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Politics

Volume 83 (Spring 2012)

Women Taking it to “The Man”

Democratic lobbyist Hillary Rosen dismissed Ann Romney's credibility behind advising Mitt Romney’s economic agenda as a result of Ann Romney’s lack of real work experience, driving a deeper wedge between stayat- home moms and working ones. 

Rosen described Romney as “never [working] a day in her life.” She further went on to comment that Romney does not know the needs and concerns of women who work outside of the home. She was later rebuked and apologized for her disparaging statement. 

Although Rosen did not criticize Ann Romney again, she continued to discuss Mitt Romney’s view of his wife as his economic adviser for women. “I think the issue that I’m focusing on is, ‘Does Mitt Romney have a vision for bringing women up economically, and can he himself stop referring to his wife as his economic surrogate?’ That’s an important thing. He’s the one that keeps doing this. Not me,” she said in an interview on CNN. 

NPR released “Rosen’s Words About Ann Romney Fuel ‘Mommy Wars’” late last week in response to the upheaval.

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Early Polls Have Obama Over Romney

With six months until Election Day, President Obama has taken a slight lead over his likely Republican opponent Mitt Romney. Although there is much time before November, this shows how the race will begin to take shape before the summer. Real- ClearPolitics.com has President Obama with an advantage of 3.2 points nationally over Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. That calculation takes into account national polls from various polling institutions.

However, looking at the Electoral College gives President Obama even more reasons to be optimistic. No matter what the polls say about each candidate or their approval rating, you still need 270 electoral votes to become the Commander-in-Chief. Taking a look at the electoral map shows that the President currently has a distinct advantage. Counting states that are ‘safe’ for each candidate, (winning by 15 points or more); Obama already has 161 electoral votes to Romney’s 131. Add the states that are leaning for each candidate (15 to eight point advantage) Obama increases his lead 227-170. That only leaves the toss-up states, or those that are within eight points for either candidate, left to determine the winner. 11 states currently fall into this category. They account for 141 votes each with Obama needing only 43 of those to win.

A closer look at the toss-up states sees Obama with a lead in a majority of them. Florida’s 29 votes are currently in the president’s column with a 4.2 point lead over Romney, taking the vote count to 256. Obama is also leading in Pennsylvania by six. A win in Pennsylvania and Florida will see the President going over the 270 threshold and winning reelection. Romney could win the remaining nine toss-up states and still lose. In fact, the only toss-up states that are currently red for Romney are Arizona by 5.4 and Missouri by three. The President also sees a 5.3 point lead in Ohio, a traditional battleground state. There are many different ways Obama can win from the tossups while Romney would need to steal many of the states that are currently blue.

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Pushing Back Against Bullying

Anti-Bullying Laws Top the List of Political Stories

The Outlook concludes the school year with a continuation of the top 10 political stories of the school year. In this issue are the top five.

5. Gabrielle Giffords Returns to Congress

politics-obamaDuring President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union speech, Arizona congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords returned to Congress. On January 8, 2011, Giffords was shot by an assassin during a “Meet your Congressman” event in Tucson. Giffords was shot in the back of the head and was placed in critical condition. Giffords has since made great strides in recovery but it is far from over. During the State of the Union she handed in her letter of resignation to a cheering Congressional chamber.

In the time following the shooting, Republicans and Democrats put aside differences and became Americans. At the time of the shooting, the groups were split on how to fix the debt ceiling. President Obama made a speech in Tucson in the days following the shooting. “As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together,” he said.

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Santorum Suspends Presidential Bid

Rick Santorum officially dropped out of the presidential race last Tuesday in a speech in front of supporters in Pennsylvania. The Republican hopeful had spent the previous few days tending to his ailing daughter, Bella, who was hospitalized for a rare genetic disease. Bella was discharged from the hospital Monday night.

Trailing Romney in his home state of Pennsylvania, the Santorum campaign has seen little chance to be able to make up the delegate difference with Mitt Romney. Realclearpolitics. com has Santorum trailing Romney in delegates by 272-656. Santorum would need 872 delegates to win the nomination. National polls, however, show Santorum trailing by an average of 19.5 percentage points according to RealClearpolitics. com.

Santorum is most likely to still play a pivotal role in politics. According to thehill.com, Santorum has already talked to his staff about the possibility of running again in 2016. The day he dropped out of the race he spoke with James Dobson in a “Conversation on faith, family and American values.” His suspension of his campaign for 2012 may have just ended as the 2016 election run began. The Daileykos.com also believes Santorum has switched to 2016 mode “I think he has been planning his run based on 2016 all along. Santorum won two elections in a swing state.” If Santorum thought Mitt Romney would be the victor in the next presidential elections, he would not be thinking of 2016.

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Dishonoring the Family Can Lead to Murder: The Story Behind Honor Killings

According to UNICEF’s website, “An honor killing, also known as honor murder, is the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community.”

Dishonor typically stems from one of the following behaviors, the website explains: dressing in a manner unacceptable to the family or community, wanting to end or prevent an arranged marriage or desiring to marry by own choice, engaging in heterosexual acts outside of marriage or engaging in any homosexual acts.

As a result of rigid beliefs as to what is right and wrong in cultures throughout the world, thousands of women, teens and even men have been forced to adhere to their family’s strict belief systems or face the consequence of dishonor which can lead to death.

The acts that brings dishonor to many families and communities continues to grow as individuals from various cultures come to the United States, a country in which there is no law regarding honor killings. According to the United Nations website, “In many societies, rape victims, women suspected of engaging in premarital sex and women accused of adultery have been murdered by their relatives because the violation of a woman’s chastity is viewed as an affront to the family’s honor.”

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The Final Countdown Begins

The Outlook Chooses Top 10 Stories of School Year

For the final two editions of The Outlook, we will be listing and explaining the top 10 political stories of the school year. Each story will explain what the event was, how it affected the school year and why it was so newsworthy. This week will include events 10 to six and next week will have events five to one.

10. Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa)

Everyone who has been on a computer since the failed passing of the Stop Online Piracy Act, whether they were aware of what SOPA was or not, knew there was some buzz surrounding website restriction and pirated content. SOPA, a bill proposed to help target and eliminate the trading or downloading of illegal content, had sparked many angered outcries. not really because of the bill’s goal to stop the distribution of pirated content but for possible Internet censorship. Theories such as the government going into one’s computer and searching for illegal content had many people paranoid, which, in turn, inf luenced people to conduct protests.

But was this bill really necessary, especially when the 1998 Millennium Copyright Laws are already in place? Professor Robert Scott, specialist professor of radio and television, believes that an actual action towards stopping piracy was long overdue, doesn’t quite think that this bill in particular in going to do all too much in stopping illegal distribution. “I’ve worked on initiatives involving intellectual property rights and piracy issues and I continue to watch how significantly more challenging these issues have become. I’m very concerned for my friends who work in entertainment media and I remain concerned for the future of related industries and our economy as a whole. But I also believe SOPA and PIPA may not offer the most effective solutions. As we continue to experiment with new tools for information sharing and media distribution, we should also be more involved with the process of ensuring our freedoms as consumers, producers and citizens,” says Scott.

He goes on to mention that even though such piracy acts may not be the entire solution, everyone should care especially the college students. Scott states that, “Today’s college students use social networks and other Internet tools more than any other previous generation. The expectation is that they will continue to do so after they graduate – professionally, socially, as a form of communication, and in terms of their media consumption.” Moreover, many of these students will start careers in media and technology fields. It is time for this generation of digital natives to become less reactive and more proactive in the process. Instead of complaining via social networks and advocating online protest blackouts, we should become active participants in how we define and shape the future of the Internet.

9. Kony 2012

Kony1.jpg colorChild soldiers: Not a very gentle topic and one that most people would like to not. But, on March 5, 2012, the Kony 2012 video released on YouTube by Invisible Children took that very topic and forced people look at the issue head on. Most importantly is that it made people react in a way they had never before. Sophomore social work major Tess LaFera believes that this video gained so much attention because of the high levels of emotion used, especially when seen through the perspectives of the families of these child soldiers. LaFera goes on to mention that “The use of child soldiers has been an issue for at least the past 20 years, but people didn’t know much about it until the multimedia and social networking boom. While there is much controversy surrounding the Kony 2012 video and Invisible Children, the issue of child soldiers should be a priority especially among young people such as ourselves, because it’s a grave violation of human rights. The perpetrators of these crimes are violating internationally recognized documents such as the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Beyond that, they are putting children in danger of serious psycho-physiological ramifications, if not death.”

However freshman communication major Rezwan Ahmed, although agreeing as to the reveal of child soldiers, sees a different issue in the whole topic. “People finally realized that child soldiers are real things and mass media made it extremely easy to share the video, which is great. Though personally, I find it annoying when people care about child soldiers in Africa more than the ones that we killed and tortured and detained in Abu Gharib and Guantanamo,” Ahmed contends.

Whatever one’s point of view on the topic, it can safely be said that the whole issue of child soldiers seems to of finally come to light and people are actually speaking up about it. Funny to think that it all began with a 30 minute YouTube video.

8. SuperPACs

Political Action Committees or (PACs) are organizations filed with the government during political campaigns. The 2010 Supreme Court case, Federal Election Committee v. Citizens United, changed how these groups have to release information concerning donors and amounts of the donations. The Court saw that corporations are given the same protection under the First Amendment because political speech is the reason the Free Speech part of the First Amendment exists.

These political action committees have made news in running ads for political candidates of their choice, especially since donors and amounts do not have to become public knowledge. Gregory Bordelon, lecturer of law, said, “SuperPACs have been generating a lot of buzz not only because of the Citizens United case but also because of a D.C. Court of Appeals Circuit case called Speechnow.org v FEC, since media attention tends to focus more heavily on presidential election cycles rather than midterm election years, coupled with the fact that the fact that this is the first cycle in general that effect of these holdings are truly being realized, we’re seeing extraordinary amounts of money as independent expenditures being used to support presidential campaigns

Political comedian Stephen Colbert had segments dedicated to coverage of the SuperPACs and how they operate. This is how more people discovered what their functions were. Colbert won a Peabody award for his programs coverage of SuperPACs.

Michael Phillips–Anderson, communication professor, believes these SuperPACs have significantly impacted the Republican nomination. “SuperPACs have significantly changed the way that nomination and presidential campaigns are conducted. The Republican nomination contest went on longer than expected mostly because of spending by groups other than the campaigns themselves,” says Phillips–Anderson.

A lot of students may be asking, “Why should we care?” These SuperPACs are giving money to those in political campaigns and with a presidential election in November; every single part of these campaigns is under a microscope. The campaigns produce millions of dollars for each candidate and people want to make sure that each candidate is on an equal level. Most SuperPACs are large corporations who look to get candidates elected with their best interests in mind. So the question becomes: “What about the rest of us?”

Phillips-Anderson expresses concern for college students. “Monmouth students should care about this topic because the people giving these unlimited sums of money, when we do know who they are, are rarely people who have the interests of college students in mind. Their goal in spending the significant sums of money is to support candidates who will not seek radical change except to further reinforce their specialized, usually financial, interests. None of the large donors have expressed any interest in helping students pay for college or providing wellpaying jobs,” Phillips–Anderson says.

Boredelon added, “For many MU students, this will be the first presidential election in which they cast a vote. I think seeing the campaigning of the candidates, the disclosure amounts to the FEC and observing how the confluence of spending and campaigning culminate in November may spark an interest to become part of the reform on this matter.

7. The Arab Spring

The Arab Spring was a revolution in multiple Middle Eastern countries. These revolutions across the Middle East led to toppling of dictatorships decades old. The major dictators to fall were President Mubarak of Egypt and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. There is still a violent revolution going on in Syria where the sitting leader, President Bashar al-Assad, refuses to surrender power.

Egypt had been under Mubarak’s rule since 1981 and was forced out by non-violent civil protesters. Miriam Ayoub, a sophomore social work major, visited Egypt in summer 2011. She said the atmosphere really changed since the last time she visited. “There were many stories of robberies and vandalism done by the escaped prisoners at night.” She also said the military’s presence was heavily felt. Ayoub said, “There were army personnel with their tanks guarding the apartment complex.”

Libya’s leader, Gaddafi, put up a fight to keep control and ultimately lost out to the will of the people. Libyan rebels received air support from United Nations, which includes the United States, to allow for a possible democracy to occur. Gaddafi had been charged with numerous human rights violations and even attempted to attain nuclear weapons in the 1980s.

The Arab Spring rages on as Syrian rebels continue to fight to topple President Bashar al- Assad. Assad’s military has been seen on video beating, torturing and killing citizens of Syria. Social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube have displayed the actions and have gained international support from humanitarian groups.

6. Donald Trump and

donald trump coloredObama’s Birth Certificate When the name Donald Trump is heard it is almost immediately recognized, whether it is in relation to real estate, to any kind of pop culture phenomena and, as of this year, in the game of politics. It is quite obvious that Trump has a great amount of inf luence, no one can really deny that, but when Trump started going after President Obama demanding the President’s birth certificate, some eyebrows were raised. Professor Michele Grillo, assistant professor of criminal justice, has her theories as to why several news outlets were paying such close attention to this story, even if they were skeptical. “In my opinion, I think this was a top story for two reasons. First, it was Donald Trump who pushed this issue. Trump is well known in the business world as well as the political community. When he speaks, people listen. Because Trump felt this was an important issue, it made everyday people also believe this was an important issue. Second, once Trump brought the issue forward, the media highlighted Trump’s request for President Obama’s birth certificate. If the everyday public sees this headline daily, the public will come to believe it is an important issue that needs to be resolved,” says Grillo.

 

Grillo goes on to state she believes that the whole birth certificate scandal was taken to too high of an extreme. “I definitely view it as an invasion of privacy. However, when one runs for president, you also realize that your right to privacy is diminished to a certain degree. In addition, certain information, such as a birth certificate and yearly taxes, are a requirement for public record. The fact that Obama’s birth certificate was “demanded” was ridiculous, and whether or not it was demanded, Obama would produce a birth certificate anyway. I think that Obama not releasing it when it was first demanded was not in his best interest, as if he produced the certificate more quickly, the issue would have gone away that much sooner,” Grillo acknowledges.

Although the whole issue between Trump and Obama’s birth certificate seems to have faded away and won’t have all too much impact on anything in the near future, it seems safe to say that the nation’s interest was captured by the entrepreneur in a manner that didn’t have to end with the phrase “You’re fired.”

Supreme Court Hears Health Care Bill Arguments

The pending United States healthcare law was taken to the Supreme Court last week. The nine justices heard arguments from the Solicitor General, representing the defense, and Paul Clement, Florida Attorney General, representing the plaintiff.

President Barack Obama’s Health Care Reform Bill, enacted in 2010, intends to aid Americans in obtaining and paying for health insurance. It is expected to expand coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured, according to CBS News. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage of children based on pre-existing medical conditions. Those here illegally are not eligible to purchase medical coverage, even if they pay fully on their own.

However, the individual mandate states that by 2014 those who do not have medical insurance will be fined an annual fee of $695. There will only be exceptions made for some low-income people. The debate for the individual mandate was held on Tuesday, March 27. The Solicitor General’s argument for the mandate was weak, believes Dr. Gregory Bordelon, rofessor of political science and pre-law advisor.

“Honestly, the solicitor general did not perform well on Tuesday for the individual mandate argument. He seems to pick it up a little bit with the taxing clause argument and his rebuttal, but that was a hot topic in the news that day and on Wednesday - whether his seemingly slow pace agitated the justices and whether Paul Clement’s forceful advocacy (on behalf of the state of Florida) will be a factor in the justices’ conference decision,” he said. Bordelon also believes that Clement did well in comparing the health care bill to the case of McCulloch v. Maryland in terms of interstate commerce. “Had the federal government in McCulloch forced people to put their money in the then-newly created bank of the United States, you may have had a different situation than what happened in that case.”

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GUC Stuffs Bullying Into a Locker

Professor Jennifer Shamrock of the Communication Department along with three of her senior students: Kiley Minton, Alexa Passalacqua, and Natalia Starosolsky conducted a presentation entitled “Bullying in America” for the 11th annual Global Understanding Convention on Wednesday, April 4.

Throughout the presentation, Shamrock and her students showed pictures and video clips of children and young teens that have lost their lives to the inescapable realities and pressures of bullying. While bullying continue to grow harsher each year, school administrators throughout the country are failing to put an end to the problem that has plagued America’s youth. As devastated and grief stricken families look for answers, they turn towards current laws and legislations in their home states.

Bullying is forcing kids to stay home from school, some missing a total of one third of their total school days; the problem only gets worse for some, the group’s presentation explained.

For example, one of the main videos that Shamrock and her group focused on was a news report from Anderson Cooper called “Bullied to Death,” that told the story of Asher Brown, a 13-year-old boy from Houston, Texas who ended his life as a result of bullying. When Cooper questioned the boy’s parents, they said, “Asher was picked on for not wearing the same clothes, for his stature, for his Buddhist religion and for being gay.” However, despite Asher’s parents’ complain of their son being bullied, the administrators of Asher’s school denied knowing that the boy was bullied at all.

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The Naked Truth Behind the Strip Search Decision

Take a moment to imagine the following: one second you are driving down the road with your wife and son, carefree and content. In the next instant you are being pulled over, arrested for supposedly not paying a fine and strip searched at a correctional facility not just once, but twice. To some, the situation described might seem over exaggerated and farfetched to say the least, but for Albert Florence the situation was all to real.

According to an article released on April 2 in the New York Timeson in 2005 Florence’s wife, who had been operating the vehicle, was pulled over for speeding. As the traffic officer ran through the usual procedure of processing a speeding violation, he had discovered that Florence had failed to pay a fine, which lead to his arrest. After Florence was taken into custody, he was admitted to Essex County Correctional Facility, where he was first strip searched, and then transferred to a Burlington County holding facility where he was searched for a second time.

After Florence’s release, it turns out that the fine that had led to his arrest in the first place was, in fact, paid. However, the fact that there was a confusion about the fine wasn’t the problem in Florence’s eyes, the problem was that he was subject to strip searches for something so minimal

Florence has since sued, claiming that strip searches of those arrested for minor infractions violate the Fourth Amendment, which protects against any kind of unreasonable search and seizure, along with requiring probable cause and a judicially sanctioned warrant; the case has made its way all the way up to the Supreme Court in a case labeled Florence v. The Board of Chosen Freeholders.

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Why the World Should Pay Attention to China

Dr. Kevin Dooley, Dean of the Honors School at the University, gave a presentation on China as part of Global Understanding on April 5 to approximately 40 students, faculty and visitors. Dooley’s presentation was about how China is becoming an important country in understanding where the world is going. He started out with the fact that China is the second most Googled term worldwide. Dooley started by stating the question: “Why does China matter?”

Dooley mentioned the five major countries that will have major impacts in the next 50 years: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS). The unique part about China is that it is the only one not a democracy. “There is an old idea that wealth means democracy and that statement is being challenged by China,” Dooley stated during the presentation.

Dr. Rehka Datta, political science professor, who spent time in China last semester agrees with Dooley, “China has demonstrated tremendous economic growth, into the double digits. Government investment as well as opening of its economy has resulted in massive development of infrastructure, construction, education, the military, and other areas.”

An article in the New York Times by Charles Kupchan said, “Washington has long presumed that the world’s democracies will as a matter of course ally themselves with the United States; common values supposedly mean common interests. But if India and Brazil are any indication, even rising powers that are stable democracies will chart their own courses, expediting the arrival of a world that no longer plays by Western rules.”

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What is the “Stand Your Ground” Law?

Stand-Your-Ground-LawTeenager Trayvon Martin was gunned down in Sanford, Florida while walking home from a convenience store on February 26. The alleged gunman, George Zimmermann, was the head of his local neighborhood watch group, and claimed the shooting was committed in self-defense. The killing has caused a great deal of controversy from critics of the Florida police that have not arrested Zimmermann on any grounds. Martin, being a 17-year-old African-American, has brought race-relations to the forefront of politics and policy debate once again. President Obama has openly voiced his sympathies for the Martin family. Zimmermann has yet to be indicted on any charges.

The focal point of this policy debate however is Florida’s highly controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. This statute states that a person may use deadly force in self-defense when there is a reasonable belief of threat, without an obligation to retreat first. Proponents of this legislation state that it is common sense to be able to defend yourself in hostile situations while opponents state that it is the right to commit murder in many cases. The National Rifle Association lobbied extensively for the passage of such laws in the early 2000’s. The interest group strategized and invested in states that were likely to pass the law Since the Martin killing, the NRA has halted lobbying efforts in Alaska. Last week, a New York Times op-ed piece by John F. Timoney cited that since 2005 when the law was passed. Florida homicides that are considered “justifiable” have nearly tripled.

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Latest Horror Film to Hit YouTube: “Obamaville”

Santorum Uses YouTube to Release Newest Campaign Video Against Obama

America, prepare for a new kind of political slander. Rick Santorum’s “Obamaville” television ad is a product of the political rivalry between him and President Barack Obama. The ad, which started out on YouTube, has gone viral, flooding televisions in the homes of many. “Obamaville,” according to Dr. Don Swanson, Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Religion and Interdisciplinary Studies, is different stylistically than typical television campaign ads.

“Like a lot of political ads, it doesn’t really say anything clearly; it uses images to create an aura. The aura is one of horror, negativity and fear. The images refer very broadly to an apocalyptic future. Everything in the ad is dark. Visual images are powerful in setting a mood. The goal is to set a sense that is vague and get the viewer to read emotion into the ad,” said Swanson. “Note the rapidity of the visual cuts, almost subliminal because they are so quick. These cuts try to get you to associate things to each other that are not really related. It has no remotely logical or accurate verbal content. It does however try to plant a verbal term, “Obamaville,” in the conclusion that the producers would like to become familiar and salient.”

Swanson was communication director in two congressional campaigns in Oregon in 1988 and 1990 when internet campaigning did not exist and is therefore more cognizant of the changes in modern political communication. He remarks that the evolution of political communication fascinates him.

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Congress Approval Rating Continues to Decline

Is it Time for Term Limits for Members of Congress?

America is growing restless with Congress demanding change to be delivered, according to recent protests and reports. It is general knowledge that in the game of American politics there is a lust for controversy. It seems, though, that the topic of establishing term limits in Congress has steamrolled in and proven to fulfill the gap in both rolls very nicely.

Headlines, for some time now, have publicized everywhere about American displeasure in Congress. According to Realclearpolitics. com, the Congressional approval rating is 12.4 percent. A suggestion that seems to have gained more support than the rest is that offered in the form of term limits. But are these term limits truly going to provide all of the solutions that America hungers for?

Professor Christopher DeRosa, Associate Professor of history here at the University, believes that the individuals in American society demanding harsh restrictions, such as term limits, must be very cautious in doing so. “Term limits are an anti-democratic measure. You want to be very careful about instituting antidemocratic measures we don’t really need. Americans already have the right to limit the term of any senator or representative they choose by not reelecting them. Term limits would deprive you of the right of keeping an especially good legislator. We do not have an abundance of good legislators, so perhaps we should not force ourselves to get rid of the ones we have,” said DeRosa.

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Pre-Law Club Hosts Mock Law School Class for University Students

Class Uses Socratic Method, Often Used In Law School

boredelon-colorLegal studies and political science professor Gregory Bordelon taught a mock law school class for students interested in law School Monday, March 26. The class was taught using the Socratic Method, a popular way of teaching used in law school in which the instructor will ask the student questions to stimulate critical thinking and highlight the main ideas on a topic. Students attending the class came well prepared for the intense line of questioning.

Each attendee had a homework assignment before they entered the room. Two legal cases were emailed to each student who had to memorize the facts in the case.

The first case Fiocco V Carterdealt with a 1922 New York Court of Appeals case in which, a truck driver was on duty but took care of personal business instead of work related business. Then a child fell off of his truck and was run over. The court debated whether or not the employer of the truck driver was responsible for the boy’s injuries. Had the driver been doing company business, the company would have been held responsible.

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The Battle Royale: Anti-Bullying Laws vs. Cyber Bullying

It goes without saying that everyone, at one point or another, has been the subject of a certain brand of teases and taunts labeled as “bullying.” Usually when thought of, bullying is most commonly depicted as a negative type of social interaction taken place in the classrooms and hallways of schools. It seems that bullying has found a new way to seek out its victims in a more convenient and modernized manner; cyber bullying is capable of reaching and affecting millions instantaneously.

Cyber bullying, as defined by Sameer Hinduja and Justin Pachin of the Cyber Bullying Research Center, is the “Willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.” With the growth in technology this type of electronic harassment is no longer limited to simple cell phone use and the Internet in general. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, have played a large contributing role to the cyber bullying craze, primarily because of the constant, almost 24 hour, use by teens and youth, which in turn allows them to be easy targets initially.

It is because of this effortless accessibility that has sparked several public and leading officials nationwide to put into place several types of Anti- Bullying type laws. New Jersey’s own form of the law has been edited and put into effect by Governor Chris Christie as of last year. according to a New York Times article in August 2011, “The New Jersey law has earned the label of being one of, if not the most, strict form of the Anti-Bullying Laws.” Professor Bordelon, Pre-Law Advisor and Lecturer of Political Science at the University, mentions that the Anti-Bullying Laws are what sparked the creation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. “These Anti-Bullying codes are meant to further train school officials on recognizing harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) under the law and set up an intra-school procedure to receive complaints and determine sanctions once incidents of HIB are found,” says Bordelon.

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Gamechange Airs on HBO About Former Vice President Candidate

The Question Remains: Was Sarah Palin the Pioneer of the Tea Party Movement?

sarah_palin6After watching the movie Gamechange this weekend, a film about the 2008 presidential election and, most importantly, the John McCain campaign’s plight controlling Sarah Palin. The question was clear: did Sarah Palin start the Tea Party movement? McCain knew his odds were against him defeating Obama in 2008. The McCain team went for the home run shot in their pick of Sarah Palin for the Vice Presidential candidate, she was either going to boom or bust. According to latimes.com, “He also is taking a risk that in elevating a largely unknown figure, he undermines the central theme of his candidacy that he puts ‘country first,’ above political calculations.”

The team decided that the only way to compete with Obama was through the first term female governor of Alaska.

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Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Visits the University

monmouth-county-prosecutors-office-sealIMAGE TAKEN from http://www.masterplaques.comMonmouth County’s Assistant Prosecutor Mark Apostolou Jr. came to the University as a guest speaker on Tuesday, March 20. Apostolou came into Dr. Gregroy Boredelon’s Pre-Trial Prosecution System class on Tuesday nights. He came in to give the students in the class a practical use for the theory they are learning now in class. Apostolou attended the University of Richmond for his undergraduate degree, and then went to Seton Hall Law School. Following law school, he did a one year clerkship and in September of 2007 he was named Assistant Prosecutor of Monmouth County.

 

His topic of discussion was how pretrial decisions played a role everyday especially during his job. Apostolou discussed in detail all the work that goes into a case prior to trial. He explained how warrants work, and arraignment of a suspect. He spent a large amount of time on how discovery can make or break a case. According to legaldefinitions.com, discovery “Allows one party to question other parties, and sometimes witnesses. It also allows one party to force the others to produce requested documents or other physical evidence.” Discovery gives everyone all the information involved in a case and makes it fair for the attorneys.

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NYPD Monitors College-Age Muslims

03.21.12_Page_08_Image_0001Because of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 in New York City, many New Yorkers have become suspicious of Muslims. NYPD has taken action. Muslims have been put under surveillance by police in NYC due to past attacks conducted by terrorists of the Muslim faith. According to an article in The Washington Post, NYPD started an “undercover spy operation” in 2007. Police have been observing and recording where Muslims live, work and even pray.

This sparks major controversy among citizens, both Muslims and others, about human rights and equality. A poll from New York Daily News says that 82 percent of New York citizens approve of this surveillance for fear of future terrorist attacks. Others such as anthropology professor at the University Dr. Stanton Green feel differently. “From what I know of this practice, it is illegal. It tramples the Constitution and it indicates ethnic profiling and discrimination against Muslims. It is not the American way of justice and freedom because it did not apparently follow the due process protections that undergird the American way of life,” says Green.

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Has Limbaugh Gone Too Far?

Conservative Radio Host Refers to Law Student as “Slut” and “Prostitute”

In today’s modernized and constantly connected society, being able to captivate an audience’s attention, is no small feat. Conservative talk show host and political commentator Rush Limbaugh has been able to do so. Instead the causation for the audience’s attention stems from brash comments used by Limbaugh to describe 31 year old law student Sandra Fluke and her positioning regarding contraception.

According to an article in the Huffington Post on March 13, Limbaugh had first regarded Fluke as a “slut” and “prostitute” during his radio show after the third year Georgetown law student had been denied the opportunity to speak before a Congressional panel backing the thought of insurers covering the cost of contraception. Professor Michael Phillips-Anderson, a Communications professor at the University states that, “While she was not allowed to testify before the official House committee she did make a statement to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. It was those remarks that Limbaugh responded to. Limbaugh’s comments echo those of many criticisms of those seeking greater equality for women throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Women who entered the public sphere were often identified as prostitutes for leaving the private sphere and entering into public discourse.”

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Peace Among Enemies

Facebook Sparks Campaign for Peace Between Israel and Iran

03.21.12_Page_09_Image_0001The surmounting tension between Iran’s nuclear program and Israel’s threats of military intervention is driving a deeper rift in other states’ foreign policy agendas, yet it is also driving internal cooperation between citizens of the two conflicting states.

The deepening rift between Israel and Iran is expanding as nuclear tensions become more intense. Other countries’ loyalties are stressed as Israel recently announced that it would pursue military actions against Iran if necessary.

Last Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama urged Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that military action could unveil a variety of consequences.

The United States and Britain both voiced their discouragement early last week, although the United States regards Israel as a strong ally. Britain also cited that military action against Iran would not be helpful at the given time. Britain ambassador, Peter Westmacott told reporters, “We do not regard that as the right way forward in the months to come.”

“The Iranian situation is vital, in terms of trying to demonstrate to the world, and in particular to the Iranians, our continued road of sanctions, the pressure that’s got further to run, and that we’re going to push that as hard as we can,” Cameron told reporters during his most recent trip to the United States. He also went on to discuss that Britain would not support Israel if they pursued military action.

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Feeling the Pain at the Pump?

A Look at Who's to Blame for Rising Gas Prices

As gas prices continue to soar the American people are being forced to make decisions that will best suit their financial needs. In a country where prices of everything only seem to go up, gas will be just an additional expenditure that the public will be required to face. As a result of this concern, politicians and government officials keep the high prices of gas as one of their top concerns.

While prices of gas are continuously rising and politics are weighing heavily on consumer’s inability to afford fuel for their cars, they are forced to reevaluate their current cars and look towards smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

According to an Associated Press article, “As gas prices rise, Detroit is better prepared with small car. Gas prices are spiking. But this time, Detroit is ready.” The article explains that when gas prices soared in 2008, Detroit’s three U.S. automakers, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, were struggling. Unlike competitors, they did not have small cars and relied on trucks and SUVs for profits. However, “When gas prices peaked at $4.12 in July of that year, sales from the Big Three (Ford, General Motors and Chrysler) plummeted more than 20 percent. That same month, sales of the fuelsipping Toyota Corolla jumped 16 percent,” the article explained.

In an effort to get better gas mileage on their vehicles consumers are shifting to small cars again. Although, the article said, “Prices have never been as high for this time of year. The price of a gallon of gas is up 46 cents this year to an average of $3.74. Analysts say gas could hit $4.25 by this April.”

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Syrian Violence Becoming International Issue

Continued violence and bloodshed in Syria shows little sign of stopping. The brutal regime of this Middle Eastern country has continued its crackdown on apparent “opposition” groups. The number of people killed during the violence is unknown. Rebel forces estimate 9,000 people have been killed. The government is saying that 2,000 security officers were killed. Citizen journalists and opposition members have given evidence to the contrary showing the attacking has intentionally been going after innocent civilians. YouTube videos and activist accounts have shown government forces shelling buildings of civilians and attacking random people in the street.

Those in the opposition fighting against this repressive regime vow to not stop fighting unless Assad is out of power. The activist named “Danny” whose real name has been hidden because of safety concerns, told CNN ,“The fighting will not stop until Assad is stopped, or all of the activists are dead.” David Wallsh, a PhD student in International Affairs at Tufts University believes that this situation will not end soon. “The Assad regime has an overwhelming military advantage over the opposition, and neither the opposition nor the international community has figured out how to match it.” Al-Assad is a member of the minority Alawite population in Syria. Alawite is a religious outshoot of Shiite Islam. According to CNN, the government began attacking the majority Sunni antigovernment protesters.

The world cannot be silent on this issue; innocent people are dying in Syria. Aid workers cannot get through to help the hundreds of people at risk because the government is turning them away. The Assad regime is trying to hide the atrocities going on in the embroiled country from the rest of the world.

Fortunately, The U.N. Human Rights council recently condemned the crackdown. Enormous international pressure from member nations of the Arab League has been put on the government of Syria to stop the senseless violence. This has not stopped Assad, who is still ramping up attacks on his own people.

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Will Super Tuesday Be Super for Romney and Santorum?

Will Super Tuesday Could Become Crucial to Winner of the Republican Nomination

Mitt Romney won the Arizona Republican primary by a wide margin. Romney was also reported to have initially won his home state of Michigan over challenger Rick Santorum by three percentage points, however after a recount it was called a tie. This led to the two candidates splitting the delegates.

While this is not the outcome Mitt Romney had hoped for, it is still a promising result for him going into Super Tuesday.

With the tremendous amount of mistakes he is making it is understandable why he is still struggling to become the clear front-runner in this race. While his win on Tuesday was good for his campaign, he’ll have to kick it up a notch and prove to voters in the Super Tuesday states that he is the candidate that is capable and prepared to defeat Barack Obama in a general election. Political Science major Alexandria Todd responded, “I think Romney will ride the wave of momentum he gathered from his victories in Arizona and Michigan.”

Rick Santorum has proven to be more than just a dark horse, making every step of this race a struggle for the Romney camp. From what looked like a clearcut loss for Santorum actually turned out to yield big gains and definitely improve his chances come March 6th. Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department stated, “Santorum seems to be wounded after making a few political missteps in past weeks. As Romney’s main competitor this will be crucial.”

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Student Performs Study About Women’s Role in Politics

Prior to the year 1920, women were barred from voting or holding public office despite desperate pleas such as Abigail Adams’ famous line, “Please, remember the ladies!” Slowly, progress was made and women can now be found at every level of the U.S. government including the Supreme Court. It is vital for women’s voices to be heard in our halls of legislation. Nevertheless, Monmouth’s aspiring female lawmakers will be facing an uphill battle when trying to step into the political arena after graduation.

In spite of recent progress, women still only comprise about 24 percent of our state legislatures, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. The percentages of female legislators are high in some states while others have with low female representation. This begs the question: why do some states have higher percentages of female legislators than others? The answer lies in each state’s education levels, religious views, and political ideologies. In order to further investigate this issue, a regression analysis study under the guidance of Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of Political Science and Dr. Thomas Lamatsch, Assistant Director of the Polling Institute, was conducted.

The results of this study were groundbreaking in the political research field, uncovering a direct correlation between state educational levels and the percentages of female legislators in each state. Education was the main factor contributing to this issue making it the study’s most significant finding. Patten believes that education has a significant impact on voter participation. “The level of education a person has is the most important predictor as to whether a person will vote or engage in our political process,” Patten said. The data clearly indicated that as a state’s percentage of college graduates increased, the state’s percentage of female legislators increased as well. This was as expected considering voter turnout is significantly higher among college graduates.

Gender came into play as previous studies have proven that voter turnout is higher among women than men, and according to a 2009 Gallop poll, “41 percent of women identify themselves as Democrats.” It is these liberal leaning females who come out to the polls in droves to cast their votes on behalf of female candidates they believe will better represent them on women’s issues. All of which indicate the more educated the voter, the higher a state’s percentage of female representation.

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Why Students Should Know About the Supreme Court

us-supreme-courtThe Supreme Court of the United States of America is one of the three branches of government. There are eight associate justices and one chief justice. The Supreme Court has been in existence since the Judiciary Act of 1789. It became an official organization in February of 1790. Their two primary duties are to interrupt the Constitution and settle disputes between states.

The Supreme Court was established from Article III of the Constitution. This branch’s objective was unknown at first, aside from keeping a legal check on the other two branches of government. The Supreme Court gained its power in the landmark case Marbury v. Madison. This case was about how James Madison attempted to stop last minute appointments by outgoing President John Adams. William Marbury was appointed by Adams and Congress right before Thomas Jefferson was to take over as President. James Madison saw this as unconstitutional. At the conclusion of the case, the Supreme Court ruled four to zero saying that Marbury should be granted his position but it was not up to the Court to force Madison to give it to him. This case was historic because it gave the Court the power to overrule an act of Congress based on the Constitution.

A case can end up before the Supreme Court in two ways. It is either through original jurisdiction or appellate jurisdiction. Original jurisdiction means that the Supreme Court is the only court to hear the case. Appellate jurisdiction means the Supreme Court is hearing a case once heard by a lower court and can either affirm or overturn a decision made by the lower court. In order for a case to be appealed to the Supreme Court, the appealing attorney must file a writ of certiorari. This is a formal request to the Court for the case to be heard.

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Political Debate: Should the United States Get Involved with Aid to Yemen?

Side 1: The U.S. Should Give Aid to Yemen as a Form of Protection

Currently in Yemen, protests and government instability has allowed Al-Qaeda to take over cities in the southern part of the country, particularly the port of Aden where 140,000 barrels of oil pass through every day. National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter has called Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or ‘AQAP’ the biggest threat to the U.S. Homeland. The attempted bombing of U.S. flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 marked a shift in terrorist activity, since the attack came from Yemen, and not central Al - Qaeda leadership in South Asia. Most importantly, however, may be the scary possibility of a potential nuclearized AQAP. According to Larry J. Arbuckle, a Navy Lieutenant, Al-Qaeda could obtain nuclear weapons. The problem has been that they have not had enough financing to be able to do so yet. AQAP taking over Yemen and gaining influence in the region can possibly lead to them obtaining a nuclear weapon. President Obama said in 2011 that if Al-Qaeda obtained nuclear weapons they would have “no compunction” of using them. According to Obama, “The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and longterm, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Stopping Al-Qaeda in Yemen needs to be a top priority for the American government.

In addition to Al-Qaeda, the United States have moral obligations to the women in Yemen. According to the Yemeni Secretary of Health, women have barely any rights in Yemen currently; they are arrested arbitrarily for “immoral” acts such as smoking, adultery, or eating in a restaurant with a “boyfriend.” Women also do not have the ability to marry who they please. If a woman wants to get married she must get the permission of a man in her family, if she has no male relatives she must go to a judge. Women in Yemen have a one-in-three chance of being able to read and write. Women have a one-in-five chance of being attended by a mid-wife when giving birth, as well as a one in 39 chance of dying while giving birth. As the woman is the primary caregiver of children, if the mother dies the child has an increased risk of dying shortly thereafter. There is no law in Yemen stating how old a woman must be before she can get married, girls as young as 12 find themselves with a husband.

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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