Obama Unveils America that is Built to Last in State of the Union

Obama at State of the Union Address 2012

Obama speaking at 2012 State of the Union Address

Written by: Nick Mingay

WASHINGTON – President Obama gave his State of the Union Address in Washington Tuesday in which he promised to pass legislation to help America continue its recovery, even in an election year.

At a time when the nation is enamured with the Republican Caucuses, a Newt and a Mitt, Obama had his shot to make a pitch to the American electorate and jump start his campaign for reelection. He began by focusing on the troops coming home and the end of Osama Bin Laden, his two biggest accomplishments since becoming President.

Throughout the speech, Obama emphasized the need to work together within Washington. He recognized the frustration Americans had over routine task such as the debt ceiling increase. Obama made it clear he was willing to play ball with either side of the aisle if it helped the country.

“As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum,” Obama said.

Obama also pinpointed the tax code as a major issue in 2012. His major attack was on those companies who outsource jobs to other countries. Obama said he would have those companies take a tax deduction to subsidies others bringing jobs back to American soil.

“From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax,” Obama said. “And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America.”

Later in the speech, Obama spoke on growing small businesses by expanded the tax relief to them. He also proposed getting rid of regulations that hinder entrepreneurs from starting their own business. These factors would allow small businesses to gain a foothold in the market and create more competition amongst established companies.

Obama also touched on how Americas reliance on foreign oil. The Keystone XL Pipeline was an obvious setback for this, but Obama laid out other avenues that could help domestic energy production.

He mentioned using hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking,  to collect natural gas as one way to help alleviate America’s crutch on foreign oil. There has been some debate about the detriment hydrofracking has on communities close to the operation because some companies have used diesel fuel in the process. Obama wanted to stop this from expanded into a bigger issue by stating that he will require those involved in hydrofracking to disclose the materials in the solution they use.

Obama finished his speech by noting again that the world will no longer have to worry about Bin Laden terrorizing a nation or about American troops in Iraq in 2012. This was the jumping off point for his reelection campaign. We can only wait to see if Obama’s charisma and political platform will carry him to another presidential election.

Our forefathers wouldn’t be too happy.

By: Stacy Liberatore

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Freedom of speech is the first amendment in The United States Constitution. Blood has been shed to keep this and the other amendments sacred.  One could say it is written in black, white, and red.

The press has always been under the control of the wealthy and those of higher powers in the country, and because of this the public has lost its faith in the fact that the press will report the truth and nothing but the truth.  Reporting stories via the news has become a corrupt and secretive business.

The press was initially created to serve the people with issues about its nation and the world.  To inform us, warn us, and provide us with the truth.  In a democracy the news media’s role is like a watchdog, monitoring the government.  When the powers at be, control the information that is broadcasted to the public, it hinders that nation’s freedoms and weakens the relationship and trust between the public and the news media system.

But in today’s world we are bombarded with censored news from the media that we are told to trust.  Whether it is for the greater good of the people, or simply to benefit the government; with either reason, it is infringing our first amendment.  Censorship is a hand grenade of an accusation, and a writer should be serious before pulling the pin.

In September of 2006, it was said there was less than ten embedded journalists covering the war in Iraq, the public was outraged at this.  During the Vietnam War there were many more and they had the liberty of going where they wanted and covering any story they felt needed to be broadcasted.  The public is blaming the news networks for the lack of journalists on the war front, but in actuality the government only permits one embedded journalist for every 75,000 soldiers.  And in the long run, most journalists give up on their task due to the dangers that they face.  So in reality, fingers can be pointed in every direction; at government officials and the journalists themselves.

Free speech is what separates us from every other country in the world.  We, the United States have more freedoms than anyone else.  But the government tries to take away more and more, lit by little. Our founding fathers wrote the first amendment to give the people the right to speak up against the British without being punished.  Censorship is a complete contradiction to what our forefathers wanted for this nation.  If our first amendment is altered or worse removed entirely, what’s next? We might as well live in a communist country where we won’t have to think, because the government won’t allow it.  We might as well put a gag around the Statue of Liberty’s mouth, because that is the image we will be representing if censorship isn’t fought against.

Alcohol – The Forbidden Fruit

Written by: Michael Arnold

College and drinking. The words have almost become synonymous. We’ve all seen National Lampoons, Animal House. But in American colleges this sort of exaggerated lifestyle has become pervasive.

Animal House

National Lampoon's Animal House

How often are college kids drinking, and what are the real effects? Has the use of alcohol transformed from a casual party starter to an unhealthy way of life? In fact, it has.

Studies have shown that 31% of American college students currently meet the criteria for alcohol abuse. The consistent use of alcohol sustained for four years can easily become habitual and lead to alcoholism after college and throughout life.

The serious danger of alcohol abuse doesn’t only apply to the long-term. A 2009 study reported that 97,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-induced sexual assault or rape. A startlingly large figure that will only increase as college communities continue to embrace excessive alcohol consumption as a premier social hobby.

Despite schools’ exhaustive efforts, each new class of college freshmen extols binge drinking as the god of socializing. It is a reality that will never go away unless if one thing is changed – the drinking age. Although an irony, a lower drinking age will actually change the image of alcohol for many youths.

American universities are the only institutions that deal with the trouble of excessive on-campus drinking, because they exist in a country in which the legal drinking age is 21.

European universities don’t experience these problems because the culture forces youths to mature at a younger age. With a barely enforced legal drinking age of 18, France’s adolescents generally have their first experiences with alcohol well before the average American. By the extension of this fact, when they are of university age French youths tend to have already learned how to drink and how to behave with alcohol.

At the Cité Internationale Université de Paris, a large public college on the outskirts of Paris, binge drinking is virtually a non-issue. In fact, students are even permitted to drink publicly on-campus. This notion would be far-fetched to an average American student.

That’s because alcohol has become the forbidden fruit at American colleges. Binge drinking and excessive partying is not only fun because it alters one’s senses, but also because it is taking a risk and doing what’s against the rules. The result: churning out year after year of Americans damaged mentally and physically by years of excessive drinking.

If lawmaker’s would realize that a 21 drinking is not going to change college atmosphere’s, but actually continue to downgrade them, then perhaps there would be a noticeable change in the college party culture.

Bringing Ancient Vietnamese Art to America

After twenty years of pushing, Nancy Tingley, is finally entitled to celebrate. It all began in 1988, when the then curator of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco first travelled to Vietnam to borrow some of the country’s ancient art for an exhibition in America. It was a rather farfetched goal, considering the United States had a very general idea about Vietnam: America fought the country in a war.

Eventually, that pungent opinion settled down enough for the Asia Society Museum to announce the new exhibition:”Arts of Ancient Vietnam: From River Plain to Open Sea,” a gallery of ancient artifacts, preserved through the millennia.

Four-Hundred pound ritual drums, pounded from bronze by Dong Son artists exemplify the creative vitality of a country, which basically had it’s doors held open for visitors. The 2,000-mile coastline, in combination with a narrow interior – sometimes less than 40 miles across – has made Vietnam quite vulnerable throughout history.

Chinese influence, reflected by the metalwork, shifts with the rise of Fu Nan in the Mekong Delta. They brought a blend of Buddhist and Hindu teachings, which manifests in portrayals of Vishnu, Ganesha and Shiva, three highly adored hindu gods.


Ms. Tingley has brought the far corner of Southeast Asia to America, and the exhibition is an important step in the destruction of country boundaries, and the desegregation of culture in the world.

Fairfield Youth Sing of African-American History

Fairfield High School's African American Voices of Youth

Fairfield High School's African American Voices of Youth

History through Music: African American Creativity from Gospel to Hip-Hop” is set to celebrate Black History Month toward the end February. Damien Strecker, social studies teacher, and the organizational adviser for the group, articulates the significance of education in the community, and his commitment to ensure that it thrives. Strecker seizes an opportunity to showcase the talent of the student body, while simultaneously bringing more awareness to the significance of Black History Month, which contributes to the history of the United States. “There’s absolutely no way to truly understand the American experience unless you do get these other narratives,” he said.

The performance will first introduce the group as a whole unit before starting into the story of African-American heritage. Students narrate the significance of each style before they perform each piece, which does it’s part to carry the audience through the centuries of evolution experienced by African-Americans.

Influential Africa-Americans

This isn’t simply a performance, but a celebration. What was originally a history club has developed into a social service club. They have set aside their normal after-school history lessons and service projects, in order to prepare for the big event.

Make sure not to miss this historic celebration at the Performing Arts Center at Fairfield High School (8800 Holden Blvd.) at 7p.m. February, 25th.