Ajit Pai: Friend Or Foe To Net Neutrality?

BY RACHEL DIMAURO, Staff Writer

Net neutrality has been a highly debated topic since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) first introduced the neutrality rules back in 2015. The goal of the rules is to prevent Internet service providers from blocking, regulating, discriminating, or monitoring internet traffic—in short, it is to prevent any one person, or company from having complete control over the Internet, or to prevent a company from acting in a way that would place other companies at a disadvantage.

With the new Trump administration recently taking office, one of the concerns of Congress—and Democrats as a whole—is Trump’s pick of Ajit Pai for Chairman of the FCC. Pai, is said to have been a straight-A student in telecom law, and is a former Verizon lawyer.

Pai served as a minority Republican member for the past three years, before being elevated to the position of chairman by President Trump. He is said to be strong-minded on conservative interpretations of telecommunications law, and the limits of the FCC’s power. He stated that he is trying to clean the slate for a fresh new start, but many fear that that means he will advocate eliminating the rules entirely. Previous statements show that their speculations might be in vain. Pai was quoted saying, “Americans love the free and open Internet. We relish our freedom to speak, to post, to rally, to learn, to listen, to watch, and to connect online.”

So what does this mean? What is the future of net neutrality under the Trump administration? Since being in office for just a few weeks, he has already made efforts to alter what the former Obama administration had set in place. He started by withdrawing an effort to keep prison phone rates down—which isn’t a terrible idea, however, many argued that charging over a $1 per minute for phone time in prisons was a bit extreme. He nixed a proposal to break open the cable box market, as well as stopping nine companies from providing discounted high-speed Internet service to low income families. Pai released around a dozen actions of the previous administration.

The media has been a roller-coaster ride of opinions as to whether Pai will end up being a decant choice or an undesirable one. One day the sentiment is positive, and the next it’s negative. In a recent article written by Forbes, they stated, “. . . Other reporters suggest that, while he is not friendly to big government, he is a very pragmatic “lawyer of lawyers” who advocates free markets and competition.”

What can explain these bipolar views? Part of the problem is the complexity of the actual net neutrality rules. The 400-page Open Internet Order that was implemented in 2015 has two components. One is regarding net neutrality in its capacity of forbidding Internet and wireless providers from censoring content over competing networks. The other is to regulate the Internet as a public utility.

In the same article by Forbes, they said that, “Pai has shown a clear inclination against regulating broadband internet service as a utility, arguing potential government over-reach and over- regulation of internet and wireless providers like Comcast or AT&T. But that doesn’t mean that he is an enemy of a neutral internet.”

His statements have been used against him to conclude that he will abolish the net neutrality rules—even though the two are very different things.

To obtain a clear answer as to whether or not Pai will succeed in abolishing net neutrality, or bettering it, I fear at this moment is nigh on impossible. This early on, it is entirely true, that only time will tell.

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Evolution of sex in the media

By: JOSH CARLL

Lights! Camera! Action!… Imagine a world without sex being advertised in the media. It’s kind of hard to imagine, right? What if I told you, that it used to be the norm back in the day. The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) was a good, wholesome TV show in the 60’s. In the show, Dick and his wife, Laura, would go to bed during the show, but not in the same bed. Since the two weren’t married in real life, they slept in two twin sized beds.

Let’s take five and talk about the censorship. This censorship was all thanks to Hollywood, specifically William H. Hays. Hays was president of the “Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America” (MPPDA), which later changed to “Motion Picture Association of America” (MPAA), from 1922 to 1945. This code was strictly enforced in 1934 and made the use of profanity, sex, drugs, and rape, almost impossible to be shown on the silver screen. By the 1950’s, the code began to weaken, so when 1968 came around, the Hays code was considered outdated and replaced by the film rating system G, PG, PG13, R, and NC17.

Take two! Married with Children (1987-1997) was a sitcom that pushed the envelope for it’s time period. Having a promiscuous daughter and a not-so-typical housewife, this TV show made everyday life seem relatable. Later on in the show, Marcy and Steve, who are Al Bundy’s neighbors, end up getting divorced. After the divorce, Marcy remarries a gigolo. The subtle advocation of sex is promoted throughout the show without actually engaging in the acts.

Why is sex so interesting to people? Karrol Jordan, CCC professor of psychology, believes the “interest has always been there, but daring to challenge the status quo, that has changed.” People today talk about risqué things on the air like it’s a normal conversation to have, but back then, you really stepped on some toes with those kinds of topics. “I can remember an episode of the show Good Times, where CBS used viewer discretion advised. It dealt with venereal disease,” Jordan said. Throughout the years, Hollywood’s moral grip has become looser and looser.

Playback those episodes of How I met your Mother (2005-2014). This show pushed past Married with Children by the use of sex outside of marriage and the inappropriate jokes and language on the show. The main character Barney, is portrayed as a misogynist that sleeps around and is proud of his “accomplishments.” The censorship is still there because they do not show them outright having sex, but the scenes elude to the deed being done because the characters are depicted laying in bed together.

After a path for the LGBT community was made from the airing of Modern Family (2009-present), The Fosters (2013-present) focuses an interracial LGBT couple who have adopted kids into their family. Sex isn’t necessarily encouraged during the show, but the forbidden love of Brandon and Callie is evident and heartbreaking throughout the series. They long for each other just like Romeo and Juliet. When the characters actually do engage in sexual acts, ABC doesn’t show it graphically, but it is noted that they are practicing safe sex for the most part.

Let’s take Empire (2015-present) from the top. Making its debut in 2015, Empire shows a lucrative and scandalous side of a music industry. This show is filled with drugs, violence, vulgarity, provocativeness, sex, and complete disregard of the code. The company was based on drug money that Lucious and Cookie made during their thug years, which Cookie then went to jail for. The show starts with Cookie being released from prison and visiting her son Jamal, who is an openly gay black singer with a homophobic father. Lucious is now in a relationship with Anika, but starts cheating on her with Cookie. This dysfunctional family would give Dr. Phil a run for his money.

Sex can easily be seen in the media since the code has been thrown out the window. In the past, Hollywood banned sex in the media, but now they’re pushing it. “Ironically, these changes have to do with Hollywood,” Jordan said. The only way majority of people will be entertained is if sex was added into the mix. The media has gone from good wholesome fun, to explicit sensual behaviors. This is the evolution of sex in the media. Now that’s a wrap folks.

Your voice, your vote counts in 2016

By: GEORGIA I. SALVARYN

The 2016 Presidential Election is nearly upon us, and that means, it’s crunch time for the candidates to grab as many voters as they can. But, the question is, are you registered to vote?

The 2016 Presidential Election is nearly upon us, and that means, it’s crunch time for the candidates to grab as many voters as they can. But, the question is, are you registered to vote?

“Voting is the cornerstone of a democracy but sadly far too few people vote,” massvote.org reports in their The Importance of Voting. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 65% of the U.S. population voted during the 2014 Presidential Election.

Everyone’s vote counts. “Voting is a fundamental process that keeps our system of government working,” annenbergclassroom.org reports in their Path to the Presidency: Why is it important to vote?. “Through elections, citizens have the ability to decide who represents them in government, be it a local official, a state or national representative, or the president.”

There are many people who make excuses to avoid voting. “I don’t know who’s running.” “I don’t know anything about the candidates.” “I don’t know about the issues.” “My vote doesn’t matter.” These excuses are avoidable. Most candidates provide websites to the public to express and explain the details of their ideas and goals for office. The websites for the current presidential candidates are listed below:

Democrats

•Hillary Clinton —hillaryclinton.com

•Bernie Sanders — berniesanders.com

Republicans

•Donald Trump —donaldjtrump.com

•Ted Cruz —tedcruz.org

•John Kasich —johnkasich.com

In the current Presidential primary, as of April 26, Donald Trump is the frontrunner candidate in the Republican party with 996 delegates out of 1,237 and Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner candidate in the Democratic party with 2,165 delegates out of 2,383.

“Reading up on the issues, the candidates, and researching the ballot is also the responsibility of the citizen voter and a responsibility that should not be taken lightly, because it is your voice, with many others, in unison, that can change the direction of a community, state, nation, and even the world,” annenbergclassroom.org reports.

According to the Who Votes? Congressional Elections and the American Electorate article on census.gov, the majority of voters, 77.2 percent on average, from the 2004 election to the 2014 election were white, non-Hispanics. On average, approximately 40.4 percent of those voters in that time period were between ages 45 and 64. The amount of voters between ages 18 and 34 in that same time period was, on average, 20.3 percent.

“People who vote are associated with a host of positive civic, health and social factors,” reports massvote.org. The article elaborates reporting that citizens who participate in community events and local affairs are more informed and have a greater sense about the needs of the community and, therefore, are more driven to vote.

Voting is a right, not a privilege. Throughout American history, men and women have fought for our right to vote. Today, people all around the world, who don’t live in an organized democracy, fight for the right to vote and die trying. “By voting, you are making your voice heard and registering your opinion on how you think the government should operate,” annenbergclassroom.org testifies.

Election Day in New Jersey is on November 8, 2016. To be eligible to vote in New Jersey, you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old by the next  election, and a resident in your N.J. county for at least 30 days prior to the next election (dmv.org). For more information on voter registration, go to http://www.dmv.org/nj-new-jersey/voter-registration.

For voting information, go to http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/voting-information. If you have not registered to vote, pull up the Cumberland voter registration application form and begin your journey as a voting citizen. Vote. Let your voice be heard. Be a part of change because it’s your voice, your vote.

Are you anti-college?

By KYLEE BAGLEY

Staff Writer

The notion that traditional college is not for everyone is rapidly becoming part of mainstream society, but what about the idea of an anti-college? Anti-college is the opposite of traditional schooling, yet still higher education nonetheless. There are many people who believe this type of schooling is more beneficial for prospective students, but due to the short amount of time anti-schooling has been in effect, it is hard to know whether or not it truly is a better way to handle education.

In 2012, the Make School was founded on the idea of allowing students to learn and create without the pressure of grades and tuition fees. The only one of its kind, Make School has become a prototype of experiential learning with eyes heavily watching to see whether it will succeed or flounder.

Advocates for Make School and budding replications include the founders of PayPal, Virgin Airlines, and EBay. These are all people who didn’t go to college, or they themselves have dropped out. CCC’s Professor Kevin McGarvey thinks that these founders and geniuses like them are more readily available to support nontraditional ventures like Make School seeing as they flourished in this type of environment and felt that they didn’t need college.

Make School was co-founded by Jeremy Rossman and Ashu Desai. According to HuffingtonPost.com, Rossman and Desai were high school friends who, after each spending a year at MIT and UCLA, respectively, decided to take a semester off and explore the process of creating mobile apps. Rossman describes Make School as “a college replacement for founders and developers.”

MakeSchool.com reports they only have 50 spots to offer to prospective students each two-year program. There is only a 10 percent acceptance rate, but Make School is not for every major. The school specifically teaches classes in software engineering and computer sciences. According to McGarvey, “Make School is for people who are already at the top of their game. There are thousands of students who need the guidance a professor provides to point them in the right direction. Most people don’t just “know” these things; they have to be learned.”

What prospective students find so alluring is that Make School requires no upfront tuition. In a year where student loan debt is at 1.2 trillion in America (marketwatch.com) and the cost of tuition is at an all-time high, people are desperate to keep themselves out of monstrous debt. It is not until after graduating from Make School and acquiring a “career” that you are required to begin paying for your schooling. No official tuition rate has been released, but as stated on MakeSchool.com, students will pay 25% of their salary each year until the cost is covered.

Make School gives no grades. There are no tests or homework. Rather, they focus on project-based learning. Depending on the rapid advances in the technological world, students learn based on what is happening right now. In an interview with Seeker Stories, a YouTube channel that produces short documentaries, Rossman described their core philosophy: “…if you teach the same thing two years in a row, it has got to be wrong because computer science as a field and software engineering as a discipline are moving so fast.”

This new twist on education has raised the bar for effective learning, but McGarvey thinks colleges have nothing to fear. “Don’t count colleges out yet. Students learn to think critically; they discover ideas and concepts that hadn’t occurred to them before. They become individuals who can make rational decisions and think for themselves. For so many, college is a rite of passage into adulthood.”

There is no one right way for a person to learn, similar to the question students ask themselves, “Am I a visual learner? Auditory? Kinesthetic?” McGarvey stated, “The best and brightest rise to the top regardless. But that’s a small number of gifted people. Most of the rest need a push, a nudge in the right direction, some moral support when things become overwhelming. Those are some of the things a college like Cumberland does best.” And it’s true. The best type of schooling for an individual is based solely on said individual’s personality.

Make School offers students another alternative to traditional school. With diverse types of schooling popping up like this, it is clear to see that people are taking school seriously; something that can only cause our country to progress more rapidly.

America: Cutting back on culture

By KYLEE BAGLEY

Staff Writer

Gentrification is rapidly spreading throughout all major cities in the U.S. by erasing the cultures that once made these cities so vibrant. Gentrification is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.” While the general ideas of renewal and rebuilding are a solid foundation, the phenomena that gentrification has become in recent years shows the increasing lack of compassion for things that do not directly affect us.

In cities such as Philadelphia and Brooklyn, gentrification stands out in stark contrast to the urban spaces that have yet to be enshrouded by hipster coffee shops, microbreweries, and luxury apartments. At first thought, gentrification comes off as a good theory. Most definitions lack the latter part, actively ignoring the thousands of people who are evicted or forced to leave their homes by rent increases designed to push out individuals and families that don’t fit the new white-washed neighborhoods. If utilized correctly, the basis of renewal and rebuilding could make neighborhoods such as those surrounding Temple University in Philadelphia, flourish in ways that celebrate the diverse cultures that make these communities home to so many people.

Instead of displacing those who cannot afford the increased price of living, couldn’t the city government assist the current residents and business owners in gaining a post-secondary education, evolving their businesses, and growing their own community? Of course, this wouldn’t make as much profit for the city government, and in a country as profit-focused as America, that’s a no go.

According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, about 15 percent of Philadelphia neighborhoods are being gentrified. Comparably, research by governing.com shows that 29.8 percent of Brooklyn neighborhoods have been gentrifying since 2000. The merger of the affluent and the low-income residents usually results in tension and misunderstanding. This leaves the minorities who were born and raised in the neighborhood feeling like outsiders, where they once felt most comfortable.

Jenae McDonald, a friend of mine who lives in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, is currently facing the harsh realities of gentrification, every time she walks out her front door. When asked what’s changed and why it matters, McDonald had this to say: “The culture behind the neighborhood is what’s changing more than anything. Kids don’t even play outside anymore. Block parties aren’t even thriving like they use to. Gentrification not only drives away people but the souls of the people. There used to be a comfort walking down the block and I don’t physically feel that anymore. Caribbean restaurants have even watered down themselves to accommodate the new wave of people. The fact that culture is blatantly being stripped separates us more than anything. Instead of unifying us in the community, gentrification only leaves disdain.”

We all enjoy overpriced coffee shops and perusing quirky clothing stores, but there are plenty of them in the more affluent parts of the city that make displacing hoards of people from their homes seem excessive at the very least. Gentrification takes culture and tradition and assimilates it into a bland “melting pot”, where the diverse cultures that created America as the powerful immigrant country it once was, are only showcased as Halloween costumes and in off-color humor.

Bernie Sanders saves with the College For All Act By Russell Garvey, Jr., Staff Writer

In May 2015, Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, proposed a new bill eliminating undergrad tuition at four-year colleges and universities. Sen. Sanders has named the bill The College For All Act.

This bill will also help lower interest rates on currently held federal student loans, allowing graduates to refinance their existing loans at new lower rates. The bill includes to stop the government from making profit on student loans. Sanders’ intent with the new loan rates is to fix the U.S.’s $1.20 trillion student debt problem.

Sen. Sanders plan is to produce the bulk of the needed funds for this bill “by a small tax on financial transactions such as stocks and bonds,” a Wall Street speculation tax. Sanders proposes “instituting a 0.5% tax on trades of stocks and a 0.1% tax on bonds and an even smaller fee on so-called derivatives, such as stock options and futures contracts. This will generate up to $300 billion a year,” reported by CNN Money.

The new act will lower student loan interest rates to the formula, which was in effect until 2006. Interest rates will almost be cut in half for undergraduates, dropping from 4.32 percent to a more reasonable 2.32 percent. The legislation guarantees that the rates would never rise above 8.25 percent.

“At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, at a time when trillions of dollars in wealth have left the pockets of the middle class and have gone to the top one-tenth of one percent, at a time when the wealthiest people in this country have made huge amounts of money from risky derivative transactions and the soaring value of the stock market, this legislation would impose a Wall Street speculation fee on Wall Street investment houses and hedge funds,” Sanders said.

This Wall Street speculation tax will have the government cover roughly two-thirds of the total cost while the states will pick up the balance. “It is a national disgrace that hundreds of thousands of Americans today do not go to college, not because they are unqualified, but because they cannot afford it. This is absolutely counter-productive to our efforts to create a strong competitive economy and a vibrant middle class. This disgrace has got to end,” Sanders said in a statement.

The College For All Act will have some requirements that will need to be met for each state. According to Sen. Sanders’ website, “States will need to maintain spending on their higher education systems, on academic instruction, and on need-based financial aid.” Also, colleges must reduce dependence on low-paid adjunct professors. Included in this bill, there can be no funding used for administration salaries, merit-based financial aid, or construction of non-academic buildings, such as stadiums and student centers.

Sen. Sanders does recognize that congressional Republicans would never support the taxes designed to fund this bill but Sanders knows “the American people will go along with it.” Sanders’ new bill will hopefully bring the United States up to a new level, educationally and economically with the rest of the world.

For more information on Bernie Sanders and his proposed College For All Act, visit his congressional website at http://www.sanders.senate.gov

College students support Syrian Refugee effort

By Yvonne Curry

Staff Writer

  More than 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four years of armed conflict confirmed a report by BBC News March 12, 2015.  The same report states that the conflict began with anti-government protests and was escalated into a full-scale civil war.  More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and those opposed to his rule battle each other – as well as jihadist militants from the Islamic State. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated in a speech at the UN in January 2014, “What began as another Arab Spring uprising against an autocratic ruler has mushroomed into a brutal proxy war that has drawn in regional and world powers.”
As a result, this horrific outcry has touched individuals all over the globe. The Wall Street Journal reported on September 12, 2015 that tens of thousands of demonstrators in Europe rallied to express sympathy toward migrants seeking refuge in the region amid the largest migration of displaced people since the end of World War II.  According to the Journal, about 30,000 people converged in Copenhagen carrying banners such as “Refugees Welcome.”  In Hamburg, Germany, more than 24,000 people demonstrated against xenophobia and racism.  Demonstrators also marched in London to pressure the British government to take in more refugees.
These world powers are not all on the same page as their protesters.  In fact, the president of Hungary defended his country’s tough migrant policy in a German tabloid Bild quoted in an interview as staring, “These migrants don’t come from the war zone, but from camps in Syria’s neighboring countries Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, where they were in safety and thus didn’t fear of their lives, but for wanting a better life.”  Hungary’s president also stated in the interview that he could understand the Syrian’s for this, but there is no fundamental right to a better life.  He believes there is only a right to security and human dignity.
According to USAID.gov, the United States remains committed to helping the innocent children, women, and men affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria.  The total U.S. humanitarian assistance since the start of the conflict in March 2011 is now more than $3 billion.  The United States remains the single-largest donor of humanitarian aid for those affected by Syria’s crisis, which has become its biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.
An article, written by Hannan Adely of NorthJersey.com’s local news, stated that as the refugees arrive in the country in the next two years, many residents of North Jersey will likely meet people who have suffered and persevered in the way one family of Jersey City has described their journey from Syria.
Hussam Alroustom, his wife, and two children arrived in in Jersey City, New Jersey in July 2013 after fleeing Syria in April 2013.  In the interview, Hussam explained how he and his family didn’t have the basics of life.  They had lost everything, so for him and his family to come to the United States, he was willing because there was nothing for them to lose.  Alroustom described in his interview a city called Homs where he and his family lived before the war.
Located in west central Syria it was one of the first places to join the rebellion against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and it was commonly the site of mass anti-government demonstrations as passive protests were replaced by armed revolt once the country descended into civil war.  When Alroustom and his family would return home after bombings, he said they would find shattered windows and blasted walls, until the toll was so great they decided to leave.  The stayed with relatives in two other places, but those neighborhoods also came under fire.
It’s stories like Alroustom’s that may have prompted a national network for college students founded last year called Students Organize for Syria (SOS) featured in a September 16, 2015 article for USA Today to spring into action taking, the refugee crisis as a call to arms to reinvigorate their campaign to raise awareness about the plight of Syrians and the need to assist them in their quest for a free Syria, according to the article.

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Moreover, the article states that SOS plans to partner with a program called Paper Airplanes this fall, which lets college students tutor Syrians in English via Skype.  The program aims to help Syrians pursue a secondary education in the U.S., Turkey, Europe and more.  If CCC college students would like to get involved log onto http://organize4syria.com/ and click “Get Involved.”