It felt like State of Play 2: Student Association Election. Not on the same level of politics as Washington, but with all the drama and hearsay. Student elections: where overdramatic lives. Bias. Relationships between overseers and candidates. Unequal punishments among parties. Possible bribery. Rumors galore. This SA election was characterized by everything an election shouldn't be about, and it further tainted my already negative view of student politics. In a competitive time where Latin honors and bulky résumés are most important, it seemed that personal gains were the biggest incentive for candidates, supporters and election officials. There were pure souls that did run ethically sound campaigns, while others made sure the integrity of the election was not compromised, but these participants were overshadowed by the "he said, she said" allegations of the election. An ugly and rough election at an inappropriate time. A slashed budget, cut classes and professors, and a dwindling student trust of campus leadership are affecting the University at Buffalo, and the ones that should be vowing to make UB a better place should put their actions behind their words. We need strong leaders in Albany and in 350 Student Union more than ever. I trust the officials elected to follow up on their promises. But this election, for the most part, wasn't about rehearsing platforms or answering the questions of the student body. Instead, attacks from each party flooded the Student Union, which was a sea that drowned every student brave enough to walk through it with purple and green flyers. There's nothing that'll get students more amped up about UB than corrupt student politics shoved down their throats. Elections bring the ugly out in people. The thought of a position of power can make a candidate forget the initial reasons he or she ran. This is especially true in such a popularity contest that we all try to believe is about the best candidates. I'm sure the people involved in this process had good hearts. They entered this election for a reason: they saw flaws at UB and wanted to fix them for future students. But politics can be a screwy thing. Paranoia infiltrated the minds of each party's candidates, and these students sometimes reacted without much thought. This election shouldn't have been about the allegations against each party, or the questionable expenditure reports. The Student-Wide Judiciary shouldn't have had the microscope zoomed in on its off-the-book punishment procedure. The trial-and-error use of punishments was viewed as screwy, but considering the circumstance (this was the first election SWJ was involved in), it did what it could to maintain an ethical election. In the end, although every candidate gave the rehearsed answer that working toward the betterment of UB was most important, there was a lot of crying, complaining and bickering done by every member of each party. The future of UB is looking bleak. UB 2020 is in the process of being pushed back, and we need strong delegates to advocate for our school in Albany. We need a strong president with a magna cum laude-worthy character to make sure ethics are preserved and the student body gets every opportunity to enjoy this school. We need a strong treasurer to make sure funds are used correctly. We need to forget this election and focus our attention on making UB better. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In a fast and furious three-day election cycle, the 2,293 votes have been counted and tallied. The results are in: The Student Alliance party won every position in this year's Student Association election except one. Congratulations. Sadly, this campaign has left a terrible taste in the student body's mouths. There have been enough rumors and allegations to make a new reality television show for MTV. To the winners: remember that your job as elected officials is to serve the student body. Advocate for them. Really care about every student's issues. Accomplishing only one issue on your party's platform is simply not enough. The students of this school deserve a better, more transparent and responsible student government. Incoming president Nischal Vasant and vice president Shervin Stoney – follow through on your campaign promises. All of them. Expanding the involvement of SA's clubs is also a must. Holding mandatory club fairs is the best way to have clubs interact with the student population. Never forget that SA represents all students. Increase transparency within SA. Continue to push for better connections with students living the dorms and commuter students. Foster a better relationship between the student body and athletes on campus. There are so many issues that need attention and not enough space to list them here. Leave the actions of the campaign in the past. Focusing on them will only further alienate the masses from the SA. To all involved with the organization – first and foremost, review the election rules. Close the holes in them and eliminate any potential gray areas. A more streamlined process is a must. The penalties for campaign violations must be laid out in a clear, conscience manner. Work with the Election and Credentials committee to better restructure the rules that govern elections. Clearly, the events of the previous three days have shown the limitations of the system in place. It is a brand new system that needs to be addressed. Work with the Student-Wide Judiciary to minimize miscommunication of the rulings by the E&C committee and candidates during the process. In the future, any and all cases filed must be heard and ruled on in the same day, given the time constraints of the election period. Never should a chief justice go home with a full plate on the table. The SWJ needs to have more transparency as well. A clear line of logic must be established for the penalties handed out. The SWJ was easily in over its head in handling the sheer amount of cases. The process needs adjustment. Antonio Roman, as treasurer, it is imperative to follow through on your promises as well. Increase description in the SA operating budget, as well as transparency for the organization as a whole. Make it easily accessible through the SA Web site in a user-friendly model. Currently, it is far too confusing to access. As for the delegates, Amanda Horn, Franklin Ramirez, Amanda Jonas and Marcus Catlin – work tirelessly in advocating for the improvement of the SUNY system as a whole. With that being said, Jonas has verbalized the decision to not take the office. However, nothing is official in that a vacancy for the position must be submitted in writing. There is no doubt that the events of this campaign will have effects that will ripple through this community for a long time. But one question remains. Will the student population further be disillusioned by this week's events? Only time will tell. All those elected must be ready to work hard and endlessly for the overall student population. So many on this campus are fed up with SA and its actions. SA is in need of some major changes and needs a facelift after recent events have clouded the student organization. Hopefully, this coalition government can bring the necessary changes.
Buffalo is a sports town. In between the chicken wing grease and slices of beef on weck, Buffalonians live for the pigskin and die for the puck. Nowhere else can you find a sold out stadium of 80,000-plus in the dead of winter cheer on a perennial last place team. But who knew that our city has become a production factory for up and coming professional athletes? Buffalo has already spit out NHLers including Patrick Kane, Pat Kaleta, Tim Kennedy, Brooks Orpik and Todd Marchant. NBA Rookie of the Year candidate, Jonny Flynn, joined the list of NBA stars including Christian Laettner, Greg Oden and Bob Lanier that once called Buffalo home. With this year's NFL Draft looming, the time has come for Buffalo to add more aspiring stars to the list. The 2010 draft class will feature six athletes born and raised in Buffalo, and every guy in the group is likely to get a phone call from the National Football League come April 22. Headlining the group is UB's own James Starks. Despite missing his senior season, the Niagara Falls native left UB as the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,140 yards and 34 touchdowns in three seasons. Starks is currently projected to go off the board anywhere between the third and sixth rounds. The 6-foot 2-inch running back is on NFL teams' radars after boasting a time of 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 9-foot 11-inch broad jump and 36-inch vertical jump. Since joining Buffalo, he has evolved into a unique mold for a professional running back and I love what he brings to the table. St. Josephs graduate Naaman Roosevelt is another Bull looking to make his mark. At 6-feet tall, UB's all-time leading receiver is projected to find a new home in the later rounds of the draft. The agile receiver possesses soft hands, sharp route running, quickness and the intelligence needed to become an ideal slot receiver. Roosevelt lacks ideal size and struggles in blocking. Injuries have also hurt him in the past, but his versatility as a kick returner will help him draw interest. If he can stay healthy, the Buffalo native could add good depth to a receiving corp. as a rookie. Former Syracuse Orange wide receiver Mike Williams joins Starks and Roosevelt with hopes of making an impact on offense come 2010. The Riverside High finished with 60 receptions for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns his sophomore season at Cuse. Williams has the frame and the tools to grow into a starting NFL wideout, but has already drawn comparisons to Pacman Jones and Charles Rogers. He was suspended by the Orange for the 2008 season for academic reasons and quit the team halfway through last season. Despite these problems, one team will take a chance on Williams. Tight end Rob Gronkowski of Williamsville and St. Francis graduate Doug Worthington will both be heading to NFL training camps as well. Gronkowski is one of the top tight ends in the draft and could become a valuable starter if he can stay healthy. Worthington figures to be a late round pick, but the 6-foot 5-inch defensive lineman has the versatility to add good depth to a defensive line. Rounding out the Buffalo boys is James Mallory. Wait, who? From Central Connecticut State, Mallory runs with a chip on his shoulder despite his 5-foot 10-inch stature. The two-year starter with the Blue Devils caught scouts' eyes after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons that combined for 31 touchdowns. The Kenmore native is a burner with the ball in his hands. He has the vision to find the hole, quickness and power to hit it and breakaway speed to get into the open field. What stands out, however, is his special teams play. Mallory blocked three punts as a senior and excelled in punt and kickoff coverage. There's no single player I'm pulling for more to get a phone call in April. Having shared the hallways of Kenmore West High School, I watched Mallory grow into the player he is today. He has the heart of a lion and the attitude every coach would love to have on his roster. I'm crossing my fingers that he'll be dawning the red, white and blue next season at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Goodluck, gentleman. Here's to one day hoping each of you will bring the Lombardi trophy back to Buffalo – no matter what team you play for. E-mail: email@example.com
For the first time since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the United States Congress has passed progressive legislation. After a year of strenuous debate, the House of Representatives passed the Senate's health reform into law. Everyone agrees that health care costs are rising and actions must be taken to keep costs from spiraling out of control. Americans want results. Many in America are displeased with such action. Millions of Americans don't want to provide health care to people who can't afford it. The United States government is mandating every citizen to have health insurance regardless of whether or not Americans want it. Other arguments against the bill include moving resources from the private sector that tends to be more efficient to the public that is less efficient. But the biggest argument against the bill is the cost. Many Americans are familiar with how to purchase insurance rather then reforming the complex way health care is administered in this country. But the bill isn't all that bad either. It does some very good things as well. For example, it allows young Americans to stay on their parent's health insurance plans until the age of 26. Young Americans from the age range of 19 to 29 make up nearly one third of the uninsured population and have the highest uninsured rate of any other age group according to a study done by the Center for Disease Control in 2008. The major part of the country's most controversial law is exactly how it will keep costs in check. The Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper projects that the new law will save one trillion dollars over 20 years. Here is how the new law proposes to do it. 1.) Create a competitive insurance market There is little competition in the insurance market. For most part insurance companies avoid the sick and only insure the healthiest of potential customers. Offering the best plans isn't a real priority, since many Americans don't know which coverage is best. Insurers can no longer discriminate against pre-existing conditions. Companies will have to answer to regulators if they increase premiums, in addition to allow customers to rate their insurance company for other consumers to see. As any advocate of the "magic" of the free market these steps should drive costs down and quality up. In addition the law stipulates that even government officials must partake in this. 2.) Taxing "Cadillac" plans This is definitely the least popular part of the new law. The average employer pays for about 70 percent of a workers premium, which happens to be tax-free. Many workers who receive employer provided coverage have no idea how much their plans cost. Imagine how workers would feel if they actually saw the amount come out of their pocket rather than their paychecks. So what the law calls for is by 2018 a tax is put on such plans which costs are above $27,500 annually. So if American's current plan is worth $27,600 that last $100 would be taxed. But the thought process behind this part isn't for people to actually pay that tax. The goal is to make employers choose plans under that threshold to hold down costs more aggressively. In turn, it allows insurance companies who adhere to this policy, a competitive advantage over those who don't. 3.) Bundling programs The single biggest problem within the health care system is American's pay doctors like they pay car salesman. The more product sold the more they get paid. And lets be honest America, Americans will disagree with car salesmen but not their doctors. Instead of getting paid for everything doctors do to treat a cancer patient, the hospitals would be paid once for treating that patient's cancer and all related conditions over an extended period of time. If this leads to lower costs and doesn't harm the treatment patients receive the program will be expanded. This would usher in a new era of quality health care versus quantity health care. The simple truth hasn't changed when it comes to health care reform. America needs results. The law is passed. And regardless of political ideology, every American should hope this reform allows for a healthier, richer, more solvent United States.
Ten thousand years ago, our ancestors would have never dreamed of paying for dinner with little pieces of paper. A hundred years ago, our great grandparents never thought about purchasing concert tickets with plastic cards. Twenty years ago, our parents couldn't have guessed they'd be buying movies from eBay using Internet-based accounts to settle the debt with an overseas supplier. And now, I can't believe where ecommerce has gone. PayPal now has an iPhone application, Twitter users can acquire funds from friends and co-workers through Twitpay and online banking has made handling digital money all too easy. The Internet is home to millions of vendors and companies selling anything and everything. The problem with the Internet is trust. I don't trust a single site or user of eBay with my credit card information, which is where PayPal comes in. PayPal is "the safer, easier way to pay" as the site claims, and allows users to pay for goods through the site keeping their banking and credit card information safe. The downfall and dangers to this site, along with all ecommerce, is the ease of use. When you have your credit card linked up to your PayPal account, its easy to get carried away, it's easy to believe you have more money available than you actually do and its very easy to get behind on your bills. Shopping online requires only a few clicks, a password and sometimes a confirmation e-mail. It never actually feels like money is being spent. The balance from one account gets lower, another account gets larger and a few days later a new video game arrives in the mail. Without the feel of money, the handling of cash, I think it's much easier to get into to debt. Whenever I have cash, I'm much more careful with how I spend it, I can watch as a 10 or 20-dollar bill leaves my pocket, and how much change comes back. With a credit card, it doesn't matter the cost of something, just swipe – or enter the numbers – and it's yours. During my first job back in the early 2000s, I would actually receive a paycheck. I'd have to take it to the bank, cash it and then have currency to prove I washed dishes for 20 hours. Now, with both of my jobs I have direct deposit, and can't remember the last time I've visited a bank – or had lots of cash around. Direct deposit has made it so money holds almost no value to me, and with online banking, I can manage those digital dollars whenever and wherever I find it convenient. I hardly ever handle mass amounts of cash, it's been years since I cut a check and even longer since I sent a bill through the mail – a great advantage to online payments and Internet banking. Just imagine how many tons of paper we would save if everyone switched to e-payments. I've switched every one of my credit card bills, car insurance and all banking statements to e-mail only. It's a small part to help the environment, but it makes a difference not receiving five bills every month. We've come a long way since trading sea shells and cows for goods, but with the advancements in all the technology, banking has become simple as has purchasing, but just be careful how you spend, before you know it, you'll wish we were still trading farm animals. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
After a meeting with all the Student Association candidates, asking them the tough questions on what is best for students, The Spectrum's editorial board voted by paper ballot to endorse the Student Alliance party for the positions of president, vice president and treasurer for this week's upcoming Student Association elections. Leading the ticket for the Student Alliance party are Nischal Vasant for president and Shervin Stoney for vice president, as well as treasurer Antonio Roman. As for the SUNY delegate positions, Amanda Horn from the Student Alliance party joins ONE Party candidates Jennifer Harb, Amanda Jonas and Yazan Alsaadeh. However, Yanco Escano, an independent SUNY delegate candidate, was tied with Alsaadeh for the fourth and final delegate post. The tie was broken after a runoff vote by the editorial board. ONE Party delegate hopeful Amanda Jonas was the only candidate to win unanimous support of the paper's editorial board. As a SUNY delegate this year, Jonas brings a tremendous amount of seniority and experience to SUNY's ever-changing relationship with the state government of New York. Vasant and Stoney represent not only the experience necessary to close the gap between SA and the student body, but also innovative and creative ideas to make campus a better place. As stated in their platform, they seek to continue the transparency of SA to the student body and make themselves more available to the student body as well. They will accomplish this by allowing greater access to SA's operating budget, along with greater detail so students understand exactly where their mandatory student activity fee is going. The Student Alliance party will also mandate SA clubs to have more table hours in the Student Union and provide incentives for clubs to reach out to the student population on South Campus. Both Vasant and Stoney plan to practice what they preach in having their own tabling hours in the Student Union. Furthermore, they wish to create a new fundraising and community service database for all SA clubs to use. The pair also supports the UBreathe Free policy to designate smoking areas on campus. As for making UB more green, they plan to reuse the printing cover sheets for SA and club printing. Potential treasurer Antonio Roman of the Student Alliance party hopes to seek even greater financial transparency of SA if elected. For next year's budget, Roman would like to include greater descriptive lines in the budget. Roman also intends to inspect the current SA budget for unneeded spending, so students' funds will be used rather than going to waste. In addition, he is already in talks with campus officials to allow credit card and debit card use on campus. As for the SA delegates, Jonas, Harb, Horn and Alsaadeh are competent, diverse and incredibly enthusiastic about their respective causes. Harb seeks to solve parking and transportation issues here on campus. Jonas plans to continue advocating against SUNY budget cuts by New York as well as increases of tuition. Alsaadeh is promoting greater involvement of international students within the SUNY system. Horn, the only Student Alliance delegate, will champion environmental issues facing all of SUNY. Horn plans to encourage other campuses within the SUNY system to adopt UB's climate neutral plan. All these delegates must prepare themselves and work together to take on New York State legislators. Effective change can only come through hard work and dedication. There is no doubt about how far SA has come in a year. All these candidates seek to continue the current trend of repairing the relationship with the student body. Each party has big, ambitious plans. But only the end results matter. Regardless of personal preference for the candidates, all of them seek to better UB at every level. The only difference is their vision of how to accomplish this. These endorsements are only recommendations to the student body. In spite of of personal preference, the key is to join the process and go vote.
You may not have noticed, but there has been something popping up on campus. The giant snow phallus of the University at Buffalo, or Sir Richard Johnson III, Esq. as the Facebook group tells me, has been the largest thing to hit campus since a fake gunman or a girl who replied to the entire financial aid listserv. Now, there are skeptics out there who don't understand why a giant snow penis is so important. Sure, it was funny for a day or two, but college students are surely above childish things like a snow penis, right? I could have possibly believed that explanation – before the second one was erected. Snow phalluses, penis drawings in bathroom stalls, punching people in the testicles – each bring out a certain amount of uneasy humor. Is it just human nature to laugh when we see penis humor in socially unacceptable places? One day I decided I would pay Sir Richard Johnson a visit to find an answer. I knelt in front of him, gave a small offering and waited for a little divine inspiration. I would not sleep until I realized the truth. Why is the snow phallus so … awesome? The first step I took involved me throwing my heterosexuality to the wind and Google searching penises. To my shock, I learned that there is an art behind the madness of the snow phallus. The ancient Egyptians actually told a legend of a godly penis. The story goes that Osiris was once dismembered into 14 parts. 13 of the parts were able to be recovered. The missing piece … well, you could probably guess what part that was. Unfortunately for Osiris, his phallus was eaten by the god Set. Thankfully, another god named Isis crafted him a new soldier, but the legend of the phallus was growing (no pun intended). So, is the snow phallus awesome because it's godly? In Rome, people would wear phallus amulets because it defended them from the evil eye. Romans believed that these kinds of amulets, called "fascinums," would keep them safe. Awkward penis humor has been scaring people for millennia. The English word "fascinating" is based on the Latin word "fascinum." I want to know who the guy is in history that made that decision. He must have been fascinated by phalluses. So is the snow phallus awesome just because it scares away evil people? By the time this will be printed, Sir Richard Johnson III, Esq. will be long gone. Western New York is warm for a change, so the snow penis will definitely be having a hard time avoiding shrinkage. However, that doesn't mean that we need to forget all the great memories that a big penis in the middle of a field caused us to experience. I believe that the snow phallus was awesome because it was universally enjoyed (even by straight guys). Some people like to say that music is the universal language, but giant snow penises must be a close second. No matter what language people speak, everybody knows what's up when there's a penis around. So to the anonymous creators of the snow phallus, I applaud you. You are the reason that UB is awesome, and if you had a snow offering area like Sir Richard Johnson III, Esq., I would tithe for you. Thank you. E-mail: email@example.com
It's that time of year again. Well, for some. After selection Sunday, 65 colleges around the nation were buzzing about the Big Dance as beloved basketball teams throughout the country began making preparations to push towards an NCAA Championship. As the harsh winter fades here in Buffalo, students were left to get drunk on St. Patrick's Day, trying to forget about the Bulls' abysmal MAC Tournament performance. Tournament games started Thursday and instead of cheering on the Bulls, UB basketball fans were left following out-of-conference games that hold little significance to us. But some have "made it interesting." Brackets can be found all around colleges and universities, throughout professional offices across the country and are easily accessible on the Internet via Yahoo!, ESPN or CBS – just to name a few. Since Selection Sunday, I was invited to partake in five different bracket pools, not including the competition found in Wednesday's issue of The Spectrum or the numerous challenges that I received on Facebook. I wouldn't, however, consider these pools gambling. Much like buying squares on Super Bowl Sunday, filling out an NCAA Tournament bracket is more like a crapshoot. Spending $5, $10, or even $20 to make the six rounds of March Madness more interesting – especially to UB fans who have no real stake in the tourney – is perfectly understandable. But there are students who can't fight the temptation of placing bets throughout the year. Today, college kids are only a few clicks away from choosing a parlay that could be the difference between eating the following week or filling up their car with gas in order to get to class. ESPN airs sports show after sports show with countless analysts and experts spitting out interesting statistics that can help decide which team is a better pick that night. The Internet also helps keep us intimately connected to professional athletes. We're up to date on player injuries, off the field conduct, and conflicts within the locker room. With all of the information so readily available, some savvy college sports fans have found an easy way to make a quick buck. For some, it's almost too easy. They're able to take their love of sports and use knowledge and intuition to make educated predictions. With money on the line, watching out of town games becomes fun, but is it worth the risk? I'm not talking about the chance of picking the wrong team – which can easily happen if you watched Ohio top Georgetown – and losing $40. In fact, I'm more concerned with the contrary – the risk of winning. Once you've won that first bet, it's hard not to think about the next game you can wager on with the extra money you've just "earned". Before you know it, you're checking the spreads of every major game and doing research on athletes whom you've never even heard of. Instead of innocently following sports like you did when you were a kid, you're now staring at the television anxiously tapping your foot on the floor because the game that was supposed to be a blowout is unfavorably unfolding (cough Northern Iowa v. Kansas). The money Mom and Dad sent for groceries was riding on the outcome of yesterday's Syracuse Gonzaga game. Do college kids participate in Fantasy leagues because they want to know what it feels like to manage a professional team or is it an excuse to stay on top of the ever-changing statistics? Whether you're winning or losing, sports betting can become a nasty habit. If you make a few good picks and win some easy money, it can become difficult to stop gambling. Once you're down, you find yourself trying to get out of the hole by finding the next big winner. And as we're stuck watching the national tournament with no team to support, it's easy to try to find a cheap thrill to make the games more interesting. Unfortunately, that cheap thrill can turn into an expensive debt. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday night was going just fine, until my fiancé came home from work and told me about the stressful incident she had just endured. My fiancé is the store manager at a local Blockbuster. A customer came storming into the store toward the end of her shift to complain about – yes, you guessed it – a $4 movie rental. Now, to offer up a little background, I worked at a Blockbuster for three years and in fact met my future wife during my time there. I have experienced every type of customer interaction you can think of, and she has as well. We oftentimes wonder what possesses people to scream at the top of their lungs about a movie not playing, late fees or whatever small little, insignificant detail in their Blockbuster experience that "ruined their night." I should clear something up off the bat: I understand how annoying some things can be when renting a movie. Some people genuinely try every single trick in the book to get that stupid disc to play and to have it continue to not cooperate is beyond frustrating. But the employee didn't sabotage your DVD. In this day and age, stress is running rampant through society and everywhere you turn, people are blowing up about everything from a burnt piece of toast to being overcharged a dollar at Target. Calm down. The first issue here is that these people are taking their anger out on someone who is rarely, if ever, responsible for the customer's problem. In my three years at Blockbuster, I never once scratched a disc on purpose or gave a second thought to trying to make a customer's life more difficult. Stop taking out your frustrations on customer service people who are only there because they are either in school or don't have any other avenue to make money. The really sad part about all this is that, for the most part, employees of these companies are usually really nice and try to do everything they can to help a customer out. I know that my fiancé and I have bent the rules on more than one occasion to help out a nice person. On a separate note to all Blockbuster customers, stop telling everyone, "I'm going to Netflix." First of all, the kid sitting behind the counter could care less and probably is ecstatic at the thought of you never screaming at him or her again anyway. Not only will the employees rejoice at your absence, but also the loss of your business will not solely destroy Blockbuster. I just think that it's important to remind everyone that as corny as it may sound, we are all in this together in the end. Does the mother of four kids realize that in 10 years, her kids could be in the same position as the girl behind the counter that she's screaming at? Step back and think about the way that you treat people in all walks of life and ask yourself if you'd appreciate the same treatment if the roles were reversed. E-mail: email@example.com
For years, Generation Magazine was a well-established student publication. But the periodical had also been on a drastic decline to the point where half the reason people read it was for a section that wasn't even written by the magazine. This is what ultimately led for Sub-Board I, Inc. to revoke Generation's charter. In a way, this was a blessing and a curse. On one hand, a major cornerstone in the UB community had been taken away, but on the other, it had to be done before the magazine was driven straight into the ground. But as fate would have it, someone decided to turn the once coveted publication into a cesspool for pompous indie hipsters that write about inside jokes among the staff. Ever since the Generation was brought back into production, it has only had a handful of issues. It's alright if you did not even know that the Generation was back in print; to this day, I still mistake it for Artvoice. There is almost no difference between the two publications. But at least with the Generation's reinstatement, the campus will get UB's favorite anonymous message board, the personals, back. Oh, wait – they're nowhere to be found, leaving the students of UB very little reason to pick up the Generation. Even the "He Says, She Says" section of the magazine – formerly "I'm Right, You're Wrong" – is just a waste of space. A pretentious Canadian and his girlfriend decide to help out the masses by giving advice – except, a kid that ate a gallon of lead paint could give out more helpful advice. The worse part about the Generation is that it's wasting our money. There is nothing I love more than taken some bills and just flushing them down the toilet. Doesn't this school have something better to spend money on? I mean, how about the money the school saves on not keeping the Generation? Maybe it can work on bringing some bigger acts for Springfest, which SA still has yet to announce. Something that I am still trying to figure out is how often the Generation gets printed. It seems they just make an issue whenever the Generation staff wants to, which happens to be about once a month. That's what I like to hear: people taking my money and giving it to others so they can sit around and rip off other publications once a month. That sounds like some Grade-A journalism. The staff of Generation doesn't seem to actually care about their publication. It seems that everyone over at the Generation is just trying to fluff up their resumes – which is all fine and dandy, but just don't do it on my dime. Unoriginal content and a very unoriginal look are continuing to kill what fond memories the student body had of the Generation, and the staff doesn't seem to even care. So thank you, Ren LaForme, for taking a great memory I had from UB and smashing it into a jelly. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Six years ago I was dropped into the world of punk rock, landed on my head, and loved it. The culprit? Green Day's American Idiot. Since then I've wandered down the dark allies of hardcore and lingered under the flashing lights of pop punk only to find myself a little older, a little deafer, but once again staring at that hand grenade heart. Why, you wonder? It's because American Idiot has once more blown its way into the public conscience, this time as a Broadway musical. From the groans and complaints that have echoed from some Green Day fans you would think that Billie Joe had put on a tutu and announced he was going to sing country. There was something more to that album, and you can cling to Dookie and Nimrod all you want, but sometimes evolution is inevitable. Call it selling out, call it what you will, but for an album that was hailed as a rock opera and a magnus opus, its natural to expect that more could come out of such a work. Paired with the creative talent of Tony Award wining director Michael Mayer and the youthful energy of former Spring Awakening star and Tony award winner John Gallagher Jr., the time is right for the loose plot behind the album to be filled in. With a sold-out run in Berkley, the high-energy production is obviously doing something right. Why sit around and speculate that the show will be no good and that Green Day has gone around the U-bend? So they put their black eyeliner aside for a moment. Don't write off the obvious time, effort, and talent that went into this production just because it doesn't follow your preconceived notions of what punk music is. Following the path that was cut by Rent and Spring Awakening, American Idiot holds the chance to pull in people who would never give that Broadway sign a second glance. The rock musical genre is becoming a norm on Broadway and viewers should embrace it as a new and legitimate form. American Idiot was written as a concept album. It was threaded together by the characters of Jesus of Suburbia, St. Jimmy, and Whatsername, looking for meaning in a world that wont believe in them. It deserves the chance to have all the ideas behind it, the ideas that went rather ignored by many listeners, to be showcased. So head to New York City this summer, buy yourself the least expensive back row ticket you can find and give it a chance. The worst that happens is you'll be guilty of getting a little culture. E-mail: email@example.com
The world's oldest conflict has taken another detour this past week. In hopes of breathing new life into the Middle East peace process, the United States sent Vice President Joe Biden to Israel to hold talks with the Israeli government. All seemed to be going according to plan until the Israeli Lands Authority and Ministry of Housing and Construction announced an additional 1,600 new housing units to be built in East Jerusalem. This took many in the international community by surprise, even the United States and Palestine. The United States and Israel have been on rocky footing since the Obama administration came into office. The current US administration has condemned the proposed housing project. President Barack Obama had asked the Israelis to place a firm ban on all new housing settlements as a good faith gesture to come back to the negotiating table. In return, other Arab nations would engage in confidence building measures. Such measures usually mean an exchange of information, generally about military forces and armaments. The intention of such measures is to build trust between two conflicting parties. The current model of the peace plan would have two separate states, one being a Jewish state, the other being a Palestinian state. One of the main reasons the peace process has been bogged down is because of the disputed claims over Jerusalem. West Jerusalem would be part of the Jewish state, while East Jerusalem would be incorporated into the new Palestinian homeland. Washington officials have grown weary of the missteps taken by both sides. Many called for the United States to reexamine its aid to Israel. The United States total aid to Israel is reaching $114 billion, according to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a not-for-profit foundation. Officials from both governments have made assurances that this disagreement is just that and its strong ties have not been severed. Many within Israeli politics believe that this is just another step to make Jerusalem undividable as part of the two-state solution. The reaction from the Palestinians has been one of demonstrations against Israel. Clashes between Israeli police and Arab youths were reported throughout Israel on Tuesday. The situation will quickly fall apart if no steps are taken to rectify the situation. The continuation of building is a major roadblock on the avenue to peace. It almost seems that the Israeli government doesn't want peace, or if it does, that it only wants it to be on their terms. The trouble with this particular negotiation is that there is such a blood-soaked history that neither side will be willing to give up more. For Obama, engagement has only gotten the process this far. Seven American presidents have tried to broker deals in the Middle East and all have failed. Nobody thought it would be easy to accomplish. Many members of the Democratic Party have even lambasted President Obama's actions, calling them a "temper tantrum." For the rest of the world, it becomes a game of watching, waiting and hoping for the best.
While I sat in my apartment doing work Wednesday night, countless college students went out to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and I could have been one of them. I envied them all, at first. I could have put on my cutest green top, skinny jeans, a pair of heels and some mascara. I could have hit up Mojo's or The Steer with my friends. I could have shrugged off this column, my promotional writing assignment, and the fact that I have work at 8 a.m. on Thursdays, all for the sake of going out and getting wasted because it's St. Patrick's Day. But I didn't. And that was okay with me. I know that it's easy for many people I know to push work aside in favor of a little fun. I've been guilty of it before too, but not very often these days. After a six-hour shift and a three-hour lecture, I was almost ready to shirk all of my responsibilities so that I could have some fun. Almost. My roommate wanted me to finish my column as quickly as possible so that we could go out. The only problem was that even if I finished it, I still had work early the next morning. She suggested I call in sick, but I didn't want to leave my coworkers short-handed. I couldn't do that with a clear conscience. It's not my style. Besides, when you think about it, I'm really not missing out on much. Sure, a cute guy might offer to buy me a drink. We might talk for a while, possibly exchange numbers and then part ways on the promise that he will call or text me later. The thing is, I could care less whether or not the guy follows through. In fact, I'd prefer if he didn't bother. Why? It's a waste of both of our time. In general, I think the whole "college scene" has gotten old. I don't expect to, nor do I want to, meet someone after getting into the spirit of things with one too many Irish car bombs. Still, some find any and every reason to do just that. "Oh, it's [Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Martin Luther King Day, etc.]. We don't have classes, let's get trashed!" "I don't feel like writing my paper now. Do you want to drink with me?" I cannot tell you how many times I've heard statements like these ones and shaken my head at them. I don't see the point of drinking excessively on a regular basis just because we're in college and because it's thought that this is our last chance to live it up before entering the real world. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying people can't let loose every once in a while, especially on St. Patrick's Day, a holiday that many often associate with drinking. Go ahead, raise a glass to the Irish. Make a few new friends for the night. I just wouldn't advise making a habit of it because everything you tried to put off will still be there the next morning – only now you'll probably have a headache as well. Why not save the money, time and energy? Maybe most people won't agree with me, or they won't care, or both. Maybe I'm alone in this stance, but after four years of the same old-same old, I'm ready for a new scene. I'm ready for the real world. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org