Archive | February, 2009

Fashion Ninja in Third Ward brings fashion design to Milwaukee

Posted on 24 February 2009 by Amy Wilson

The best part of Marquette’s location being near downtown Milwaukee is all of the hidden treasures that can be found when you are least looking. The Fashion Ninja in the Third Ward is one of these treasures.

The Fashion Ninja is located on Plankinton in the Indie Fashion Market just before St.Paul. At first glance, it looks like an ordinary fashion store. There are designer pieces for sale in the front of the store. There are small batches that are made some are even limited to only a dozen pieces. These pieces are sold from the founder of Fashion Ninja, Arika Ikeler, but can also be found online. In the back of store is where classes are held.

According to the school’s Web site, “‘The Fashion Ninja School of Sewing and Design’ was founded by Arika Ikeler in 2003. Since the school has grown into a supportive sewing and design community for individuals interested in learning more about Fashion Design. Arika is the fashion designer who helps others learn about fashion design. She instructs specifically tailored advice and strategies to encourage her students to execute their own design ideas successfully.”

Arika is the only instructor at Fashion Ninja. There are 2 classes, a beginning and an intermediate level class. The classes cost $385 for an 8 hour class. The beginner’s level course is called Introduction to Clothing Construction. This class requires no prior experience, and offers the basics of clothing construction in one day. The objective is to learn how to operate a sewing machine, create successful seams, adjust machine controls, change the needle, and learn how to engineer clothing. This class provides a solid foundation in building upper body garments, pattern development, textiles, and types of seams, seam finishes, sleeve installation, best construction order, quality engineering, and the creativity in fashion design. Sewing machines are available for students to use. The intermediate level course is The Art of Fashion Draping and involves the fundamentals of draping a design on a dress form, making a pattern from the draped design, and construction techniques, stressing the importance of proper fit, sizing a design, and craftsmanship.

The next two classes are March 27 & 28, Construction and Draping respectively. In April,Construction is the 24th and Draping is on the 25th. For more information go to or stop by or even call.

by Amy Wilson
[email protected]

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ArchBishop Listecki speaks out on sex ed, abortion and Marquette’s Catholic identity

Posted on 24 February 2009 by Adam Ryback

The Warrior staff sat down with Milwaukee’s new Archbishop, Jerome Listecki. Listecki is replacing the ever-popular Archbishop Dolan, who was appointed Archbishop of New York. Listecki, a Chicago native, was an auxiliary bishop there until he was appointed to the Diocese of La Crosse. The new Archbishop appears to be a very kind and amicable man but at the same time an ardent defender of the Faith Given it is not the place of the laity to judge him, the Archbishop was quick and ready to respond to all of the questions we gave him.

Q: Could you give us a list of your top five priorities in Milwaukee?
A. Top five priorities in Milwaukee… I don’t have a top five, but I have a top priority. My priority, and I think I share this with every bishop who occupies the position, [is] that literally I would consider myself successful as an archbishop in terms of my leadership if I help people to grow in holiness. Because everything we do is rooted in that, holiness. That is the vocation that all of us are called to, whether you’re priests or religious or lay or married or whatever, you’re called to a vocation of holiness. And if I don’t understand that as my single priority, then I really shouldn’t be occupying the position. So basically it’s a call to holiness. Now within that context of course I have certain obligations to do: I want to grow vocations to the priesthood and religious life, I want to make our schools strong, I want to help our social issues, you know I know that within the urban area you’re talking about 26.6 [percent] unemployment. All those things I want to address, I want to do in the context of religious leadership. But everything has to be seen as helping us build to that aspect of holiness. You know, I don’t know what your ultimate goals are in life, but your ultimate, ultimate goal should be to be with our Lord in Heaven. That’s what it is. And that’s the ultimate, ultimate goal for all of us here.

Q: What are your thoughts on Wisconsin’s new bill, which mandates that schools which teach sex education must teach students to use contraceptives?
A: Well I think the bill from my perspective is missing something, it’s missing that the primary educator of children are basically their parents and sometimes when there is a usurpation on the part [of parents] the government says, “Well, we know best.” Without the consultation of the local communities, without the consultation of parents, you know then suddenly you’ve taken away something which is basically a natural right that parents have. The second thing is as a religious leader, especially as a Catholic leader, I’m disturbed by the fact that educators would say this is the only way to be able to teach sex education, and sex education without values is just [license?]. It doesn’t have the respect [of] the dignity of the person, it doesn’t necessarily have those things. There’s kind of an inherent aspect well, kids are going to do this so therefore we should just make sure… I have a little more respect for our kids than that. So I would hope that educators would come to understand it could be approached in different ways, supported by the community in different manners, and pull in the parents who are primary educators to understand that.

Former Archbishop Weakland has been a lightning rod on many issues in this archdiocese for years, ranging from his payment of hush money to a former lover, to his responses to child sexual assault by priests, to his writing of a book that celebrates his homosexuality. Many Catholics believe he has brought scandal to the faithful, and are confused as to why he was permitted to be a concelebrant at your installation Mass. By allowing Weakland to be so publicly on display in this archdiocese, are you not advancing his agenda and continuing to confuse Catholics in this archdiocese?
A: No, I hope not. My predecessor was not Archbishop Weakland, my predecessor was Archbishop Dolan. People who want to [jump over, leapfrog,] and go back because of some hurtful issues they’ve experienced, as far as being, you say, allowed. He is the former, if you want to say for better or for worse, he is the former Archbishop of Milwaukee, so his presence there would have been conspicuous whether he was there or he wasn’t there. So basically he was there. But hopefully people are concentrating on this being a new moment in relationship to Archbishop Dolan, and those who want to pull it back I think they do a disservice to Archbishop Dolan, they’re kind of saying like he wasn’t here for 6 years. Well, I’ve been to about 7 communities right now, and I can tell you archbishop Dolan has been here, and his relationship to the community and to the people is such where they have a great sense of…they loved him, they loved his persona. And that’s basically what I’m following, that’s what I’m building. And there is, as far as the agenda, I have one agenda and that agenda is to follow the church and be faithful to the church. And that’s in all of the teachings of the church, every aspect of it.

Q: What would your response be if Marquette University followed the example of Notre Dame and awarded Obama, who is publicly pro-abortion, an honorary degree at the commencement ceremonies in May?
A: Well first of all, I hope and I’ve said this already on the Charlie Sykes show, I think Father Wild would be too smart. I want to hear back from both of you to tell me that this Jesuit priest would not be smart enough to understand he should consult with the local ordinary before inviting and giving a platform to somebody. Now you tell me, do you think that Father Wild would be that ignorant of that fact that he would do that?

“I am not sure.”

-You’re not sure, how about you?

“Not sure.”

You’re not sure? Well I have a little more confidence in him than that. I would think he would consult. And that issue was… that’s exactly what happened. That Notre Dame decided as if they were an independent entity, you know that didn’t have any responsibility to anyone. This is church and you’re in communion when you’re in church, it means you’re in a relationship and the position of the bishop if you study your theology and study your ecclesiology that the position of the bishop is like literally representing one of the 12 apostles, the call of the apostolic succession is found there. So you know it’s very hard when an institution is so large like Notre Dame, obviously Marquette shares in that situation, where it sees itself apart from the relationship of its own identity, where it belongs, that there’s a problem and in the Notre Dame situation there was that problem, they did not consult with basically the local ordinary, the common courtesy to talk to them about what would that do to the community, what would that represent? It flew in the face of the USCCB (US Conference of Catholic Bishops), who said you don’t give platforms to individuals who have contrary positions or honors to contrary positions. So both Cardinal George as well as Bishop D’Arcy spoke against that. My letter was in support of that because very basically it was[in] support of that communion that should exist and that has to exist if we’re going to represent ourselves as the Church. I would want to believe having met Father Wild that he seems like a fine man, that he would do that, that he would call me up and say this is what’s going to happen. “Listen, Archbishop, what do you think?” Sit down and we’d talk.

Q: How would you rate Marquette University as a Catholic institution of higher learning on a scale of 1-10 and why?
A: As an institution of higher learning, it’s one of the most noted universities. As far as Catholicity, that aspect has to be dealt with in terms of both an internal perspective as well as an external perspective. I can tell you that having come from the communities in Chicago, Marquette is sought after as a place to go. Obviously Chicago has a number of Jesuit institutions, St. Ignatius, Loyola Academy, that literally draw a number of students. Now I bet even some of your classmates are Chicagoans or from the Chicago archdiocese. The Jesuits are noted for their commitment to academic excellence. Marquette shares in that tradition as a Jesuit institution. But when I said, you have to take a look at externally and internally at the Catholicity that means that, I don’t know Marquette well enough to see internally how it adheres to Catholic identity, and how they make that Catholic identity known, but that’s why I hesitate to give you an answer on a 1-10, because it would be an ignorant answer. I could tell you externally it’s obviously looked upon as a Catholic institution, and I know there have been difficulties in the past with some faculty members who’ve maintained positions that challenged that. It’s an external and an internal question that basically has to be answered. And I probably could answer that better for you in 3 years than I can today, because I’m basically coming here just giving you my sense of Marquette

The Archbishop provided complete answers to each question we threw at him. He seems to be up front and honest with all his answers, merely hoping to impart the truth to his flock. Milwaukee could not have asked for a better Archbishop. Listecki seems poised to do great things for Milwaukee. His concern lies not with the passing things of this world but with the enduring things of the next, making his priority the faithful’s growth in holiness. We ask a lot from a new archbishop but trust that we’ll receive a great deal more than we expected. May God bless him in all his work.

by Adam Ryback
[email protected]

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Taking their tea and drinking it too

Posted on 24 February 2009 by Andrew Marshall

As both the Democrats and Republicans position themselves for the November congressional elections, the tea party movement has become an increasingly visible and discussed force in American politics. In communities across the country, citizens have organized to oppose President Obama’s big government policies. Some within the liberal intelligentsia initially dismissed the tea partiers as “astroturf,” little more than a populist facade for established, well-funded organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works. However, as the tea party movement continues to develop, both its supporters and opponents have come to realize that it largely lacks a central leadership, a unified direction, and a specific political program. Tea partiers strongly oppose the bank and auto bailouts, the economic stimulus bills, and Obamacare, but what exactly they support remains in question.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has emerged as a hero to many tea partiers, but her speech at the national convention for Tea Party Nation, one of the new tea party organizations, revealed the underlying tensions which threaten the movement’s cohesion. Rather than focusing on the economic issues which unite all tea party activists, Governor Palin began her speech by viciously attacking the Democratic record on national security and calling for strict sanctions against Iran.

To many in the media, Sarah Palin represents the official tea party ideology and speaks for everyone associated with the movement. In this inaccurate picture, all tea party activists strongly oppose government intervention in the marketplace, support the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well as a hostile posture toward Iran, support the PATRIOT Act and other terrorism-related curbs on civil liberties, and oppose gay marriage at all costs. This Palin-centric tea party looks like little more than George W. Bush compassionate conservatives who dropped the compassion in exchange for the desire to actually cut government spending.

Contrary to the media storyline, neither the Republican Party nor conservatives like Governor Palin have a lock on the tea party movement. She admitted as much in her speech, proclaiming that the tea party movement needed no single leader and that the Republican Party would do well to heed their concerns. Last November, the tea partiers may have cost the Republicans a victory in a New York special election for a safe Republican seat by rallying around the Conservative Party’s standard bearer instead of the liberal Republican nominee.
The media also tends to ignore or downplay the role libertarians play within the tea party movement. The anti-government populism and grassroots energy of Congressman Ron Paul’s libertarian supporters in the 2008 presidential race in many ways laid the groundwork for this new movement. Libertarians and libertarian organizations, including the Libertarian Party, remain active in many tea party groups, and signs endorsing Paul’s call for a full audit of the Federal Reserve are ubiquitous at rallies. Although a minority within the movement, libertarians form a vital part of the emerging coalition which may doom the congressional Democratic majorities in the fall.

Yet, the tea party libertarians don’t seem to get much attention because they challenge the prevailing narrative which portrays tea partiers as really ticked off social conservatives who don’t want to pay taxes. Unlike the Palin wing, libertarians remain skeptical about using American military might abroad, generally oppose to American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and stand against escalating tensions with Iran. Libertarians also defend civil liberties against government infringement in the name of fighting terrorism and tend to support gay marriage or even the disestablishment of government marriage altogether.

These basic belief differences between the Palin and Paul elements within the tea party coalition threaten to weaken its political power through infighting. The Texas Republican primaries appear to be ground zero in the battle for the tea party’s future direction. Despite his role in encouraging anti-government activism, Congressman Paul himself faces three Republican challengers, all connected to the tea party movement and opposed to his non-interventionist foreign policy views.

In the Texas Republican gubernatorial primary, Sarah Palin endorsed incumbent Governor Rick Perry in his primary fight against more moderate Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson. In recent weeks, though, former county Republican chairwoman Debra Medina has become the face of the tea party libertarians. Medina has rocketed in the polls, going from four percent to twenty-four percent after her participation in two televised debates. With only Ron Paul’s endorsement and the hard work of many tea party activists, Medina has enough support to deny any candidate a majority and so force a runoff and may have even surge past Hutchinson to face Perry in that runoff election.

By moving away from the movement’s original focus on economic freedom, Governor Palin and other social conservatives risk driving libertarians out of the tea party coalition. Instead, conservatives should work with libertarians whenever possible to elect favorable candidates. Indeed, Governor Palin showed the way in this regard by endorsing Rand Paul, Congressman Paul’s son, in the Kentucky Senate Republican primary instead of the Republican establishment candidate. The tea partiers can best bring about change in Washington by clearly and consistently opposing the Democratic economic agenda and instead supporting pro-market policies. For both libertarians and conservatives, a Republican Congress united on economic issues but with diverse views on foreign policy and civil liberties would be a welcome change to the present Democratic majority.

by Andrew Marshall
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Tebow advertisement is worth it

Posted on 24 February 2009 by Joanna Parkes

If you left a pile of homework to watch the Superbowl, then you most likely saw the Tim Tebow commercial
that everyone has been talking about. Seemingly a media focus more before the Superbowl than after.
Now, after the fact, one might wonder if the ad made enough impact and fulfilled its original goal.

In fact, the original goal of Focus on the Family was to deliver a pro-life and pro-family message to the 90 million people gathered in their respective homes to watch the game, many of them families. Directly
from their website, Focus on the Family pinpointed their goal in the following statement: “We aren’t trying to sell the American people a new phone, a new soft drink or a new car. We want to offer them renewed hope, so that they can thrive in their marriage and parenting relationships.” So did the commercial really do all of that?

A great many people were expecting a far more controversial airing from the producer. The commercial itself, which can be seen on Focus on the Family’s website, YouTube and many other sites, came across as a very sweet and simple conversation between Tim and his mother, Pam, aided by a little narration. The intended
message was one of pro-life and pro-family values. That being said, unless one knew the story of Tim Tebow, the subtle message would be just that- subtle.

The real essence of the matter was how Pam Tebow continued through her pregnancy with Tim, although
advised by doctors to have an abortion for sake of her own health. She then raised him and he went on to be a sophomore Heisman Trophy winner and college football star. What other future ‘greats’ like him are at risk then, for being aborted before ever having a chance at life? But this is the Superbowl; how dare we mention the ‘A’ word during such an event.

So after all the activity and chatter over the commercial, it seemingly did not fulfill its goal. Yet, as Jamelle Hill, an analyst for ESPN stated, “I don’t care if you’re pro-choice or pro-life, conservative or liberal, God-fearing or atheist, you’ve got to admire Tebow for standing with conviction, even as he’s opening himself and his family up to criticism.” At the very least, give Tebow credit for standing up for something, as subtle as it might be.

by Joanna Parkes
[email protected]

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Mission Accomplished? Does Mission Week complete its mission to challenge students?

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Thomas Klind

At Marquette University, mission is everything. Mission is, or should be, the reason behind every major decision made by every office on campus. It is, and should be, what drives this University to become the very best that it can be. Especially this time of year, mission takes on a new meaning. It transcends the ambiguous and becomes a concrete reality in the form a week geared towards celebrating what it means to be Marquette University.

Every year, Mission Week offers Marquette administrators, faculty, staff, students and members of the Milwaukee community a chance to evaluate the meaning and impact of Marquette’s mission on the world around us. It allows the abstractness of “mission” to take on a more practical and vocalized meaning, and in doing so, allows this Mission Week to motivate students in a special and unique way. Past Mission Weeks have included a wide diversity of speakers from a variety of different backgrounds, mostly centered on social justice issues.

This year, the many Mission Week activities seemed to focus on enriching student’s minds with diverse perspectives, and providing programs and lectures whose intent was ethical decision-making and acknowledgement of one’s impact on others. iAct, the theme of this year’s Mission Week, implies that students play a very active role in the definition and formation of Marquette’s mission on a daily basis.

According to Rev. Douglas Leonhardt S.J., of Marquette’s Office of Mission and Identity, “The Mission of Marquette as a Catholic Jesuit University is what gives us our deepest identity. Stepping back and focusing on our mission can make us more aware of what really defines us as Marquette.”

One major challenge to the continued success of Mission Week is keeping it fresh and dynamic. To counter this, Leonhardt says, “Mission Week gets tweaked each year so that the activities and programs stay fresh, attract more participants, and help people reflect on the pillars of: faith, excellence, leadership and service. Each year the planning committee has many new members from the student body, faculty, administrators and staff, so new ideas emerge.” Leonhardt continued to say that he hopes that all students are able to take advantage of Mission Week events, as it is a very special time for the University as a whole.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, was poised, seemed well spoken (although the whole speech was translated), and had a very direct message for the Marquette community. To Mara Branli, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, “it was really pretty simple for me: she is not afraid to dream…but she is truthful in that our dreams cannot stay in our imaginations, we must bring them into reality through action.”

For freshman Scott Luke, College of Business, “I think it was really neat to witness a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. It is always interesting to hear someone not native to the U.S. give a perspective of what other nations globally think of the U.S. and its policies. Dr. Ebadi had a great message and profound messages about Islam and human rights.”

Those who were in attendance seemed truly interested and open to what Ebadi was saying, however due to the reactions of many in attendance it seemed that the opinions of the crowd were congruent with those of the speaker. Perhaps this is another reason why a wider variety of student tickets should have been made available, to ensure a greater diversity of students. An event attended by just as many, if not more, middle-aged attendees as students does not provide members of the Marquette student body with the opportunity to learn, or be exposed to new ideas. In fact, the erupting applause and standing ovation that occurred after her praise of President Obama demonstrated that many in the audience really enjoyed having their own personal beliefs ratified.

Whatever one’s personal political stance or viewpoint of Ebadi is, it is hard to deny her ability to inspire. One particularly touching moment was when Ebadi exclaimed, “Non-Democratic Islamic governments don’t hold the key to Heaven; suicidal operations will not take you to Heaven. The framework of Democracy is human rights laws… [and] weapons such as religion and ideology should not be in the hands of the government.” Her sentiment echoed through the room as her translator relayed the message to everyone in the ballrooms, and it became evident that no matter how negatively she views the previous U.S. administration, Ebadi is truly passionate for human rights.

One disappointing feature of the event is that Ebadi did not stick around for a panel discussion or question and answer segment following her keynote. It would have been interesting to hear her publically expand on her wide political stance on some of her more polarizing views, especially those towards the former President Bush and U.S. intervention abroad. Regardless, a successful Mission Week needs a successful keynote speaker, and has been the case in the past, the keynote did not fail to get people talking.

One problem this year’s Mission Week faced is that many students were unable to attend the Mission Week keynote, either due to the time it was planned for, or poor ticket distribution schemes. Either way, Mission Week continues to be evaluated, that it might be implemented better next year. A few suggestions have been raised for improving Mission Week here at Marquette by students, staff and faculty alike.

In evaluating Mission Week as a whole, Leonhardt says, “There are the two major events of Mission Week, the Mass on Sunday and the keynote speaker, which are always well attended. But some of the other events during the week, which are well planned, but poorly attended, need evaluation.” In reference to these events, Leonhardt reflects, “perhaps they need to be changed or dropped entirely. We do an evaluation after Mission Week each year, during which we ask questions about numbers attending and whether they accomplished their goal of bringing people together and focusing on a particular aspect of our mission.”

Many people noticed a discrepancy between the amounts of faculty, staff and administrators present and the number of students. In a random polling it was concluded that, for the vast majority of students, the time of the event was the major deterrent.

Mike Hennicke, a junior in the College of Education, said of Mission Week, “I went to the last Mission Week speaker. Sadly, I would have loved to go [this year], but 4 p.m. on a Thursday? I had class and a meeting.” Scheduling was the issue for seniors Brandon Rindfleisch, Arts & Sciences, and Greg Shutters, Communication, as well as many others who had prior academic commitments that afternoon.

Further, many students are not fully aware of what Mission Week is. They know that there is something outside of the ordinary going on, but never take the initiative to learn more. The Mission Week planning committee also faces the challenge of raising awareness and interest among the student body.

The challenge of an event such as Mission Week is to ask members of the Marquette community, what does “mission” mean to your identity? At a Catholic University, the question changes slightly: What does “mission” mean to my relationship with Christ? This challenge to students and faculty stands as a constant reminder of a lesson learned by many at a Tuesday night 10 p.m. Mass two years ago. When showing off the beauty of the chapel one night, Rev. John Naus S.J. pointed to the arm-less Jesus (lost during a bombing in WWII), which hangs on the back wall of the St. Joan of Arc Chapel. According to Fr. Naus, “we are all called to be the arms of Christ reaching out to the Marquette community, to those who need us.”

Perhaps rather than searching out a great keynote speaker, we need only look to the people we have right here at Marquette to learn something about being men and women for others. After all, what would Mission Week be if it were simply one week? Mission Week, at Marquette, should be every week.

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Yes, Paid sick days promote strong families and strong businesses

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Jason Ardanowski

According to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), the leading opponent of Milwaukee’s paid sick day leave, “This mandate will make the City of Milwaukee an island of regulation.” Unless you are one of those who believe regulation is bad on principle – except when it ensures the purity of your drinking water, the safety of your streets and the unadulterated efficacy of your medicines – then the MMAC-filed injunction against the implementation of paid sick days is absurd.
Paid sick days fulfill our better impulses of promoting strong businesses and stronger families in the city of Milwaukee. We need to ensure that the 47% of private sector workers and the 75% of low-wage workers (those making less than $10/hour) can have the access to medical care for themselves and their loved ones that the more affluent workers in this city already enjoy. No one should have to make a forced choice between working while sick and seeking necessary medical care. Those of us at Marquette who enjoy good health most of the time should be generous, not stingy, with our privilege.

We have directed much of the attention around public health in the United States to the care and treatment of chronic disorders before they turn into something worse. The paid sick day ordinance is a concrete step towards putting our laws in line with our words. It enables a mother to take her son, who has a toothache, to the dentist for treatment, instead of her son contracting a gum infection and needing the tooth extracted. It allows a pregnant woman to take time off in the first and second trimesters to secure adequate prenatal care. It gives a man who works on a construction site, exposed to the elements, time off when he catches a nasty head cold from Wisconsin’s variable weather. When he decides to “tough it out” and keep working for lack of paid leave, the head cold can turn into bronchitis or pneumonia, requiring hospitalization and further costs (often borne by Badger Care, thus indirectly by our tax dollars).

In addition, businesses have every reason to support paid sick leave: who wants to transact business with sick employees? Low-wage workers are disproportionately in the food-service and janitorial industries. Do we want sick people preparing and serving our McNuggets? Do we want to step into a hotel room when the person who cleaned it had a hacking cough? Of course not! Only the ignorant among us would be indifferent to such things. The health and safety of fellow employees and the general public is on the line for businesses whose lack of sick leave compels people to work when they are feeling ill. We should not play roulette with our own health because of the short-sighted profit-seeking policies of a few local businesses.

When the Journal Sentinel endorsed the paid sick leave referendum on October 22, 2008 – a referendum, mind you, that passed with 69% of the vote, greater than the two-thirds majority required to override a Presidential veto – staff writer Ellen Bravo quoted a McDonald’s manager who said, “I’ve lost so many good employees because they didn’t have paid sick days.” A similar measure in San Francisco has markedly reduced employee turnover without any significant deterioration in economic growth. Better-informed, longer-tenured employees are generally happier and more productive, and firms can spend less money on recruiting and training new employees. The paid sick leave measure is a winning bargain for everybody in Milwaukee, whether you are at the bottom, the top or somewhere in the middle of the economic ladder.

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No, Milwaukee’s paid sick leave ordinance will hurt employers and employees

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Adam Ryback

Milwaukee’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance was supposed to take effect on February 10, 2009, after being enacted via a referendum. The ordinance states that employers must offer one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours of work, although not more than seventy-two hours for one year. However, smaller businesses shall only be required to pay for forty hours of sick leave a year.

At first, this bill looks harmless. In fact, it is very reasonable that people should have paid sick leave. But we have to remember that these are no longer the times of Teddy Roosevelt and Fighting Bob LaFollette. Working conditions are very good. People are no longer waking up at five in the morning and getting home at nine like my grandfather did.They’re going to work at nine and going home at five. The workplace is safer and more sanitary than it has been in the past. Yet, some people want to go far beyond any reasonable compromise and take nine days of sick leave every year.

Those in favor of the ordinance say that employers will actually benefit from the ordinance. But according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 99.9% of employers were against it. If the ordinance were in favor of employers, you would think that at least a few employers would be in favor of it. But most employers know that if paid sick leave is offered for nine days out of the year, people will take sick leave for nine days out of the year no matter how minuscule their sickness. It’s called human nature. The paid sick days should really be referred to as paid vacation days.

You really know there must be something wrong with the ordinance when the single largest employer in the nation, the government, is excluded from offering paid sick leave, not that the majority of government workers do not have enough benefits as it is. This ordinance excludes all government workers at the federal, state and local level.

Furthermore, small businesses will undoubtedly be hurt the most by this ordinance. It is true that the bill does make exceptions for them, but small businesses will still be harmed. This becomes even more relevant in light of the fact that many small businesses are facing extinction.

Among other things this ordinance was meant to prevent employees from being fired for taking days off to take care of medical issues for themselves or family members. Quite frankly, in economic times like these, if employers have to give paid sick leave for nine days out of the year, the businesses will have to cut jobs anyways. In fact, employers have already let go a lot of people because the economy is so bad.

Moreover, it is possible that some businesses may just get up and move to a neighboring suburb. Not to mention that companies will be unwilling to start up in Milwaukee. What does that mean? Job growth will take a drastic downturn. Many of those people who were so adamant about getting paid sick leave will have all the time off they want.

So while more employees get laid off and companies go out of business, voters in Milwaukee can remember why the founders of our nation were so frightened of a direct democracy where the electorate voted on the issues and why they chose to establish a representative democracy.

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Mission Week speaker disappoints

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Robert Christensen

Last week Marquette once again hosted its Mission Week entitled; iAct: Consequences of Faith. Throughout the course of the week the University hosted a variety of different events and speeches designed to promote St. Ignatius of Loyola’s philosophy that, “Love is found more in deeds than in words.”

This is an idea that certainly needs to be taught; particularly at a Jesuit institution, and over the past four years I believe each Mission Week has done an excellent job educating us on how we must act to correct the injustices throughout the world. I particularly enjoyed the panel last year on “War, Peace, and People of Faith.” The different perspectives helped the audience better understand the concept of “just war” as well as the relationship between faith and justice. Unfortunately I did not believe this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, provided the same insight into this year’s theme or the importance of faith.

The beginning of her speech was extremely interesting, especially when she discussed how winning elections does not guarantee democracy, and emphasized how the elected majority must maintain a framework of human rights laws in order for democracy to flourish. But following these insights Dr. Ebadi quickly decided to delve into politics, congratulating the audience on the election of President Obama and his closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. She then proceeded to state how the United States government violated civil rights following September 11, and explained how the War in Iraq was only about oil.

Even if you agreed with her statements you should be disappointed, just as I would have been if another speaker had decided to digress from his or her speech topic to defend the actions of former President Georgea W. Bush. A university should be a free marketplace for ideas but there is a time and a place for certain ideas to be shared. If Dr. Ebadi had been asked to come and speak at Marquette by a student organization or for a lecture series hosted by one of the colleges her comments would have been appropriate. Mission Week simply was not the forum for these political comments.

Rather the Mission Week keynote speaker should devote his or her speech to the theme of the week. His or her goal should be to show the audience how their faith can be a catalyst for action; how each individual can and should be a champion for justice. Dr. Ebadi had experienced a life full of injustice that she could have shared with the audience; truly demonstrating the “consequences of faith.” It is unfortunate she decided not to take advantage of this opportunity.

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Progress begins with INtolerance

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Nick Preston

Today, we are all under a relentless and unwavering attack by society as it tries to force feed us tolerance of just about everything. Tolerance, as viewed by society, is the pinnacle of cultural progress in our modern world. To see this, simply turn on MTV and watch shows like “The Real World.” The show is filled with drama, fighting and back-stabbing as people from many different backgrounds and sexual orientations all try to ‘tolerate’ each other. Society tries to tell us that, just like on “The Real World,” tolerance of each other is the best way for us to get along and progress as a society.

This is where society is dead wrong. Tolerance never got anybody anywhere. It is basically a sugar-coated way of saying “I’m right, but I don’t have the guts to prove you wrong.” Moreover, it is an admission of a lack of faith in yourself, as you tell yourself that there is a chance that you are wrong. If you are certain that you possess the truth, then you actually owe it to others to show them so. You have an ethical obligation to do everything reasonably possible to ensure that the truth becomes known to all.

If society wants true progress, or “change,” then what it should really be preaching is INtolerance.Not intolerance in the sense that you disrespect, hate or hurt others, but in the sense that you refuse to settle for anything less than the truth. Intolerance strives for a universal truth agreed upon by both parties; a much more pragmatic situation then just agreeing to disagree. Consider this: if tolerance was the root of Dr. Martin Luther King’s message, then we all would still hold prejudices towards each other, but would be in agreement not to say so to each other’s face. If Nelson Mandela was not intolerant, he would have been fine with the system of governance in which blacks and whites “tolerate” each other but were just kept separated. No, these gentlemen were extremely intolerant of racial injustice. As a result, the problem of racism is not just being painted over, but is being attacked at its roots so that everyone sees THE truth instead of just their own version of the truth.
Here at Marquette, we can emulate the power houses of intolerance that I mentioned above and refuse to tolerate the many injustices that are present in our society. We may not experience the same injustices that our forefathers did, but the Milwaukee community certainly has its share of injustice. For example, there is a division of Planned Parenthood just past Mashuda on Wisconsin Avenue, and we have all witnessed people asking for a bite to eat as we walk to class.

While we cannot all be Dr. Martin Luther Kings or Nelson Mandelas, we can all strive to embody their healthy intolerance. We can open our eyes to what is going on around us and through our democratic system we can refuse to support those who wish to tolerate or even further these injustices. Yes, there is hope for a better future, one which has truly progressed beyond primitive tolerance, but this will only be possible if we start today by living and breathing intolerance for the wrongs of this world.

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America owes Mexico support

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Austin Wozniak

The CIA does not often consider criminal enterprise a grave threat to the National Security of the United States. In fact, the average criminal organization only poses a threat confined to the neighborhoods in which it operates and projects influence. In the southern United States however, and particularly in Mexico, organized crime poses what the CIA calls the second most serious threat to National Security, trailing only behind Al Qaida.

The drug trafficking cartels have established themselves as some of the most violent organizations on earth, using scare tactics more commonly associated with the Middle East war zones then North America. In one Mexican border village, the police chief’s head was found in a bucket of ice outside the police department, and many local and federal cops have been assassinated or paid off. The simple fact is that Mexico does not have the cash to pay and equip its law enforcement personnel as well as the drug cartels can. Estimates vary, but the average guess is that $25 billion found its way from the U.S. to Mexican cartels in the past year, allowing the cartels to offer ‘wages’ unmatchable by legitimate authorities. Recent arrests have shown that the cartels are using former military members, including ex Special Forces types with formal paramilitary training, to combat Mexican authorities. The allure of higher wages caused some 17,000 Mexican soldiers to desert in the past year, according to a recent news article from Fox News. The Wall Street Journal reports that police are attacked with an array of weaponry including M-4 assault rifles, fragmentation grenades, anti-personnel mines, rocket propelled grenades and .50 caliber sniper rifles, all wielded by military trained cartel members with body armor and night vision goggles. The situation on our southern border is perilous, and has caused both the CIA and the State Department to question the stability of the Mexican government.
Those members of the Mexican military and law enforcement establishments who have maintained their loyalty to the state of Mexico deserve respect and admiration for the risks they take to fulfill their duties. However, the U.S. would do well to offer more than kind words of praise for their efforts. There are four steps that should be taken to combat this problem.

First, the U.S. should use the National Guard to augment the Border Patrol and seal more of the gaps along the border. Unmanned drones and infrared technology can also be employed in much greater frequency to detect illegal activity and to allow precision responses to border violations. This would help contain the problem of both drugs and illegal immigration.

Second, the U.S. must show more concern for the smuggling of contraband into Mexico. It is absurdly easy to smuggle things out of the U.S. – according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), 7,700 weapons, not to mention billions in cash were smuggled over the border last year. The border is a two way street, and it is time that this fact was reflected at border crossings. Doing so will help to curb the flow of guns and cash to the cartel and it is America’s responsibility as an ally and good neighbor to do so.

Third, the U.S. should use offer more fiscal assistance directly to certain factions of the Mexican government. The money can be used to fund the recruitment of loyal troops and police officers inside the Mexican government and can also improve training and conditions for troops already in service. It could also be used to better equip the police and soldiers in the region. Obviously ex-Special Forces members armed with American military quality equipment can overwhelm cops armed with a sidearm and a shotgun. It would hardly be a drain on U.S. resources as every battle won in Mexico is one that does not have to be fought on the U.S. side of the border.
Fourth, the U.S. has to get serious about using the Justice system to punish drug users as well as drug dealers. As long as there is a demand for drugs, someone will supply them. The drug cartels are responding to the demand created here at home. If drug use carried mandatory sentences recreational use would decline. As a general rule of thumb, first time drug use offenders should be subject to 200 hours of community service wearing distinctive clothing. Repeat offenders would be subject to jail terms and mandatory attendance in rehabilitation. Building prisons would also fold nicely into President Obama’s infrastructure construction based stimulus plan. Combatting drug use could ultimately be the most effective means to reducing the violence in Mexico in the long run, and the most cost effective for the U.S. as it is the government that ends up footing the bill for enforcement and much of the rehabilitation costs.

The bottom line is that Mexico is doing its best to fight an evil and ruthless organization within its borders, and like the insurgency in Iraq, it is a largely faceless enemy that hides among the people. The cartels have committed outrage after outrage against the population and the police in particular deserve the support of the United States, because ultimately it is American citizens and their demand for drugs that is financing and extenuating the problems south of our border. It is the duty of this country to help a struggling ally clean up the mess that some disreputable American citizens are generating.

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