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Last updateWed, 16 Oct 2019 12pm

Politics

Mayor Cory Booker Takes On Food Stamp Life

cory-booker-dnc-embedNewark Mayor Cory Booker has taken on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) challenge, during which he will live off the food stamp program for a full week. The challenge requires him to have a budget of only $30 for the entire week, which rounds to about $4.32 a day for food. He is not actually enrolled in the program, but rather living off the budget for that week in order to get a better understanding of what it is like to live off of food assistance and have a better understanding of the SNAP program.

The SNAP program is designed to help low-income households alleviate the burden of not having enough to purchase a necessary to meet their basic food needs at all times.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) between the years of 2008-2010 there was a record amount of 14.5 percent of American households who were food insecure, and required the assistance of programs such as SNAP. It also states that virtually half of SNAP partakers are children, with about 47 percent of them being under the age of 18 years old. The households that have children in them add up to about 71 percent of the participants in the SNAP program, with 51 percent of that being single parent households. The program is designed to help those who are living below the poverty line, and have wages too low to lift them above it. According to Booker’s blog, on which he has been posting his results each day; the idea of taking on the SNAP challenge came from a Twitter conversation. Someone tweeted to him, “Nutrition is not the responsibility of the government”, which, according to Booker, made him think about the many people of his community who are in need of the SNAP program and benefit from it in their everyday lives. After considering his followers’ opinion, Booker suggested that they both live off of the SNAP program budget for a week in order to gain a better personal understanding of the program and the people who live off it.

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NJ Legislature Passes Minimum Wage Bill

The New Jersey Legislature handed Governor Chris Christie a bill last week that plans to raise the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 per hour – a $1.25 increase from the current minimum. The bill is a sign of hope for some New Jersey residents, but many are questioning the wisdom of raising the minimum wage, especially when the state’s economy and local businesses are still struggling to recover from Sandy.

New Jersey is one of 23 states whose minimum wage is $7.25, the same as the federal minimum. However, an increase to $8.50 would put the state third highest, behind Washington and Oregon.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS), New Jersey has approximately 41,000 minimum wage earners. Another 58,000 make even less than that because they have jobs where they rely heavily on tips in order to make ends meet.

While there are many advocates of the bill that believe an increase in minimum wage will benefit the people of New Jersey, opponents counter that with New Jersey’s economy still recovering, the timing is far from appropriate.

The bill, A2612, comes more than six months after the Assembly first passed the measure, and 11 months after Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver announced that she would make the wage increase a legislative priority at the Assembly reorganization ceremony in January.

In a press release from the Assembly Democrats dated December 5, Oliver, a supporter of the proposed legislation, explained that as the cost of living in New Jersey continues to rise, it is important for the state legislature to take action to elevate the minimum wage in order to accommodate the cost.

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Same Sex Marriage Heading To Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court will take up same sex marriage on the docket for the next term. There will be two cases; one is based on California’s constitutional ban on same sex marriage through Proposition 8. Despite this, the public approved it via referendum. The other case will be based on a New York law that denies same sex couples federal benefits. This case will take center stage as the public attitude from same sex marriage has shifted.

The California case will decide whether California judges violated the federal Constitution when they voted to deny rights of same sex couples. A three judge panel for the Court of Appeals disagreed with the public, who believe same sex marriage should be allowed.

The Supreme Court will be dealing with a multitude of questions, the key one being: whether the Constitution requires states to allow same sex marriages. This case comes as nine states have legalized same sex marriage; Maryland, Washington and Maine passed it just this past election. Other states, including New Jersey, recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions, not same sex marriage.

The federal case based out of New York challenges the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 passed by President Bill Clinton. Section three of the Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman for purposes of federal law. This comes forward after same sex couples attempt to file for federal programs but do not recognize their marriage even if the state in which they marry does.

This case comes at a time where same sex marriage is looked upon favorably by a majority of the public. According to politico.com, out of 1,000 likely voters, 40 percent of respondents said they support marriage equality. Thirty percent said they supported civil unions and 24 percent said they didn’t think samesex couples should be able to enter any type of legal union. President Barack Obama announced in May of 2012 that he supports same sex marriage.

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Monmouth 2012-13 Mock Trial Team Competes

default article imageThe mock trial team competed in the 1st Annual Hooter Invitational hosted by Temple University this weekend. After receiving the fact pattern, case record and law from “the state of Midlands” in the case of Allen v. Neptune Underwater Expeditions in October, the team diligently prepared during intense practices and scrimmages leading up to the competition in Philadelphia. In a competitive field of schools, the mock trial team showed sharp skills of trial technique and strategy combined with a knowledge of evidence. Sophomore team member, Susie Pagano, who plays attorney roles for both the plaintiff and defendant reflects on the team’s first invitational.

"The attorney role in a round is so trying, but yet incredibly exhilarating! Considering that I want to be a lawyer in my future, this was the perfect practice... nothing beats actually being in the round, going up against other schools, and being put to the test by the opponents. Making objections can definitely be the most intimidating, but all it takes is giving it a shot. The first time I had an objection sustained in a round, I was absolutely thrilled,” Pagano said.

The team competed in four rounds, representing both Andy Allen, the spouse of the deceased plaintiff in two rounds as well as the defendant, Neptune Underwater Expeditions, in two rounds. All team members showed incredible preparation and professionalism, having positions as both attorneys and witnesses. The team won a ballot in its last round on Sunday after finishing the first day with a relatively high combined strength score. Team captain Kate Nawoyski met with team leaders from other schools and stated that the spirit of mock trial is competitive yet respectful and the level of competition encourages team members to bring their strongest performance each round.

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Model U.N. Team Attracts Students of All Majors

Students Use Skills of Bargaining and Negotiation to Set Resolutions in New York City Conference


model-unThe University’s Model United Nations (U.N.) team will spend the upcoming months researching and preparing for two of the largest international conferences where they will negotiate, bargain and propose resolutions for international conflicts.

Seven students will be traveling to represent the University in Rome from March 7-12. The remainder of the club will be attending the largest international conference in New York from March 24-28. They will be representing Belgium in the New York conference and are waiting for their country assignment from Rome.

“Fundraising for the conferences was okay, said Model U.N. President, Aziz Mama. “We received funds from Student Government, but it wasn’t enough to cover both conference expenses. We fundraised and received additional donations through the University, Provost Pearson’s office, deans and outside donations. The club is growing at an unexpected rate, and we’re going to need more funding to take delegations of a larger size,” said Mama.

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Middle East Tensions Rise: What Role will the US Play?

Eleven years after the United States first began its military campaign in Afghanistan and nearly one year after the official end of combat operations in Iraq, there is finally a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel for America’s decade of fighting in the Middle East.

After the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq in December of 2011, President Obama announced a similar drawdown of combat forces from Afghanistan to occur over the next two years, which will result in all American combat troops having been withdrawn from the country by the end of 2014. The departure of fighting forces from Afghanistan will signal the end of hostilities in the Middle East and will finally allow America the time to redouble its efforts domestically and address equally pressing concerns on the home front.

As anyone following the events concerning the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the State of Israel over the past two weeks will likely agree, the relative stability which now exists in Iraq and Afghanistan does little to ease tensions, in a region where civil, ideological, and territorial disputes occur side by side with multi-billion dollar business transactions.

The recent fighting largely centered in the disputed territory in and around the Gaza Strip, involved Hamas militants firing rockets into Israeli border towns as well as using improvised portable explosives to attack civilian targets such as commuter buses. After eight days of sporadic attacks by Hamas and largely defensive actions by Israeli forces, a cease-fire brokered in part by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has provided an end to fighting, but the deal is very fragile and may prove to only be a temporary solution. Even if the current cease-fire remains, it is likely that new conflicts will arise within the areas in and around the disputed Israeli and Palestinian territories given the long history of aggression between these two entities.

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Governor’s Race Chatter Starting Already

Now that the Presidential Campaign is through, New Jersey residents are turning their attention to the upcoming Governor Campaign. Current Governor Chris Christie has already applied his papers for re-election, but there has yet to be a definite for which Democrat hopeful is going to step up and run against him.

Christie’s recent popularity is stemming from his major success after Hurricane Sandy.

An article in The Star Ledger sourced a post Sandy poll from Quinnipiac University, showing the Governor’s high approval rating. According to the poll Christie’s approval rating up to 72 percent, the highest of any New Jersey Governor.

According the poll, he is even popular among the high amount of Democrats in NJ. Fifty two percent of Democrats approve of Chris Christie, something that Monmouth University sophomore political science major Saliha Younas would agree with.

According to Younas, “Even though I am a Democrat and my opinion of Chris Christie was not high in the beginning, after Hurricane Sandy it has changed. I liked the way he worked with the President and put aside party politics in order to handle the situation.”

Junior communication major, Daniel Gunderman says that his opinion of the Governor has not changed. “My opinion of him has only been solidified by Hurricane Sandy. Day in and day out, he battled illness and fatigue to be at all the majorly impacted areas from the storm. He even struck down reporters when they crossed the line, telling them that politics was second to his state’s recovery. He’s been unparalleled leader.”

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The Debt Clock is Ticking

debt-clock2Aside from the impending December 21, 2012 doomsday, Americans of all socioeconomic backgrounds should become well aware of the fiscal Armageddon that will take place on January 1, 2013 should Congress fail to act.

Beginning in January, the selfimposed crisis known as the “fiscal cliff” will take effect and cause $7 trillion worth of spending cuts and tax hikes over 10 years.

In the summer of 2011, Congress found itself in what seemed to be unending gridlock over the issue of raising the limit placed on borrowing through the selling of United States Government Bonds. The congressional impasse on raising the maximum limit on borrowing, known as the debt ceiling, put the United States on track to default on its financial obligations to creditors from all over the world.

Finally in August 2012, Congress reached a deal that temporarily raised the borrowing limit and allowed members of Congress the opportunity to avoid difficult, permanent decisions until after the 2012 election. In exchange for more time and to pressure Congress to work together, members of both parties agreed to cuts in military and domestic program spending.

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Gridlock: Where No One Wins

Republicans and Democrats are Digging in and not Budging on Crucial Issues


gridlock“Gridlock.” It is something that has become a familiar term in political news lately. It happened twice in 2011 according to CNN, nearly shut down the government and some businesses, and it seems like it is on the verge of happening again.

But what is “gridlock” anyway? Is it a traffic jam? Is it a power failure? Gridlock, in relation to politics, is the stalemate between Democrats and Republicans when they disagree about how to proceed. Assistant Communication Professor Michael Phillips-Anderson says, “Gridlock refers to the two parties not finding a way to compromise on legislation.”

According to a CNN article, in 2011 the gridlocks were due to budget talks.

According to an article in The Star Ledger, “Now, as the year 2012 comes to a close, and tax hikes and spending cuts are slated to kick in, Congressional leaders and White House officials find themselves dangerously close to that stalemate again.”

Dr. Charles Cotton of the Political Science Department says that as long as we have a two party system in Washington, there will always be a focus on opposition. “Will there always be gridlock? Yes, because the parties (Republican and Democrat) are so similar, yet they try to be different,” said Cotton. “They’re never going to be friends, but they do respect each other more than people think. Politicians do their job because they care about people. They just go about it in very different ways.” Gridlock in Washington often creates fatigue in Americans. In fact, at the end of 2011, Congress’s approval rating amongst the American people was the lowest it had ever been recorded. The year 2011 also happened to be Congress’s least efficient year in getting legislature passed and bills signed.

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The College Democrats Club Comes to the University

The College Democrats of Monmouth University Hope to get Campus Talking about Politics


University students are joining together to bring a College Democrats club to campus. The College Democrats of Monmouth University is an organization that will focus on spreading and promoting the beliefs of the Democratic Party and getting students more involved in the political process.

The College Democrats of America (CDOA) was founded in 1932 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for office. President Roosevelt’s campaign recognized the importance of the youth vote and used that to their advantage by getting college students involved in the campaign.

It was not until 1980 that the organization became an official branch of the Democratic National Committee. Ever since then, the College Democrats of America have worked extensively on campaigns, making a huge difference in the youth vote turnout, most notably President Barack Obama’s.

Elizabeth Anderson, an upper classman at the University and one of the founders of CDMU stated, “The goals of our club are to further the Democratic cause and political activism among students who are apathetic to politics. We want to get involved in local campaigns, and are excited for the upcoming Governor’s Race.”

According to the College Democrats website, College Democrats support the views of the Democratic Party which spread from social issues to economic ones as well.

The Democratic Party has mainly advocated this year for civil rights, the environment, health insurance reform, and energy independence. Their belief is to have equal rights and opportunities under civil rights for everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability.

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Romney/Ryan Fall Short of Presidency

republican-conventionThe debates are complete, the polls are now closed, and the announcements have been made in regards to 2012 presidential victor Barack Obama. To some this victory is not a surprise and is something to be celebrated, especially for the democratic party; for others though this win comes either as a surprise or as a pivotal letdown in the course the majority of the country has decided to take a look back to the Romney/Ryan campaign and wonder how this end result came about.

There has been discussion about what the Republican team did wrong in their running for the presidency as noted by sophomore Jessica David, a political science major. “I’ve noticed on most of the main media coverage’s of the election results how they criticized Romney’s campaign, but I don’t think that he really did as bad as they [the media] made it out to be,” says David who mentions that it was Romney’s campaign that had driven her to vote for the first time this year as a registered member of the Republican party.

When asked about the outcome she contends that “I was disappointed for sure when I saw Obama won primarily because I don’t think that he is going to deliver all of these promises about building up the economy and making jobs. I think that we are just going to see a repeat of what happened four years ago, all of this talk about big change and absolutely nothing done about it.”

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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