What we do to our boys

It is common knowledge that the media and pop culture have profound effects on girls from a young age. Society tells them to be dainty and defer to men and look a certain way in order to be accepted and desired. What is not as obvious, however, is what message society sends to boys and what affect that has on them later in life.

From an early age, society tells boys to “man up.” No crying, no emotions and definitely no acting “girly.” This leads to internalized expectations of behavior which must not be violated at the risk of being ostracized. This can include picking “girl” colors, playing with “girl” toys or even slacking in a game or ceding defeat.

Repressing feelings that might be classified as feminine or weak leads to boys feeling lost and like they cannot express their true feelings. They are taught that the only way to get what you want and to make people understand them is to act out and use violence. Society has created and perpetuated the idea that masculinity must be earned, and so boys and men are on a constant mission to prove themselves, often going further than their friends to earn the distinction of “man enough.”

These checks can lead to violence, either to others or self-inflicted. Boys in late adolescence are seven times more likely to commit suicide than girls of the same age; they are also more likely to do poorly in school and more likely to use alcohol to cope with problems.

Telling boys to “man up” also plants the seeds for resenting women, as they are seen as the thing to “not be,” the cautionary tale of behavior. Women from a male’s perspective are allowed to express themselves fully and do not have to constantly prove their worth. Thus, women are thought to be regarded as easy targets because girls are taught to defer to men, and a man’s worth as a man is so often linked to how many women he’s slept with and how many more are waiting in the wings.

Sterling startles public with racist comments

America is a nation of rich history and diverse cultures and people. The country, however, is still healing from what happened hundreds of years ago. Racism is one of the touchiest subjects in the country with any instance or hint of racism highly frowned upon and discouraged.

Donald Sterling. This name has gained public notoriety after the NBA billionaire was on blast for the racist comments he had made to his girlfriend in the privacy of his home. The audio, released by celebrity blog site, TMZ, has Donald Sterling making disparaging racist comments to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano.

Donald, in part, tells his girlfriend, ‘…It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people…’ this is because the girlfriend, V. Stiviano had uploaded a picture of herself and Magic Johnson, a retired NBA player on Instagram.

The world and the NBA management did not take these comments lightly. The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, banned the 80 year old billionaire from the NBA for life and he was also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings or participating in any other league activity. 

Sterling was also slapped a $2.5 million fine, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution. These funds are to be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its Players Association. Adam Silver also promised at the press conference that he would urge the Board of Governors of the NBA to force Sterling to sell the team.

Sterling, on the other hand, did not take these fines lying down. Sterling’s lawyers sent a letter to the NBA saying that Sterling would not pay the $2.5 million fine because it violated his due process rights. It also asserted the league’s longest-tenured owner did not deserve “any punishment at all.”  Sterling had already missed the deadline of making the payment.

Sterling, as a guest on “Anderson Cooper 360”, explained that he felt sorry for his racist comments and promised that he would, “…not do it again.” This was the only positive and apologetic part of his interview as he became aggressive, attacking Magic Johnson and other African Americans; he in part stated that, “Jews when they get successful, they will help their people, and some of the African Americans – maybe I’ll get in trouble again – they don’t want to help anybody,” This clearly, is far from over; only time will tell the direction that this issue will eventually take.

Clay Aiken For Congress

The second place winner of the second season of “American Idol” is running for Congress. Clay Aiken won the Democratic primary for North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district seat. Aiken will face Republican opponent Renee Ellmers in the November election after winning by default over his opponent, Keith Crisco, for the democratic seat.

Since losing “American Idol” to Ruben Studdard, Aiken has released five studio albums and one Christmas album, becoming the best selling artist of that season. He has also launched 11 tours,  has made several television appearances as a talk show guest on “The Tonight Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel live,” as well as Cameo appearances on “Scrubs,” “Drop Dead Diva” and “30 Rock”. He was also the executive producer for his own show, “A Clay Aiken Christmas”. He authored a book titled “Learning To Sing: Hearing The Music In Your Life,” and acted on Broadway in Monty Python’s “Spamalot”.

He announced his intention to run for Congress in early 2014 and officially filed to run on Feb. 27. He was running against Crisco and had a narrow lead as the county-by-county votes were being tallied. In a bizarre turn of events, Crisco died[EC1]  suddenly in his home on Monday, May 12, before the absentee votes for the primary had been finalized. According to emergency responders, Crisco died by slipping over the threshold going into his house in a freak accident.

Crisco’s  campaign manager, Christine Botta, claimed that she had spoken with him hours before the accident. They discussed the fact that Crisco did not have enough votes. He acknowledged defeat and was prepared to concede his loss to Aiken on Tuesday.

White House Lockdown

Over the past few months, the White House security staff issued three separate lockdowns of the grounds and surrounding areas. The most recent threats include items being thrown over the fence surrounding the White House and a car accidentally being allowed onto a restricted section of the property.

On May 6, an unidentified driver “accidentally followed a motorcade, which transported Sasha and Malia Obama into a secure section of the White House property,” according to The Washington Times. The driver was later confirmed to not have malicious intent, but rather was not focused on the road. Nevertheless, the security breach prompted a lockdown.

The lockdown ended approximately half an hour later after security and the Secret Service thoroughly checked the car, the driver and White House grounds.

Two days later, on May 8, two unidentified individuals threw “missile-like” objects over the fences surrounding the grounds. Security ordered an immediate lockdown, closing access to the North Lawn, Pennsylvania Avenue and, for a short time, held White House workers in secure locations inside the building until the threat was lifted.

Both individuals were also quickly taken into custody.

According to the Secret Service, one individual, later identified as Evan J. Graham, allegedly “threw a cassette tape over the North Fence.”

The other individual, later identified as Von Greenbrier Lerriche, allegedly “threw some ‘miscellaneous papers’ over the South Fence Line.”

Graham and Lerriche were transported to the metro police department.

The lockdown was lifted 90 minutes later after security detained the suspects and safely placed the thrown objects into police possession.

President Obama, who was spending the day fundraising in California, was not home when the incidents occurred.

The final, most recent lockdown occurred when a man climbed over a fence at the White House.

Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary says the man climbed over the fence around 4 p.m. on Mar. 30, and was immediately arrested.

The White House briefly went into lockdown after the incident, which is standard procedure for any threat of any significance.

 

While there has been an influx in security threats other the past few months, White House security has remained constant. In a statement made after the most recent lockdown, White House officials commented that none of the noted attacks had any relation.

These most recent attacks have been easily controlled without any real terror threat. These lockdowns, however, do not always end with an easy all clear and a slap on the wrists for the suspects.

On Oct. 4, 2013, a woman drove her car into temporary barricades surrounding the White House. After a brief police chase, local authorities fired on the driver who had tried fleeing on foot.

The woman died of her injuries.

From the beginning of the incident security issued an immediate lock down of the White House, Supreme Court and Congress. The lock down was lifted after the car was detained and authorities proved that the woman was not acting for a terrorist organization.

 

Bring back our girls; a campaign to rescue the innocent

The night of Apr. 14 was a night of terror for almost 300 girls in Chibok, Nigeria. The girls were attending the Government Girls Secondary School, a government instituted boarding school. They had just gone to bed when the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, arrived, killing the guards and one soldier. The militant men forced all the girls outside by gunpoint and told them to either get into the trucks or be killed. All of the girls climbed into the trucks and watched as their school was burnt down.  

As the trucks began the 12-hour journey to the Boko Haram camp, many of the girls jumped off the moving trucks as they slowed down and ran to safety in nearby villages. Others waited until reaching the camp when the men were distracted to make their escape.

A total of 53 girls managed to return to their families. They share their stories of the Boko Haram men lying, telling the girls they were with the army to make them cooperate. The men also stole supplies from the school and had been searching for a device used to make mud bricks.

Boko Haram is an Islamic group trying to overthrow the Nigerian government in order to create strict Islamic laws, preventing Westernization. They are based in Maiduguri, a city in northeast Nigeria. Formed in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf as a non-violent Islamist splinter group, they created an Islamic complex with a mosque and Islamic schools.

In 2009, however, the group turned to violence in order to create an Islamic state. Nigeria’s security force believed they had destroyed the group by killing Yusuf, but later that year, Boko Haram regrouped under Abubakar Shekau.

Since Shekau’s control, Boko Haram has targeted schools, villages, churches and army barracks, killing thousands of civilians, including Muslims that do not believe in Boko Haram’s “Islamic” teachings and actions.

 In May 2013, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, forcing Boko Haram to retreat into the Sambisa forest. The violence only intensified.

In February more than 100 Christian men were killed in Izghe and Doron Baga. 59 students were killed at the Federal Government College. On the same day as the abduction of the girls the group also bombed a bus station in Abuja, killing 88 people and injuring 200.   

On Monday, May 12, Shekau sent a video to the Nigerian government. The kidnapped girls were shown wearing black and grey robes with hijabs, or head scarves worn by Muslim women. They were also reciting passages from the Qur’an. Shekau then tells President Jonathan to release his men that the government had captured and imprisoned five years previously. He says that once his men are returned, he will then return the girls, but if they are not released, he will sell the girls as Muslim wives. President Jonathan has refused the exchange because there is no guarantee of the girls being returned alive.

With help from the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, including protests throughout the world, Nigeria and the United States have opened up communication. President Barack Obama has sent 16 military personnel from intelligence, logistics and communications. Nigeria has also given the US permission to fly aircraft over Nigeria. Both countries are also sharing commercial satellite imagery.

So far, they have found that Boko Haram has split up the girls into smaller groups. China, France, the US, the UK and Israel are also sending material support. However, Nigeria has not yet allowed the US or other allies to send soldiers

My Big Fat Gypsy Pageants

Beauty pageants have often been seen as a strictly aesthetic competition. The norm of these events is that the contestants with the slimmest figure, most pronounced cheek line or cutest smile often wins the crown and bouquet of flowers.

However, an organization is not only trying to change that stereotype, but also offer an opportunity for a vastly ignored and under privileged group of people.

The Madrid based organization, Northern Flamenco Association (NFA), officially launched the first “Mister and Miss Gypsy Competition” for the under privileged minority in Spain on May 13.

In an interview for the England based Daily Mail, organizers of the event explained that “the competition – particularly the female portion – is a response to the reduced opportunities which gypsies in Spain received, and hopes to persuade girls that there is more to life than marrying young and having babies.”

Besides judging the contestants on their outward beauty, the NFA also said that contestants would be judged based on their inner beauty as well, “judging contests on their education, interests and ambitions.”

According to Daily Mail, most female Gypsies from Spain, especially Madrid, drop out of school around ages 15 or 16, marry and have children. 

This lack of education then leads to a variety of economic complications later in life. The main economic complication that NFA focused on with this pageant is unemployment, which for gypsies is near 36 percent, more than 10 percent higher than Spain’s national average.

Maria Jimenez of NFA, an organizer of the pageant hopes that the competition will encourage Gypsy women to be a bit more independent. She explained that, “For a Gypsy woman, the aim is always just to get married very young, at 14 or 15, and have children. I want the Gypsy woman to study and become independent so she doesn’t depend on her husband to give her €10 (about $14) so she can eat.”

The five judges of the competition will be non-gypsies and are supposed to judge contestants on their minds and personality as much as their looks. The final competition will be held in October.

One contestant, 17-year-old Libertad Barrull, said, “I want to be a model. I love it.”

Her mother, Rosario Barrull, added, “It gives them a helping hand to become something in life, like our generation couldn’t be.”

This opportunity for the Gypsy minority in Spain may have world wide implications for public perception of gypsies as well as how we measure outward beauty in relation to inward beauty.

Jesus Heredia, a contestant for the male element of the competition, said, “I’m in it to show that we gypsies are people, just like the rest.”

Tammy Baldwin – Education Reform

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin recently revealed her plan for higher education reform across the country.

The new legislation that Baldwin is supporting will help give everyone a fair shot at affording a college education.

Borrowers who have interest rates of 8-14 percent will be allowed to refinance their loans at the current lower interest rate of 3.86 percent without penalty or a refinancing fee. The bill would include borrowers of both federal and private undergraduate student loans.

In a press release sent out by Baldwin, she predicts “a student with an average outstanding debt loan of $30,000 paying 6.8 percent interest rate would save about $5,000 by refinancing to today’s lower rate.”

Baldwin has been a strong advocate of education reform and building a better future for America throughout her career in politics. Baldwin believes that “making college affordable is one of the most important steps we can take toward building a strong path to the middle class for all Americans,” and that, “a college education should be a path to prosperity not a path to indebtedness.”

The interest rate of 3.86 percent came about under the Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 and applies only to loans taken out for the 2013-2014 school year and beyond. The SLCA failed, however, to address the issue of young professionals who are currently struggling to pay the loans they took out at higher interest rates.

Currently, there are about 40 million people in America with outstanding student loans. The Federal Reserve Bank recently reported that student loan debt grew by a whopping $31 billion from January to March of this year.

The increase in student loans has made it increasingly difficult for young professionals to purchase houses, cars, etc. This burden has been contributing to the slow growth of the economy.

The national student loan average is about $30,000 for a bachelor’s degree, with nearly a third of the Federal loans in default.

In order to fund the bill, should it be passed, the Buffet Rule is being followed; special tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans will be limited.

Baldwin’s push for education reform is coming at a critical time as America slowly approaches midterm elections in the fall, and Presidential elections 2 years after. If the bill is passed, it will create a solid foundation for significant reform to student debt and higher education for politicians in the near future.

Section Comments: Remember that % symbols should be written out (in word form) when writing in AP style. Also, just as a reminder, when labeling your articles and placing them in the submission site to use the name on the assignment sheet just so they are easy to find for the editors. All in all though, very well written with hardly any technical errors.

2014 commencement speakers controversies

Graduation is around the corner all over the country. Colleges and universities are doing their last laps with their graduation ceremony plans. One of the main events in a graduation ceremony is the commencement speaker. A lot of colleges and universities are having eminent people speak at their graduation, for instance, President Obama is scheduled to speak at University of California, Irvine. Carthage College was not left behind as it went big this year by contracting Reddit founder, Alexis Ohanian as the 2014 commencement speaker.

A lot of the choices for the commencement speakers in colleges countrywide have been embroiled in controversy, the latest being Condoleezza Rice. She was scheduled to speak at Rutgers University, NJ. She is not the first speaker in a commencement controversy.

First Lady, Michelle Obama, had to push back her speaking date at Topeka, Kansas, Public School District as parents and students filed an online petition requesting for another speaker for graduation as having the First lady speaking would limit the number of tickets available for family members. Obama instead decided to speak at “Senior Recognition.

In early February, Rutgers University February named Ms. Rice as the schools commencement speaker for the 2014 class. The former national security advisor for the Bush administration was to receive an honorary doctorate and a $35,000 honorarium for her speech. Problems arose when several groups and student organizations opposed honoring Rice because of the Bush Administration’s involvement in the Iraq War which claimed the lives of 4,486 Americans by staging a protest in front of the school president’s office, demanding that Rutgers should rescind its invitation towards Rice. Rice stood by her record by stating that saying she had, “defended America’s belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas.” She, however, withdrew from speaking at the University by stating that “Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families,” Rice said in a statement. “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.”       

 Commencement is indeed a special occasion for families and friends. The Carthage campus is excited to have Reddit founder and founder of 80 other technology startups, Alexis Ohasis as its commencement speaker in 2014. President Woodward explains that, “As one of the rising stars of his generation, Alexis Ohanian brings many of the same qualities we work to instill in our students. His success shows just how far the spirit of entrepreneurship, foresight to adapt to changing technology, and dedication to charity can take you.”

Osama bin Laden Bar

Brazil: the host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but more notably, the host to over a dozen Osama bin Laden themed bars. With all eyes on Brazil as the World Cup approaches, many news sources have taken notice of local bar owner Ceará Francisco Helder Braga Fernandes, 54, for his unconventional Bar Do Bin Laden.Heralded as the first Bin Laden-themed bar, Bar Do Bin Laden has been open for quite some time. Fernandes had been running his bar for years before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centers under the name Barbas.

Before Sept. 11, Fernandes was simply known as “The Beard Man.” After Osama Bin Laden’s worldwide infamy, however, Fernandes says that people on the streets would constantly double take when they passed him.A self-proclaimed Christian and honest man, Fernandes claims no mal intentions with the bar, and says that peoples’ constant reactions to his appearance lead to the bar’s theme. The change in theme, by the way, has lead to a drastic increase in Fernandes’s sales.Virtually no one refers to Fernandes by his first name anymore. Most people call him “Osama” or “Bin Laden” when addressing him.

 Bar Do Bin Laden is in Sao Paolo, Brazil and has been quite popular since opening. Although there are well over a dozen other bars based on the late Al Qaeda leader, Bar Do Bin Laden remains one of the most popular. Many patrons have said that Fernandes’s pride for being a bin Laden lookalike is unsettling in some ways. He is pictured in every photo on the wall of the bar with patrons except for one, which is a portrait of Jesus Christ.

Americans believe that the bar and others like it are extremely offensive in light of the 9/11 attacks, but many tourists to the area view the bar in a “comical” light and as more of a tourist attraction.Fernandes expects business to increase as the World Cup draws nearer, and hopes that spectators of the Cup will appreciate the time he has put into making the bar what it is today.

 Brandon Sanchez, ’18, an avid soccer fan says, “I certainly don’t like the fact that he is doing that, especially not with the single, most watched sporting event in the world, but I don’t think that anyone has the right to tell him how to live as long as he isn’t discriminating against anyone or hurting anyone.”

News in brief

NATION

Elderly Georgia Man Murdered, His Wife Missing

On Tuesday, May 6, 88-year-old Russell Dermond was found dead—decapitated—in his Georgia home, and his wife Shirley was missing. Authorities do not believe her to be a suspect in her husband’s murder; they are viewing her disappearance as an abduction rather than an attempt to escape the crime. They report that there is no evidence to suggest that she is the killer, but that there is enough evidence to reasonably suspect that she was taken against her will. Although they also believe that this attack was not random, authorities have no specific leads to go on yet. They, as well as the town of Eatonton, are simply hoping and praying that Shirley Dermond is still alive and that they will be able to find her soon.

 

South Carolina Couple to Serve Life in Prison

South Carolina neo-Nazi couple Jeremy and Christine Moody pleaded guilty on Tuesday, May 6 to the 2013 murders of Charles and Gretchen Parker. Jeremy Moody claimed that they killed Charles because he was a registered sex offender, though Gretchen was not. In court, the Moodys appeared to display regret for the crimes they committed, saying that they knew their actions were wrong and expressing their hope that they could be forgiven. However, when they each received life sentences in prison, they dropped their façades. They admitted that they only claimed to feel remorse because their lawyer advised them to, and they then said that if they could do that day over, they would kill the Parkers again. “Child molesters do not deserve to live,” said Jeremy Moody according to CNN.com.

 

Texas Judge Facing Criticism after Minimal Sentencing

The decision made by a Texas judge is being criticized as too light. Sir Young (18 years old at the time of the crime, now age 20) was convicted of the rape of a 14-year-old girl and sentenced to 45 days in jail and five years probation. Judge Jeanine Howard admitted that she based this decision partly on medical records which indicated that the victim had previously had three different sexual partners and had given birth. The victim’s mother denies this, but Howard argued that the victim “wasn’t the victim she claimed to be” and that Young was not a “typical sex offender.” Now many people are worried that rulings like this one will lessen the likelihood of sexual assault victims coming forward to report such crimes.

 

WORLD

Over 170 Sharks Caught in Australia

Western Australia’s three-month shark culling program recently ended and has become a source of controversy. Under the program, tiger sharks, bull sharks and great white sharks that were caught and that measured at least ten feet long were allowed to be killed. The program focused on catching sharks around the popular beach areas of Western Australia, where the number of shark attacks have gone up in recent years. Critics of the culling program say that the great white sharks are most often the ones responsible for fatal attacks, but that none of the sharks captured were great whites. However, Fisheries Minister, Ken Baston, claims that the program is beneficial for beach activity because people feel safer, and he claims that the program is allowing for new opportunities in shark research. The Western Australian government is now attempting to extend the program for three more years.

 

6.4 Magnitude Earthquake in Mexico

On Thursday, May 8, less than a month after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico’s Guerrero state, a 6.4 magnitude quake hit the same area. Though the quake extended to the country’s capital of Mexico City, no severe damage was reported in the city. Part of a highway bridge in Tecpan de Galeana collapsed, but this bridge was still in repairs due to flood damage as well as damage from April’s 7.2 magnitude quake. There are reports of collapsed roofs, but there have been no reports of serious injuries—although many people are suffering from panic because of this unexpected and strong quake.