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Last updateWed, 10 Oct 2018 4pm

Politics

Christie Lowers Flag For Houston

default article imageThe world received the shocking news that musical icon and New Jersey native Whitney Houston was dead on Saturday, February 11, 2012. Her body had been found partially submerged in a bathtub after consuming a cocktail of Valium, Xanax and alcohol in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

After Houston’s death however, society seemed to split between those who wished to grieve for her passing and others who, for lack of better word, were not all that surprised, primarily because of the fact that Houston’s past was laced with drug and alcohol abuse. The controversy grew more volatile when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made the announcement that he would be lowering the flags to honor the New Jersey native.

Professor Mezey, Associate Professor and Director of the Sociology program here at the University, says that she respects Governor Christie’s decision to lower the flag for Houston.  “My understanding is that he based his decision on his conviction that Whitney Houston made an important cultural impact during her life and because she was born and raised in New Jersey,” states Mezey.

Freshman Gina Colasurdo was a little less than enthused about Christie’s choice in lowering the flag. “A person very close to me lost someone very close to them in their lives. His friend was in Afghanistan and was shot, but he didn’t get the recognition he should have. In fact, many soldiers that have been killed in the local area do not get nearly as much recognition as Whitney Houston gets for abusing prescription drugs. So Governor Christie chooses to lower the flag to a known drug abuser over a person who is out there supporting the United States and fighting for our country. How fair does that sound?” asked Colasurdo.

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Greece Given Second Bailout in Two Years

Greece Given Second BailoutEven after the culmination of negotiations among European Union member states, Grecians have found little avail as a second bailout package emerged early last Tuesday morning.

Finance ministers met Monday in Brussels with two objectives. The first concentrated on imposing stricter economic sanctions on Greece, and the second addressed whether the nation could eventually survive on its own.

With the finalization of last Monday’s talks, Greece walked away with a second bailout package, valued at euro130 billion ($170 billion).  An earlier package was approved in 2010 by private lenders for euro100 billion ($130 billion).

Time Magazine reported the Euro surged seven tenth of a percentage to $1.328 within minutes of the bailout announcement.

This deal was essential for Athens to avoid default next month.

Greece’s Parliament had the weekend to review and sign a 400plus spending cuts and the new bailout package are focused on keeping the banks heads above water rather than sustaining the body of its country.

Graffiti stained storefronts embody the country’s fragile condition and the smell of tear gas continuously infuses the streets of Athens, enveloping the violent facades since 2008.

Rachel Donadio from The New York Times reported on February 25, “The first time I visited Athens the city was in flames.  It was December 2008. [The riots were] set off after a policeman’s bullet killed a teenager [and] engulfed the city. For several days, the rule of law was tenuous at best.”

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Is Birth Control a Governmental Issue?

default article imageThe Republican Presidential primaries have taken a turn to social issues this month, with new controversy over religious institutions providing birth control on their insurance plans. Earlier, President Obama issued a new mandate that would require insurance providers to cover the costs of birth control if Catholic or other religious employers do not wish to include it on their plan. Naturally, this drew critical responses from all of the Republican candidates. However, the most outspoken was Rick Santorum, claiming that President Obama is waging a war on religious freedoms and trying to promote a “secular agenda.” Many agree with Mr. Santorum saying that the President’s mandate is unfair and requires religious institutions to practice methods that go against their religion.

There has been a larger response from women who feel they have not been represented in this debate. At a congressional hearing with religious authorities from multiple faiths, there were no female testimonies provided. Representative Darrell Issa (RCA) denied one female Georgetown Law Student, Sandra Fluke, the opportunity to speak at the hearing. This decision sparked a tremendous amount of backlash from women’s groups across the country. It was reported by CNN that Nancy Pelosi harshly criticized the hearing and is including Ms. Fluke as the sole witness at an all Democratic Policy Committee.

With women being an increasingly important electorate, it is puzzling to see the Republicans alienate them so greatly. Numbers citied in the President’s address on the issue indicated that nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on birth control at some point in their life. With numbers that large it may be unwise for candidates like Rick Santorum to essentially write off their interests. Also, with all of the talk by the candidates of sizing down the influence of government, they still are open to passing a law that keeps women and families from making their most personal decisions. So, government regulation is bad unless it’s upholding a narrow religious doctrine? In any state, it is dangerous when leaders use their position to cast their religious convictions on the citizens.

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Student Performs Study About Women’s Role in Politics

Student Study Women RolesPrior 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.

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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


default article imageCurrently 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.

Many people may say that these problems are too complex and that it is not the responsibility of the United States to send money to other countries. However, the Yemeni people are specifically asking the United States to help the revolution. Tawakkol Karman, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner and head of a leading non-governmental organization in Yemen wrote a New York Times article saying, “We ask our friends in Washington to help us build a democratic future.” She was also quoted as saying “Together, we can eliminate the causes of extremism and the culture of terrorism by bolstering civil society and encouraging development and stability.” Student Lex Todd agreed by saying, “Tawakkol Karmen the Nobel Peace Prize winner know exactly what the Yemeni people need, her calling out to the United States shows that sending foreign aid needs to be a top priority for the government of the U.S.”

According to the National Democratic Institute, Non-Government Organizations and Central Statistical Organizations have been successful at reforms regarding political, economic, democracy, and women. Democracy assistance has also been known to combat terrorism. Many new recruits are joining AQAP because they simply need to make money, or because they have no representation within government. By helping NGO’s and CSO’s in Yemen, the United States will allow for the people of Yemen to have no reason to want to join any extremist groups. Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of Political Science commented by saying, “It’s easy to topple a government, its harder to rebuild. NGO’s and CSO’s have shown the capacity to rebuild Yemen and help democratize the country which wil lead to a prosperous future” The U.S. needs to change the culture in Yemen for the better. However, these same groups known to reform society are starving for funding. They have been successful at a small local level but Yemen is a very fragmented country, and they need more funding to be successful on a national level. The U.S. currently gives $25 million per year to Yemen, not nearly enough following a recent request by the Yemeni government of an assessment of close to $14 billion will be needed to implement the type of reforms necessary to solve for the abuses currently taking place.

Side 2: Yemen is Not Necessarily an Ally


In the wake of the Arab Spring revolutions, Democracy in the Middle East is an increasingly important foreign policy initiative for the United States. Authoritarian regimes have been toppled in countries like Egypt Tunisia, and Libya, but atrocities against Arab citizens are still being committed, as seen in the past week, most notably in Syria. As we examine the crisis in the Middle East from an international political perspective, we must ask if democracy is realistic; ultimately make the region more stable and safe. These are the questions that will define American foreign policy in the region for years to come.

After an October U.N. resolution called for an end to violence against the country’s citizens, President Saleh who had been badly burned amidst this violence, signed power over to Yemen’s Vice President and called for elections to be held by late November, according to an article in the New York Times in February of 2012. While on the surface these democratic elections can be a positive transition for countries like Yemen, in the long run they may not be so instrumental in ensuring global peace and security. Groups like the Muslim Brotherhood have been gaining a significant amount of power throughout the Arab Spring countries and have demonstrated their power in sweeping elections. This influence is evident in Yemen as well. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, even democracy building non-government organizations, such as the Syrian National Council, have had Muslim Brotherhood ties, furthering their political will into the governments of revolutionized countries. Bryan Nardone, Fiance major stated “More extremism in the region will most likely breed more civil unrest.” If these groups already have a hand in the structuring of democracy, then these elections are not representing the democratic will of the voters. Professor Nicole Bizzoco, an adjunct political science professor said, “they have not historically been an ally. We are also spread too thin financially as well as militarily in other conflicts toreally provide much in terms of those resources to Yemen. I think focusing onhumanitarian aid and supportingthe people’s push for democracy where feasible is our best bet.”

Israel is an important country to factor in while considering these democratic transitions. If these Islamic regimes start to gain power, will their hostility towards Israel be demonstrated by the policies they enact? In an October 2011 report by journalist Steven Emerson, prominent members of the group, such as Essam el-Erian, stated openly that the “Existence of a state for Jews is against all rules of states all over the world.” The group has also expressed wide spread support for Hamas in Palestine. With a shift in power that crucial, it could trigger unrest in the Middle East that is even worse than it is currently. Open hostility and acts of aggression towards Israel would incite this.

American interests can also be compromised by a shift of power in the Middle East. With more of an extremist-Islamic influence being ushered into political regimes, an anti-western sentiment could be perpetuated. America must recognize that an increase in aid to the new democratic systems may ultimately fund and assist governments that display hostility towards them and threaten peace with Israel. If conflict enhances between Israel and the Arab states it would not only increase violence, but could call for the U.S. to get involved on some level when the country is just getting out of the war in Iraq as well as dialing down our involvement in Afghanistan. Pushing for such rapid change may not be the most stable choice for the U.S. In a region where rogue elements like terrorist groups and extremist organizations wield a substantial amount of violent power, this governmental transition could become the ideal opportunity for a power grab. Bizzoco stated, “The U.S. government has the difficult task of balancing evaluating threats and determining where best to expend our limited resources. As we have learned from Iraq, however, the government needs to really perform due diligence on the intelligence it uses to determine if a military strategy is appropriate in a particular country within the region.”

The world powers must take gradual steps to ensure that progress will not be hindered by hasty actions influenced by the passions of the moment. As a prominent world power it is a responsibility for the U.S. to assist these countries in the most effective way. By doing this peace and stability can be preserved.

SGA Minutes 1/25/12

default article imageThe SGA met on February 15 for a general meeting. Presi-dent Nicole Levy reminded the Senate about volunteer op-portunities such as the “Undie Run”possible “Penny War” and an opportunity to help those affected by the Brighton fire tragedy. Vice President Nagy addressed the Senate about the staff of the University being rude. She asks that you file a concise statement about the situation. Nagy also wanted to remind everyone that there is a doctor and psychiatrist at the Heath Center for eight to 10 hours a week and are available in case of emergency.

Alternative Spring break is coming up and this year it is a trip to Guatemala. The group is re-questing money to help fund their trips. This is a community ser-vice trip and those who have done it in the past have come back with once in a lifetime experience.

Nagy also commented on the 260 cases of the Norovirus at Princeton and Rider. She wanted to assure the students that there is an enormous effort to sanitize the campus. The fire marshal recent-ly explained that the doors in the Student Center doors are intended to be used as fire doors and can no longer be propped open.

Ravi Shah of Student Affairs came and addressed the Univer-sity’s attempt at recycling more on campus. The University is also looking into installing a large amount of new solar panels. Some students have complained that the landscaping crew has been using leaf blowers and lawnmowers too early in the morning on the resi-dential side. The goal is to have them use the tools past 10 a.m.

Carmine Ruocco spoke with Vice President Nagy about the use of meal plans in multiple lo-cations. Students will be able to use their meal plan in the Stu-dent Center, Shadows and Magil Dining Hall. Students will also be able to transfer declining dol-lars from the fall semester to the spring semester but it will not al-low the dollars to be transferred from the spring to the fall of the following school year.

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Feel Like Redecorating? Try Some of These Dorm Ideas

dormDecorating a room is a great way to express yourself. Many interior-decorating techniques can be used to create an image you want to convey towards the company you have over.

One of the best places to try decorating extravaganzas is in a dorm room. Why you may ask? Well for starters, it’s not permanent. By the end of this semester, many of you will be moving out of your dorm rooms. That poster, bedspread, or color-motif you originally set up in your room is not permanent. If in a couple of months, weeks or days you don’t like your original design of the room, it’s very easy to change it or spruce it up with a couple of steps.

The dorm is also a great place to express yourself because it’s a time of independence. You’re moved out of your house and this is your time to learn about yourself, especially through the form of expression. Use the dorm as a venue of expression, and decorate. There are many techniques and tricks to design a dorm room.

Set-up is the foundation of any room, especially when a room is limited in space. It can be difficult for many people to decorate a limited space without overdoing it, and essentially over-cramping it, making the room seem more cluttered and busy. In a dorm room, occupancy ranges from one to three individuals, which can lead up to three beds, three dressers and three desks. Creating space in a dorm room can be difficult, but with some techniques, more space can be created, making it easier to decorate.

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Will the Real Winter Please Show Up?

Real WinterThe weather that Mother Nature has been gracing us with seems to be the only thing more unpredictable than scoring a prime parking spot in the zoo, better known as the commuter lot.

Scarves, hats, gloves, and heavy puffer coats are considered typical winter fashion; however, the recent indecisive weather pattern has made wearing a t-shirt to class in February the norm on campus.

The Washington Post reported that many parts of the central and eastern United States have been experiencing temperatures 20 to 30 degrees warmer than average. The unusually warm weather has transformed winter fashion, causing students and faculty to adapt to the random changes to the best of their ability.

“I’ve noticed my students coming to class dressed in layers,” said communication professor Shannon Hokanson. Hokanson, who takes an interest in fashion, sees the relatively warmer weather as a positive opportunity.

“Ponchos are also very popular among my students,” explained Hokanson. Entering the world of high fashion this fall season, ponchos have made a smooth transition into the winter season considering the current weather pattern.

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Will Super PACs be a Game Changer in the 2012 Presidential Election?

Super PACs Game ChangerSuper PACs (political action committees) have already proven themselves extremely important to political candidates as well as their party affiliations thus far in the primary season. Free to flood a campaign with as much money as they can, this new type of political action committee has already had immense impact on the presidential campaign process. However, the question remains: Will Super PACs be a game changer in the 2012 Presidential Election?

According to the Federal Election Commission’s website, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name given to a private group of any size that is organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation.

Under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, an organization becomes a political committee by receiving contributions or making payments of more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election.  When an interest group, union, or corporation wants to contribute to federal candidates or a particular political party, it must do so through a PAC.

In order to understand the basics of political action committees, the Federal Election Commission from which they stemmed must first be explained. The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 is a United States federal law, which explained the rules and regulations behind federal campaign contributions.

It was amended in 1974 to place legal limitations on campaign contributions. This amendment, in turn, created the regulatory organization known as the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that we know today. By federal law as outlined by the FEC, PACs must report all of the financial activities, including direct donations and other expenses, to the Federal Election Commission, which then makes the reports available to the public.

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Gov. Christie: Controversy with Civil Rights Comment

default article imageGovernor Chris Christie recently sparked a controversy because of a comment he made during his announcement for a voter referendum on same sex marriage in New Jersey. Stating citizens should decide on the issue and not the state legislature, Christie added “I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil-rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.”

While Christie has received flack for wanting to put the issue on a ballot, his comment has received much more backlash from both state politicians like Newark Mayor Cory Booker, former New Jersey governors, and other African-American figures like civil-rights leader and U.S. House representative John Lewis.

Hettie Williams, a lecturer of African American History said the statement “was not grounded in historical context,” as African American’s rights were violated through statutes passed by local and state governments “that led to the rise of segregation sanctioned by the Supreme Court.”

“African Americans who attempted to vote or exercise their rights as citizens were routinely harassed, raped, beaten, and lynched,” said Williams. “The Civil Rights Movement was a reaction to the violence leveled against African Americans despite amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”

Dr. Nancy Mezey, director of the sociology program, is not surprised that Christie’s comment was criticized and thinks they should be critical, as his statement was “based on ignorance on a time when a public referendum on civil rights would not have ended in favor of equal rights for African Americans.”

“Christie not only holds a public office in which he should be advocating for all of his constituents, but he is also held in high regard by Republicans throughout the U.S.,” said Dr. Mezey, “He has a responsibility to make well informed comments and choices.”

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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