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Teen pregnancy is no fun. Unless, of course, you land on a
reality show, like what happened to the delightfully dysfunctional
girls of MTV's "16 and Pregnant." Or, you could end up like Bristol
Palin, making $262,500 off her participation in programs raising
awareness about teenage pregnancy in 2009. On first glance, Palin's
willingness to parlay her baby into a moneymaking scheme seems sort
of weird, especially considering that she's the daughter of Sarah
Palin, one of America's favorite "family values" icons. But, being
mad at Bristol Palin would be misguided, because she merely took
advantage of what was offered her. The real problem here is the
system already in place, which allows someone like Palin to make
six figures off her teenage pregnancy. We're talking about both the
political climate and the entertainment market.
In an admittedly funny but nonetheless childish move, the
National Republican Senatorial Committee released a parody video of
President Barack Obama's bid for reelection in the 2012 race. In
the few days since it was posted, the video has garnered more than
688,000 views, with more to come by the time this is published.
Obama's real campaign launch video, on the other hand, has only
racked up 168,000 views as of press time. Some people have been
interpreting this as indicative of the number of Obama's opponents
versus his the number of his supporters. Others see it as a lack of
energy on the part of Obama's campaign. We, however, see it
differently. The number of views the parody video has says more
about our entertainment-oriented culture than it does about Obama's
The budget cuts just keep hitting students in the wallet. One of
the University's latest attempts to dip into our pockets even
further than it already has is the $7 fee it has placed on
transcripts, which, until last November, students were able to
order for free. We understand that the University is hurting for
funding these days, but officials cannot keep looking to us to foot
the bill. Most students are already putting themselves into massive
debt just to get through four years of what is supposed to be a
public college. Seven dollars may not seem like much, but the
decision to impose a fee is largely upsetting because of the
symbolic value. Now students need to pay just to send out their
grades. We give the University a dart. At some point, all these
extra charges have to stop.
In these grim economic times, a company that offers to hire
50,000 people in one day sounds like a godsend. Then you find out
that company is McDonald's, and things start looking just as dark
as they did before. The event will be held on April 19 and has been
planned as the company's way of combating the use of the term
"McJob," a word, which famously denotes a low-paying, dead-end
position. Unfortunately for McDonald's, this event does little more
than prove that McJob is a highly accurate term. Any company that
can afford to hire 50,000 people in one day obviously is not
looking to fill very prestigious or well paying positions.
Staying on your feet for 32 hours may not sound like a good time
to many, but the members of Rutgers University Dance Marathon would
disagree with that statement — and they have good reason to. This
year's Dance Marathon, which took place over the past weekend,
raised a record-breaking $380,351.10 for the Embrace Kids
Foundation. Not only do the members of Dance Marathon deserve
laurels for all of their great work in putting the event together,
but so does every single one of the participants. We can safely say
that Dance Marathon is one of the few times when staying upright
for 32 hours straight is a thoroughly great idea.
If you were a student at the University during the 2008
presidential race, you probably remember the positively explosive
celebrations that erupted on election night after Barack Obama was
declared the winner. Well, it looks like we'll potentially have the
chance to throw yet another massive march down George Street in
2012, because Obama has unsurprisingly announced that he will run
again. But, the question is this: After four years of Obama's
somewhat disappointing administration, will we even want to
celebrate if he wins another term?
When it was revealed that Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi received
$32,000 for "Inside the Nicole ‘Snooki' Polizzi Studio," people
were livid. The most prominent reason given for the backlash is the
fact that Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison is being paid
$30,000 for speaking at commencement in May — $2000 less than the
"Jersey Shore" star. On first glance, something seems terribly
wrong with this. At an institution of higher learning, a
well-respected author should be worth more than a reality show
star, shouldn't she? However, this view does not take into account
the entire picture. Once that is laid out, it makes sense that
Snooki received more than Morrison.
There's peaceful, intelligent, civil protest and there's
outright bigotry and hate. What Florida Pastor Terry Jones and his
congregation did falls firmly into the latter category. Jones
oversaw a "trial" in which the Quran was found "guilty" by a jury
made up of members of his church. The punishment? They burned it.
As if the desecration of another religion's holy book wasn't
disgusting enough, violent protests broke out in Afghanistan in
response to the actions of Jones and his church. See? Nobody wins
when you start senselessly attacking other people's beliefs. How
would Jones like it if someone held a Bible burning? For taking the
childish route, instead of intelligently expressing his
disagreement with the teachings of the Quran, Jones receives a
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: One of the biggest
flaws in the contemporary Republican Party is the insistence of
most members that any instance of federal funding aiding private
citizens is tantamount to robbery of the taxpayers. One of the most
recent — and most ludicrous — examples of this is the comment made
by Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., that Pell grants are a form of
welfare. In radio interview with Blog Talk Radio on Friday, Rehberg
said that Pell Grants are "turning out to be the welfare of the
21st century." We cannot believe that anyone would make such a
For cash-strapped college students, ATM fees are a giant pain
already. Seriously, banks? You're going to charge us $2 just to
access money we deposited in the first place? Well, things could
get worse. J.P. Morgan Chase and a few other banks are looking to
try upping the fees to $5 per transaction. It would be utterly
comical, if it weren't for the fact it's true. The banks have
apparently taken to upping ATM fees as a means of recouping the
profits they lost as a result of the regulations newly placed on
overdraft fees by the federal government. We've got to hand it to
the banks — even with the government breathing down their necks,
they're still finding new ways to treat their customers unfairly.
We give J.P. Morgan Chase and the other banks involved darts.
Couldn't they find a less exploitative way to make money?
It seems that, these day, the American labor force is under
siege by the Republican Party. The entire nation watched while Gov.
Scott Walker (R-Wis.) fought against collective bargaining rights —
and eventually won. Now the fight has shifted to Ohio, where the
GOP is once again looking to throw away years of progress for labor
rights. This time it isn't unions who Republicans are putting the
pressure on. Instead, it's child labor laws. Let that one sink in
for a moment. We're certain you'll be scratching your head as much
as we are right now.
At this point in your career as a University student, you're
probably sick of dining hall food. Even if you've had the luxury of
eating at Busch Dining Hall every day, you have to be tired of it
by now. Luckily, New Brunswick Restaurant Week is upon us. This is
a chance for students to get a taste of some finer foods, and we
highly encourage you to visit at least a few of the participating
restaurants. We give New Brunswick City Market, the organization
that manages the event, and all of the restaurants participating a
laurel. The event begins this Sunday — don't miss out.
A lot of students are upset about the changes made to the
University's commencement ceremonies. We can't blame them. The
University is an old school, rich with traditions and its own
colorful mythology. The traditional ceremonies were a part of that
tapestry. However, this is not the first move the University has
made away from its traditions, and it certainly will not be the
last. In fact, this stage of the University's existence really
began back in 1982, before many of us were born. That was the
beginning of the union of the various residential colleges — e.g.,
Rutgers College, Livingston College, etc. into one. This merger was
completed in 2007, with the creation of the School of Arts and
According to former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., abortion is to
blame for the United States' social security woes. Really,
Santorum? While it may be true that America could use a larger
workforce to support retirees, we aren't buying the logic that our
lack of a work force is because of "abortion culture." Such a claim
ignores how population trends tend to work in industrialized
nations. We expect better from our politicians — but, then again,
maybe that's our problem, not theirs. Santorum receives a dart for
his ridiculous claims.
Everyone remembers the tragic 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech.
Four years later, the U.S. Department of Education is fining the
school $55,000 for not acting fast enough to alert students to the
gunman's presence. At first it may seem kind of harsh to slam
Virginia Tech with a fine — after all, isn't the fact that the
shooting occurred enough of a punishment in itself? However,
perhaps if Virginia Tech acted timely, fewer lives would have been
lost. Also, one must consider that the school technically broke
federal law by acting too slowly. The fine, then, makes sense.
There are some things you just can't understand — Internet
startup Cloud Girlfriend is one of those things. The company
promises to help customers create the perfect girlfriend, and then
they will take care of making her look real by giving her a
presence on Facebook and other social media sites. So, that's what
the world has come to in the digital age? Digital significant
others? Unfortunately, this sort of thing may actually prove to be
pretty popular — but really, there are absolutely no benefits to
having a fake girlfriend on the Internet.
The U.S. State Department unveiled some new technology it has
been working on to help pro-democracy activists across the world.
Enter the cellphone panic button, an app that, when activated,
wipes out the phone's address book and sends alerts to other
pro-democracy activists, to let them know what's going on. The idea
behind the app is that activists will use it in the event their
cellphone falls into the wrong hands. We applaud the State
Department for playing an active role in the pro-democracy
movements, which have been springing up recently. The cellphone
panic button receives a laurel for protecting the people who most
The latest ironic craze to sweep the nation is, undoubtedly,
Rebecca Black's "Friday." The song has shown up everywhere — all
across the Internet, on television and probably at every party you
went to this weekend. Black's song is pretty much the epitome of
bad pop music, using all of the worst tropes of America's somewhat
vapid Top 40 tunes. It would be a brilliant parody of the state of
popular music today, if it weren't for the fact that it is a
serious song. But here's the thing — even though Black has rocketed
to fame as the butt of everyone's jokes, the fact remains that
she's been thrust into the national spotlight. She is a household
name. Whether you're buying her song off iTunes ironically, she is
still making money off it — and lots of money at that.
If you have been following the various GOP presidential
hopefuls, who have been steadily appearing in the public more and
more as the 2012 election comes looms closer on the horizon, you
may have noticed some trends in the ideals that many of them are
espousing. One of this year's most prominent narratives is that
social issues are inextricably intertwined with economic issues.
The argument goes that economic crises — such as the meltdown of
2008 — often result from social crises. So, people like Bob Vander
Plaats make comments such as "if you think all it is over here on
the economic side while you want all this other stuff to erode,
you're dealing with a house of cards." Essentially, people who
parrot this kind of rhetoric like to blame the American moral
climate for the economic meltdown. It wasn't the system's fault,
they say — it was greedy, immoral business people who have fallen
away from the core values of the nation.
One of the biggest benefits people have received from the rise
of social networking on the Web is also one of the biggest dangers.
We're speaking, of course, about the ease of access to a large
public forum, which sites like Twitter and Facebook provide each
and every one of us. Every student has probably experienced at
least some of the drawbacks that arise from having the world at our
fingertips at all times. For example, maybe you have sent a rather
biting and childish tweet out in the midst of a passionate tantrum.
More likely, however, is a scenario like the following: On a
typical Friday night, you go out and maybe drink a little too much.
Of course, you have your phone on you, and of course, that phone is
probably hooked up to all of your favorite social networking sites.
The typical result of the combination of too much beer and ease of
access to a cellphone? Drunk texts, drunk phone calls and a slew of
Facebook updates you wish never happened.