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Politics

Volume 84 (Fall 2012 - Spring 2013)

Buono Begins Bout For Governor

State Senator from Metuchen Hopes to Win Democratic Nomination for November


buonoBarbara Buono, a New Jersey State Senator from Metuchen, may become the Democratic nominee for governor this No­vember.

Buono was the first Democrat­ic elected official to announce her candidacy in December 2012.

The 59-year-old Buono has been in the New Jersey Senate since 2002. She was New Jer­sey’s first female Senate Major­ity leader.

Buono has worked on many bills during her tenure in the Senate. She was the prime spon­sor of New Jersey’s Anti-Bully­ing Bill of Rights.

In December 2011, the Depart­ment of Education ranked New Jersey’s anti-bullying law as number 1 in the nation.

Also, as the budget chair, she fought to cut $4.7 billion from the state budget, while increas­ing investments in education, and health care.

On February 2, Buono held her first campaign rally at New Brunswick High School. In her speech she promised to help the middle and working class fami­lies of New Jersey.

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“Gang of Eight” May Help Make American Dream a Reality

gangofeightDemocrats and Republicans are coming together to resolve one of the major issues discussed throughout the election year: Immigration. A group of eight senators; four Demo­crats and four Republicans came up with an immigration proposal that they hope Congress will pass by spring or summer.

The Immigration Reform that is going to be proposed by March calls for undocumented citizens to go through a process in order to become a part of the United States. Immi­grants already living in the country will be permitted to stay and work while undergoing the process to be­come legal citizens. The bill requires them to go through the procedure of background checks, paying fines, back taxes, and English and Ameri­can Civics courses that they must take over a couple of years.

According to ABC News, the en­tire process will take up to 15 years, and that is for them to be eligible for citizenship, for which they will have to “get in the back of the line.”

For students, there is a different story. Any foreign student who grad­uates from an American University with a Ph.D. or Master Degree in sci­ence, technology, engineering and mathematics will be offered their green card to stay in the country.

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Debate Hawks Mentor Asbury Park High School Students

Student Coaches Offer Skills For Debate Tournaments and Beyond


debate

Every Tuesday afternoon, the University Debate Hawks, along with their head coach Dr. Joseph Patten, meet at Asbury Park High School and run an hour-long debate workshop.

The Asbury Park students learn about argument construc­tion and are educated on the general rules of debate. This year, the efforts put forth in the weekly workshops were brought to full realization in the form of The 2013 Newark Invitational, a debate tournament headed by the Jersey Urban Debate League, an organization devoted to sup­porting the practice of debate for “predominantly African-Ameri­can and Latino students.”

The program is going into its third year with success going beyond the debate tournaments. One hundred percent of the par­ticipants over the past three years have gone to colleges such as: College of New Jersey, Fairleigh Dickenson, Brookdale Com­munity College, Rutgers and Monmouth University.

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Legislature Juggling Jug Handles

jughandlesThere is a bill in the New Jer­sey State Senate, Senate bill 207 that will “…prohibit the plan­ning, designing, or construction of any additional jug handles on the public roads or highways in the State.” The bill has been pro­posed by State Senator James Holzapfel of District 10.

State Senator James Holzapfel said the three main reasons for proposing this bill is for safety, pollution and cutting down trav­el time. He also believes that jug handles have outlived their pur­pose.

“Jug handles were a wonder­ful thing 30 to 40 years ago but roads were also less crowded then,” said Holzapfel.

According to Bloomberg. com, “New Jersey has at least 600 jug handles, more than any other U.S. state, according to Tim Greeley, a spokesman for the state Transportation Department. The article also said, “The turns were engineered to remove left-turn­ing vehicles from higher-speed lanes and control the congestion approaching a traffic light. They send drivers on a right-hand exit, then onto a U-shaped stretch that ends at the intersection with the original road. Cars go straight across the road and continue on their way - a three-step left turn.”

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Women Hope to Fight Alongside Men in Armed Services

Untitled-3Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last Thursday that the U.S. military is lifting their official ban on women in combat, opening up thousands of combat positions to female soldiers.

The lift will allow women, who currently make up about 15 percent of the overall force, to engage in combat on the front lines and is also expected to open an estimated 230,000 jobs, the Pentagon’s website explains.

The decision overturns a 1994 Department of Defense policy that previously barred women from direct ground combat and from being assigned to units below the brigade level in all branches.

After receiving a letter from Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last month, Panetta quickly moved into action in his last few weeks in office by giving military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.

Dempsey’s letter explained that he and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are united in their belief that “The time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.”

Dr. Christopher DeRosa of the History and Anthropology Department also believes that the Pentagon’s recent announcement willprove beneficial. “Having a large number of women in the military who are treated as second-class soldiers is a detriment to the health of the whole organization, as well as being, ultimately, against the nation’s values,” DeRosa said.

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Mock Trial Hawks Compete in Two Day Tournament

The weekend of January 19- 20 was a busy one for several Monmouth University students, as the Mock Trial team headed up to the Bronx, NY to participate in Fordham University’s Fifth Annual Sapientia et Doctrina Invitational tournament. Monmouth sent seven team members and their faculty advisor, Professor Gregory Bordelon, to compete in the two-day tournament.

Team members included Kate Nawoyski (captain), Alexandria Todd, Susan Pagano, Joseph Dellera, Michael Lucia, Cara Turcich, and Miriam Peguero. In competing in only their second invitational, the team won two ballots, taking one round in the competition.

The tournament included four rounds. Each team took on the role of plaintiff in two rounds and defendant in two rounds.

Fordham’s tournament included participants from over 20 colleges, including previous American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) National Champions, New York University.

This is only the first year the Mock Trial team at Monmouth is in existence and only their second tournament as a team.

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Those Earning Minimum Wage Know That Money Does Not Grow on Trees

politics-treeGovernor Chris Christie’s vetoed the minimum wage bill that came from the Democrats in the Assembly and Senate. Minimum wage in New Jersey was set at $7.25 in July 2009. The bill that Governor Christie vetoed would have raised minimum wage to $8.50 and would have allowed raises as the inflation in the state went up. Governor Christie vetoed this proposition and suggested that the dollar raise be implemented over the course of three years according to “Christie vetoes Minimum-Wage Hike” in The Star Ledger.

For the past four years, politicians and media outlets have not been shy about telling society that the United States is in a financial crisis. College students, who sometimes work seasonal or weekends only, who pay college tuition all on their own, and earn minimum wage, do not need to be told that we are in financial crisis. One needs only to check the online bank statement to know that.

So, here’s the question that we need to asked ourselves: would raising the minimum wage in this state really hurt the economy? And the answer is: it depends on who you ask.

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Cyber Bullying Versus Freedom of Speech

Untitled-1Where is the line between freedom of speech and prevention of online bullying for college students? This is one of the toughest lines to toe as universities want to create a safe environment for students but encourage students to express views on often controversial subjects.

Montclair University graduate student Joseph Aziz made a comment regarding another student’s appearance on YouTube and then was told by the university to have no further contact with the other student. He then posted about the incident on Facebook and the school suspended him. He challenged the suspension and last week the university reinstated Aziz. This brings the question: Do universities have the right to regulate student behavior on social networking sites?

Dr. Michele Grillo, assistant professor in criminal justice, thinks that the University went too far in this matter. Grillos said, “It is contrary to the encouragement of free thought and academic growth of individuals. Students speak out all the time about their likes and dislikes of college professors and administration on a daily basis in various ways. We do not restrict this speech.”

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Christie Making a Big Splash for New Jersey

christieGovernor Chris Christie is officially up for reelection, for which many believe him to be the front runner. Christie’s popularity has only been expanding post-Sandy, and many believe that it will only continue to grow through the campaign season.

The Sandy relief effort shown by the Governor is said likely to  win him his second term, and recently his popularity is growing larger with New Jersey residents through his criticism of not only President Obama but his own party as well.

Christie has been speaking out against a few things that have made the GOP rethink their pride in his “blunt” personality.

The Governor sharply criticized the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, for Congress delaying voting on the Sandy relief package.

The relief package that Christie is calling for will give a $60 billion federal aid package to New Jersey to help with storm relief. Christie first condemned the Speaker of the House on January 2 in a press conference stating that the relief package should have been voted on in the fiscal cliff deal voted on January 1.

Governor Christie was quoted saying, “We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans, or at least we did until last night. Last night politics was placed before hosts to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”

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Students Take a Trip to Argentina Over Winter Break

argentinaTwelve students, including myself, had an experience of a lifetime traveling to and living in the federal capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires.

All participating students took a class taught by Dr. Kenneth Mitchell about Argentine politics and culture. Many students were enticed to take the course and go on the trip not just because of the destination, but because of Dr. Mitchell himself.

As senior Lexi Todd explained, “After taking a Latin American Politics course with Dr. Mitchell I soon became fascinated with the politics and government of these countries as well. This class became the most significant factor in my decision to go. When I found out that Dr. Mitchell was taking a group of students to Argentina I was sold. My deep respect for his knowledge and enthusiasm when studying Latin America soon became contagious.”

 Students gained an in-depth view on the country from the class, beginning with the Spanish colonization of the area to the political antics of current president, Cristina Fernandez de Krichner. Learning so much about a country gave the students a whole new perspective, one that would have been impossible to grasp if not for the class. After studying the mechanisms of Argentine culture and then seeing those mechanisms in action, it was like poetry in motion.

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Students Debate on What Can Be Done About Gun Control

The horrific events which transpired on December 14, 2012 tragically ended the lives of 26 students and faculty members of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. These heroes were indiscriminately shot by a lone gunman, armed with several semi-automatic handguns and rifles, while they innocently went about their daily business. Words fail to convey how deeply America as whole was affected by this senseless violence, or how heinous this act was.

This piece is a simple exercise in political discourse. It does not have as, its intent, to diminish the significance of the Newtown Shooting in any way, nor does it seek to defend its perpetrator.

Nearly two months subsequent of the Newtown shooting, President Obama has enacted 23 executive orders which begin to address specific enforcement and implementation practices within the Executive Branch with regard to regulating the issue of gun permits, to implementing more stringent background checks on gun owners, and to beginning a national dialogue to increase public awareness of mental health issues and neurological differences.

In addition to these orders, the President has also asked the Congress to consider legislation, which would ban military-style weapons similar to the weapon used in the Newtown shooting, as well as enacting laws limiting magazine capacities to ten rounds.  These orders and proposals raise questions as to the validity of the President’s executive actions as well as the application of the Second Amendment in the 21st Century.

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
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The Outlook
Monmouth University
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07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu