Tag Archives: stuff that should never happen

Take This to the Polls: Credibility Checking Senator Ted Cruz


Recently, Senator Ted Cruz wrote an op-ed for USA Today, primarily speaking on the 2014 midterm elections and why you should (presumably) vote Republican and why a G.O.P-led Congress was the best outcome for America.

Senator Cruz outlined ten of his priorities for the Republicans if they win back the Senate and have control of both houses of Congress after this fall’s midterms.

Being a student pursuing a Mass Communication/Journalism degree and being a member of my university’s newspaper, I went to the liberty of seeing just how much water Cruz’s op-ed held.

Get your goggles ready.  ‘Cause it ain’t pretty.

Fact-checking and checking for credibility.  It’s a wonderful thing.  Something that obviously no one at USA Today is capable of doing.  Either that, or they prefer to not hold their op-ed writers accountable for any sort of journalistic integrity.

As a matter fact, it took me longer to untangle my headphones to put some music on to write this post than it took for me to find Cruz’s first blatant misuse of media.  Let’s get started, shall we? When I quote Senator Cruz, feel free to click on the links in his quotes to see for yourself the horrible misuse of various articles from around the Internet!

I’ll even number mine, just as Senator Cruz did. I am going to do seven points, because the number seven is lucky, and I am hoping that Senator Cruz will read my article when I send it to him tomorrow via the Twitter-sphere  I have a feeling I am going to need all the luck I can get.

Re-linking to Senator Cruz’s op-ed piece in USA Today

Number 1.  Alright, first point, first misuse.

“For six years, the Obama economy has been trapped in stagnation, hurting millions,” wrote Cruz.

I wish I could call this a misuse of statistics because Senator Cruz seems to allude to some depressing statistics on job growth or unemployment, but it is actually Senator Cruz merely referring to a sour-puss on the Huffington Post ranting about Obama.  Highly credible and factual.

Number 2.  Still on the first point.

“A Republican Congress should immediately help Americans get more jobs by embracing America’s energy renaissance.”

Okay, so this article was about attacking the Obama administration for its obstructionist acts, yet the “energy renaissance” you hearken to in this Forbes article was literally brought in by the Obama administration itself in his quest to end foreign dependency on oil.  Did Senator Cruz even read the articles he linked to?

In the interest of time, let us move on through the op-ed, as I am trying not to print an entire encyclopedia on carelessness with referencing other articles and statistics, or lack thereof.

Number 3. Jumping to the fourth point, in the essence of time.

“….the lawless implementation of Obamacare,”

Oh, dear god, not this again.  Like it or not, Senator Cruz, “Obamacare” was passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court.  By the way, you are citing http://www.breitbart.com/, a partner of Fox News.  I am afraid that is not very impartial.  Sorry, try pushing your Fox News agenda on another website, maybe one that does not explicitly say it partners with an unreliable news corporation.

Number 4. Still in the fourth point!

“And the Senate should stop confirming activist judges who will impose their own policy preferences, such as striking down state marriage laws. We must uphold the Constitution.”

You know, it is really funny.  A U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit did in fact rule in favor of the freedom to marry in Bostic v. Schaefer where same-sex couples sought the same freedom to marry that is legal in a majority of the states across the nation.  When the Supreme Court made the decision to not review that case, it essentially meant that they saw no blatant trampling of the Constitution. This means that the decision of Asheville, North Carolina’s U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. to permit gay marriage licenses to be issued did not in any way, shape, or form violate the Constitution since his district court falls under the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

*drops mic*

*picks mic up*

Congrats, North Carolina!

Number 5.  Point number six, now, in Senator Cruz’s op-ed.

“Moving towards a simple flat tax would treat all Americans more fairly and end the massive time and costs wasted in dealing with the IRS;….”

I will not even argue why that point is wrong because a flat tax has no chance of ever being implemented in the next Congressional term.  However, I will point out that, yet again, Senator Cruz made the decision to cite yet another op-ed piece, not an article written by an actual journalist or any statistics compiled by a credible organization. The article is from USA Today from 2011 and features Dick Armey.  I pulled this blurb about Mr. Armey straight from the op-ed piece linked in Senator Cruz’s quote.

Former House majority leader Dick Armey is chairman of FreedomWorks, a group that advocates lower taxes and smaller government.”

Oh, how credible and unbiased, bravo!

Number 6.  Point seven in Senator Cruz’s op-ed.

“Americans are seeing near-zero interest rates on their savings accounts while median incomes are falling,…”

While it is true that median incomes are falling, just because President Obama holds the office of president does not necessarily mean this one is on him.  There is only so much the President can do in order to keep wages rising.  He can attempt to raise the minimum wage, which he has tried to do, very much to Senator Cruz’s party’s resistance, to the point where he had to sign an executive order to get job the done.

In order for solutions on how to fix the falling incomes of average Americans (because C.E.O’s incomes and probably even yours have risen as of late), I encourage Senator Cruz to read my own article for my university’s newspaper entitled “Guest Lecturer Remains Hopeful.”

Economist Richard Wolff visited Towson University n Maryland to speak on the growing inequality between C.E.O’s and the rest of America, and how the Great Recession was actually not President Obama’s fault, but Wall Street’s.  I encourage everyone to read the aforementioned article and to Google economist Mr. Wolff and his ideas on how to reshape America’s troubled economy and private sector.  An article on ExarExtra that goes more in-depth into my article linked above will also appear sooner than later.

(Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on future stories!)

Number 7.  Lucky seven – this is focused on point ten.

“Tenth, deal seriously with the twin threats of ISIL and a nuclear Iran, including passing legislation that strips American citizens who join ISIL of their U.S. passports so they cannot return home and wage jihad against innocent men and women.”

First off, http://townhall.com. Seriously?  Senator Cruz is a Congressperson writing an op-ed for USA Today and are citing a website called townhall.com, a po-dunk conservative news website?  A website so conservative, they have a tab on their homepage dedicated to “Bearing Arms,” which is not even on the national political stage right now?

townhall

Need I say more?  I will, just for kicks.

“Waging jihad.”  Senator Cruz said it, he really did.  Nowhere in that article does it ever speak of anyone “waging jihad.”

Even more so, this idea of stripping Americans of their passports who were even suspected of being in ISIL is not a brand new idea.  Cruz tried it in the Senate before, when Senator Cruz begged the Senate to hurriedly pass the bill because it was some sort of imminent threat.  That was shot down by the Senate Judiciary Committee because it “affects fundamental constitutional rights, which should be given the full deliberation of the Senate.”  Senator Cruz wanted to hurriedly pass a bill that very possibly infringed on American’s rights.  Patriot Act, anyone?  As a matter of fact, his bill was even entitled, the “Expatriote Terrorist Act of 2014.”

There we have it.  A little fact and credible checking of Senator Cruz’s op-ed proves that perhaps he was skating on thin ice when he crafted it.  Let this be a lesson to us all: just because he is a senator, does not mean everything he says is factual.  Quite the opposite, actually.

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Greek-Americans and Feminists Have One More Thing In Common: A Repulsion of Douchey Frat Guys


image credit (link)

“Greek life.”  “Going Greek.”  “The Greek community.”  “We Greeks.”

There are roughly three million Americans (link) who are ethnically Greek in the United States.  Names such as Olympia Snowe, the senator who promoted togetherness and a united Congress while trailblazing for women’s rights in a predominantly male arena in Congress.  Or, perhaps, Tina Fey, the “jane”-of-all-trades comedian who has starred on Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and won a dozen Emmy’s in the process – not to mention a few Screen Actor’s Guild and Golden Globe Awards.  Did I mention she’s written an autobiography, too?  You should check it out.  That’s not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Greeks who made an honest living opening up restaurants or small businesses.

Maybe you want to go back a few thousand years: “we Greeks” also have Alexander the Great, Hippocrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and the list goes on and on… and on (link).

Something tells me that’s not what people mean when they say that.

I think that, above, ^^ is what they mean.

And, it would actually be alright (not really though, as I’ll explain at the end), except that some of the people who participate in Greek-letter organizations are doing antics like this (link).  #WhyWeNeedFrat is a response to the #WhyWeNeedFeminism (link) that has been trending on Twitter and the like, in a.  And, it wouldn’t be malicious per se, just frat boys being their douchey-selves, except they are posting pictures like this:

(from Mashable)

Yes, that is an actual post on totalfratmove’s (link) Instagram page.  In the half-day that has elapsed since it was posted, it has garnered 11,000 likes.  If that does not perpetuate the age-old stereotypes of fraternities, that I am not really sure what will for you.

Leave it to the people in this video and its supporters to to take away from #WhyWeNeedFeminism, a hashtag developed to spread awareness about the plight that plagues not only our society, but those around the world. Now, cue link to insightful article – from a unique perspective – to feminism in regards to the rest of the world (it’s definitely worth a look-see).

But, perhaps Sarah Cornett, a guest columnist for USA Today (link) summed up many people’s reactions best in her article:

“However, one of the strongest groups to vocalize its disappointment were other members involved in Greek life.
Greeks across the nation tweeted messages such as: ‘#WhyWeNeedFrat isn’t funny. It’s disappointing, discouraging and simple-minded. It’s also nothing I believe in as a fraternity man,’ and ‘#WhyWeNeedFrat is the reason that people hate Greek life. It’s not satire, it’s damaging and makes it hard to defend our chapters. Grow up.'”

There are many Greek letter organization chapters across America that are doing good for the colleges and communities in which they are a part of.  People such as the ones on the “totalfratmove” Instagram page are most likely a minority, just an incredibly noisy, obnoxious, disrespectful one that happened to steal the spotlight in our sensational media for a day, maybe two.  But they will not be remembered in a month’s time.

To those supporting #WhyWeNeedFeminism and actively fighting for women’s rights, you are what is right in this world.  To those in Greek letter organizations that better themselves and their communities, you are also what is right in this world.  These two aforementioned groups will undoubtedly have a positive and more far-reaching impact than these spoiled, self-absorbed, attention-whoring frat boys.

To the feminists and exceptional fraternity and sorority members that have been mocked and misrepresented, respectively: stay strong.  These frat boys will have their fun in college, and you can laugh at them one day when you’re their manager.

This all seems to be, ladies and gentleman, a perfect example of…

fratdouchey

#WeNeedFeminism.

*    *    *

Epilogue

However, there’s one matter that must be visited…

Why is it called “Greek life” and why do people in Greek-letter organizations refer to themselves as members of the “Greek community”…

WHEN THEY’RE NOT REALLY GREEK?

Look for the article soon for all the answers (that I have yet to find*).

“Cuz there Greek letter organizashuns” will not suffice in this case.

The Criminal Injustice System: Part 1


 Posted on August 15, 2014. (Don’t mind July 19 date).

It was a typical July day in Asheville, North Carolina, USA.  Tourists were milling around downtown, taking up all the sacred parking spaces on the street. A mountain band was playing, complete with banjo, spoon, and washboard.  Kids splashed around in the “Splasheville” fountains in front of the salmon-colored marble, domed city hall.  And the cherry on top?  A bank robbery at an Asheville Savings Bank.  But it’s not what you think!  According to the sheriff’s department, this was not our “typical person committing this sort of crime?”

Phew.  We’re safe.  Continue business as usual.

Wait.

Wait just a darn second.

WHAT did the sheriff’s department say?

Yes, you heard me paraphrase correctly.  In response to a robbery at local bank Fairview, North Carolina (just outside of Asheville, NC), the police made a statement saying that the suspect was not a typical suspect committing such a crime.  The exact quote?

“So we’re looking for someone who may not be a typical person committing such a crime,” said Jeff Eaton of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department.

My official screenshot of the article containing the quote can be found HERE (link), and the original article on WLOS (Asheville, North Carolina ABC News affiliate, can be found HERE (link) for your reading displeasure.

What image pops into your mind when you hear this quote?  Better yet, what was the image in the minds of the PR staff of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s department?  Well, I suppose the security footage from the bank might enlighten those of us who have been left bewildered by the statement in question.

The suspect turned out to be a twenty-two year old Caucasian woman seen in the image above.  Not only were the police shocked that someone fitting this demographic could commit such a crime, but her neighbor in the apartment where she lived was, as well, per the article linked earlier (relink).  What does this say about our society?  When we only see certain demographics portrayed as “criminals” in our media, we are led to believe that only those races or genders commit crime.  In this sad case, neighbors of the suspect and even the police force seemed to be surprised, despite the fact that she held up a bank an stole $9,000, while the entire robbery was caught on camera.  The police, neighbors, and most likely many other citizens were baffled, despite there being evidence, that someone who looked as she did could commit such a crime.

If only the police or any citizen who was “surprised” had done their research instead of profiling (in this instance, to the suspect’s benefit) based on appearance, they might have realized that the suspect wasn’t so angelic or innocent after all, despite the police and media providing that portrayal.  In reality, the suspect had a criminal history (link).  Just two months earlier, she was arrested on drug trafficking charges – multiple counts, in fact – of opiates, ecstasy, and marijuana.  Judging by that criminal history, there might, at the very least, be a reason to not be so surprised and bamboozled when she appeared on the radar again.  However, throw into the mix that she had been charged with a DWI (relink again) that was still pending against her at the time of the robbery, and it is downright ridiculous that the authorities, and even close friends, acted so shocked that such a person could commit such a crime as robbery.

This is a time in the United States where one person from one race and gender can be shot dead (link) while complying with officers during an arrest on side of the country, while on the other side of the country, someone of a different race and gender with a criminal history is treated like an innocent child.  When you can open the newspaper or turn on the local TV news and see someone who is “dark skinned,” “male,” or both being portrayed as the “criminals,” what you give is what you get.  If the media and police forces preach these completely false ideas that only certain people are capable of committing crime, while others are angels, how can they expect people to not riot in the streets or protest when someone gets profiled, yet still complies with the police, only to be killed by those who are sworn to protect and serve the public, like we, as a nation, have witnessed in the past week in Ferguson, Missouri (link); Los Angeles (relink); and anywhere else where the stories have gone untold.

Put the stories of unarmed citizens being killed by police beside this one that I highlighted from North Carolina and ask yourself, “why are the innocent people dead and the guilty person alive,” all because of some pigmentation and perhaps a difference in gender?  It’s a topsy-turvy world we live in these days.  The media will only tell us the parts of the stories that they can profit from, and some police forces seem to only protect those who look like themselves.  They are not the ones who are going to fix the backwards situation we have been affronted with – that task is left to us.  We’re failing thus far: this is the wake up call.

* In memory of Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, and those who have been victims of police brutality *

candlelight_vigil-1574466

Image creds: