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Last updateFri, 17 Nov 2017 9pm

Politics

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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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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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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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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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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