particularly political moment, when issues of concern to the church cut through policy debates in American politics, including abortion, the climate, immigration into the U.S., refugees pouring out of Syria and a nuclear deal with Iran, a pact that the Vatican welcomes. His views defy conventional political labeling and appeal to or put off each side depending on the issue.

At first at least, Washington’s political problems will give way to pomp and ceremony at the White House and on Capitol Hill for the popular pope.

President Barack Obama is so excited about his visit that he’s personally greeting the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday, a departure from the usual protocol.

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The Electorate’s Attraction to “Political Outsiders”

Political outsidersWith the 2016 Presidential Race in full swing, and the primary elections being five months away starting with the Iowa Caucuses on Feb. 1, it seems that this summer the voters have been attracted to “political outsiders”, or non-establishment picks. 

According to the most recent presidential polls from the Monmouth University Polling Institute, real estate mogul and T.V. personality Donald Trump holds first place among Republican candidates with 30 percent of GOP support. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is in second with 18 percent in a national poll conducted on Sept. 3. 

GOP Candidate and former Hewlett- Packard CEO Carly Florina Carly Florina, another candidate that has built up her presidential résumé from outside the political realm– has gained some recent recognition by working her way up from the “Junior Varsity” debate to the main stage for the second GOP debate tonight. 

The original GOP front- runner, Jeb Bush, has dropped to third place garnering 8 percent of the vote– which is four points less than he had in August, according to the most recent Monmouth University GOP poll. 

Much of the summer GOP polls and news coverage have surprisingly been dominated by the non-traditional candidate, Donald Trump. It is too early to tell where Trump will be in the polls when the Iowa caucuses come around, but many people did not expect him to have the success that he’s had so far. It seems as though the more noise he makes, the more popularity he gains. 

The Republican candidate that seems to be negatively affected by Trump the most is former front-runner Jeb Bush, who went down in the polls after stepping into some back and forth with Trump this summer. 

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Christie Takes Jab at Monmouth University Poll

chartOn July 28, when asked about a poll released by Monmouth University’s own Polling Institute, Chris Christie held a very strong opinion about the results.

 The poll showed that Chris Christie had the support of only 4 percent of the voters asked in New Hampshire, while Donald Trump led with 24 percent and Jeb Bush  took second with 12 percent.  

“The Monmouth University poll was created just to aggravate me,” Christie said.  

“I’ve never paid attention to a Monmouth University poll. And, by the way, it’s a Monmouth University poll. Anybody really care? You think nationally, people are waiting on the edge of their seat waiting for the Monmouth University poll to come out? Stop.” 

Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said when asked for his reaction, “I am very proud of the work of our Polling Institute team.  Politicians being critical of your work simply means you are having an impact.” 

In 2010, Murray was named Pollster of the Year by PolitickerNJ.com and number 43 of its New Jersey Power List of 100 “Most Politically Influential People” in the state. 

“I think the fact that the governor, who is down in every presidential poll, took special notice of Monmouth’s poll is a sign of the influence we have in New Jersey’s political world.  We intend to make that same kind of impact nationwide.”

According to their website, Monmouth University Polling Institute’s mission is to “foster greater public accountability by ensuring that the voice of the public is part of the policy discourse.” 

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The Floor is Yours, Mr. Johnson | Brandon Johnson's Senior Goodbye

Me 1Rather than wasting your time reading something that is so personal to me, let me use some of this space for some things I wish I knew when I was an 18. These are some tidbits of information I’ve picked up along my Monmouth journey. While I’m still “just a kid” by most accounts, these are some things that have had the biggest impact on who I am.

Comfort Zones

If you ask your doctor, physician, dentist or any other health professional, they can probably runoff a list of things that are bad for you. I, for one, have an insatiable sweet tooth, with a particular fondness for Snickers. But for all the harm the preservative packed goodies I munch on could do, it’s nothing compared to my greatest detriment: my comfort zone.

Everyone has a comfort zone. It may manifest itself in a variety of forms but it’s there. For some that means binge watching Netflix wrapped in the world’s softest blanket, while for others it might be dozing off in the back of the class. Regardless of shape or form, recognizing my comfort zone was among the best pieces of advice I received during my tenure at Monmouth.

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Moot Court Succeeds at National Invitation Tournament

Moot CourtThe University’s moot court program finished its second year strong this past weekend with the two-student team of Nick Whittaker and Joe Talafous representing the Hawk spirit at the 2015 National Invitational Tournament hosted by the University of Chicago. 

Based on their performance in the fall semester at a regional tournament in Iowa City, Whittaker and Talafous were invited to this national tournament and showcased their skills of oral advocacy, rhetoric and persuasive argumentation to a panel of judges over three rounds.  

They competed in an incredibly strong field of 20 teams, including teams from universities such as Loyola University – Chicago, Loras College, Eastern Illinois University, Notre Dame College, the University of St. Thomas in Canada, Merrimack College, the University of North Texas and the University of Chicago.  

The Monmouth team managed to win one ballot by 35 points (on a 100-point scale) in the third round against one of the advancing teams and lost by only two points on two other separate ballots in round two and only five points on one ballot in the first round.  

The Monmouth moot court hawks kept it incredibly close in a very competitive field and ended the 2014-2015 competition season on a high note, going into the next year of tournaments energized and ready. 

A round of congratulations goes to all moot court student-teams who represented Monmouth with pride this academic year: Ashley Gucker and Samah Khalifa; Mike Hamilton and Dan Roman; and Angela Ryan and Harmony Bailey.  

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Transgender Community Responds to Bruce Jenner

When Bruce Jenner revealed to Diane Sawyer what many had already speculated - that the 1976 Olympic champion now publicly identifies as a woman - nearly 17 million people were watching.

It was a groundbreaking event for the athlete turned reality star, and for an estimated 700,000 transgender Americans.

“It’s become a national teachable moment,” said Mara Keisling, executive director for the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Transgender Equality. “Somebody made us realize we weren’t alone.”

During the two-hour interview on ABC’s “20/20,” an initially nervous and teary Jenner told Sawyer, “For all intents and purposes, I am a woman.”

The show scored a 5.2 rating about four times higher than is typical among viewers in the 18-to-49 age group on a Friday night, according to figures from Nielsen.

On social media, the interview elicited a largely positive reaction. “All of us deserve the right to be loved for who we are. Bravo #BruceJenner,” tweeted Oprah Winfrey. Public figures from Billie Jean King to Lady Gaga posted on Twitter and Facebook to show their support.

Talk show host Montel Williams, a self-proclaimed conservative, voiced his support on Facebook despite heavy criticism from some of his fans. “Don’t like my support of Bruce Jenner or of #lgbt individuals broadly?” he wrote. “No one is forcing you to be here.”

Among those who took issue was talk show host Wendy Williams, who referred to Jenner as a “fame whore” ahead of the Sawyer interview. More than a few negative tweets with religious overtones following the show called Jenner an “abomination.”

Given Jenner’s recent role as the befuddled husband on the reality blockbuster show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” many in transgender circles and beyond expressed concern that the public coming out would be viewed as a publicity stunt, undermining a recent swell of otherwise-humanizing television dramas and news regarding their community. Jenner also revealed Friday that a docu-series chronicling his life as a transgender woman will premiere on E! on July 26.

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Michigan Catholic Priest Tells Parishioners to Pack Heat

Reverend FrideAn Ann Arbor, Mich., Catholic priest has urged his parishioners to arm themselves and attend classes at Christ the King parish to earn a concealed pistol license (CPL).

In a letter sent to Christ the King parishioners recently, the Rev. Edward Fride explained why he believed it was necessary to get concealed pistol licenses because of recent crime in the area. During a Palm Sunday mass last month, Fride announced that the parish would be holding the CPL class.

When some parishioners questioned the decision, Fride sent out a pro-gun letter titled “We’re not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto” a reference to the 1960s-era Andy Griffith Show and its portrayal of a fictional North Carolina town, as well as Dorothy’s dog from the “Wizard of Oz.”

“It is very common for Christians to simply assume that they live in Mayberry, trusting that because they know the Lord Jesus, everything will always be fine and nothing bad can happen to them and their families,” Fride wrote.

“How to balance faith, reality, prudence, and trust is one of those critical questions that we struggle with all our lives. Pretending we are in Mayberry, while we are clearly not, can have very negative consequences for ourselves and those we love, especially those we have a responsibility to protect. If we are not in Mayberry, is there a real threat?”

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University Hosts 4th Interdisciplinary Conference on Race

Veit IntroStudents, faculty and scholars gathered in Magill Commons Club for the 4th Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference on Race, hearing national and international researchers present their papers from April 16-18.

Co-chaired by  Lecturer of history and anthropoloy, Hettie V. Williams and Dr. Richard Veit, Chair of the history and anthropology department, the conference’s theme was “The Criminalization of Race in History and Global Societies, Social Activism and Equal Justice.” 

The conference began with an introduction by Veit and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Laura Moriarty, who lauded the conference for its continual growth. Veit particularly said, “Professor Hettie Williams, she’s a distinguished colleague and she’s the organizer and energizer bunny behind this conference, and this is a huge thing to pull together,” said Moriarty.

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Debate: Opposing the RFRA in Indiana

RFRA Debate picThe Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that has been causing a stir in Indiana and Louisiana, among other states, has its roots in a 1990 Supreme Court case in which a Native American man lost his job after testing positive for a drug. Alfred Smith, a resident of Oregon, used peyote (a hallucinogenic) as part of a religious ceremony and was fired from his job as a counselor at a drug rehabilitation clinic. When Smith applied for unemployment he was denied because his dismissal from work was deemed misconduct.

In 1993, the Clinton Administration signed the original RFRA, which holds that the government should act in the “least restrictive” way when dealing with religion, according to a 1993 New York Times article. Furthermore, the law professed that government could only act when it has a “compelling interest” in intervention.

Fast-forward 22 years and the Indiana legislature passed a similar measure that states “A governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability,” according to National Public Radio (NPR).

Where the Indiana law takes a turn for the worse is its definition of “person,” which the federal law left for interpretation. According to NPR, the Indy bill holds persons to include individuals, organizations, religious groups, partnerships, corporations, firms or any other entity that “may sue or be sued.”

This acknowledgement reopens the gash that was infected by the Hobby Lobby case. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that for-profit companies, “composed of individuals,” could prevent cost-free access to contraception if it runs against the religious principles of said company, according to Oyez.org, a Supreme Court archive hosted by Chicago-Kent College of Law.

The Hobby Lobby scenario, however, was a blessing compared to the Indiana bill, as the ruling was limited to guaranteed contraception. Interpretation of the Hoosier state legislation would allow for entities to refuse service to individuals who they view as acting contrary to their beliefs, on whatever grounds they feel necessary. This means that gay and lesbian couples, people of different faiths, or any number of grounds for prejudice could complicate individuals receiving services.

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Changing Black Demographic

Changing Black DemographicOne in three black residents in Miami is now an immigrant, a reflection of a nationwide trend that shows immigrants making up a rising share of the country’s black population, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

Perhaps not surprising, most of the black migration in Miami and across the country has come from the Caribbean, where President Barack Obama traveled this week on the first presidential visit to Jamaica in three decades.

“We are not just nations, we’re also neighbors,” Obama told the enthusiastic crowd at the University of West Indies in Jamaica. “Tens of millions of Americans are bound to the Caribbean and the Americas through ties of commerce, but also ties of kin. More than 1 million Americans trace their ancestry to Jamaica.”

The number of black immigrants in the United States has more than quadrupled since 1980, and the growth is expected to continue. The Census Bureau projects that by 2060, 16.5 percent of U.S. blacks will be immigrants. In all, there are 3.8 million black immigrants in the country today, and that number is expected to reach 11.9 million by 2060.

The Miami metropolitan area has the largest share of black immigrants. Thirty four percent of Miami’s black population are immigrants compared to 28 percent in New York and 15 percent in Washington.

More than 28,000 native-born Jamaicans live in Miami-Dade County. But it’s not the greatest source of black immigrants. That honor goes to Haiti - with more than 70,000 residents - which accounts for nearly half of the black immigrant population in the Miami metro area.

The Pew study notes that most of the nation’s 40 million U.S. -born blacks are descendants of slaves. But when slavery was made illegal, the flow of black people in the United States “dropped to a trickle” of Caribbean immigrants, the report found. The modern wave of black immigration was set off by various immigration laws, including those that sought to increase the number of immigrants from underrepresented countries.

Much of the recent growth has been driven by African nations. Africans now make up 36 percent of the total foreign-born black population compared to just 7 percent in 1980.

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Alaskan Endangerment

The Alaska yellow cedar edged one step closer to being listed as a threatened or endangered species after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the tree may warrant such protection because of the ravages of climate change.

The move was applauded by environmentalists while a timber industry trade group called it “pretty silly.”

If the conifer is listed, it would become the first tree in Alaska to be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. The cedar is found from southeast Alaska down to Northern California.

“It’s a symbol of what our actions are doing to the climate,” said Rebecca Noblin, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Alaska director. “The biggest threat is climate change. They’re also logged in the Tongass National Forest.”

Noblin said the tree has special adaptations that allow it to live in “places that a lot of other trees can’t live.” In winter, its shallow root system needs snow for insulation from the cold. In years with little snowfall _ including 2014 _ the roots are in danger of freezing.

The center was one of four groups that petitioned the federal government to add the tree to the endangered species list. According to the organizations, the warming climate is causing suitable habitat for the Alaska yellow cedar to disappear.

“More than 600,000 acres of dead yellow cedar forests are already readily visible from the air,” the group said in a written statement. “If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at their current rates, the tree will be driven to extinction.”

But Owen Graham, Executive Director of the Alaska Forest Association, disputed the conservation groups’ characterization of the tree’s health. His organization represents the timber industry, and he said Friday that “the whole idea of listing the yellow cedar as an endangered species is pretty silly. It’s certainly not endangered.”

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Debate: Defending the RFRA in Indiana

Hobby LobbyWhen asked about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) signed and passed into law by Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, the owners of a small pizza shop, Memories Pizza, said that they think anyone can believe whatever they want, but they are a Christian establishment and wouldn’t be catering to gay weddings. In fact, the pizza shop has actually never catered to any weddings before. Now the small business has been forced to shut its doors doueto hatred, threats, and harassment from those who oppose the law. 

So, are the owners of the pizzeria intolerant because they do not want to participate in a gay wedding, or are the opponents of the RFRA law intolerant for forcing the business to shut down temporarily because of its hatred, threats and harassment? 

The opposition of the law has been shown by numerous celebrities, over forty companies, and even multiple state and local governments. They are showing opposition to the law by “boycotting Indiana” which has become a popular hash tag on Twitter. They are withdrawing from the state by cancelling business and travel to the whole state. According to the Washington Post, the company Angie’s List withdrew to expand its “Ford Building Project” until further notice, and the company Salesforce has cancelled programs that require its customers and employees to travel to Indiana. The Governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy, signed an executive order prohibiting state funded travel to Indiana. New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, asked state agencies, departments, boards, and commissions to bar publicly funded travel to Indiana that isn’t essential. The band Wilco cancelled a show that was scheduled to play in Indianapolis. 

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Indian-Americans Rise in Politics in California

DalipSinghSaundIn a stairway just off the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Ami Bera walks past a portrait nearly every day of the late Rep. Dalip Singh Saund, a Democrat from California elected in 1956 and the first Indian-American (in fact, the first Asian-American) to serve in Congress.

And while their ranks in Congress have not swollen, Indian-Americans have been making political inroads, from city councils to state capitols. One is even flirting with running for president.

“We certainly are looking at how to get Indian-Americans more engaged in politics,” said Bera, a Sacramento County physician and the sole Indian-American in Congress. “They should think about running for office.”

Asian-Americans, which include Indian-Americans, are the fastest growing demographic group in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center.

Nearly 600,000 of the country’s 3.1 million Indian-Americans live in California, including a number of notable elected officials. Besides Bera, who was born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents, they include state Attorney General Kamala Harris, who could become the first Indian-American elected to the U.S. Senate.

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The Affordable Care Act: Is it Working?

Florio Healthcare Panel DiscussionNearly five years to the day after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the effects of the legislation “have yet to be determined,” according to various members of a panel of top New Jersey healthcare administrators. 

Among the panelists invited to Monmouth to discuss the policy’s effects on NJ were: two healthcare executives; Meridian Health CEO John Lloyd; Monmouth Medical Center CEO Frank Vozos; and NJ Association of Health Plans President Wardell Sanders. Former NJ Governor and Monmouth University’s current Public Servant in Residence, James Florio, who passed a similar salvo of health and welfare reforms during his tenure as governor, rounded out the panel.

The event was sponsored by the Monmouth University Polling Institute, Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies, and the Political Science Club. Dr. Kathryn Fleming, a specialist professor of nursing administration, and Dr. Stephen Chapman assistant professor of political science, served as moderators. 

Director of the Polling Institute, Patrick Murray, opened the discussion by announcing the results of one of the institute’s latest polls: 45 percent of New Jerseyans support the law while 46 percent oppose it.

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First Round of Nuclear Deal Approaches Deadline

Iran comicThe tension between the two nation’s leaders began with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s invitation to speak in front of Congress on March 3 to address the Obama Administrations controversial nuclear negotiations with Iran that 59 percent of Americans do not trust that Iran would follow, according to the Monmouth University Polling Institute. Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, associate professor of political science, said, “Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was a disaster for USA-Israeli relations.” 

Israel, has been one of the US’s closest and most important allies since its establishment as the world’s only Jewish state in 1949 – especially important in terms of Middle East relations. According to a 2012 Gallup Poll, Americans ranked Israel as within the top ten US’s most favorable allies, a list also including Japan, France and India, among others The country the size of New Jersey, has proved to be an essential ally in the Middle East due to its democratic government, religious and moral values, and national interests that are similar to those of the US. However, these similarities and interests do not always line up, as seen by the recent friction between the Obama Administration and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Obama’s anti-Netanyahu actions have proved to be controversial as well. The friction escalated when President Obama reacted by sending his 2012 national field director to Israel to fund against Netanyahu’s campaign for re-election which he wound up winning, according to the Washington Post. 

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Patrick’s Law Calls Out Animal Abuse

cute puppyIn the early morning hours of Sunday, March 1, a call was made to Toms River police that a white pick-up truck was seen doing “donuts” on the ice near Pine Beach.  When police arrived, the headlights and taillights disappeared as the pick-up broke through the ice and sunk into the river.  

A Coast Guard helicopter spotted the pick-up several hours later in about six feet of water during its search and rescue mission.  Divers, looking for human victims, located the body of a 2-year-old boxer who had been left in the truck. This discovery sparked outrage in animal activist circles, bringing to the forefront the questions surrounding animal abuse laws and punishments in NJ.  This case brought over 1,000 signatures to a Change.org petition requesting animal cruelty charges be brought against the driver of the pick-up in the days after the story broke.

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Iranian Nuclear Policy ‘Blows Up’

Iran StoryThe US, Iran, Israel and others have held discussion in the past few weeks in an attempt to establish a safe use for Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran has been pursuing a nuclear program over the years, considering it a right that they hold as a nation; however, Iranians argue that the reason for nuclear use in their country would be solely for civilian purposes, primarily for electricity generation.  

The negotiations have been talked about between the US, France, Germany, Russia, China, Britain and Iran, and are trying to reach a deal within the next couple of months. Some of terms that have been discussed are to have Iran curb their nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of serval or all sanctions that have been damaging their economy. 

Gary Sick of Politico Magazine explained, “Iran has been subjected to a wide variety of sanctions and pressures. Originally these were mostly unilateral pressures from the US, but under the Obama administration they have become far more international and far-reaching, culminating in the crippling sanctions on Iran’s oil sales and its ability to access international financial markets.”

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, said that the negotiations have torn many in Washington, apart. 

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Boris Nemtsov’s Assassination Draws Criticism

Huffpost BorisIn the wake of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination on Feb. 27, Russian authorities have charged two Chechen individuals with his murder, according to the New York Times. A number of others were suspected of the killing, one of whom notably blew himself up.

Assassinations and untimely deaths of political opponents were events that commonly took place in the Cold War age Soviet Union. In most cases, those who opposed the Soviet Premier and their government were taken care off through a myriad of means—often at the hands of the secret police, the KGB. Stalin’s Great Purge was a perfect example of how a former dictator of the then dubbed “evil empire” could easily do away with all of their political enemies.

Russia has been under strict scrutiny lately, mainly because of the annexation of the Crimea and the continued conflict in Ukraine. The circumstances of Nemtsov’s death are causing even more tension in the region, and have lead to a lot of unanswered questions for both Russia and the West.

Nemtsov was a political opponent of current Russian President Vladimir Putin, and was very outspoken against him.  In the recent past, Nemtsov has been fighting against the current economic crisis in Russia, and speaking out against what is going on in Ukraine.  Nemtsov was not new to the political scene—he served as Deputy Prime Minister under Boris Yeltsin following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite numerous arrests for his candidness, Nemtsov continued to speak out again Putin.

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FCC Rules in Favor of “Net Neutrality” for Internet

amazonaws Net NeutralityThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) controversial decision to pass new “net neutrality” regulations on Feb. 26 is being argued and legal battles and legislative disputes are about to begin over this emerging phenomenon that has been brewing since 2010. The FCC’s original attempt at broader internet regulation was struck down by Federal courts but they are now revamping their argument under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which they claim makes the Internet a “Public Utility.” But first off, what is “Net Neutrality” and why is it important?

Net neutrality is the internet open and without regulation. The FCC is trying to regulate it to prevent speed traps to certain websites. According to CNN, this could speed up access to certain websites, slow down access to others, and block others entirely. Companies that deliver Internet access like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T have spent millions of dollars on lobbying against these rules because they claim that micromanagement by the government would hurt their business and their consumers. On the opposing side, giant Internet Corporations like Google, Facebook, and Netflix are in favor of this legislation argue that the Internet is a public entity and should be regulated as such. 

Assistant professor of criminal justice, John Comiskey, said, “This legislation seems to be concerned more about businesses trying to establish and maintain monopoly.” He also added that the Internet is an “information highway” and “getting information before others is an advantage.” 

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Egypt and Qatar Aggravate Tension in Worldwide Soccer

Lusail QatarA match between the Zamalek SC White Knights and ENPPI erupted last month when a riot among fans and police broke out, killing 25, on Feb. 8. The riot comes as a 3 year anniversary to a similar soccer fueled riot that killed 71, also in Egypt.

The Egyptian Premier League initially responded by canceling the entirety of the season. According to Yahoo.com, after some deliberation, “between the Ministries of Interior, Youth, and Sports, as well as the Egypt’s soccer association,” the League is scheduled to resume play with one stipulation: fans cannot attend the games.

The League has yet to establish whether the abolition of fan attendance will continue in future seasons, but for the immediate future it is outlawed. The complications stem from the cause of the riot being unclear. BBC reported, “Police fired tear gas and birdshot at fans trying to force their way into the stadium, leading to a stampede.”

Regardless of motivation, the riot last month illuminated the role of soccer, (rather, football), as a cultural and political driving force around the world. A 2006 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) “Big Count” estimated 265 million men and women play football, while five million more referee the game, totaling 4 percent of the world as involved with the game. Additionally FIFA cites 1.3 billion people as interested in football.

For comparison, the US Youth Soccer National Tournament Database noted only three million US players in 2014, leaving the majority of footballers living worldwide. 

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Opinion: Mohammad Emwazi

As with any private institution, the American news media often does itself a disservice. It has an agenda which largely revolves around raising viewership, highlighting controversies, and while presenting information in a clear and concise fashion. Publicizing nicknames like “Jihadi John” for ruthless terrorists and killers aids in creating sympathy for him as well as demeaning the seriousness of the problem.

The origins of Mohammad Emwazi’s nickname, “Jihadi John”, are unclear. Some sources like The Mirror claim it was created by freed hostages, while sources like NBC News profess that the UK media created the persona.

Regardless of origin, Emwazi’s nickname highlights the severe problem with creating sympathizers for Daesh (Arabic term for the self-proclaimed Islamic State). The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) estimates that approximately 150 American’s have attempted to reach Syria, Iraq and other Middle East States to fight alongside Daesh. Recently, the NYPD thwarted three men’s plot to assist Daesh, both financially and militaristically. The UK also had trouble with tracking down three girls who allegedly have crossed into Syria, according to CNN. “Jihadi John” is not the only creator of Daesh sympathy, but, by profiling him on national news, he is established as a public figure. When, CNN, BBC or any other outlet profiles Emwazi, they are providing speculation about the type of person he was when before the murder. UK based activist group CAGE described Emwazi as a “beautiful young man,” according to ABC News

BBC, however paints Emwazi in a different light, citing a former Daesh Fighter calling him “a cold loner who set himself apart from others.” 

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American Sniper Film Controversy Turns Heads

American Sniper ColorThe controversy over America’s most popular film, American Sniper, is still lingering after the Oscars on Sunday night and the murder trial of Eddie Ray Routh—the alleged killer of Chris Kyle, the movie’s main character played by Bradley Cooper—all happening at the same time. 

The film contended for six Academy Awards and crushed box office records by earning a total of $428 million, according to Yahoo.com. Birdman, the film that beat out American Sniper for best picture, only earned about $76 million. 

According to the Daily Caller, the film is being considered the most successful war film of all time, however, it only won for sound editing. Some are accusing the Oscar snub as a result of the awards becoming political. 

The controversy over the film started early in January with a Twitter war started by two celebrities, Seth Rogen and Michael Moore. Rogen tweeted, “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglorious Bastards.” Moore tweeted, “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught that snipers are cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.” 

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What’s Currently Trending in Politics?

marijuanaNJ is pushing for the legalization of marijuana. The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are  among supporters. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ChrisChristieGovernor Chris Christie’s pension reform law was brought before a New Jersey Superior Court Judge who ruled that the governor must make payments promised to the system in the law.

 

 

 

 

 

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Brian Williams’ Memory Lapse Leads To Suspension

Brian Williams FaceBrian Williams, anchor and managing editor for NBC Nightly News, has been the subject of the news himself as of late.  Williams’ journalistic integrity has been questioned as a result of a fallout from a Jan. 30 broadcast in which Williams recounted riding in a Chinook helicopter that was shot down during the Iraq War in 2003.  

After the broadcast, Williams was blasted by veterans who were actually on that mission, stating that he was on a different helicopter on a separate mission an hour behind.  

The Jan. 30 broadcast covered a public tribute for recently retired Sergeant Major Tim Terpak, a New Jersey native, who was assigned to security for the NBC News crew at the time of the alleged incident.  During that broadcast, Williams stated, “The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG.”  

Williams has told variations of this story over the years, including one in which the pilot, Richard Krell, received a Purple Heart for his injuries. Veterans who were involved in the incident have since vocally blasted Williams. 

Further, Krell never received the Purple Heart, as evidenced by the absence of his name from the Purple Heart Recipient database. He also allegedly did not pilot the Chinook on which Williams and the NBC crew were riding. Other  veterans, including flight engineers Joseph Miller and David Luke, as well as pilot Allan Kelly who say they actually flew Williams’ helicopter, reported that Williams was not even on that particular mission, was never fired upon, and was on a two-copter mission about an hour behind the Chinook that had been hit. 

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University Hosts a Discussion on Russo-Ukrainian Relations

russia Ukraine comicDr. Alexander Yarym-Agayev born in Donetsk, Ukraine and a professor of economics, a businessman, and political activist, shared his personal views with the help of his brother and translator Dr. Yuri Yarmin-Agayev on the unfolding issue of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, where approximately 125 students and faculty gathered on Monday Feb. 9 at 2:30 pm in Wilson Hall Auditorium. 

Students and faculty that attended the talk got to hear a very personal upfront perspective of what it’s like to live in Ukraine while Russia began its invasion. Yarym-Agayev painted an image of his experiences by thoroughly explaining an ordinary day in Ukraine. “A year before the invasion it was quite comfortable, everyone was going on with their daily routine with no expectation of a dramatic change,” explained Yarym-Agayev.

He continued, “A year later, things began to change and that was when there were busses of Russians being sent over into Ukraine. These Russians began to take over Eastern Ukraine. They did so by invading administrative buildings and taking control of how things were being run.”

Despite the Russians invasion of eastern Ukraine’s administrative buildings and day-to-day life was not really being harmed. Yarym-Agayev explained that daily routines remained in place regardless of being under the control of Russians. 

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‘Make Fun of Me, Will You?’ Satire in Politics

Colbert ComicWhen the question of freedom of speech arose worldwide after the Charlie Hedbo incident, the use of satire was scrutinized as well. Does satire still serve the same purpose it has in the past, and what are the limits of using satirical humor and being offensive? 

Implied in the US Constitution’s First Amendment are the freedoms to exaggerate, manipulate and to grandstand, which is the definition of satire. Satire is often used to mock political or social figures, movements or organizations through sarcasm, ridicule or irony. It has been used to generate political or social change, and bring awareness to an issue. It most commonly takes the form of mocking politicians. 

One of the first political cartoons was created by Benjamin Franklin, a founding father, and was later transformed into the famous colonial battle flag with the legendary saying “Don’t Tread on Me.” 

Throughout the years, satire has been a transformative medium, such as through cartoon depictions and television. However, according to Tim Parks of The New York Review, the expansion of technology throughout households and communities worldwide, the mixing of cultures and globalization has made satire more problematic. 

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Cuba’s First Catholic Church Since Communist Reform

Sandion CUbaThe village of Sandino in Western Cuba has plans to make history, as the municipality is scheduled to build the first Roman Catholic Church within the state since 1959.

Following the expulsion of the Batista regime by rebels led by Fidel Castro, Cuba assumed a role as a socialist state, which later transitioned into the Communist Party in 1965, according to BBC.

With the approval of the Government to build this church, many are considering whether this signals a change for the island nation. Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, an associate professor of political science, is skeptical of what the Sandino church’s construction means for Cuba.

“Catholicism post-Cuban Revolution (1959) has always been a case in which the Marxist government permits some space to the Cuban people. Cuba is a highly Catholic nation, both before and after the Revolution,” said Mitchell. 

According to the Christian Post, Pedro Rodriguez, Executive Director for the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, echoed these sentiments, believing this is “a public relations scam directed to project Raul Castro as a true reformer.”

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Obama Administration a “No-Show” at Paris Peace Rally

USA Today Paris Peace RallyEver since the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, the US has been a global leader in the worldwide fight against terrorism. That is why it is surprising to many that the Obama Administration did not send any high ranking officials to the anti-terrorism rallies in Paris this past January that were in response to the Charlie Hebdo attack that left 12 people dead. 

According to CNN, at least 3.7 million people, including multiple world leaders, marched in anti-terrorism rallies in Paris and other parts of France on Sunday Jan. 11. Some of the notable world leaders that attended the rallies included French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and various other world and religious leaders from many different faiths and backgrounds. Even the unlikely duo of the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmood Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu were in attendance. 

Despite the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris that day, he nor President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, or Secretary of State John Kerry were in attendance.  The White House only sent a low level ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, to represent the US. 

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Al-Qaeda Attack Ignites Freedom of Speech Debates

Terrorists chanted “God is great,” and “The profit is avenged,” when they stormed the headquarters of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7. 

On Jan. 8, the attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda. The attack was based on Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of the prophet Muhammed, which has been a constant debate through Islam, for the fear of encouraging idolatry.  

After the attack, the question of freedom of speech and of the press have been questioned not only in France, but in the western world as a whole.

Freedom of speech has been considered a very important aspect in democratic states, and an essential human right is to speak a person’s mind without censorship or punishment. The United Nations adopted the Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, stating, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”  

However, every country has its own set of rules on freedom of speech. France in their Declaration of Rights of Man and of the citizen, much like America’s Declaration of Independence, states that freedom of speech is “one of the most precious rights of man.” In 1972, France added the Pleven Act, which prohibits the press from libel, slander, defamation and writing against a group of people. It also outlawed racist speech against individuals and banned provocations of hatred, racism, violence and discrimination. 

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#WakeUpMU: Dozens Protest For Justice

Approximately 80 University students, faculty, and staff demonstrated for social justice and equality in response to the recent deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and others in front of Wilson Hall on Friday, Dec. 5 at 4 pm.

Morgan Spann, a junior communication student who organized the protest, addressed the gathering, “This is a time for you speak up and simply say, ‘I refuse.’ I refuse to let black men be reduced to nothing. I refuse to see women get torn down. I refuse to see my people exterminated before my eyes and sit back and do nothing. I refuse to be a statistic.” Spann said she wanted to channel her anger over the recent tragedies and transform it into a positive movement. “This is the time for unity,” she continued.

Racial tension in America has been exacerbated by the parallel coverage of Garner, an African American male from New York who was placed in an apparent choke hold during his apprehension, and Brown, an 18-year-old Ferguson resident who allegedly shoplifted some cigarillos before being shot by a police officer. People across the nation have called into question the use of excessive force by police officers when taking individuals into custody, particularly African American males.

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Monmouth Students Head to Europe for the International Service Seminar

West Long Branch, NJ - Furthering the global education vision of the university, thirteen Monmouth University students will be traveling to prominent capitals of international law and politics over winter break in conjunction with Professor Bordelon’s section of International Service Seminar (PS 371) in the spring.  Some of the students began their engagement with a new course during the fall 2014 semester in the Department of Political Science and Sociology, Public International Law (PS 431), which builds off of the international relations curricular strand in political science.

Senior Harmony Bailey said, “I think visiting The Hague or European Union will probably demonstrate the best correlation to what I learned in this class and how to tie it to the trip. Plus it is always beneficial to have knowledge beforehand of how everything works, especially when it comes to a trip of this caliber.”  The learning objective of the experience is to present the theoretical foundations of international law (PS 431 – Fall 2014) and transition students from experiencing the institutions (winter break study tour) of it to realizing its fundamental relationships to social justice through local legal aid organizations (PS 371 – Spring 2015).

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Let’s Talk Politics: Is The Government a Difficult Discussion Topic?

Americans are more likely to identify as conservative, according to a Gallup poll published Jan. 10, 2014. This ideological classification of liberal vs. conservative permeates American politics and is often the basis by which individuals frame their political beliefs and spark everyday conversation with others.

Thomas Jefferson, a founding member of the US Constitution and 3rd President said, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” This begs the question to be asked, is politics difficult to talk about?

Before one can debate whether politics is a difficult subject to talk about, he or she must first consider what is meant by politics.

Dr. Walter Greason, instructor of history and anthropology said, “Politics is the notion of distributed authority.” The US is a representative democracy, meaning voters elect individuals who then act for them in the public forum. According to Greason,  the authority in politics is shared between these levels of membership in the political spectrum.

Some of the difficulty in discussing politics beyond the educational setting stems from the distribution of authority, and the feeling of powerlessness created by it. “People (constituents) don’t like to acknowledge their relative powerlessness.  People in authority (elected officials) often feel uncomfortable with explaining their decision-making,” said Greason. He found this disconnect to be a contributing factor to the problems with the ease of conversing about politics.

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Back from the Brink: A Presentation on the Middle East

The University’s Institute for Global Understanding hosted an informative lecture by Dr. Hussein Ibish, a Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), columnist for The National (UAE), and author of multiple well-known publications, on Tuesday Nov. 18. Ibish is also a contributing writer for Foreign Affairs and frequently speaks on PBS’s NewsHour.

Ibish began by presenting an overarching theme: the Middle East is not one single entity, nor has it ever been, and the problems that plague it are not necessarily shared from one end of the region to the other. Effectively, he viewed the categorization of uniformity in the Middle East as a central problem that goes unrecognized by many Americans post-Cold War era.

Conversely, Ibish noted the interconnectedness of Middle Eastern states as kaleidoscopic and multi-faceted wherein “one small pattern shifts and the entire picture re-arranges itself.”

According to Ibish, one could spend an entire academic career examining one street battle in Kobani in Northern Syria and not exhaust the subject – analytically, philosophically, etc… “We need to widen the aperture, step back for a second and look at very big picture,” he said, “specifying that changes in the Middle East are often very closely linked together.”

Ibish dove into the subject by portraying the beginnings of the Arab Spring in 2011 and addressing the downfall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, a move that angered some of the Gulf States. He addressed the Syrian Conflict, citing it to have claimed between 200,000 and 400,000 lives, producing up to as many as 7,000,000 displaced refugees since the inception of civil unrest.

He noted these changes to be potentially destructive and therefore alarming. Ibish mentions unorganized street protests in Syria that have begun as peaceful that have catastrophically morphed into violent displays of rebellion – rebellion that became revolution. “Libya clearly had a revolution. I don’t believe there was one in Tunisia or Egypt or anywhere else,” says Ibish.

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Midterm Elections in Review: Looking Towards 2016

PBS-TurnoutThe midterm elections took place on Nov. 4, and resulted in an overwhelmingly low voter turnout rate at 36.4 percent of eligible voters, according to Time, marking the lowest turnout rate in 72 years for this type of election.

The party affiliation of participating voters is important to note. In this year's midterm elections, the majority of voters identified with the Republican Party.

Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, was not surprised by the voter turnout this year due to "a lack of trust in the government today." He also acknowledged Obama's extremely low approval rating of 40 percent according to a November 2014 poll by Gallup. This lack of trust in the government today could signal citizens losing interest in voting in elections.

Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, associate professor of political science, said, "This is the second term, so the current president will not be running in 2016." He added that despite having won two presidential terms, the Democratic Party lacks the support and resources one would expect after eight years of presidency.

Additionally, the Democratic Party is aware the second term for Obama will be over in just two years and as such is not as motivated to vote during the midterm elections. The Republican Party, on the other hand, is in full speed to get the presidency back under Republican power.

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Two Monmouth Debate Teams Make it to Playoff Round at West Virginia University Mountaineer

Debate-WVUWest Long Branch, NJ -

Two Monmouth University Debate Teams made it into the playoff round at the West Virginia University (WVU) tournament from Nov. 14 - 16. Dan Roman and Victoria Borges competed in the experienced division, earning victories against teams from James Madison University, New York University and Liberty University and made their way into the playoff round before losing on a 2-1 vote to another team from New York University.

The experienced division includes debaters on debate scholarships. Victoria Borges won an 8th place individual speaking award in the experienced division at the tournament. Sana Rashid and Ryan Kelly also made it into the playoff round in the novice division after going 4-2 before losing in the playoff round to a team from Liberty University.

The tournament included approximately 100 teams of two debaters from 17 universities including Vanderbilt University, University of Washington, James Madison University, New York University, Boston College University of Miami and West Point Military Academy. Each year, a topic is picked to be debated throughout the season.

The topic for this year is "Resolved: The United States should legalize all or nearly all of one or more of the following: marihuana, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, the sale of human organs." The Monmouth team created one case centering around human organ sales and another case focusing on prostitution.

Monmouth entered ten two person teams in the tournament, including: Dan Roman and Victoria Borges; Michelle Grushko and Saliha Younas; Sana Rashid and Ryan Kelly; Mike Kulik and Angela Ryan; Michael Hamilton and Samah Khalifa; Danielle Doud and Monica Santos; and Matt Toto and Mike Butkocy.

Six Monmouth debaters made their debating debut at this tournament including Ryan Henry and Victoria Garbutt, Nick Simonelli and Justin Okun, and Chris Summers and Katharine Dix. Monmouth alumni and former debaters Kelly Craig, Sam Maynard, Jessica Roberts and Dylan Maynard helped coach the teams and served as judges at the tournament.

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Let’s Talk Politics: The Government’s Influence on Daily Life

Politics is arguably a difficult topic to discuss. While referring to the overarching topic of "governance," politics has become a catch-all term, applicable to any subject matter. The politicization of daily institutions beyond the realm of government is a reality for the individual, who has to determine how he or she will allow organizational politics to impact him.

Is there a political structure to our daily lives? Consider a club or sport on campus. Group members have responsibilities that are directly linked to the roles they take. There are leadership roles, subgroups and external actors much like a political institution.

To better understand this perspective, let's look at educational departments. There are distinct levels of service within the group: department chairs, courses and professors, and students, each of which hold a distinct, but integral role to the entirety of the organization. These roles are comparable to that of various positions in America's political system, whether intentionally or not.

The department chairs can be viewed like executives (organizational leaders): governors, police chiefs, anyone who is tasked with being the leader of a larger organization.

Then there are subgroups, the individual course sections and their respective professors each of which can have the same final goal (being offered on the semester schedule), but have varying levels of interest in the way in which that goal is reached. In other words, each course will have different requirements for the students taking them, but all aspire for a place on the University schedule. Such positions resemble that of federal agencies, which constantly jockey for their own causes under the scope of the larger, unified government.

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TuNur Project Seeks to Import African Solar to U.K.

the-sierra-leone-telegraph-solar-fieldThe United Kingdom (UK) could see homes being powered by African solar energy as soon as 2018, according to reports by BBC.

The TuNur project, founded in 2011, aims to link Europe to the Sahara Desert through energy exports, as per the TuNur website.

While investors are only in the early stages of negotiation with the UK government, questions arise about feasibility of this project, and whether it will set the trend for the future of renewable energy.

Alan Steinberg, an adjunct professor of political science, said, "I think renewable energy is the way of the future. As the demand for renewable energy grows we should see an increase in its production." Steinberg however, noted that new discoveries of natural gas, such as those in the Leviathan gas field off the coast fo Israel may complicate the solar export business.

"Renewable energy is very expensive. Although it is a clean source of energy, nuclear energy is much more efficient than solar and wind." He continued, "Keep in mind that solar and wind also take up much more land than nuclear plants as well."

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Policy Actors Begin to Mobilize Facing Climate Change

broccolicity-global-warmingClimate change driven by the burning of fossil fuels is already affecting life on every continent and in the oceans, and the window is closing rapidly for governments to avert the worst damage expected to occur later this century, scientists warned in one of the loudest alarms yet sounded by the international scientific community.

Zak Fama, a sophomore history and political science major, said, "The US has grown too attached to fossil fuels to the point that the hunger for energy is beginning to outweigh even the safety of some parts of the population."

The report, issued Sunday, arrives as international negotiators prepare to meet in Lima, Peru, in Dec. to establish parameters for an eventual agreement on cutting heat-trapping emissions, a goal that has eluded the international community since talks began more than 20 years ago. Negotiators are aiming to sign a deal in Paris in December 2015.

Written by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, which regularly reviews and synthesizes the latest climate research, the report says there are more heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere than within the last 800,000 years, and that most of them came from the combustion of fossil fuels since the widespread industrialization of the late 1800s.

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Rethinking New Jersey’s Election System

Voter-Turnout-GallupNJ voters went to the polls yesterday, Nov. 4, voting on candidates as well as amendments to the state constitution.

According to NJ.com, in addition to candidates, voters will also decide on changes to constitutional rights to bail, as well as the creation of permanent funding for historic preservation.

Regardless of the topics on the ballot, voter turnout remains low, with Christie's re-election in 2013 seeing a 39.6 percent turnout, according to NJ.com.

The root of this problem is the lack of true competition in NJ elections. According to Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science and Sociology Department, the average reelection rate over the past 20 years is 95 percent, despite having a 10 percent approval from constituents.

Patten said, "Most districts in NJ and across the nation are gerrymandered, so we have very few competitive elections." Gerrymandering is the process of redrawing voting districts to favor certain parties or candidates.

He continued, "The way that you could have a 95 percent reelection rate in an institution with a 10 percent approval rate is that we don't have a lot of competition in our elections."

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Online Voting Lacks Security: Traditional Ballots Remain The Standard

Nevada's election chief says the state's much-ballyhooed new system for electronically delivering absentee ballots to troops and other citizens overseas isn't an "online" voting system, even if it offers those abroad the option of emailing marked ballots to county clerks.

But his boss, Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, described the system differently in testimony to Congress last year, boasting that it would allow voters abroad "to request, mark and deliver a ballot to their county without the need of a printer or a scanner."

The office of Pentagon Inspector General John Rymer is taking a hard look at systems like Nevada's to see whether they're violating a prohibition on the use of Defense Department grant money to create online voting systems, a spokeswoman for Rymer said. The prohibition was spurred by concerns that those systems are vulnerable to hackers.

Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, chairman of a House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel, and the panel's ranking Democrat, California Rep. Susan Davis, wrote to Rymer last June requesting "a full and thorough investigation" to determine whether they're designed to return votes electronically.

So far, the Inspector General's office said, Rymer has ordered only an "assessment" of whether grant recipients are skirting the rules; a review not previously disclosed.

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Monmouth University Mock Trial Competes in First

Mock-TrialWest Long Branch, NJ- Monmouth University's Mock Trial (MUMT) team competed in their first invitational tournament this past weekend, the Market Street Invitational Tournament, hosted by Drexel University. The invitational involved 26 teams from 16 universities.

The students competed in four rounds (twice as plaintiffs and twice as defendants) in a mock civil case involving the unfortunate accidental shooting of an 11-year-old by her friend. Students in attorney roles represented the parents in this fictitious case of Park v. Duran; other students played challenging witness roles ranging from the next-door neighbor, clinical child psychologists and the parties (parents) themselves!

Monmouth's team finished the tournament with one of the highest Combined Strength scores, which means MUMT competed against some of the highest ranked teams. In each round, MUMT had at least one attorney and, witness rank in the top two. Co-captain Iziah Thompson finished the tournament with 16 out of a possible 20 ranks for his defense attorney role, and veteran team member Stephen Lang finished with 14 at of a possible 20 ranks for his portrayal of the defendant child who allegedly caused the accidental shooting.

The competition was one of several fall semester invitationals offered to prepare students for the competitive American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) tournament structure starting in February of 2015. The team will next compete at the Third Annual "Hooter" Invitational hosted by Temple University on November 15 and 16.

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Demonstrating for Democracy

Mock-TrialProtest leaders continue to demonstrate in Hong Kong Central, which began in Sept., according to BBC.com. Thousands of protestors flood the streets in opposition to the Chinese government's influence on elections.

According to Dr. Peter Liu, professor of criminal justice, the protestors in Hong Kong are demonstrating against regulations that were made by the mainland Chinese government in Beijing regarding Hong Kong's 2017 standing committee election. The protestors are mainly comprised of college students that are calling for direct democracy.

Although Hong Kong is part of China, it differs from the mainland government. Liu said that the difference between mainland China and Hong Kong goes back to a war fought in 1840 between the Chinese and Great Britain. Great Britain ultimately won this war, forcing China to give up Hong Kong.

In 1897, another war was fought over the land and China lost once more. Hong Kong remained a British colony until 1997, when they decided to give land back to China under the condition that they would let Hong Kong keep their own laws and capitalist system of government, to which China agreed.

Since 1997, Hong Kong has kept its political system independent of China. Liu called it "one country, two systems."

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University’s Debate Team Makes it to Playoff

Debate-photo-3WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ - The Monmouth University Debate Team reached the playoff round at the West Point Military Academy tournament this weekend (October 17-19, 2014). Sana Rashid and Francesca Vaccaro made it into the playoff round before losing to a team from Cornell University. Team Captains Dan Roman and Michelle Grushko also went 3-3 while debating in the experienced division that includes scholarship debaters.

The tournament included approximately 100 teams of two debaters from 20 universities including Cornell University, University of Washington, James Madison University, New York University, Boston College and NYU to name a few. Each year, a topic is picked to be debated throughout the year. The topic for this year is "Resolved: The United States should legalize all or nearly all of one or more of the following in the United States: marihuana, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, the sale of human organs." The Monmouth team created one case centering around human organ sales and another case focusing on prostitution.

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Thomas Gallagher Speaks at University

Gallagher-at-podium-credit-to-Chris-SpiegelStudents and faculty welcomed alumnus Thomas P. Gallagher in Wilson Auditorium on Oct. 8, prior to Gallagher accepting the Distinguished Alumni Award at Monmouth's 81st Founderss Day celebration. Gallagher, a graduate from the Class of 1962, held a presentation in which he discussed his experiences after leaving Monmouth, specifically those involving his civil service.

A former political science major, Gallagher made an early commitment to civil service, joining the inaugural group of Peace Corps volunteers. He recalled, "Five days after I graduated from Monmouth, I hopped in a plane in Newark to Georgetown University to start my Peace Corps training."

Eventually, his volunteer work transitioned into a full time position, and Gallagher began working in the U.S. State Department. At this point in his career, Gallagher became well aware of the risk involved in humanitarian work. In 1967, he was stationed in Saudi Arabia during the Six-Day war, which saw every US embassy attacked, except for his.

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Student Loan Interest Rates Reach A Dead End

occupy-student-loanSenator Elizabeth Warren's "Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act", proposed in May 2014 was shot down. The bill sought to "allow most individuals with student loans (both federal and private) to refinance those loans into new federal direct loans at interest rates specified in the bill," according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The proposal was voted down by Senate Republicans who claimed the bill was a political move, pitting students against the wealthy. This is because of the provision within the bill in which the drop in interest will be covered by the wealthiest Americans.

During summer 2013, Congress almost allowed the interest to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The outcome was an interest rate fixed on a 10 year treasury note. This was seen as compromise by the parties, but did not begin to address the growing problem of student debt.

According to Businessweek, students who take out loans at 7.1 percent interest, owe in aggregate 1.2 trillion dollars, owing an average of 30,000 dollars each. The U.S. Government clears four billion dollars each year from student loans.

Private lenders, however, can raise interest rates as high as 20 percent. The picture is clearly a dismal one for college students as well as graduates. How could it get this bad for students, when there was a time an American could work his way through college?

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Christie Vetoes Smoking Ban at Beaches and Parks

Christie-BelmarNJ Governor Chris Christie vetoed bill S1772 that would ban smoking from public parks and limit smoking at beaches across NJ on Sept. 10. According to NJ.com, the bill, which had overwhelming support in both houses of the New Jersey State Legislature, proposed that violators would receive a $250 fine for a first offense, $500 for the second, and id="mce_marker",000 for a third offense.

According to NJ.com, the bill received a lot of admiration from environmentalists and anti-smoking advocates because they believe that it will prevent second-hand smoke, reduce liter, and prevent fires.

Dr. Laura Jannone, Chair of the Department of Nursing, said, "Passive smoking is divided into mainstream and sidestream smoke. Mainstream smoke is the smoke exhaled by the smoker. Sidestream smoke is the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette. Both cause increased cases of lung cancer, type 2 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis."

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially declared second-hand smoke a carcinogen in 1993. Also smoker's children are more likely to get respiratory infections. Jannone said, "It is surprising the Governor would veto this when so many communities in NJ and across the country have already banned smoking in public places."

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Debate Season Opener: Hawks Prep for West Point

MU-DebateThe 2015 policy debate season is in full swing, as the Monmouth University Debate Hawks are preparing for their first tournament at the US Military Academy in West Point, NY.

Specifically, policy debate is a competition in which teams face off to implement change regarding a pre-established debate topic. The topics, known as resolutions in the debate world, guide teams in crafting plans that are presented during competition, with the hope of winning the judge's favor and getting passed.

This year, debaters are preparing cases involving the legalization of one, some or all of the following: marihuana, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, and/or the sale of human organs.

In addition to offering policy debate as a club, Monmouth also incorporates the program as a semester long course, which aspires to bring in new debaters to teach them about competitive debate. The team, advised by Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology has approximately 35 members debating this season.

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Supreme Court Reopens Same-Sex Marriage

gay-marriage-nypostSame-sex marriage is returning to the Supreme Court quietly, for now, but soon enough with a shout.

The court's nine justices will meet privately on Monday to consider hundreds of petitions for the upcoming new term. The most anticipated of them would test whether the Constitution encompasses a right of same-sex couples to marry.

"It's inevitable at this point that the court will recognize marriage equality," said David Cole, a liberal professor at Georgetown University Law Center. "The question is when."

In truth, other key questions include who, which, how and how far?

Specifically: Who will argue the cases and, perhaps, reap the glory? Which state bans, in particular, will be the focus? How will the court reason in its final decision, and how far will the decision-making extend?

During their "long conference," which precedes the Oct. 6 start of the court's new term, the justices will consider seven petitions involving state bans on same-sex marriage. Lower appellate courts struck down the marriage restrictions in Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin.

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Campaign Finance Revitalized? Senate Halts Reform

On Monday, Sept. 8, the US Senate missed allowing a vote to propose a Constitutional amendment to create limits on campaign spending by corporations. The amendment would overturn the 2014 Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC which held that individuals could donate an unlimited amount of funds to campaigns, according to the Federal Election Committee’s website.

This amendment was unanimously rejected by Senate Republicans on Thursday, September 11. According to freepressonline.com, the amendment was sponsored by Democrat Tom Udall of New Mexico. The amendment would grant Congress and the states the power to regulate the amount of spending on campaigns from Super Political Action Committees (Super PACs).

Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science and Sociology Department said, “[Super PACs are] a new type of political action committee created after the “Citizens United” and “Speechnow” Supreme Courts cases in 2010 which allows PACs to now raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations and unions and spend unlimited amounts of money in political campaigns.”

He continued, “This is worrisome to many because wealthy individuals and organizations can now give unlimited amounts of “dark money” (unknown funding sources) and can have a disproportionate influence over individual races.”

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Political Science Welcomes Dr. Stephen Chapman

The Outlook spoke with Dr. Stephen Chapman, Assistant Professor of Political Science.

The Outlook: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Chapman: Well, I grew up in Pennsylvania. I’m a native of Easton, PA which is only about an hour and a half from here. I did my graduate work at Binghamton University in upstate New York and now I’m here so I’m pretty proud I kept in the tri-state area.

Other than that I’m a big baseball fan, a big Phillies fan. I like to have fun when I can. I like to have a good time, which I try to transfer to my classroom atmosphere. I didn’t want to have a rigid professor-student line. I prefer to have it more fluid.

The Outlook: What drew you to Monmouth University?

Chapman: I knew when I started my graduate work that I wanted to end up at a liberal arts university. I knew that I loved teaching. It’s really more about what I can do for the student than for my own gravitas.

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A Documentary, America’s Backyard: Columbia

The Longest Drug War

Untitled-1We live in a world where communication is vital. The problem we face is the lack of communication between two groups. Whether allies or enemies, there is often a miscommunication somewhere between them that will catapult into a huge problem.

In Columbia, there are two groups: the guerrillas and the parliamentarians.

The drug war in Columbia has gone on for over 20 years. The guerrillas are screaming "let us grow and cultivate our coco plants" while the other in the interest of public safety is trying to get rid of them with any means necessary. Instead of the parliamentarians diplomatically engaging the opposition, the peasants/guerrillas get their plants mutilated.

There is a misconception that if something needs to be curtailed; guns and military officers are sent in to deal with it. Why jump to that right of the bat? why not have that difficult conversation and get a compromise worked out?

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New Jersey Kicks Off Sports Gambling

Monmouth Park Will Soon Expand Its Gambling Selection

Untitled3The Christie Administration took an initiative to revitalize the struggling casino industry by enabling casinos and horse tracks to permit sports gambling. The directive, allows gambling institutions to maintain sports pools "without criminal or civil liability," and was issued Sept. 9, according to the Governor's website.

Betting on sports teams does have some guidelines. First, wagering is prohibited on any of New Jersey's amateur athletics organizations. Adding to this, the directive prevents wagering on any teams that are playing within the state. For example, if the Duke Blue Devils play a basketball game at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, betting is prohibited. However, if the same team plays in North Carolina, betting is permitted.

According to Dr. John Buzza, specialist professor of business, sports wagering could provide a much needed boost to faltering NJ casinos. Buzza said, "My feeling is that sports wagering is simply another way for the general public to spend their disposable income in a gambling mode. Will it have impact on the casinos? For sure!"

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Two Journalists Dead, Now ISIS Threatens Russia

What's is Russia's Next Move?

Untitled2In wake of the beheadings of two American journalists by the radical Islamist group, ISIS, also known as the Islamic State or ISIL,- news outlets from around the country and even the world have been covering America's response, led by President Barrack Obama, to quell the new threat. With all the talk of President Obama's handling of the situation, ISIS has also challenged a familiar American foe, Vladimir Putin, and Russia.

According to CBS Washington D.C. local, on August 31 saying, "Vladimir Putin, these are the Russian planes that you sent to Bashar. Allah willing, we will take them back to your own turf, and liberate Chechnya and the Caucasus, Allah willing. Your throne is being threatened by us."

ISIS's threat to Russia is especially interesting considering the recent tension between American President Barrack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russian aggression in the Ukraine. In this case, will the enemy of our enemy be our friend?

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Obama Delays Immigration Plan

President Barack Obama made the decision to abstain from any immigration executive action until after the midterm elections On September 7. This caused a backlash in the Latino Community by contradicting promises Obama made earlier this summer.

During a speech on June 30, Obama said, "Today, I am beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can, on my own, without Congress."

Obama reiterated the same idea during a naturalization ceremony in July at the White House. He stated, "I'm going to keep doing everything I can to make our immigration system smarter and more efficient."

Obama said this after ending a week during which he slammed congressional republicans for inaction on immigration reform and promised to take executive actions. "We're going to have to fix our immigration system, which is broken, and pass common sense immigration reform. We shouldn't be making it harder for the best and the brightest to come here. We should be making it easier."

Obama explained why this changed during an interview on Meet the Press in September. "What I am saying is that I am going to act because it's the right thing for the country. But it's going to be more sustainable and more effective if the public understands what the facts are on immigration, what we have done on unaccompanied children, and why it's necessary. The truth of the matter is, the politics did shift mid-summer because of that problem."

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U.S. Kills Top Somali Terrorist; Islamic State Leaders Next, Obama Says

droneattack1An American air assault killed the head of an al-Qaida-linked Somali terrorist group in East Africa earlier this week, Pentagon officials said Friday.

Ahmed Abdi Godane, who led the al-Shabab terror network and had a $7 million U.S. bounty on his head, was killed Monday in an attack by both drones and piloted planes.

"Removing Godane from the battlefield is a major symbolic and operational loss to al-Shabab," Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said Friday, confirming that the Somalia terror kingpin had died in the assault.

A buoyed President Barack Obama on Friday warned leaders of the Islamic State, which has terrorized portions of Iraq and Syria, that they will suffer the same fate as Godane and Osama bin Laden.

Using Washington policymakers' preferred acronym for the Islamic State, Obama, on the final day of the NATO summit in Wales, said: "We are going to degrade and defeat ISIL, the same way that we have gone after al-Qaida, the same way we have gone after the al-Qaida affiliate in Somalia, where we have just released today the fact that we have killed the leader of al-Shabab in Somalia and have consistently worked to degrade their operations."

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U.S. Journalism Goes Abroad: The Islamic State

ismapThe Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has beheaded a second American journalist within the past two weeks. In addition to the loss of James Foley 40, Steven Sotloff 31, has become a victim of international politics.

According to Reuters, Foley covered topics such as public demonstrations in Aleppo, Syria, just as Sotloff "spent years in the Middle East writing for publications including Time and Foreign Policy" as per the Wall Street Journal.

On Saturday May 31, 2014, the White House administration facilitated an exchange with Taliban terrorists, a deal involving Bowe Bergdahl and five detainees at Guantanamo.

The US Government has an inherent stake in protecting troops abroad, no such protection exists for journalists. Dr. Eleanor Novek, professor of communication said, "Organizations like the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders attempt to raise public awareness and support for journalists in danger zones around the world. But these are nonprofit groups with limited funds."

The problem becomes even more specific when dealing with freelance journalists, as in the case of Foley and Sotloff.

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Two Perspectives: The Hillside Rat Slayer Part 2

the-rat-slayer-of-hillside-nj-d18b686c78a85e65Frank Balun, who was a resident of Hillside, NJ, was an aerial gunner in World War II. He actually survived his plane getting shot down in battle. He has received multiple metals for his service and is a war hero. However, if you googled his name the first thing that would come up would be "the Rat Slayer." The decorated World War II veteran will go down in history as the infamous "Rat Slayer."

So how did this happen? Well 20 years ago. Balun was tending to his garden and noticed a rat was poking around. So he killed it.Well he wound up getting charged for it and wound up on the cover of the New York Times and other newspapers as well. He was faced with id="mce_marker",250 in fines and could've spent a possibility of six months in jail.

The fight against Balun was led by the Humane Society which was led by Lee Bernstein at the time. Bernstein's overreaction and strict policy on animal cruelty only made things worse. According to a Star Ledger article, Bernstein had his lawn littered with muskrat and chicken parts. At one point someone actually nailed a rodent to a cross with a tomato in its mouth and put it on Bernstein's lawn. So if Bernstein's goal was to prevent animal cruelty, it didn't work out that well. Angelo Bonanno, a former administrator for the Hillside Health Department, said, "We encourage people to kill rats because they carry disease."

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Two Perspectives: The Hillside Rat Slayer Part 1

Recently you may have heard of a case being brought back into the spotlight by Andrew Ruvuolo's documentary, that accounts an event dating back to August 1994 "The Rat Slayer of Hillside".Frank Balun, 69-year-old resi-dent of Hillside and the owner of a garden filled with various types of jersey tomatoes, had an issue with rats constantly eating his crop. In lack of being able to get pest con-trol to come to his house, he took matters into his own hands and took a broom several times to the rat resulting in its death. Balun's Court Summons cour-tesy of the Newark Humane So-ciety's Lee Bernstein stopped this common man dealing with a pest in his tracks.That's when things took a turn to Balun's rise in fame as the rat killer.The municipal court was filled with 150 people, Balun's prosecutor Chris Howard, The Judge Albert Parsonnett and Humane Societies, Lee Bernstein, Balun risked gaining fines up to 1,250 dollars and six months in jail, caused by killing a rat. Which looking from afar appears absurd in this day in age looking back at 1994, because of today's privacy rights. But, analyzing beyond the surface I think it should be em-phasized that a " Nuisance animal or any animal deserves a quick and painless death" According to The Inquirer. Taking into ac-count the importance of his prized tomatoes, it still shouldn't give someone the go ahead to beat an animal.In the time this case was brought to rise things were blown way out of proportion, while it is important to exercise your rights to freedom of speech, I don't think it was nec-essary to place the crucified body of a muskrat a cherry tomato in its mouth, on the front lawn of Ber-stein's home in the Union Beach, Monmouth County," according to The Inquirer, a present from the fans of Balun to state their opin-ion.This should be looked at through the lens of sensibility, think about what would happen if we all took the standpoint that "the world all of us if even a rat mattered." The Inquirer. I hope you take a moment to think about the pests, wouldn't we want to be killed as painless and humanely as possible.

Case Study: Ferguson, Missouri Part 2

Rioting, looting and violence are not the means by which to unify a community. Every time I hear about Ferguson, MO, I get flashbacks to eerily similar occurrences. First it's spring time 1992 in Los Angeles. Next it's winter 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Then later that year it's Anaheim, California. In all four of these cases there are intrinsic relationships: Rodney King (L.A), Trayvon Martin (Florida), Manuel Diaz (Anaheim) and Michael Brown (Ferguson) were all members of minority communities.

Similarly, the harm caused to these individuals created spates of violence that served to fragment communities along ethnic boarders. The examination of these cases is not to trivialize the matter of police brutality, the lives lost to dispute the facts of the cases. However such an examination does call forth scrutiny of the public reaction towards these cases.

When Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown midday August 9, 2014 in Missouri, he ignited a wave of riots the first day of which, according to the USA Today, culminated with 30 people arrested. Schools closed, business owners were in fear and civil unrest mounted. Sound familiar?

This same scenario occurred over the course of a week in 1992 Los Angeles. Following the beating of Rodney King by a group of LAPD officers in March, the city waited on the trial results for nearly two months. Fast forward to April 29, 1992 and the city sees the acquittal of the four officers charged with Rodney King's beating, sparking days of violence and interracial conflict.

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Case Study: Ferguson, Missouri Part 1

ferguson1Trust—it goes without saying that populous cities like Cincinnati, where the death of Timothy Thomas incited public outrage in 2001, or in Ferguson, where teenager Michael Brown was shot in an altercation with an officer. Trust has been replaced with fear in these very troubled cities. People fear officers who take to the streets with little oversight. Driven by aggressive policies of leaders trying to deal with high crime rates, police fear the people they have sworn to protect. As Paul Butler of the New York Times put it, they have become "armed agents who feel unaccountable to citizens." Left behind are citizens who would rather ignore the stench of marijuana on their own corners, and never dial 911 for fear of harassment. Left behind are a majority of good cops who are looked upon as the enemy in places where they are needed the most.

This summer when an unarmed teen was shot by an officer, there was a barrage of actions and reactions as more and more details on the event were revealed. A lack of transparency initially incited outrage including activists, students, and ferguson's supporters. Outrage began as peaceful protest, but the protests were overshadowed by riots. Riots were met with force as the nation watched on. The looting, protest and force used by police may have sent shivers through those who are old enough to remember the race riots of the 60's. From New York to Chicago, discriminant police brutality, and the death of Martin Luther King culminated in days of violence. Though it is interesting to note, while Washington, Chicago, and others cities burned, St. Louis remained the calm city sitting by the Mississippi. The Michael Brown shooting appears to be more or less "the last straw". Arrest numbers increase every day as social media is flooded with pictures and videos of cops in Avon. Along with these pictures, there were others of people running out of stores with goods in their hands. In a place where the Department of Defense deemed it necessary to equip the police with a MRPS, a 16 ton military vehicle that got it's name protecting soldiers from mines in the Rhodesian Bush war, there is a problem. When blacks make up less than two thirds of the driving age population, but account for 85 percent of the police stops, there is a problem. Is rioting really the fix Ferguson needs?

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“Every New Beginning is Some Beginning’s End” | Christopher Orlando's Senior Goodbye

My journey at The Outlook started with Casey Wolfe (whom you’ll meet later) and I deciding to go to the Involvement Fair. I was a sophomore and she was a freshman, both of us looking to get involved. I ended up talking to Dr. Patten who introduced me to Sandra and I never looked back.

Joining The Outlook gave me a feeling of belonging from the very beginning. As a contributing and staff writer, there was always someone who was willing to chat or help with a story. As the politics editor, I had to learn journalism and leadership in a very short amount of time and finally as managing editor this year. Outlook became my home away from home and my second family. I saw three different editorial staffs come and go and never quite thought I would get to that point but now I have and there are a lot of people I need to thank.

My Family

Mom and Dad: I would not be in this position without your constant love and support. I remember when I first told you I was going to start writing for the newspaper and despite never doing it before, you both told me to give it a try. As always, you both gave great advice and always had my back which I could never thank you enough for. Your best advice was to learn as much as possible while in college and I can honestly say I learned more about myself than I did out of a textbook and for that I am very grateful.

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“Here’s Looking at You Monmouth” | Jessica Roberts' Senior Goodbye

Real World, I Think This Is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Goodbye is such a bittersweet concept, especially when put in the terms of a graduation. On one hand, you are excited about the next step in life, for whatever that may be, a great unknown that you have never experienced before. Yet on the other hand you are leaving a place that has become a home to you over the years, and with the family like ties that have been formed with friends with that home. Suddenly you begin to see everything as if it is the first time, the cafeteria food suddenly tastes slightly better, the squirrels much cuter and the landscape even appears slightly greener.

My experience at Monmouth has been an excellent one. Every year brought about something different, with new faces and fun stories. However, I would not have been able to experience any of it without the support of my parents. They have been my backbone throughout my life, and always inspired me to just “do my best.” Without them I most certainly could not have had the experience I have here at Monmouth, and I am forever grateful for them for the experience.

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An Interview on the State of Argentina: Past, Present and Future

Dr. Kenneth Mitchell is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Monmouth University. Having completed a PhD in Politics at Oxford University, his extensive knowledge on Latin American Politics is evident through his instruction of PS 275 Latin American Politics and PS 398 Argentine Politics.

Outlook: Let’s begin with the crisis. The increase in crime, and most recently the violence seen in headlines about Argentina. When did this happen, and what could be to blame?

Mitchell: Well, crime in Argentina, it’s important to note, has never been at American levels of crime. There are a couple of [key] things about what’s going on right now in Argentina.

Number one - It is fairly difficult to collect accurate data on whether crime really is spiraling, because of what happened in January. See each year in Argentina police and others such as teachers negotiate a contract. Now Argentina suffers from 25 percent inflation, and contract negotiations take into account whether the inflation will get worse over the next year, if not your losing money. Now, what happened was the police negotiated hard, but the government wasn’t going to meet their demands. So the police went on strike. Imagine that, police across a country go on strike. There’s no police officers.

Outlook: Wow.

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Congresswoman Proposes Legislation to Toughen Laws Against Sexual Assult on College Campuses

A California congresswoman has announced plans to introduce federal legislation to toughen laws against what she called an epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.

In an appearance at the University of California at Berkeley this month, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, said she would press for more aggressive action against sexual assault with increased funding for federal investigators, annual campus surveys and more comprehensive data on the outcomes of cases.

She also said she would seek to require universities to interview students who file complaints of sexual misconduct, addressing widespread concerns about inadequate investigations.

“The prevalence of sexual assault on campuses is an epidemic,” Speier said in an interview. “It’s going to take money, resources, enforcement and a dramatic change in the culture” to fix.

Speier met with media along with six UC Berkeley students who have filed complaints with the federal government against the university in the last year, alleging a failure to adequately handle their cases.

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Monmouth University Poll Explains “Obamacare” and Its Impact on New Jersey

A poll from the Monmouth University Polling Institute found that 45 percent of New Jerseyans support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while 49 percent oppose it. After compiling the data of 803 respondents between March 30 and April 1, the poll detailed the Garden State’s response to essential questions dealing with the efficacy of both governmental figures, as well as the ACA itself

But what is the Affordable Care Act? According to the American Public Health Association the program is national health reform, which seeks to “expand [health] coverage to 25 million Americans by 2023.” By providing increased coverage throughout the nation, the plan aims to rectify the high rate of uninsured Americans, of whom the Congressional Budget Office estimated there were 57 million in 2013.

Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said that despite the statistics, New Jersey residents are still more confident about the ACA than residents from other states.

Murray said, “You have to keep in mind that New Jerseyans are a little more positive about Obamacare than the nation as a whole. They are just not as positive as they were before the enrollment period began in October.” Much of the negativity towards the policy stemmed from the faulty launch of the ACA’s website in October 2013.

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Hobby Lobby Case: Should Contraceptives Be Covered Under Health Insurance? Pt.2

As some of you may know (or may not know) the Supreme Court is hearing a case that could potentially give corporations the right to refuse some, or even all contraceptive services, on the basis that it is against their religious rights. When the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) went into effect, health insurance companies were required to cover all forms of birth control. As per the law, religious non-profits were exempted from having to provide birth control through their offered health care plans. The Hobby Lobby, a for profit organization, brought the case to court because the CEOs are conservative Christians, and they object to IUDs and the morning after pill, saying that they are forms of abortion because they prevent life from forming, according to NPR. The Supreme Court is expected to reach a decision in June.

Now that you have the facts, let me state my case. I severely hope that the Supreme Court will not find in favor of The Hobby Lobby. I am not saying this because I am a liberal; I am saying this because I am a woman, and I have rights too. The HIPPA (Human Information Privacy Protocols Act) laws state that I do not have to share any health information. My doctor cannot share any health information, unless I sign a waiver that says someone like my mother, father or sister can be informed, according to HHS.gov. What The Hobby Lobby case is asking for is for me to reveal private health information. My employer does not need to know whether or not I use any form of birth control. That information is between me, my doctor, and my significant other.

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Hobby Lobby Case: Should Contraceptives Be Covered Under Health Insurance? Pt.1

Here we go again, yet another “Obamacare” controversy and another case of the federal government treating the Constitution like its toilet paper. On March 25, the Supreme Court heard its oral arguments from the owners of Hobby Lobby and the federal government. The issue is that the owners of Hobby Lobby are forced under the Obamacare mandate, to pay for contraceptives in their employees’ health insurance. The mandate includes 20 forms of government approved contraceptives. The Green family is against covering four of those forms of contraceptives because they believe that they are similar to abortion, which is against their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby’s opposition argues that the company itself is violating the rights of its employees but that is not the case. In fact, the owners of Hobby Lobby’s rights are the ones being infringed upon and here’s why.

The first two clauses of the First Amendment state “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Clearly this law violates the Free Exercise Clause. Hobby Lobby is a privately owned business which gives the owners the right to run it how they please, as long as it goes along with federal regulations. The Obamacare mandate is, of course, a federal regulation. However, the difference between this regulation and any other regulation like minimum wage, discrimination, or child labor laws is that none of these actually require anyone to go against their religious beliefs.

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GUC Event: “I Want to Commit a Crime But in Which Nation, The USA, China or Japan”

fingerprint-through-magnifying-glassDr. Peter Lui, associate professor of criminal justice and Chair of the Criminal Justice Department hosted a Classroom Colloquium called, I Want to Commit a Crime, But in Which Nation, The USA, China,or Japan.

Lui ran it, playing it off like he was a criminal to grab the attention of the room. Lui said, "I don't want to be caught if I commit a crime. Or if I did commit the crime I don't want to be punished or severely punished." Then several crimes were brought up in depth by several different groups of students.

The first crime was brought up by a student Jenna, whose topic was drug relations. According to the presentation, the U.S. was the easiest place to commit this crime.

The U.S has such a high amount of plea bargaining that is done because of the back-up in cases, rarely anyone gets off with jail time and even less so with the death penalty.

However, it was expressed clearly that if a citizen was found carrying above a certain petty amount of a drug, their jail time was heightened by 10-20 years, more for every upgrade in amount of the drug.

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Hobby Lobby Case Could Have Impact on Contraceptives and Health Insurance

hobby-lobby-cartoonThe Supreme Court heard the oral arguments of Hobby Lobby, a national chain of crafts stores based in Oklahoma City, and its opposition. The debate started in September of 2012 when the Green family, who are the devout Christian owners of Hobby Lobby and other members of the company, filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Oklahoma.

According to PBS.org, the suit argued against the mandate by the Affordable Care Act and the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) which requires companies to include coverage of 20 forms of government approved contraceptives in their health insurance.

The owners of Hobby Lobby reject four of the contraceptive methods because they believe they work like forms of abortion. They also argue that their religious rights have been violated by the mandate because it forces them to take part of something that they believe goes against their faith. Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby said an interview with PBS that, "This is an issue of life. We cannot be a part of taking life. To be in a situation where our government is telling us we have to be is incredible."

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The Supreme Court Got it Right

McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission Case Debated

free_speech_cartoonCapitalism underpins the greatest freedoms in the United States. The goal of earning individual profits is inherent in a free society, with personal gain acting as a motivator in a fluid class structure. As it relates to the recent decision of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Committee, the Supreme Court opted to protect the capitalistic rights of the individual, voting against the campaign finance limits set forth by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The act, according to fec.gov, sought to limit campaign contributions made by individuals so as to fight corruption within the political sphere.

However, as it was aptly reasoned by Chief Justice John Roberts, restrictions on an individual's campaign contributions immediately strikes against First Amendment protections regarding the freedom of speech. In Roberts' opinion, he elaborated that as it pertains to political speech, "The First Amendment safeguards an individual's right to participate in the public debate through political expression and public association. When an individual contributes money to a candidate, he exercises both of those rights."

By striking down campaign contribution limits, the Supreme Court is making the political world more accessible to the average person. Expressing one's political views requires an audience willing to listen. And despite the advent of the internet and social media, a captive audience is difficult to come by, considering the availability of conflicting ideas and opinions. Thus, in line with the United States' representative democracy, political campaign contributions are the best opportunity for those dedicated to political expression to convey their ideas by supporting the candidates who represent them.

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The Supreme Court Got it Wrong

McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission Case Debated

democracy-not-for-saleOn April 2 the Supreme Court came down with the most recent ruling on campaign finance. The outcome: an end to longstanding aggregate limits on campaign contributions. McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission brings the biggest change in free speech through campaign finance since the Citizens United decision in 2010. What exactly we regard as free speech has been subject to definitional expansion. First Amendment protection of ripping draft cards and protesting funerals of gay veterans has given us one of the most politically expressive societies in the modern world. The question at hand is, whether or not spending money in our political process is an act of political expression.

Our Supreme Court justices voted 5-4 that indeed it is, in an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts. The holding was that aggregate spending contributions do not meet the "rigorous" standards of review used to rule on corruption in prior cases on campaign finance. Simply put, five justices think that putting a cap on how much someone gives overall to PACs, political parties, and directly to candidates is unconstitutional.

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The Story Behind TOMS Shoes

Various companies have been favoring the business tactic of "buy one, give one", meaning a customer buys the product, and the company donates an equivalent item to someone in need. However, there has been a split view on how much this really helps the ones in need.

TOMS Shoes has been known to be one of the very first companies to do this "for-profit" method. They call this the "One for One." While on a trip volunteering outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the company's founder Blake Mycoskie noticed a lack of shoes not only in Argentina but also in other developing countries and how this was a bigger problem than it seemed. He then created this company where if one consumer buys a pair of shoes, another pair of shoes is donated to a third world country. With the launch of the company in May 2006, TOMS sold more than 10,000 pairs of shoes in the first six months. The initial batch of free shoes was distributed in Oct. 2006 to Argentine children.

Since then, the canvas shoes have been given to children in 40 countries worldwide, including the U.S. and have given away over 1 million pairs. Since then, many other companies have picked up this idea such as Warby Parker. For every pair of glasses a customer buys from Warby Parker they cover the cost of sourcing and producing a second pair of glasses for partners like the social enterprise VisionSpring, and Kno Clothing, who donate articles of clothing to someone in need.

Companies like these have given the opportunity for consumers to give back in such a simple way. "There isn't much more to it than that," Neil Blumenthal, a co-founder of Warby Parker said. "That's the beauty of it." According to a Cone Communication Public Relations & Marketing study, 80 percent of Americans are likely to switch brands, if comparable in price and quality, to one that supports a social cause.

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Formation of Collegiate Athletic Union May Take Focus Away from Academic Education

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Chicago ruled that the Northewestern University football players have the right to unionize on Wednesday March 26th.

This movement was started back in January when the former quarterback, Kain Colter, announced that he and several other Northwestern football players would like to join the Labor Union. The NLRB approved the players request and ruled that full scholarship athletes at Northwestern are employees of the school and have the right to form a union, according to CBS Chicago.

However, the players are not necessarily looking for compensation but rather have a say in health issues and benefits for college athletes.

The NLRB’s ruling has been subject to controversial debate around the country and amongst college athletes. Sophomore football player at Monmouth University, Keone Osby, agrees with the movement saying, “I think it’s good that they’re pushing to unionize because it will allow athletes to voice their opinions and be heard.”

Tyler Saito, a sophomore baseball player for Monmouth said, “Scholarships are enough.” He continued to say that the players union will, “take away from the game.”

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McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission Decision Changes Campaign Finance Laws

The Supreme Court struck down the federal law on campaign contributions in the case, McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission. Only leaving a cap on donations to a single candidate on April 2nd.

Dr. Jospeh Patten, Chair of the Political Science and Sociology Department said that the case, removed the $123,000 cap on campaign contributions for individuals and corporations.

According to Patten, “That includes contributions to candidate Political Action Committee (PACs) and parties. What the decision did is removed the cap so now an individual can contribute $3.5 million if they spread it to the PACs party and candidate. Similar way to the other case. its trending toward where the court that takes away primary of general give to all my members of Congress to PACs.”

Patten said in regards to the cap of $2,600 for single candidate donations, “It’s trending to where it will be overturned. Will it actually happen? We shall see. Although this is a very controversial ruling among the people it had nowhere near the same reaction as Citizen vs. United case.”

Patten explains that, “The Citizen United case was more provocative in getting public backlash. This current case is another case about big money having a voice but I don’t think it will have the same kind reaction from the public.”

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What Does the World Think of American Politics?

An article on The Washington Post recently published a map of  “Who Loves and Hates America: A revealing map of global opinion toward the U.S.,” which broke down various countries approval rating of America.

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, professor of political science and Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, said, “There are those who are happy to live in their own countries and who do not wish to immigrate. There are also those who are unhappy in their own countries, who wish to immigrate, but cannot for various reasons.”

Sarsar continued, “Still, there are those who feel disaffected and have a negative view of U.S. policies abroad, while they have positive views of the American people. In particular are policies that they interpret or misinterpret as biased, expansionistic, or self-serving. For instance, more than a few Middle Easterners are suspicious of U.S. policies towards authoritarian regimes, as well as U.S. actual or perceived conflict with Muslim-majority countries.”

The Washington Post article continues to discribe the countries that do have a sense of approval for the U.S. “So who seems to like America? It's a long list – longer than you might expect. America scores similar favorability ratings in a few countries we might assume, wrongly, don't like us so much: Mexico, despite U.S. immigration policies targeting Mexicans, and Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has pushed some populist anti-Americanism. We are also moderately liked in the post-Soviet state of Ukraine, in Brazil and in the United Kingdom. I thought we'd be more popular in the U.K., where politicians make a big deal out of the special relationship with Washington.”

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New Jersey State Legislature Promotes Town Mergers, Could West Long Branch Be Next?

New Jersey’s municipalities are facing pressure to consolidate as the state legislature seeks to rekindle the argument in favor of town mergers. In November 2011, the Township of Princeton and the Borough of Princeton headlined the movement towards NJ town mergers by joining to create Princeton Township.

According to the New Jersey State Legislature, New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney proposed a measure that would promote “the more effective operation of local government and the sharing of services among local units.”

The NJ Legislation, however, is not the only body advocating for town mergers. Courage to Connect NJ, a non-profit organization is also promoting the combination of municipalities through its website which details a six step process for town consolidation.

The legislation seeks to encourage town mergers largely as a response to New Jersey’s near-legendary property taxes. After the Princeton Township merger the average resident, according to the Courier Post, saw a reduction in property taxes of approximately $126/year. Additionally, the Princeton merger, which was officially implemented in 2013, projects municipal expenditure savings of three-million dollars per year over a three year implementation period.

Mergers though have been met with significant backlash from residents of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities.

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Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Dies

Family Members Refused to Hold Funeral for Fear of Picketers

Fred Phelps leader and founder of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 84.

Phelps founded the Church in Topeka, KS in 1955. Using the title of Baptist Preacher, he and the church have embodied the most intrusive anti-gay movement in America, protesting public events, and even picketing the funerals of gay veterans.

According to civil rights leaders in Topeka, Phelps was a prominent, and wildly successful civil rights attorney in the 1960s. He took on numerous cases for black Americans, that many attorneys would not touch.

The Phelps along with his church have received national attention for aggressively and openly opposing those of the LGBT community. According to CNN, they first made headlines in 1998 when the church picketed Matthew Shepard’s funeral.

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NJ Anti-Smoking Bill Looks to Ban Smoking on Public Beaches and Parks Across the State

NJ Bill A1080 passed the Assembly and would prohibit smoking on public beaches and in public parks. This bill would be an extension of the “New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act” and would go into effect 180 days after its enactment.

Bill sponsor, Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, said in a press release regarding the bill, “The prohibition of smoking at public parks and beaches would better preserve the natural assets of this state by reducing litter and increasing fire safety in those areas, while lessening exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke among the public. This is the right thing to do.”

Dr. Patricia Sciscione, a specialist professor of nursing, is in favor of the bill and believes it could help public health. “Cigarette butts are a form of toxic waste since they contain many chemicals that are known carcinogens, yet they are frequently discarded into the sand or onto the ground. Immediate risks include the possibility that small children, birds, animals, and fish may ingest these butts which could be lethal for them due to the possibility of choking and/or poisoning due to the toxic chemicals they contain,” Sciscione said.

She continued, “Long-term risks exist because the filters are made of a substance that is not biodegradable and they can exist in the environment for decades causing harm to marine life, land animals, and the environment.”

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Asbury Park Beach Replenishment Program is Doing More Harm than Good

Major backlash has come from the environmental damages and dangers created from the Jersey Shore replenishment plan founded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed a plan for beach replenishments along the Jersey Shore due to post-Sandy damages. From Asbury Park to Avon, beaches will be pumped with more sand in order to extend where the water meets the landline. This extension will act as a buffer to protect the beach towns from extreme storm damages. The project estimated to cost $18.3 million dollars, which was approved by Congress for Sandy Relief.

The replenishment program will last until 2048, according the Asbury Park Press, with the sand being pumped onto the beaches every six years. The Asbury Park Press also released that the project covering from Sea Bright to Manasquan will cost around $300 million dollars, with roughly $100 million of it coming from NJ taxpayers pockets.

Replenishments also bring about environmental damage to the ecosystems and the marine life within these beach areas. Protestors from environmental organizations, civic groups, surfers, anglers and residents of the beach town gathered in Asbury on Friday March 21, to rally against the project.

Dr. Michael Phillips-Anderson, assistant professor of communication said, “The beaches are obviously a huge part of the shore’s economy. The environmental concern is that what might make the beach better to sit on will hurt the overall environment and wildlife. With significant public attention and education, it is unlikely that residents will get a say in the Army Corps of Engineers’ plan.”

The group called for a change to the replenishment project, claiming that every beach has a different need for it to be repaired. For their beaches, according to the Asbury Park Sun, they were against the “groin modifications, known as notching,” a process that calls for the removal of sections of rock found, typically the jetty, closest to the beach. The town worries that this removal will cause a blockage to The Deal Lake Flume.

Blockage to the Flume will cause damages to the costal areas. Having control over the flow through the Flume is important for the towns of Asbury Park, Ocean Township, Neptune Township, Deal, Allenhurst, Interlaken, and Loch Arbour are all bordered on the Flume. If there is no control over the waterways of the Flume then it could cause a flood like the one in 1990s. The towns experienced flooding in 1990s due to, too much water during high tides and an eight-day span of rain.

Dan Roman, a junior political science major said, “We shouldn’t try to control the environment.”

Congressman Frank Pallone is a supporter of the replenishment and addressed the protestors concerns in a statement released on March 21. In his announcement he said, “I have also heard concerns regarding sand building up in the Deal Lake Flume, causing a blockage of the flow between the lake and ocean.”

Pallone continued, “I have raised this issue with the Army corps and they are planning to monitor the flume and clear any sediment buildup that occurs throughout the project. We will also look at the possibility of reconfiguring the placement of sand in the area adjacent to the flume. One long-term solution may be to extend the Deal Lake Flume to limit the amount of sand that can block its flow.”

“One of the issues that makes this difficult is the multi-jurisdictional set up in New Jersey. When so many towns share one body of water it can be hard to coordinate actions. It also makes it difficult to communicate effectively with the public. Environmental issues have been a concern following Sandy, but it seems to fail to generate much media attention,” said  Phillips-Anderson.

According to nj.com, the project has had influence over the Deal Lake Flume, which is an 85-year-old tube that flows water between the lake and the Atlantic Ocean. If the groin modification is successful then the areas around the lack have an increased risk in flooding and a decrease in fish.

If the Flume was blocked, then the fish would no longer be able to gain access to the lake. This causes an upset for the ecosystem that is developed. According to nj.com, the flume is a breeding ground for herring, which the largemouth bass has become dependent on for food, in return the bass have become popular among the town anglers.

Notching would also create dangerous environments for the blackfish, stripers, and fluke that form their habitats around the submerged areas of the jetties. Also when the modifications are made the removal of the stones would be at the jetty’s base, a take away the access to fishing off of them from the anglers.

More than just the fishing industry will be affected, however, the sand replenishment process will ultimately make the ocean more dangerous to swim in. Through filling in the shore, replenishment causes a change in where the ocean bottom and the shoreline clash, making a curt change in the ocean bottom for swimmers. According to Asbury Park Press the sand will form a sort of cliff that will trap people in during high tide, and potentially injuring swimmers, surfers, and kayakers.

Pallone commented, “Many of you in attendance have reached out to me to express your concerns with the proposed project. I understand your concerns with respect to notching the groins in this area and the impacts this may have on recreational fishing. I am discussing this issue with the Army Corps of Engineers and trying to find a resolution that does not negatively impact fisherman in the area.”

In the statement Pallone asked all concerned to express in a formal submission through e-mail to Jenifer Thalhauser of the Army Corp Engineers, with a deadline on March 26.

An anonymous senior political  science student said, “It is being hastily done, we need to examine the enviormental impacts more along with alternative methods that won’t cause such impacts.”

NJ State Senator Introduces Recreational Marijuana Bill

NJ state Sen. Nicholas Scutori recently introduced a bill that would legalize the sale as well as possession of marijuana for recreational use and allow people to grow there own.

Scutori said in a press release, “Legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana for those who are age 21 and older could bring in considerable revenue for the state at a time when it is struggling to meet its financial obligations. The states of WA and CO have already implemented marijuana laws.”

WA State began issuing its first marijuana business licenses this month. CO began allowing recreational marijuana sales to adults on Jan. 1. CO initially expected to bring in $67 million in tax revenue from marijuana this year, but projections are now as high as $107 million due to higher-than-anticipated sales. Legalization is also expected to create thousands of jobs in sales, production and related services in that state, a result that could be duplicated in NJ.”

The Daily Caller explains, “Decriminalization simply removes criminal and monetary penalties for possessing any amount of marijuana, including the “manufacture,” transportation, or storage of the substance. It does not address in any way the actual usage of marijuana, the sale of it, taxation, quality, driving under the influence, age restrictions, etc.”

Noah Lipman, lecturer of history explained, “The bill will be controversial because many legislators are afraid of the legalization process.  Polls indicate that many voters in NJ favor decriminalization over legalization.”

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NJ’s Most Expensive Budget Plan Unvield for 2014-2015 Fiscal Year

Major Costs Include: State Workers’ Pensions and $159 Million Set Aside for Higher Education Expenses

NJ Gov. Chris Christie proposed a $34.4 billion budget, the state’s most expensive budget ever, on Feb. 24.

In his Fiscal Year 2014-2015 budget proposal, there is a required $2.25 billion payment to the public worker pension funds without raising taxes, however it leaves no money left over to fund major new programs or initiatives.

Part of Christie’s spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1, gives slight increases in K-12 and municipal aid. The budget for some school districts has increased by five million dollars, allowing them to implement longer school hours. There is also an increase in the funding for higher education by eight percent, or $159 million.

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New Bill Could Provide $100 Textbook Relief

NJ bill, A1823, which could provide a tax credit to college students for textbook purchases, has been proposed with the intention of encouraging taxpayers and their dependents to choose NJ educational institutions over out-of-state schools.

The tax credit, introduced in the State Assembly on Jan. 16, would equal 10 percent of textbook costs and cannot exceed $100. Students may be full time or part time and must be pursuing an undergraduate education at a four-year school, county college or accredited post-secondary school in NJ. Taxpayers with a gross income of up to $150,000 would be eligible for the credit.

Douglas Stives, Specialist Professor of Accounting, said if a student pays more than half of his/her own college costs the credit would go to them rather than their family.

Alexis Morrison, a junior communication major, said this bill would be good for students. “I know, not just myself, but all of my friends spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks and we either don’t use them or we try to return them and we don’t get our money back,” said Morrison. “It would be beneficial for us to get that money back because I feel like a lot of times we waste it on textbooks.”

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Is This Search or Seizure Legal?

United States Supreme Court Rules on Two Cases This Year That Could Impact Students

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled on two search and seizure cases that involved searching an individual to avoid evidence destruction and house searches that could affect college students.

In California, there was a recent case about a robbery that turned violent. Abel Lopez was attacked and robbed near an alleyway. The cops were called and the victim identified the attacker as Walter Fernandez.

They reached the door of where bystanders saw the robber run to and Walter Fernandez answered the door refusing to let the police in. He was arrested and taken in for questioning. The police came back and preceded to search the residency because of Roxanne Rojas, the co-tenant of the home allowed the search  through both written and verbal consent Even though Walter did not approve, he was then detained and police were permitted to search the apartment, which revealed a plethora of gang weaponry.

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A Conversation About Unrest in Ukraine with Dr. Charles Cotton

Dr. Charles Cotton, an adjunct political science professor, sat down with me to explain and discuss the current situation happening in Ukraine.

Jasmine Ramos: What exactly is happening in Ukraine?

Charles Cotton: Well, there obviously was some civil dissatisfaction with the previous government that was backed by the Russian government and thus, this lead to some civil unrest in the capital, Kiev which ultimately lead to the Russian-backed leader fleeing the country.

During the whole maul of things, he was also kicked out by the parliament, from what I understand and a more pro-western government is now currently in place. The civil unrest in Kiev has for the most part subsided.

There were a few days during the Olympics where things were getting quite out of hand and things escalated out of control very quickly, but then also died down very quickly, as a result.

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A Panel Clears Christie of Involvement in “Bridgegate”

Legislative Investigation Still Ongoing and Searching for Answers

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The California Six: Petition Filed to Split CA into Six States

Proposed Split Looks to Increase Tax Revenue but Could Weaken Representation in Congress

There is a petition started by Tim Draper, founding partner of DraperFisher Jurvetso, to split California into six separate states claiming that California is too large of a state to govern.

The question is frequently asked: will the splitting of California really solve the numerous issues that are occurring? Or will the State fall into anarchy?

California’s population and diverse culture has led the state to become practically ungovernable. All the different religions, cultures, and each city having their own niche of ideals has made it a great impossibility for the government to have control, according to the Huffington Post

When Professor Gregory Bordelon, lecturer of the political science department, was asked if diversity makes a state harder to govern he responded, “Concededly yes. Every entity to go through any state shouldn’t be the driving source for a succession movement. The separate sections of the state have more things in common than separate to make a split. Californian presence in the Congress will weaken if they separate. If they lose that, they will not have a strong influence. No one will want to go to California.”

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Negative: Fracking Causes Major Environmental Issues

Political Showdown: Is Fracking an Environmental Issue or Economic Stimulus?

The Up-shot

While the positive aspects of fracking and gas-drilling may seem appealing to those searching for domestically produced and protected sources of energy, the negative impacts these practices have upon the environment, the economies, and the people who exist locally and nationally are too big to ignore. In evaluating whether or not fracking is a viable option in changing America’s energy dependence, there cannot be a unanimous decision made without seriously evaluating the negative effects fracking has.

Until legislation can be passed and practices can be perfected, fracking should be kept as a back-burner option in trying to establish energy dependence. Without a healthy environment, a successful economy and an invested population, fracking will really serve no purpose, as there will be no outlet for the fracking’s energy to flow.

Safety and Health:

The health and safety risks associated with fracking are insurmountable and should be taken seriously. Air pollution, earthquakes, global warming emissions and associated health problems arise from the process of fracking, impacting residents surrounding such areas both environmentally and medically.

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Pro- Fracking: Shale Gas is Most Effective Form of Energy

Political Showdown: Is Fracking an Environmental Issue or Economic Stimulus?

Hydraulic fracturing or “Fracking” is a process where the injection of water along with other chemicals into well boreswhich creates fractures in rock deep into the ground. The fractures can free up natural gas, petroleum, and shale gas, allowing for the creation of well used to extract the resources. Fracking has been most known for:

1) Growing the shale gas industry

2) Its connection to environmental and health concerns. With all the media attention and controversy that Hydraulic Fracturing has aroused the question remains: Is fracking a harmful and dastardly process that we should fight to end, or is it a safe and reliable way to ensure energy independence for the US now and in the future?

From protesters surrounding drill sites, to multiple documentaries, fracking has created quite a stir. But has the opposition, the likes of Matt Damon and Rolling Stone looked at the full picture when it comes to the net value of fracking.

There is no doubt that the extraction of natural gas can have negative consequences for the local environment, but this is a common hazard of any fossil fuel extraction. The most telling place to look for solid evidence is Pennsylvania.

The Marcellus Shale which runs predominantly under most of the state has been seen as a “mecca” for natural gas. The geological formation is estimated to have enough natural gas to fuel American homes for 50 years. As for the communities within Penn, there has been no evidence of chemicals seeping into the drinking water which is drilled hundreds of feet underground. The shale deposit sits thousands of feet underground, nowhere near drinking water. 

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Immigration and College Education Affordability

In his State of the Union address in January, President Barack Obama declared that it was time for Congress to pass immigration reform legislation yet Democrats and Republicans cannot seem to agree on the correct way to go about changing immigration policy. And this has caused legislation to stall including legislation that will affect college students.

Part of this indecision comes from Senate and House Republicans, who claim that they do not trust Obama to follow through on tighter border security and to enforce laws that are passed. Speaker John Boehner seemed enthusiastic to work on immigration reform, but has also expressed his concern that this bill, if put to a vote in the House, will not pass because many Republicans in the House are up for midterm elections according to The Washington Times. A recent poll showed that voters in Iowa would not vote for a Republican candidate that supported immigration reform. Like most of the legislation these past few years, the vote is being left up to the states.

One of the reforms that is being left up to the states is a bill called the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) act.

The DREAM Act gives college students, who are in the US illegally, monetary help for college tuition. Students applying for the DREAM Act must meet a list of requirements to qualify for any kind of monetary aid. Some of the requirements include having entered the US before the age of 16, living in the US five years before the bill was enacted in that state, and having completed high school, obtaining the GED or is attending college.

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Conspiracy Theories: Government Cover Ups or Fun Stories?

It’s the human want to be able to understand everything. Being able to trust the information given to us and not question it. But what if we’ve been taught was a lie. What we thought were cold stone facts was actually an elaborate government cover up.

One shot by the hand of Lee Harvey Oswald was all it took; The life of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy was taken. Others say there were two gunmen. But, what if it was neither? What if the story to be told here was a less commonly known one?

That November morning in 1963 President Kennedy knew he was going into an area of Texas where party leaders were feuding.

Nonetheless, he needed the votes to win the election of 1964 - so he went anyway. The most deterring event that led to the decreasing support of President Kennedy was the Bay of Pigs. The reasoning behind this is the government agencies known as the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigations did not think enough was being done about the leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro, which gave motive for them to send in hit men to assassinate the President of the United States.

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Sweeney’s “Sandy Bill of Rights” Could Help Victims of Storm Get Answers Regarding Aid Application

NJ Senate President Steven Seeney pushed for his Sandy Bill of Rights. This bill is supposed to help with several things including, creating a clearer explanation of what is needed to be eligible for Sandy relief programs, the right to know the status of your relief application, the right to know why your application has been rejected, and the right to appeal if your application has been rejected on Feb. 19th.

In an article from the News 12 New Jersey website, Sweeny said, “As the governor, you’re responsible for what happens here,” He continued. “He’s responsible for this program, and it is a failure.”

There are communities all over New Jersey are still rebuilding from the storm. It seems like it was only yesterday NJ Governor, Chris Christie, was working side by side with President Obama in effort to rebuild the damage that was done to the state. Volunteers from New Jersey and around the country were helping in the recovery effort and helping others in need. So what is going on now?

Across the state, there are still residents that have not been able to move back into their homes. Other residents are still awaiting relief money. So who is to blame? Could it be Governor Christie or the Federal Government? Is it FEMA or the insurance companies? No matter whose fault it is, the bottom line is that the people of New Jersey want answers.

The importance of this bill is that it focuses on the disorganization of the Sandy recover effort. Many New Jersey residents have been left unaware of their relief status.

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Budget Cuts for the Military Include Closing Bases and the Amount of Active Duty Soldiers

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed budget cuts that will downsize the military to its smallest size in 74 years, closing military bases and other military-wide savings on Feb. 24.

In this plan, which Congress can change, the active-duty Army would shrink from its current 522,000 soldiers to between 440,000 to 450,000. That would be almost 100,00 soldiers gone, the smallest number just before the U.S entered World War II. This would be providing the Pentagon with $26 billion on top of the $496 billion it will be receive due to the budget deal passed two months ago.

Criminal Justice Professor John Comiskey, and a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, said “2014 does not need pre-WWII personnel numbers. Technology has reduced the need for masses of troops to defend national interest.”

Another part of this proposal is the elimination of the Air Force’s fleet of A-20 aircraft and U-2 spy planes, and reductions in the size of the Army National Guard.

There has been speculation that the money being saved from this cut, could go towards welfare across the country. Former Vice President Dick Cheney does not agree with said plan. When being interviewed on Fox New’s “Hannity”, he believes Obama “would rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on strong military or support the troops.”

Many governors from both U.S political parties plan to talk to Obama about preventing such cuts to the National Guard units.

“In downsizing the military, we want to make sure that reserve and National Guard is protected in our country,” Connecticut Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Republican Wisconsin Governor  Scott Walker very much agreed with Mallo’s take on the subject. “I think there is common agreement amongst all 50 governors that we shouldn’t go back to pre-9/11 standards when it comes to the National Guard,” he said.

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National Minimum Wage Could Be on the Rise to Keep Up with Inflation

The debate over the national minimum wage looks to raise it from $7.25 to possibly $10.10 an hour. New Jersey, along with 19 other states and the District of Columbia, have minimum wages higher than the national minimum wage.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics minimum wage, if it kept up with the rising inflation would be at $10.74. This point along with a number of testimonies and deliberation has lead the US congress to consider a bill raising the federal minimum wage. Democrats would like to see the raise reach $10.10 by 2016. T

The President has been very vocal in his support for this change. Friday in Connecticut, President Obama said that higher wages will help, lift hard-working people out of poverty, giving them more money to spend and businesses, more customers and higher profits. He called it, “a virtuous cycle we can create.”

House Republicans have fought the plan, citing the negative effects such policy would have on the unemployment. The Congressional Budget Office release a report tuesday confirming fears of job loss close to .3 percent, or 500,000. The report has been criticized on Tuesday by multiple labor economists for its lack of specificity, putting the job loss range from zero to one million, and for overstating the bill’s effect on the job market. Economist Lawrence Katz of Harvard, said that the CBO used, “a lot of off the shelf estimates”, and he believes the findings would have been more realistic adhering to some higher quality studies.

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Students Participate and Observe United Nations Briefing with Speaker Jody Williams

Participation Through E-mails and Tweets Allowed Involvement During Internet Broadcast

Nobel Prize winner Jody Williams gave a speech at the United Nations that was broadcasted over the internet where students could engage with her during an informal briefing.

Jody Williams is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, grass roots activist, and has fought to ban landmines, for human rights, and against militarism. Williams said during the briefing, “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me. I don’t care if they agree with me or not. I believe what I believe for good reasons. I believe in sustainable peace, I believe in equality, I believe in justice, and if I make you uncomfortable that is your problem not mine.”

University students were able to watch the live briefing that was happening in the United Nations. The briefing began by the moderator, Ramu Damodaran declaring, “At one time the stage of history was always filled with kings and princes. And now one woman has come to change that, and her name is Jody Williams.” He continued by stating, "She has brought to the platform an individual without a platform."

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“War on Crime” Increases Security at University

MUPD has Successfully Implemented Programs to Prevent Crime on Campus

In various parts of the country, crime is an epidemic. Different types of crimes are more prevalent in different parts of the country whether it is assault, robbery, drugs and alcohol, etc.

The “War on Crime” was coined by President Richard Nixon who wanted to help law enforcement combat crime.

The bottom line is crime is everywhere. Just ask Professor John Comiskey, assistant professor of criminal justice. Comiskey is a retired lieutenant of the New York City Police Department (NYPD).

During his time with the NYPD, his assignments included patrol, narcotics, investigations, and counter terrorism operations.

Comiskey stated that robbery and crimes against property where the most common crimes that he saw during his time with the NYPD.  He also included that alcohol is a “nexus”, or connection to many of the crimes.

Comiskey said the use of a system called Comp Stat that is used to prevent crime. Comp Stat is a program that is still used today in many different areas of the country.

The Comp Stat system was used as a way of mapping crime and find crime patterns in certain areas so that the NYPD can be aware and deal with the crimes effectively.

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Congressman Frank Pallone Speaks to University about Sandy Recovery

United States Congressman Frank Pallone was the guest speaker in the class, “Sandy and the Political and Social Impact”, to discuss his personal experiences regarding Sandy recovery and the aftermath on Thursday, Feb. 20.

Patrick Murray, Director of the Polling Institute and the professor of the class said that when he designed the course, he wanted to have guest speakers from multiple angles to share their Sandy related experience with the students.

“We have been talking about the role of officials at all levels of government and the students have already heard from the New Jersey Senate President, the Monmouth County Sheriff, local mayors, and leaders from the non-profit world.  Rep. Pallone gave us the perspective of the federal official who acts a conduit between his constituents and the federal bureaucracy,” said Murray.

Timothy Tracey, research associate at the Polling Institute, worked with Pallone prior to coming to the University. In the direct aftermath, Tracey traveled with the Congressman surveying the damage and disaster response.

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Battle of the Roosevelts: FDR

Why Franklin D. Roosevelt is the better Roosevelt President

Franklin D. Roosevelt took office during the greatest crisis in American history since the Civil War. When he was inaugurated in March of 1933 at least one quarter of the United States was unemployed, factories and banks were closing, and America was losing hope. Roosevelt came in like a white knight with the confidence to slay the dragon that was the Great Depression.

His first 100 days were perhaps the most important of any in history, and set an unremarkably high standard for future presidents to come. FDR changed the political landscape through his New Deal action, bringing America and it’s people back from an economic despair that deeply crippled the country.

In FDR’s inaugural address he told the American people, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Restoring hope and faith into a nation that had lost to so much.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s confidence led him to act quickly with restoration of the economy. His first action, as part of the New Deal was to declare a four-day bank holiday, in order to prevent people from withdrawing money.

From there, according to History.com, Congress passed “The Emergency Banking Act” which allowed him to close down the banks that were broke. He advocated for the people to put their savings back into the open banks, through his first “Fireside Chat,” and due to this about three quarters of the banks reopened.

FDR’s Fireside Chats are one of the most important aspects of his presidency, and for the first time in history of the country it was not longer an “us” in the government but “we” the government, enforcing the very standards from the development of the country of by the people, for the people.

The Fireside Chats provided people with comfort, hearing the issues directly from the president and his course of action within their homes. The President had the means to lift their spirits, which helped them restore their faith in the government and pull out of the economically hard times. 

Within his first 100 days, Roosevelt had not only passed the Banking Act, but went on to end Prohibition, enact the National Industrial Recovery Act, funded Public Works Administration, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Tennessee Valley Authority Act, and the National Industrial Recovery Act.

On top of the Acts he was able to pass the Glass- Steagall Banking Bill which separated commercial banks from the spending banks, which basically dividing investment banks from savings banks so peoples money were protected from investments.

As the Great Depression continued, FDR continued his efforts through the enactment of his “Second New Deal” which tackled unemployment through a program titled Works Progress Administration (WPA).

The WPA provided jobs throughout the community that did not compete with the private industry. It gave employment through the building of roads, bridges, schools, post offices, etc.

Also he signed the Social Security Act of 1935 which established the Social Security program, in order to provide insurance for those unemployed and help care for the children and disabled of the unemployed.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt went on to be elected four more times, eventually dying in office. He comforted the country after Pearl Harbor, being able to address the nation through his Fireside Chats, providing security within his words, and then continued to take action through the Second World War.

The War eventually lead to the end of the Great Depression, however it is Roosevelt’s economic policies through Social Security, job stability, and separation of the banks that led to continuing success after he was gone.

His confidence led him to be a successful leader, and thus the better of the two Roosevelt’s. He fought for the people and helped the ones who needed him. He was not afraid to take a stance that may have no been popular to the financial stable few, embracing what the role of a leader meant.

PHOTO TAKEN from www.learnersonline.com

Feature: Sochi Olympics Fuels Many Debates in International Relations

The Olympic Games are a unique event in the operation of human society. In the alternating winter and summer renditions of this biennial spectacle, the youth of the world, hailing from diverse locales far and wide, are called to congregate and to compete on a single stage in the spirit of unity and fairness in celebration of the ability and potential of humanity.

In this year’s contest, held in Sochi, Russia, however, the spirit of the Olympic Games has come under threat from internal political factors. The threats are from Russian domestic policy as well as the strong-armed show of image politics on the part of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the weeks and months preceding the games, the most salient story accompanying the typical pre-Olympic will-they-be-ready banter was Russia’s new anti-gay law, as it has been dubbed by much of the media.

The legislation, which is extremely vague in its wording and intent, was signed into law by Putin in June of last year. The bill prohibits the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors, and builds upon pre-existing regional laws in several Russian Oblasts (provinces), which also sought to promote so-called traditional values among Russian youth.

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Battle of the Roosevelts: Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt was a Trust Busting Environmental Conservationist Who Helped Establish the Panama Canal

Theodore Roosevelt’s reputation as a trust buster, a major conservation figure with regards to the environment puts him in the argument as one of the best presidents. His trust busting led to monopolies being destroyed and made the American presidency a centerpiece of the morning newspapers with photos and easy interview access.

T. Roosevelt’s role as a trust buster is very famous. During his presidency, he dissolved 44 monopolies to avoid corruption in corporations and capitalism. He believed in fighting for the consumers to not pay astronomical prices that could be associated with monopolistic economy. He sought to protect the consumer and bring to the forefront labor and management issues, through the establishment of the Department of Commerce and Labor. He helped disrupt the J.P. Morgan trust with railroads and regulate rail prices for the consumer. Roosevelt’s idea of progressivism led to a working relationship between businesses and labor groups. Progressivism is based in use of expertise to identify and solve a nation’s problem while eliminating waste and corruption.

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Unemployment Cuts Affect 1.3 Million Americans

Long-Term Unemployment Helped 24 Million People During Recession

Approximately 1.3 million Americans received their last unemployment check once a federal program supplying extra weeks of benefits expired on Dec. 28, 2013. Beginning on Jan. 1, the maximum period allow for a citizen on unemployment was dropped from 73 weeks to 26 weeks.

The extended benefits program began during the Bush administration in 2008. It was in response to the long-term unemployment during the recession. It was able to help pay unemployment benefits to about 24 million Americans.

Since the expiration of the benefits, Congress has been back and forth on creating a proposal on whether to extend the benefits again.  According to The Washington Post, Democrats proposed to pay for $6 billion extension with “pension smoothing,” meaning temporarily raising taxes from employers by allowing them to pay less now into employee pension funds.

In an interview, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said that major components of the plan that the Obama administration has for expanding the economy includes proposals for unemployment benefits, as well as to raise the minimum wage and overhaul federal immigration laws.

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Students Participate in the United Nations Remembrance of Holocaust

The Briefing Focused on Hungarian Jews affected by the Holocaust

Monmouth University’s Institute of Global Understanding (IGU) sent Youth Representatives, Meaghan Hess and Jacquelyn Corsentino, as well as Dr. Christopher Hirschler as a Faculty Representative. The Department of Public Information (DPI) hosted its first briefing of 2014 for the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO).

The briefing focused on the 70th Anniversary of the Deportation of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. The panel included a scholar on the Holocaust, a survivor, and the current Hungarian Ambassador.

The first distinguished guest was Dr. Carol Ritter. Ritter is a professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. She is also the author of 17 novels regarding genocides in the 20th and 21st centuries. She provided the historical background for the audience with a short PowerPoint highlighting Hungary’s passive position during the Holocaust.

Prior to World War II, 825,000 Jews resided in Hungary. After the Holocaust, only 200,000 Jews remained in the country.

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“Today in America:” President Obama Will No Longer Wait For Congress

In the President’s Sixth State of the Union, He promises more Executive Orders

President Barack Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union Address in Washington D.C. on Tuesday January 28. During his speech the President spoke of the growth that the nation is experiencing and how he plans to continue it into his second term.

The President began his speech with an “It’s Morning in America” type tone, describing the lives of various everyday Americans and the good work that they do. Using the line “Today in America” he went on to talk about a teacher who spent a little extra time with students, an entrepreneur who created jobs through her business, an autoworker whose work helped America to become self-sufficient in oil production, a farmer who is ready to start the spring session of exports, a doctor who gave a child an affordable prescription, a man who worked a night shift so his son could have a better life, and finally a community who is thankful for its fellow citizens who have been lost to war.

Obama said, “It is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong. And here are the results of your efforts: the lowest unemployment rate in over five years; a rebounding housing market, a manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s, more oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world, the first time that’s happened in twenty years.”

Obama continued, “Our deficits cut by more than half, and for the first time in over a dedicated, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is.”

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Editorial: What Three Things Should be Changed about American Politics?

This article addresses three things we would like to see changed in American politics. While no system is perfect and politics is a difficult profession, these topics are our observations of things that may help lead to a more productive political system. 


Presidential War Powers

The Presidential War Powers have increased too much: Can anyone tell us when the last official war the United States declared was? Most probably said the Iraq War but that is incorrect.

The last declared war was World War II. All the other conflicts that have taken place have been military actions that the president ordered. While Congress does control the funds for these conflicts, the president ordered them. According to the Constitution, the power to declare war rests with the Congress to offer checks and balances.

Presidential abuse of War Powers could be torn apart with a theory by Noam Chomsky, referred to as “Imperial Grand Strategy,” he explains that America acts under the idea that they can and will take action against any nation or organization that threatens their power, prestige, or security. The strategy depicts how the foreign policy of America often goes against the grain of international law in order to keep their country safe from any threat that they see fit.

This theory is seen, and practiced, by President George W. Bush in the declaration against Iraq in 2003. With the impending threat of weapons of mass destruction, something that will always be taken as a threat, President Bush decided to invade Iraq before the United Nations could investigate if the weapons truly existed, which they did not. 

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Gov. Christie Caught in Middle of Three Scandals; Two Involving Superstorm Sandy Related Aid

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been involved with three scandals that may ruin his chances for a political future on the national stage and change opinions of him around the state of New Jersey.

The scandal that involves the George Washington Bridge or “Bridgegate” as it has been coined was the first scandal in which a traffic study was deemed as political retribution for Fort Lee Mayor, Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, not endorsing Gov. Christie’s re-election bid against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Barbara Buono.

While Christie has not been directly linked to the scandal, members of his administration have been. His Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Kelly, sent an email to the Christie appointed Port Authority executive, David Wildstein, saying, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Wildstein responded, “Got it.” The Governor has denied having any knowledge of the political retribution.

Dr. Christopher DeRosa, an associate professor of history, said, “The fact that his underlings created a massive traffic jam for their own or their boss’s amusement is a difficult one to shake.  It is the rare sort of the scandal that unpacks itself and tells you everything you need to know.  It doesn’t involve any complex maneuvers or gray areas.  From the outline of the story, anyone can grasp the perpetrators’ utter contempt for the ordinary citizen, and see the completely indefensible abuse of power.”

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Political Showdown: What Happned to New Jersey Gov. Christie? Part 2

Let’s face it: when it comes to politics and voting, we all come down on one of two sides: Democrat or Republican. Very rarely do we cross party lines when voting. It is just the way voters tend to be wired. Unless something drastic happens to change your mind and therefore your vote, you stick with the party you know.

I will be very, very honest with you. I am a liberal. Born and raised. That is something that is not going to change, probably, anytime soon. The few times I have voted, I have voted blue. I almost voted red in the last Governor’s race. Why? Because Gov. Chris Christie almost changed my mind.

When he first took office, uttering Gov. Christie’s name in my house was like asking for a fight. You see, Mom is a public employee. She is a librarian who felt the property tax cap at two percent. This meant no raises for her or her fellow librarians. She also felt the backlash of Gov. Christie’s negative attitude toward public workers. I cannot tell you how many times she came home from work, reeling from the hostile attitudes people would give her. “My tax dollars pay your salary,” is something she hears regularly.

There are other reasons why Gov. Christie and I do not see eye to eye, but I was willing to put all that aside after Hurricane Sandy. ber 2013, and the following months were terrifying, hard, and left permanent scars. Governor Christie conducted himself with grace and his usual “take no prisoners” attitude. And when he stood in front of Congress and told them that they should be ashamed for stalling the relief money...he had my vote.That moment changed my mind because he proved that he could be fair - that he could be bipartisan, and that he really worked for the people of New Jersey.

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication 
and Instructional Technology (CCIT) Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764

Phone:(732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu