Turn off your Damn Phone

This December, my grandfather passed away, and my whole family gathered for his funeral. Having served in the National Guard, he was buried in a  military cemetery. At the beginning of the ceremony, an honor guard reminded us all – the immediate family – to please silence our cellphones, and avoid using all electronics during the burial. Seriously.

You would think that paying respects to a departed loved one certainly takes precedence over checking Facebook, unless you’re one of the awful people that takes funeral selfies, but the fact that they felt compelled to remind us really makes you wonder, doesn’t it: how many people must have texted and tweeted through the eulogy before it became necessary to remind people to be respectful?

And it’s not just funerals – it would be a little weird if it was – it’s everywhere. If you look around in any restaurant you can see families and friends at the same table, ignoring one another and typing away on smartphones. Not to sound antiquated, but I prefer actual social interaction to meaningless “hey, sup”s and “lol”s. I’m not saying we need to return to the dark ages, but it wouldn’t kill you to put the damn thing down once in a while – especially if you’re quite literally tweeting over someone’s grave – the internet will still be there when you get back, I promise.

End rant.

Okay, now end rant for real.

By Cole Ellenbogen

New Korean Celebrity on the Rise

While many people believe that the actions of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un are his way of showing that he is not to be trifled with, the recent controversy pertaining to the movie The Interview has lead to a very different theory.

If you are out of the loop because of the holidays here are a few things you should know:

  • North Korea threatened all out nuclear war if the movie the interview was shown in theaters
  • On Monday, November 24th Sony Pictures Entertainment’s headquarters in Culver City is hacked.

    Sony Guardians of Peace

    The image displayed on the Sony employee computers after the hack. Photo Creds Sony Entertainment LLC

  • 3 days after the attack 5 Sony films (Fury, Annie, Mr. Turner, and To Write Love on her Arms) were leaked onto the internet, and downloaded millions of times- effectively beginning to cripple the entertainment business.
  • November 28th the first speculation of North Korean hackers emerges.
  • December 1st  pre-bonus salaries of the top 17 Sony executives are leaked to the press, the files also contained the salaries of more than 6,000 current and former Sony employees. Following the leaks Sony hires FBI SealMandiant, a cyber-security firm.
  • December 2nd- 4th more and more of Sony’s secret information is leaked and hacked
  • December 5th information pointing to North Korean Hackers and more threats on the company and its employees emerge.
  • James Franko jokes about the hacks, and North Korea while at the same time promoting his new film The Interview on Saturday Night Live.
  • December 7th-10th North Korea denies any connection to the hacks, the hackers demand that Sony not show their film The Interview, and continual leaks of the President Obama, and several celebrities personal lives.
  • December 11th The Interview premiers regardless of the hackers threats
  •  December 13th the hackers give Americans an “early Christmas present” by once again releasing several new Sony made films
  • December 17th Sony decides to stop the planned Christmas day release of The Interview after bomb threats to theaters that show the film emerged
  • December 19th The hackers send their approval to Sony for pulling the film
  • December 23rd Sony recants previous statements regarding pulling the film and decides to once again release it Christmas day
  • December 24th The Interview is made available for rent via YouTube Movies for $5.99

If you got bored reading the time line half way through here is the short end of it…

Hackers (probably North Korean) infiltrated Sony and released a ton of movies, got really angry about The Interview and made lots of threats to the theaters that would potentially show it, causing Sony to provide the movie much cheaper that usual via VOD, not to mention the hacks caused wide spread sensation over the movie- aka free advertising .

In other words good ol’ Kim Jong-un made the movie much more accessible to Americans, and sensationalized it- which made even more people want to watch it.

So consider this… maybe Kim Jong-un wanted us to watch it after all. Maybe he is hungry for celebrity and fame. Maybe just maybe his plan was to get us all to watch it.

After all the Arabs never once complied when we made the movie The Dictator. 

 

PhotoCreds: IMDb

PhotoCreds: IMDb

Not to mention North Korea didn’t have any qualms about the 2004 film Team America: World Police that portrayed Kim Jong- il,  Kim Jong-un’s father.

So you decide. Kim Jong-un – celebrity wanna be, or threat to American security.

While you decide please enjoy this fantastic theme song.

WARNING CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE.

By Kyra Azzato

What Needs to be Done in 2015?

Last year was eventful on the political stage to say the least, but moving into 2015, what issue takes precedent?

…and what issues do you think we need to let go of as a nation? 2014 also saw its fair share of scandals. What should be left in the past, and what still needs work?

Moving away from politicians, what role do you think media played in the issues of 2014?

Thank you for letting us know what you think! Check back in a few days for the results!

By Cole Ellenbogen

Legitimizing Violence

Arguably one of the most dishonest and annoying tactics employed by protestors, and media is trying to sell to completely dichotomous issues as a package deal. (I.E: if you agreed with the Ferguson Grand Jury, you think black lives don’t matter; if you support Israel, then you must hate palestinians… that sort of thing.)

The most recent of these “package deals” being pushed comes in the wake of the Eric Garner protests against the NYPD: If you’re angry about Eric Garner’s death, you must hate all police officers. The problem with this anti-cop rhetoric is that it’s being spread by influential figures like New York City Mayor de Blasio, cable news and political pundits.

Here’s the problem:  you can disagree with the way the police handle something without wanting to kill officers who are already risking their lives, but fanning the flames and trying to drum up resentment for the police allows groups of sick people to use the cause as a legitimate front for their hatred.

When we don’t rebuke hoards of people marching at “F*ck the Police” rallies, chanting, “What do we want? Dead Cops!” Eventually someone is going to make good on their threats. The recent murder of two NYPD officers had nothing to do with race and everything to do with a belligerent, hate-filled individual with a long criminal record killing two random officers because he thought public opinion was behind him.

The status posted by Ismaaiyl Brinsley before murdering two NYPD officers.

The status posted by Ismaaiyl Brinsley before murdering two NYPD officers.

To make matters worse,  he was right – in the wake of the shooting, many took to social media to celebrate the killings. Two wives lost their husband, a teenager lost his father. You don’t rejoice over someone’s murder because of their career choice, whether you agree with them or not.

The same thing happened this summer when a significant number of people sided with the known terrorist organization “Hamas,” while Gaza lobbed missiles at Israel and hid behind human shields. Enough people condemned Israel that actual anti-semites felt comfortable taking to the streets, assaulting Jews and looting their businesses.

Protestors need to stop spouting hateful slogans and encouraging violence – we do not want to go down this road. Having every police officer constantly fearful of being slaughtered by a wanna-be martyr nut job is probably not going to help race relations. I know that kind of stress would certainly put me on edge if I were working an already dangerous job.

To Review:

1. You thought some police officers were too tough before? Wait till you see how things go now that someone shot two of them, just because they don’t like cops. This probably isn’t going to do wonders for race relations either.

2. Saying that it is karma when someone kills one police officer because of something another police officer did, just because they’re both police officers follows the same logic as firing one accountant because another accountant majorly botched an expense report.

3. Everyone acts so tough until they need the police. Perfect example: the organizer of a “F*ck the police protest,” had her car stolen while she was off chanting for dead cops. Immediately after, she went to the police station, begging for help getting her car back. I’m sure the irony was lost on her.

4. Fanning the flames with hateful rhetoric legitimizes violence. It already happened in Europe during the Israel-Gaza conflict with rampant outbursts of anti-semitism. It happened again in New York city when the internet celebrated the deaths of two murdered police officers. Don’t escalate things any further.

5. And finally, because the heaps of ungrateful, damnable pro-cop-killers aren’t going to say it: bless the law enforcement, and all first responders, for protecting us every day – thank you for your hard work.

By Cole Ellenbogen.

Anti White Supremacy 101

I pay for my education, so I take it very seriously. I try really hard to learn as much as I can in every class. This semester I took a women and gender studies 101 to fill a requirement. Lets just say I got much more than my moneys worth.

3 Things I Learned in My Women and Genders Studies 101 Class:

1. People of color are not afraid of home intruders.

I thought the last day of class was just going to be a quick wrap up but no, my diligent professor made sure to throw in one last lesson. How dedicated is that?

She began telling us about Oscar Pistorius the South African Paralympic champion, who became the first double legg amputee to participate in the Olympics. In 2013 Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend through their bathroom door, because he throughout she was an intruder.

Oscar Pistorius- Please note the pigmentation of his skin. (My professor made sure we realized this was the most important fact about him.) Photocreds- Wikipedia

With all of her expertise, my professor went on to explain what caused Pistorius to shoot his girlfriend. She first made sure that everyone in the class was aware Pistorius is a wealthy WHITE male, who lives in an affluent neighborhood. She then when on to say “white fear” caused him to shoot his girlfriend.

Try to stay with me, I know this is a difficult concept. I was confused by this at first too, but don’t worry my amazing professor explained it!

Pistorius claimed he thought the person behind the bathroom door was an intruder. My professor posed the question “what do you think he thought the person behind the door looked like?” After a long pause someone in the class called out “Black!” My professor quickly said “you don’t have to answer it out loud, just consider it….”

Of course my professor wasn’t insinuating that oscar only shot the intruder because he thought it was a person of color was she? and if she was… does that mean if Pistorius was a person of color he wouldn’t have been afraid of an intruder?

My take away from that lesson- only white people are afraid of intruders- because all intruders have to be a person of color, and no people of color are afraid of people breaking into their homes. MAKES PERFECT SENSE RIGHT?!

2. A child called IT

We learned about “political correctness” and sensitivity. We talked about pronouns and how to correctly address people. My professor told us that it is better to ask what pronouns a person would be called. Personally I identify as a straight female and like the pronouns “she and her” to be used for me.

Of course there are going to be situations where it is either inappropriate or too difficult to ask someone what pronouns they like to be called, but no need for worry! My all knowing professor told us the best way to deal with this is to refer to someone as “it”.

She pointed out a perfect example of this. She told my class that in his testimony that Officer Daren Wilson said “it looked like a demon”, and then she went on to say HOW UNACCEPTABLE AND HORRIBLE it was that Officer Wilson called Michael Brown an “it”.

He should have asked what pronoun he wanted to be called…

Oh wait… I decided to look up the piece of testimony so that I could fully understand how awful Officer Wilson is…

Officer Wilson's testimony.

Officer Wilson’s testimony.

Oh! By “it” he was referring to the intense aggressive face.. not Michael Brown. So the lesson isn’t ask people what pronouns they want to be called, the lesson is take things out of context and porput them as truths and mislead people to make your point! Duhhh?!

3. The Single Story

My professor told us that if we didn’t learn anything else, she wanted us to make sure that we understood the concept of “the single story.” She explained this as the idea that history and the media, well society in general portrays everything through the perspective of the white male.

She told us that it is important to destroy the idea of the single story, and instead entertain multiple perspectives from all different kinds of people.

She then went on to teach the entire course saying things like “ALL police officers are white supremacists” and she even had members of the campus protest group THE general body come in and talk to us… but she never had anyone from the administration come in to talk to us.

Hmm seems like if you want to entertain multiple perspectives you should have both sides of the issue talk to your class…

Oh no. I’m sorry! I misinterpreted what she meant by multiple perspectives. By “Multiple” she actually meant perspectives that line up with hers! Silly me, why would I ever think that dissonance could actually be used to teach a college course!

By Kyra Azzato

White Christmas = White Power?

This post is going to be difficult for me to get through without swearing, so bear with me – I could’ve just as easily called this: SNOW IS RACIST, ALLEGES SOCIAL MEDIA.

I like country music. Everything from the feel of it, to the lyrics, it just always puts me in a good mood and makes me think of the summer time.

I also like Darius Rucker. I don’t know anything about his political stance on anything, and frankly I don’t care; he’s a musician and I like to compartmentalize. He sings a particularly good remake of wagon wheel, if that gives you a better idea of who he is.

Anyway, last night Darius Rucker performed a Christmas song at the Rockefeller Tree-Lighting in New York City, and was immediately blasted on social media for being racist and insensitive. I’m sure you can already guess which villainous song he was singing: “White Christmas.” Apparently, that is insensitive because of the recent grand jury decisions in both Ferguson, and NYC. See for yourself:

WARNING: THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR THE EASILY OFFENDED; IT FEATURES AN AFRICAN AMERICAN COUNTRY MUSICIAN SINGING ABOUT HOW HE HOPES IT SNOWS THIS CHRISTMAS.

I understand that some people are upset with the Eric Garner case, but to consider just the color white to be racist is insane.

Does this mean that we shouldn’t whitewash buildings, use whiteout to correct writing mistakes, or talk about Walter White’s tragic life on Breaking Bad, until the protests have all ended? By that logic, power outages, thin, hard-to-see ice and my favorite kind of olives are ALL racist as well! (See also blackout, black ice and black olives.)

Darius Rucker should not be taking flack for singing one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time simply because it contains the word “white” and there happens to be a protest about the death of an African American occurring nearby.

I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that there are people out there who legitimately believe “White Christmas” is a racially charged and hateful song, or the fact that those people incorrectly used the word “ironic” to describe the situation. I know it doesn’t really relate to the story, but irony is not coincidence. Just figured I’d throw that in there.

Either way it looks like I have to stay inside for the rest of the winter so I don’t see any of that racist snow.

Give me a break.

By Cole Ellenbogen

Obama Makes Soap Opera Producer Ambassador

This one’s interesting. We all know that political favoritism happens, and campaign donors get appointed to positions of power, but this is absolutely ridiculous. The senate approved Colleen Brady Bell as the next ambassador to Hungary, which is on the verge of a government collapse, a neo-facist dictatorial takeover and a partnership with Putin.

Her only qualifications are bundling $800,000  for Obama’s 2012 election campaign, and of course, producing “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

The appointee is absolutely clueless, and failed to identify any of the strategic benefits of a friendship with Hungary. This appointment is dangerous, poorly timed, and blatant favoritism.

But the best part, as always, is watching Josh Ernst trying to explain everything away. Check it out:

By Cole Ellenbogen

The Blatant Unapologetic Dishonesty Surrounding Ferguson

I wasn’t planning on writing anything else about Ferguson – I already said my piece about the rioting – but on Monday I was reviewing for final exams when class was interrupted by protestors walking around the building, yelling about the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson.

And then I thought about the blatant lies that are being used to perpetuate a certain narrative about what happened. These are the things that infuriate me about Ferguson:

“Hands up, Don’t Shoot!”

This is a slogan that protestors across the country have taken up, referring to the witness allegation that Mike Brown was shot while his hands were raised above his head in a sign of surrender. The official autopsy tears down this claim, as well as another lie being passed around by protestors that Brown was shot in the back as he fled.

To add to that point, the witnesses who told police that Brown was shot in the back, and that Darren Wilson stood over him and shot him again to finish him off were clearly trying to vilify Wilson, and cover for their friend. They should be arrested for obstruction of justice.

Rough sketch from the autopsy performed on Mike Brown

Rough sketch from the autopsy performed on Mike Brown

Yet protestors still use the slogan, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” in complete contradiction to the evidence. The St. Louis Rams players opened their most recent game against the Oakland Raiders with a “Hands up, don’t shoot,” protest, aggravating police who are working overtime to protect the stadium.

The fact that people are keeping up this huge lie on the national stage, simply because it gets attention and fits narrative they are trying to sell is disgraceful.

“Officer Darren Wilson Shot an Unarmed Teen”

You probably recognize this statement from the write in to almost every story covering Ferguson since August. It’s irresponsible to lead with that statement for two reasons. Firstly, teen is a deliberately misleading word choice: most people use “teen” to mean grade school age. Most people use “young adult” to mean high school age. At 18 years old, Brown was a legal adult. Painting him as a child to win sympathy is wrong.

Secondly, an unarmed person does not remain unarmed if they are trying to take someone else’s gun.

Publishing Officer Darren Wilson’s Address

Wanted poster offering $5,000 for Officer Darren Wilson's location, and $1,000 for each of his family members, posted by "protestors." Photo Credit: youngcons.com

Wanted poster offering $5,000 for Officer Darren Wilson’s location, and $1,000 for each of his family members, posted by “protestors.”
Photo Credit: youngcons.com

A gang in Ferguson put out a $5,000 bounty for Wilson’s address, and an additional $1,000 for each close family member. So it seems to me that publishing this information, when people are out for blood, is a grossly irresponsible thing to do. Yet the New York Times thought it would be appropriate. In doing so they put Darren Wilson and his family in danger.

The “Black Lives Matter,” Chant

Of course they do. All lives matter. I don’t hear anyone arguing they don’t.

My biggest issue with protestors who use this tactic is they are trying to change the parameters of the issue. It’s no longer about whether Officer Wilson acted in self defense – it devolves into, “If you disagree with us, you must think that black lives don’t matter.”

Here’s the thing: disagreeing with the Ferguson protestors does not mean I value the lives of one race more than another; it means I value forensic and physical evidence over conflicting and disproven witness testimony.

Do None of Them Have Jobs?

Someone will have to tell me what generous employer has given all those protestors and rioters four months off work. Protests are fine, but not when they interfere with the livelihood of other Americans. I believe this man sums it up best.

Tyree Landum was worried that he would loose his job when protestors blocking the highway, keeping him from getting to work. He has a right to be that mad.

Media Downplaying or Justifying the Rioting

While 10 businesses and a church burned to the ground in Ferguson, and more were looted, Time published a piece talking all about how rioting is actually pretty great. (Try telling that to the business owners who can’t feed their families because they lost everything.) They’re probably right, I’m sure those protestors really do mean well.

Totally unrelated note, here’s a video of Mike Brown’s stepfather yelling at the crowd to “Burn this B**** down:”

But again, probably totally good intentions.

Pro-tip, if you really want to convince the media that you’re looting because of how upset you are, you probably shouldn’t be smiling as you run out of the store with your stolen merchandise. Just a thought.

I’m Preparing For Finals

Sorry to be a little selfish here, but studying for finals is stressful; I don’t like exam week. I also don’t like being called a racist. That being said, I really don’t like being called a racist while I’m trying to study for exam week, by protestors who are marching around campus buildings in circles.

Please let the rest of us do our work in peace, and if you are going to protest, don’t lie. Thanks.

-By Cole Ellenbogen

Police Chief: The Greatest Racial Disparity in the city of Milwaukee is getting Shot and Killed

Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn was verbally attacked by protestors, angry with police for shooting a suspect that authorities say assaulted an officer.

Flynn fired back, saying that police doing their jobs are not the problem. Take a look:

Flynn also had harsh words for some of the protestors: “They know all about the last three people who have been killed by the Milwaukee Police Department in the course of the last several years. There’s not one of them that can name one of the last three homicide victims we’ve had in this city.”

By Cole Ellenbogen

What You Really Learn at College: 5 Surprising Things You Could Put on Your Resume

The Beatles - AllYou Need Is Love

Can you eat love? No. What about use it to heat your house? Well not exactly. Photocred: Wikipedia

The Beatles told us “All you need is love.” But unfortunately love won’t put a roof over your head, and although I’m sure your local grocer is a wonderful man, I don’t think he wants to trade milk and bread for hugs and kisses.
Luckily unemployment rates seem to be rebounding, and have hit a six- year all time low.  So what does this really mean what we think it does?

 

84f4792a2ca0be6d4c5d949374254a29

This is a picture of the U.S. unemployment rate, not a rollercoster. Photocred: The Motley Fool

No one likes the bearer of bad news… but unfortunately these low unemployment rates are not as transparent as they seem. (If you’re a little tired and bored skip down to English Translation, I don’t want you falling asleep).  The rate at which unemployment is decreasing is much slower than it used to be. According to the Labor Department the U-6 rate is much lower than usual.  Meaning the gap between the hiring rate, and unemployment is much larger than before the financial crisis.

English Translation – The big boss man is not hiring as fast as before.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 10.02.57 AM

Can’t fool this employer…AGAIN! Photocred: smoch.com

Not to worry- Here at The Modern Common Sense we have come to realize college life is truely providing students with skills that can help to bolster their resumes so they are more likely to be hired. We highly suggest immediately adding these skills to your resume if you haven’t already.

1. Works Well Under Pressure

Uh oh! Its 11:00 Sunday night, you know what that means! Time to start your 8 page paper that is due 8:00 a.m. Monday morning. Sleep? Thats for the weak, what do you think I bought 4 red bulls, and 2 coffees for!

Studying-late-with-Red-bull-ammunition

This college student is a prime example of success. Photocred: funny.st

2.  Good With Change

The night seems to be going perfectly when all the sudden… blue flashing lights, and sirens cut through the party music. Looks like its time to go somewhere else! Flexibility is a must in the workplace. Future employers will appreciate your ability to quickly change based on the situation at hand.

the daily mail. co

The police officers just wanted to join the party. Photocred: thedailymail.co

3.  Innovative

Lazy? No, innovative! That is exactly what your future boss will think when he sees how creative you are. College students are continuously coming up with newer better ways to increase productivity while minimizing work.

davinportlibrary.com

Innovation at its finest. Photocred:davinportlibrary.com

4. Dedicated

Do you know how difficult is is to watch every episode of House of Cards on Netflix in one sitting? That takes serious commitment. Not everyone has the ability to sit alone in a dark room for over 24 hours doing nothing but looking at a screen.  In the 50’s this may have even been considered a form of “cruel or unusual punishment”.

House_of_Cards_Season_1_Poster

House of Cards will be back this February for those of you dedicated students. Photocreds: Netfix

5. Excellent People Skills

We all know it can be extremely difficult to get along with others, especially in the work place. Which is why it is important to know when to turn on the charm and really create positive relationship with your coworkers. Employers tend to value workers that are able to get the job done and keep everyone happy.

much pics.com

we all know the truth. Photocreds: muchpics.com

clothing crasher.com

Although college students like to pretend they are anti social….Photocreds: clothingcrasher.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With these 5 skills there is no need to worry about the volatile job market. These skills will open up a wealth of opportunities and help employees to earn promotions.  And if not, well theres always welfare.  The hard working Americans who slave away probably won’t mind the government taking away their hard earned money to pay for your cell phone and cigarettes anyways!

Photocreds: Rottenecards.com

By Kyra Azzato