Students facing budget cuts and growing debt, risk losing out on education.

Remember when students only worried about starving? Now, some of us are forced to cut out more than just food. We have to work more and/or jump head first into a big fat vat of boiling debt. Each year proves harder and harder for students to receive an education due to an increase in fees and a higher cost of living. We are in a constant struggle trying to balance work, studies and the occasional party; we find ourselves with no money and no time. This year students have protested Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed budget cuts and now many students at community colleges have another hurdle to conquer in the student loan sect. Multiple major banks have stopped offering federal student loans to those at community colleges because students usually borrow less (averaging $3,200 per year) and the profit is just not there. They are still available at larger four-year universities, though. So there are no worries there. For us, loans are plentiful. A student with a small loan will pay less interest and can pay it back faster; therefore the banks make more money when they lend more money to a student at a school that has high tuition.

By | 2008-06-19T00:00:00-07:00 Jun 19, 2008 | 12:00 am|Categories: Opinions|

CSULB gives back Native American remains

Grave robbing has long been considered among the most depraved and demented crimes humans can commit against the living and the dead. But stealing — or borrowing for study — human bodies has provided a plethora of knowledge about "us" as a species ever since archaeology, anthropology and other disciplines were recognized as sciences.  We've gleaned important biological, sociological, historical and cultural insight into the human experiment by studying discovered artifacts of past civilizations over the past centuries, often without considering the potentially negative impact on the yet-living societies that carry the grief of our pathological needs. Scientific cravings, though, have all too frequently supplanted empathy and compassion when it comes to justifying unearthing the ancestral remains of indigenous peoples in literally every nook and cranny on the globe. Cal State Long Beach should be minimally lauded for helping to right a culturally insensitive wrong by way of a recent humanitarian act.  Whether by fiat or act of institutional compassion (institutionally unlikely), CSULB turned over approximately 250 sets of Native American physical remains to the Ione Band of the Miwok Nation in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern California last week.  The "collection" was harvested by CSULB professors and students as part

By | 2008-06-17T00:00:00-07:00 Jun 17, 2008 | 12:00 am|Categories: Opinions|

SUV’s gas guzzling days nearly over

Gas prices, gas prices, G-A-S P-R-I-C-E-S.  Everywhere we go we keep hearing these two words. What are we to do with the steadily rising gas prices? Most people have cut back their driving, traded a gas bill for a bike or turned to public transportation.  But what happens when you have no choice; when you must drive, and you must drive far? I found myself faced with this dilemma. How was I supposed to afford $4 per gallon when I need to drive 400 miles to my mom's and have enough car space to transport lots of luggage and two cats?  My answer was the Toyota Prius. Usually, my trip uses up approximately four full 15-gallon tanks of gas. With gas prices as they are driving home would have cost me about $240 in gas alone. The trip with the Prius cost $114 in gas to get there and back.  It turns out the Prius saved me more than a few extra dollars.  Not only were my costs cut by more than half, my driving has improved. Since returning home and parting with the Prius I noticed that I've changed the way I drive. Strangely, I've continued to drive like I'm

By | 2008-06-17T00:00:00-07:00 Jun 17, 2008 | 12:00 am|Categories: Opinions|

Criminals should also have organ transplant rights

After the Los Angeles Times revealed that Dr. Ronald Busuttil, executive chairman of UCLA's surgery department, performed liver transplants on four Japanese gang leaders, a public questioning of who is truly worthy of organ donations surfaced in So Cal.  Some of those who disagree with UCLA's decision to perform the operations are concerned that their organs could help out criminals. A question we all must ask when thinking about this issue is: do we want health care professionals making decisions about our health based on whether or not they feel we are "good" or "bad" people? According to the United Network for Organ Sharing website, they allocate organs as objectively as possible. Patients seeking organs are placed in a national "pool," prioritized primarily by need of an organ.  Once a patient is chosen by UNOS, a panel of hospital staff from where the patient resides will decide whether or not the patient is physically ready for surgery. Although the hospital's staff makes most decisions based on objective medical judgments, there are also certain "non-medical" assessments like patient behavior that the panel of physicians, nurses, social workers and other workers take into consideration. If the panel feels that a person's personal behavior or habits will

By | 2008-06-17T00:00:00-07:00 Jun 17, 2008 | 12:00 am|Categories: Opinions|

Other states draining California’s educational pool

Practically everybody who was ever a child remembers some form of the old cliché, "Don't go away mad — just go away." That adage was once popular enough that heavy metal group Mötley Crüe manipulated it into a hit breakup song, with the title "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)." The phrase has become sort of axiomatic with California's wannabe teachers. Because of the current state budget crises, teachers are fleeing the premises in droves and they're justified in leaving pissed off.  As a result of billions of dollars being lopped from public education, the state sent out roughly 24,000 "pink slip" warnings in March that "teachers, librarians, nurses and others" should anticipate receiving walking papers soon, according to a recent Los Angeles Times article. The article states, "New teachers hoping to find positions near their homes are being forced to seek work in other parts of California, across the United States, even overseas…." One educational job clearinghouse, www.edjoin.org (cited in the Times report) lists that, of about 14,000 available vacant statewide positions, only 8,400 are for teaching positions.   That's hardly a tasty worm on the fishhook to attract the approximately 25,000 idealistic, newly-credentialed teaching candidates into already understaffed, under-funded and under-nurtured

By | 2008-06-06T00:00:00-07:00 Jun 6, 2008 | 12:00 am|Categories: Opinions|

Federal government has no need for weed ad on beer bottle caps

The good people at the federal government who keep our minds safe from the evils of nudity on TV and profanity on the radio have a new enemy to look after: bottle caps. It's true. A branch of the federal government, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau are going after Vaune Dillmann and his Mt. Shasta Brewing Co. for inscribing the words "Try LEGAL Weed" on the tops of its bottles. The 61year-old, retired cop from Weed, California has been using the slogan to promote his Mountain High IPA and Shastafarian Porter microbrew lines. Dillmann contends that the double entendre grabs potential consumers' attention and helps generate a higher profit. By looking at the names of the beers he sells, I assume his potential consumers refer to everyone as "man" and vote Democrat. According to the feds, though, the slogan is "misleading to the consumer in terms of what may or may not be the properties contained within that product" and it condones drug use. I guess when your job revolves around taxing two-thirds of the three horsemen of fun (the third being firearms), I shouldn't expect these people to have much of a taste for pot jokes.  But, honestly, do they really

By | 2008-06-06T00:00:00-07:00 Jun 6, 2008 | 12:00 am|Categories: Opinions|

Grad day offers ‘circle of life’ moments

The morning College of Liberal Arts graduation last week was one of those bittersweet moments, not only for graduating students, but for those of us with time left to serve at Cal State Long Beach.  I experienced that mixed bag of emotions (both sadness and joy) while watching many students I've befriended during the past year taking their diplomas and heading off to build new lives in the "real world."  As I observed nearly a dozen graduates from the Daily Forty-Niner stroll to the podium, a friend of mine, Armando Vazquez-Ramos, a Chicano Latino Studies professor, caught my attention from the sidelines. He was there watching his son — another Armando Vazquez-Ramos — getting his bachelor's degree.  When he called me over, he asked if I would like to go to a service commemorating his grandmother later that afternoon. It isn't very often that one gets "invited" to a funeral for somebody they've never met and, naturally, I said yes. The service was at All Souls Cemetery here in Long Beach, but it was not a funeral, just like this is not an obituary. I mean, sure there was a deceased person there, but this was obviously not a day to

By | 2008-06-06T00:00:00-07:00 Jun 6, 2008 | 12:00 am|Categories: Opinions|

This Week in Cartoons

 When I first contemplated working at Chipotle Mexican Grill, the idea of eating free grilled-chicken tacos and veggie bowls with chips and guacamole didn't sound that bad. Plus, the pay was above minimum wage and it was a decent distance between home and school.  After a few months, I discovered an ugly side of humanity that comes out when people place their orders. Now, for the most part I can be a very patient person. But if you've worked in food service (waiting tables, flipping burgers, etc.), you know that when it comes to food, people forget that the people preparing the food are humans. Just last week, a woman and her husband walked into Chipotle and ordered two burritos. If you're a Chipotle fan, you know that rice is automatically splattered on your flour tortilla, unless you specify otherwise beforehand. As I spread a spoonful of rice, the woman freaked out and screamed, "What's wrong with you?!? Why didn't you ask me if I wanted rice?" I explained that because she didn't asked for a rice-less burrito, I assumed she loved our cilantro lime rice. My fault. Never assume anything. "Gee, what's wrong you?" she yelled again when I began to prepare another burrito. "There's

By | 2008-06-06T00:00:00-07:00 Jun 6, 2008 | 12:00 am|Categories: Opinions|
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