OPINION

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The Gay Marriage Debacle

from April 30, 2009 issue

By: Pat O’Connor

One of the most contentious social issues concerning society is the debate over gay marriage. Recently, states such as Iowa, Vermont, and now New York have introduced legislation to recognize gay marriage. Currently, Massachusetts and Connecticut legally recognize gay marriage.  There have been many developments as well as setbacks concerning the gay marriage movement. Jason West, the former mayor of New Paltz, married same sex couples claiming that it was not illegal; New York later revoked West’s’ right to marry same sex couples.  Now he’s a painter. Anyway, as a country we seem torn as to whether or not legalize gay marriage. This past November, California voted not to legalize gay marriage by passing Proposition 8. Therefore, the American electorate appears hesitant about how to move forward with regard to this social issue.

I think it is interesting that President Obama opposes gay marriage. For such a liberal person, Obama find the traditional definition of marriage to be the acceptable one. During his campaign President Obama said, “I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.” During the presidential campaign, the media never went into detail regarding why he opposes this social issue. Meanwhile, Senator McCain was berated by many homosexuals and liberals on numerous talk shows for his opposition to gay marriage.

I have a solution to the question of gay marriage, I think. To me, marriage is a religious sacrament celebrated and recognized by the Catholic Church. Since it is highly unlikely that the Catholic Church or any religion will sometime soon or ever find gay marriage legitimate, I think it may be a lost cause. What should be legal for homosexuals is a civil union or partnership that enables them the same legal benefits and privileges that it affords heterosexual couples. Civil Unions are much more likely to be supported by states and the American people than gay marriage. However, many people cannot seem to find common ground or even tolerance for opposing opinions.

At the Miss USA pageant Miss California, Carrie Prejean, was asked about her view on gay marriage, she responded, ““We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.” Certainly not the most articulated or accurate statement, but it is relatively understanding and non-offensive.  Miss Prejean clearly does not support gay marriage. I understand why many citizens in this country would disagree with this view, but there is nothing outwardly offensive about it. Of course the directors of the program quickly fired back stating their disagreement with Miss Prejean’s views and she subsequently lost the competition.

Elton John, an openly bisexual musician, does not support gay marriage either. He has stated, “If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership…The word ‘marriage,’ I think, puts a lot of people off. You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships,” an interesting and somewhat surprising perspective in my opinion. John’s views make sense to me while many other celebrity’s, such as Sean Penn’s, do not.

Penn recently portrayed Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, in the film Milk. For this role, Penn received the Oscar for best actor at this year’s Academy Awards. I find Penn to be a brilliant actor; I think a lot of people would agree with me. However, his recent behavior and derisive Oscar acceptance speech has made me lose a lot of respect for him. After winning the Oscar, Penn stated, “I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban on gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grand children’s eyes if they continue that way of support.” Who does Sean Penn think he is? He has no problem publicly scorning those who happen to disagree with him. I think his rhetoric further perpetuates the intolerance that he claims the political right displays. It seems rather hypocritical and childish in my opinion, but I don’t expect much else from Hollywood. Penn has also met and chatted with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. These are two world leaders who hold offensive and somewhat dangerous world views. Both of whom are clearly anti-American.

I believe that civil unions are the way to go for homosexual couples. Marriage remains a sacrament, a sacred bond between a man and a woman, for too many people to accept otherwise. Although I concretely believe in the separation of church and state, it doesn’t make sense for Americans to have to separate their religious beliefs from their personal ones.

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A Break Down of the U.S.-E.U. Relationship

from April 2, 2009 issue

By: George Tehan

The recent economic crisis has seen a breakdown in the U. S.-E.U. relationship. This is a result of conflicting opinions on how to address this crisis in the international and domestic areas. First the European Union cannot even agree on how to address this crisis. The British are pushing for more government aid, while the Germans do not want to authorize large aid packages for fear of bailing out the struggling European economies while having the larger states pay for their mismanagement. This is hampered by the EU’s fiscal policy rules that require tighter economic spending. Then there is the issue that the EU is not a real union. The majority of the members may have the same currency, but they still view themselves as individual nation states. This is part of the problem for the EU on pretty much everything. Europe cannot give a united, solid response to any crisis. It has to first compromise with the individual nation states and then it presents its position to the world.

Then there is the issue of regulating the global financial markets. Many of the European states favor very strong regulation of the markets. Stronger regulations than the ones proposed by the Obama administration. The EU is pushing for stronger, uniform global standards. This would be a problem for the United States because any agreement would have to be approved by Congress and any such agreement would meet opposition from both parties.

The failure of the U.S. and the E.U. to agree on a solution to the crisis opens the door for the other G-20 nations to fill the void. China, Brazil, and India all have an opportunity to increase their international financial clout and chip away at the overall strength of the United States and the rest of the West. Indeed the comments made by Brazil’s President this past week will make the upcoming G-20 summit very interesting. The Czech Prime Minister’s comments a couple of weeks ago also highlights the discord in the E.U.  Will the alliances among the western states be redrawn at the summit?

Expansion without Expanding

from March 19, 2009 issue

By: Meaghan Young

It is not news that Siena’s student body is growing at a rapid pace. When I was a freshman in 2006, I was only one of approximately 780 students. According to Siena College’s website, this year’s freshmen class holds 832 students and the class of 2013 may have even more than this year’s freshman class. Every year more students are coming to Siena which means more money and publicity (via word of mouth, hometown papers, etc.) for the college. At the same time it means poorer conditions for Siena’s current students.

The class of 2009 was one of the first to witness the fad of “tripling.” No longer was it guaranteed that you would get a double if you requested one. In order to accommodate the growing population of students, the college needed to triple Hines which was a bit of a bummer but the rooms were large enough to still be comfortable. The tripling continued with the class of 2010 with few problems. In 2006, rooms in Ryan, Plassmann, and Hennepin had shelves above each bed to give students more space to put their personal belongings. Over the summer of 2007 these shelves were removed, one of the reasons being the possible need to triple some of those rooms.

Even after this change, in 2007 it was hard to find students that were tripled that didn’t live in Hines. There may have been a few here and there but the college did their best to de-triple them as fast as possible (which they still do). This academic year, you are hard pressed to find a freshmen room that is not tripled. There are still only two dressers and “closets” in the tripled rooms but there is also a loft style bed under which one can fit a desk. These rooms are cramped making it that much easier to spread along a cold or cough.

In addition to tripling those dorms, Padua is going to be quaded next year. Many who live in Padua ponder how this is going to happen especially with the loss of the Polytechs as an option for housing. There needs to be another bed and desk, but after that it seems there will be no space for an extra armoire and dresser. This has lead many in the class of 2010 to say that if they are not able to secure a townhouse, they’re looking towards Hennepin. Putting living arrangements aside, another big problem is the dining hall. At the peak times between 12:30pm-1:00pm and 5:00pm-6:00pm students know that you need to get to Serra Hall early to have any hope of finding a seat. Due to the large number of students, sometimes you must wait online for 15 minutes to get a plate of food.

With the financial crisis, Siena College states it can not afford to build another building at this time. This is understandable, but at the same time tuition continues to rise. My roommate put it well that Siena is a business and they need to make money. I whole-heartedly agree with that, but a business needs a product that their consumers are pleased with. With the increasing room occupancy, class size, limited parking, busy dining hall, and doubled (sometimes tripled) mailboxes, the product Siena College is putting out is slowly declining. I love Siena College and would never exchange my time here for anyplace else, but I would be lying if I don’t sometimes question if I am getting my money’s worth.

Terrorism 101

from March 19, 2009 issue

By Patrick O’Connor

There is something very wrong with education in America when a terrorist is teaching at an academic institution. That’s right, William Ayers, a domestic terrorist, is currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education. One of his teaching interests is social justice. Yes, social justice coming from a man who was one of the founders of the Weather Underground. The Weather Underground was a radical organization that used violence to spread their liberal sentiment. The domestic terrorist group was very much against the war in Vietnam and intended to overthrow capitalism and spark some sort of revolution in society. For those of you not familiar with Ayers, allow me to enlighten you.

Ayers spent much of the tumultuous sixties and seventies planning and carrying out bombings throughout the country. In fact, the Weather Underground is responsible for bombings or attempted bombings at the Pentagon and the Capitol building. None of which were fatal. However, in 1970, Ayers and his wife were responsible for a bombing in San Francisco that killed a sergeant in the police department. In the same year, In Greenwich Village, three members of the Weather Underground were killed when one of the bombs they were assembling prematurely exploded. One of the victims was Diana Oughton, a former girlfriend of Ayers. Ayers, although not present, claims that Oughton probably set the bomb off on purpose to prevent it from reaching its intended targets. Sound like rationalization to me.

In an interview with the New York Times, when asked about having regrets concerning his past, Ayers said, “I don’t regret setting bombs, I feel we didn’t do enough.” Then, after being asked if he would do it all again, Ayers responded, “I don’t want to discount the possibility.” These statements may be more staggering than the appalling acts themselves. To show absolutely no sign of remorse for the disturbing acts of violence and terror that were inflicted is alarming.

During the recent presidential campaign it was discovered that President Obama and Ayers have a history. Both President Obama and Ayers worked together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an education initiative that Ayers started and President Obama chaired in the 1990’s.  Obviously this relationship caused much debate and contention over President Obama’s views and whether or not they were in step with Ayers’. It is safe to say they are not, but it still is a little unnerving that the leader of the free world had this association. President Obama’s defense, although correct, was weak at best.

In an interview with Bill O’Reilly, President Obama stated, “Here’s the bottom line, this guy did something despicable when I’m eight years old.”   So, because it was over thirty years ago it is okay? I don’t agree.

In my opinion, it is outrageous that Ayers, who committed heinous acts of terror, is teaching education at a U.S. institution. What’s next, is Kim Jong-Il going to teach us about human rights?

Is LEAP just another class?

from March 19, 2009 issue

By: Katie Ornellas

As I’m sure most readers would agree, there are many programs on Siena’s campus that have their ups, downs, positives and negatives. One program I recently learned about is the Learning to Enhance Academic Performance program.
Better known as LEAP, students with grades below what is considered acceptable (see pg. 48 of the Siena College Catalog) must participate in the program or a hold may be placed on the students account. Even worse, the college could cancel the student’s current or next semester registration.
This is a great program that teaches students having a tough time with their school work great methods to use in studying such as; time management, using your planner, making flash cards, how to use the library and figuring out a possible future career. These are things on which we could all use a little refresher, especially considering it is mid-terms week. In the program, students must complete assignments by a certain deadline just as if the program is a class. If they fail to complete the assignment on time or in a satisfactory manner, they can be subject to the above mentioned punishments.
While I can see that setting deadlines for assignments certainly teaches students to get things in on time, but shouldn’t the students be spending time doing homework and studying for class in the time that they spend doing work for the program? This seems quite redundant to me. I do not mean to offend those involved with the creation or the operation of the program, but I believe that they should take a closer look into the fact that they are taking up time of the students who are already having difficulty managing time and that the added stress of a non-class assignment may only add to this.

W: A Profile in Courage

from March 5, 2009 issue

By Patrick O’Connor

I have no doubt that this article title is causing some commotion in the faculty lounges. Some may be wondering how any American could possibly think this. I mean, come on, let’s call a spade a spade. However, President Bush deserves a lot a credit; credit that he never received from the biased media.

George Walker Bush started his presidency on January 20, 2001; a somewhat prosperous time. However, 8 months later, things changed. In fact, the world changed.  The United States had never suffered such a disastrous and tragic terror attack than on September 11, 2001. Nearly 3, 000 innocent men and women were killed; husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, friends. This attack was brought on by the thoughtless and evil regimes of Al Qaeda, under the control of Osama Bin Laden.

From that moment on, President Bush decided that he would make sure to do everything in his power to keep all Americans safe. And, he took quick and decisive action. The Patriot Act was passed a month after the attacks, the Department of Homeland Security was formed and the 9/11 commission was established. These programs were started with the intent to curb future attacks on this nation. So far, they have all been extremely successful.

President Bush received an insurmountable amount of criticism during his tenure as President.  There has especially been a lot of criticism for The Patriot Act. Many Americans believe that The Patriot Act steps on citizens civil liberties. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. We, as a nation, are constantly under severe threats of terror. We, as a population, have not the slightest clue as to the numerous terrorist attacks that have been thwarted because of these new tactics. If some of you are worried that the government is listening to your telephone conversations or looking at your library check-out list; stop worrying. These measures are being taken to make sure that you do not become the next victim of a terrorist attack. President Bush was able to prevent another terrorist attacks from occurring during his presidency even though the threat was always present.

Despite excruciating criticism from the press, and even within his own party and administration; President Bush rose above it. For example, right before the 2006 elections, Bush was advised that sending more troops to Iraq would lessen his popularity. What did Bush do?  He did what he thought was best for Iraq and the troops and he did not worry about his popularity. That is what is so courageous about him. President Bush did not let the constant flow of negative criticism to get to him.

President Bush was a brave and courageous president who should be remembered for his ingenious methods he used to combat terrorism. Unfortunately, the mainstream liberal media does not have the courage to do this. I think they’re the ones who could take away a few lessons from our former president.

Credit hour system flawed

from February 12, 2009 issue

By Katie Ornellas

I recently signed up to take Introduction to Computer Applications, a three-credit class that educates the student about the hardware within a computer and teaches one how to utilize Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint. The class includes a lab that is 2 hours long. The Pre-lab, however, which takes place on ones own time before the lab, can take up to at least 2 hours. The class itself is only 2 hours. This totals 4 hours of class and 2 hours of pre-lab.
Why all this background information on Introduction to Computer Applications? After doing the first pre-lab that took 2 hours, then going to the lab that was 2 hours, and then having to complete the lab outside of class, I realized that I was working 5 hours just for the lab besides the reading and studying needed for the lab and class as well. So my question is: why I am only getting 3 credits for a class that is 4 hours “inside the classroom” and a required 2 hour pre-lab? We all know that we have to study about 6 to 9 hours a week for a class worth three credits, but if you were required to complete 6 additional hours of work outside of the classroom, wouldn’t you assume that you would receive more credits?
It was then brought to my attention that an Environmental Studies class, Ecology, is 2 hours long and includes a lab that is 4 hours, and is worth 3 credits. How is that fair? Classes such as Biology and Chemistry have a 3 hour class and 3 hour lab and they receive 4 credits, so how it is possible that Ecology and Biology have the same amount of hours but one is worth more than the other? According to the college handbook one is awarded 3 credits for the amount of hours that one is in the class, also known as “credit hours.” How that follows suit with the “credit hours” is beyond my knowledge. I think that colleges should take a closer look into how their credits are allocated and follow the same rules for all classes no matter the subject.

What We Now Need, After the Inaugural Balls have Ended

from Jan. 29, 2009 issue

By George Tehan

Now that Obama has been sworn in, we need to get to work. Congress should not waste time on foolish bills and projects.  Both parties need to put aside their political differences and work together to craft solutions to our many problems.  They will need to move away from the political trenches.

For the democrats and especially the left wing of the party, they will have to accept the fact that the administration will move towards the center.  They must accept the fact that Obama will not cure all of our ailments in one swift stroke.  They must accept that compromises will have to be made with the opposition. The democrats will need to maintain some fiscal restraint and should try managing our skyrocketing deficit. The GOP will have to realize that they did a terrible job of managing the checkbook over the past eight years.  Six of those years included a red Congress.  So they should drop the shield of fiscal restraint, because they have shown that they too cannot exercise budgetary restraint.  Instead, the republicans should try to make sure that in the stimulus plan there is oversight on how the money is spent and that it is not wasted.  Both parties need to make ideological sacrifices in order to pull us out of this recession.  If the gridlock still exists in Congress then nothing will get done.

The American people will also need to show some patience and understanding with the government.  Yes, the democrats have a majority in both houses and control the White House.  The Senate is the game changer.  The democrats do not have a filibuster proof majority, which means that legislation can be delayed indefinitely unless a cloture vote of sixty can be reached.  That means that a compromise will have to be reached in order to pass legislation.  Compromises take time.  Therefore it can be concluded that any controversial or radical legislation will take a while to get out of the Senate.

We need to also realize that Obama cannot fix every problem.  He is not Jesus Christ.  We need to be rational and reasonable.  We need to realize that our government moves slowly because it was designed that way.  It was crafted in this way in order to stop foolish legislation and mob rule from dominating government.  If we work together we can survive this storm and emerge stronger than ever.

from Jan. 29 2009

By Patrick Gallagher

Deficits are a part of any recession, but this one seems poised to exacerbate the debt more than others have in the past.  With interest rates from the Fed at practically zero, monetary policy has been exhausted as a means of mitigating the crisis.  The only practical government policies left are fiscal spending increases.  But over the years it’s become widely accepted that these types of plans are inefficient.  Recessions last for a limited period of time and the money spent now might not get anywhere significant until it’s over.  The stimulus may just be water under the bridge and build the deficit up higher.

The deficit is expected to increase from 455 billion dollars to over 1.2 trillion, and accounting for the likely stimulus package in the future brings that figure up significantly higher.  The national debt is over ten trillion already, at 41% of GDP.  In 2010 the Congressional Budget Office expects it to represent 54%.   Both numbers represent somewhat reasonable levels of debt, but if taxes and revenues continue as planned the amount of public debt could climb to 400% of GDP by 2050, which would put America dangerously close to a financial system second only to Zimbabwe’s disrepair.  And being able to finance any more debt seems to be unlikely as it is, as the main buyers, China and Japan’s central banks, seem increasingly hesitant to buy anymore.

On top of all this, the 700 billion dollar TARP plan passed in the fall was meant to calm the financial crisis.  Instead of that money going to clearing the financial markets of bad assets, which keep banks from offering credit, the life-blood of the economy, the money is increasingly being pilfered to fund pet projects and the Detroit automakers, among others.  This will not solve the issues in the financial system, namely too many bad assets, and will most likely keep it down longer than needed.  This means that much of the TARP money will not be used to fix financial markets;  in terms of the debt, most projections are assuming that in the long run this money is paid back when the assets retrieve some of their value.  That won’t be the case if it is used as another source of stimulus money.

The biggest upcoming shock to the nation’s debt will be the cost of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.  While bridges-to-nowhere are the most criticized source of debt, the real problem will be in taking on these programs.  These are roughly 40% of the annual budget, over one trillion in spending a year.

Debt reduction has been put off for years by both parties; asking for huge tax increases or spending cuts to offset a problem that may not harm the nation for years is not a campaign winner.  But the problem will soon be too intense to put off.  With trillion-dollar annual deficits ahead for years, it will soon take more and more of America’s GDP to pay off the interest on the treasury bonds used to sell the debt.  This will require politically unpopular choices.  The only practical solution that is available to fix entitlement programs will be some combination of tax increases and benefit reductions.

Ironically, for all the talk of bipartisanship, the bickering in Washington has proven a useful debt reducer.  In the ’90s the disputes between Congress and President Clinton helped lower the deficit significantly (granted during the greatest economic expansion in history).  Having another party to blame for the trade-offs of debt reduction might encourage both sides to make the necessary sacrifices.  While Republicans are (rightfully) out of power now, they might make the debt a more prominent issue once again, and they tend to return to more small government views when kicked out of government power.  If they regain some influence in Washington in future elections, it could prove useful to a political compromise: the Democrats could blame the Republicans for the cuts in benefits while the Republicans blame the Democrats for the increases in taxes.  While both are harmful in themselves, the long term consequences are dire, and without some form of debt reduction, future generations, including ours, will risk the currency being debauched or damaging bouts of inflation.  President Obama would also be wise to have an escape plan for the piles of debt he will have to work with in office.  He wouldn’t want to be seen burdening the generation that believes in him the most.

And We’re Back

from Jan. 29, 2009 issue

By Katie Ornellas

So we’re back to school, after an eventful end to the winter semester.  With finals postponed and our holiday spirits high, we were all ready to start our breaks early. But then some of us received emails that we had to take our finals – what a damper on the Christmas season!  However, I think Siena did a great job in handling the situation.
First, Siena left it up to the professors to decide if we would take finals.  This meant that professors could change the assignment, make the test optional or make us take it in January.  I think that was great, considering Siena had every right to make all finals mandatory.  On the surface, there really was no difference.  It was the same test you would have in December, only a month later.  But how many of us really studied over break?  I personally would have done much worse if my finals were mandatory, so I can sympathize with anyone who had to take theirs. Personally, I studied for the finals I was supposed to take, but then I never took them and still learned a lot.  Maybe that was the true solution.  Overall, most of my friends’ and hallmates’ tests were optional.  Thank you so much to all the professors who felt for their students and made our holidays a little less stressful.
Second, Siena started finals on Saturday the 17th. This meant that there were only four days of finals while we were originally scheduled to have six days of finals in December.  I don’t know about you, but I was happy to sleep in my own bed for an extra two days after three long months of college work.

My only complaint is that Hines Hall and the Townhouses didn’t have heat at the end of the semester.  That’s going too far.  I don’t live there but I would have been very upset if I was forced to live in extreme cold. Also I think Siena should have at least one generator for Saga and the Student Union. At least then we wouldn’t run out of food, and as long as they could keep the heat on I think they could have kept us here to finish out our fall semester on the original date.

On the whole, I’m very proud of the choices Siena made for us.  As a freshman I was certainly spoiled by having two optional finals.

2008: The year of Eli Manning, Barack Obama and an ice storm

from Jan. 29, 2009 issue

By Craig Osborne

A slew of events took place this past year that we will always reflect on to remember 2008.  My personal favorite moment of 2008 was a pass from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress to beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 42.  I am a Dolphins fan.  Where fate would bring them the following year, we all know.

We watched presidential candidates, political parties and interest groups spend a combined 5.3 billion dollars in an attempt to win our vote according to Politico.com.  Barack Obama promised “Change” throughout 2008; we will see what 2009 brings.

Heath Ledger’s final performance in The Dark Knight gave all of us chills in the highest grossing film of 2008.  Indiana Jones, Rambo and James Bond returned to the screen.  Hancock became a new superhero who clashed with Iron Man.  The Titanic duo got back together for Revolutionary Road.  Other great movies touched us but there are too many to mention in this column.

But with all of its excitement and entertainment, 2008 also came with some devastating losses.  As I mentioned the death of Heath Ledger, we also lost Bettie Page who changed our culture in a very interesting way.  Remember Jurassic Park? Michael Crichton, the author, passed away in 2008.  We laughed along with funny men Bernie Mac, of Ocean’s Eleven fame, and legendary George Carlin for the last times.  Herb Peterson, the creator of the Egg McMuffin, and the chess legend Bobby Fischer also passed, along with others.

The year also saw its share of scandal and misfortune.  Most memorably, ‘client number 9’ turned out to be Eliot Spitzer, the former Governor of New York.  OJ Simpson finally ended up in jail – but this time for robbery!  Most of America cried as they watched their retirement packages, jobs, and the property value drop too extreme lows.  Unbelievable percent drops in the market and the federal interest rate cuts were the highlight of CNBC and CNN.

Enough of the misery.  America watched swimmer Michael Phelps win an astonishing eight gold medals in a single Olympics.  The Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Celtics, and Detroit Red Wings all won world championships in 2008 along with the New York Giants.  Oil Prices went to all time highs, then speculation disappeared and prices came back to normal.  Sarah Palin did not become the vice president of the United States, which potentially could have given Tina Fey and the Saturday Night Live crew enough material to last at least four years!  We got to see Brett Favre play another season, even though his fan-base slowly diminishes every time he cries on TV.  Stem cell research continues to see better results, although we cannot say the same for the soldiers in Iraq.  Let’s pray that this war ends soon.

But with everything that happened in 2008, hardly any of these events will really help 2008 stand out amongst all the years to come.  For me, the one event that will truly mark 2008 as an unforgettable year is the infamous ice storm. While everyone experienced different moments in their personal lives, we all experienced ice-covered roads, broken power lines and fallen trees.  I will never forget 2008 because I did not have to take any final exams and I am sure that a lot of you will feel the same.  So here’s hoping for another ice storm in May 2009!

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What the Democrats need to do to be successful

from Nov. 13th, 2008 issue

By: George Tehan

I was originally going to write about problems at the polls.  The system seemed to work out.  There was some waiting though, so maybe the remedy is that more states should use early voting.  Or maybe we should move Election Day to the weekend.  That would make it easier for people who cannot wait in line because of work.  Now I will move on to the meat of the matter.  What the Democrats should do once January 20, 2009 comes around.

The democrats need to be smart.  They need to craft legislation that is centrist.  It would be foolish for Congress to try and shove an extremely liberal piece of legislation down the throats of the remaining members of the GOP and the more conservative members of the Democratic Party.  The democratic leadership, particularly Speaker Pelosi, will need to remember the fact that the moderate wing of the party is what gave it the majority in the first place.  If she tries to do something extremely foolish such as trying to make a constitutional amendment to legalize same-sex marriage or nationalizing segments of the economy, it only drive people away from the democrats.  It also would raise the specter of the wedge issues that Karl Rove loved.  Those actions would waste valuable political capital.

In order to stave off the path that would squander the gains of this election,  I propose that Speaker Pelosi be removed from the position of Speaker of the House.  She is in a safe congressional district.  She does not have to worry about losing because of an unpopular piece of legislation.  I propose that a more moderate member of Congress be chosen for the position of Speaker of the House, a member who will not be afraid to introduce hard legislation or work with the opposition.  I am not saying that the Democrats give in to the Republicans, but they need to work with them on legislation.  A one-sided bill would not survive the Senate.  If the Democrats do not move to the center, if they do not work to solve the issues that face our nation, if they try to pass foolish legislation, they will lose the 2010 mid terms.

The Democratic Party cannot fall into the malaise of partisan issues.  The nation needs our government to try and solve real issues.  We cannot fight over money for a giant ball of twine museum or a Woodstock museum.  We need to focus on the economy, our foreign wars, and our energy crisis.  Both sides will need to work together.  All parties should have a say, because there are more than two options.  Somebody may have an idea that may work.  This person may be a libertarian, a democrat, or a republican.  We cannot isolate ourselves just because politically we disagree.  Our nation cannot afford more partisan bickering and a failure of rational public discourse.

Obama 2008

from Sept. 13, 2008 issue

By: Leanne Gelish

On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, Americans added a new milestone to our ever progressing country: Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States of America. Starting January 20, 2009, President-elect Obama will be the first man with African American heritage to be President of the United States. It was a tight race, but in the end John McCain could not rally against his strong opponent. Barack Obama’s election is a huge turning point for America. Our country has taken pride in being a “melting pot” since the beginning, and for the first time someone of ethnicity is representing our country.

This particular presidential race was a very historic and interesting one. We had a woman, Hilary Clinton, a man with African heritage, Barack Obama, and a war hero, John McCain, all competing for a chance to help our country. Hilary Clinton was a strong opponent, but in the end it came down to Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain. From the beginning John “Maverick” McCain was an underdog. Unfortunately for him, and for Republicans in general, people automatically associated him with George W. Bush. People stereotyped him and did not look at his thoroughly thought out plans to help America. But, up until the selections of vice presidential nominees, McCain and Obama were neck and neck. Unfortunately, many people strongly disliked Sarah Palin and her clear inexperience. Palin’s negative publicity hurt McCain’s campaign severely. Hilarous comedic skits from SNL and a slew of mudslinging articles and reports were the demise of the McCain/Palin ticket.

Although Mr. Obama’s election is historic , not many people know a lot about him. Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father was from Kenya and was under British servitude. He was a very intelligent man and traveled constantly. Unfortunately, he was not often involved in Obama’s life. His mother, who is white, raised him with her parents. Her parents were very open-minded to the idea of an interracial relationship. They saw just how in love Obama’s parents were, and they knew that it was not up to them to prevent a relationship that many people may have frowned upon during that time. Their open-minded attitude was certainly something to admire and promote.

Mr. Obama grew up in Hawaii, with a brief stint in Indonesia. He then moved to New York so he could study at Columbia University. After graduating from Columbia, he earned his law degree from Harvard University and became the first black president of Harvard Law Review. After finishing law school, Obama became very interested in politics. In 2004, he was elected as only the third African American since the Reconstruction era into the Senate. He has been a junior senator ever since. While in the Senate he cosponsored Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, which were led by Senator McCain. Obama also introduced the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007, a bill to cap troop levels in Iraq, begin phased redeployment, and remove all combat brigades from Iraq before April 2008.  In his first three years as a United States Senator, he requested over $930 million. He also encouraged government spending on social programs, even though our current economy cannot handle a larger deficit.

Interestingly enough, many of Obama’s policies have since changed. As Commander in Chief, Obama plans to increase troop presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan instead of capping the number of troops in the Middle East and removing them. He has said he wants to provide 95% of working class families with tax relief. He calls it the “Making Work Pay” tax credit, which would give families up to $1,000 in tax cuts. Although in the beginning of the campaign Obama was a supporter of gay marriage, he has since changed his view. In response to the current economic crisis, he plans on taxing excess oil profits and giving each family $1,000 in relief. Ironically enough, Obama voted for an energy bill, along with John McCain, that would give oil companies a huge tax break. As for his energy policy, he wants to increase spending on developing fuel efficiency, but in the interim he refuses to drill in Alaska, even though there are 58 billion gallons of unused oil there.

This election year was a turbulent one. The nominees ran a dirty race at times, and the media did not help to stop the accusations. Amidst everything, our economy plummeted, leaving the candidates with yet another issue to plan out. This election made America realize that it can diversify, and it made the world realize that change is inevitable. The campaign also became much more national than any other campaign. Not only were politicians and the older generations involved, but celebrities and many network cable stations took part as well. So many people, no matter their personal views, were encouraging young people to vote. Political satire provided us with many laughs, and numerous people took the time to educate themselves fully on the candidates. This was a historic campaign, the effects of which will permeate American politics for years to come.

Laundry Blues? Cry no More

from Nov. 13, 2008 issue

By: Katie Ornellas

No one enjoys doing laundry, especially college students. We’re so busy with everything else – studying, writing papers, sleeping, and occasionally relaxing – that who has the time for such a tedious activity? To add to that, the laundry machines are always taken and there is a long line for the next available machine. All of this makes an already irritating chore impossible to deal with.

So what are we to do about it? Siena to the rescue! Siena launched a new program where residents can go to a website, select their hall, and see what machines are available, and if there are none, how long it will be until one is available. Ingenious! Now instead of walking with your laundry all the way to the laundry room, you can check the status of the machines from the comfort of your own dorm.

The website is http://www.laundryview.com/lvs.php, and we can all thank the Student Senate for this new time saving program. You can also sign up to receive a text message when your cycle is complete; it really doesn’t get any better than that.

Pros? The program seems to be working really well, and as for Residents in Ryan Hall, we love it! It saves a ton of time and it’s fun to see your hallmates race to get to the available machine the fastest, a good humored way to make friends.

Cons? Even though the website shows the machine is empty, someone’s clothes may still be in there, and you don’t want to be the person who removed a girl’s $40 bra and shrunk it when you moved it to the dryer. Plus, no one enjoys searching for their clothes that they left in a washer and finding them in a dryer an hour later. But we can’t blame the website for our forgetfulness.

So let’s all use the great new website and make doing our laundry efficient!

“Change”

from Nov. 13, 2008 issue

By: Craig Osborne

It’s Tuesday night, election night, and it is finally over.  I went out to eat with a close friend and on the way home I couldn’t help but notice the litter on the side of the road.  Signs for Obama, McCain, Biden, Palin, Treadwell, Gillibrand, and whoever else is running for office.  To me it’s more like 25 dollars, 50 dollars, 75 dollars, and so on.  These signs cost money and it makes me sick.  They will all be thrown out tomorrow and all this campaigning will mean everything or nothing.  The campaigns are expected to reach all time high expenses this year, and not just in presidential election.  This is something I would like to see “Change.”  History was made and Barack Obama will be our new president in a couple of months.  As I was driving I noticed that Obama signs had “Change” written on them.  It is nice to think that one president can “Change” everything that is wrong with our country.  The change cannot come just from a president, but from the American people as well.  Obama is one man and we cannot expect him to turn things around without our help.  The Democrats did well this year and are in power.  The American people really don’t care who is in power as long as the job gets done.

We need to hold people accountable for their actions.  Too many people are getting away with things that should invoke punishment.  As Obama steps into office he has quite a task in dealing with a mess that we all expect him to clean up.  Healthcare is absolutely ridiculous; the amount that people have to pay is rising and getting out of control.  In a class that I took this last summer, one particular assignment opened my eyes to a serious problem we have in America.  Healthcare is overpriced and this seems to be a problem for the new president, not the past presidents.  I remember when I used to go to Canada and exchange $100 in American currency and receive $145 in Canadian currency.  The American dollar has dropped against all other currencies and it doesn’t look like it will rebound anytime soon.  This is a problem for the new president, not the past presidents.  The economy is in terrible shape and this is also a problem for the new president, not the past presidents.  The war in Iraq costs a lot of money we don’t have and once again it is a problem for the new president, not past presidents.  I say for the new president, but these are all also problems for the people who get left behind and pay for others’ mistakes.  We will wait and see if change happens.

Why would anyone want to be president, anyway?  They spend a lot of money to receive a salary just over $200,000.  They spend billions of dollars to get a job where they will make about 5,000 times less than what they spent to get the job.  They clean up everyone’s mess that was in office before them and never seem to do anything right.  Barack Obama has a chance to become a great president and “change” the problems that we are have, given the circumstances under which he accepted office.  I don’t think he can do it without the help and support from the American people who are affected by past mistakes year in and year out.

How to Get Your Grades Up Before Finals.

from October 30, 2008 issue

By: Katie Ornellas

With midterm grades released last week, I’ve seen a bunch of smiling and frowning faces around campus. Students with good grades are running around telling everyone and seem to have a bit of extra hop in their step. Those with not-so-good grades are secretly jealous of everyone who got good grades and are frantically searching for any way to bring their marks way up before the end of the semester.
So even though we’ve all heard what we can do to up our grades, how many of us actually do it? Here are just a few of the things you can do before you go ahead and drop that less than satisfactory class.
Almost every professor has office hours or assigned tutoring sessions you can go to. Use them! If you don’t understand something, who better to explain it than your professor? He/she actually knows what is going to be on the exam, and might throw in a few extra points for extra effort. I know specifically of Quantitative Business and Economics tutoring but there is also Accounting, Biology, Calculus, and Computer Science. And if you go at least two times to one of the subjects and still are doing poorly you can request to have a private tutor at no additional cost to you. That really is one of the best deals about Siena.
The Writing Center is also a great help. They’re not only there for English class but for any subject for which you have a writing assignment. I personally needed help with a Foundations paper, and the student tutor who helped me was amazing, answered all my questions, and edited my paper extremely well. They’re almost always available but it helps to make an appointment first!
Finally, don’t forget about your class and hallmates! We’re all in the same boat and if someone in your class or the same major is doing wel, ask for help! Don’t feel embarrassed because you might be doing well in a class they’re struggling in and you can help each other. It’s also a great way to make friends!
So don’t be upset if you’re not doing as well as you thought you were; there is still plenty of time to pick up your grade. I hope this helps, and good luck!

Yes, the Libertarian Party is important!

from October 30, 2008 issue

By: George Tehan

I received my absentee ballot last week, so I will have to mail it before Election Day. If you look past the major parties’ spots on the ballot you will see a host of third party candidates. These candidates will be on the ballots at the polls on Election Day. So, we have two major party candidates and a host of third party candidates. In the great scheme of things do third party candidates really matter? The answer is yes, they do.

Third Party candidates inject important issues into the election. Ross Perot did it with taxes when he ran for president in 1992. Ron Paul questioned the GOP’s arguments in the primaries. Third parties have also been instrumental in crafting new parties when one party breaks up due to a divide in ideology. In the 1840’s the Whig party split due to the North-South divide. Third parties stepped in to allow the electorate to thrash out the issues. The party that eventually formed was the Republican Party. The 1948 campaign of Strom Thurmond foreshadowed the eventual realignment of the South in the 1960’s.

Unfortunately, we have a system in which third parties are irrelevant when compared to the two major parties. The media bases the invites for the debates on a percentage of votes, or a Gallup Poll. Even in Congress it is very rare for a third party candidate to be elected. Other governments have multiple parties in their Parliaments. Why can’t we? With the dissatisfaction with both candidates, why can’t one of the third parties craft a platform that would appeal to the center? Not to the left or to the right, but to the center. The problem is the parties are on the fringe on certain issues. An effective third party would need to occupy a position that would be favorable to both major parties.

Then there is the issue that third party candidates cost the major party candidates the election, a la Ralph Nader in 2000 or Ross Perot in 1992. That argument is a foolish excuse put forth by the major parties. A healthy democracy should have multiple parties gaining votes. In closing I have to say this, vote for who you believe is the best fit for President. Whether it is the Democrat, Republican, Green Party, or write-in Ron Paul, vote for whom you wish. We should not be limited to two parties. There are more than two options for our problems. We should have more than two major parties; we deserve it. By the way, in New York you can write in a candidate for President. So go ahead vote for Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, or Dennis Kucinich. It is your right as a voter.

“If You Think Yours Is Bad…”

from October 16, 2008 issue

By Katie Ornellas
Don’t we all come to college expecting to be best friends with our roommate, hanging out all the time and telling each other everything? It should be like a sleepover every night! Some of us picked our roommates and others were paired randomly. Through observation I’ve seen the positives and negatives of both situations. All one really needs is a peaceful co-existence, but what if that’s impossible? Here are some situations that can really make things awkward.
Adjusting to dorm life is something all on-campus freshmen have to deal with. What if your roommate is always studying and you’re always partying? What if your roommate goes to bed at 2 in the morning but you tend to fall asleep around 10? For some of us this is a reality.
You’re not a neat freak but you’re a pretty clean person and your roommate tells you he/she is intense about cleaning. School starts and the bed is never made, his/her clothes are spread from one side of the room to the other and the laundry basket always seems to be overflowing.
You also set some ground rules just to ensure no hard feelings: no phone after a certain time on the weeknights and you can borrow each others stuff as long as you replace it. I doubt you really count how many Easy-Mac’s you brought, but all of a sudden, they’re all gone! How awkward is it when you bring it up and seem like a control-freak? What’s worse, your roommate complains to other people in the hall, which makes the situation worse. Let’s all remember to go to our RA’s; they’re neutral and there to help.
I know many of us are going through these same problems, so like they told us at orientation, if you’ve never had a problem with your roommate, you’re probably it.

Bush’s Role in the Economic Crisis

from October 16, 2008 issue

by Brian Scott

President George W. Bush may have many logical criticisms posed against him, but to blame him for the current economic crisis is hardly valid. Iraq? Sure. Handling of Hurricane Katrina? Fine. But not the economy.

“So if Bush didn’t cut taxes then we wouldn’t be in this mess” has been heard often. How exactly does that make any sense? If anything, the tax cuts stimulated consumption and business investment, and consequently the economy grew stronger. The same people making such claims are the ones who are completely confused when an economic discussion is raised because they either do not have any knowledge of the economy and/or they simply do not follow the current events. If they did, they would know more about the current credit crisis, especially its origins.

The United States economy runs on lending. Students borrow money to finance college. Families borrow money to finance homeownership. Small business owners borrow money to run their company’s operations or expand their business. Corporations borrow to pay for expansion and growth. Money borrowed is invested in something and paid back for later, whether the loan is paying for our minds, our homes, or our businesses. When it comes down to it, lending is like steroids for economic growth, without the adverse side effects.

During the housing run-up of the 1990s and 2000s, many lenders lowered their standards for prospective buyers. However, this was not done out of greed as the media likes to argue. It was, like most problems, chiefly government fabricated-specifically by Democrats Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two primary government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), which made loans and loan guarantees, explicit targets to hit regarding what kinds of mortgages they made. From 1996 on, for low and moderate income borrowers, 42% of mortgage financing had to go to borrowers below the median income. This jumped to 50% in 2000 and 52% in 2005. Basically, the GSEs, which owned or guaranteed roughly half of the country’s $12 trillion mortgage market, were forced into making loans that would quickly go sour if housing prices ever dropped.

Long story short, during the summer of 2006, demand for housing peaked. As anyone who has taken basic economics knows, when the demand has been satisfied and supply continues to increase, the price of the product, in this case houses, drops. Houses, like Rome, aren’t built in a day, so there is a slight lag effect on supply too. From July 2006 to July 2008, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which are internationally respected, prices across the country have dropped 20% on average If you owned a house that was worth $500,000, on average, it is now worth $400,000. One hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money to lose in two years.

People then began to fall behind on their mortgage payments. Without the ability to pay the interest, and without the ability to sell their house to cover their debts, defaults and foreclosures started rising rapidly. As this happened, prices began dropping even faster as the glut of houses on the market soared while demand sank. The banks now began losing money and the investors began to see their investments (which had been rated very highly) diminish. This created even more selling as people wanted to exit the market. With these debts (now referred to as ‘toxic’ on Capitol Hill and in the media) dropping in value, the banks that made the loans started having to write-down the value of their investments.

As the banks’ losses ballooned (on paper at least), they required capital injections to keep them solvent. For a few months it seemed that the worst might be over, but the losses simply kept coming. Fannie and Freddie were running out of money and were nationalized. Many of the banks which had originated loans in sections of the country where home prices dropped the most (California, Nevada, etc.) saw billions upon billions of dollars just disappearing overnight.

All of these actions have brought us to today, a day in which we’ve watched Lehman Brothers fall, AIG fall, Washington Mutual fall, Merrill Lynch fall, Wachovia fall, to name a few of the largest victims. All of these actions have caused the lifeblood of the economy, lending, to tumble to a trickle. All of these actions have hurt every American, be they rich or poor.

Where in this do you see the current Republican administration having a negative effect on the economic crisis? If anything, the origins of it began during President Clinton’s administration in the 1990s. So next time you try to politicize an issue without having any true knowledge about it, read into it some more and learn the fundamentals behind the issue.

The Mortgage Earthquake

from October 16, 2008 issue

By: Craig Osborne

I wasn’t so sure that the bailout needed to happen, and I wasn’t happy when it passed because I didn’t know enough. I do think it needed to happen, but with a little bit more regulation, and this is why. The other night I spoke to someone who worked in the mortgage business. The reason we are in this mortgage crisis is because of greedy people. The way it was explained to me is that people wanted to buy houses, so they contacted a realtor and a mortgage consultant. These people had bad credit or no credit at all and received mortgages, even though there was no chance that they could pay it. This happened countless times; in fact, some say about 80% of the people who got mortgages from 2003 to 2006 had no chance of being able to afford them. Why stick someone in a house if they can’t pay? Well, this is where the greed comes in. In Qbus and finance class we learn about premiums and discounts. The mortgage company that let the un-credit worthy people buy the house sold the mortgage for a premium of around 104% to someone else. Now this new company would receive the payments and the old mortgage company would not have to worry about it. This was the story for a couple of times with each mortgage sold, but remember, there are millions of these bad mortgages out there.

Finally, people all over the world had too much money they wanted to invest. The savvy businessman from the U.S. sold these mortgages to the world and the world idiotically bought them. Repeat: They were sold bad mortgage loans and they bought them. They may not be as stupid as they sound for buying something that has an 80% chance of falling. They were sold on the basis that if people didn’t pay for their mortgages, they could turn around and sell the house for more money, because the housing market was on a rise in the U.S. For some reason these people thought the housing market would keep rising, but housing prices fell and people stopped paying for mortgages they weren’t able to pay in the first place, and the companies who bought the loans from the other companies weren’t receiving money to pay outside investors. Now, you would think that the original mortgage company would be scot-free. They had warranties in their contracts that stated they would give the money back if the customer defaulted in a certain time. Now there are over 280,000 mortgage lenders out of business because they cannot pay this money back. Big companies are showing a loss and the other investors are also distraught.

The bailout plan is supposed to buy these bad mortgages and keep people in their houses by changing the terms of the contract and making it more affordable. Eventually the market turns and the government can sell these bad mortgages to companies for a profit. Without buying the bad mortgages there would be a cash flow and credit freeze. Right now banks don’t trust each other or anyone else. They don’t want to give money to companies because they are afraid they won’t get it back. This Christmas when bigger companies go to take out a loan to fill their shelves for the holiday season, they will not be able to borrow the money because the banks will not let them. This is not the answer; it will take a long time to get out of this mess. The bailout is trying to help build market confidence, help put cash flow back in the market, and try and turn around a mess that greed caused.

Commuting to a College

from October 2, 2008 issue

By: Craig Osborne

The normal start to a day is the same. I push my snooze button one to many times, I get up just in time to put on clothes and walk out the door. The difference is the drive to Siena vs. the walk. I commute to Siena like the other small percentage of commuters that are in the classrooms. I might not have to deal with the horrible food that I always here complaints about. I might not deal with the showers. I deal with drivers. Commuting to Siena I am like everyone else in the morning, running a little bit behind. I turn into a Nascar driver, dodging people this way and that to get ahead of one car that is going to slow in the slow lane. Finally I get to school just in time. Another thing that is hard is group projects. I live 30 minutes away so when I get assigned to a group I have to either stay on campus or leave campus and come back through the traffic. For some reason you are always at the mercy of the people who live on campus. They all know each other so you make the sacrifice of doing what they want. Some days are spent all day on campus and them straight to work to get home at midnight. I guess I get a home cooked meal at home in between all my errands, a hot shower any time I want. There are always up and downs to every decision that must be made. The downs always seem to make the ups look way worse. That is why the glass must always be half full.

What They Don’t Show You at the Open House

from October 2, 2008 issue

By: Katie Ornellas

As a freshman here I’m getting used to living with 28 girls in my hall, a stranger in my room, sharing a bathroom, and doing my own laundry. Some of its great and some of it is not. Living with someone else isn’t so bad, changing after a shower is a little awkward but besides that our schedules work out pretty well and we’re content. I could only wish for a little more alone time, so I take extra time in the bathroom and walking alone through campus, in doing so notice things a little bit more than I did at my open house tour.
The first shower on the fourth floor of Ryan hall wails when you turn it on and in every shower stall there is always a half a dozen globs of hair girls pulled out of their head and smeared on the wall. The first bathroom stall always has a puddle on the floor (don’t forget your flip flops!) the second and third always have a wad the size of a grown mans fist in the front of the toilet, really girls, can’t we all agree to throw the paper further back into the hole? And there is always someone’s day old Rice Crispy or Raman Noodles in the sinks and for some reason throw up on the weekends. I’ve never had to wait to shower or use the restroom which is surprising considering there are 92 girls on this floor, and one would assume the bathroom would be swarming on Fridays and Saturdays but I have yet to hear a complaint.
The first time our hall rug was vacuumed was this weekend for the Open House, that’s only a little ironic, as it was gross from girls walking on it for the past 3 weeks. The door to my room sticks (because of the paint job from this summer) and has yet to be fixed. It wakes up my roommate every morning when I leave for my 8:30 class, which is another mistake; don’t take classes that start before 11 am, especially on Friday mornings because the best night to go out is Thursday. My classes and the classes of all my friends are awesome, we all love our teachers and even though we have a lot more work than we did in high school we all agree we’re learning a lot more.
People (mostly boys) forget how long their laundry has been in the machine and as a result we girls have to take it out and put it in a dryer because we feel bad and then leave a note so they know which one it’s in. It’s just common courtesy to fold someone’s dry laundry if you’re going to take it out and put your own in, right? Also never leave your laundry in the dryer for the whole 60 minutes because it won’t cool down for at least an hour. For some reason laundry builds more quickly at college than at home, so I’m extremely thankful that Siena charges $60 per semester instead of forcing us to save up millions of quarters.
The dish washing area always smells rancid on the way in and out of the dining hall. I don’t know how much they pay the staff but it must be a lot more than I made this summer for them to put up with that stench. The Eddy’s Ice Cream cart is awesome because its included in the meal plan and you get more ice cream there than at Pepsi Café. The food gets a little boring after about 10 visits, thank god for my dining dollars; the Buffalo Chicken Pizza at O’Leary’s is amazing.
Over all the people I’ve met are awesome and seem really genuine. I’m really glad I chose Siena and doubt that my friends at other schools aren’t complaining about these very same things. We’re just going to be more assertive here and get these annoyances fixed.

7th Anniversary

from October 2, 2008 issue

The other day, as I signed some paperwork, I took out my cell phone to see what the date was. September 11th. And I thought to myself, “you don’t say….” At first, I felt slightly ashamed of myself. Was I really that appalling of a person that I could so easily forget that it was the 7th anniversary of what was supposed to be the most monumental day not only in United States history, but also in the world, in the last 20 years? Then I started to wonder if I was the only one overlooking this key date in our history, which has been the focal point for so many life-changing decisions around the world over the past seven years.

Maybe I was the only one who had overlooked it, but the rest of the students on campus weren’t doing anything to convince me that they remembered, or even cared. Has it been that long? For me, it seems like just yesterday there was a sudden influx of American Flags on everyone’s front lawn, and a flood of “never forget” bumper stickers, to which the government responded to much better than to the floods that hit New Orleans. I guess it’s easier to print stickers than it is to fix levies.

But seriously, after the largest attack on American soil in over 10 years, the American people seem to act as though it never happened-as if it was nothing more than just a distant recollection of an earlier, non-important time. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The attacks on September 11th, 2001 were not simply an attack on the United States, but were a catalyst in an international reaction that had been trying to catch steam for years.

Rallying behind the ultra conservative government, which had been looking for a medium through which it could realize its plans, the people of the United States, in their attempt to show their patriotism and how much they would “never forget” those that had fallen on September 11th, helped pass some of the worst and most unmistakably unlawful and illegitimate laws and decisions in the history of the United States.

Out of this “never forget” attitude came the Patriot act, quite possibly the grandest account of the raping and pillaging of basic civil liberties ever in the United States, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have died as collateral damage, and the almost always overlooked racism that sprouted towards the 2-3 million Muslims living in the United States. Unfortunately, as the grandeur of the “never forget” attitude lost its steam and quickly fizzled out, these breathtaking acts continued, as they do still today, to scar the face of the world, much like Chernobyl does to this day.

Therefore, on this 7th anniversary, in which most of us can barely even ponder the idea of going out of our way to remember the some 3000 that lost their lives that day, maybe we should all take a step back from our busy lives and honor the millions that die every year from genocide, civil war, terrorisms, hunger, disease and natural disasters. Oh, but maybe that would put our lives in perspective, and we definitely wouldn’t want that. So we will continue to act as though we are commemorating events that, in the grand scope of things, are nothing more than a scratch on the surface, simply because it’s easier to be the victim.

So, next September 11th, maybe a few of us will remember a bit more clearly what happened and why we said we would never forget. Or maybe not? Its more than likely, we will all just slip deeper into our state of apathy, while the scars of days past haunt our subconscious and remain ever present.

Burning a hole in the Constitution for the sake of security

from October 2, 2008 issue

By: George Tehan

With our economy in dire straits due to the lack of government oversight and the “greed is good” philosophy that has taken root in the financial sector. We are left with the choice of bailing out or allowing the financial institutions that did make foolish investments to reap what they sowed. This decision will affect our nation for years to come. It may even cause us to lose our spot as the world’s number one superpower.

Whatever they do, Congress must not rush to a foolish judgment. It should not hand over a large amount of power to the Fed and to the Treasury Secretary just because it is a time of national crisis. When I last checked we still were a republic. Chairman Bernanke and Secretary Paulson have argued that the government needs 700 billion dollars in order to stabilize firms that may be on the verge of collapse. We will be granting Secretary Paulson the power to make his decisions irreversible. It states in the text that “decisions by the Secretary… may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”(1) If Congress approves this bill would in fact give the Secretary of the Treasury the power to operate outside of the Constitution. In effect this bailout burns a gaping hole through the heart of our Constitution and in turn through the heart of our very nation. We cannot allow our representatives to set such a dangerous precedent. It would only encourage future policies that would strip away our freedom and liberty.

Yet we cannot ignore our financial problems. The government should be increasing the regulations of the financial sector not writing them a blank check. If aid is given then it should come with a long list of requirements attached to it. The CEO’s and other executive officials should also not be allowed to collect their golden parachutes. They should be held accountable for their actions. The government needs to act in some way. But it must think before it acts. We cannot afford to set a dangerous precedent. One that could lead to further destruction of the Constitution, we have a republic and it is ours to lose. I would rather have economic hardship than a decrease of our freedom. We can weather this storm. We just need to be prudent and change our spending habits. It will be hard but we can do it!

Get an Internship NOW!!

from September 18, 2008 issue

By: Craig Osborne

If you want a job you had better get an internship, bottom line. If you think that the test and homework you get now is hard, just wait till you can’t find a job. I bet wherever you will apply for a job someone else will. You have to have an edge on them or you will lose the opportunity to get the job. There are numerous people in this world with a bachelor’s degree who can’t find a job. Imagine having a business degree but wheeling concrete barrels for one or two years after college. I have a friend who has a low G.P.A. with no internship that is sealing driveways because he cannot find a job. Let’s think like an employer. If I were hiring people for a company I would be looking for the best candidates. Someone with a high GPA, lets say 4.0, looks pretty impressive from a grade scale point of view. Someone with a 3.5 and an internship looks way better from an employer point of view, for a couple of reasons. First, how does the 4.0 wiz know that he/she evens wants to do this job? The 3.5 slacker has worked in this field and has experience doing the job. Also the 4.0 got the 4.0 by just doing homework and not much else. In this world you must learn to multi-task. A lot of our teachers come to work, then go home and take care of their house, their kids, or whatever else. A career accountant has a home and kids also, like you might someday. The 3.5 student has proven he/she can multi-task by obtaining a 3.5 and working an internship. The experience will win most of the time. Juniors if you haven’t picked up an internship yet. You better make your way to the career center or look at career saint. Don’t tell me that you won’t get the internship. I know someone who got an internship because they were the only one to apply, the company had no choice. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” Find an internship and go for it, they can only say no. It will help you beat the rest of the college grads in the rat race at graduation.

WHY SIENA?

from Summer, 2008 issue

Everyone who attends college asks themselves the same question: Why this college? Maybe because it’s the only one you got into, or the only one you applied to. Whatever the case I’m going to tell you why one would choose Siena, if one had a choice. First, let’s say that Siena is located in the Town of Colonie, which is ranked the sixth safest city in America for the second year in a row. This is an impressive mark that everyone in the Town of Colonie works hard for and is very comforting for someone who is away from home for the very first time. Also, Siena offers much more than anyone can see just from the outside. To understand the real value of Siena you will have to read further.

The question a high school graduate should ask is what do I want out of college? I would think you need to be able to get a job after college. Siena prepares every student for this in more ways than one. Each professor has real life experience in his or her field and helps the students apply the material to their own real life experiences. If you plan to attend Siena you should plan to pack a suit because, if you are a business major especially you will give presentations and have to wear business attire. The practice you get with public speaking and presentation work prepares you well for the working world.

Think you will go home most weekends? Not at Siena. There are always events that keep you busy and involved on campus. The amount of clubs on campus will also keep you busy if you decide to participate, which looks great on a resume. I always worried about getting a job after college and my worries went away when I went to the career center. You will get a weekly update of jobs, internships and other opportunities that are readily available for you. They critiqued my resume and gave me advice on what an employer wants. The career center is a hidden gem at Siena and will help you achieve the one of the major goals of college. They work closely with employers and get lots of job opportunities for graduates. There are dinners where current employees will come and tell you about the job and maybe even recruit. These are only a few reasons why you should attend Siena, the rest you will have to attend to find out.

Campus Highlights

from Summer, 2008 issue

When most students evaluate a college one of their main focuses are the academic programs-more specifically, which schools have their desired majors and which programs have a reputation for success after graduation. However, since most college students live on campus, another important factor should be the activities the campus provides outside the classroom. At Siena there are lots of opportunities for students to engage in on- and off-campus activities with the community and other students. Most importantly, it’s important to take study breaks to keep oneself in a focused, productive mindset.

But what is there to do with your free time on campus? You’re going to need money, so why not get an on-campus job?

The Siena Research Institute offers a flexible schedule to conform to your classes and is open Monday through Saturday. This job pays $8.50 per hour and also offers a work-study opportunity for those students in the work study program (if you choose this option the hourly pay is $7.15 in addition to the deduction off your tuition bill). At this job, students are asked to call people from across the state and record their opinions on current issues.

Another option is the Franciscan Center, which offers not only community service opportunities but also jobs working with children and the like. The Franciscan Center also offers the work study option. (Office located in Foy Hall)

The Disabilities Office is always looking for students who have exceptional note-taking skills to take notes for disabled students. If you sign up, the office will contact you and let you know if you are signed up for a class with a student who utilizes their services. (Office located in Foy Hall).

These are only a few suggestions…for more options check out monstertrak.com!

Want to make a difference? Join a Club!

There are many community service opportunities as well as clubs dedicated to raising awareness of current issues.

Here are just a few:

The Sister Thea Bowman Center for Women (located in the basement of Hennepin Hall)

The Promethean (Siena’s Newspaper is currently looking for staff writers; contact Kelly Peckholdt, Editor in Chief)

The Gay-Straight Alliance

The Gaelic Society

…along with many other great clubs to fit any interest!

Worried about the dreaded freshman 15? Better hit the gym!

While the freshman 15 is just a myth, many of you will see fit to stay fit with your time here on campus. The Marcell Athletic Complex (MAC) offers many programs and opportunities if you’re bored with running on the treadmill:

Indoor track

Weight room

Exercise machines (ellipticals as an alternative to the dreaded treadmill)

Intramurals

-Soccer

-volleyball

-basketball

OR if you’re one of those coordinated people…join a sports team!

Men’s and Women’s Rugby

Men’s baseball

Women’s Softball

Women’s Volleyball

Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse

Men’s and Women’s Basketball

Cheerleading

Dance team

And many others!

Hopefully this will give you an idea of the vast amounts of community activities Siena College offers, but remember, this is only a brief taste of what’s offered here on campus!

The Siena Saint Card

from Summer, 2008 issue

The Siena Saint Card is no ordinary student ID, it is a student’s access to everything on campus. It unlocks the doors of buildings, swipes away your meals, checks out your library books, buys a midnight snack from the candy machine, and entertains you while you walk around campus swinging your lanyard like you are going to kill someone. The Siena Saint Card can also be used at the bookstore, the athletic store, Pandini’s, Sub Connection, or the Pepsi Cafe. Without this Saint Card, Siena students would be lost.

The card’s uses don’t end on campus, however. When you drive (or walk, if you are a freshman) down the street to Newton Plaza, there are tons of shops that accept the Saint Card as a method of payment. You can stop at Bruegger’s and pick up a bagel, head over to St. Croix for a nice tan, and have your prescriptions filled at CVS all on the Saint Card! Down the street, the Subway at Hoffman’s Plaza also accepts the card. And if you don’t feel like eating Saga or leaving campus, just pick up the phone and order Domino’s from Latham without spending any cash!

The Saint Card office is located in the Sarazen Student Union, near the post office. In order to get a card, students fill out a form, have their picture taken, wait five minutes, and tada! a brand new Saint Card fresh off the printer.

Students can opt to add bonus dollars onto their cards, and these bonus dollars act as a debit card and can be used both on and off campus, at places such as Newton Plaza, the bookstore, the MAC, and other shops. If a student does not put extra money on their card, it can only be used for the meal plan. There are a few ways that students or parents can add money to a Saint Card. The easiest way is online, at the Saint Card website (https://saintcard.siena.edu/). Another way is by visiting the office, which accepts cash or check. Students can also add money to their cards at the machine next to the ATM in the Student Union, which accepts cash only.

If students break their cards, the Saint Card office will replace the first one for free, as long as the student returns the broken card. Otherwise, there is a $25 replacement fee. Saint Card office hours are Monday through Friday, 9-11am and 12-4pm. You can contact the office at 518-782-8282.

My Life as a Fashion Intern

from Summer, 2008 issue

By Kaitlin Milliot

Walking into the skyscraper building of News Corporation on that first Monday, I was full of jitters and expectations. I had spent the past two months anticipating what my role as the fashion intern at the New York Post would entail. My friends and I had jokingly nicknamed me the new “LC” of the Post after the infamous Lauren Conrad of Laguna Beach and The Hills. After just my first day interning in the big city I almost really felt like Lauren too!

As any first day of an internship anywhere probably goes, I was half bored and half confused. Being thrown into an office where everyone already knows the wise ways of work is never easy. I learned how to do simple things at first, such as calling for a messenger, returning garments, fetching old copies of fashion articles, and, of course, I learned more fashion websites than ever before! In fact, my knowledge of labels, websites, and public relations has expanded 10-fold in my mere eight days of work thus far. (I’m only there three days a week-it is unpaid you know!)

Although it is unpaid, the experience is truly invaluable. I’m learning only now how important hands-on opportunities in your field of choice are. Do you really think you know what being an accountant is like from sitting in class? NO WAY! The only way to be sure about your career path is to try it out as soon as possible. Not to mention that there are thousands of interesting careers that you may have never thought of or even heard of yet! The worst possible feeling has to be when a person graduates after four years of studying a specific subject, enters the “real world”, and realizes it is totally not what they had in mind. That’s a waste of more time and money than I’d like to think about!

It’s corny, but I’m paid for my time in experience and knowledge, as well as the occasional freebies, like my new bathing suit and bag full of beauty products! Networking, the key word in life today, is another extreme benefit of such a cool internship. On my first day I met everyone on the Post staff as well as Kelly Cutrone, founder of People’s Revolution PR, new The Hills cast member Kevin Connelly, Entourage actor, The Tenjune Club owners, and Natasha Bedingfield’s PR agents. Apparently I started on the perfect day because that night was Bedingfield’s private concert and that was the reason I got to meet all of these fantastic people.

Since then I’ve been back to my intern duties in the office, with no more celebrity run-ins, except for that one time when I walked by Christian, the winner of Project Runway, on 49th street. I’ve finally begun to feel relaxed and at home on 1211 6th Avenue, quarters of the Post. It is possibly the greatest location to work, right in the middle of it all, and I love romping around the city all day.

In line with my “experience is necessary” idea is the fact that I had always had my heart set on working in magazines and never even thought about the possibilities in newspapers. The Features section of the New York Post, where the fashion department is housed, is called the “Pulse.” Each Monday the fashion girls get their chance to be the focus of the section with a full color spread of the latest trends and discoveries. My first photo shoot, which will be next week, is on location in New Jersey and our main prop is an RV! People ask you to borrow and shoot the most random things for free publicity, I swear! Unlike magazine writers who have weeks to prepare for a single story, newspaper staff writers barely have days. Writers develop stories on a daily basis and major shoots have to be prepared for, along with other daily responsibilities. It makes for an entertaining and fast-paced office environment.

Interestingly enough, as excited as I was to nickname myself the LC of the Post, I’ve come to find she is not quite the person I’d like to model myself after. You haven’t fallen for the illusion have you? You don’t actually believe that Lauren and Whitney work, do you? Oh no, no. Good. If you’ve spent the past season watching The Hills and wondering what really goes on when the two starlets are at work, here it goes: nothing. After venturing to People’s Revolution on Grand Street just the other day, I found out the truth. The Hills crew had been filming just hours before my appointment and while all of the other interns and agents were still hard at work, the stars of the hit “reality” show had disappeared. The assistant who I was with laughed at the thought of anyone believing their facade and even complained that the two California girls bothered to come in and waste their time and space. “You could film me while I’m actually doing work,” she said. So much for “reality” TV, huh?! You learn a lot about the smoke and mirrors of the entertainment industry when you’re on the inside, even after just dipping your toes into the murky waters.

Along with finding out fun truths like this one, it’s also interesting to be behind the creation of a daily newspaper. Just sitting at a desk surrounded by other cubicles of writers, you get to hear the days’ news as it happens. Every morning when I pick up the paper, I already know what will be inside. It’s a great, insider type of feeling. Another thing I really enjoy about the newspaper industry is that it’s so fast-paced, and new developments are constantly being thrown into your lap. Discovering things, writing about them, and seeing it published the very next day must be an incredibly satisfying experience for the writers. I know I can’t wait for the Monday when the first photo shoot I helped produce comes to print!

Soon I’ll be up and blogging on the Post’s website (blogs.nypost.com/fashion), so check me out and feel free to email me with comments, questions, or fashion ideas! It’s all about who you know, ya know!

Get me at: Km8nypost@gmail.com

ATTN. SENIORS: You’re Gonna Miss This!

from January 31st issue

By Craig Osborne

As the spring semester begins some of you begin your last semester at Siena. This is a part of your life that will become just a memory at the end of May. However you look at it, that’s just 5 months, 17 weeks, or 124 days from today to graduation, give or take a day. I recently asked a Siena graduate if he had wished he had done more at Siena before he graduated, he said “I wish I got more involved.” When I went to college for the first time I wish I was more involved also. Instead I was addicted to work and I missed out on a lot because I worked. I couldn’t wait to be out of school and working full-time. At first it was great, but after a little while I realized how much I missed it. I realize now I was supposed to be poor and not be able to afford anything while in college. There will be a time in your life when you won’t be poor.
You too, will miss Siena College no matter where you end up. Everyone wishes they could be the next Van Wilder and be in school for seven years, but that’s in the movies. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have as much fun as Van Wilder. Just make sure you take time out to have fun. There are so many groups on campus and so many people to meet. Go to every event you can, go to every party you can, and be involved however you can. Because for the seniors reading this, after May 18th you will either be looking for a job, going to your job, or maybe starting your masters. Take the last semester and turn it into the most memorable. But, don’t have so much fun that you are here for the fall semester ’08. Trace Adkins sings a song about a girl who wants the future so bad she forgets about the present. The lyrics go something like this.

“You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this”

Your gonna Miss Siena, So make sure you look back and miss something worth missing.

Countdown to Christmas

from Dec. 6th issue

By Craig Osborne

The countdown to Christmas begins.the shopping, the wrapping, and the opening. What a wonderful time of year. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.
There is no other time when everything seems right like it does come Christmas time. All the worries of the world and life seem to go away for such a short while and seem to come back just as fast. The memories of Christmas, when I was younger are always talked and laughed about every year. One story that comes up every Christmas was between my brother and I.
When we were younger I wanted to open the presents so bad, we used to wake up at like 4 in the morning just to make sure Santa came. Then we would wake up again at 5 to try and get my parents out of bed to open them. I can still here my parents say “wake us up in an hour.” That little kid in all of us still wishes there was this excitement. Well this particular Christmas my brother wouldn’t open presents till he got his jelly donut that he got the night before for Christmas. If he wouldn’t open presents that meant i couldn’t open presents. It was a big laugh because I got so mad that we had to wait for him to eat his donut. I was young and don’t remember that much so this story comes from my parents, which gets better every Christmas. The laugh is always on me with this story, ha-ha. Every year a new laugh is created that helps keep the worries away, even if it is just for a little while. What a little while that is. Take advantage of this little while and make a new laugh this Christmas. It is what it is all about isn’t it? How many laughs you can have in one day? Even if the laugh is on you.

What Were You Watching?

from Nov. 29th issue

By Pat Preston

I would like to respond to Mark McGuire, a writer for the Times Union, who, after watching Siena upset the #20 team in the country, didn’t write about how big it was for a small school, or how dangerous it was for Stanford to fly across the country and face a small school in their arena. Instead he wrote about Siena’s student section.
Yet again he could have chosen to write on how the student section motivated the players, or how great it was to see the students get to live in the moment and storm the court. No, he wrote about how he thought the students of Siena were obnoxious and outdated, and how petty it was that the students rushed the floor.
It is clear that Mr. McGuire never had a moment like those two hours that the students, both players and fans, had at the TU Center last Saturday. I was at the game, and was part of many of the chants that he was talking about. The chants were loud, some obscene for a writer of Mr. McGuire’s age, but nevertheless were all in good fun.
I saw the #20 team in the country fly across the country expecting to have an easy game, only to be dismantled by a team that wanted the win more than they did. Talking to several players after the game, they all said that the crowd motivated them to achieve greatness.
So why does a sportswriter have to attack the fans? Is he jealous that he was not involved in the excitement, or was he bothered that people were actually loud at a sporting event.
Granted chants like “The ref beats his wife” are old, but nevertheless they get the students into the game. As to his notion that the fans did no homework, he must of taken a nap during the chants to disrupt the seven foot Robin Lopez, who’s twin brother Brook was academically ineligible.
I saw Lopez, freshman of the Year in arguably America’s top conference; crumble midway through the second half. The Siena Saints, who have no one close to his size, kept him to eight points. The crowd got into Lopez’s head so much that instead of taking the easy lay-up he went up for a power dunk in order to shut the crowd up. Unfortunately for Lopez, slamming the ball off of the back of the rim only got the crowd louder. He was taken out after the next stoppage of play, never to be seen again.
So for Mr. McGuire I have one question, are you jealous for not being part of the fiasco? Or are you just that old and cranky that you have to attack the students, who wanted to celebrate the biggest win of their program’s career? Or were you watching a different game all together. It sure seems like you missed out on the excitement.
Hey fans, keep it up. Let’s rock the joint for the UAlbany game on Saturday and help the players win two and a row against the cross town rivals.

Making Mistakes

<>from Oct. 25th issue
By Craig OsborneThe semester has just begun but I seem to have so much homework every night I can’t seem to keep up. Every time I finish one assignment I get another one, how frustrating!! That is ok; it is for my own good, isn’t it? Sitting in class you can see a lot of funny stuff. Like the students that walk into your class and maybe even sit down only to realize they are in the wrong room. How embarrassing! I wouldn’t know because I check my schedule about four times before I walk into a room to make sure I am in the right room. It is a mistake and mistakes may be embarrassing, but I believe making mistakes are the best way to learn.
Did you know that the reason we are here in America was a mistake. I’m sure you learned it but never thought of it. In fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue, Columbus was going trying to get to Asia, not America. We even get a day off of school for this mistake, not so bad after all. Other mistakes that you may enjoy everyday are Coca-Cola, chocolate chip cookies and post-it notes. We are all afraid of making mistakes, I know I don’t want to look like an idiot and embarrass myself. An example is when your professor asks a question that a fifth grader could answer and no one answers. Are you smarter than a fifth grader, yes you are, then why don’t you answer? It’s the fear of being wrong and making a mistake. I have learned a lot from making mistakes and learning from them. I can still remember when I was a kid and I touched a hot muffler on the tractor. My curiosity got the best of me on this one, but I still to this day have never touched a hot muffler again.
I don’t think I have touched a cold muffler to be honest with you. Mistakes and embarrassment are not enjoyable. In some occasions the embarrassment leaves you the next day or it could be your nickname for life. Either way something was learned from the mistake. How can you know without trying? You can read about it, and there are something’s I do recommend that you read about rather than try. How much fun is reading about it?
I take a look back and most of my regrets are things I did not do. I would of rather experienced the embarrassment, pain, or joy rather than wonder what it might have been like. I encourage you to do the same; life experience is the best way to learn. Make mistakes, but remember making the same mistake twice and you’re on the verge of stupidity. Albert Einstein said “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Moral : Don’t fear making a mistake, embrace and learn from it.

Former V.P. Wins Nobel Peace Prize

from Oct. 25th issue

By Kelly Peckhodlt

On October 12th, the Nobel Foundation announced that former Vice President Al Gore is the 2007 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his effort to build up knowledge about climate change. But is he truly worthy of receiving such a prestigious award?
Gore was nominated and ultimately won the award for his book and Oscar-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” The book and film were an attempt to bring attention to man-made climate change and some measures that can be taken to counteract these changes. In theory, while this is a commendable effort on his behalf, his book and film are politically biased and at times inaccurate. According to Bloomberg News, a judge in the UK has stated that the film has many errors and ruled that it cannot be viewed without guidance notes to correct these errors. Gore is a liberal alarmist, and while bringing attention to a major issue like global warming is great, a great deal of his information is exaggerated or altogether inaccurate. It is appalling that the Nobel Foundation chose him as the recipient of their esteemed prize based on his body of work.
Giving the award to an environmentalist truly represents a shift in how the Nobel committee defines peace work. The work of past recipients, like the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks for itself, but Al Gore seems out of place among these historical greats. The other favorite for the Peace Prize this year was Sheila Watt-Clouttier, a Canadian environmental activist. She is a political activist for the indigenous Inuit people of the Arctic region, and she focuses on persistent organic pollutants and global climate change.
Watt-Clouttier has received countless awards and recognitions for her work, has appeared in numerous documentaries, and has been profiled by many journalists. Another important contender was Irena Sendler of Poland, who has been recognized for saving more than 2,500 Jewish children during the Holocaust. It seems disgraceful that Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize instead of Watt-Clouttier or especially the courageous Sendler.
The most pathetic part of this situation is that Gore seems to be using the Nobel Peace Prize as leverage for his political career and personal gain. Multiple media sources cite rumors that Gore is considering running for President a second time. Although Hilary Clinton is probably unbeatable as a Democratic candidate, it seems that Gore could use the prize as springboard to revitalize his political career. It just seems as though Gore is not Nobel Prize-worthy, and it would be interesting to know if the Noble committee had any political agenda in awarding him the Peace Prize.

Opinion of The Promethean: Editorial

New Siena Website in Need of Repairs

from Oct. 11th issue

Since the launch of Siena’s new website last May, students and faculty have had much to say about the pros and cons of the revitalization of the site. Overall, the multi-million dollar website is a significant upgrade from the school’s former sloppy and humble one. However, while ten years ago the launch of a new College website would have been a huge deal, in today’s day in age it is a standard that institutions of higher education maintain a website that is easily accessible to students and faculty. A line of communication on which the members of the College community depend, the Siena College website has much more to improve upon before it receives any awards for excellence.
Four months after the site’s initial launch, there are still many problems with the website. First of all, while the look of the website had been updated to sport a more professional and chic look, it still rates well under that of other Tier II Colleges and Universities. If you look at other comparable schools (Manhattan, Iona, Fairfield, Marist, Canisius) their sites are more professional and clean looking with an inviting theme. The homepages of these sites are easily navigated, and the countless photos displayed on their homepages are of relevance to their institution. Which brings us to our next point; the pictures on the Siena College website are very dark and hard to see. Oftentimes they are distorted, stretched or placed awkwardly, and what’s the DEAL with the girl on the College’s homepage?? Has she suddenly become the “face” of Siena College?? First of all, her larger than life appearance is somewhat intimidating, not to mention the fact that she is green makes her seem a little creepy. She is also not wearing any Siena insignia or anything that represents the College. Don’t get us wrong, the girl on the site is very attractive, but she does not fit well with the site’s design (nor would any other student for that matter). While it is important that the school does show the many “faces” of Siena College on the site, there should not be only ONE stationary picture of ONE student. Instead, what the College needs to do is change the picture on the homepage frequently. Even a slide-show of different scenes from the College community would be acceptable. If that is not possible, then what about a picture of Siena Hall or another College landmark? The way the homepage is now would have any prospective student confused as to the reasoning for the random girl.
The homepage aside, there are also many additional problems with the rest of the website. While the events calendar allows the school the ability to update any upcoming events that will be taking place, it is not updated as frequently as it should be. The fact that the school must wait a few days in order for information to be updated on the website is a problem that must be rectified. If this is a problem with the vendor of the site, then why did the College choose this particular vendor? The website should be something that students and faculty can be a part of. It is extremely important that it is updated. After all, isn’t that what the website serves to do- inform and educate the community? How can other campus groups, such as The Promethean, even hope to add their own webpage to the College site, when the site cannot be easily updated?
While there are positive aspects to the new site, such as the search bar on the top of the screen, and the overall new look and feel of the site, there are still many things that must be improved. What the College needs to do is ask students and faculty what they would like to see on the website because, after all, that is whom the website is designed for.

Bill of Rights, What Bill of Right?

from Oct. 11th issue

By Allycia Barbera

A constitution, by definition, is a body of writing that establishes the fundamental political principles of a government. The United States Constitution, therefore, provides the basic political foundations of the United States. The freedoms outlined in Constitution are what, in essence, makes America, The land of the free. Certain freedoms are guaranteed to Americans, the most fundamental of which comprise the Bill of Rights. So what does it mean to be American, if not free? Apparently, George W. Bush has a new answer.
The Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), driven through the House of Representatives and the Senate by George W. Bush, that was recently signed into law (as Law S. 3930) eliminates the constitutional due process right of habeas corpus for detainees at Guantánamo Bay and anywhere else (Egypt, Syria, etc). It allows the government to continue to hold hundreds of prisoners for years without charges. It also gives the President the power to declare who is an enemy combatant (on his own, subjectively), who should be held (without being charged with a crime), and define torture. The MCA, in essence, allows George W. Bush to become his own government—making all the rules and enforcing them—outside of the actual government’s control. The United States government is regulated by a series of checks that balance power, so that no one branch can become too influential, and the MCA represents a huge breach of the judicial check against executive power. It provides the president, unprecedented power in that it blocks detainees from prosecution in the American courts. Another important point is that the MCA allows George W. Bush to decide what is—and what is not—torture.
To lay the implications of the MCA out simply, detainees may not know why they are being held, may not present themselves before a jury (or given trial), and may be tortured—stripping said detainees of the Sixth (habeas corpus, speedy and public trial), Seventh (right to a jury), Fifth (due process), and Eighth (cruel and unusual punishment) Amendments, respectively, therefore violating the Ninth Amendment (denying aforementioned rights to those retained by the people). Furthermore, those detained have no freedom to appeal to the government against their imprisonment or have any protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, which violate the First and Fourth Amendments, respectively. If the MCA violates at least seven out of ten amendments of the Bill of Rights, of the United States Constitution, then the MCA violates and, quite frankly, makes a mockery of, the United States and the principles it was founded upon.
George W. Bush is trampling on the Bill of Rights, and Americans need to stand up for the principles that America represents. Citing “fear in a post-911 world” as justification for desecrating the Bill of Rights compromises what makes America, America. Law S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, is, therefore, un-American, a disgrace and embarrassment, and threatens to undermine Free America, and make it unrecognizable.

Reverse Racism

from Sept. 27th issue

By Jason Weiss

Every college admissions office has this statement somewhere. Of course, this is about the same as saying that, “X College firmly supports reverse racism.” For those of you who do not know what affirmative action is exactly, it is a process where admissions committees boost the chances of acceptance of a non-white applicant. This occurs even if the white applicant is a better candidate overall due to grades, extracurricular activities, etc. The idea behind affirmative action is to diversify college campuses by breaking the monopoly whites have on them that results largely due to socioeconomic factors. It is meant to break up the entrenched power structure of the United States where white college graduates fill the upper classes with the different racial and ethnic minorities pooling on the bottom.
The boost that admissions committees apply varies enormously depending on the college under consideration. In some places, a candidate’s race can count more heavily than a perfect SAT score (I’m talking about the older version here). The hypothesis for this process essentially states that even though the candidates that affirmative action will help may not be on par with white candidates, who are typically wealthier, better-schooled, etc., they should still be accepted over them due to the inherent disadvantages that they face. This view assumes that the minority candidates would be on an equal par with their white competitors if they were not faced with the different socioeconomic problems that form an additional burden for them (and I suspect that this is quite right).
However, this line of reasoning is a cut-and-run form of evasion. It completely ignores why the minorities are not on par with their white cohorts. That reason is nothing new, nor indeed, something exclusive to minorities: “broken” families, poverty, racism, etc. A lot of these candidates are coming from that environment. Sadly, most of the people in these environments never even consider college as an option, even though they would potentially have a decent chance of being accepted somewhere with affirmative action and would also receive a decent amount of financial backing. But regardless, this line of thought accepts the situation of the minority candidates as being hopeless, and surrenders to it completely while offering up a college education that may or may not work out. When an individual comes from this kind of background, the chances of that person being successful in their collegiate-level studies are quite low. They do not have the educational background for that level of work and have not developed the habits necessary to make college life work.
I consider education to be the same as building a house. You would agree with me that kindergarten or something comparable would be the foundation, with undergraduate- and/or graduate-level studies representing the roof. Since the aforementioned line of reasoning decided that fixing the lower levels of education for the minority candidates was hopeless, they have decided to skip that and work on building the roof. If the rest of the house was even constructed at all, it is probably of very poor craftsmanship, as the education of inner-city minorities is usually worse than that of white suburbanites. When have you ever seen a house’s roof built before the rest of it? That is to say, why would you try to improve the acceptance rates of minority candidates into colleges by what is essentially racial profiling, instead of working to improve their educational experience from the ground up? It just does not make sense to start at the top and work your way down, as the candidates in question probably cannot do very well at the top without the training at the bottom. Otherwise, the roof is on fire.

Protecting Freedom

from Sept. 27th issue

By Allycia Barbera

“The only way to protect freedom is to stand fast for the idea that everyone, no matter how unpopular, has the same rights.” -The American Civil Liberties Union

America was founded upon the principle of liberty. Americans are endowed with the unalienable right to live freely without infringing upon the freedom of their fellow Americans. Liberty was so significant in our founding fathers’ vision of America, that it was explicitly inscribed in the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence. Because I believe that every American, and rightly, every human being, is entitled to freedom not only for equal rights, but from discrimination and persecution; I believe that same-sex marriage should be legal in the United States. There are many arguments, however, which are very much against the notion that every American should be given equal rights and freedoms and seek to deny same-sex couples from marrying.
Firstly, the right for an American to marry who they choose is a civil right. Many people argue that gay marriage should not be legal because traditionally marriage is between a man and a woman. If tradition governed our marriage laws, then blacks still wouldn’t be able to marry whites in this country. As a matter of fact, in 1967 the Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, ruled that state bans on intermarriages were violations of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal-protection clause. “Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man,” Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in his decision. If the Fourteenth Amendment protects the right of black citizens to marry whomever they choose, it is logically inescapable that the same goes for homosexuals. It is a question of civil rights, and not allowing same-sex marriage would be a direct violation of the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment, restricting freedoms supposedly afforded to all Americans. Furthermore, anti-homosexual sentiments are as vicious and irrational as racism, and denying homosexuals the right to marry whom they wish is little different from denying black Americans the right to marry white Americans.
Others argue that because gay couples can’t have children, they shouldn’t be allowed to get married. The idea that marriage is a vehicle of procreation fails socially and culturally because in our culture at this time, having children is not understood to be an essential part of what it is to be married. If the reason homosexuals can’t marry is because they can’t conceive children, then any couple who elects not to have children or are sterile, should also not be allowed to marry. Using procreative reasoning for motive against allowing gay marriage undermines the fundamental American, and human, right to make choices in general.
Still other people present the argument that if a gay couple is allowed to adopt children, those children will have developmental problems, or even grow up to be gay themselves. This is absurd, not only because it doesn’t make any sense (if a parent’s sexual orientation was determinate of his or her child’s orientation then there would, if following that same logic, be no homosexuals at all) but because the great majority of studies published in the past 20 years conclude that there are no notable developmental differences between children raised by heterosexual parents and those raised by lesbian and gay parents. Along the same lines, several medical and mental health professional associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the American Psychological Association have issued formal statements supporting equal access to parenting and adoption for gay men and lesbians. Furthermore, the gender of a parent has much less to do with the adjustment and development of a child then the stability and recognition of love between a child’s parents. If the sexual orientation of a parent had any discernable influence on a child, logically, there would be no homosexuals, since as of now there are no homosexually partnered relationships.
Every person is entitled to their beliefs, but it is important to realize that the moment any person is denied their basic rights of liberty and freedom because of the beliefs of the majority, is the moment that American egalitarianism is undermined, and the American dream, stained. The decision who to marry belongs to the individual, not the state, and furthermore, the freedom to marry is essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness, a fundamental, and American, ideal.

Going Back to College:
How Tough is it Really?

from Sept. 13th issue

By Craig Osborne

It is Wednesday afternoon and I am sitting here thinking about how tough this semester is going to be. I’m wondering, is it really going to be all that tough though? See, I am just starting to go back to school; I graduated from Hudson Valley with an Associate’s Degree back in May of 2004. I took the three year plan, and to be honest with you, I still almost didn’t make it. While at Hudson Valley, I was working for a construction company. After graduation I was caught up with getting a big paycheck, and was not worried about advancing my education right away. I though I was already making the big bucks.
As time went on, I started getting caught up in material things. I bought a truck and moved into an apartment. I thought that was what I was supposed to be doing; making money to own things, no matter what the job was, and to just keep working as hard as I could. Well, it became even harder for me to leave my job because I was advancing through the company at an above average rate, which meant I was making more money. And that was good, right?
Eventually I realized that without continuing my education, it was going to be tough to get any further in my career. I worked for a company that did not offer anything more than a 60 hour work week and a paycheck at the end of each week. If I didn’t work, then I didn’t get paid. I realized I was in over my head with expenses. I had a truck payment, a rent payment, a national grid payment, a telephone payment, insurance payments, and much more. I decided that I should go back to school, but I didn’t know how I could possibly do it. I had all the intentions of going back, but it had seemed impossible during the three years I had worked full-time.
After a year I was able to free myself of my responsibilities. I also had the help of some good people who worked to give me the opportunity to go back to school. I attended Hudson Valley last semester to show any four year school my seriousness this time around. I applied to Siena and was accepted. The truth is I am still waiting for my letter from Siena saying that they made a mistake, and I got the wrong acceptance letter. But I’m two days in at this point and I think I am going to be alright. No Siena, you didn’t make a mistake. I am serious this time.
I am telling you this story for two reasons. One, the pressures you will experience in the years to come are very different, but they are easier than what you will be exposed to after college. It may seem like a lot now, and it is, but treasure your college years. Before long you will have new responsibilities. The second reason is that a college education is a very important part of finding a job and succeeding during life after college. The information you will learn now is what gets you the job where you can play golf on Monday morning instead of working or sleeping in. Most people in life learn from there own experiences, but I hope that some of you will learn from my experience.
MORAL: Enjoy college; it’s not all that tough.

The opinions and views expressed in editorials and opinion columns are solely those of the author, and not of the Promethean staff or of Siena College. Any response to an editorial without intent to publish should be submitted to the author of the article. If you wish to send your reaction to the Promethean and/or its Editor in Chief, it falls under the guidelines of Letters to the Editor. Letters must be no more than 300 words. The Promethean reserves the right to accept or deny any editorials submitted to the newspaper at the editor’s discretion.

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