The Powers of the President

A recent item in the news that caught my attention was the controversy concerning President Obama’s decision to use an executive order to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants in the United States. Given the amount of controversy surrounding this decision, it can be easy to see why some may be flustered by President Obama’s executive order.

The details of the order are fairly clear. Under the order, immigrants who are here are essentially allowed to stay in America. Their children are eligible for federal retirement benefits if they are under 30, but the parents are not. There are some bureaucratic catches with the system, such as having to reapply every 3-5 years, but that is the gist of what the order does.

This article’s job is not to talk about the legality of such an action. Others have done so. This article’s job is to talk about whether President Obama has the authority to enact such a piece of legislation.

“So unless the Constitution directly says: The President of the United States cannot, under any cause, make sweeping changes to the immigration laws of the United States; President Obama, like every other president before him, most certainly has the authority to enact such legislation.” Graphic taken from

In short, he does.

The office of the president has always had broad powers concerning executive action. In general, unless the Constitution explicitly bars the president from doing something, it can be argued that the president can make changes to that law.

So unless the Constitution directly says: The President of the United States cannot, under any cause, make sweeping changes to the immigration laws of the United States; President Obama, like every other president before him, most certainly has the authority to enact such legislation.

Apparently, America has always been fine with presidents asserting their executive power during times of war. Franklin Delano Roosevelt instigated the War Powers Acts which gave him increased Executive authority directly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Incidentally, FDR is also the president with the most executive orders under his name. Luckily, this bring the conversation to an important question concerning the ethics of President Obama’s executive action.

During Bill Clinton’s presidency, he issued a total of 363 executive orders. President Bush (Jr.) issued 290 executive orders during his 2 term presidency. One important factor in all of these presidencies, including Obama’s current term is that all three of these men won reelection, meaning that Clinton, Bush, and Obama did/will serve for 8 years.

Compared to the previous 2 presidents, Obama has issued the fewest executive actions, totaling in at only 190 executive orders since he took office in 2008. So the argument that conservatives flock to, that Obama cares not for the Constitution and is Dictator Obama or Fuher Obama is simply ridiculous. If anything, President Obama uses the executive powers of his office far less than other modern presidents did during their terms. It is worth noting that Obama still has two years left until he leaves office in 2016, so he may still surpass Bash in numbers of orders issued. However, that is not the case right now.

It is not my aim to pretend that this ruling doesn’t come with a certain sense of politicking. I’d argue it most certainly does. Along with Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, this is probably President Obama’s most emphatic statement concerning his own presidential legacy to date. The Democrats almost always fare better with all minority voters than Republicans do.

Democrats often receive a bigger chunk of the Hispanic vote, the black vote, the female vote, and the young vote. In many cases, it is not a stretch to say the only group the Republican party gets in overwhelming numbers is the middle aged/old white male vote. To be certain, President Obama’s recent decision concerning immigration is both an act of social justice and political victory.

The biggest mistake made thus far in this discussion is that the questions that have been asked about the executive order do not get at the heart of the question at hand. Instead of arguing semantics as to whether Obama has the authority to do this, we should be asking what good or bad will come from this executive order. And for that answer, only time will tell.

Eternal youth

Whispers in a witch’s ear

Telling her of her deepest fears

The wanting of a young man

Full of youth and ignorance

Time grasps at her

Her skin is wrinkly

Her eyes glaze

Her youth begins to fade

"Her youth begins to fade, as the hourglass runs." Graphic by Grace Higginbotham
“Her youth begins to fade, as the hourglass runs.” Graphic by Grace Higginbotham

As the hourglass runs



Acknowledgement of what must pass

The circle is set

The candles are lit

The live centerpiece squirms

The stage is set

The moon is past its apex

Words of the dead language

Reborn in this world

The wind picks up

The candles grow brighter

The young man screams

Time halts

Youth is bled dry

An old man wallows

The rejuvenation of an old body

The beauty of a young woman reappears

With old eyes

With no soul

The hourglass is flipped

History of the anti-vaxxers: why do we keep the trend?

Anti-vaxxer-bashing is on the rise again — and for  good reason.

Thanks to an outbreak of measles at Disney Land, the movement has been trending on news sources, social media, and flooding Reddit. One image posted to Reddit in particular points out that anti-vaxxers (those who oppose vaccinations) aren’t new — the original poster states that the photo is condemning an anti-vaccination movement from 1940. We here at Whim posted a story about this very troubling subject in Oct. 2014, stating that “the original surgeon who brought [the anti-vaccination movement] to light has since been discredited and stripped of his medical license.”

But what is the history of this movement and why are we still seeing it in our headlines?

In England, widespread smallpox vaccination began in the early 1800s, thanks to Edward Jenner’s cowpox experiments. With such a new and worrisome practice for the general population, this vaccination certainly deserved speculation — something all new innovations should have to face. Their rationale for criticism included sanitary, religious, scientific, and political objections.

“One image posted to Reddit in particular points out that anti-vaxxers (those who oppose vaccinations) aren’t new — the original poster states that the photo is condemning an anti-vaccination movement from 1940.”

The first organized groups against vaccinations began to pop up and eventually led to government policy making vaccinations compulsory, as well as the development of a commission designed to study vaccination.

The end of the 19th century saw the first organized anti-vaxxer movement in the US (The American anti-vaccinationists) fought in court to repeal vaccination laws in several states including California, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

In the 1970s, an outcry against vaccinations rang around the world in response to a report from the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London, which claimed that 36 children suffered neurological conditions following DTP immunizations. An independent study later confirmed that the vaccination was safe and helped to lead a pro-vaccination campaign.

And then there’s the dreaded Andrew Wakefield, the former surgeon and medical researcher who in 1998 published a paper claiming a link between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism (and bowel disease). Later, the journal that published the article retracted it after Wakefield’s data was found to be fraudulent and largely influenced by a law board that had hired him to look for the link.

Since Wakefield’s now-discredited claim, several studies have been done to prove that there is no link between the MMR vaccine, autism, or bowel disease, and he has been stripped of his medical license. However, the research published by Wakefield is still used by anti-vaxxers and conspiracy band-wagoners alike, along with the presence of thimerosal (a mercury containing compound used as a preservative in vaccines).

Due to the volatile atmosphere surrounding vaccinations, in July of 1999, leading US public health, medical organizations, and vaccine manufacturers decided to significantly reduce or eliminate thimerosal from vaccines. Currently, the preservative is no longer used in most childhood vaccines, but is often present in yearly flu vaccines. Still, there is no scientific evidence to support that thimerosal poses any significant risk.

Despite this, celebrities like Jenny McCarthy  (a former Playboy model) and her advocacy group, Generation Rescue, as well as the organization Talk about Curing Autism (TACA) have spearheaded efforts to eliminate vaccinations, claiming they cause autism — just as the disgraced Wakefield claimed to have proven in his (say it with me) fraudulent article.

Although the world has had many government and independently sponsored studies done around the world, unfortunately, the public remains suspicious of vaccines. There’s much more evidence now to support vaccinations than was available 200 years ago, when Jenner first discovered a way to prevent hundreds of thousands of smallpox deaths. So why are we still having this argument?

Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by decades without devastating death tolls from many of the worst communicable diseases and begun taking our modern medicine a little too much for granted. Unfortunately, without harsh laws that prohibit some of the freedoms of choice we US citizens so highly value, there isn’t much to be done for those who choose not to vaccinate except to blast the media with the consequences of their actions.

Fifty Shades of Grey – condoning abuse?

After serious thought, reading the books, and hearing everybody’s uber-enthusiasm about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I can’t help but think: that this story is seriously messed up.

The trilogy is titled Fifty Shades of Grey because the main man is named Christian Grey. He’s definitely a complex, rounded character (“rounded” because his personality changes quite a lot during the story). However, I think the “grey” should also be applied to the gray area that is the type of BDSM relationship between him and the female protagonist Anastasia Steele. While many girls and women have read this story and been intrigued, entranced, and in all forms interested in the Grey-Steele encounters, it seems that the more serious, eerie aspects of the two have gone either unnoticed or ignored. . But here’s the reality: Christian Grey and Ana Steele are in an extremely unhealthy relationship that should not be coveted by anyone.

For example, Christian Grey is incredibly jealous. He loses his mind when Ana gets stared at, hit on, or if other men are friendly to her. During Ana’s friend Kate’s photo gallery exhibit, Christian buys all the pictures of Ana because he “does not want anyone else to see [her].”

Christian also compares Ana to his mother. If you don’t know the story, sorry to ruin it, but Christian’s mother was a reported “crackwhore.”He’s not a fan of women at the beginning of the story.Grey was sexually abused by an older woman for the majority of his adolescence, leading him to see women as objects and luring him into the BDSM fantasy lifestyle.

Christian stalks Ana on more than one occasion. When she goes out with a friend to a bar against Grey’s wishes, for example, he flies out to confront her about it.

There are a few moments in the books where Mr. Grey is so rough with Ana that she cries and screams and leaves him until he comes begging her back.

Grey does not let Ana consult a lawyer about her BDSM contract before signing it.

Christian is possessive. When Ana asks him why it’s so important to him for her to change her name, he says it’s so everyone will know she is his. Ana has incredibly low self esteem. It seems she only stays with Christian because she feels sexy with him.

Everyone has been raving about this movie and I’ll  probably go see it too — mostly because I want to know how this erotic trilogy could possibly be shown on the big screen.Christian Grey’s control over Ana does NOT show love, but something else entirely. This isn’t a relationship that should be hashtagged “relationship goals” or coveted in any shape or form.

Work it, girl!

Ramen: the basic diet for a college student. Even though the sodium explosion that is ramen can be quite a treat every once in a while, it’s not the best means of sustenance. To prevent the fate of a constant ramen diet, one must seek out funds. These can’t always be a given; sometimes they must be sought out.

One form of money-making for students is right on campus: work study. This offer is exclusively for undergraduate and graduate students that have been accepted for financial aid benefits through the federal government. To gain that eligibility, you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If approved, those students are allowed to apply for part-time jobs. Those jobs may also include community service like tutoring kids off-campus.

“One form of money-making for students is right on campus: work study.” Photo of: Student Danielle Johnson

Students who receive the work study opportunity make minimum wage and generally have a set amount of hours that they’re allowed to work per week in order to adhere to their budgets. The budgets depend on the how much the college can afford. Keep in mind that graduates and undergraduates are paid at different rates. There are cases where you might not be paid exactly by the hour.

This year students may work up to 180 hours each semester, working 12 hours a week and earn $7.25 an hour. Not only does this time help you earn some extra pocket money, but it will look great on your resume–as long as you use the opportunity wisely. This offer gives you real work experience and can help you get closer with departmental connections at the school that are able to further your career.

Student employment on campus doesn’t happen without a little bit of work. To gain one of these positions, you must contact a supervisor listed under the available job you’re looking for. From there, you can discuss potential employment. Those positions are listed on RU’s website and whenever a new one’s available, it’s listed again.

The jobs usually list what requirements the employee must fulfill and the daily functions they would have to carry out. Some of the positions listed are: Geology Department Opportunity, McConnell Library Opportunity, Technology Assistance Center Opportunity, and Women’s Basketball Operations. Usually, these jobs are the most fruitful when they relate to what your major is.

Title Fight breaks down punk with Hyperview

Title Fight was formed in 2003 in Kingston, Pennsylvania. In July 2014 they announced they had signed to ANTI-Records on their instagram. They released their most recent album ‘Hyperview’ on February 3rd, 2015.

Album art for Title Fight’s new “Hyperview” album. Image taken from:

To be honest I had a lot of expectations for this album after their 2012 release ‘Floral Green’. This album is decidingly not ‘Floral Green’. That isn’t to say it isn’t a good album in its own right. It’s just very different from what I expected. While musically, it is well written, it lacks the energy that I’m so used to hearing from this band. It makes up for it with a very dreamy ambient sort of sound.

“Chlorine”, the album’s first single, harkens to their old sound but replaces jarring chords with almost synthetic guitar riffs. This is a common theme in the album. This release marks Title Fight moving away from their melodic hardcore roots to emerge with a more shoegaze sound.

Hyperview is an album you can vibe to. From the opening track “Murder Your Memory” to the very end the atmosphere is oddly out of tune with the environment around the listener. Title Fight has generally been very grounded in the punk scene but with this album they break down punk constraints and other various musical barriers with their hazy, ambient instrumentation and heavy lyrics to go straight to your heart.

That’s the best part about this album – the emotion. Songs like “Murder Your Memory” and “Your Pain Is Mine Now” are quiet, but drag you down. While earlier releases expressed this feeling through energetic screams and almost violent guitar riffs, Hyperview relies on the listener’s ties to the music. It’s a tense feeling almost, but you’re left wondering when you began to feel that way.

As a long time fan and listener, Hyperview was almost uncomfortable for me, being such a drastic change in the band’s sound. The evolution of the band isn’t bad. If anything, it is an amazing album – just not in the genre we’ve grown to expect from them.

Album Rating: 7.5/10

Favorite Tracks: “New Vision”, “Trace Me Onto You”

American scientists v. the rest of us

Traditionally, the relationship between our nation’s scientists and the rest of us has been somewhat distant. It’s hard to accept what you don’t understand without a serious education — even scientists have to accept findings outside their individual fields that they may not quite comprehend. However, some disturbing trends have caused concern over the nature of disparities between these parties.

Scientists are annoyed with the public. Graphic from Totally Off Beat
Scientists are annoyed with the public. Graphic from Totally Off Beat

A recent set of surveys by the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) found that scientists and the public have widely different views about scientific issues. Their research shows that the scientists surveyed tended to have a more positive opinion of many newer technologies than the general public.

While it’s been clear to many that these disparities exist (such as the ongoing debate on global climate change), the most troubling result of these surveys is that they show a small decline in positive views about science. In a study done in 2009, 83% of Americans felt that science made life better, whereas the numbers from 2014 show that only 79% of Americans share this view.

Major differences in the views of scientists surveyed and the public include GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), pesticides, and fracking. Most scientists (88%) said they viewed GMO foods as safe, but only 37% of their fellow Americans said they felt the same. Similarly, 68% of scientists stated that pesticides are safe, but only about a fourth (28%, to be exact) of the US public said they shared the belief. And 39% of the American public said they are for fracking, whereas only 31% of the surveyed scientists agreed.

AAAS CEO Alan Leshner responded to these poll results, claiming “such disparity is alarming because it ultimately affects both science policy and scientific progress.”

The economy, policies on natural resources, and our own self-care are only a few of the areas that scientific innovations make a huge impact on our nation. Therefore, the public opinion and accessible communications between the public and scientists are a major concern for all Americans. This set of surveys simply underscores the necessity of improving communications on both scientific work and the motivations behind it.

Clearly, there’s  a need to ensure that science maintains and builds its place in our society through having members of the scientific community engage with the public in ways that allow them to hear from fellow citizens. Unfortunately, oftentimes the loudest voices of disagreement from those sharing opinions with our nation’s scientists seem to be aggressive, labeling people as deniers or irrational.

Hopefully, with these new figures to motivate, those like curator of IFLScience Elise Andrew will continue trying to make scientific innovations and understanding more accessible and fun to engage in, as well as motivating others to further the effort.

Ear piercings, circumcision and child mutilation –oh my!

I’ve had my ears pierced since I can remember. I don’t remember actually getting them pierced, but if I wanted to take them out, I could — and they’d grow back fine. Some parents disagree with piercing a child’s ears because, in their eyes, it’s “mutilation.” However, parents that argue against piercing a child’s ears often seem to have another child who was circumcised.

No female genital mutilation! Graphic from Janie Maitland
No female genital mutilation! Graphic from Janie Maitland

Circumcision is rooted  in religious beliefs for both  males and females. Female circumcision, better known as female genital mutilation(FGM), is typically done in third-world countries. Many small countries in Africa encourage FGM because they believe women are supposed to be pure. FGM essentially paralyzes a woman’s genitals, making pleasurable sensation during sex completely non-existent. This practice also causes many complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Women who have been circumcised often develop scar tissue around their vagina, making natural childbirth extremely painful and, in some cases, impossible. Many women and girls have died or lost a child because of the extreme danger of childbirth after being put through FGM.

Women who are put through FGM are usually at the age of puberty, and can remember the pain. There’s extreme irony in this practice, as some women who have failed to successfully give birth because of FGM have been left in the wilderness alone to be killed by animals. It’s believed that women who cannot successfully reproduce are cursed and will bring bad luck to the village, and are therefore banished. It’s strange to me that this practice would even be considered because it would make it impossible for most women to give birth.

There are absolutely no health benefits to FGM. It’s a cultural and religious practice used to control women and to keep them from desiring “explicit” sexual activities.

So what about the health benefits of male circumcision? There’s some speculation that circumcising baby boys will later prevent health risks such as urinary tract infections, STI’s and even HIV. Although there’s some truth to these speculations, for the most part there are more risks than benefits in male circumcision.

Male circumcision performed on babies can cause scarring, hemorrhaging, infection from the incision.It’s also painful to the baby. Babies can experience difficulty peeing and may develop urinary tract infections immediately after circumcision. The foreskin of the penis is a protective barrier. It can prevent injury, protect the head from germs and other bacteria, and increases sexual pleasure for both male and female partners.

Circumcision also has extreme religious roots. Anyone who’s read the Bible remembers God commanding Abraham to circumcise himself at the age of 99, as well as all of his descendants.  God said, ” You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.” In other words, God wanted Abraham to circumcise himself as a symbol of loyalty. Just as women in the Bible were expected to commit their virginity to God before they are married, men were expected to experience less sexual pleasure because, I suppose, God could please them in other ways.

I’m no expert on penises, seeing as I don’t have one. However, it does seem like having scarring around the head of the penis would render some nerves down there completely useless. It also seems funny that God would create men with foreskins and then command them to cut them off. Circumcision can’t be fixed on males or females. Those parents who argue that piercing ears is somehow related to mutilation, but opt to have their child circumcised, are complete hypocrites. I’m glad my mother had my ears pierced when I was little so I don’t remember the pain. Circumcision is a different story, though. Very few men have to be circumcised later in life, and men who grow up curious as to what it’d be like to have had a foreskin can’t undo it. If I grew up angry at my mother for piercing my ears, I could just take them out and let them grow back.

Highlanders Anonymous: Is this real life?

“It’s been really hard to get exercise this semester. How can I find the time?”

“Physical exercise can relieve stress, so we’ve got to find time for it.” Photo by: Caroline Leggett

Exercise is very important, for both our physical and mental states.  Physical exercise can relieve stress, so it can be very important  to find time for it no matter how busy our schedules are. If you’re finding that it’s difficult to schedule a set time for exercise, you can always be a bit more spontaneous. Start by keeping exercise clothes on campus at all times. That way, whenever an opportunity arises, you will be ready. Leaving exercise clothes at home is one of the most common reasons to pass up a workout. Be prepared and I’m sure something will come up.

“What is the least embarrassing way to ask someone on a date?”

Do something special for this significant person and ask them when the time is right for you. Don’t push yourself before you’re ready, but don’t wait forever. Otherwise asking will become more and more difficult.

“How do I break it to my roommate that I don’t want to live with them anymore? I’d like to spare their feelings, but I’m so sick of them!”

If you’re really sick of someone, it’s only a matter of time before you say something you’ll regret. This whole process will come a lot easier if you’re more honest with yourself and your roommate. Until you’re able to get away, tell them if you are bothered by something they do so your problems don’t snowball into something crazy and dysfunctional. If those things aren’t working for you and you’ve made up your mind to get away , just tell them that you have found another living situation that will work better for you. It’s up to them whether they’re going to take this personally. There’s not much you can do about that.

“My room looks so boring. It makes me not want to have guests over. How can I make it nicer and more comfortable?”

Decoration is key here. Use mementos, art, and lighting to make your room more customized to suit your personality. A cheap way to do this is to buy string lights and posters of things you like. These items are found at most department stores. If you want to make your room more comfortable, consider setting up a sitting area . This could be a comfy reading chair, or just another place for guests to relax.

“Is this real life?”

It could be real life–or we could be in the Matrix.

What is Sling TV?

There’s a new option for consumers who have trouble choosing between cable TV and reasonable bills: Sling TV. This new choice is about halfway between current streaming services like Hulu and cable TV packages with live channels.

Sling TV, which launched at the end of January 2015, gives subscribers access to a small portion of live, traditional cable TV content for a measly $20 a month. In addition to to the TV channels (which include ABC Family, Cartoon Network, CNN, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN 2, the Food Network, HGTV, TBS, TNT, The Travel Channel and Adult Swim) the service includes apps for mobile phones, tablets, and streaming devices that hook into a subscriber’s TV.

Is Sling TV a better alternative to cable? Graphic from The Next Web
Is Sling TV a better alternative to cable? Graphic from The Next Web

The best part? Unlike traditional cable TV bundles, Sling TV has no contracts and no upfront installation costs. Consumers can cancel at any time and, much like Netflix, Sling offers a one-week free trial before you make that monthly commitment.

The key selling point of the live channels is ESPN, which hasn’t previously been available through streaming, except for the WatchESPN app. And if the current channel options aren’t enough to interest you, just wait — Sling will be rolling out bonus packs of channels for $5 a month.

Even Disney is sniffing at Sling TV, which seems like the natural solution for consumers who have been straying further and further from traditional live TV for their choice of streaming.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has stated that there’s “definitely an opportunity” to expand the goliath company into involvement with Sling TV. He further suggested that dedicated channels for fans of Marvel and Star Wars could be on the horizon through the subscription service. These kind of niche markets probably wouldn’t be a safe investment without this rising popularity of tailor-made packages, so let’s all give a big thanks to the evolution of the video market (and perhaps mourn the impending loss of traditional cable).

Of course, Sling TV is still picking up the pace and is by invitation only until testing is complete. In order to let them know their service is in demand and sign up for an invitation, go to their website, give them your email, and become part of the death of traditional TV.

Should non-vaccinated children be barred from pediatricians?

The anti-vaxxer movement has gained a lot of attention in recent years. Many parents think that vaccines are related to autism. This idea may’ve taken root when Jenny McCarthy came forward and announced that she believed her child developed autism because they were vaccinated.

This fear inspired many medical studies. Although no studies show a link, there isn’t absolute proof that autism can’t be caused by vaccinations. However, with the many studies that show no link to vaccines and autism, I think it’s safe to assume that link doesn’t exist.

An infant with measles. Graphic from Janie Maitland
An infant with measles. Graphic from Janie Maitland

Many parents cry that it’s their choice to vaccinate their child or not. Just as many parents don’t like others interfering with the way they raise their child, many parents also aren’t comfortable with someone telling them how to care for their child. Although I’d be annoyed if someone told me how to raise my child, I’m not a doctor. I don’t have a medical degree, but I do look at the latest research–which tells me that there are more benefits to vaccines than there are dangers.

Recently, a measles outbreak occurred at DisneyLand in California. The source was a child who hadn’t received the measles vaccine, due to a parent’s concerns that the vaccine would have adverse effects. Because of this outbreak, many parents who had once fought against the standard vaccination schedule changed their mind and rushed to have their children caught up on vaccines.

A recent segment by NPR addressed an idea brought about by concerned, vaccinating parents: pediatricians should bar parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Many may argue that this would keep children from receiving other medical care. However, Dr. Bob Sears’ office had a great idea: give parents who choose not to vaccinate a date to start having their child caught up on vaccines. This would pressure parents to vaccinate their child immediately, or risk losing treatment for other illnesses.

Some argue that this is infringing on parents’ right to choose care for their child. I believe that parents who believe that measles, meningitis or chicken pox are lesser threats than autism, shouldn’t be parents at all. I’m not a parent, but if I ever became a parent, I would be furious if my baby were infected with a deadly disease by a child who could’ve been vaccinated. Just as some parents are charged with child abuse for faith healing,parents who choose not to vaccinate against deadly diseases should be charged with murder if their child happens to die of a disease that could’ve been prevented by vaccination.

Even if there was a link between vaccination and autism, I would much rather care for a child with autism than have to bury my child. I simply can’t imagine being a parent and not doing everything possible to protect my child.

Overall, I think barring parents who choose not to vaccinate is a very smart idea. I think there has to be an extreme level of inanity to choose otherwise. Science has brought us so far and given us the wonderful gift of health against preventable diseases. Who wouldn’t take the risk, especially when the risk is virtually non-existent?

Beehive’s Best of Radford: Part 2

Welcome back to another Best of Radford poll! If you missed the first one, you can still represent your favorite things by clicking here.

Weekly Time Wasters: Vanessa Bayer goes fifty shades of awkward

Have a case of the early semester blues? Jimmy Fallon’s Lip Sync Battles never fail to amuse.



During the 2014 New York Comic Con Robert Franzese cosplayed as Peter Griffin from “Family Guy.” See for yourself just how well he nailed the part.



It looks like Vanessa Bayer doesn’t quite get this whole dominant/submissive “Fifty Shades of Grey” thing.



Rob Gronkowski came on Jimmy Kimmel live after winning the Super Bowl, he had a few things to say about that giant fight at the end of the game.



Ever wonder how they used green screens before computers? Well here’s how.

FCC redefines broadband

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to redefine broadband after proposing the change last year. The newly defined broadband will be “internet which is actually fast enough to use.” According to the FCC, that means it isn’t considered broadband internet unless the consumer is guaranteed download speeds of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) or faster and upload speeds of 3 Mbps or faster.

The proposal was supported by companies such as Netflix and Google, who will undoubtedly reap the benefits in consumer satisfaction. Why? To get any kind of buffer-free service, it’s recommended to access at least 1.5Mbps connection, with 5Mbps recommended for HD, and 25 for 4K content.

fcc comissioners
“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to redefine broadband.” Graphic from Extreme Tech

According to the former FCC policy from 2010, “broadband” was considered 4Mbps down/1Mbps up. The new policy seems to go above and beyond, then, for considering the Mbps needed for broadband consumers. However, a single internet connection is usually shared between several individuals. Let’s say you happen to be trying to stream a video at the same time as a couple of your roommates — you’d need a minimum of 15Mbps in order for everything to work seamlessly.

While the FCC isn’t actually forcing internet service providers to speed up connections, you can bet companies are going to try to speed up their internet now that they can’t claim many of the current packages on the market are broadband. This new definition will simply make it easier for the consumer to compare truly acceptable speed packages to their poor counterparts.

As an additional plus for many consumers, this new policy might also affect the pending Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. With two of the largest internet service providers combining forces, the US is looking very seriously at a monopoly over two-thirds of the country. They won’t only influence bills;with their power they could influence government regulations to model their company policies. Smaller provider companies simply wouldn’t have the means to compete.

On the other hand, now that broadband has been narrowed down to a much smaller percentage of packages currently on the market, the Department of Justice might decide that a Mega-Comcast would be against government policy on monopolies.

With Greek Letters Comes Great Responsibility

Greek Life has had a negative reputation for a long time. It’s been portrayed adversely in the media and in movies. There are often news stories about members of Greek organizations dying as a result of hazing. Movies such as House Bunny and Animal House (my favorite movie) show Greek Organizations throwing huge house parties and pulling pranks. Although there may be some slight truths in the media, we never hear about the good that Greeks do such as raising money for various philanthropies.

Janie gives blood. Graphic by Janie Maitland
Janie proudly wears her letters while giving blood. Graphic by Janie Maitland

There are, however, a group of organizations that are a category all on their own: academic and community service fraternities. These organizations do a lot of things that reflect social organizations, but they aren’t considered part of Greek Life. Many of these fraternities will have “bigs and littles,” wear Greek letters and make paddles–all long-standing traditions of Greek organizations.

Although these organizations may look Greek, they’re vastly different from social organizations. While most social fraternities have a set of values they try to instill in their members, academic and community service fraternities typically only focus on one aspect of the organization. For example, a criminal justice fraternity will only accept Criminal Justice majors. While in the fraternity, the member will make many connections in their field, study together and assist each other every step of the way through their journey to graduation.

In social Greek organizations, we focus on academic excellence, values, making connections, helping the community, and representing ourselves in a way consistent withthe values of our organization. Although many non-Greek fraternities (such as Alpha Phi Omega, a community service fraternity), tend to focus on the person’s values and attitude, other organizations will only focus on one area of a person’s life. There are many organizations for many different majors such as music fraternities, business fraternities, and more. Many times these organizations focus mostly on their majors and help members find internships and network.

Since I’ve joined my sorority, I’ve always believed that with Greek letters comes great responsibility. Many times, organizations that wear Greek letters but aren’t part of Greek life will misrepresent Greek life. I’ve seen members of academic fraternities be incredibly rude, very publicly, while wearing their letters. Many times, these acts go unpunished because the fraternity is only focused on the person’s academics. Of course, if the person did something extreme, that would get them in trouble with their university. Until it reaches that level of severity, the person will probably not face any ramification.

The truth is, most of the public can’t tell the difference between academic and social fraternities. Because of this, many times these non-Greek fraternities who still sport Greek letters will accidentally misrepresent Greek life by how they act in public. It’s important that members of these organizations remember that by taking on Greek letters, they’re assumed to be part of Greek life — and they need to represent themselves appropriately.

At this time, the best those of us in social organizations can do is live up to our values through our actions. A change won’t happen overnight, but we must make up for those who misrepresent Greek life  — not only in academic fraternities, but in social fraternities as well. It’s time Greeks start holding each other accountable for the way we represent each other.

One of us, one of us!

A sorority or fraternity is a membership-based sisterhood or brotherhood connected to a college. You’ve often heard the terms “sorority” and “fraternity” associated with “Greek life,” but what is that exactly? For starters, all of these groups are referred to as Greek life. That’s because of the Greek letters used in all fraternity and sorority titles.

Many things come to mind when picturing Greek life. Most of us get a basic understanding of it from Hollywood, which show us the wild parties and crazy stunts  that brothers and sisters participate in.  Another trait associated with these organizations  is hazing — a dangerous or embarrassing ritual evoked upon new recruits to see if they have what it takes to be included in their “family.”

Although that’s glamorized in fiction, it appears on the news as a shocking reminder of peer pressure’s destructive power. Those incidents are often the outcome of “hazing.” However, that’s strictly forbidden in school policies these days.

toga party
“Most of us get a basic understanding of it from Hollywood, which show us the wild parties and crazy stunts that brothers and sisters participate in.”


If you’re considering joining a fraternity or sorority, do your research! Here at Radford University, you can find many organizations with all sorts of goals. The group leaders do this through workshops and participating in community service, along with other upcoming events.

At RU, each potential Greek life member must go through a recruitment process that’s different for each organization. They must also maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 and have completed one full semester.

RU’s Greek life page states that “students can gain leadership experiences, lifelong friendships, academic success and support, opportunities for community service and philanthropy, along with personal growth and development.” There are over 20 different sororities and fraternities here at RU, so choose wisely.

Some members join for the toga parties and social experiences while others are more interested in the business connections or sense of belonging. Just like when you did research on Radford to see if you wanted to enroll here, learn about what each sorority and fraternity does and what its reputation is. That’s the reputation you will want to be showing employers in the future.

You can learn more about RU’s Greek life by following this link. You can also contact the Greek Life Office, located in the Bonnie.