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Truth and Two Staples

december 2011

Binghamton Review Coming Down the Chimney... Our New President A Profile on Harvey Stenger


Binghamton Review

P.O. Box 6000 BinghamTOn, NY 13902-6000

editor@binghamtonreview.com

Founded 1987 • Volume XXV Number 4 • december 2011

Editor-in-Chief Aaron M. Ricks

Contents

Managing Editor Mark Soriano Copy Desk Chief Eric Larson Associate Editors Chris Formisano Ari Greenberg Nick Fondacaro William Obilisundar

A profile of BU’s new president

Editor Emeritus Rachel Gordon Contributors Will M. Griffin, John Ewing, Nick Valiando, Daniel Rudder, Venanzio Cortes, Michael Hickey, Steven Kwon, Bridgette Cook, Heather Sherman, Daniel Eglovitch Secretary Marissa Beldock Patriarchs of the Review Louis W. Leonini Adam Shamah Friends of the Review Dr. Aldo S. Bernardo The Leonini Family Mr. Bob Soltis WA2VCS The Shamah Family The Grynheim Family The Menje Family The Leeds Family The Lombardi Family The Packer Family Mr. Michael O’Connell Binghamton Review is printed by Our Press in Chenango Bridge, NY. We provide the truth; they provide the staples.

Harvey Stenger Page 8

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Super-Failure by Daniel Rudder

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A Review Farewell by Rachel Gordon and John Ewing

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Republican Tax Plans by Michael Hickey

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Greyhound Buses by Bridgette Cook

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Poll Results by Geoffrey Weinberg

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Broken Government, Part III by Mark Soriano

A “Holiday” Message from the Editors A lively debate has circulated in recent years over the proper salutations to use during this time of year. Christmas is not celebrated by everyone, so one surely cannot say “Merry Christmas” to all and sundry. “Happy Holidays” must also be discarded, because not everyone celebrates holidays (thank you Jehovah’s Witnesses). Saying “Happy December” sounds far too Orwellian, while leaving greetings at “Hello” is the coward’s way out. Instead, maybe we can come to terms with the facts that that more than 9 in 10 Americans celebrate Christmas (a higher percentage than people who report being Christian), and we can stop being politically correct Scrooges for a single month (or just 25 days, if you’re impatient) and say “Merry Christmas” (and for eight days “Happy Hannukah”). -The Editors

General Staff Meetings: Every Tuesday at 7pm in UUW-B05


EDITORIAL

From the Editor...

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aking charge of the Review has been quite a rewardable challenge. Long nights in the office can never quite beat the satisfaction I get whenever I see Pipe Dream editors slaving away at their mediocre paper. And never in my life did I think I would be mention in such esteemed Binghamton publications such as Prospect or Asian Outlook. While the latter continues to create fake racist controversies over Pipe Dream cartoons, Prospect tries its hardest to be as clever and intelligent as us. Here’s a hint: stop it. Binghamton, it has been one hell of a semester. As we wrap up our last issue of 2011, I would like to thank our readers for remaining loyal to this outstanding publication. In addition, I would like to extend my gratitude to all of our haters out there, and urge you to remain as beautiful and incompetent as you already are. Luckily, while this semester has been relatively quiet of major controversies, some noteworthy events still occurred. The office of student conduct attempted to completely violate your rights, the flood that affected much of the area forced the evacuation of over 20,000 residents in Broome County, Pipe Dream continues to print “racist” or otherwise unsavory, poorly-drawn cartoons, and the opposition to SUNY 2020 came to campus. While many students complain that there’s nothing to do at Binghamton, events like these always remind me that there are exciting things happening all the time here, that is if you take the time to find out about them. Lastly, I would like to send my thoughts and prayers to the family of Professor Aldo Bernardo. Although it does not make

the headlines when compared of his distinguished academic career at this university, Professor Bernardo served as the faculty advisor for the Binghamton Review from our founding in 1987 until his retirement in 2004. In our 21st anniversary issue in December 2008, Professor Bernardo wrote this: “When I was asked to be the faculty advisor to the Review, it had already listed Prof. Herbert London and Ronald Reagan as (honorary) advisors... But after the general body meeting at which I expressed my position that a conciliatory rather than a adversarial attitude was preferable at the start of a new student publication, I was surprised to see the editorial board generally agree with my position. After that, the Review gained increasing acceptance by the student body, and the first conservative student publication was officially born... It was a pleasure to work with such reasonable and talented students.” B

Tell us what you think! Direct letters to editor@binghamtonreview.com. Our Mission Binghamton Review is a non-partisan, student-run periodical of conservative 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 understand 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. www.binghamtonreview.com

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CPampus resswatch by The Editors Pipe Dream December 5, 2011 “Chickenhawks have Invaded the GOP Coop” Taylor, we’ve waited a long time to take note of your absence as a Review contributor. After writing for us for two years, you’ve finally demoted yourself to writing for sub-standard “newspaper,” which is perhaps indicative of your skills as a writer. “Last week, the Republicans held their national security debate, in which these seemingly simple-minded simians tried with earnest to articulate a presidential-sounding foreign policy agenda, pizza-man-related sex scandals aside. On stage last week was not a coherent ideology of well-conceived positions, but an inchoate cacophony of saber-rattling and flag-waving by the GOP.” We really have no idea what to say. If you tried harder to be more annoying and condescending in your writing, you probably couldn’t achieve the levels displayed here. “The menagerie of GOP candidates today are a lot of old chickenhawks eager to send young doves to die. Republicans are not the party of peace and liberty that they claim themselves to be. The GOP is a party of torture and war.” Seriously? If there is one thing we can’t stand, it is double-standards. The decade-old adage of “Democrats love peace and Republicans love war” is perhaps the biggest fallacy in politics.

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It may be true that Democrats hate war, except for WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, and now Libya. Please, get off your soapbox and take a dose of reality. Pipe Dream December 5, 2011 “Sticky economy? I’ve got a job for you” Diana, we can only imagine the number of Facebook friend requests you have received since this article was published. Anyways... “It’s those two words that can make a girl tremble in her undies. Blow job. The seemingly dreaded task of putting a penis in your mouth. “ This is quite literally the dumbest article we have ever seen. But, if your goal was to give a few guys those awkward dining hall boners, then you have finally done something with your life worth writing home about. “We’ve all found ourselves in some pretty awkward situations. I’ve encountered the “Wow you have the girthiest penis ever” and while abroad the “Wait you’re not circumcised?” penis. And let’s not forget the “So you literally only lasted 30 seconds” penis. Each one has its own story, each one memorable. But, like with anything, if you slip off that horse, just saddle back on up.” There really is nothing to be said, except that if Pipe Dream needs incredibly raunchy articles in order to attract readership, maybe they are weaker than

we thought. Anyways, we assume that giving blowjobs isn’t exactly the career choice you had in mind. But if that’s your life goal, we’re sure you have had many great accomplishments with many more to... “come.” Pipe Dream November 17, 2011 “Occupiers, let’s get physical” When the editors of the Review were told about this op-ed, we couldn’t believe what we were being told was in this. But here it is. “We are dealing with a ruling class that is completely unwilling to change from the grossly unjust status quo, and if they won’t heed the cries of logic, wisdom and reason, what else is there to do but forcibly remove these malignant individuals from society? Unfortunately, no amount of protesting is going to accomplish this and the only valid way to achieve such a feat may just be violent means.” The next time we hear a liberal pundit rant about how violent Tea Party supporters are, we can point to idiots like you and just throw it in their face. Resorting to violence in a democratic nation is just pathetic. There is nothing else that needs to be said about this. B

December 2011


WHAT you missed Not Harvey Dent In late November, Harvey G. Stenger Jr. emerged as Binghamton University’s new president to widespread acclaim, although many students could not hide their disappointment after learning that he was not a character from Batman. University Scandals In early November, allegations began circulating that Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused young children during his tenure as assistant coach of the Penn State football team. Long time head coach Joe Paterno was fired by the university for acting to cover the allegations up. Later in the month, the assistant coach of the Syracuse University basketball team came under scrutiny over similar childabuse allegations. While the entire Binghamton University community sympathizes with the victims, many of us can’t help but feel thankful that our own sports scandals have been limited to drugs and corruption. On a Mission from God On November 11th, gun shots were fired at the White House while the President and First Lady were in residence. Authorities suspect Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, who announced that he was on a personal mission from God to launch an attack on the executive mansion. No one was harmed by the attack, although a historic windowpane on the south side of the building was broken. Later that week, congressmen submitted legislation to make November 11th a day of national remembrance for the window. Greek Tragedy, Roman Comedy The prime ministers of Greece and Italy resigned in early November, after international concern over the state of their economies and debts rose to www.binghamtonreview.com

unprecedented levels. Shortly after stepping down, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a speech, saying “I’m glad that it was the economy that finally took me down, instead of all the corruption, sex scandals and vulgarity.” Highlights of Berlusconi’s tenure include encounters with underage prostitutes, corrupt dealings between the government and Berlusconi’s various business interests, and publicly calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel “Un-F***able.” Super-failure On November 21st, the congressional deficit “super-committee,” composed of twelve congressmen evenly divided between the two house of Congress and the two parties, failed to reach a deal on finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next ten years. This failure triggers automatic cuts to defense and social programs set up by a compromise this past summer, to take place in 2013. These cuts were designed to scare Congress into reaching a debt deal, by reducing spending in such an unfavorable way that politicians would welcome compromise. Committee member John Kerry reportedly said “there is no threat scary enough to force me to reduce spending.” Occupy Jail Cells On November 15th, police officers began removing protesters from the Zuccotti Park base of the Occupy Wall Street movement in Manhattan, arresting dozens of protesters in the process. Mayor Michael Bloomberg rationalized the move by saying “the First Amendment…does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others.” This contrasts with the continued occupation of the vacant lot on State Street in Binghamton, where

the police seem to simply not care about, or even notice, the protesters. Down-under Obama In mid-November, President Obama travelled to Australia, where he announced the stationing of American marines at a new military base in the north of the country. The move is largely seen as an attempt to shore up American military authority in the east-Pacific, to counter the threat from a rising China. President Hu Jintao of China released a statement saying “What the shit, America?” to which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded “Come at me, bro.” Vote for the Voice Researchers from Canada found that voters react positively to candidates with lower voices. U.S. presidential candidates with lower voices won every presidential election from 1960 to 2000. Voters, it seems, associate strength and power with lower voice pitches, leading candidates, including Margaret Thatcher, to seek voice training to aid their campaigns. Upon hearing this news, James Earl Jones immediately announced his candidacy for president. Blizzard 2011 Students across campus freaked out in early December, when it snowed on Binghamton University’s campus. Facebook status updates included ragefilled diatribes against the inclement weather, confused remarks about the nature of the calamity, and general speculation about the state of the next day’s classes. The half centimeter of snow caused one death and dozens of injuries, but thankfully was melted off streets and sidewalks by 6am the following day. B

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FAILURE

Super-Failure by Daniel Rudder

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nce again Congress has failed to do its job and is yet to develop a viable solution to the nation’s fiscal woes. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Congress’s inability to reach consensus and get things done is nothing new. Indeed, a major caveat of democracy is that it can take a long time to implement change. Still, this is not an excuse for incompetence, nor does it give politicians the right to defend their ideologies and further their agendas against the will of their constituents, the American people. Compromise is a necessary attribute in most walks of life and is an essential pillar of governance. Sadly, America’s government seems unable to accept this. The Super Committee, officially titled the Deficit Reduction Committee, was created on August 2nd and is the government’s latest failed attempt at a solution to the debt crisis. As the name implies, the committee was tasked with addressing the debt crisis and was ordered to have some sort of solution in place by the end of November. The committee consists of a bipartisan group of 12 congressional leaders, including Senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry. The super committee—which was not the first of its kind—was tasked with trimming over one trillion dollars from the nation’s budget by late November. They spent months debating how to maneuver about and create policy around the intricacies of income tax policy, social security, and government spending. Also a top priority was to 6

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determine how to reduce expenditures and/or increase revenues. Needless to say these months were wasted as the committee yielded no answers to any single objective tasked to the group. Independent Senator Joe Lieberman demanded a “bipartisan rebellion” in response to the committee’s failure. Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee remarked, “On its current course the federal government is projected to spend almost $44 trillion over the next 10 years, and it is nothing short of an embarrassment, an absolute national disgrace and failure of leadership that we cannot agree on even a paltry $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over that time frame.” Obviously no one is proud of congress’s lack of progress, but nobody seems to be doing anything about it. Instead of reaching common ground, opposing sides are bashing each other and being selfishly stubborn. On a CNN segment, Kerry can be seen accusing Grover Norquist, leader of the organization Americans for Tax Reform, of preventing progress. Senator Kerry considers him an obstruction and an unofficial “13th member” of the committee who is influencing republicans to reject tax reform initiatives that would call for the rich among us to pay more and end Bush-era tax cuts on wealthy Americans. During an interview with Fox News infamous Christopher Wallace on November 20th, representative Jeb Hensarling (Republican from Texas and also a

major supporter of the Tea Party caucus in congress), co-chair of the Super Committee, chastised democrats for failing to come up with a proposal that didn’t include a 1 billion dollar increase in tax revenue. He followed up his statement by saying, “it’s not a matter of blame going on here. It’s just a matter of fact.” However, it is a matter of blameon both sides. Unfortunately, the new paradigm that has gripped congress seems to encourage divisive, counterproductive, and irrational bickering rather than compromise and humility; virtues we know are crucial to progress. America’s government has stopped functioning as efficiently because its members are too busy capitalizing on crisis for political gain and partisan prestige. This is the real problem America is facing; the debt crisis is just the latest medium through which this permeating political paradigm is being expressed. If American’s want to see lasting, meaningful change, then they must first address Congress’s reckless hijacking of American government. Contemporary politicians have not only made it unfashionable to reach across party lines and get things done, they have turned it into a phenomenon with career-ending implications. In the current, hostile atmosphere that encompasses the capitol, no one wants to lose his or her job/approval rating and as such, the people suffer. B

December 2011


Former editor-in-chief Rachel Gordon and longtime Review-Democrat John Ewing bid Review readers farewell, and leave some parting advice:

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y time has come to an end here at Binghamton University. I have spent most of time here as an undergraduate student involved in the Binghamton Review, countless other student groups, and the Student Association. As my time has come to an end, I feel that it is important to explain some things to the students that may or not be involved in campus politics or any sort of organizations for that matter. I have been here for four years, and have probably heard every negative thing out there about the Binghamton Review. While nobody is perfect, the Review does not deserve to any extent the criticism it receives. Throughout my time here, the publication has done more for students and journalism on this campus than nearly any other organization. The issues this newspaper covers encompasses such a scope of information that has ranged from protecting freedom of speech to advocating for better zoning laws making sure students have places to live off campus. I know that if you are reading this, you are probably already a fan of the Review, and being a fan of the Review does not mean that you have to agree with the publication’s political orientation. Just by printing what other people are afraid to (and perhaps even having a sense of humor with it) has made people read us because we are just something actually worth looking at. Even if you have a strong dislike for the Review, it is not going to make any member of the staff upset. We just hope that you have a real reason for your hatred, and are not just going along with the rest of the sheep and their political correctness. In addition to my time spent on the Review, I have spent countless hours dedicated to the Student Association. If there is a large percentage of this school that dislikes the Review, I can bet that the majority hate their student government even more. But the problem is, they seem to have even less reasoning with this. People who participate at every level of the Student Association are putting in time that helps your government function, and that is more than what can be said for any of the people complaining. These students work extremely hard for the Student Association just to have fellow students tear it apart. I am not saying that things are always done perfectly or that people should not express their opinions. But, do not ever complain for the sake of complaining. It does not help anyone, and it makes it even harder to get things done. Overall, my time on this campus has taught me that classes can only give you so much of an education. I have learned much more from the Student Association and the Binghamton Review in four years than I could have ever gained from my degree. - Rachel Gordon

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have been asked by our esteemed editor to write a last-minute piece before I leave Binghamton University, forever. There is a lot I could write about which falls within the usual realm of the Review - and ‘goodbye’ articles; politics, student government, the Review itself, other periodicals, campus happenings, or administrative woes. So, instead of picking one and sticking to it, I’ll try to encompass everything and leave you some words of wisdom as a graduate. It may not be a secret that I am the Reviews’ Democrat, I’m the minority around here and that’s okay. I have gotten into argument after argument with the people here, but never have I left a debate with them angry or frustrated, nor have they with me. Despite what you may think, these people here are probably the most intelligent group of people on campus; furthermore they are open minded intellectuals. You can discuss politics with them, but if you don’t do it logically or don’t appeal to reason at all—you’re not going to go anywhere with these guys, Republican and Democrat alike. Our student government, whether you like it or not, isn’t filled with unapproachable people; it is filled with uncommitted lazy people, so to all the student groups out there: save your breath, don’t bitch moan or complain, go to an assembly rep or to the speaker and tell them your idea, or what you’d like to see. If you don’t do it, they won’t either; they are just as busy as you are—don’t be as uncommitted as them. Finally, as an ‘involved and learned student/graduate, let me bestow upon you some advice and insight. I have learned a lot while at Binghamton; both academically and about the people here. First off, you have the opportunity—regardless of your politics—to learn from some of the best minds in their respective fields. They are most likely PhD students from the top 15 schools in their academic discipline, some are biased and/or arrogant sure, but shut the hell up, suck it up, and listen to them; they know what they are doing and they know what they are saying; whether you like it or not. Additionally, they are probably more intelligent than you will ever be, just remember that. Second, whether you live on or off campus, please don’t dress like a scumbag—are jeans and a nice shirt/top too hard to accomplish? Can you please just dress nicely? I’m not saying rock a suit, or put on your party dress every day; I’m saying look like a goddamned adult so you get treated like one. Third, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going downtown and having a good time and ‘letting loose’, but don’t do it every week. You are wasting your money, you will make an ass of yourself, you will harassed, if you’re a woman(you will get hit on, don’t bitch, you put yourself there—deal with it), if you’re a guy you will get into a fight with someone you don’t know over some girl you don’t know and if you’re lucky you won’t get seriously hurt. Do yourself a favor, find and discern your friends from people there only in the ‘moment’. Finally, enjoy yourselves, be safe, and it is true—this is the time of your life, don’t regret anything, grow up together, be the best you can, and do the best you can. Good Luck, God Bless, I’m rooting for ya. - John Ewing www.binghamtonreview.com

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HARVEY G. STENGER, JR. PROFILE OF OUR NEW PRESIDENT by Mark Soriano

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convener, a communicator” and “a man of action” is how SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher described Harvey G. Stenger Jr. in a speech on November 29th announcing Stenger’s elevation to president of Binghamton University. Stenger, who expressed his excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to lead Binghamton, will be taking over from current interim president Peter Magrath on January 1st, 2012. But who is Harvey G. Stenger, Jr.? First, and most importantly, Stenger is an engineer, with a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from MIT. Second, Stenger is an academic, holding a teaching position at Lehigh University from 1984 to 2006, and after that teaching at the University of Buffalo. Third, Stenger is an administrator, acting as a dean at Buffalo and Lehigh, and for the past few months as interim provost at Buffalo. In addition to these impressive credentials, Stenger “

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seems to make a great impression upon his students. Look up his ratemyprofessors.com profile and you will see high marks in every category. “The Steng,” as some respondents call him, achieved 4.8 out of 5 in Overall Quality, Helpfulness, and Clarity and a 3.8 out of 5 in Easiness, in addition to the coveted red chili pepper signifying that his students thought he was pretty hot. Respondents left comments calling Stenger “by far the most approachable professor I’ve had” and “the best Lehigh has to offer.” The few negative comments asserted that Stenger “prefers his female students” and that he “needs new jokes.” A few students alluded to pranks and that Stenger carried out while at MIT, but apparently none of them were bad enough to preclude him from being appointed president. The Review will continue to look into this to see what dirt we can dig up. In his first speech to the Binghamton community, Stenger mentioned his intention to redraw the road map for Binghamton’s future. By the end of the spring 2012 semester, Stenger will have developed a new plan to be implemented starting in the summer. However, Stenger did not give any details about what this new plan may entail, and beyond the usual superficial slogans and obligatory kowtows to his predecessors, Stenger’s speech lacked any substance. The pay that Stenger will collect as president has raised a few eyebrows. According to the memorandum announcing his appointment, Stenger will collect an annual salary of $385,000, in addition to a $60,000 housing stipend and $50,000 for his research efforts, totaling $510,000 a year. As a Pipe Dream article in late November already pointed out, this salary is $30,000 more than President Magrath makes a year, and $100,000 more than Lois DeFleur made when she retired a year and a half ago. We have to question why Stenger merits this massive increase in pay. Lois DeFleur led Binghamton for twenty years, turning it into a prestigious institution of higher learning. Harvey Stenger comes into his first year as president making a significant sum more than DeFleur; during a time of budget crises and financial shortfalls, this unexplained discrepancy is unsettling. I certainly do not begrudge anyone their salary, but it seems that december 2011


the Binghamton community would benefit from an explanation of the philosophy behind Stenger’s pay package. My final assessment of Harvey Stenger as Binghamton’s new president a positive and optimistic one. Stenger is a young(ish), distinguished academic and administrator who will bring fresh ideas to our campus. It does not seem that Stenger will have a hard time emerging from Lois DeFleur’s shadow, and may be able to steer Binghamton

in a new direction. Over the next few months, the Review will be closely following President Stenger’s performance, to ensure that he works to maintain Binghamton’s standing and improve on his predecessors. We want to see a president focused more on student’s rights, the quality of our professors and education, and financial responsibility. Most importantly, we want a president who is actually in communication with students, who descends from the ivory tower to understand the problems students face. B

Harvey G. Stenger, Jr. Bio Education: -1979, B.S. Chemical Engineering Cornell University -1983, Ph.D. Chemical Engineering MIT Past Employement: -1984-1991, Professor Lehigh University -1989-1991, Co-Chairman, Chemical Engineering Lehigh University -1993-1999, Dean, College of Engineering Lehigh University -2006-2011, Professor and Dean of Engineering University of Buffalo

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Binghamton University President: -Assumes position on January 1st, 2012 -Appointed after 17 month presidential search process Salary Breakdown: -Annual Salary: -$385,000 -Annual Housing Stipend: -$60,000 -Research and Leadership: -$30,000 ___________________________________ -Total Annual Renumeration: -$510,000

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REPUBLICAN TAX PLANS

Republican Tax Plans by Michael Hickey

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he 2012 Republican race is defined by the eccentric personalities of the many nominees. Scandals, gaffs, and erroneous statements have formed the center of the media’s coverage of the race. As a result, not enough attention is being given economic issues, particularly the specific tax plans proposed by the nominees. While many people seem to have the view that the Republican nominees as being very similar in this regard, close inspection of their proposed tax plans may help voters chose their nominee more informed about what they plan to do if they are voted in. Despite the recent suspension of his campaign, Herman Cain’s proposed 9-9-9 tax plan has framed the debate on tax reform and was one of the reasons for his rise in the polls. His plan offered a 9 percent tax rate on corporate income and individual income as well as 9 percent national sales tax. Cain’s plan was a total overhaul on the entire current federal tax plan, and while some challenged its ability to match current federal tax revenue, the plan offered something new to the field and set Cain apart. Similarities to the default settings of SimCity aside, this tax strategy offered an original and unique plan that at bear minimum got people talking about the economics of the race, rather than just the celebrity gossip. Both Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich have proposed “flat tax” plan, each with their own specifics but changing the current graduated tax system currently in place in favor

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of a system where all Americans have the same tax rate. While the idea of a “flat tax” rate is not a new one, it represents the diversity of tax plans offered in the Republican field. Perry’s plan would offer a tax rate of 20 percent across the board, preserve tax deductions for Americans making under $500,000, and the option to still file under the current tax code. While the idea of the “flat tax” is meant to stimulate economic growth and put more money in the hands of more Americans, it has been criticized that it would largely benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. Newt Gingrich’s “flat tax” plan goes even further than Perry’s plan, with an income tax of 15 percent, a corporate tax of 12.5 percent and extensions of tax deductions to all Americans. Mitt Romney has made positive remarks regarding “flat taxes”, however he has been criticized for his lack of consistency on the issue and his tax plan does not include a “flat tax”. Romney’s plan calls for the extension of the Bush tax cuts, and Romney has said that he does not want a tax plan that hurts the middle class while helping the wealthy. The issue with the “flat tax” is that many speculate it would be impossible to preserve the current level of tax revenue with an even tax rate. This raises worrisome questions on how the difference can be made up. Perry supports the idea of cutting spending on Social Security and Medicare in order to make up the difference, but this may be an ultimately unpopular idea with the majority of Americans.

Romney’s hesitancy to support the idea of a “flat tax” may stem from a strategy of waiting to see whether the idea receives a good reception with American voters. For voters who want to see wealthier Americans to pay more, Romney’s plan may prove to be the one to preserves things similar to how they are under the current tax code. Michele Bachmann’s main contribution to the debate on taxes is her support of the idea that all Americans should pay income tax. Currently America operates under a graduated income tax policy, which taxes American’s income at different levels based on how much income they make. At the lower levels of income Americans pay little to no taxes to the federal government. Currently only around 47 percent of people pay federal income tax, with Americans who make low incomes potentially paying as little as $10. The concept of increasing the tax base to increase government revenue seems like a economically sustainable plan, and perhaps a solution to the debt crisis we now face. After all, this is almost half of the population that pays next to nothing into the federal tax system. However, a closer examination of this plan shows that even if this demographic were to be taxed at higher levels, the generated income would not make a large enough difference to validate the political fallout that would certainly result from this unpopular system. One of the least talked about but sound tax plan was proposed by John Huntsman. His plan calls for a for a more moderate corporate tax level of 25 percent, the elimination of taxes on capital investments and dividends, and a three-tier income tax code.

December 2011


BUSES Under his proposed plan, the tax base would divided into three, the low income end paying 8 percent, a middle income tax rate of 15 percent, and a 23 percent tax rate on wealthier Americans. Despite Huntsman’s more practical and realistic stance on tax rate reduction, the focus on bigger and more radical reductions to tax rates, as well as spending cuts, has pushed candidates like huntsman and even Romney down in the polls while candidates like Cain and now Gingrich have taken the lead for their plans which make the steepest reductions. What will determine the success of these tax plan ideas is how they affect total tax revenue and how much of an issue taxing the wealthy will be in the election. Going forward towards the Republican nomination, more attention should be paid to the tax plans of the Republican nominees and voters should be more aware of their differences so they can vote informed. B

Greyhound Implies Speed by Bridgette Cook

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s a freshman trapped on campus, I haven’t been afforded the same privileges as most upper classmen. Priority for class registration and subjugation to Sodexo aside, not having a car has become one of the most frustrating restrictions. Because of this I find myself helplessly dependent on either finding a friend

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for a ride, or resorting to taking the bus, as my parents have disowned me upon my leaving for college. Thus far however, I have no friends, so that restricted me even further to the latter option. I am writing this article to all those who over the holiday breaks are inclined to try to use Greyhound bussing service. If you have the choice between riding with that creep from your floor who never speaks to anyone and taking the greyhound, go with the creep. You will save loads of trouble and maybe find out he or she really isn’t that bad a person after all. Please, please, do not waste your time or money patronizing this company. If you’d like to travel crosscountry, mid-way down the coast, or anything that requires a connection, for your own safety, don’t take Greyhound. Greyhound buses simply do not leave on time! What might be even worse is that they overbook their buses, so if your first bus is late, good luck getting on. They don’t care if you miss your connection because errors they caused themselves; they’ll just put you on the next bus going to your destination. This could take hours, still without any guarantee of a seat on that bus! So, how is this bus line still in business? It travels to the most destinations of any nationwide bus line and their website does not post customer reviews. The website only has a way for its customers to apply for a refund, which entails filling out a form and mailing it in. There is no phone number on their website that allows you to call and explain concerns or complaints, or even positive things like compliments. The only feedback they seem interested in is for unsafe drivers; at least they are concerned about the safety of their

customers! Talk about friendly drivers! On my last trip I had a Greyhound driver tell the entire bus that we should have worn shorts, after he refused to turn on the air conditioning or at the very least turn off the heat, and it was the middle of November; apparently this very kindly person would consider wearing shorts in the middle of November in the Northeast. He was such a pleasant and friendly man, he even had people stand instead of calling for another bus because Greyhound had overbooked, hence why we had asked if he could please turn on the air conditioning. The same driver also caused 20 people to miss their connection and left them stranded in Scranton, PA for an undetermined amount of time. We were not informed that as our connection was pulling out of the station that there would not be another bus for four hours! After we had waited outside for 45 minutes, the employees at the Scranton bus station suddenly realized that they could use the empty bus that was sitting in the parking lot. Thank you, Greyhound and your friendly and informative employees and your reliable service. If you think this was an isolated event, just look at customer reviews on websites other than the Greyhound site. This is apparently a common occurrence and in comparison I should consider myself lucky! If you like not arriving at your destination on time, standing in a bus for 3 hours while traveling on the highway, missing connections, and not being told crucial information, then travelling by Greyhound is for you! B

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POLL

Poll Results

Occupy Wall Street More Popular at Binghamton by Geoffrey Weinberg

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new poll conducted by students in PLSC 340 taught by Jonathan Krasno has produced interesting results in measuring the political opinions and other feelings held by Binghamton undergraduate students. One question asked respondents to choose a message that they felt accurately depicted the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. While critics of the OWS movement have often criticized the movement for a lack of a centralized message from the protesters, but OWS activists have apparently been able to maintain a clear message, one that they would find as a positive representation for their movement. 59% of survey respondents believed the OWS movement is best described as a “protest against the unequal distribution of wealth and power.” When compared to a similar question asked of the Tea Party, a real victory becomes obvious even with the undoubtedly liberal-tendencies in a college environment. This compared to a scattering of responses all hovering around 15% for the Tea Party. When given the opportunity to respond in a negative description for each group, only 8% believed the OWS Movement to be best described by the obviously negative choice available, “It is an excuse to camp in public places” compared to 15% who chose the only negative response for the Tea Party of “It

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was created by Republicans to give the impression of a grassroots movement against Obama.” Besides advertisement of their cause, OWS also scores a big win in general approval of the movement with plurality support by at least 28% from both Democrats and Independents and 18% in total. A more consistent showing of opinion towards the OWS Movement is found when correlated to a place of origin as those most likely to disapprove of the movement are those whose families and friends are more likely to be connected to the financial services industry and commute into NYC from Long Island, Westchester and Rockland County. While outside of these areas, numbers hang consistently in the low 20s. Potentially the most interesting finding of this poll is the religious makeup of the student body as the most popular identification was no religious identification at 28% compared to the second most popular Catholicism at 22%. Males were much more likely to be non-religious than women at 57% versus 43%. With respect to the city of Binghamton, most respondents were unaware of the job Mayor Matt Ryan is doing as 77% of respondents did not know if they approved of Ryan. In terms of safety off-campus, the poll found that the more often a student uses OCCT the more concern one has for safety as those who use OCCT at least

several times a month were 9% more likely to have safety concerns while in the city of Binghamton than those who use OCCT only several times a semester or never. According to our poll, those that are more familiar with the people in the Binghamton area feel safer than those who are not. This is found in those that off campus jobs and if they are from the Binghamton area originally. Those from Long Island, Westchester and Rockland County have the highest concern for safety as an average of 56% of those from said areas have safety concerns, compared to 49% of the student body as a whole. Another trend quite apparent is the correlation between years spent at Binghamton and concern over safety, as the longer you are at the University the more concerned you become. This points to either negative experiences felt personally or heard from peers. Other note-worthy points from the poll include a major difference in feelings of safety by religious beliefs as those non-religious feel much safer than those of the three main religions, while those that are non-religious also being drastically more supportive of the OWS Movement. Only 6% said they would like to stay in Binghamton after graduation, with those from Long Island being the least likely to stay here and those from Binghamton the most. Not surprisingly, the political identification of the respondents were overwhelmingly Democratic at 43%, compared to Independents at 23%, Republicans at 12% and “Something else” at 22%.B

December 2011


Broken Government Part III: Party Primaries by Mark Soriano

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y the time students return to Binghamton after winter break, the presidential primary season will have already begun. Instead of allowing you to observe the primary system in action and arrive at your own conclusions, this article seeks to poison your mind against the system before the primaries have even begun. Presidential primaries (and caucuses) begin the process of selecting each political party’s nominee for the presidential election. Over many months, usually January to June, registered party members go to polling stations and caucus events in all 50 states and select the individual who will get their state’s delegates at the party nominee convention. For the sake of simplicity, think that delegates and electoral votes work the same way: the winner of the state’s primary or caucus gets all the delegates for that state, just as the winner of a state’s popular vote for president gets all the state’s electoral votes. The candidate with the most delegates at the end of the primary season will (usually) get

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nominated by the party as a whole at the nominee convention. The primary and caucus system developed during the 19th century, as voting rights spread from the propertied elite to ever-larger shares of the population. The leaders of political parties, seeking to appeal to the masses, opened up the process of choosing party nominees to any person eligible to vote who was registered with that party. The results of primaries and caucuses gained legitimacy, and by the mid20th century, the winner of the most primary delegates was usually nominated at the convention. This system developed as a patchwork, with parties deciding to adopt primaries or caucuses on a state level. For this reason, the states hold their primaries and caucuses on different days over the course of six months. Generally, the major parties will hold their primaries on the same day in the same state. For example, on January 3rd, 2008, both Democrats and Republicans voted in the Iowa caucus to pick their candidate for the nomination.

The outcome of this patchwork development has been that certain states are always first to vote. New Hampshire is always the first primary to be held, a certainty enshrined in a state law that mandates that no state be allowed to hold a primary ahead of New Hampshire. Iowa is always the first caucus, and is typically held ahead of the New Hampshire primary. States have at times moved their primaries and caucuses earlier in the year, prompting New Hampshire and Iowa to vote earlier in reaction. A longer primary season beginning earlier is a direct result of this. So what is the problem with the primary and caucus system as it exists today? First, and most importantly, the system is entirely unrepresentative of the American population. Iowa is largely white, rural, and Evangelical. New Hampshire is also overwhelmingly white, without any large or significant cities. Both have rather small populations. Yet their votes impact the outcome of the primary process immensely. In six of the

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BROKEN GOVERNMENT

Iowa or bust last nine elections, the eventual Republican and Democratic nominees won the Iowa caucus. In seven of the last nine elections, the eventual Republican nominee won the New Hampshire primary, and in six of the last nine elections the eventual Democratic nominee won the New Hampshire primary. One reason for these fairly decent records is that victory in these early contests gives the candidates momentum that they can build upon to win future votes. In 2008, Barack Obama was able to develop as a serious challenger to Hillary Clinton because he won the Iowa caucus. For many people, this shows the virtues of the system: candidates who otherwise may have been ignored are able to showcase their platforms to small populations and get a chance to win the nomination, instead of allowing candidates with name recognition to steal the show. However, this argument is 14

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not strong enough to ignore the fact that the current system is wholly unrepresentative of the country as a whole. California has a population of over 30 million people, the most of any state in the country, and more than 10% of the country as a whole. However, California does not usually

hold its primary until June, along with a few other states that together make up more than 20% of the US population. Because of their late primary and caucuses, the states that vote in June have little or no say over the nominee for their party, while the states that vote in January, representing just fewer than 10% of the total population (and less than California alone) usually choose the eventual nominee by themselves. States with huge populations like California, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania all vote in the last half of the primary season, by which point the eventual nominee has usually emerged, rendering their votes useless, while Iowa and New Hampshire’s small populations get to play kingmaker. Another important problem is that candidates pour time, money and media attention into early voting states, while the later states are ignored. Candidates spend hundreds of hours and millions of dollars in Iowa and New Hampshire attempting to pull off an early victory that could send them sailing to the nomination. New Yorkers rarely see

Talking to you, if you’re in an early state

December 2011


BROKEN GOVERNMENT campaign ads or stump speeches for primary candidates, since our state votes so late. Additionally, many candidates are sheltered from developing national campaign strategies and adopting platforms accepted by the majority of their party. Rudy Giuliani, in 2008, bet his candidacy on winning the Florida primary, another of the early primary states voting in January. Floridian Republicans are left of center along the Republican spectrum, and the Giuliani campaign thought that their moderate candidate would do well in the state. Instead of campaigning in any of the other early races, Giuliani spent all of his time and money campaigning in Florida. Even though he lost the Florida primary, and the nomination, Giuliani’s strategy was sound; by betting it all on one friendly early

state, he could have conceivably won the primary and gained enough momentum from one single state to win the nomination. Candidates in the 2012 Republican nomination process have similar strategies. Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race after early poll data showed him doing poorly in Iowa. Jon Huntsman had admitted that without winning the New Hampshire primary his campaign cannot continue. If Mitt Romney loses the Iowa caucus to Newt Gingrich, his candidacy and status as long time front runner will likely collapse. The impact of this on American democracy in general is that candidates for president do not have to develop moderate and electable platforms. Instead, candidates need to throw themselves to the extreme

sensibilities of the state electorate they need to win to keep their campaign running and give them a boost. The candidate become caricatures of themselves, and quickly change tune as soon as they secure the nomination. There are alternatives to the system in place. A radical change would be to hold all the primaries on one day or in rapid succession. The benefit of this would be to force candidates to develop national strategies to appeal to the largest portion of their party’s voters nationwide. The downside would be that candidates with name recognition would likely monopolize the race, and millions of dollars would be spent on cross country travel expenses ahead of the primary day. Another option would be to divide the country into regions, and hold primaries over multiple months with one state from each region. This would be far more representative, but would mean changing countless laws on the state and national level regulating primary and caucus calendars. This latter point is true of any attempted change to the system. Considerable political will is necessary to change the current system, but something must be done. B

Granite State strategy, or political necessity? Binghamton Review is a monthly, independent journal of news, analysis, commentary, and controversy. Students at Binghamton University receive one copy of the Review free of charge (non-transferable). 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 submission become property of the Review. The Review reserves the right to edit and print any submission. Copyright © 1987-2011 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, Kethryn 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, Robert E. Menje, Adam Shamah, Rachel Gordon, Mike Lombardi

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CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS RESPONSIBLY WITH:

A Politically Correct Christmas

LIM

I TIMTED OF E FE R!

Twelve Spirit Crushing Hits! A Politically Correct Christmas Y U B RS U ! O Y Y A D TO DISCLAIMER: The Binghamton Review does not support the views of the producers of “A Politically Correct Christmas.” By sending us a check, you will not receive this CD. Instead, a donation will be made in your name to the Review’s charity supporting unemployed Hedge Fund Managers.

1: Have Yourself a Gender Neutral Christmas 2: I Saw Mommy Kissing Whoever She Chooses To 3:The Little Drummer Boy or Girl 4: Rudolph the Unethically Captive Reindeer 5: Rockin’ Around the Evergreen Tree 6: It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Winter 7: Here Comes Corporate Greed 8: Grandma Got Run Over by Insurance Premiums 9:The Twelve Days of Late December 10:White (Black, Latino, or Asian) Christmas 11: Have a Holly Jolly Solstace 12: Frosty the Victim of Global Warming


Binghamton Review - Dec 2011