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Volume 83 (Fall 2011 - Spring 2012)

Peace Among Enemies

Facebook Sparks Campaign for Peace Between Israel and Iran

03.21.12_Page_09_Image_0001The surmounting tension between Iran’s nuclear program and Israel’s threats of military intervention is driving a deeper rift in other states’ foreign policy agendas, yet it is also driving internal cooperation between citizens of the two conflicting states.

The deepening rift between Israel and Iran is expanding as nuclear tensions become more intense. Other countries’ loyalties are stressed as Israel recently announced that it would pursue military actions against Iran if necessary.

Last Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama urged Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that military action could unveil a variety of consequences.

The United States and Britain both voiced their discouragement early last week, although the United States regards Israel as a strong ally. Britain also cited that military action against Iran would not be helpful at the given time. Britain ambassador, Peter Westmacott told reporters, “We do not regard that as the right way forward in the months to come.”

“The Iranian situation is vital, in terms of trying to demonstrate to the world, and in particular to the Iranians, our continued road of sanctions, the pressure that’s got further to run, and that we’re going to push that as hard as we can,” Cameron told reporters during his most recent trip to the United States. He also went on to discuss that Britain would not support Israel if they pursued military action.

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, Professor of Political Science and Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives commented on the rising frustrations between Iran and Israel. “The way forward is not to conduct policy by aggression or subversive acts whether carried out by states or non-state actors but to engage in serious diplomacy that holds states accountable for their actions. A stable peace results from the security of all, not the dominance of one state over the others.”

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Feeling the Pain at the Pump?

A Look at Who's to Blame for Rising Gas Prices

Pain at pump 1As gas prices continue to soar the American people are being forced to make decisions that will best suit their financial needs. In a country where prices of everything only seem to go up, gas will be just an additional expenditure that the public will be required to face. As a result of this concern, politicians and government officials keep the high prices of gas as one of their top concerns.

While prices of gas are continuously rising and politics are weighing heavily on consumer’s inability to afford fuel for their cars, they are forced to reevaluate their current cars and look towards smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

According to an Associated Press article, “As gas prices rise, Detroit is better prepared with small car. Gas prices are spiking. But this time, Detroit is ready.” The article explains that when gas prices soared in 2008, Detroit’s three U.S. automakers, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, were struggling. Unlike competitors, they did not have small cars and relied on trucks and SUVs for profits. However, “When gas prices peaked at $4.12 in July of that year, sales from the Big Three (Ford, General Motors and Chrysler) plummeted more than 20 percent. That same month, sales of the fuelsipping Toyota Corolla jumped 16 percent,” the article explained.

In an effort to get better gas mileage on their vehicles consumers are shifting to small cars again. Although, the article said, “Prices have never been as high for this time of year. The price of a gallon of gas is up 46 cents this year to an average of $3.74. Analysts say gas could hit $4.25 by this April.”

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Syrian Violence Becoming International Issue

Syrian Violence IssueContinued violence and bloodshed in Syria shows little sign of stopping. The brutal regime of this Middle Eastern country has continued its crackdown on apparent “opposition” groups. The number of people killed during the violence is unknown. Rebel forces estimate 9,000 people have been killed. The government is saying that 2,000 security officers were killed. Citizen journalists and opposition members have given evidence to the contrary showing the attacking has intentionally been going after innocent civilians. YouTube videos and activist accounts have shown government forces shelling buildings of civilians and attacking random people in the street.

Those in the opposition fighting against this repressive regime vow to not stop fighting unless Assad is out of power. The activist named “Danny” whose real name has been hidden because of safety concerns, told CNN ,“The fighting will not stop until Assad is stopped, or all of the activists are dead.” David Wallsh, a PhD student in International Affairs at Tufts University believes that this situation will not end soon. “The Assad regime has an overwhelming military advantage over the opposition, and neither the opposition nor the international community has figured out how to match it.” Al-Assad is a member of the minority Alawite population in Syria. Alawite is a religious outshoot of Shiite Islam. According to CNN, the government began attacking the majority Sunni antigovernment protesters.

The world cannot be silent on this issue; innocent people are dying in Syria. Aid workers cannot get through to help the hundreds of people at risk because the government is turning them away. The Assad regime is trying to hide the atrocities going on in the embroiled country from the rest of the world.

Fortunately, The U.N. Human Rights council recently condemned the crackdown. Enormous international pressure from member nations of the Arab League has been put on the government of Syria to stop the senseless violence. This has not stopped Assad, who is still ramping up attacks on his own people.

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Will Super Tuesday Be Super for Romney and Santorum?

Will Super Tuesday Could Become Crucial to Winner of the Republican Nomination

Super TuesdayMitt Romney won the Arizona Republican primary by a wide margin. Romney was also reported to have initially won his home state of Michigan over challenger Rick Santorum by three percentage points, however after a recount it was called a tie. This led to the two candidates splitting the delegates.

While this is not the outcome Mitt Romney had hoped for, it is still a promising result for him going into Super Tuesday.

With the tremendous amount of mistakes he is making it is understandable why he is still struggling to become the clear front-runner in this race. While his win on Tuesday was good for his campaign, he’ll have to kick it up a notch and prove to voters in the Super Tuesday states that he is the candidate that is capable and prepared to defeat Barack Obama in a general election. Political Science major Alexandria Todd responded, “I think Romney will ride the wave of momentum he gathered from his victories in Arizona and Michigan.”

Rick Santorum has proven to be more than just a dark horse, making every step of this race a struggle for the Romney camp. From what looked like a clearcut loss for Santorum actually turned out to yield big gains and definitely improve his chances come March 6th. Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department stated, “Santorum seems to be wounded after making a few political missteps in past weeks. As Romney’s main competitor this will be crucial.”

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Debate Hawks Win at Rutgers

At Recent Tournament, Hawks Defeat Reigning National Champion

Hawks Debate Wins

The Monmouth University Debate Hawks have quickly gained the attention of the national debate community. This season has been extremely successful for the Debate Hawks as they defeated reigning national champions Liberty University at the Rutgers Newark debate tournament back in November. The win was further noteworthy because it took place in a playoff round, and was also the first time in school history that a Monmouth team defeated Liberty. In addition to Liberty, Monmouth has racked up wins against national powerhouse debate programs such as Cornell University, NYU, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy and Dartmouth.

In addition to these wins, Monmouth has had four teams make it to playoff rounds at each of the three tournaments they have attended this year, a major accomplishment for a program which was nonexistent just a few short years ago. At the most recent tournament at Cornell University, four teams made it to the playoffs. These debaters were Jen Sime and Lianne Kulik, Mark Cosentino and Andrew Bell, Miriam Peguero and Olivia Mills and Lexi Todd and Dan Roman. Lexi Todd brought home a trophy for being the eighth best speaker at the tournament.

The team not only wins, but it also gives back to the community. Thanks in part to a grant from TD Bank, Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department and Debate Hawks coach has helped the debate team start a program at Asbury Park High School. As a part of the Urban Debate League, the debate

Bishops from Asbury Park won a tournament in Baltimore last year, the first year of the debate team. Most importantly is the fact that every senior member of the debate team in Asbury went to the college last year.

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Got Time? Catch Up on SGA Minutes

default article imageSGA held a meeting on February 22. At the meeting, multiple topics were discussed. Vice President Oscar Sanchez reported SGA is working with Residential Life and Athletics to set up a fundraiser for the fire victims. Jackie and Sami will discuss this later. The new Eboard proposal will be voted on later in the meeting.

New Club Constitution Approval for Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru). Previously known as Christian Ambassadors would like to change their name to Cru after joining together with Cru, an Interdenominational Christian Organization. Cru provides a place for Christian believers to grow closer to God and strengthen their faith. This club has been approved by SGA.

Parliamentarian Becca Baier reported, “I would like to move forward with the idea of “The Undie Run” or this event by some other name. There is a sheet on the clipboard. Please put your name if you are seriously interested in being on the committee and will come to meetings.

Move for Hunger has offered to partner with us and share their many connections with DJs and vendors if we decide to go a route that would include these things at the event. We can make it as big as we want and I have some ideas going. These are all tentative events. Seniors and Freshman please don’t forget to complete the NSSE survey. It was emailed to you and it’s really important.”

Vice President Nagy reported to SGA that a young alumni and a current graduate student were both affected by the fire. The graduate student was not worried about himself; he was worried about his neighbors who had no other place to go. This is a reason why everything we can do to help the victims is extremely important. There has been an unfortunate situation in Pinewood Hall where someone has been using the lounge and other places as a restroom. Word has been that the person is a visitor so unfortunately the visitation rights of the residents in Pinewood Hall have been suspended. When someone comes forward it will be dealt with. VP Nagy spoke with Dr. Pearson about Health Studies and the classroom situations. One classroom has already been moved. An undergraduate study has also come up with another course called research methods. Dr. Pearson is concerned with and would like specific complaints about customer service. VP Nagy has already been working with her staff to make sure the students have good customer service.

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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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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151