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Politics

Volume 83 (Fall 2011 - Spring 2012)

Why the World Should Pay Attention to China

Honors School China MattersDr. 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.”

Dooley stated during the presentation how the expansion of China’s middle class is worrying those in power. According to Dooley, once middle classes expand they want more protection, and this normally leads to a rise in democracy. This is referred to as the “Classical Economic Model.”

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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.

However, the argument around the case was whether or not the truck driver was taking care of personal business or was he going back to the garage of his employment. The court decided that when the boy was injured, the driver was leaving a pool hall, which was a personal stop. The court found for the defendant, the truck driver’s employer.

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Congress Approval Rating Continues to Decline

Is it Time for Term Limits for Members of Congress?


default article imageAmerica 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


default article imageAmerica, 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

default article imageIt 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.

Palin, as it turned out, was not very experienced considering she had only been governor of Alaska for 17 months. Her inexperience showed on the campaign trail. For example, in an interview with Katie Couric on June 2, 2010, Palin summed her foreign policy experience up by stating Alaska shares a border with Russia and Canada. In that same interview, Palin had difficulty naming a newspaper or magazine she read, leaving many to believe she never reads national news. In her defense however, Palin has been able to attract massive crowds whenever she speaks, such as in Manchester, New Hampshire where she had 600 people in the audience. Following the 2008 election she quickly became one of the biggest stars of the Republican Party.

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Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Visits the University

monmouth-county-prosecutors-office-sealMonmouth 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.

The other main objective of his appearance was about the important of a grand jury. According to uscourts.gov, a “Grand jury, which normally consists of 16 to 23 members, has a more specialized function. The United States attorney, the prosecutor in federal criminal cases, presents evidence to the grand jury for them to determine whether there is “probable cause” to believe that an individual has committed a crime and should be put on trial. If the grand jury decides there is enough evidence, it will issue an indictment against the defendant. Grand jury proceedings are not open for public observation.” Apostolou explained how this part of the process can make or break a case.

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Rutgers Trustees Oppose Timeline for Merger Plan

default article imageThe Rutgers University trustees on Thursday balked at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s July 1 deadline for a sweeping merger plan under which the school would gain a respected but debt-ridden medical school in New Brunswick and lose an entire campus in South Jersey.

The group’s approval may be needed for the plan to proceed, according to some legal opinions and the Office of Legislative Services.

Rutgers President Richard McCormick said he anticipated that legislation involving the reorganization could be voted upon before the Legislature adjourns this summer. Christie has said that much of the reorganization could be accomplished through an executive order.

It remains unclear which route will be taken, but either way the Rutgers trustees may have a say since they were vested with oversight and authority over university property by a 1956 statute.

At its regular meeting on Thursday, the group, which numbers nearly 60, expressed frustration with the lack of financial details in the reorganization plan and the governor’s insistence on forging ahead despite this.

“I feel like I’m doing this with a gun to my head,” said Dorothy Cantor, a trustee.

Meanwhile, Rutgers officials said applications and donations are down because of uncertainty at the Camden campus, which the realignment plan would give to Rowan University, based in Glassboro.

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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.

Chief of Police at the University, Bill McElrath, said, “I think the issue is one of trying to balance the legitimate requirement of law enforcement to keep people safe, with the need to safeguard the constitutional rights of individuals. My personal belief is that law enforcement should not target any group based solely on their race, sex or sexual orientation without any other information substantiating the investigation.” He also voices that it is the job of law enforcement to pursue potential crime.

Professor of Anthropology at the University Dr. William Mitchell also says that Muslim surveillance is a bad idea because it stereotypes an entire group based on the actions of a few. “Like most Christians, most Muslims just want to get on with their lives. In particular, most Muslim students just want to study and succeed in their careers. Why should they be stereotyped?” says Mitchell.

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Has Limbaugh Gone Too Far?

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


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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.”

As reported in an article in Time Magazine on March 8, ever since the first snubs towards Fluke had been delivered, Limbaugh had ridiculed and released taunting comments regarding Fluke a total of 53 times over the course of three days. Jessica Davis, a freshman, recalls some of the crude mentionings spoken by Limbaugh. “I remember that [Limbaugh] went so far as to say that all women who get contraception should post videos of themselves having sex on the internet as a way of “paying it back” to society. Not only did I find the comment disgusting, but it really made me wonder why anyone would choose to take this guy seriously when he is saying such nasty and immature things about a very serious issue,” says Davis. The very comments had sparked national outrage, resulting in several companies second guessing the relations tying them to Limbaugh’s name.

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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