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Thursday October 2, 2014
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Flyers-Rangers rivalry needs this postseason series (April 17, 2014 issue)

By David Cattai
Collegian Staff

The 2014 NHL Playoffs begin this week, and it is set to be one of the biggest playoffs of all-time. Both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference are full of historic rivalries. Hate is a strong word, but this year’s playoffs will be full of just that, hatred.

One major rivalry that sticks out is the series between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers.

Both teams finished the season neck and neck with the Rangers finishing two points ahead of the Flyers, clinching home ice advantage for the first round. This tainted rivalry needed some reviving and I can guarantee this playoff series will rekindle that historic match up.

The Rangers and Flyers are both considered among two of the most respected veteran franchises in the NHL.

The Rangers were part of the league’s “Original Six”, while the Flyers were in the league’s first expansion. The hatred between these two clubs has existed since the Broad Street Bullies era, which is a common starting point on the timeline of the Orange and Black.

But this hatred goes much further than on the ice. The hatred is territorial.

To make it plain and simple New York hates Philadelphia, and Philadelphia hates New York. That is how it has always been, and probably always will be. No matter what the venue, fans from both cities get a little more juiced up when the two great cities clash in the battle of sport.

Unfortunately, fans across the region have recently been missing out on this great rivalry. The Flyers and Rangers haven’t faced one another in the postseason since the 1997 playoffs. That doesn’t sound that long ago, but take a moment to think about what you were doing in 1997. Let’s put things into perspective: the famously hilarious South Park began broadcasting that summer. The movie Anaconda hit theaters that April.

Yes, it’s been that long. From just a few years ago at the Winter Classic to the regular season this year, these teams simply don’t like each other. The Flyers-Rangers rivalry is not as strong as the current Philadelphia and Pittsburgh war, but it certainly could be.

Through the completion of the 2013-2014 campaign, the teams have split the season series, with both teams winning on home ice. In fact, the Flyers have lost the previous eight games at Madison Square Garden. Sure, you can hide under the covers because the Rangers have home ice advantage, but remember the playoffs are an entirely different animal.

The quest for the Stanley Cup is the most challenging in all of sports. Four rounds, best of seven series, continuous overtimes, bigger hits, better saves, louder stadiums and a much faster paced. Those are just a few descriptors for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

This series will undoubtedly be exciting for both the fans and the players. These teams are historic, and the rivalry is pure, but this series is what it needed. These two clubs needed to play each other in the postseason, because after all, that’s where rivalries truly begin.

The word “hate” is defined as “intense or passionate dislike.” Take a moment to process that definition.

Now in three or four words explain the NHL Playoffs. Is hate one of them? Again, hate is a strong word, but it is the word that gets you through the rivals; through the battles; and hate is what gets you to the promise land. Especially when the hate comes from the heart.

A need for government of the people, for the people, by the people (April 17, 2014 issue)

By Steve Graham and Gavin Lichtenstein
Collegian Staff

Every four years, candidates for the presidency campaign on platforms in which they believe people of the United States will support and believe in. We would like to suggest a vote on current government policy that directly affects the people. These polls will be voting on policies that affect the people in the lower, middle and upper class.

Policies such as same sex marriage, healthcare, gun control, minimum wage, women’s equality, education and government spending will be taken into account. Policies such as same sex marriage and education will be assets at a state level while other policies will be viewed at a national standpoint. This policy allows citizens to express their first amendment right while having a direct contribution to policies and Washington politics.

The polls we are suggesting will hold a policy poll every two years regardless of electoral year. Polls will be held at the local, state and national level to gauge the nations views and opinions on policies. The polls will be used for current issues as well as future issues to measure opinions of the nation and state as a whole.

Currently politicians design their political agenda’s on policies that they assume the American people want and support. The polling system will provide politicians with direct insight into what Americans want and support. The questions will be organized in approve/disapprove format for example, do you approve or disapprove of raising the United States minimum wage to $10.10/hour. A local poll would consist of questions such as local school district, textbooks, curriculum and security.

State polls would include issues through the elected governors office of taxes, education and equality. National polls would consist of gun rights, equality, the economy, immigration and healthcare. All of these issues have a direct impact on the American people and the status of the United States. The polls are not including foreign affairs and topics of war, only topics that directly affect the American people.

One of the main reasons the modern generation does not express their voting rights is because they feel they do not have an influence on Washington and the political agenda. The polling system we are proposing would enhance voter turnout and help build a connection between politicians and the working people of America. This poll allows politicians to build and create their campaigns on what is truly important to the American people. The modern generation feels silenced through the over barring echoes of Washington. This poll allows voices to be heard from east to west, upper class to lower class and every race, creed and nationality in-between. If we are a nation of the people, by the people and for the people, the people of the United Stated should have a direct influence on the agenda’s and policies our elected officials vote on and create.

NCAA alters student athlete meal allowances after Napier comment (April 17, 2014 issue)

By Matt Howell
Collegian Editor

As some of you may know, I recently wrote an article discussing how the NCAA is failing to adequately compensate its “student-athletes” and Northwestern’s football players are performing a valiant duty in attempting to unionize. In the last couple of weeks, the NCAA has gone on the defensive with a variety of talking points, but have also responded in a different manner.

After winning the Division I Basketball Championship with the University of Connecticut, senior star guard Shabazz Napier commented that he often went to bed hungry and did not have enough to eat. This has been a statement made by a number of athletes and while for many of us it may seem that these athletes are griping despite having three meals, there is a substantial claim here. Often athletes practice and travel at strange times, and because of that are not always able to go to the dining halls at available hours and are forced to find other means of eating.

The NCAA attempted to address this issue this week by instituting a new rule that colleges and universities must supply athletes with unlimited meal plans and snacks. Now, it remains to be seen if this rule will genuinely solve the problem, or will only result in small amounts of food being given to athletes after late night practices. However, I would like to take note that the NCAA is at least noticing some issues and taking them into account. While this type of story will not grab headlines across the United States amidst Northwestern continuing to unionize and student-athletes continuing to make millions of dollars for some schools, it does address a substantial issue for a great majority of the student-athletes. The NCAA is an organization severely lacking in adapting to the times, but it is good to see it making at least a small step forward for the student-athletes it claims to always be looking out for.

Government, rancher battle in Nevada (April 17, 2014 issue)

By Patrick Moyer
Collegian Staff

Last week, a decade-long dispute between a Nevada rancher and the federal government devolved into a tense, controversial standoff. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began rounding up hundreds of cattle belonging to a rancher named Cliven Bundy. The BLM said that the cattle have been grazing illegally on federal land for years, and that they wanted to put a definitive end to it. Bundy, on the other hand, asserted that the land belonged to the state of Nevada, and that the Federal government had no jurisdiction over it. He also said that he would wage a “range war” against any federal agents that moved in on his property.

Supporters of Bundy, including armed militia groups, flocked to his ranch to protest the government’s action. On Saturday, the BLM removed its agents from the area and returned Bundy’s cattle, saying that the standoff raised “serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.”

Bundy and his supporters see the retreat as a major victory for states’ rights and rugged individualism. But it’s really a major loss for those that have obeyed long-standing laws. It gives a dangerous amount of legitimacy to the sovereign citizen movement, whose followers believe that they don’t have to pay taxes and fees levied by the government.

Bundy’s assertion that the land around his ranch belongs to Nevada is simply untrue. The land has been owned by the federal government since 1864, when Nevada became the nation’s 36th state. Nevada’s state constitution indicates that, once it became a state, it forfeited all “unappropriated public lands” to the U.S. government. Bundy claims that his family has let cattle roam freely on the land since the 1880s, but, in reality, they never had the legal right to do that.

Federal officials didn’t try to challenge the Bundy family until 1993, when the BLM began conservation efforts to protect the desert tortoise, a species that is in danger of extinction. In order to ensure that the tortoises were protected, the BLM ordered local ranchers to remove their cattle from the federal lands. Most ranchers complied, but Cliven Bundy didn’t. Guided by willful ignorance, Bundy refused to remove the cattle and began to accrue a hefty amount of federal grazing fees.

It is estimated that Bundy currently owes the government over $1 million in grazing fees dating back to the mid-1990s. In 1998, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Bundy to remove his cattle and pay his grazing fees, but he has yet to do so. Instead of accepting the numerous legal rulings against his position, Bundy has deftly turned his gross financial delinquency into a hot button controversy. Thanks in large part to right wing sensationalists on the internet and radio, many people believe that the BLM is trying to carry out an unconstitutional land grab. But it is Bundy who is behaving unconstitutionally.

The BLM’s retreat from Bundy’s ranch looks like a sign of weakness, but there is understandable logic behind the move. If the agents had exchanged gunfire with Bundy and his supporters, it could have turned into a tragic situation very similar to the Waco siege in 1993.

The government has vowed to renew its efforts to get Bundy to pay his fees through the court system. This is the safest and most pragmatic way to handle the dilemma.

It’s a shame that a small group of abrasive political radicals have empowered Bundy to do as he pleases, but they’ll have to end their pseudo-patriotic masquerade at some point. If other ranchers can abide by the law, so can Bundy. There is absolutely no legal rationale for his behavior.

Video provides much-needed message about charity (April 10, 2014 issue)

By John Schatz
Collegian Editor

A few days ago, my roommate showed me a video in which a man wore a sign that read, “F**k the Poor” for roughly half a minute. I was confused and angry at the man, as were several individuals passing him in the video. Indignant reactions are featured more than the man himself. All of a sudden, the video goes black and the words, “We know you care” appear. The man reappears, only this time he is wearing a sign that reads, “Help the Poor.” The remainder of the video shows people passing by the man, who is begging for donations, before fading out to black again and urging viewers with the text to “Please care enough to give.”

At first, the campaign struck me as useless. Some random non-profit made a video portraying society as self-absorbed and themselves as great saviors. The whole thing seemed very self-righteous and frustrated me. After sleeping on my thoughts, the next day the video kept popping up in my mind. I saw it in a new light and realized how incredibly thought-provoking it is.

When the man was pleading with people to help the poor, nobody gave him a second thought. There was a conscious decision to avoid making eye contact by some of the individuals. Others were annoyed by the man, and the looks on their faces seemed to indicate they were thinking, “F**k the Poor.” Capturing this sentiment is exactly what the organization wanted to do by creating the video.

Look at the issue in another light. Imagine the man was standing there with a sign that read “Help Pay My School Debt” instead of “Help the Poor.” I imagine he would have similar success with getting donations. It speaks volumes about issues other than poverty and shows how people are less likely to confront issues that do not have a direct impact on their lives. So many instances of social injustice are paid no mind because the powerful and influential are not the victims of the injustice.

Admittedly, the organization that filmed the video, the Pilion Trust, Ltd., are based in the United Kingdom and the campaign is based around poverty, not education. However, the issue of poverty and other injustices have no bounds. Its existence in any part of the world is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Even at La Salle, an institution rooted in faith, service and community, I have seen students balk at the opportunity to help feed the poor by buying cookies in the Union. As a whole, those unaffected by poverty turn a blind eye to the issue that, in the United States, nearly 50 million people live under the poverty line. The fact that, worldwide, three billion people live on less than $2.50 a day, one billion of which are children and 1.3 billion of that three billion live on less than $1.25 a day is not a priority in their lives, even when a chance to make the issue a little bit less critical is staring them in the face.

Clearly, there are those in the Lasallian, national and international communities are doing their part in order to address the issue of poverty, but the video is not addressed to them. They do not need to be urged to care enough to give when an opportunity presents itself. Donations are pouring in to the Pilion Trust, which indicates that the people who do not need the message are going above and beyond in an effort to support the campaign.

The chief executive of the Pilion Trust, Savvas Panas, stated, “We understand that some may be shocked by this footage. We are more offended however, that people across the United Kingdom are living in adverse poverty.” If the video causes the absurdity of the sentiment to “f**k the poor,” to stick in the minds of those who watch it, like it has done to me, then the shocking nature of it is well worth the backlash.

Supreme Court equates money with speech (April 10, 2014 issue)

By Patrick Moyer
Collegian Staff

Money has had a long and impactful effect on American elections. Fundraisers, merchandising and advertising have always played instrumental roles in sustaining and expanding political campaigns. However, in just the last few years, expenditures on elections have skyrocketed. The 2012 presidential campaign between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama cost a total of $2 billion. By contrast, the 1992 Presidential campaign between Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ross Perot only cost about $300 million. This dramatic spike in campaign spending can mainly be attributed to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, which stated that the government can’t restrict corporate spending on elections. And just last week, the Court handed down another decision that will undoubtedly bolster money’s role in campaigns even further.

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court made a ruling in the McCutcheon v. FEC case. McCutcheon v. FEC dealt with restrictions on the amount of money that individual donors can give to political candidates and committees. In a 5-4 ruling, the court struck down a spending cap that prevented individuals from donating more than $123,000 to political candidates and parties over a two-year period. This means that wealthy donors will now be able to donate their money to a broader array of political candidates across the country. Base limits, which set specific restrictions on the amount of money that can be given to different political entities, were left in place. But it’s widely believed that the current Court will strike down base limits as well if the right case presents itself in the near future. Supporters of the decision, mainly conservatives, have praised it as a victory for the First Amendment. They believe that monetary spending is a free speech issue, and that many campaign finance laws infringe on their right to speech.

The “money is speech” argument is very dangerous. Money is not speech. Money is a form of capital with a finite supply. Speech, on the other hand, is the ability to express oneself freely in order to communicate some sort of message to others. Equating money to speech puts a price tag on a person’s ability to participate in the political process. And, since money is finite, equating it to speech puts a restrictive cap on the amount of “speaking” that poor and middle class voters can do. That principle ironically contradicts the very reasoning that conservatives espouse to support the “money is speech” argument.

In reality, the dismantling of campaign finance laws is not a valiant crusade to increase freedom of speech in America. It’s a concerted effort to obliterate the level financial playing field so that the wealthy can exert a controlling influence on the electoral cycle. The people that most benefit from Citizens United and McCutcheon are billionaire mega donors such as George Soros and Sheldon Adelson. Giving mega donors the ability to donate unlimited amounts of money to candidates for public office turns them into kingmakers. Primary elections could soon become a farcical process. Voters won’t get to decide which candidate is best suited for their party’s nomination, a handful of casino moguls and business magnates will make that call. All they’ll have to do is dilute the influence of other primary candidates by funneling tons of money to their “chosen one.”

The gradual and continual loosening of campaign finance laws will inevitably turn America into an oligarchy. Everyday citizens will still have the right to vote, but the candidates, messages and topics for discussion in campaigns will all be predetermined by those who “speak” with their checkbooks. People need to start speaking legitimately, with their voices and not their money, to halt the insanity before it’s too late. It may take a new Constitutional amendment to halt the corrosive effect that monetary “speech” has on the political process. But if that preserves the parity of free speech, it’s a worthwhile option to explore.

Women ignored by Republican Senators (April 10, 2014 issue)

By John Schatz
Collegian Editor

Unsurprisingly, the Republicans in the Senate voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act before it could even be debated on April 9. The act would make it more difficult for employers to engage in wage discrimination based on gender.
The bill was not by any means a guarantee that women would be paid the same wages as men by employers, but the employers would be burdened with proving that the pay discrepancy was not based on the employees’ genders. It would be necessary to provide breakdowns of pay based not only on gender, but on race as well. While the bill was promoted as one that would grant female employees equitable wages, it would also have further protected employees from wage discrimination based on race.

The voting in the Senate was strictly along party lines. All of the Republicans there at the time of the ballot voted against moving the bill along to open debate, while all of the Democrats present voted for opening the bill to debate. Senate minority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., questioned the decision of the Republicans. He posed the question, “Are they so repulsed by equal pay for hardworking women that they’ll obstruct equal pay for equal work?”

There are many reasons to be outraged over this bill being voted down, morality aside. To make one point on the morality of it, women earn 77 cents to the dollar earned by men. Even when male and female employees have the same level of experience and education, the female employees have been found to receive seven to nine percent less than male counterparts. Beyond the issue of what is just, women make up half of the workforce in our country, and more and more are becoming the primary source of income in families. The failure of the Senate to pass this bill means that in instances where it is true that females are the family’s primary source of income, the children are worse off.

The possibility that the Democratic Party is using the issue of gender pay equity to garner political support from the female vote does not take away from the seriousness of the issue. Looking beyond the use of the iniquity for political gain, the benefits are great. Families would be able to use the additional income for food, education, bills and more.

Hopefully, voters can see what was lost with the bill being voted down and will respond accordingly in November. The partisan manner in which votes were cast should provide voters with a clear picture of where each party stands in terms of women being paid the same wages as men.

United States dominated by political dynasties (April 10, 2014 issue)

By Gavin Lichtenstein
Collegian Staff

The 2016 presidential campaign is expected to welcome back many friendly faces of the political world with Democratic front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican hopeful, Jeb Bush. Bush was the governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, son to George H.W. Bush and brother to George W. Bush. The former Florida governor stated that he would make a decision on running in 2016 later this year. A major influence of his decision will be if he feels he can deliver an optimistic message without being thrown headfirst into a political mud fight.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush publicly stated earlier this year she hopes her son does not seek the presidency in 2016, stating, “If we can’t find more than two or three families to run for higher office, that’s silly.” Barbara Bush is trying to protect her son and her family from holding the presidency for a fourth total term.

At what point does the United States Constitution limit the amount of terms a family can hold office? At what point can the United States’ political history be compared to countries like China, Cuba and North Korea? All three nations have had leadership within one family for decades leading among the people.

Jeb Bush is often considered a moderate conservative on many modern issues in the United States, a supporter of the death penalty while supporting pro-life campaigns. Jeb Bush also has a strong relationship with the Hispanic communities while being active on immigration and equal laws. A study conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies stated in the 2012 political election, the Latino vote contributed to 8.9 percent of actual votes. Jeb Bush has been an outspoken advocate of gun rights and laws including stand your ground.

The 2016 election could take voters back in time with a Clinton and a Bush toe-to-toe once again on the political stage.

Colbert’s satire misunderstood (April 3, 2014 issue)

By John Schatz
Collegian Editor

There are some professions in which making insensitive comments that come dangerously close to what society has deemed taboo are not only acceptable, but necessary. In the recent controversy with Stephen Colbert and the Twitter account Comedy Central ran, it was made evident that not everybody shares my opinion.

The owner of the Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder, created a foundation called “Washington Redskins for Original Americans” in order to try and ameliorate some of the negative press his organization is receiving for the name of the franchise. On The Colbert Report, Colbert was in character and said, “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” A Twitter account that Comedy Central ran, which Colbert has made them shut down, tweeted the quote and there was an uproar online about how Colbert was racist and the hashtag “CancelColbert” began to trend. Even other comedians are calling Colbert’s judgment into question over the joke.

The misconception that Colbert is racist arose for two reasons. The first is that people saw the quote and did not view it in the context of the skit that mocked Snyder on The Colbert Report. The second is that it still somehow escapes people that Colbert is in character when he does his show. The character he plays is an ignorant conservative who believes all the offensive stereotypes on the face of the planet. Colbert himself is not a racist and, to pick up where I began the article, actually does society an incredible service by playing this character.

If comedians cannot test the limits of what society considers acceptable behavior and try to bring insights about the status quo to the forefront of our minds, what group will be able to? Telling people that their way of thinking is wrong is no easy task and doing so while making them laugh is often the best way to do so. Colbert was reminding us that, despite egregious claims of conservative pundits that racism in the United States has ended, it is very much a part of our culture today. Colbert and his writers took it upon themselves to remind the viewers of this fact and force people to feel uncomfortable with it.

The beauty of his character is that it allows him to make us laugh, doubt and self-assess all at the same time. The offensive stereotypes Colbert’s character believes ought to be brought to the forefront of our minds more than they currently are. If we are not thinking about them and discussing them, how will they ever change?

It was not Colbert who acted in the wrong in this situation; it is all the people who called for the cancelation of his show. The Colbert Report succeeded in making us uncomfortable by forcing us to acknowledge that racism still exists in society and many of us reacted by calling Colbert the problem instead of recognizing that he is doing more to be part of the solution than nearly any of his critics.

If he were not an ingenious satirist and comedian, things would be different. However, he is, so pretending he is anything else to make a point is misguided. There is a danger in limiting what comedians are able to mock. Some satirists are just as much social commentators as they are comedians.

There is a greater tragedy than the immediate controversy surrounding the tweet, however. The truly heartbreaking part of this entire situation is that Colbert was put on blast while Snyder, whose foundation was not satirical, has escaped unscathed.

Interrogation methods deemed ineffective (April 3, 2014 issue)

By Stephan Graham and Gavin Lichtenstein
Collegian Staff

The 8th Amendment in the United States Constitution states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel unusual punishment inflicted.” Over two centuries after the fathers of the Constitution inked the famous words on to paper, the conversation of human rights in prisons, black sites and Guantanamo Bay still remain in 2014.

The morning of March 31, the Senate concluded that enhanced interrogation techniques to find Bin Laden in May of 2010 were not effective in finding the leader of Al-Qaeda. In other words, confirmed by the Senate on Monday, the United States could have captured the extremist leader without the use of enhanced interrogation methods on high profile detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj Al-Libi.

The unimaginable tactics of humiliation, water torture, shock therapy and sleep derivations are all tools in Uncles Sam’s work belt in keeping the United States citizens safe. The leaders of Al-Qaeda were not focused on overthrowing the government; they had a desire to kill innocent lives and shake the foundation of freedom in the United States. The 8th Amendment is only subjected to citizens of the United States. The CIA uses all tactics to their advantage when United States citizens are placed in harm’s way.

Human rights can never be ignored when it comes to the topic of enhanced interrogation methods. The Constitution even gives an American citizen their right to solitary confinement and not be subjected to cruel punishment. However, the interrogation used on prisoners of war after Sept. 11, 2001 was done to find the man responsible for killing thousands of innocent people.

Under the Geneva Conventions, lawful combatants—like the United States military—who are uniformed, follow commands and do not target innocent people, are protected under the laws of war. Moreover, terrorists are unlawful combatants, who do not follow command and specifically target innocent men, women and children in their attacks on America. Thus, Al-Qaeda operatives who were tortured through enhanced interrogation methods, such as water boarding, had zero protection under the laws of war. If terrorists are stripped of their weapons, they are still considered a threat by refusing to give information on terrorist attack plans.

When the homeland security of the United States is threatened by terrorism, anything goes when innocent lives are at stake. These interrogation methods were not solely used to gather information from detainees, but to establish cooperation. You can sit these guys down and play “good cop” by asking questions, but why would the terrorist talk?

Enhanced interrogations were used to instill fear and demand compliance. The CIA wanted the truth and that was the ultimate goal.

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