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Politics

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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