Bishop to Boycott Obama Commencement Speech

    South Bend is heating up over the controversy surrounding Obama and the local bishop...Read the post

    2009 College Grads: We're the Lucky Ones

    Why there is hope for the graduating Class of 2009, and how they can find work in a recession...Read the post

    Beer in Vending Machines -- What Drinking Age?

    U.S. policies on drinking age seem restrictive when examining the rest of the world...Read the post

    How The Press Can Remain Relevant

    Is it any surprise that Obama has employed a strategy to cordon journalists that is similar to previous administrations?...Read the post

    Be Afraid, Cheney Warns. Be Very Afraid.

    Just when you thought the Bush-era warnings of Armageddon around the corner were over, Cheney strikes again...Read the post

    Obama: You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry...

    Obama threw down his stick, spat on the floor and growled in the face of cameras -- metaphorically... Read the post

    Obama to GOP: 'I Won, I'm The President'

    "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," Obama told GOP leaders...Read the post

    Palin Seeks $11M Book Deal, but Can She Read?

    One can only imagine what Republican rising star Sarah Palin could possibly write about in her memoirs...Read the post

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politics

Gates Announces Eventual End to Stop-Loss Policy

Megan Baker

Posted:  Mar 18th 2009 9:13PM

Filed Under: Politics, St. John Fisher College

Secretary of State Robert Gates announced today that an unpopular program in the Army known as "stop-loss" will be phased out by 2011. As of January, there were 13,217 soldiers affected by the program, which prevents soldiers from leaving military service on time if they were scheduled to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.

This program was used during Operation Desert Storm and was reinstated after 9/11. Since 9/11, it has interfered with the lives of 120,000 soldiers. Oftentimes known as the "backdoor draft," the purpose of the stop-loss policy is to "maintain continuity in leadership and cohesion within units that trained for and then were deploying to war."

"I felt, particularly in these numbers, that it was breaking faith" to keep soldiers in the service after their end date comes up, Gates said at a Pentagon press conference. "To hold them against their will is just not the right thing to do."

According to Gates, the goal is to reduce the number (13,217) by 50 percent by June 2010 and to bring it down to scores or less by March 2011. Soldiers who have been affected by the stop-loss policy since October of 2008 will be compensated $500 per month of duty.

Full Article »

politics

John Edwards: Back At It

Megan Baker

Posted:  Mar 12th 2009 11:17AM

Filed Under: Politics, Featured Stories, St. John Fisher College

After sitting back and letting his affair and possible love child blow over the public for seven months, John Edwards has stepped back into the limelight; only this time as a passionate advocate for those suffering from poverty.

In his second public appearance since September, Edwards spoke at Brown University where he discussed what he has been doing since the election and what his new aspirations are. Obviously the topic of his affair was on a lot of the audiences' minds, and he did address it...sort of.

In response to a question raised by a student who claimed to be a campus organizer for his campaign about whether or not it was "just or fair" for politicians to be held to a "higher moral standard," Edwards responded:

"It is not for a candidate to decide what is appropriate and what's not appropriate. That's something every single American has a right to decide for themselves. We live in a free country where people have a right to voice their views and have a right to form their views without limitation...

"It is not for me to impose on anybody what they can observe and can't observe. I have my own view, which I will keep to myself. But I believe it is enormously important to have the best thinkers and the best visionary people to lead our country where it needs to go."

Spoken like a true politician...er, advocate.

So now that we all know that Edwards plans to step away from politics and dedicate his life to a cause close to his heart (Al Gore anyone?), it's fair to ask: Is it too soon? In my opinion, its not.

Full Article »

politics

Meghan McCain: Not a Fan of Ann Coulter

Megan Baker

Posted:  Mar 10th 2009 9:21PM

Filed Under: Politics, St. John Fisher College

Apparently Meghan McCain is quite the blogger, as she has her own site, McCainBlogette.com, and also writes for The Daily Beast. She already raised eyebrows with her "Looking for Mr. Far Right" post and now her name is back in the headlines - only this time, it's not about her less than desirable love life.

Yesterday, Meghan took to her blog to take down one of the most hated (and celebrated) conservative pundits, Ann Coulter.

In her post, Meghan apologized for the lack of "hipness" of the Republican party and placed some of the blame on "certain individuals continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes about Republicans." Namely, Coulter.

"Who do I feel is the biggest culprit? Ann Coulter. I straight up don't understand this woman or her popularity. I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time....And if figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off, then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well."

I don't know much about Meghan McCain, but after reading that post, I have a new-found respect for her. Her father should have set her loose a little bit more while on the campaign trail, she would have picked up way more votes than Sarah Palin ever did. The Republicans should pay a but more attention to her, she may be the key to the resurgence of the Republican party.

Full Article »

2009 College Graduates are F*!$

I'm not going to sugar coat this for you college seniors out there, this is not a great time for us to be graduating. The U.S. economy is steadily getting worse and the job market seems to be shrinking along with it. But we can't sit around feeling sorry for ourselves; it's time to get proactive. We didn't go to college to go back home to our crappy summer jobs, now did we?

To get myself pointed in the right direction, I headed to the one place I should have gone to a long time ago...my college career center. I met with the Director of Career Services, Betsy McDermott to get some advice on what we as college seniors should be doing to crack into a seemingly impossible job market.

The only problem is, a lot of us still don't know what we want to do (or can do) with our majors.

"You'd be amazed at how many seniors still don't know what they want to do at this point," McDermott said. "I definitely think students should sit down and have a talk with a career counselor to figure out what it is you want to do. It helps put the focus somewhere."

Here are some of the highlights of the discussion I had with Betsy:

Full Article »

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Why the Drinking Age Should be Lowered to 18

Megan Baker

Posted:  Feb 20th 2009 4:15PM

Filed Under: St. John Fisher College, News, Advise & Dissent

Animated disagreement between coworkers is a venerable tradition often denied to Bright Hall's far-flung, break room-less staff. Advise & Dissent is an attempt to fix that. Click here for past debates.

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 changed the drinking age from 18 to the now legal age of 21. Over the past couple of years, there have been debates as to whether this makes sense anymore (see my colleague Joshua Sharp's take here). This will also be the topic of discussion on 60 Minutes on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

One of the major subjects will be Gordie Bailey, a young man who unfortunately died of alcohol poisoning during a fraternity initiation in 2004 at The University of Colorado at Boulder.

Despite tragedies like this, there has been a notable push to change the drinking age back to 18.

One of the most well known (and most recent) movements is the Amethyst Initiative, which is made up of chancellors and presidents of universities and colleges across the United States. The Amethyst Initiative (which is aptly named as the word "amethyst" ii derived from a word in Ancient Greek meaning "not intoxicated") aims to educate youth on responsible drinking rather than pretend that underage drinking is a non-issue.

The initiative is actually being supported by a large number of college presidents and chancellors including President Richard Brodhead of Duke University, President James E. Wright of Dartmouth College and most notably President Emeritus John M. McCardell Jr. of Middlebury College.

In 2004, President Emeritus McCardell submitted an op-ed piece to the New York Times that brought this debate back to the forefront. In the piece he said that college students are drinking regardless of age and regardless of the law, and anybody who ignores this fact is making a huge mistake.

"To lawmakers: the 21-year-old drinking age is bad social policy and terrible law. It is astonishing that college students have thus far acquiesced in so egregious an abridgment of the age of majority. Unfortunately, this acquiescence has taken the form of binge drinking. Campuses have become, depending on the enthusiasm of local law enforcement, either arms of the law or havens from the law," McCardell said.

Since writing this piece, McCardell has been a big advocate of Choose Responsibility, a non-profit organization that is working to educate the public on the realities of underage drinking and the sensibility of lowering the drinking age to 18.

Full Article »

politics

Parenting Advice from Bristol Palin

Megan Baker

Posted:  Feb 17th 2009 7:53PM

Filed Under: Politics, St. John Fisher College

In her first interview since giving birth to son Tripp, Bristol Palin admits that abstinence is "unrealistic" and that sex among teens has become more and more acceptable.

While she doesn't regret having her son, she wishes it would have happened "ten years from now" so she would have been able to get an education and a stable job before she became a mother.

She described what it felt like to tell her parents that she was pregnant as being "worse than labor." She told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren about the experience.

"Well, we were sitting on the couch, my best friend and Levi, and we had my parents come and sit on the couch, too. And we had my sisters go upstairs. And we just sat them down, and I just -- I couldn't even say it. I was just sick to my stomach.

"And so finally, my best friend just, like, blurted it out. And it was just, like -- I don't even remember it because it was just, like, something I don't want to remember."

Don't worry though, she's experienced because she has had a life filled with babysitting. The really hard part is "living for someone else" and having her priorities change..."it's not glamorous."

But now that she's in this situation, she wants to strive to be an advocate for preventing teen pregnancy. Sarah Palin must be ecstatic.

Full Article »

MySpace Kicks Out Sex Offenders; They Head to Facebook

Megan Baker

Posted:  Feb 4th 2009 12:33PM

Filed Under: Featured Stories, St. John Fisher College, Media

MySpace had been under a lot of scrutiny for not doing enough to protect children from sexual predators, so they finally decided to do something about it. The site, known as "a place for friends," has made the decision to de-friend 90,000 registered sex offenders.

According to Hemanshu Nigam, Chief Security Officer for MySpace, MySpace had spent the last two years deleting accounts of people that were seen to cause problems on the site.

"The reality is there are 700,000-plus sex offenders living in the streets of America," Mr. Nigam said. "What we did was build cutting-edge technology to figure out where they might be living on the Internet and remove them from our site."

The company also reported that while the MySpace community grows 10 percent each year, there has been a 36 percent drop in the number of registered sex offenders creating profiles.

This is not the first time MySpace has "purged" such users. Back in 2007, the company found and removed 29,000 profiles of registered sex offenders using Sentinel SAFE, a database that matches user profiles to data on convicted sex offenders.

Techcrunch.com did some investigating with the help of John Cardillo, former New York City police officer and the CEO of Sentine, to see if these sex offenders went to Facebook. And it looks like they have.

Full Article »

Fat Jokes Resonate in Tough Times

Megan Baker

Posted:  Jan 29th 2009 10:59AM

Filed Under: St. John Fisher College, Media

The New York Post published quite the unflattering cartoon image of Jessica Simpson yesterday:



To make matters worse for the singer, the New York Post also has an entire picture slide show of Jessica Simpson where you can see her physique change from 2005 until now. Real nice.

The star has been taking some flack since her recent concert at the Radio 99.9 Kiss Country's annual Chili Cook-off in Florida. Who was the one to break the news? Why, fair and balanced Fox News.

So, how did Jessica gain this weight? Fox News has some conspiracies going.

"Is Jess preggers? Did she gain sympathy weight for sis Ashlee (who just had a baby with hubby Pete Wentz)? Is it all a ploy to get her on the cover of a magazine? Or is it, more likely, that the star has been eating the same diet that her Dallas Cowboys quarterback boyfriend Tony Romo does?"

Full Article »

politics

Candy Cigarettes Taking a Hit. Root Beer Next?

Megan Baker

Posted:  Jan 28th 2009 2:29PM

Filed Under: Politics, St. John Fisher College, Odd News


It's no secret that Barack Obama is a smoker, whether he wants us to know or not. And thanks to a rule instated by former First Lady and current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, he is going to have to quit if he wants to live in the White House. (Fun fact: the last known president to have a smoking problem was Gerald Ford.)

If Obama was able to motivate a nation to get him into the White House, he should help smokers everywhere join him in his battle to quit smoking once and for all.

While Obama admitted that he had not quite quit smoking while on the campaign trail, he's working on it.

His advice on how to quit?

Full Article »

politics

Inauguration Day: Connecting America in More Ways than One

Megan Baker

Posted:  Jan 21st 2009 1:42PM

Filed Under: Politics, St. John Fisher College, Media

Yesterday I arrived at the National Mall at 4:30 a.m. to attend one of the most greatly anticipated events in American history. It was dark (not to mention absolutely freezing) when I arrived but the crowd was in high spirits despite the seven and a half hour wait ahead of them. What did I and hundreds of thousands of people do to pass the time? Blogged.

CNN dubbed yesterday a "blogger's inauguration" and they couldn't be closer to the truth. At it's peak, Twitter had five times more tweets per second than it normally has while Facebook averaged more than 4,000 status updates every hour Tuesday morning- a figure that jumped to 8,500 updates per minute during President Obama's inaugural speech.

From complaining about the cold to commenting on the porta-potties (trust me-you don't want to hear a thing about those) to just expressing feelings about the momentous occassion, millions had something to say and they were able to say it through these venues. Even the White House got in on the action, as the clock struck 12:01 p.m. (which if my memory serves me right, Obama had not taken the oath by this time) the Obama administration took over the White House website where they wrote simply, "Change has come to America."

Since I could only say so much through Twitter yesterday, I thought I would take to my blog give you a more in-depth look into my inaugural experience.

Full Article »

politics

My Plan for Crashing the Inauguration

Megan Baker

Posted:  Jan 17th 2009 4:25PM

Filed Under: Politics, St. John Fisher College

As President elect Barack Obama works his way down the east coast in the tricked out "Obama Express," I am preparing to make the road trip of a lifetime. On Monday at 6 p.m. I will be departing from Rochester, NY on a bus with Rochester for Obama to head to Washington, D.C. to attend the inauguration.

Now, saying that I will be attending the inauguration is sort of misleading. I don't have tickets, nor do I have anywhere to stay. I will be (trying to) sleep on the seven-hour bus ride down then will stand outside for hours in the 30-degree weather in hopes of getting a good view of one of the jumbo screens that I'm told are lining the National Mall. Once it's over, I will hop back on the bus and head back to Rochester. (I have to go to my internship Wednesday morning, after all).

Why am I going, you ask? Why would I want to make a seven-hour trip to stand in the freezing cold uncertain if I will even get into the city? Because this is the moment I have been waiting for. This was the first election I was able to vote in, and I want to see it through. That and it will make for some killer coverage for the Cardinal Courier, my college paper that I just so happen to be the Editor-in-Chief of. (Trust me, I'm not above shameless plugging.)

On a side note, this will actually be my third one day trip to the Capitol. My most recent one was an anti-war protest a couple years back; and while I was utterly exhausted, it was a really cool experience.

If it all works out according to plan, I will be updating you all via Twitter. Just think, you can experience it with me without the crappy bus ride or risk of hypothermia! So, on Tuesday as you sit cozy in your living room, office, etc. log onto Bright Hall and I will share my experience with you.

Full Article »

Graduate Auctions off Virginity to Pay for Tuition

Megan Baker

Posted:  Jan 15th 2009 10:53PM

Filed Under: St. John Fisher College, Odd News

A 22-year-old Sacramento State graduate is auctioning off her virginity online to cover her tuition costs...and there's nothing the government can do about it.

Natalie Dylan (not her real name) is getting away with this scheme because the "transaction", if you will, is set to take place in Nevada, where prostitution is legal. To be more specific, it will take place at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, made famous by the HBO documentary series, Cathouse.

Think it's a stupid idea? Her offer has attracted more than 10,000 bidders and she has apparently reached bidding as high as $3.7 million.

While I went the old-fashioned route for college funding - applying for scholarships and financial aid then getting loans for what remained - this chick was inspired by her sister who paid for college through prostituting herself for a mere three weeks.

On this proposition, Dylan said that "I know that a lot of people will condemn me for this because it's so taboo but I really don't have a problem with that." And to defend her chastity, she has also offered to have lie detector and medical tests done to prove that her virginity is, in fact, intact.

Ironically enough, Dylan earned her bachelor's degree in Women's Studies and she wants to pursue a master's degree in marriage and family therapy. Something tells me she didn't learn too much in her classes. She shouldn't be paying Sacramento State, she should be asking for her money back.

Full Article »

culture

Google Helps Minimize Drunken Email

Megan Baker

Posted:  Jan 11th 2009 8:16PM

Filed Under: Culture, Featured Stories, St. John Fisher College, Media

It's 2 a.m. Friday night and you've had one too many. Everyone goes home with their respective partners while you're alone in your room thinking about that toxic ex or that attractive guy/girl you've been eye-balling in your Intro to Sociology class. (In your defense, it is quite the snooze-fest in there and it's not like you need it for your major, right?)

With no one to stop you, you send an embarrassing email confessing your undying lust for this person.

In the morning, your headache will be temporary, but the email is out there for good. Fortunately, those Google whiz kids now provide an inventive new way to keep users from making this mistake weekend after weekend. Good old fashioned math problems to the rescue!

Users can activate Mail Goggles at specified times, with the default time being between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Within the Mail Goggles window, a user must answer five math questions in a limited amount of time in order to enable the "send" button. Presumably, the over-imbibed will mash their keyboards in disgust, pass out, and be thankful the next day for the self-imposed (but Google simple) barrier.

To set up Mail Goggles, go into Gmail's settings and turn on Mail Goggles in the "Labs" tab. Then adjust how and when it works in the "General" tab. Users can also determine the difficulty level of the problems.

Unfortunately for college students, sending out an email is the least of our worries. It is the dreaded text message that can really ruin your rep while out and about on the weekends.

Full Article »

politics

Blagojevich Impeached

Megan Baker

Posted:  Jan 9th 2009 3:36PM

Filed Under: Politics, St. John Fisher College

The Illinois House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously (114-1 with three not voting) to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich in light of corruption charges brought against him, including the accusations of attempting to sell President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat.

"Today is the day that we begin to give back democracy to the people of the state of Illinois," Democratic Rep. Jack Franks, a panel member, said Thursday night as he cast his vote in favor of impeachment. "I believe that Rod Blagojevich is a liar, and I believe he is a thief. He has stolen the trust of the people."

According to ABC news, "The article of impeachment now goes to the state Senate for a trial. A two-thirds vote is required there to convict Blagojevich and remove him from office. The trial will be presided over by the chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and could begin as early as Jan. 26."

Blagovich was arrested on December 9, but has not yet been indicted. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald initiated the criminal complaint after listening to wiretaps of Blagojevich's phone calls. He now has until April 7 to decide whether or not to charge Blagojevich.

Aside from discussing Blagojevich's future, the committee also heard testimony from Roland Burris, the man Blagojevich appointed to the Senate seat. Burris assured the room full of lawmakers that he "had nothing to hide" and that his appointment was not tainted. Burris must now await the court's decision to determine whether or not he will be sworn in at the junior Senator from Illinois.

Blagovich is scheduled to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. today, so stay tuned.

Full Article »

politics

Bright Hall Awards 2008

Megan Baker

Posted:  Jan 9th 2009 2:02PM

Filed Under: Politics, St. John Fisher College

As we look forward to a big transition period, we thought we might have a little fun and announce some real winners (or perhaps losers) for the year of 2008. Feel free to add some categories and winners of your own in the comments section.

Most Presidential Looking: Mitt Romney The guy just screamed president. If it weren't for that whole Mormon thing, he would have been the obvious choice. Maybe he can play a president in a movie someday. If Harrison Ford can do it, Mitt Romney can do it too.

Hottest Republican...Probably Ever: Sarah Palin She gave all those Republican college kids out there hope that maybe someday it will be cool to be Conservative. Not only that, but she gave inspiration to countless college kids out there searching for the ultimate Halloween costume.

Most Unable to Take an SNL Skit: David Paterson Sarah Palin got ripped on every single week, and she took it great. Hell, she even appeared on the show during the election. Paterson on the other hand apparently can't take a joke. Maybe that's why he wants to tax the crap out of everything...he's bitter.

Worst Husband: Elliot Spitzer and John Edwards
This one had to be a tie. Spitzer cheated on his wife with a high profile call girl and then America finds out Edwards was cheating on his wife with a campaign worker. Shame on you two, you should have to sleep on the couch forever.

Most Likely to be Impeached: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich
We all understand the economy is bad, but trying to sell a senate seat? Come on, now. And still naming a Senator while under investigation? That's ballsy.

Most Full of Himself: Roland Burris This man loves himself so much that he had his accomplishments etched into a mausoleum. Who does that before they even die? And even when they do die, it doesn't happen too often. And to say that God told Blagojevich to choose him was a good one too.

Best "News" Coverage: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert If it weren't for these guys, there are a lot of college kids out there who might not have even realized that there was a presidential election going on. These two kept us entertained all the way to the cluster f*#k to the White House, God bless 'em.

Most Unwilling to Give Up: Mike Huckabee He had absolutely no shot of beating out John McCain for the Republican nomination, but he stuck it out till the end. Did it make sense? No. Was it admirable? It kinda was.

Biggest Inducer of Hope: Barack Obama Whether you think he's going to be a great president or you still think he is a terrorist, president elect Barack Obama always knew what to say to give Americans hope in these trying times. It was his message of hope and change that caught on like wildfire and catapulted him to the White House.

Full Article »

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