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Politics

Volume 83 (Fall 2011 - 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.

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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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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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