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Last updateWed, 18 Sep 2019 12pm

Politics

Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)

The Story Behind TOMS Shoes

Various companies have been favoring the business tactic of "buy one, give one", meaning a customer buys the product, and the company donates an equivalent item to someone in need. However, there has been a split view on how much this really helps the ones in need.

TOMS Shoes has been known to be one of the very first companies to do this "for-profit" method. They call this the "One for One." While on a trip volunteering outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the company's founder Blake Mycoskie noticed a lack of shoes not only in Argentina but also in other developing countries and how this was a bigger problem than it seemed. He then created this company where if one consumer buys a pair of shoes, another pair of shoes is donated to a third world country. With the launch of the company in May 2006, TOMS sold more than 10,000 pairs of shoes in the first six months. The initial batch of free shoes was distributed in Oct. 2006 to Argentine children.

Since then, the canvas shoes have been given to children in 40 countries worldwide, including the U.S. and have given away over 1 million pairs. Since then, many other companies have picked up this idea such as Warby Parker. For every pair of glasses a customer buys from Warby Parker they cover the cost of sourcing and producing a second pair of glasses for partners like the social enterprise VisionSpring, and Kno Clothing, who donate articles of clothing to someone in need.

Companies like these have given the opportunity for consumers to give back in such a simple way. "There isn't much more to it than that," Neil Blumenthal, a co-founder of Warby Parker said. "That's the beauty of it." According to a Cone Communication Public Relations & Marketing study, 80 percent of Americans are likely to switch brands, if comparable in price and quality, to one that supports a social cause.

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Formation of Collegiate Athletic Union May Take Focus Away from Academic Education

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Chicago ruled that the Northewestern University football players have the right to unionize on Wednesday March 26th.

This movement was started back in January when the former quarterback, Kain Colter, announced that he and several other Northwestern football players would like to join the Labor Union. The NLRB approved the players request and ruled that full scholarship athletes at Northwestern are employees of the school and have the right to form a union, according to CBS Chicago.

However, the players are not necessarily looking for compensation but rather have a say in health issues and benefits for college athletes.

The NLRB’s ruling has been subject to controversial debate around the country and amongst college athletes. Sophomore football player at Monmouth University, Keone Osby, agrees with the movement saying, “I think it’s good that they’re pushing to unionize because it will allow athletes to voice their opinions and be heard.”

Tyler Saito, a sophomore baseball player for Monmouth said, “Scholarships are enough.” He continued to say that the players union will, “take away from the game.”

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McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission Decision Changes Campaign Finance Laws

The Supreme Court struck down the federal law on campaign contributions in the case, McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission. Only leaving a cap on donations to a single candidate on April 2nd.

Dr. Jospeh Patten, Chair of the Political Science and Sociology Department said that the case, removed the $123,000 cap on campaign contributions for individuals and corporations.

According to Patten, “That includes contributions to candidate Political Action Committee (PACs) and parties. What the decision did is removed the cap so now an individual can contribute $3.5 million if they spread it to the PACs party and candidate. Similar way to the other case. its trending toward where the court that takes away primary of general give to all my members of Congress to PACs.”

Patten said in regards to the cap of $2,600 for single candidate donations, “It’s trending to where it will be overturned. Will it actually happen? We shall see. Although this is a very controversial ruling among the people it had nowhere near the same reaction as Citizen vs. United case.”

Patten explains that, “The Citizen United case was more provocative in getting public backlash. This current case is another case about big money having a voice but I don’t think it will have the same kind reaction from the public.”

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What Does the World Think of American Politics?

An article on The Washington Post recently published a map of  “Who Loves and Hates America: A revealing map of global opinion toward the U.S.,” which broke down various countries approval rating of America.

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, professor of political science and Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, said, “There are those who are happy to live in their own countries and who do not wish to immigrate. There are also those who are unhappy in their own countries, who wish to immigrate, but cannot for various reasons.”

Sarsar continued, “Still, there are those who feel disaffected and have a negative view of U.S. policies abroad, while they have positive views of the American people. In particular are policies that they interpret or misinterpret as biased, expansionistic, or self-serving. For instance, more than a few Middle Easterners are suspicious of U.S. policies towards authoritarian regimes, as well as U.S. actual or perceived conflict with Muslim-majority countries.”

The Washington Post article continues to discribe the countries that do have a sense of approval for the U.S. “So who seems to like America? It's a long list – longer than you might expect. America scores similar favorability ratings in a few countries we might assume, wrongly, don't like us so much: Mexico, despite U.S. immigration policies targeting Mexicans, and Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has pushed some populist anti-Americanism. We are also moderately liked in the post-Soviet state of Ukraine, in Brazil and in the United Kingdom. I thought we'd be more popular in the U.K., where politicians make a big deal out of the special relationship with Washington.”

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New Jersey State Legislature Promotes Town Mergers, Could West Long Branch Be Next?

New Jersey’s municipalities are facing pressure to consolidate as the state legislature seeks to rekindle the argument in favor of town mergers. In November 2011, the Township of Princeton and the Borough of Princeton headlined the movement towards NJ town mergers by joining to create Princeton Township.

According to the New Jersey State Legislature, New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney proposed a measure that would promote “the more effective operation of local government and the sharing of services among local units.”

The NJ Legislation, however, is not the only body advocating for town mergers. Courage to Connect NJ, a non-profit organization is also promoting the combination of municipalities through its website which details a six step process for town consolidation.

The legislation seeks to encourage town mergers largely as a response to New Jersey’s near-legendary property taxes. After the Princeton Township merger the average resident, according to the Courier Post, saw a reduction in property taxes of approximately $126/year. Additionally, the Princeton merger, which was officially implemented in 2013, projects municipal expenditure savings of three-million dollars per year over a three year implementation period.

Mergers though have been met with significant backlash from residents of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities.

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Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Dies

Family Members Refused to Hold Funeral for Fear of Picketers


Fred Phelps leader and founder of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 84.

Phelps founded the Church in Topeka, KS in 1955. Using the title of Baptist Preacher, he and the church have embodied the most intrusive anti-gay movement in America, protesting public events, and even picketing the funerals of gay veterans.

According to civil rights leaders in Topeka, Phelps was a prominent, and wildly successful civil rights attorney in the 1960s. He took on numerous cases for black Americans, that many attorneys would not touch.

The Phelps along with his church have received national attention for aggressively and openly opposing those of the LGBT community. According to CNN, they first made headlines in 1998 when the church picketed Matthew Shepard’s funeral.

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NJ Anti-Smoking Bill Looks to Ban Smoking on Public Beaches and Parks Across the State

NJ Bill A1080 passed the Assembly and would prohibit smoking on public beaches and in public parks. This bill would be an extension of the “New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act” and would go into effect 180 days after its enactment.

Bill sponsor, Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, said in a press release regarding the bill, “The prohibition of smoking at public parks and beaches would better preserve the natural assets of this state by reducing litter and increasing fire safety in those areas, while lessening exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke among the public. This is the right thing to do.”

Dr. Patricia Sciscione, a specialist professor of nursing, is in favor of the bill and believes it could help public health. “Cigarette butts are a form of toxic waste since they contain many chemicals that are known carcinogens, yet they are frequently discarded into the sand or onto the ground. Immediate risks include the possibility that small children, birds, animals, and fish may ingest these butts which could be lethal for them due to the possibility of choking and/or poisoning due to the toxic chemicals they contain,” Sciscione said.

She continued, “Long-term risks exist because the filters are made of a substance that is not biodegradable and they can exist in the environment for decades causing harm to marine life, land animals, and the environment.”

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Asbury Park Beach Replenishment Program is Doing More Harm than Good

Major backlash has come from the environmental damages and dangers created from the Jersey Shore replenishment plan founded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed a plan for beach replenishments along the Jersey Shore due to post-Sandy damages. From Asbury Park to Avon, beaches will be pumped with more sand in order to extend where the water meets the landline. This extension will act as a buffer to protect the beach towns from extreme storm damages. The project estimated to cost $18.3 million dollars, which was approved by Congress for Sandy Relief.

The replenishment program will last until 2048, according the Asbury Park Press, with the sand being pumped onto the beaches every six years. The Asbury Park Press also released that the project covering from Sea Bright to Manasquan will cost around $300 million dollars, with roughly $100 million of it coming from NJ taxpayers pockets.

Replenishments also bring about environmental damage to the ecosystems and the marine life within these beach areas. Protestors from environmental organizations, civic groups, surfers, anglers and residents of the beach town gathered in Asbury on Friday March 21, to rally against the project.

Dr. Michael Phillips-Anderson, assistant professor of communication said, “The beaches are obviously a huge part of the shore’s economy. The environmental concern is that what might make the beach better to sit on will hurt the overall environment and wildlife. With significant public attention and education, it is unlikely that residents will get a say in the Army Corps of Engineers’ plan.”

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NJ State Senator Introduces Recreational Marijuana Bill

NJ state Sen. Nicholas Scutori recently introduced a bill that would legalize the sale as well as possession of marijuana for recreational use and allow people to grow there own.

Scutori said in a press release, “Legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana for those who are age 21 and older could bring in considerable revenue for the state at a time when it is struggling to meet its financial obligations. The states of WA and CO have already implemented marijuana laws.”

WA State began issuing its first marijuana business licenses this month. CO began allowing recreational marijuana sales to adults on Jan. 1. CO initially expected to bring in $67 million in tax revenue from marijuana this year, but projections are now as high as $107 million due to higher-than-anticipated sales. Legalization is also expected to create thousands of jobs in sales, production and related services in that state, a result that could be duplicated in NJ.”

The Daily Caller explains, “Decriminalization simply removes criminal and monetary penalties for possessing any amount of marijuana, including the “manufacture,” transportation, or storage of the substance. It does not address in any way the actual usage of marijuana, the sale of it, taxation, quality, driving under the influence, age restrictions, etc.”

Noah Lipman, lecturer of history explained, “The bill will be controversial because many legislators are afraid of the legalization process.  Polls indicate that many voters in NJ favor decriminalization over legalization.”

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NJ’s Most Expensive Budget Plan Unvield for 2014-2015 Fiscal Year

Major Costs Include: State Workers’ Pensions and $159 Million Set Aside for Higher Education Expenses


NJ Gov. Chris Christie proposed a $34.4 billion budget, the state’s most expensive budget ever, on Feb. 24.

In his Fiscal Year 2014-2015 budget proposal, there is a required $2.25 billion payment to the public worker pension funds without raising taxes, however it leaves no money left over to fund major new programs or initiatives.

Part of Christie’s spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1, gives slight increases in K-12 and municipal aid. The budget for some school districts has increased by five million dollars, allowing them to implement longer school hours. There is also an increase in the funding for higher education by eight percent, or $159 million.

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New Bill Could Provide $100 Textbook Relief

NJ bill, A1823, which could provide a tax credit to college students for textbook purchases, has been proposed with the intention of encouraging taxpayers and their dependents to choose NJ educational institutions over out-of-state schools.

The tax credit, introduced in the State Assembly on Jan. 16, would equal 10 percent of textbook costs and cannot exceed $100. Students may be full time or part time and must be pursuing an undergraduate education at a four-year school, county college or accredited post-secondary school in NJ. Taxpayers with a gross income of up to $150,000 would be eligible for the credit.

Douglas Stives, Specialist Professor of Accounting, said if a student pays more than half of his/her own college costs the credit would go to them rather than their family.

Alexis Morrison, a junior communication major, said this bill would be good for students. “I know, not just myself, but all of my friends spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks and we either don’t use them or we try to return them and we don’t get our money back,” said Morrison. “It would be beneficial for us to get that money back because I feel like a lot of times we waste it on textbooks.”

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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