Archive for November, 2012

November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving is a time for giving back to the local community

By Krista Brooks

Published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/thanksgiving-is-a-time-for-giving-back-to-the-local-community-1.2796398#.ULEZ4oenKa8

Thanksgiving is almost here, a day of turkey, family appreciation and togetherness. It’s the transition into colder weather, finals and ultimately winter holidays and vacation. Thursday is the day when we celebrate what we are thankful for.

This year, don’t wait until the donation bins are around town as Santa rings his bell for petty change. The money you are planning to spend on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday could help provide support to those unfortunate enough to be missing out on the Thanksgiving feast tradition. Your money or time can help locals in your neighborhood, HurricaneSandy victims or the troops fighting for our country overseas.

There are several ways to help provide support. Your second plate or abundant leftovers each year could amount to feeding several in need.

Long Beach has been active this season in providing food around the city. Several churches have held food drives to collect dinners for others.

One church offered 1,000 residents and homeless women from shelters clothes, advice and free haircuts along with their meal. Another church distributed donated produce and turkey, feeding more than 700 locals.

A group of local hotels provided food to combine two large Thanksgiving feasts in the park. The Westin and Renaissance hotels joined with the Hilton, Hyatt and Hotel Maya to provide dinner in City Councilman Dee Andrew’s event “Serving With a Thankful Heart.”

Those who are in shape and want to help raise money can do so in the Turkey Trot.

Long Beach holds an annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning for all ages, ranging from a half-mile course to a10K. Run or walk, it doesn’t matter. It is just for a good cause.

The Community Action Team returns the money raised to the community and areas of need. This year will be the 10thannual trot, held in Belmont Shores.

In the Los Angeles area, there is a higher need for volunteers to meet the needs of the many shelters and kitchens.

Throughout this week and next, the LA Regional Food Bank is encouraging volunteers to assist assembling food packages of donated food.

For more ways to find out where and how you can help, visit volunteermatch.org.

Even if you don’t choose one of the aforementioned methods of helping, find it within you this holiday to spread love and support by any means that you can.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

 

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November 19, 2012

President Obama’s push for cleaner environment is a wise choice

Obama through the years

Media Design by Krista Brooks

By Krista Brooks

Published Monday, November 19, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/president-obama-s-push-for-cleaner-environment-is-a-wise-choice-1.2795504#.UKnMNIenKa8

In President Obama’s first campaign, he vowed to end the war in Iraq, provide health care coverage to all Americans and take action against the potential global climate change.

All promises have been kept, but since Hurricane Sandy, the climate change has been a main focus by the Obama administration.

Their efforts have been redirected to develop cleaner sources of energy and improve fuel efficiency in vehicles.

Obama addressed this last issue in his recent acceptance speech: “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

Friday, the Department of Interior ceased development in oil shale (a type of rock that contains kerogen, a low-grade fuel) from 1.6 million acres of federal land in the west.

This can be extracted to produce oil by heating and cooling, which is a less cost-effective method compared to hydraulic fracturing with oil shale.

Other venues for clean energy have been initiated by Obama and his administration.

This October, he has announced an initiative for 96,000 acres of water near Delaware to provide alternative energydevelopment.

Also, they announced expansion of wind power development in Wyoming which alone can provide 3,000 megawatts of power.

Lastly, the Obama administration has announced alternative energy initiatives to take place in Arizona. This utility-scalesolar energy will be accessible to neighboring states through transmission lines.

These initiatives are only stepping stones to the Obama administration’s plan to use alternative methods to generate clean energy, reducing negative impacts on our environment. Finding a source for clean energy is one part and dealing with the energy and fuel that we have available is the second.

Obama has cooperated with auto companies to create a 54.5 mile-a-gallon fuel standard, a goal to achieve by 2025.

This long-term plan will lower America’s reliance on off-shore oil as well as reduce carbon emissions from our vehicles. This will reduce the costs of vehicles and their fuel for American drivers.

In lieu of his second term, Obama is also pushing for the renewable-energy tax credit to be passed this year in Congress. This is an initiative to give back to those who make an effort to use cleaner energy and alternatives to fossil fuels.

With more land to create in-state energy alternatives and car companies willing to go green, our country has jump started a mission to clean our air and cool down the climate.

Despite the campaign and possibly your candidate losing, recognize that Obama has stuck to his word and respect the move towards a healthier environment.

Regardless of political parties, our Earth should be first priority, and Obama has shown us that he cares.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

November 19, 2012

The U.S. wiretapping law is an infringement of citizens’ privacy

By Krista Brooks

Published Wednesday, October 31, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/the-u-s-wiretapping-law-is-an-infringement-of-citizens-privacy-1.2786953#.UKnIZoenKa8

Yesterday, the Supreme Court held a hearing to challenge the 2008 wiretap law, which allows the government to listen to and record American’s phone calls and emails. The case came after several U.S. Supreme Court justices suggested to lawyers and civil right activists to challenge this federal law.

Former President George W. Bush authorized this law, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), shortly after Sept. 11 for the National Security Agency to intercept communication between suspected terrorists overseas and their U.S. connections without a warrant. The law was extended to any American communication, but foreigners abroad must be targeted first.

The range of people under this surveillance is broad. From foreigners to citizens without a criminal record to any American making an out-of-country call, anybody can be under surveillance. The federal law allows any telephone or email communication to be intercepted in the U.S., regardless of any suspicion of wrongdoing. This information is recorded and stored in a database that is never deleted.

There have been cases taken to the court by citizens suing for the invasion of privacy, but they have not succeeded. The cases have fallen short because there is no evidence to prove that wiretapping has brought any harm to these citizens — aside from infringing on their constitutional right to privacy.

The group of human rights activists, legal and media organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are fighting to repeal this law because it is a catch-22.

The government claims that citizens cannot challenge the law without proof that their communication was under surveillance, yet this information is strictly secret.

The law protects phone companies from being sued for allowing the wiretapping as well, so Americans have no control over this infringement of privacy.

Supporters of the repeal claim that this gridlocked law is unconstitutional as the government has ensured we can do nothing about it.

This law was passed in lieu of fear instilled by Sept. 11. Many felt safer knowing the government was taking control of the terrorism acts overseas, but was there enough interception of this communication to wave our civil right of privacy?

FISA negates our democratic process by eliminating any other courts from taking part. The FISA court meets in private and will not allow the public to alter the act.

Four years later, action towards the law’s repeal have been set in motion. This hearing will not determine whether or not the law can reside but will be tried for allowing citizens to sue. It will not address whether it is lawful or not, yet it will pave the road for future measures.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

November 19, 2012

Midterms are here, but beware the power of killer energy drinks

Monster Energy

By Krista Brooks

Published Tuesday, October 23, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/midterms-are-here-but-beware-the-power-of-killer-energy-drinks-1.2782619#.UKnHcoenKa8

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating Monster Energy Drink after five deaths have allegedly been linked to this delicious pick-me-up.

Earlier this week, a 14-year-old girl from Maryland died of a heart attack after drinking only two cans of Monster Energy.

These drinks are utilized to wake people up, like coffee, but consumers should be hesitant of drinking more than one.

The drinks are labeled to warn against the drink’s use by children and teens under the age of 18, but studies show that the median age of consumers of energy drinks is 17.

A 24-ounce can of Monster Energy Drink has around 240 mg of caffeine, equal to seven cups of coffee. The FDA allows this content level as long as it does not exceed 550 mg.

Producers of energy drinks are not required to label natural-occurring caffeine content, such as guarana, green tea extract and yerba. These ingredients are not dangerous alone, but mixed with the already present caffeine, the results from drinking one serving of Monster Engergy amount to a much bigger rush in energy than labeled.

These several chemically-derived caffeine contents have been the root of heart attacks and, in worse cases, death.

Some consumers drink these energy boosters to help them maintain focus. The stimulant caffeine can also improve athletic performance for short periods of time, providing alertness in the mind and body.

This boost to the brain by caffeine is negated, however, by the large amounts of sugar in the drinks. The sugar is quickly absorbed into the system, which accounts for the sudden rush and crash later.

The absorbed sugar causes a rapid plummet of insulin levels and is followed by excessively low blood sugar levels.

When the blood sugar drops, it reverses the effectiveness of the drink, creating mental fatigue and emotional instability. So at this point, a consumer heads to the appropriate aisle and buys a second drink.

This energy cycle can be crucial to our bodies, especially young developing minds. They’re easy to access and can change a stressful day into a productive one, but are the risks worth it?

If consumed moderately as according to the label warnings, these can be a helpful treat; however, there are other alternatives.

Before waiting to be out of energy and resorting to these drinks, plan ahead.

We’re college students. Of course we are going to be tired later and in need of a boost. Grab a green tea on your way to school; it is rich in natural energy supplements, amino acids and good ol’ fashioned caffeine. These drinks are lower in sugar content, helping to avoid the midday crash.

5-Hour Energy drinks are as easy to find as Monster Energy but are much smaller in size. The labels warn to only drink half the amount at a time. Do not exceed these limits; otherwise, the risks of heart attack are equal to the sugary energy drinks.

If low energy is a persistent day-to-day problem, visit your pharmacist or the Health Center on campus to find a solution. You may have anemia, or be lacking necessary supplements in your diet. The doctor may recommend a one-a-day vitamin or individual Vitamin B supplements. These B vitamins, primarily B12, are usually in the aforementioned cans of energy drinks for the boost.

These should also be used in moderation, even though they have a much lower risk of overdose or risk heart attack than sugary drinks.

Be careful in your search for an energy boost, use all supplements in moderation and think ahead before making irrational decisions that could be fatal.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er. 

November 19, 2012

Southern California has many options for celebrating Halloween

By Krista Brooks

Published Wednesday, October 24, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/southern-california-has-many-options-for-celebrating-halloween-1.2783512#.UKnIZIenKa8

For the young generation in Southern California, Halloween isn’t just a one night celebration; it is spread out for a couple of weeks. From decorating the home to choosing the perfect costume, the occasion is fun for many.

There are a wide range of fall festivities to participate in, harvest festivals, haunted mazes, special showings of horror movies in theatres and trick-or-treating spotlight the wide range of characters and costumes. Last year, the psychology department set up a haunted asylum attraction on campus. This year they will follow up with a zombie-filled department.

Off-campus, theme parks like Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios Hollywood transform into scary attractions filled with horror. This is meant for a particular audience that is into Halloween for the fright.

For another audience, dancing is the plan for this season. Halloween is one of the holidays where the rave scene goes all out. Spring break events don’t necessarily celebrate Easter, and summer raves aren’t particularly thrown for a holiday event.  Many Electronic Dance Music (EDM) lovers follow these raves around California as if they were following a band’s tour. Whether it be in March or August, these committed music lovers dress up in something different than their everyday clothing.

Sounds a lot like our annual Halloween traditions, huh? EDM enthusiasts go all out for festivals throughout the year but go the extra mile to stand out for this particular holiday. Going to a rave that is not Halloween-themed may not look any different than college parties. This season is for those dedicated attendees to show off their best rave outfits.

Southern California is a hot spot for these music festivals where people come from around the state to attend. Escape from Wonderland is held in San Bernadino at the NOS Events Center. To decipher the event from other festivals, there will be mazes, horror art installations and three haunted houses. This event attracts EDM lovers as well as horror lovers.

In Los Angeles, there is HARD Haunted Mansion’s Day of the Dead. This festival is focused more on the Dia de losMuertos side of Halloween and not about glitzy and flashy glamour. This event is held Nov. 3, the Saturday after Halloween.

Monster Massive was once a very popular Halloween rave until 2010 when 40 people were arrested and 16 were hospitalized. The following year, the event was cancelled last minute, but thankfully most were reimbursed for tickets. This year, the event is the same day as Escape from Wonderland, at Downtown Los Angeles Center Studios.

Whether it be trick-or-treating or raving, be safe this Halloween. EDM enthusiasts, you’ve had plenty of practice dressing up don’t fall short on the day it counts.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

November 19, 2012

Prop 38 vs Prop 30 two enter, only one or none can survive

By Krista Brooks

Published Monday, October 22, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/prop-30-versus-prop-38-two-enter-only-one-or-none-can-survive-1.2782203#.UKnIYIenKa8

Election time is approaching fast. Now is the time to research, to focus our interests and make a decision on which propositions and candidates to choose.

We’ve all heard of Proposition 30, hopefully. This initiative will directly affect our campus and student population.

Gov. Jerry Brown has supported his state’s education system this year by approving the merger of two initiatives: the “Millionaire’s Tax” and “Brown’s First Tax Increase Proposal.” Prop. 30 will impact universities, community colleges and K-12 schools in California.

It will raise sales tax from 7.25 percent to 7.50 percent for seven years. The personal income tax increase will affect taxpayers earning an excess of $250,000. These tax increases will be distributed, 89 percent to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges. This is a way to help balance the ongoing budget crisis by having the wealthy bracket in our state give back to its youth for prosperity.

If this fails to pass, the Cal State University system will face a cut of $250 million. For CSULB, our tuition will rise by at least 5 percent. In the case that Prop. 30 passes, students will be reimbursed for this semester’s tuition hike.

Yes, it’s true! We will be paid!

The money credited to a student’s bill or bank account will be about $498.

Our university prepared for potential cuts like this one last year and raised the tuition prior to the election year to make the potential increase less severe to students.

Prop. 30 runs into a catch-22 situation because it intersects with a related initiative, Prop. 38. “Our Children, Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Investment Act” will increase taxes for 12 years, if not reauthorized. These tax increases will affect all taxpayers earning more than $7,316. This means more people will have to pay, and for a longer time period than Prop. 30.

During the first four years, these collected taxes will be distributed, 60 percent to K-12 schools, 10 percent to early child development programs and 30 percent to repay our state’s debt.

Prop. 38 is very similar to Prop. 30 with the same hopes to give back to the state’s educational system and youth. So why is it a catch-22?
Only one of these propositions can pass this year. If both pass, the proposition with the greater number of votes will be instated and the other will be thrown out.

This competition between the two propositions should be a boost of motivation to make sure voters’ voices are heard.

Even though the two are competing, they are both similar in the fact that they will help our state’s budget and education system.

However, the tax increase will affect more wallets with Prop. 38, and its failure will not lower the funding already promised to these educational facilities, as Prop. 30 would for universities in California.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

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