Inside: An Exclusive Interview with SA Pres Matt Landau
The Death of NYPIRG at BU!
Plus: Failure to Cooperate-3 Rescinded! Binghamtonâ€™s Best and Worst Professors and Full Analysis of the Housing Commissionâ€™s Report! Truth and two staples Binghamton Review, April 2005
Binghamton Review Volume XXII, No. 8 • May 2009 Founded 1987
Editors-in-Chief Adam Shamah Robert Edward Menje Managing Editor Randal Meyer
Table of Contents Founded 1987 o Volume XXII Number 8 o May 2009
Associate Editors Rachel Gordon Edmund Mays Copy Editors Yadin Herzel Samantha Mickle Business Manager Alex Paolano
Treasurer Daniel Rabinowitz Contributors John Jensen, Theresa Juergens, Matthew Hassell, Stephen Herman, Ariel Levin Waldman, Nick Valiando, Jason Birriel, Seth Knutson, Ian Swan Godfather of the Review Louis W. Leonini Friends of the Review Dr. Aldo S. Bernardo The Leonini Family The Powell Family Mr. Bob Soltis WA2VCS The Shamah Family The Grynheim Family The Menje Family The Leeds Family The Lombardi Family The Packer Family BinghamtonReview is printed by Our Press, in Chenango Bridge. We provide the truth; they provide the staples. Binghamton Review Binghamton University PO Box 6000 Binghamton, NY 13902
Articles Housing Commission Report Analysis Binghamton’s Best The End
Paul Liggieri’s Gears
Scapegoating Guns The End
Binghamton Review, May 2009
5 7 8 13
A Miscarriage of Justice
t started off like any other student assembly meeting. Approval of the minutes, approval of the agenda, etc. Monday night was the final student assembly meeting of the year and the first meeting since the Assembly elected Elahd Bar-Shai as next year’s chair. But what should have been a productive and ceremonial meeting quickly turned into one of biggest travesties the SA has ever seen. By now, I’m sure most of you have read in Pipe Dream or in an SA email about the incident involving Elahd Bar-Shai and Vice President for Finance Alice Liou. What exactly happened is at this point irrelevant, but suffice it to say, much worse things have been said around the SA office this year, but I digress. At Monday’s meeting of the Student Assembly, two public commentors from the Asian Outlook magazine came to speak out against Elahd’s earlier election as Chair. Immediately following, a student assembly representative who supported Josh Berk in his race against Bar-Shai, motioned to reconsider Elahd’s election. This was violation of not only the Robert’s Rules of Order that the assembly follows (or is supposed to), but also the SA constitution and bylaws. Without getting too much into specifics (I’m sure most of you don’t care much for reading into parliamentary procedure), the motion to reconsider the Chair election was out of order because (1) it’s not a motion, it’s a procedure outlined in the Student Association bylaws, and the motion to reconsider can only be made with regard to motions, not procedures set by the bylaws unless otherwise stated, and (2) even if Robert’s Rules did apply, they specifically say that the election of an office cannot be reconsidered once he or she is notified of his or her election. As soon as the motion was made I raised my concern to the vice-chair, Matt Allwood, who was chairing the meeting at the time. Regardless, Allwood declared the motion in order. When I motioned to allow the assembly to overrule the decision of the chair (a common motion used when the Chair himself is believed to be acting in violation of the rules) Allwood refused to hear it! He would not entertain my motion to give
the assembly a chance to overrule him. That is the definition of tyranny. This may all sound like a shocking turn of events to you. But believe it or not, this was a well planned (and, unfortunately successful) attempt to remove Bar-Shai as chair in favor of Josh Berk. Matt Landau, as usual, was the orchestrator behind this. Allwood should never have been allowed to chair that debate, as he had a bias towards Josh. This may sound controversial, but hell, this is Binghamton Review, so I’ll say it anyway: much of the outrage expressed towards Bar-Shai for the comments he made towards Alice the night before he was elected stems not from what was said but rather from the fact that Bar-Shai duly won his election. Had Bar-Shai lost, the issue would have been closed; no one would have cared. But because he was elected assembly chair over Berk—who was supported by Landau, Maryam Belly, and Alice Liou—he had to be destroyed in the political sense of the term. They took from him the position he was duly elected to serve. Not that any of this comes as a surprise. After all, this is the SA we’re talking about here. The same SA that has all year fought over petty personal issues and obstructed real business from being deliberated and acted upon. The same SA whose members tried to overturn, delay, and obstruct executive board elections when the candidates they supported didn’t win. The same SA that spends more time on back room dealing than on dealing with student issues. Next year, we’ll have a chance at something different. The new executive board is nothing like the current one, even the VPMA-elect is someone BR likes a lot and would like to get along with. Hopefully, the SA can leave this miserable year behind us and move on. Unfortunately, because of some people who have ruined the SA this year and are graduating so they will not be on the assembly next year, have already gotten next year’s assembly off to a bad start, by stripping it of its legitimately elected Chair before the semester has even begun.
-Adam Shamah for the staff
Our Mission Binghamton Review is a non-partisan, student-run periodical of con- servative thought at Binghamton University. A true liberal arts education expands a student’s horizons and opens one’s mind to a vast array of divergent perspectives. In that spirit, we seek to promote the free exchange of ideas and offer an alternative viewpoint not normally found on our predominately liberal campus. It is our duty to expose the warped ideology of political correctness that dominates this university. We stand against tyranny in all its forms, both on campus and beyond. We believe in the principles set forth in this country’s Declaration of Independence, and seek to preserve the fundamental tenets of western civilization. Finally, we un- derstand that a moral order is a necessary component of any civilized society. We strive to inform, engage, and perhaps even amuse our readers in carrying out this mission. Binghamton Review, May 2009
Pr esswatch Prospect Magazine April 2009 Prospect’s Laura Chaath has uncovered some frightening developments on campus… This past year at Binghamton University, I have noticed an alarming trend. Student groups are popping up everywhere…This year alone 30 new student groups were chartered to bring the student group total to 170. You guys are the worst reporters ever. Who writes an article about there being too many student groups and then doesn’t even talk to our current EVP Boris Tadchiev or Rules Chair Mary Leonardo? If you had done this you would have learned that there were 26 groups chartered this year, not 30, bringing the total to 175 chartered and registered groups, not 170. In addition this isn’t some insane increase over last year, which saw over 20 newly-chartered groups. So yeah, there was an increase but nothing to go apeshit over Ms. Chaath. What is even worse is than a student group that does nothing is when multiple student groups do the same thing. Here at Binghamton University we are apparently dedicated to playing games. We have a chess club, a Scrabble club, and a Binghamton Gaming Group, which presumably plays different games than other two. Why can’t we just have one group that handles all game playing activities? I’ll say it again. Did anyone on your staff even spend a few minutes doing any kind of research? If you had, you would have learned that there was a proposed by-laws change to how student groups are chartered. Although the whole thing didn’t pass, what did pass specifies that at the suggestion of the Rules Committee, a potential group should try to become a subgroup of a similar preexisting student group. This has already been 4
done a few times this year. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Now why did the assembly decide only to recommend that potential new groups become subgroups of existing groups? Because it’s unfair to force prospective student groups into one another if they don’t want to. There was talk of trying to get student groups to retroactively become one group, for instance having your shitty publication, BMG (publishers of The Free Press), and Binghamton Review all as the same paper. But then it occurred to all involved that (a) that’s batshit crazy, and (b) not fair to groups that have already been chartered. Brilliant article Laura. You managed to show how little you understand about both the SA and journalism at the same time. Quite an incredible feat. Pipe Dream March 20, 2009 Rape and all types of sexual assault are a problem on and near college campuses. And “Binghamton University is no different,” a health expert said…Research estimates that 15 to 44 percent of all college women will experience date rape, said Beth Riley, coordinator of sexual assault programs at BU’s Counseling Center. OK, we admit this one is from a little while ago, but we forgot it in our last issue and feel this needs to be pointed out. So let me get this straight: “Research estimates 15 to 44 percent of all college women will experience date rape?” What kind of scientific scrutiny has this data been put up against? How the hell can you get away with using such a large and vague number to describe something like this? If I went around saying I did some research and I found that 15 to 44 percent of Prospect writers don’t do any research, I’d be laughed at (we all know it’s around 85%). Is this what we tell concerned parents when they tour the campus? “Rape isn’t a problem on this campus, although there is a 25% to almost Binghamton Review, May 2009
50% chance of your daughter being taken back to her room and both emotionally and physically scarred forever.” Pipe Dream April 28, 2009 Moving on from the nutty left-wing stuff he usual writes about, Sam Riedel has moved on to bigger and better things, specifically, reprinting Review articles in Pipe Dream under his own name. Take this from his April piece on Andre Massena… Before the case hit papers, Massena was a poster boy for the department (you may have seen his face in BU recruitment brochures), and he said he regularly received transcripts full of A and B grades. Now, Massena said, his professors claim he’s been sleeping in class, failing to participate, and neglecting his assignments. Massena and his classmates vigorously deny these charges. That sounds awfully familiar. I think I’ve read that somewhere else, maybe even helped write it. Oh, that’s right. We printed the exact same thing in our February issue… Andrew was given over $18,000 in scholarships from the MSW program and received only one grade below B. The University has even gone so far as to have Andre pictured in their brochure for the MSW program… Professor Frank claimed that Andre “…did not participate, slept in class, etc.” Normally, this would justify giving a lower score to a student. The problem is that these claims appear to be fabricated. According to several classmates of Andre, he regularly participated in class, asked insightful questions, and never fell asleep in class. You know what they say about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.
Finally: City Housing Commission’s Report Released by Adam Shamah
Back in October, Binghamton Review broke a story on Mayor Matt Ryan’s Commission on Housing and Home Development. The commission’s stated purpose was to examine city housing policy and to determine, among other things, how to best increase home ownership in the city. However, this was not all the commission was being used for. As we reported last semester, a member of the commission, Ken Kamlet, has been trying to persuade the commission to recommend applying new zoning laws and modified enforcement procedures in an effort to restrict student housing in much of the city. During the early months of the commission’s deliberations (it convened last April), Kamlet submitted to it a report titled “Need for Tighter Zoning to Control Student and Other Rental Housing.” In it, he recommended limiting the number of unrelated renters (students) allowed to live in any home in a residential district (R-1, R-2, and R-3) to three or fewer. He also pushed for the implementation of a new enforcement procedure called “rebuttable presumption,” in which the burden of proof would be shifted from the city onto the student. Currently, enforcement is “complaint-driven,” meaning
that a neighbor must complain before the zoning board begins an investigation. Under “rebuttable presumption,” any group of three unrelated renters living together in a residential district would automatically be assumed to be in violation of the law and could be evicted immediately. They would then have to prove that they are the functional equivalent of a family to be allowed to remain in the questioned living situation. After months of deliberation, the commission has finally released its completed report. Its recommendations will now go to the City Council, whose members can decide whether to propose formal legislation. With regard to the R-1 district, the commission has recommended implementing a presumptive limit of three: “There should be a ‘rebuttable presumption’ that landlords can lease rental units in the R-1 (low-density, single family residential) residential district to no more than three unrelated renters.” Exceptions would be made for those who can prove they are the functional equivalent of a family and for larger groups of renters who were allowed under previous zoning. Additionally, the commission recommends that existing leases be allowed to run their course if signed before the enactment of any Binghamton Review, May 2009
new law. However, with regard to R-2 and R3, the Commission recommends sticking with existing policy. This means that there will be no presumptive limit in the R-2 and R-3 districts; only R-1. The commission recommends the city continue using the complaint-driven method of enforcement in these two districts. This in itself is a huge victory for students, as most of us live in one of these two districts and cannot afford to be shut out of the residential districts entirely. “To make the process [of updating zoning laws to better control the number of transient renters in residential neighborhoods] self-implementing, a rental registration, licensing, and inspection process should be implemented,” reads the report. Though the report is vague, the suggestion of such a program worries some students and landlords who believe that it will lead to government intrusion into the private information exchanged between landlords and their tenants. Another proposal that will presumably come before the City Council in the coming months is the Commissionrecommended creation of an “overlay” district specifically for student housing. An overlay district, according to the Commission’s report, is a district
housing students would be allowed to live together than would normally be allowed in the R-2 district. Much of this area is already predominantly student housing; the commission simply recommends putting laws and policies in place that would make it both legal and encouraged for students to live there. The boundaries mentioned above are recommended for a pilot program, and the Commission recommends extending them north of Main Street if the pilot is successful. According to the President of the Landlord Association of Broome County, students have never been substantially This time, Rory Finkelstein tells Ken Kamlet involved in this ten yearto suck it! old battle against groups like the Westside Neighborhood Assothat is “superimposed over one or more ciation and their allies like Ken Kamlet. base zoning districts—such that the That is, until this year. On November 6, base district regulations still apply, ex- 2008 the Housing Commission held a cept where in conflict with overlay dis- public forum in which members of the trict requirements.” The student over- public were encouraged to come share lay district would be an area bounded their views with the commission memby Chestnut Street on the west, Oak bers. Defying anyone’s expectations, Street on the east, Seminary Avenue dozens of students showed up to that on the north, and Leroy Street on the forum to express their disdain for Mr. south, where zoning regulations would Kamlet’s recommendations. No longer be relaxed so that a greater number of was this a public battle between land-
lords, WSNA, and local politicians; finally the students were involved. The Student Association spoke out against Kamlet, and it was arranged for the Mayor himself to appear on campus to explain the situation and take feedback. Hundreds of students showed up to that forum and every one of them made it very clear that students will not stand for laws that discriminate against them. It appears that our hard work has paid off, as many of the recommendations, especially the one regarding the overlay district, are extremely favorable towards students. Nevertheless, we must remain on alert. We should not support presumptive limits even of only in the R-1 zone. We also must be sure that the City Council does not make R-2 and R-3 zoning laws more restrictive than they are now as a tradeoff for the overlay district. Finally, we must do everything we can to make sure the overlay district is a success; show the city that student housing can be safe, orderly, and prosperous. That is how we will prove people like Ken Kamlet and those at the West Side Neighborhood Association wrong. Adam Shamah is a sophomore at Binghamton University and is Editor-inChief of the Review. Ken Kamlet has suggested that a presumptive limit of three be set as the number of articles Adam is allowed to write for any one issue of the Review.
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Binghamton Review, May 2009
best and worst profs
BU’s Best and Worst Professors by the Editors
ack by popular demand, we bring to you our annual Best and Worst Professors list. BR judged candidates primarily on their abilities to keep their classrooms free of politics and open to the free exchange of ideas. Generally, we stuck to liberal arts professors. So, here are the professors whose classes you should take, and the clowns you should avoid.
The Best: Allan Arkush Judaic Studies From his work fighting against the “Diversity Requirement” in the 1990s to the way that he informs his students of cold, hard facts without slanting them with his own opinions, the chair of the Judaic Studies department has shown throughout his career that he values academic integrity and fair, unbiased teaching. His lectures are interesting and his knowledge deep, and his dry sense of humor makes his class interesting if you’re intelligent enough to get his jokes. Take a class with him, it’ll be worth it. Anna Gotlib Philosophy In only three years at Binghamton University, Anna Gotlib has proven herself to be one of the most original, intellectual, and down to earth professors that Binghamton University has ever had. She is funny, easy to get along with, and teaches in such a manner that every student can understand even the most long winded of philosophers. She has hosted numerous extracurricular events, and never shows a shred of partisanship, always being fair towards all those who show Republican or conservative ideolo-
gy by refusing to allow her own political positions to permeate her lectures. When asked about this, she usually responds with something along the lines of “I’m a lawyer; I was taught to argue all three sides of an argument.” Her professional training as a lawyer, deep knowledge of her subject matter, and willingness to help students learn more about the subject matter outside of the classroom allows for much independent study and thought in her courses; teaching students the most valuable lesson: how to think rather than just regurgitate information. Richard Mackenney History Making the list for the second year in a row, Professor Mackenney is the type of instructor that any first year student should want to have in order to renew their faith that there remain reputable and level-minded teachers here at Binghamton. He is an incredibly humble yet vibrant man who speaks history as if it were his native language. His lectures are concise and enlightening, and his language is careful and sophisticated, though this does not prevent him from being critical of the institutions of both the past and current world. Do not let his brilliant English accent or extensive vocabulary discourage you, however; every lecture leaves you feeling as though he is merely another scholar, just as most students here at Binghamton strive to be, whose opinion and analysis do not overrule, but rather enrich, your own experience with history and general knowledge.
The Worst: Ali Mazrui Political Science Binghamton Review, May 2009
It’s not hard to make the list of Binghamton’s worst professors when you have ties to Islamic terrorism. Several years back, Mazrui was detained at the Miami airport for seven hours where he was questioned regarding his ties to an Islamic fundamentalist. Recently, he lectured at the Osama Bin Laden-funded International Center for the Propagation of Islam. Not only that, but Mazrui is an absolute hypocrite. He’ll frequently mention how evil the European slave-trade was and how whites of European decent should feel the guilt of their ancestors’ crimes. Of course, he strategically leaves out the fact that he himself is a descendent of the leading slave-trading family of Mombasa. A few years ago, he made David Horowitz’s list of the 100 mostdangerous academics in the country. He well deserves his spot on this list too. Virginia Brown Political Science Virginia Brown was on this list last year. It’s no surprise that she is back for a second time around. Professor Brown is a professor who loves to push her radical feminazi agenda on her students. Not only does she use class time to preach her hippie bullshit, she also tests her students on her political views and opinions as if they were fact. If you don’t buy into her idea that the U.S. is the worst country on the planet, you will get a bad grade. If you love America and would be inclined to speak up against her propaganda, good luck passing the class. Binghamton Review highly recommends you take a class with Professor Brown if you are a member of the Experimental Media Organization or the Women’s Student Union. You’ll love her. If you don’t belong to either of these groups, shy away.
Victory!!! Failure to Cooperate-3 gone from next year’s Student Code of Conduct by Randal Meyer ‘11
n our February issue this year, I wrote my second article about the Failure to Cooperate-3 rule. I reported that the draft of the Student Code of Conduct that would be implemented next year retained the controversial Failure to Cooperate-3 rule, which states that, “A Failure to Cooperate occurs when… [a student f ]ails to exit his or her room, suite, or apartment at the request of a University Official.” Binghamton Review is proud to print a revision. After a year-long battle between students and various administrators, this section of the Failure to Cooperate rule has been removed from the proposed Code of Conduct. In March 2008, the draft of the Student Code of Conduct that was to be proposed to the Binghamton University Council for the ‘08-‘09 school year was released to the Student Association. The Binghamton University Council is a body of 9 gubernatorial appointees and one student representative that is the guiding entity on Binghamton’s Campus. The Council must approve of the Code of Conduct before it is implemented the following year. This proposed Code marked the first appearance of the controversial Failure to Cooperate-3 rule. Then BU Council Representative, Chris Powell, former BR Editor and Vice President for Finance, introduced a resolution on the Student Assembly that passed unanimously opposing the imposition of this rule. This resolution was approved in April 2008. That same month was the BU Council meeting in which the 8
Council was set to approve the Code of Conduct. Powell combated the rule with arguments about the policy’s implementation and its practicality. A former Resident Assistant and then-President of the NYS Bar Association, Kathryn Madigan, sided with Powell and the two voted to strike down this rule. Unfortunately, their endeavor did not succeed. In November 2008, the Office of Judicial Affairs formed a committee called the “Judicial Quality Team.” The committee was charged with “evaluating and making” recommendations on Code of Conduct.” Its purpose was to create “a Code of Conduct for the 21st century,” and included representatives from Residential Life, UPD, Judicial Affairs, and current Vice President for Academic Affairs Peter Spaet. This team over the 08-09 school year passed many recommendations that were suggested by Spaet including the elimination of transferred culpability (if I live in a suite and my suitemate has a party, I’m not responsible), and the raising of the standard of evidence from the draconian “Preponderance of Evidence/Balance of Probabilities” to the reasonable and fair “Clear and Convincing” standard. However, one thing this group would not budge on was the Failure to Cooperate-3 rule. Spaet continued to combat this rule on the committee and met with Brian Rose, Milton Chester, and various Reslife staff regarding practicality and effectiveness of the rule. Spaet’s continued efforts began to pay Binghamton Review, May 2009
off last month when Vice President for Student Affairs, and major proponent of the said rule, Brian Rose asked Spaet to propose an alternative to the rule. Spaet essentially proposed the elimination of the rule, arguing that functionally, both students and residential life would be better off without it. A few days later, Spaet received a call from Brian Rose discussing the changes to the Code of Conduct and, specifically, Failure to Cooperate; the controversial section would be stricken from the Code of Conduct that will be proposed to BU Council this month. I will take this opportunity to editorialize a little bit. As anyone who regularly reads this paper knows, this rule has been one of my major pet peeves since its inception. I am grateful to Peter Spaet for his continued efforts in combating this rule, and rules like it which unfairly intrude upon the rights of students. He, for lack of a better term, kicks ass. Our Code of Conduct has reached a point, through collaboration between students, administration, Reslife, and Judicial Affairs, where it is fair and one of the most constitutional, student-friendly codes of conduct in the entire nation. I expect that this new code will move Binghamton from its current Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) yellow light status, to green light status. Randal Meyer is a sophomore at Binghamton University.
I n sti gation s T
his year’s Student Association E-Board has not been without its problems. The nonstop infighting and alliances formed out of simple pettiness have been part of the reason for the SA’s ineffectiveness and ineptitude. Regardless, we’ve given our student leaders the chance to do what’s right, to rise above the bullshit and to handle things in a professional manner. With their recent “Statement Against Hate” that they submitted to most of the campus, our outgoing EBoard has shown us why on one level or another they are failures on a massive scale. The only person that we can actually give credit to is outgoing Vice President for Finance Alice Liou. She was the only one who stayed almost completely out of drafting or approving this statement. What was so disgusting was that three E-Board members who should have recused themselves for taking part in the drafting this statement in any way did not. Let’s go down the list. The first offender is Vice President for Programming Aaron Butler. Butler was directly involved in the incident involving former Assembly Representative Michael Lombardi and Liou. None of the back-and-forth between Lombardi and Liou would have ever taken place if it weren’t for Butler storming out of the room to confront Lombardi and his friends, Assembly Representatives Yadin Herzel and Rod Alzmann, for simply leaving a meeting to go study for an upcoming exam. Because of his behavior, the events that followed had serious ramifications for many members of both the current and future SA. Yet, oddly enough, Butler escaped the same kind of scrutiny that the people named in the statement received. His
direct involvement in this conflict should have led him to stay out of any part of the drafting or approval of the statement, but it did not. Next we have Maryam Belly, our Vice President for Multicultural Affairs. I know it sounds odd to not involve the VPMA in the drafting of a statement concerning racism, but in this case our VPMA-Elect Ricky Da Costa should have been involved and not her. Her open allegiance to Liou and her inability to handle the controversy surrounding this issue should have excluded her involvement. Finally, we have President Matt Landau. Landau should have recused himself for the same reason that he should recused himself from every single thing that he’s ever done as President of the SA; his decisions are always about his own self-interest rather than that of the student body. Especially with sensitive matters such as the one they were handling, Landau is the worst person to be involved. As with most things that have occurred this year, the SA E-Board should be ashamed of itself.
n April 30, 2009, the 11th Annual XCELsior Awards took place at Anderson Center’s Chamber Hall. Every year, these silly awards are given out with the understanding that the nominees and winners have about as much validity as Josh Berk does being next year’s SA chair. Although we even admit that whining about any of the recipients is pointless, I think that we speak for most logic-basedlife forms when we say how surprised we were when Maryam Belly won the Paul J. Battaglia Memorial Award for student leadership. Student leadership, are Binghamton Review, May 2009
you joking? Although the Review is the only publication to cover the painfully obvious defects in Belly’s leadership this year, it doesn’t mean that our arguments aren’t valid. How can a person who has never run a single successful program out of her office, weakened the I.C.A., been divisive during SA meetings, alienated half of the E-Board, and handled the whole VPMA controversy by screaming racism at the top of her lungs rather than actually debate the merits of her position be considered a competent student leader, let alone one who deserves an award. Even the most recent and public example of her ineptitude seems to go not unnoticed but rewarded. On Thursday, April 30, Assembly Representative Elahd Bar-Shai went into Belly’s office to apologize to her and to have her arrange a meeting between Bar-Shai and members of Asian Student Union so that he could speak to them personally and apologize. This meeting has yet to happen. Why? Because Belly wanted the greatest possible turnout for her “Rally Against Hate.” So instead of being a true student leader and trying to arrange a meeting between Bar-Shai and ASU, she has only added kerosene to the fire. Seeing as how awards are given to the most undeserving person imaginable, why didn’t Belly get the award for Outstanding Multicultural Program for having speaker Meredith LeVande come and talk about how society is impacted by the pornography industry? Oh yeah, that’s right, fewer than 10 people showed up. Congratulations on your award, Belly, it’s well deserved. Finally, someone can pat you on the back for all the “work” that you’ve done this year besides yourself and Alice Liou.
Score One for the Good Guys! The end of NYPIRG at Binghamton by Adam Shamah ‘11
n the very first issue of Binghamton Review, published way back in September 1987, Review editors called out the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) as the money-squandering, ideologically biased, left-wing sham that it is. Twenty-one years later, students at Binghamton University are free from NYPIRG’s grip, as its allocated budget for 2009-2010 stands at $200—down from over $100,000 just a few years ago. First, what is NYPIRG? A brief history: In the 1970s, Ralph Nader began founding Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) on college campuses across the country. Binghamton’s chapter of the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG) was founded in 1975. The goal of the PIRGs is to advocate on various contentious public issues, such as consumer rights and the environment. From early on, NYPIRG and other affiliates across the country used student government referendum processes as a way of securing massive amounts of funding from the student activity fee. For years, NYPIRG was guaranteed $5 per student per semester by the SA constitution. NYPIRG here at Binghamton has held several events on campus in recent memory—the energy contest and voter registration drives come to mind—but the majority of the funds al10
located to them by the Student Association are shipped off-campus to pay professional staff and lobbyists in Albany. Accountability has always been an issue with NYPIRG when it reports back to the SA; it usually cannot explain exactly how much of its money is being spent on what, so it’s tough to say how much of the budget the SA allocates to NYPIRG each year goes to pay the salaries of ideological lobbyists. Leave it to say that on their budget request form from last year, over 80% of the request was for professional staff services. The battle to rid BU of NYPIRG has been a long one. Only in recent years has there been any success at all, though that success has snowballed and drained NYPIRG of any support they ever had on campus. It began in the spring of 2006, when Assembly Representative Alex Rosenthal realized that the $5 per student basis for NYPIRG’s budget no longer had any concrete foundation in the SA constitution and requested a copy of the contract between NYPIRG and the SA. The provision mandating that $5 per student per semester be allocated towards NYPIRG was taken out of the constitution, and NYPIRG’s budget figure each year was instead decided upon through a contract between NYPIRG and the SA that guaranteed the same amount as the constitution had assured NYPIRG of previously. Binghamton Review, May 2009
Seeing that the current contract was set to expire at the end of that year, Rosenthal took that opportunity to bring NYPIRG’s budget before the Financial Council (FinCo) for the first time. Along with Jeremy Zenilman and Chris Powell, an Assembly and FinCo representative at the time who would one day be Editor-in-Chief of the Review (‘06’-’07) and the SA Vice President for Finance (‘07-’08), Rosenthal brought the motion before FinCo to consider NYPIRG’s budget as they would any other student group. The motion was well received, despite NYPIRG bringing in their statewide big dogs, and FinCo lowered NYPIRG’s allocation for ‘06’07 to $85,000 – down from $106,000 that they would have been given had the $5 per student system stayed in place. After some debate on the Assembly, FinCo’s $85,000 allocation stuck, and the new SA President was forbidden from signing NYPIRG’s contract promising $5 per student per semester. A new contract was negotiated to reflect the $85,000 allocation, but Powell persuaded the VPF and NYPIRG to make the new contract renewable annually, rather than biannually as it had been before, convincing NYPIRG that this would give them a chance to get their funding restored in the next year’s allocation rather than two years down the line. The following spring (2007),
NYPIRG FinCo cut NYPIRG’s budget to $65,000. This led NYPIRG to launch a campus-wide campaign to restore its funding. They did this by circulating a petition and collecting the required number of signatures to get the question (Do you support funding NYPIRG in the amount of $5 per student per semester?) put up for a referendum. The question was placed on the ballot during the semester’s executive board elections. As courts have ruled referendum questions as a method of distributing the student activity fee illegal, the question was nonbinding. Assembly Representative and future Assembly Chair Eric Katz, with
back to $65,000. Atkinson’s motion held NYPIRG to only reinstating their $65,000 Finco-allocated budget, rather than reversing FinCo’s initial cut from $85,000. The following spring (2008), FinCo cut NYPIRG’s budget down to $50,000. At this point, NYPIRG’s end seemed inevitable; it was just a matter of when it would be final. People realized that FinCo would continue slashing thousands of dollars off of NYPIRG’s budget each year, and eventually they would be left with too little to operate. The budget meeting rolled around in April, and I was left with motion number three, meaning that I was
count, rather than the SA’s. Everyone in the room knew it—NYPIRG was done. From the very start of this year, NYPIRG has maintained the position that they will not spend the $14,200 that we give them unless it is transferred to NYPIRG central, something that cannot happen without Landau signing the contract, going as far as to pay in cash for copies from Cold Copy rather than charging them to their account. So, the $14,200, to which each and every undergraduate student contributes, has sat unused, wasted, in SA account #0457, where NYPIRG refuses to touch it. In March, FinCo met to draft next year’s budget. On a motion made
The NYPIRG saga shows that through logic and reason, conservative causes can win even on campuses as liberal as ours. help from WHRW’s Mike Saltzman and Robert Glass, organized a “No to NYPIRG!” campaign to persuade students to vote “no” on funding NYPIRG. Had the students voted “yes” in large numbers, the Assembly would probably have been pressured into giving NYPIRG more money. After an array of grievances and campaign violations led to the results of the vote getting thrown out, the question was put up a second time. NYPIRG brought in a busload of campaigners to flier for them (they way outnumbered the “No to NYPIRG” campaigners), but was able to get only 52% of the voters to support them. This was looked at as a huge victory for the anti-NYPIRG crowd, as 52% support could not be used to justify a large increase in NYPIRG’s budget. At the Assembly budget meeting several weeks later, Representative Ephraim Atkinson motioned to reduce NYPIRG’s allocation from $65,000 to $50,000. The motion passed, but was later reversed when SA President-elect David Bass motioned to increase them
third in a line of Assembly representatives to move for one line-item change to the budget FinCo passed. Rather than continue to facilitate the gradual cuts, I decided to go for a large chunk. I motioned to further cut NYPIRG from FinCo’s allocated $50,000 to $14,200. I derived that number from NYPIRG’s budget request form. After subtracting out professional staff expenses from the $85,000 they asked for, $14,200 was what was left. After an impassioned speech from Eric Katz, who had temporarily stepped down from Chair duties to debate, the Assembly voted, by a 17 to 6 margin, in favor of the cut. In what must have seemed like déjà vu for anyone who had been on the Assembly the previous year, David Bass later motioned to reverse my motion. However, this time he had no luck. The Assembly voted to uphold my motion by nearly the same margin as it had passed it the first time. On the same night, then President-elect Matt Landau promised not to sign the NYPIRG contract that allowed them to transfer the funds into their own acBinghamton Review, May 2009
by Edmund Mays, FinCo allocated $200 to NYPIRG, the same amount it gave several student groups that were first chartered this year. On the Assembly, no one stood to defend NYPIRG, and the $200 allocation remains unchanged. The NYPIRG saga shows that through logic and reason, conservative causes can win even on campuses as liberal as ours. It took numerous assembly debates, some campus-wide campaigning, and even the severing of a longstanding SA contract, but together, the quartet of Rosenthal, Zenilman, Katz, and Powell, along with significant help from many others, including some from this magazine, rid this campus of NYPIRG once and for all. The campus is better off because of it. Adam Shamah is a sophomore at Binghamton University and is Editor-inChief of the Review.
Exclusive: BR Interviews SA President Matt Landau Interview by Edmund Mays and Adam Shamah
A President Matt Landau has certainly been on of the most divisive members of the SA in recent memory. He has been involved, in one way or another, in nearly every SA controversy since he began his stay at Binghamton. Here, for the first time, Matt sits down with Binghamton Review to tell all. Yeah, we think he’s doing it because he gets off on media attention too…
BR- Of course we were. Would you say that the E-Board has failed this year on certain initiatives? For example, on housing or tuition? ML- Let’s take one issue at a time. Housing, for example… housing was not just done by the Binghamton Review. I think that what you are forgetting to see is the
favor of that… which is actually in the report. Yes, the Binghamton Review did a great job with their journalism piece. But, journalists are there to report the news, not to make it, and not to execute it. It is the SA’s job to execute them and when we did so. And, I think that because of my leadership, putting the correct people together in the room. Having the Matt Ryan forum. BR- What do you think of the incoming E-Board members? Who do you think will do a good job?
Binghamton Review- If there were an approval rating for the job that you’ve done this year, what do you think it would be? Matt Landau- Sixty-two percent. I think that I have done a good job. I ensured that OCCT is continued. I believe that my personal approval rating would be in the high 90s, maybe a little bit above 100. But, because the SA has such a bad image this year for extenuating circumstances, as the president, the buck stops here and my number would go down be- private meeting. There is a problem with cause of that. But me, personally, I think my office. There are many meetings that I I have done a great job. have outside, that aren’t publicly known. My meetings with the mayor, my meetBR- Do you take responsibility for this ings with the city… the meetings I just year E-Boards’ lack of cohesion? do not talk about. Meetings to discuss my possible candidacy for mayor, and why ML- Yeah. I would not run for mayor. And, how a possible solution would be not only BR- (laughing) students on a cabinet with Matt Ryan but also having the [overlay] district… ML- Is there a follow up? Were you ex- which was an idea that was given, or was pecting me to say “no” on that one? approached to me while I was discussing my candidacy. If I wasn’t, I would be in Binghamton Review, May 2009
ML- I think they will all do a good job. I believe that. I even endorsed most of them. BR- Do you think they have any weaknesses overall, or individually? ML- Absolutely. They don’t have any experience being on the SA executive board. They don’t have any one person who’s ever sat on the E-Board before. Look at this year, there is me. The year before there was Bass and Sandi. The year before that there was Belsky. Then you can look at each office and find a weakness with each one, though they are weaknesses that can be overcome. [President-elect] Adam [Amit] needs to learn the administrators. He is the first SA President in five years to never be a community president or student association executive board member. [EVP-elect] Jared [Kirschen13
landau baum] needs to stop worrying about his own political future and instead needs to start worrying about being Executive Vice President. [VPF-elect] Matt [Allwood] needs to learn how to do vouchers. [VPAA-elect] Dan [Rabinowitz] needs to be less controversial. [VPP-elect] Aaron Cohn, I don’t really know much about
where and I won an election that people BR- What did you not accomplish that said I could not win. It was a very tough you wish you had? election, but as you can see from the endorsements that I got in that election— ML- I would have loved to have seen specifically, getting the endorsement of communal bathrooms in Newing and Pipe Dream in a three person race, getDickinson. I would have loved for the ting the endorsement of Newing ColE-Board to work better together. Other lege Council, getting a majority of the
I believe that my personal approval rating would be in the high 90s, maybe a little bit above 100. But, because the SA has such a bad image this year for extenuating circumstances, as the president, the buck stops here and my number would go down because of that. him but he needs to make sure he can separate himself from Aaron Butler while Aaron is still at school here. He can’t be worried about having Aaron Butler’s approval. [VPMA-elect] Ricky Da Costa has new duties that have now been established by the constitutional amendments that he needs to implement. He will be a very big part of whether or not those constitutional amendments will be successful or not.
than that, with the budget problems being what they were and the state system, it’s kind of difficult to take different initiatives. A lot of times it’s just what issues come up. The Union was not an issue this year. That issue was solved last year so other than that I don’t think there’s anything that I tried to do that I lost on. BR- What do you think was the worst decision made this year by an eboard member and why?
BR- What have you accomplished this year? ML- I would say it would be a collective decision that was made by myself, Alice, ML- OCCT continued amidst finan- Peter, Boris, and Aaron for all getting incial troubles. 1,192 students came to a volved in the VPMA debate. By us getfree Binghamton Mets game. Over 400 ting involved, by us taking sides in the students attended the senior picnic. We issue, it divided the E-Board. advocated for tuition. We got the Hinman Nite Owl open until 4:00 AM. BR- When you cheated during your We changed the student accounts reg- VPAA race, do you think it would have istration policy. The Chenango Room is affected the outcome or would you have open for students when originally it was won anyway? not supposed to be. That’s a fight that was a pretty hidden fight because I told ML- I did not cheat. them at the time that I would not mention that it was even discussed as long as BR- Can you explain why some people the students were allowed to eat there. In may think that you cheated? addition, ensuring that OCCT continues not just this year but in future years; ML- I think people think that I cheated changing the way that structure works. because I came out of absolutely no14
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vote in Moutainview College Council, getting the endorsement from College Democrats and College Republicans as well as the Binghamton University Prospect, as well as having the endorsements of at the time SA President Michael Schiffman, EVP David Belsky, Financial Vice President Richard Marmalejos, and EVP-elect Joe Danko, and current VPP and VPP-elect Sandi Dube—I believe most of the establishment thought that I was the best candidate, and 52% of the student body felt the same. I think that people may think that I cheated because they thought I would go by any means necessary to take office, but I believe that I won because more students voted for me—legitimately. BR- Do you ever plan to appear on a reality TV show as that scumbag who wins at the end? ML- I would say… have you ever seen the show Big Brother? I would definitely be the guy who makes all these deals and then breaks them, have alliances and then break them, only care about myself and do whatever it takes for me to win—if it were a reality TV show in which I did not give a shit about any of the competitors.
landau BR- We weren’t talking about your term as SA President (laughing). This year’s Judicial Board has taken a lot of criticism for irrational and unconstitutional decision making. You appointed more than half of the current J-Board members. Do you agree that at least some of the appointments were mistakes or do you stand by the decisions made by those who you appointed? ML- My decision was to nominate them. It was the student assembly who voted to confirm them by a two-thirds vote every single time. I would hope that the Student Assembly stands by those decisions; I stand by my nominations. In the twenty-five year history of the Student Association, I am the first SA President to not have any of his judicial nominees rejected. I believe that is because of the preparation that the J-board nominees had and the qualification that they had. Some people may think that my J-board has turned into a “magic 8-ball,” I believe that the Judicial Board is surrounded by people with different points of view. I understand that people in the Binghamton Review don’t like that because all of you share one ideology, but the judicial board shares many.
ago, you argued in favor of NYPIRG’s assembly seats. Last year, you supported slashing their budget. This year you were the first SA President to refuse to sign the contract between NYPIRG and the SA. Can you explain your feeling on NYPIRG as an organization and explain why you refused to sign the contract this year? ML- NYPIRG is a great organization that should have had seats on the Student Assembly because there is no reason that we should limit the voice. However, they spend their money illegally and therefore I could not sign their contract; they send their money and give it to a stipend to pay someone who does not work for the University. BR- You were impeached from your first elected position your freshman year. How did you rebound? ML- I was reelected the same day. BR- A lot has been said of the shady tactics you used to get elected. What shady tactics do you plan to use to succeed in the real world?
ML- Then I will be able to hire my campaign staff, and those people won’t be BR- Is there a specific decision that you just students who don’t really know anydisagreed with? thing about electioneering. So I would say none. ML- I thought the Dickinson rerun was a travesty. I think that Alice Liou vs. BR- What is the shadiest thing you’ve Elahd Bar-Shai was an absolute mistake. ever done? Judicial Board has no right to say whether [Financial Council] violated the Open ML- In terms of elections? Meetings Law. That is up to New York State, not the SA Judicial Board. I think BR- How ‘bout both? Elections and with the Dickinson rerun it was obvious non-elections. that the people crossed out their names because that was what the poll sitters ML- Endorsing Randal Meyer. That was did and it did not affect the outcome of a mistake because he was a white person the election, which we proved in the re- running for—(stops). run. Other J-board decisions I’ve mostly agreed with. BR- What does that have anything to do with the election? BR- NYPIRG. You’ve had many different experiences with them. Two years ML- He does not represent multiculturBinghamton Review, May 2009
alism. He’s never been involved with an I.C.A. group. BR- Would you say that someone from the Pirate Club would be a valid candidate seeing as how they are now under the I.C.A.? ML- If they go to I.C.A. meetings, if they are aware of the issues at hand, then absolutely. BR- Why do you need a multicultural background to run for VPMA? ML- You don’t have to. Randy was just unqualified. 29% thought that Randal Meyer was qualified, and that was probably because they thought he was Jewish. BR- So why did you endorse him? ML- (Long pause) Because he would have created, at the time, the most cohesive E-Board. BR- If you could fire one administrator, whom would you choose and why? ML- Larry Katz. He is the Director of Student Accounts. He is someone who I believe violated federal law by disclosing how much money a certain individual owed to the university. He has refused on multiple attempts to even speak with students about their registration policy. Understandably, while he may been seen as one of the best collectors in the SUNY system, he is not a good representative for students and he should be fired. BR- What is your feeling on Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose? ML- He is a strong advocate for students. BR- How do you feel about Brian Rose speaking at the VPMA meeting earlier this year? ML- It was terrible. It was a tragedy, something that an administrator had no 15
landau right to do. BR- What do you think about Brian Rose sitting in on meetings between EBoard members and various administrators? ML- This is a new policy this year. I never agreed with this policy. His policy is [he sits in on] standing meetings, so I canceled all my standing meetings and now call individual meetings.
break into doors. What they have now is safe, and yes WHRW has found ways to break into certain things, and WHRW has found ways to find things in trash cans and dumpsters. A week after their first discover, I was leaving the SA office at around 3:00 AM, and I saw three people in the dumpster looking for things. I also saw one person trying to break into the union. I later learned that one of the people involved was involved in WHRW. Actions such as that are what is illegal.
BR- Do you think the administration is trying to take over the SA? BR- Are you saying that WHRW broke the law? ML- Brian Rose wants more involvement in the SA. I think “taking over” ML- I am not a lawyer but I think it’s is too general of a term. He wants more possible. input. BR- You’ve told several people that you BR- Do you think the administration were going to use your first motion at the has taken the appropriate steps in secur- budget meeting to lower Free Press’ alloing students’ private information after a cated amount. Would you like to speak series of security breaches? to that?
what they print but the quality of it. Free Press sucks. They have awful writers, awful editors, they are just an awful paper. You know that it is an awful paper when after one issue, their Editor-in-Chief resigned over pressure because she had the headline be “SA President to Cut OCCT Bus Service,” and then failed to contact the SA President for comment. They didn’t even contact anyone within the SA. It’s called bad journalism. You learn that in intro to journalism. The next Editor-in-Chief ran SA stories, and not once did they contact the SA. It’s the quality. You do not have stories that are a week and a half old that have already been covered by Pipe Dream. The point is, the Free Press is just a god-awful paper that should not exist on campus. It is already violating its own constitution by failing to be an alternative source of media because all they do is print summaries of what Pipe Dream wrote in the last issue.
ML- Yes. I don’t think that anybody can ML- Student groups are judged by expect an organization such as WHRW what they do. I believe that publications to ravage through trash dumpsters and should be judged not by the content of
Landau thinks his approval rating would be 62%. Here’s an in-depth breakdown of where that percentage point comes from. 16
Binghamton Review, May 2009
Some Parting Advice As I depart Binghamton University by Robert E. Menje ‘09
o it’s the last week of my senior year. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. You probably don’t have a job lined up. If you were smart, you chose to go to grad school. If you’re a dumb ass like me, you thought putting it off for a couple of years was a great idea (not realizing that a recession was going to hit and that the job market would suck). Other than that, you’re excited for bar crawl. You’re unsure of what life experiences are ahead. Will you fail? Will you succeed? Will you end up in jail for insider trading? (There is a 91% chance that the latter will be my fate.) You are just finishing up what is supposed to be (and for me has been) the best four years of your life. You have the world at your fingertips. With this great education you just paid for, the tools you learned should be used wisely. Your goals in life should be fourfold. One: Make a lot of money. For now, this should be what drives you. The more money you make, the more you contribute to society. Just realize that when you earn a buck, you are EARNING a buck. You are selling your services to someone that wants them. Also, when you earn this buck, remember that you deserve to keep what you earn. The government doesn’t deserve the money you worked hard for. This is why you should be against exorbitant taxes. Two: Buy fast cars. What better 18
way to say, “Ha ha, I’m better than you” to the guy in the beat up 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, than to drive a car that does 0 to 60 in 4 seconds and gets 9 miles per gallon. Buying a fast car also will get you laid a lot more often. Women are attracted to success and having a fast car tells a woman, “the 5 speed manual isn’t the only stick I can swing.” If you follow this one, you will thank me… I can promise you that. Three: Buy a big home. I might hate Al Gore, but I commend him for being a big baller and buying a house that uses thirteen times more electricity than your standard American home. The reason for buying a big home is simple. If you followed step one you will have ample money to purchase this home. If you followed step two also, you will need someplace to park your fast car. No woman wants to be picked up in a BMW M3 only to be driven to your parents’ house where she will be hounded by said parents and your high-schoolaged brother whom has yet to kiss a girl. Following step two is almost useless without following step three simultaneously. Step one will make sure steps two and three are possible. Four: Last but not least, it’s okay to cheat. Let me explain…. I’m not talking about cheating on your hot trophy wife that steps one through three will get you. I’m talking about cheating in life. It’s okay to cut corners. It’s okay
to fib on your resume. And it’s definitely okay to “forget” to report certain back room dealings you’ve done to the IRS. (I recommend that you don‘t mention that twelve grand you won on poker last week.) Everyone does it. It’s the American way. America is all about the Benjamins and a lot of those Benjamins could possibly come from shady dealings. As long as you’re not killing anyone, don’t worry too much about telling a little lie here and there. Lies have created empires and they have also brought about their downfall so just be careful with step four. If you follow these steps, I can guarantee that your life will be pretty sweet. I know that I plan on following my own advice once I get the heck out of Binghamton. On a side note, I just want to say that it has been an absolute pleasure being one of the major conservative voices on campus for these past few years. I know that Binghamton Review and College Republicans are in great hands as I part ways with BU, and that the conservative movement is alive and well on our campus. Peace out, yo! Robert E. Menje is a senior at Binghamton University.
You Know What Grinds My Gears? by Paul Liggieri ‘09
t feels good to be back writing for Binghamton Review, and as such, there has been no loss of things, people, and scenarios that would annoy any reasonable person on Binghamton University’s campus, or anywhere in the world for that matter. You know what really grinds my gears? Classes where an entire group must present to everyone. You can find these boring group presentations in almost every major and every classroom. Professors are under the impression that these group projects help people to work with one another, because of course, we’ll all have to get along and work with each other in the future regardless of our differences. One, no one pays attention during the presentations and most people simply read off an index card in a monotone voice. Two, students already realize that they will encounter the likes of group think, or the free rider problem, we don’t need redundant group presentations over four years to help prove this point. Often I feel like hanging myself during these presentations, or at least throwing a hard object at those presenting, perhaps in an effort to make them stop. If these presentations tested anything, it would be the level of insanity one can reasonably be driven to without completely falling off the edge. You know what else has been called to my attention that grinds my gears?
The Xcel awards. Oh man, the Xcel awards. I did not know it was such an honor for a group to nominate itself, have their friends nominate them for things they did not do, cite a bunch of events that no one came to, and then win an award for it. I put forth that there are always going to be certain organizations that absolutely deserved an award, such as the College Republicans for their phenomenal setup of the College Republicans/College Democrats Road to the White House Debate. Or the Greek Man of the Year award, handed to a dear friend of mine who helped create and sponsor some of the most innovative events and groups Greek life has ever seen, as well as his leadership bringing the IFC to new heights; people and groups like that deserve an award. That being said, the “I like myself group” or the “I have a position that I use to discriminate against others group” should not have won awards, and I have become cognizant of the fact that there are two groups of people in this world; there are those who do things, and there are those who want credit. If your group hosted an event that brought five people to a 500 people lecture hall, you do not deserve an award. If your group hosts a blatantly racist program, you do not deserve an award. If you group collaborated with five others to create an event, instead of nominating your own group, nominate Binghamton Review, May 2009
the others. My friends, always be a part of the group that does things, because in the end, you’ll receive credit where credit is due, not from a crock award show. Here is another group of people who have done their best to make a mockery of the word “judicial.” The Student Association Judicial Board is filled with some of the most idiotic people I have ever encountered. I always knew what it was like to be accused of being a puppet master, Maryam Belly knew what it was like, and so did countless others. But please, Matt Landau, at least pick puppets that can dance. The Judicial Board that was nominated and appointed is filled with people who probably don’t even know what the term “original intent” means. You can’t just watch law and order than play Judge Judy as you fuck with people’s hard work on a campaign. Here is an original interpretation for the ignoramus’s on the Judicial Board. When one places an X on a piece of paper either over or next to their name, shows their ID card, and fills out a ballot, they are acknowledging the acceptance of an offer. The offer was for them to vote, they accepted it by placing an X next to their name. When you go to a restaurant, and you swipe your card for a meal, than you are asked to sign, how many of you can reasonably tell me you spell your full name out. Most of 19
grinding gears us scribble nonsense that looks like an X, yet, the credit card companies still accept this as a valid signature. But oh no, not in the world of the SA judicial board that enjoyed making Pipe Dream headlines instead of actually interpreting what was written. I can
of that debacle, the Student Association is a bureaucracy once again. I can only hope that amendments will be made so that votes cannot be called five times over if people do not like the outcome. My props go out to Adam Amit who played all his cards right by not doing
wear the same plaid shorts. Plaid is one of the only things left to help define an alpha male, please don’t ruin it. On any given day you can see the same pair of Abercrombie plaids on 200 different kids. Also, don’t wear socks with sandals, crocs are for women, and straight
Folks, I don’t know if anybody told you, but while government is about uniting, campaigns are about dividing. The goal is to secure your base, ignite their frustrations, and have them take it out on their opponents in the form of voting. recall sitting in an SA meeting where some doorknob was being nominated for the J-Board. When asked whether he believed in a strict interpretation of the constitution or a spirit of the law; Matt Landau pulled the string from the back of the kid’s shirt, and the kid said “ughhhhhhh.” Next time, pick puppets that are not broken. You know what else raises my blood pressure? The number of grievances filed during the SA elections. Folks, I don’t know if anybody told you, but while government is about uniting, campaigns are about dividing. The goal is to secure your base, ignite their frustrations, and have them take it out on their opponents in the form of voting. I have studied campaign strategy for four years, ran in elections, won elections, and helped state senators, legislators, and city councilmen win their elections. I don’t know if the candidate from Dickinson realized this, but while I have an exorbitant amount of respect for him, his chances of beating his opponent for the Executive Vice President race were slim to none. So why, why file a grievance that would turn the entire election on its head, and take away all the energy from a base that was needed to win a Presidential election. Because 20
much in the SA during his tenure. It meant that no one could attack him for anything, and god knows I would have used every bit of ammo he gave me. Good luck to all those who were elected, I pray that you instill change. I’ll tell you what really grinds my gears, the fact that a candle was dedicated to Jibberly Wong, the nut job who massacred 12 innocent people. These people were just trying to become citizens and assimilate into American society when their lives were tragically taken. If it was up to me, I would have kicked his candle right off the table, yet there were those who wanted to be politically correct and assure that everyone who died was accounted for. The only thing that should be burning is not a candle, but Jibberly Wong himself, for committing the acts of hate and violence against those who were simply trying to become the best thing that they could be: Americans. On a short list of what grinds my gears, I still can’t stand certain so called “fashions.” Clone Drones with their Ugg boots, north face coats, B.U sweatshirts, and glasses meant for a circus. Summer is approaching, and the look of plaid shorts and brown flip flops is still a classic, but let us all not try to Binghamton Review, May 2009
men should not wear jeans that are so tight that they walk like ducks. Let us take it back to the GQ folks. Stick with classics colors like white and khaki. If you don’t want to spend a hundred dollars per shirt, go out and buy a pack of 5 white t-shirts and one pair of khaki shorts; you’re good for the whole summer and you won’t look like one of the derelicts that hangs out by the water fountain chanting about the right wing conspiracy to take over the world. What would this article be if I did not mention the SOM (School of Management)? These Gordon Gekko wannabees come to school most days dressed up in a suit that’s too big for them, walking around with a briefcase as if to say “Hey, I’m important.” These kids are supposed to represent the future of our economy. If I sat them in a room and had them throw darts at a board, we would be better off. They get way too much money for their school while those in Harpur will inevitably suffer some more. Someone give me the logic, how is it that the school with the most kids receives the least funding? Look, I know a few kids in SOM who genuinely deserve to succeed, and I wish them the best. But a lot of them lack the one thing they’ll need to suc-
ceed in the business world: common sense. And that leads me to my last point of the semester. You know what grinds my gears Binghamton, people who define other people as smart simply because of their GPA. There are different measurements for ones intelligence, and having a good GPA is a small part of it. We need to redefine how we dish out the word “smart” because I know plenty of smart people who have a 2.5 G.P.A., but are hard working, caring, and genuine in their endeavors. My advice to all of you is to not ask what your school can do for you, but
ask what you can do for your school. Challenge authority, remain aggressive, and don’t be afraid of what everyone else thinks about you. If you worry about what other people think about you, you’ll remain stagnant in your efforts to succeed. Try out new things, take a vacation, and don’t worry if you’re a senior and you still don’t know what you want to do with your life. I knew a few people who were 25 and did not know what they wanted in life. But at age 26 they made their way into law schools, medical schools, government jobs, or invented websites that made
them millions. Live life as if every day was your last, Carpe Diem. But most important my friends, Sapare Aude; dare to be wise, and always question. Argue what you don’t like, and educate yourself on what you don’t understand. If you argue correctly you will never be wrong, and if you ask the right questions, you’ll find out that there is no such thing as a “fact” or “absolute.” Have a good summer. Paul Liggieri is a senior at Binghamton University.
Scapegoating Guns A Response to Rio Peng’s Pipe Dream Editorial
by Will Griffin ‘12
am a local of Binghamton and was greatly saddened by the recent tragic events at the American Civic Association. Although I did not know any of the victims myself, there are a number of people I know who had close relationships with them. For this reason and others, I was disgusted that Pipe Dream would use this local tragedy to further political ends. I am speaking of a recent editorial calling for increased gun-control in response to the recent violence. I suspected that the tragic events of my town would become a political football in the national gun control debate, just like the Columbine or Virginia Tech massacres did. What I didn’t expect was for a local news organization to jump on the scapegoat bandwagon mere weeks after the tragedy. The Press and Sun Bulletin stuck to covering the victims and, aside from a few lettersto-the-editor, was tasteful enough not to politicize the matter. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for Pipe Dream. Pipe Dream’s editorial, penned by guest columnist Rio Pend, used the leftwing tactic of making an object, in this case, a gun, the scapegoat for an individ-
ual’s evil. Calling for the confiscation of guns will not stop the violent and angry from doing the unspeakable. One need only look at Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber, or countless other serial killers to see that humans can kill in large numbers without guns. The desperate and insane will always find ways to hurt themselves and others; getting rid of guns merely forces them to be more creative, and perhaps more deadly. Unfortunately guns today are to liberals what sex is to Christian fundamentalists and “Demon Rum” was to the Prohibitionists at the turn of the 20th century: the one common cause for human evils from crime to murder to kids failing school. Like all such examples of one thing being blamed for all of societal ills, the attacks on guns are merely scapegoating. Oddly enough, Pend’s editorial was largely concerned with gun-control preventing urban street crime, which I am at a loss to connect with the tragedy of mass murder in a town with a statistically low level of street crime. At best, I imagine this was merely put in as part of the traditional spiel one hears from liberals on this matter. You know, the Binghamton Review, May 2009
one telling you of all the good things a gun-free society has to offer. Even this is incorrect, as any look at the crime statistics for gun-control central—Washington D.C.—will show one of the highest crime rates in the nation. Even the other traditional gun-control mantra of looking at peaceful Europe looks rather shaky, as recent statistics from the EU portray the British Isles, which has never had a right to bear arms for its subjects, with crime and murder rates far higher than the supposedly violent United States. A final point that is consistently ignored in the gun control argument, and by the article in Pipe Dream, is that the right to bear arms is enshrined within the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to our Constitution. It is the second amendment to a document whose first amendment protects the very right of those who want guns gone to speak their ills. Do we really want to start limiting parts of the Constitution? That’s a slippery slope that may start with guns but could end in a much darker place.
What’s Left of America? by Seth Knutson ‘10
am about to tell you the most patriotic thing you can do for your country. Leave it. Secede. We won’t be leaving empty handed though, we will be taking the Constitution with us. The US Government certainly won’t miss it. The United States is dying. It began life as a nation of producers, alert and intent on protecting freedoms paid for in blood; personal responsibility and respect of hard work were the foundation of society. Over time, forgetting the value and cost of freedom, our country has decayed into a welfare
state, centrally controlled and intent on equally distributing misery while punishing the independently successful. Throughout this entropic process, the Constitution has slowly been erased, the scales of liberty rigged, and the eyes, ears, and minds of the public have been deluded. The American public has been transformed into a society of consumers, confused about the rights available to them. The right to free speech, to bear arms, to question authority, and to free enterprise, and the rights of states to control their own destinies are lost. The right to welfare checks, stimulus checks, government babysitting, and the right to allow the federal government to make all your decisions and provide you with everything you desire are pushed upon the public by the government itself. Why should you think and work when the government can do it for you? Because, as Thomas Jefferson knew, a government big enough to provide you with everything you need is also big enough to take away everything you have. And don’t think they won’t. They already are, and they’ve been training you to accept it for a long time. This is why we must leave. Citizens have been taught to relinquish power to supranational organizations such as the U.N., to view government Binghamton Review, May 2009
spending not as relinquishing US dollars to foreign powers, but instead to provide more and more services to the public, and to view this effort in a positive light. The people have been lead to ignore an increasingly unbalanced budget even in the face of higher and higher taxes. Fear of inflation has allowed government control of wages, consumer prices, economic activity, and personal financial decisions. The public understandably allows massive expansion of government offices to allow for the management of these new tasks. Under the guise of protecting the citizenry, the federal government has deemed it necessary to dissolve both the lines separating the states and the words defining the tenth amendment. Public education is transformed into a federal program and college is marketed as a necessity to all, but affordable only through the support of the federal government. But most importantly, the people of the United States are conditioned to despise the power of the United States and the power of individual freedom. War is projected as an absolute evil, producing nothing positive. Resistance in any form is prohibited. The public is taught to strive for peace at any cost, through submission and appeasement preferably. The public has been taught to accept socialism. Some people claim that all of these ideas come from right-wing nut jobs, Republicans or Conservatives, the
america foil hat crowd. This attitude points out another method to corrode the power of the people, division. The right hates the left and vise versa. Little, though, is given to the idea that perhaps both sides are just as guilty and it is in this
Texas, as the greatest state in the Union (when it decides to be in the Union), is leading this cause to secede, followed closely by several other states and many individuals and organizations within all fifty states. Contrary to what
list. As Americans and patriots, we cannot allow our Constitution to be forgotten and our freedoms to be abolished. We cannot allow a government to assert absolute control over our lives
Over time, forgetting the value and cost of freedom, our country has decayed into a welfare state, centrally controlled and intent on equally distributing misery while punishing the independently successful. division, and that the people are defeated by the power hungry few in government. In fact, the ideas of socialism being accepted by the US public did not come from the right, but instead it came from the left. When Norman Thomas proclaimed he would stop running for the presidency under the socialist platform he said, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” This theory of the Republic turning its back on capitalism and freedom to greet the oppression of Socialism is not right wing conspiracy talk, it is the admitted plan of socialists and liberals, even though most liberals today are too blinded to see it. And this is why the few remaining patriots must leave this government; we must leave this country to start it anew.
the uninformed believe, Texas would not secede alone. We would bring most of the South and the Midwest with us. We would bring the large majority of Fortune 500 companies with us, the oil industry, and the space industry. We would bring the US Constitution with us and the Flag. The Flag would change, again, but then the Federal Government doesn’t want the old one either; it doesn’t have enough Red in it. We will also bring with us the military, the millions of soldiers, sailors, marines and zoomies from the Midwest and tiny little towns all across the country. And everyday, we will bring more and more citizens who realize the South has better governance and better living conditions than the coasts. Of the top 20 cities for economic and job growth in 2009, Texas has 10 on the list. Austin is 6th, Houston is 9th, San Antonio is 20th Ft. Worth is 30th and Dallas is 32nd. Remember, this is a national
and spend trillions of dollars that we do not have. We cannot allow America to succumb to socialism. We cannot risk America being overtaken by our foreign enemies after domestic enemies have sucked her dry and left her withered body at the doorstep of tyranny. As Americans, we must secede from the Union, we must accept the responsibility of freedom and water Jefferson’s tree of liberty with the blood of liberals. We must replant the seeds of democracy in a new United States. We have to take her back, and we will have to fight for her. Luckily, this wont be hard as we all know who has all the guns. Now lets declare a Yeee-Haad on socialism and take back America. Seth Knutson is a junior at Binghamton University and is a native of Texas.
Binghamton Review is a monthly, independent journal of news, analysis, commentary, and controversy. Students at Binghamton University receive two copies of the Review free of charge (non-transferrable). Additional copies cost $1 each. Letters to the Editor are welcome; they must be accompanied by the author’s current address and phone number. All submissions become the property of the Review. The Review reserves the right to edit and print any submission. Copyright © 2009 Binghamton Review. All rights reserved. Binghamton Review is distributed on campus under the authority of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Binghamton Review is a member of the Collegiate Network and is a Student Association-chartered organization. Binghamton University is not responsible for the content of the Review; the Review is not responsible for the content of Binghamton University. Binghamton Review thanks the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Past Editors of Binghamton Review: John Guardiano, Yan Rusanovsky, Kathryn Doherty, Ephriam Bernstein, Michael Malloy, Paul Schnier, Adam Bromberg, Bernadette Malone, Michael Darcy, Nathan Wurtzel, Amy Gardner, John Carney, Paul Torres, Jason Kovacs, Robert Zoch, Matthew Pecorino, Michael O’Connell, Louis W. Leonini, Joseph Carlone, Christopher Powell, Nathaniel Sugarman
Binghamton Review, May 2009
Having abandoned his plans to run for Mayor of Binghamton, SA President Matt Landau has decided on alternative post-graduation plans...
Sponsored by the Committee to Replace Lincoln with Landau
Lincoln freed the slaves. Landau got Matt Allwood elected. Lincoln was known for being a great orator. Landau is known for his non-sensical, incoherent tirades. Lincoln tried to prevent secession. Landau tries to prevent open debate and public discourse.
Lincoln is on the penny and five dollar bill. Landau is on every piece of currency in the fantasy world he lives in.
Lincoln was known for surrounding himself with people of rivaling opinion. Landau surrounds himself with â€œyes menâ€? who will get fired if they cross him.
Landau: more legendary than Lincoln or just an egotistical power-nut? You decide....
Published on Apr 27, 2009