Archive | Opinion

Obamacare, Birth Control and a Loss of Freedom

Posted on 01 June 2012 by Sam Kinney

Every president’s goal when in office is to do something “big” so that they will be remembered in the history books. President Obama’s “big” thing is his health care bill, which passed March 2010. The debate over the bill was one of the most intense ever in Congress and everyday Americans flooded the town halls of their congressmen to make their opinion heard. One part of “Obamacare” includes that private institutions must provide contraceptives to their employees. This is by far one of the most controversial parts of the already controversial bill. Frankly it is a terrible bill and violates the constitution by forcing employers to pay for contraceptives in insurance plans.

Where in the Constitution does it say that businesses and institutions must pay for birth control? It doesn’t. The Obama health care referendum is a violation of the Constitution and therefore our rights as Americans.

Health care should be provided by businesses, not the government. There are countless health insurance companies for a reason, to create competition. The United States got to where it is today with the idea of competition, it lowers prices and limits monopolies.

One thing President Obama fails to understand is that his health care bill will sky rocket our national debt even further than it already is. In the eight years that he was in office, President George W. Bush raised the federal debt a little over $4 trillion. In less than four years in office, Obama has raised the deficit over $6 trillion.

With the health care bill signed into law, some experts say it will increase the federal deficit beyond repair so it must be stopped. In just the last few weeks, the CBO reassessed the cost of the bill. Originally it was thought that the bill would cost $900 billion in the first ten years. Now it is believed that from now to 2022, Obamacare will cost $1.76 trillion.

Obviously the Catholic Church does not approve of contraceptives. Being a Catholic institution, I thought that Marquette University wouldn’t have an insurance plan that offered contraceptives to its employees, but it turns out that contraceptives are covered. Brian Dorrington, Senior Director of University Communication at Marquette, said that Marquette offers contraceptives to its employees but it requires a co-pay in addition to their normal health benefits.

This surprised me because generally speaking, Catholics do not approve of any form of birth control, but Dorrington pointed out that Marquette realizes that not all of its employees are Catholic, so accommodations have been made to satisfy those people—one of them being birth control.

Although Marquette already offers contraceptives to its employees, it is not right of the Obama administration to force institutions to do so. Marquette is a business and it should be able to do what it wants with its money and employees. If they want to offer birth control to their employees, so-be-it, but it should not be forced. It is a violation of our rights as free citizens to be dictated to by the government.

Just because Marquette offers contraceptive benefits to its employees does not mean that all schools or businesses must do so. The Obama Administration is forcing businesses to spend money that don’t want to or can afford.

The Constitution doesn’t authorize the government to take people’s money and redistribute it to pay for universal health insurance or contraceptives. President Obama and Congress are in direct violation of the law of the land, the Constitution, by the passage and implementation of Obamacare. Marquette, or any other business or institution, should pay for its employee’s health insurance on its own terms, not the government’s. This law needs to be repealed now or we will have set the precedent that an individual’s God-given liberty lies in the hands of the government.  And with that precedent set, it only begs the question: what’s next?

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Employment-at-will Must Stay Law

Posted on 01 June 2012 by Sam Kinney

An employee of a company does something on the job that management does not approve of. He cannot be fired because the government says so. He takes his job for granted while thousands of unemployed Americans would love to have it. Seems kind of wrong doesn’t it? The United States is the only nation with an Employment-at-will law. It states that employees can be fired “for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all.” With it, employees and unions cannot take advantage of their employers. If a company feels the need to let an employee go, they should be allowed to.

Several weeks ago, Ron Mulvaney held a small press conference for journalism students in Johnston Hall. His goal is to end employment-at-will, a law that – in his mind – allows discrimination to workers and the unemployed alike. It doesn’t. That law allows businesses to do what they need to so they can make a profit. Why did countless American businesses leave for China? They had to compete with the rest of the world. By moving, their expenses went down and profits up. There was no discrimination against the American worker, we are just too expensive.

Mulvaney, 1960 graduate of Marquette’s School of Journalism, said he was honored to speak to students at his alma mater. He has held many journalistic jobs and is very experienced in his field. In spite of experience, he is currently a part-time employee at a local Boston Store. He claims that he is a victim of employment-at-will.

“This is a toxic law, it’s poison, it kills, it murders,” Mulvaney said.

However, employment-at-will is necessary. Without it, businesses are limited to more government regulation and therefore a further loss of freedom. If businesses are not allowed to give employees the pink slip then employees can do as they please. Businesses then lose money and cannot make all of their necessary payments and then ultimately go out of business.

Say a law is passed making it so businesses cannot fire employees – that is almost what Mulvaney is pushing for. Then lazy employees do not have to work at all but still get paid. It would lead to no one working and the end of American power as we know it. Obviously Mulvaney’s views are not that extreme but he never made it clear as to how far he would like this law to be repealed.

Repealing employment-at-will would lead to a loss of individual liberty and it would do nothing but further hurt our economy and lead Americans to be unmotivated to work. Not wanting to work but still get a pay check, sounds a lot like a socialist agenda. Socialism will only push the United States backwards.

“Mulvaney is very passionate about what he believes in, he has yet to give up,” said Eva Sotomayor, a freshman in the College of Communication. He wants to end employment-at-will because he says that it leaves six million people chronically unemployed every year.

He may be correct that this law leads some to be chronically unemployed but not everyone that is unemployed has to be. Yes the economy has not been great the last few years but it is not that bad that people cannot find work anywhere. Fast-food establishments are always hiring, yes they are not the best of jobs but it is work and their employees still make money. Instead of staying unemployed and blaming others for it, why don’t people do something about it?

Mulvaney pushed the AARP to help him in fighting this law. For a time they did show him support but eventually it faded. This was because the AARP focuses on social security and Medicaid, not so much on worker’s rights. Also, the AARP did not want to lose support from businesses. If Mulvaney’s movement to end employment-at-will becomes successful, then businesses would lose a lot of money and power over their employees.

His main struggle is that there is little support to end this law. Few people even recognize it as an issue, he said. He implored the journalism students to investigate, and to be interactive. There is a reason he has little support in fighting this law, because he is simply wrong! Anyone with half a brain can tell you businesses need certain freedoms to survive, being able to fire unnecessary employees is one of those freedoms.

A student asked Mulvaney why the upper class has not noticed the problems with employment-at-will. He responded by saying that people that have jobs don’t notice those that don’t, because they are too concerned with their own lives. He is correct but the more fortunate also understand that there are jobs out there right now, many of the unemployed are not looking hard enough. One can only “feel bad” for others for so long. It gets to a point that where the individual must help himself and not rely on others to do it for them.

Now there are some that are trying to find work but are unsuccessful which is a shame. But many free ride off hard working taxpayers – again socialism, the rich helping the poor. How can the United States maintain our power over the world when we live in an entitlement society? It is not possible.

Mulvaney’s efforts are admirable in stopping employment-at-will but he is misinformed. Businesses need economic freedom in order to grow and compete. One of those freedoms includes the right to release unnecessary employees. This country was founded on the ideas of economic liberty and it seems that every year, we are slowly losing those freedoms. Employment-at-will must stay law.

Sam Kinney

[email protected]

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March Letter from the Editor

Posted on 28 March 2012 by Adam Ryback

Thank you for picking up another copy of The Warrior! This issue we highlighted the presidential and vice-presidential elections for Marquette University Student Government.

It is a shame that none of the candidates have considered any cost-cutting measures to lower the cost of tuition. One has to wonder whether MUSG represents us or the administration. However, the bigger question is whether the administration takes their recommendations seriously. In the past the administration has approached MUSG to pass recommendations they support, such as changing the default settings on university printing machines to be double-sided.

Although I was thankful after this change was made several years ago, it made me think about what MUSG actually does for us. If they can only pass legislation which the university already supports, why not cut out the middleman? Hopefully our newly elected officials will be able to assert themselves and properly represent the students.

Disregarding my opinions on the organization itself, I believe that it is important for The Warrior to recognize Joey Ciccone and Trent Carlson, the outgoing president and vice-president. Both are tireless workers who truly care about their constituents. Whenever I needed information on the events in student government, they were more than helpful at providing it. The level of access and care provided to the students is truly worthy of respect. I wish them the best in all of their future endeavors.

Please enjoy the issue! If you have any comments or concerns, please e-mail me at [email protected] If you wish to join the paper, please sign up at

Thank you and have a blessed Lent.

Adam Ryback
Editor, 2011-12

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Do It For The Kids

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

Welcome back, Warriors. I hope that your break was as fruitful and productive as mine, by which I mean that you accomplished even less than I did and earned yourself a little extra time at the Rec. In all seriousness, I do hope I find you all well.

However, I must dispense with the pleasantries, and get right down to it. I am upset, Marquette. I am upset and hurt that despite a whole semester of my (rather opinionated) advice, I walked into my classes two Mondays ago, and was besieged by all of the things I campaigned against. Sweat pants with boots, rampant bacon-neck, and ill-fitting garments of all kinds. But, what struck me the most, were my fellow males. But, wait, maybe I should offer some clarification.

I’ll take a second to breathe, and explain the background to my ire.

I spent my CHRISTMAS ( I’m a proud Catholic) break split between COD, sleep, the gym, dressed-up dinners, and nights on the town. But one of my most memorable nights, was at dinner on Christmas Eve. I was invited by a good friend of mine to spend the holiday with her family, as mine was out of the country. It was just some cocktails and snacks at 8:30, so I wore some khakis, a white Brooks oxford, and a festive (yet modest) sweater. I arrived at her comfortable suburban home and was greeted at the door by her Father, who was also in a button-up, sweater, and slacks. We exchanged greetings and small talk as he took my coat and then walked me into the kitchen, where everyone had gathered. All of the Men were in a similar uniform to ours, sweater-vests, BB ties, blazers, and button-ups. I instantly felt at home among these well dressed Gentlemen, all of them I would find out were successful or on their way to it, my kind of people.

Now, I know. Maybe, you say, its just because it was a holiday. Maybe it was just to appease their Mothers and Wives. Maybe they hated the collars and cuffs. But, I disagree. These Gentlemen looked like they couldn’t have possibly been more comfortable in anything else.

After a few minutes of introductions, I found myself speaking to an uncle. We were discussing how I had been pleasantly surprised to not be over-dressed, which I explained was almost always the case on Campus. He nodded knowingly and complimented me on my tie, “few kids your age even own ties anymore, it seems.”

Suddenly, I was struck.

Warriors, he’s right. What happened to us, as Men? Raise your hand if: You can tie a tie. A bow-tie? Do you know what size sport coat you wear? Did you use an iron in the past week? Do you take pride in a good pair of shoes? Or, pants that fit just right? I know some of you do, and the rest…

I get it. We’re busy. Times have changed. The era in which every Man wore a fedora and knew a tailor by name… They’re gone. Replaced by Jordan fitteds and Affliction tee shirts. Hell, there’s a chance we’ve probably romanticized the whole history of fashion. But, I have another question to ask you. Do you own a pair of Wayfarer’s? The big sunglasses with the silver accent on each upper corner? You do? You know who else did? Michael Jackson, Audrey Hepburn, Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, and John F. Kennedy.

Here’s my point. Classics, will always be classics. I wish I could convince you all to join me in class rocking oxfords, khakis, and casually knotted ties. We could go out on the weekends in slim dark trousers and a solid blazer. Forgoing the jager-bombs for three fingers of scotch. But that won’t happen. So, instead, I ask you all: as Gentlemen, my Brothers, let’s step it up.

Every generation leaves a handful of items for their sons and grandsons to bring back. Every generation has that one thing that will always be cool, that will always get our girls to smile when we wear it. Let’s make it a resolution for this year, to stem the tide of terrible clothing. Its not too late! We’ve just barely started the Tens’ (or whatever it is we’re calling this decade). We can make a promise to ourselves, right now, to show future generations that we took ourselves seriously. That although we liked to wear t-shirts and sneakers instead of polos and loafers, we had pride. Because that’s what its about. We look at pictures of the Roaring 20’s, and laugh at their high cut trousers and newsboy caps. But people still wear skinny ties! In 80 years, what will they think of us? Maybe they’ll understand that times were different, they’ll see pictures and nod knowingly, “Yeah, our great-grandparents really liked to be comfortable.”

Then, they’ll zip up their futuristic metallic jumpsuit, throw on some Wayfarer’s, and head out the door.

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Lady Warriors

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

Hello Warrior-ettes! I promised my female readers a column last time and despite admonitions from my friends that I tread carefully, I want to keep my word, even if I have to be placed under witness-prevention. Now, Ladies, no one is going to deny that MU girls are classy (at least in comparison to UWM), but I have a few suggestions, take ’em or leave ’em.

Let’s start off by addressing an issue that I personally cannot come to terms with. Ladies: Tights are not pants. I’m sorry. Further, I refuse to believe that you all feel more comfortable in something that’s about as close to public nudity as I think society will ever get, over actual pants. I am 100% behind their utility as a layering item, but still, I think you’re all too classy to stroll into my Phil class in a crew-neck and tights. Please, just think about it?

If I get hate e-mails with the above, I might have to fear for my life with this next one: Sweats. Please believe me, I have my fair share of sweat pants, anyone who was in any way involved in their high school has at minimum four or five pairs of the things. And I acknowledge that every once in a while, an alarm clock mysteriously malfunctions and you arrive to Theo in mismatched socks, sweats that have “DANCE” on the butt, and praying no one talks to you because God only knows what your breathe smells like. But, that’s just how it starts. Once in a while becomes once too often. Next thing you know, you’re wondering why anyone bothers with jeans, and your classmates are edging away from “that girl with the crazy hair in the middle row.” Again, just food for thought, and I promise that if anyone catches me in a pair of sweats and calls me out, I will promptly remove them and walk to wherever I am going in my boxers. Promise.

Last, but not least, I would have to say my biggest beef is… Those MASSIVE purses you haul around. I’ll grant you that part of my animosity is a twinge of jealousy (how am I supposed to carry my monstrous smart-phone, keys, pen/pencil, some gum, a wad of crinkled cash, and whatever other junk that ends up in my pockets, without my flat-fronts looking like an overzealous chipmunk?) But still. Some woman nearly knocked me out with her duffel bag sized Coach. I swear if I carried a bag that big they’d make me check it when I fly. I do not see the aesthetic appeal in a woman carrying a bag rappers are known to transport sprite and sizzurp in. Actually, I once I saw a girl pull a 2-liter out of her LV. In class. You know what, on second thought, I’m not mad. I’m impressed.

Please, don’t think that I’m just hating on women or that I like to criticize and judge you ladies. I like to think I’m a decent person, albeit an opinionated one. I’m just a guy who likes to look good when he leaves his apartment. Not because I’m shallow, or because I like to be complimented, but because I want to present myself as best as I can. I think we all work too hard at whatever it is that interests us to not take pride in how we look. We should walk out our doors as often as possible with full confidence that the world will take us seriously. That’s my reasoning behind the above. Can I look at the girl that wears sweats every-other day, or the one in tights all the time, or the one dragging a luggage item around and have full confidence in them? Maybe you can. And if so, you’ll disagree with my column fairly regularly. Which is totally okay. Maybe I am just a superficial jerk. Either way, I’m still going to rock a polo when I could just wear a tee. There’s something about the way you dress that tells those around you how seriously you take yourself and what you do. I don’t want my lawyer coming to my inevitable defense counsel in what the average college student wears. It isn’t about the expense or decorum, Its about walking in looking like you know exactly what you’re doing.

So, there you have it. Stay tuned, ladies and gent’s, I have some things to discuss with the both of you next time. But until then, Marquette, keep your Swagg on.

Gus Lopez

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Too Tight

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

Hello, my fellow Warriors, I sincerely hope that I find you all well, and I even more sincerely hope that your Valentine’s Day was worse than mine. But, let’s put that terrible holiday well behind us.

On to more important matters. I want to bring our collective attention to a plague which we really ought to address. Warriors, we’re getting a tad portly.

I will be the first to say, that the winter is rough on my workouts. I weighed in at a solid 169lbs this morning. A far cry from my generally acceptable 160. I know that dragging yourself to the gym during a Wisconsin winter is difficult, and there’s been very few days that I’ve wanted to throw on the Under Armour tights and brave a run in the frozen tundra. But given that this week we are looking at the nicest weather thus far this year, I think its fair to say, we need to hold ourselves slightly more accountable.

I walked into my 8am poli-sci class last week, and saw one of those things none of us wants to see. The girl who refuses to believe that her jeans may need to be sized up. There was muffin-top, my friends. A rather evident one, to say the least. It was almost fantastic, the proverbial train-wreck. It made me wish for some pastry to dip into my coffee, which was both funny and disturbing. However, the amusement wore off quickly. Ladies, This is one of the most grievous of fashion faux-pas. I have rallied against improper fit time and time again, and yet you ignore me. I know that it can be difficult to accept that something no longer fits, and I admit that ill-fitting pants are at least marginally better than sweats, but there are ways to avoid exposing this unsightly mistake. Firstly, a shirt that is of proper length is the most simple fix for this scenario. But, let’s say that you don’t want to just cover it up, and actively draw the eye away from your waist, a tee shirt or simple sweater won’t be enough, you’ll have to go for something that has texture or a pattern which angles up and away from your hips. A blouse with a ruffled neckline, or a button-up that you can tuck in will help.

Now, all of you gentlemen who have been snickering quietly, or perhaps not so quietly, you aren’t without rebuke. Gent’s, you have to start wearing shirts that fit.

I will always advocate a slimmer fit, and I will also staunchly stand by my theory that a shirt that fits properly and might strain a tad in the shoulders is preferable to a shirt that bunches and blouses. You’ll look fatter if there’s a huge swath of cotton folded over itself at your bellybutton. But, that isn’t the issue I saw just recently.

He was like a real, human personification of the comic book guy from the Simpsons. Or, at least, his stomach. And his Nike shorts. There was so much straining and stretching when he transitioned from standing to sitting that one could imagine a gymnast limbering up. Except this man wasn’t fit, in the slightest. I know a great deal of men who are on the thicker side, and can still charm the ladies as well as play a great game of ball. And often, what you wear can and does say a lot on your behalf, even if your beer belly doesn’t. But letting yourself go before your junior year of college isn’t a great sign.

Men, a tucked in shirt, unless you’re very seriously overweight slims you down, so long as it fits well. But, the easiest way for us to clean up our act in this category is actually trying things on before you buy them. Seriously, guys, try that shirt on. I doubt that many of us put on an obviously too-tight shirt, look in the mirror, and knowingly wear it out. But I know that once we buy it, there’s a need to justify it, so you con yourself into putting on what you ought not to.

I’ve never told people that they needed to be swim suit models, because we’re all actually real humans. But I think that we can all do a little bit to at least wear clothes that help us, and work with us rather than expose our faults. Common sense is key here, don’t have that extra slice of pizza at 11pm, and don’t squeeze into those jeans. We all know better, so use your head, and keep your swagg on, Warriors

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Springtime Warriors

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

Warriors! We’re almost there, our salvation is in sight! That wonderful time that is SPRING BREAK is finally here! In the spirit of fun in the sun, I’ve got tips for your beach attire, and I promise not to poke fun of anyone. Well, not too much.

To kick it off, Gentlemen, I want to walk you through what I take to the beach. First, I think its wise to invest in a beach bag. Don’t get all macho on me, I’m talking about a backpack, not one of those canvas totes girls and liberals put their groceries in. I use a beat-up vintage Jansport I found at a garage sale for a nickel. Seriously. It was five cents. It was once probably a bright blue, but the vinyl has worn down several shades and along with the leather trim and straps, the patina this thing has is luxuriously awesome. It only has three pockets; a main pouch for towels, a shirt, and extra shorts. A medium one for sunblock, a camera, and inflatable arm floaties. And a zippered pouch for my wallet, keys, and phone. Go thrifting and pick one up. Second, you can never have too many towels. Bring two big ones to dry off/lie down and a little one for your face/hands. No one likes sand in places where it ought not to be. Pack an extra tee, or two. Since you’re at the beach, have fun with them. Few places are more appropriate for vintage t-shirts. Bright solid colors, or shirts from your high school/past events are perfect. On my feet I wear boat shoes, as a personal choice because I regard all sandals somewhat suspiciously. However, a sunny day on the water is the only place male flip-flops are acceptable, so rock ’em if that’s what you’re into. To keep from spending the whole day squinting, rock some shades. My preferred eyewear is a pair of wayfarers, or understated aviators. Again, you’re at the beach, so those wayfarers with the lime green frame are okay. I personally prefer tortoiseshell but lets be honest, I also wear ties to class. One compromise: please don’t be the guy with the mirrored lenses, those look stupid.

For the main event, ie, the shorts, we need to have an adult discussion. You are no longer in middle school. You are no longer in high school. Step away from the board shorts unless you can legitimately board. Long boards, skate boards, and boogie boards don’t count. Actually, unless you own a surfboard, know who the Wolf Pack is (hint: Not from the Hangover), or can perform a cutback: You can’t wear them. Period. Please grow up. Your teenage dreams of looking like Kelly Slater or riding the Pipeline during the Classic need to be discarded. I grew up in a surfing community, and we all think you look dumb (Okay, so my hometown is the world freshwater surfing capital, but still). Don’t be a kook (surfer for “wannabe.”) “No boardshorts?!” You scream, “Well then what should I wear? A thong? My swim team jammer?” No. Buy some swim trunks. “But, Gus, they’re so… Short.” Yes, they are. Build a bridge, and get over it. Our lady friends wear what is essentially underwear in public with few complaints, but we men freak out if people can see our knees. Even if you didn’t spend the last few weeks preparing to be seen in public and your abs are still hibernating, you will look good in your new swim trunks. Trunks don’t have elastic at the top to squeeze your gut into a mushroom and the short length will help to elongate your frame and slim your appearance. The colors and patterns being offered by designers often have this effect in mind. So breathe easy, I have your best interests in mind. Swim trunks don’t have to be too far from your comfort zone, have a little confidence in yourselves, and embrace adulthood. Remember, my e-mail is always open and I will be more than happy to suggest specifics if you’re lost.

Ladies, you just keep doing what you’re doing. I have few complaints in your department, other than the obvious. And even then, few things are prettier than a tan smile and a nice personality. If anything, I’ll ask for a touch more modesty than is the current norm.

Lastly, I feel like I shouldn’t have to mention this, but, Guys: No sarongs. This isn’t Tahiti (unless you are, in fact, in Tahiti. In which case do whatever you want). For the Lady Warriors, please don’t come back orange.

My fellow Warriors, may your break be everything your parents wish it wasn’t. Hydrate, party hard, soak up some rays, and keep your swag on. (P.S. If anyone will be raging in Texas, hit me up.)

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The Little Guys

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

My fellow Warriors, I think its time for another of my calls to action, and this time, I promise not to offend anyone. Well, I promise not to try to offend anyone. My main issue here is our obsession with big brand names. Don’t get me wrong: I am a proud and happy member of the 1%, so don’t think I’ve suddenly gone off the deep-end and now hate corporations or something. I just think we all need to look at where we buy our clothes and evaluate if we’re happy with what we’re getting.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have a little extra cash after my “internship” this summer, as well as having had the great opportunity to spend some time on the East Coast (you’ll see that the East Coast has left a mark on me in terms of my style in coming columns). While vacationing at a resort on the Chesapeake, I realized I’d packed too lightly. I needed some basics, a shirt or two, some swim trunks, and a sweater, so we went to a small boutique named Khaki in Irvington, Virginia. I was immediately taken with their preppy items, which still maintained a practical aspect in keeping with the outdoor-leisurely lifestyle of the region. The flagship brand, exclusive to Khaki, is Jimmy and Sook. It is here where Khaki got me hook, line, and sinker. I needed a polo (don’t get any ideas, I had accidentally packed only oxfords) in order to hit the links with my friends. The owner of Khaki, Mr. Andy Smith, pointed me towards his most popular product, the Jimmy and Sook pique-knit polo. It is beautifully made, fits perfectly for an active guy, and the logo on the chest, a blue crab, is iconic of that area. On top of the styling, it was reasonably priced at $60. I got one in navy blue, and it is now a regular in my rotation.

What’s my point? My point is, we need to step away from the Ralph Lauren, the Gap, and the J. Crew, and look at other options for our attire. Why? Well, primarily, customer service. I still maintain e-mail correspondence with Mr. Smith, and when I asked about a crew neck he didn’t have in my size while I was in Irvington, he promised to ship it to me as soon as he had it. And he did, two weeks later, free of charge.

Andy knows that as a small business owner, his only way to compete with the big companies is to provide exceptional products at good prices, accompanied with a personal touch. And he isn’t the only one.

Rob Cardenas quit his corporate job in order to pursue an interest, he wanted to exemplify the Great Lakes style in a line of fashionable and quality products, so he founded Chicago Belt Co. He went live just a few weeks ago, but has already been featured in several blogs, and with good reason, his first handful of ribbon belts look great and when I tweeted at him a month ago in anticipation of his new products, he sent me some stickers, Croakies, and a hand-written note, thanking me for my support. I don’t think I’d be remiss in calling Rob a friend, and it is here where I go back to my original point. Customer service. Real, personal, service is what these new guys are all about. I purchased a shirt from Chicago Belt Co. and again, my order was accompanied with another hand-written note. When was the last time Brooks Brothers did that? I mean, BB routinely sends me the female catalogue instead of the male catalogue despite me being a loyal customer for years, and based on how much they tweet me, know I’m single

Another wonderful example, Nick Mannella, of Knot Belt Co. started his company after deciding a day job just wasn’t for him. His company now has over 30 ribbon belts in both D-ring and leather and a plethora of accessories available for purchase online. Nick is another prime example of great customer service and solid products. Based in Boston, Nick sends his products nationwide and has also been featured in several style blogs. Like Rob, Nick has also accompanied any order I’ve made with a note, a personal touch that I can’t stress too much.

You might think its just belts, but if quality polos are your thing, check out Cash Robinson Clothing, a horse racing inspired brand from Kentucky. Founded by Travis Robinson, Cash Robinson prides itself in small-batch apparel. Like small batch bourbon, each run is special and limited, and individual shirts are numbered within their batch. Travis started with only a small selection of colors in his polos, but has recently expanded into tee shirts and other accessories. The flagship Cash Robinson small batch polo is a pique knit and fits athletically, loose enough to be active, but loses no class. A solid product from a great company.

I stay in touch with these guys fairly regularly, via tweets or e-mail, and that brings me to my closing point. With companies like this, and many more (Chesapeake Ribbon, Southern Dignity, and Salmon Cove), the person who packs your order is the guy who started the company, the guy who runs their Twitter account. This leads to a level of caring on the company’s behalf that means the consumer gets the better deal. Maybe a belt from Chicago Belt Co. or Knot Belt Co. is pricier ($40) than one from Target. Maybe a tee from Cash Robinson means having to wait for shipping. But I promise you that these people CARE. And supporting them means supporting the dream many of us have, finishing school and starting the business of our dreams. With that said, Warriors, let’s support these guys, and keep that swagg on.

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Against concealed carry on campus

Posted on 03 November 2011 by Evan Umpir

The Wisconsin State Legislature passed Act 35 this past summer, allowing weapons to be carried in the state concealed from public view. This is a major shift for Wisconsin, as prior to Act 35, the state had open-carry, but the right to carry a weapon in plain view was rarely exercised. This is a step forward for Wisconsin as we now join forty-eight other states with concealed-carry laws, leaving Illinois as the only state not having such a law. However, the debate for us is not about concealed carry – it is about concealed carry on Marquette’s campus. In this instance, I think that Marquette has made a good decision to bar weapons from being carried on campus.

At the recent student forum, Fr. Pilarz stated that what it comes down to is following the law, and this is exactly what Marquette is going to do. The policy states that employees, students, guests and contractors are not permitted to “carry any weapons on university property except as expressly permitted by applicable State law; openly carry any weapons on university property; carry any weapons in any university building or leased space or at any university special event marked with signage specifying ‘Weapons are prohibited in this building.’” This policy applies to all weapons, not just firearms. To the extent possible within the law, Marquette will be banning weapons on campus.

What necessitates this change? We’ve gotten by fine without weapons before Act 35. Why, now that we have a concealed carry law in Wisconsin, is everyone enthusiastic about the right to carry a concealed weapon? Nothing on Marquette’s campus magically changed on November first when the law took effect to increase the desire to pack heat. Dozens of colleges have banned weapons on campus in states that have concealed carry laws. According to a compilation of college campus shootings by Google, approximately twenty-two shootings have occurred since 1990 – that’s approximately one shooting per year. There is not an epidemic of college shootings that arming students would prevent. The infrequency of college shootings and the insignificant effect armed students have during school shootings clearly show that current bans are not detrimental to the safety of college campuses.

Life on college campuses often involves some drug use and alcohol consumption that could impair the judgment of a law-abiding gun owner. The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study that found that those with alcohol problems are more likely to have firearms with them at school. “These alcohol-related behaviors suggest that college gun owners are more likely than those who do not own guns to engage in activities that put themselves and others at risk for severe or life-threatening injuries. Damaging property when intoxicated suggests an inability to contain aggressive impulses.” The logical connection between drinking impairing judgment and shortening tempers and gun ownership should be clear: the two do not mix. This negative connectivity should be recognized. Although there are provisions in Act 35 to prevent the sale of alcohol to people that are believed to possess a firearm, it’s called concealed carry for a reason; even the most astute bartender might oversee a hidden weapon.

Furthermore, the Wisconsin law has provisions that require the obtainer of a permit to be at least 21 years old. With only about a third of the student body eligible to obtain permits (and not all would bring a weapon to campus even if permitted), how could a policy that would allow students to carry weapons be effective? This is just another practical reason that shows that having weapons on campus would not improve the safety of the campus in any substantial way.

Ultimately, allowing weapons on campus is a Pandora’s Box. DPS should devote its time to more important issues. Weapons have been banned on dozens of college campuses for years and the infrequency of situations where carrying weapons could prove useful are few and far between. This is common sense: guns and school don’t mix and never have.

by Evan Umpir
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The 99 Percent are Revolting!

Posted on 03 November 2011 by Joseph Dobbs

One of the biggest problems with information in the digital age is how much of it there is. Far from the days when there was one phone company and maybe one or two different news stations or newspapers per borough, and farther still from the days of the town crier, we have discovered a new problem: surfeited with data, not only are we quick to lose perspective, but we cannot even know who to trust.

Intentionally massaging coverage of incidents to highlight one side or another can be done — and no doubt regularly is done — by anyone with half a brain, though the effectiveness of the spin varies from place to place. Thanks to the ever-greater diffusion of information through the Internet, it is much easier to get a balanced picture, or so we think.

The truth is that we like to hear people who agree with us and tend to have much less patience for anyone offering a different opinion. Though Catholics are notorious for not reading the Bible as much as many Protestant denominations, think how many fewer of the Mass-going crowd have read — let alone really thought about and grappled with — Richard Dawkins, to take a single, if prominent, instance. And of course there are examples of this among all demographics because it is simply human.

Interestingly, one of the recent controversies that seems to be at least somewhat aware of this difficulty is the Occupy movement (which, for my convenience and yours, I will abbreviate OWS for Occupy Wall Street). OWS claims and aims to be something more than Democrats or even liberals; it wants to get beyond the sectarianism and deal with what they see as real problems, chief among them being severe economic disparity.

OWS uses social media to spread its message, but shows it’s serious by taking over sections of public places (all as lawful as they can make it). This is not just an online petition or a college club that meets on Wednesdays. Of course, there are exceptions; the point of the movement is to take the power out of the hands of the selfish people at the top who abuse it. Whether or not that is an accurate description of the present situation is a matter of some debate.

The questions about OWS fall into two categories: are they right, and are they doing the right thing about it? For all its rhetoric and longing, I am afraid OWS is not all that bipartisan, though I’m sure some of its supporters would be just as happy without “brain-dead Republicans.” The simplest proof of this is that they criticize the Wall Street bailouts, but not their architect (you know, the fellow in the Oval Office).

To be fair, their rhetoric certainly suggests that they don’t want it to be that way. OWS is self-described as “a post-political movement representing something far greater than failed party politics.” According to their own survey, “close to 70.3 percent” of OWS supporters consider themselves Independents. On the other hand, only 2.4 percent said they were Republicans, which is smaller than the number of people sampled who did not support the protests (6.5 percent). The survey concluded that “Our data suggest that the 99-percent movement comes from and looks like the 99 percent.” But 92.1 percent of the sample had spent at least some time at college. Perhaps this is as close as anyone can get to the 99 percent.

And maybe a movement like this has to be diplomatic. As little as either side might like to admit it, the Tea Party and OWS have a lot in common. Both are grassroots organizations that formed in a disgusted response to the way things were being run by the powerful elites. The Tea Party didn’t like the bailouts either; they smelled of crony capitalism, which no conservative supports. The Tea Party was also tired of the NeoCons running things. And the Tea Party’s critics also seized on all the opportunities they could to make them look bad. What was the result? The Tea Party forced change, but it did so within the current system. OWS may not want that, but they may have to settle. “The biggest difference between the Tea Party and OWS is that the Tea Party has the support of the Koch Bros as well as Fox News itself,” said OWS organizer Harrison Schultz.

I mean, I’ll flat out say it: I’m not sure OWS has the best grip on the way things are or how they should be. But I’m not going to tell you stories about how icky they are or how they’re probably unemployed bums and college kids with nothing better to blah blah blah. That’s not a point worth making, even if it were all true of all of them. But for the same reason I’m not going to tell stories about police brutality or jackasses destroying the protestor’s property and think that settles matters.

Of course some people are going to the protests just hoping for some free love or free something else; no doubt there’s some people trying to make money off of it (though I understand that at least the Wall Street group is doing a very good and equitable job in taking care of their community needs). So what? What the leaders have to say is what’s important. If it’s meaningless, then it doesn’t matter how nice the protests are; they’re wasting their own time if nothing else. If it’s the right thing, then I figure it’s probably worth a few more stoned twenty-somethings writing bad poetry. And if it’s somewhere in between, well, maybe then we can start adding up all the little things.

Maybe I’ve been unfair. OWS does desperately want to be post-political, though I imagine they don’t want to abolish politics in general, perhaps just the system we have now (if that). Of course, although they want to abolish it, the most glaring economic problems (the real-estate crash and the Wall Street bailouts) in their minds come from a suppression of the free-market, but that is neither here nor there. The problem is not just the usual jeer that OWS doesn’t have a message; the problem is in all the implications of all the messages that come out. It’d be easy to call them all a bunch of liberals and then think about them as one does about liberals, but I think they do realize (or are starting to realize) that Obama is not their answer, and maybe no Democrat can be. Both OWS and liberals blame the rich, but OWS also blames the system that liberals love: big government. Schultz even said: “Corporations owned by rich people are much more functional and efficient compared to governments.”

OWS is about self-empowerment and social change. They want this to be achieved on their terms, without being co-opted. But what can they achieve? OWS can’t take the government over by force, and not only are their potential candidates unelectable, but they wouldn’t run in the first place.

Antagonizing the powerful is all well and good – and maybe they do deserve it. Maybe we do need the social change that OWS wants for us. But how are we going to get it?

Well, there is another non-political group that has overseen and encouraged social progress. It’s had its own problems with corruption and confusion, but it’s always had a message of love and brotherhood at its core. It may be too much of an institution — too respectable — for OWS to trust, but the Catholic Church has been fighting its fight for a lot longer. The most obviously absent statistic from the surveys on OWS is the religiousness of the respondents. I suspect a large number of them are atheists, agnostics or non-practicing.

Though they may indeed be post-political, OWS seems socially almost monolithic. Dr. Costas Panagopoulos performed his own survey of OWS and found that 80 percent identify themselves as liberals, but about 75 percent disapprove of Obama’s performance as President. Though recent notes suggest the Vatican has a slight leftwards lean in economic matters, and is certainly big on peace, love and morality in all sectors of life, I fear neither it nor OWS desires much association with the other.

What does that leave OWS with? Well, itself. Who will trust self-described anarchists with the keys to an institution? And where else will they find the power to change anything, unless in the barrel of a gun? If OWS turns outward and works for change, it will be the first thing that changes. If it turns inwards and simply becomes a commune, then that will simply be it. And if it stays the same and grows? It will eventually cross a line that it will have no strength to hold. Of course, OWS is already changing; committees have been set up to handle various affairs. Union officials have been helping out (if OWS really fears being co-opted, that’s where it’s going to come from). And just two weeks ago, Occupy Boston kicked out two members of its financial committee for allegedly mismanaging funds. When the post-political group not only has politics but political trouble, it’s time to take a second look.

by Joseph Dobbs
[email protected]

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