The Independent

Biden’s Smirk Said It All

October 17, 2012

By Patrick McIntyre – Staff Writer Joe Biden and Paul Ryan came out swinging in the solo vice-presidential debate Oct. 11.  Both Democratic Vice-President Biden and Republican challenger Ryan extended fiery attacks on the other, but Biden displayed his confidence and utilized his knack for interruption.  Consistently catching Ryan off guard, his smile was the residing snide commentary questioning the legitimacy of Ryan’s plans. Contrary to the presidential debate a couple weeks earlier, Biden and Ryan inched a bit closer to taking a strong stand on specific issues throughout the discussion.  “I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground,” Ryan said, perfectly capturing the importance the debate meant for the Obama administration.  As Biden held a heavy load on his back, mostly as a result from the backlash caused by President Obama’s lackluster performance in his debate with Romney, he poised himself as the Biden most fans understand him to be—aggressive and unashamed to call out deceit. Luckily, Martha Raddatz of NBC News moderated in the form of a watchdog, as opposed to Jim Leher’s pushover moderation at the presidential debate.  Raddatz forced the candidates to stay on topic and consistently provide straight-forward answers.  The topics stretched far and wide, this being the only debate between the candidates.  Despite the limited time, both men dug impressively deep defending their positions.  Libya was the first topic of the night, when moderator Raddatz sought to discover the truth of what happened in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in the country last month.  Biden claimed U.S. intelligence caused the administration to alter their position, causing skeptics to suspect a mishandling of the entire situation. As the conversation delved into the sluggish growth of the economy, Biden defended the slow but consistent recovery during the last 43 months, resulting in last month’s dip in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, the lowest in over four years.  Ryan stayed on the offensive, claiming the recovery was not progressing fast enough, and offered his plans to extend the Bush tax cuts for people making over a million dollars.  “Their holding hostage the middle-class tax cut to the super-wealthy,” Biden said of Ryan’s intentions.  Interruptions aside, Biden displayed his belief in investing in the middle-class.  His fight for maintaining tax rates on the middle-class and desire to raise them on the upper class (but still far from pre-Bush era levels), was representative of Biden’s classic defense of hard working Americans. Medicare, a major topic of dispute in the election, was a winner for Biden.  Romney and Ryan’s plans for Medicare would initiate a “premium support plan,” a vaguely defined term essentially allowing seniors to purchase private insurance in the free market.  The Obama administration comfortably sits on the side of country—weary to drastically alter programs that have been successful and support so many people in need. Smirking glances and flailing arms dominated Biden’s side of the screen as Ryan spoke.  More than simply an attempt to display an antagonistic demeanor, it represented the anger and frustration Biden, and most Democrats, have for the top-down model consistently presented by conservatives for improving the economy....

Asian and Global Resource Center

October 17, 2012

By Jacklyn Nowotnik Photos and story by Jacklyn Nowotnik Photos and story by Jacklyn Nowotnik Students involved in the Asian & Global Resource Center at Northeastern Illinois University promoted Asian culture by doing henna hand art to willing students. Henna ink comes from the powdered leaves of the henna plant, which can be found in parts of Africa and southern Asia.  It is commercially cultivated to be used as a fabric and hair dye, and also for body art. The use of henna as a hair dye goes as far back as ancient Egypt. Mummies were found with henna hair dye in their hair. Archeologists speculate that henna acts as a natural preservative on mummies. Henna is also used as a leather dye and preservation, and has anti-fungal properties. Henna is used as a body decoration for special events such as births and weddings in many regions of the world, including the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. The style and motif of the henna hand art depends on the regional preferences, and can include geometric designs, organic or natural shapes, and complex patterns of dots. Look for more events from the Asian & Global Resource Center in the Student Union coming soon!...

Standardized Testing: Help or Hindrance

October 17, 2012

By Karina Rivera – Staff Writer The process of acquisition and application of knowledge is currently being tested in the youth of America through the American College Test (ACT) and the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). It is often put into question whether these tests are accurate evaluations...

Parents Panic Over Possible Diaper Shortage

October 17, 2012

By Yesenia Taveras – Staff Writer An explosion at the Nippon Shokubai Co. factory in Himeji Japan left one firefighter dead and 36 others suffering from mild to severe injuries. The explosion and fire damaged the acrylic acid tanks of the Himeji Plant on September 29, 2012. The injured include firefighters,...

From Russia with Trillions of Diamonds

October 17, 2012

By Chris Tormos – Staff Writer The Russian government recently declassified the 30-year-old discovery of a 35-million-year-old, 60-mile-wide diamond field; remnants of an asteroid crater in eastern Siberia known as the Popigai Astroblem. Upon its discovery in the 1970s, the USSR was already producing...

Extraordinary Claims, Extraordinary Evidence

October 17, 2012

By Michael Dobbins – Contributing Writer When deliberating the mysteries of the world, atheists often quote the late Carl Sagan’s declaration that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Whether it’s God, reincarnation or other supernatural beliefs, atheists demand such...

Campaigning on Consoles

October 17, 2012

By Luis Badillo – Staff Writer Owners of an Xbox 360 now have a chance to be inundated with campaign ads. The presidential race has broken through the “fourth wall” and is reaching out to younger voters through more unconventional means. Running since late August, The Xbox LIVE 2012 Election...

“Meet John Doe” – A Feel Good Classic

October 17, 2012

By Nell Greaney – Staff Writer and Desiree Dylong – Copy Editor The man with the suit stands by the microphone as he reads the script with shaky hands. His nerves are evident in his voice, but the longer he stands on the stage, the stronger his voice becomes. His name is “John Doe” and he represents the common man; the individual who works hard and comes back from adversity. The man  says that we are all John Doe’s; we are all fighting against adversity and striving for success, which means that we must always help our neighbors. This scene comes from Frank Capra’s 1941 film “Meet John Doe” and although the film may be considered a vintage movie, it has more than just old Hollywood nostalgia to offer. In the beginning of the film, reporter Ann Mitchell (Barbara Stanwyck) is fired from her job since her columns are lackluster. In efforts to get her job back, Ann furiously writes a letter at by a fake man named John Doe who is so sickened by society’s ills and declares he will commit suicide. Readers of the paper insist on finding John Doe in attempt to convince him not to take his own life. When Ann’s editor calls her back in, she confesses that the letter was a fake. She then tells him that they can find a man to play John Doe. In walks John Willoughby( Gary Cooper) , a former baseball player, and they know they have their man. What started out as an attempt to win back her job turns into a revolution as the country becomes inspired by what John Doe represents; the strength of the common man. This movie speaks volumes about human connection which still makes it relevant today. After hearing John Doe’s speech on the radio, citizens begin to break down their judgments towards their neighbors and begin to connect. Themes such as teamwork and brotherhood are sometimes presented with a heavy hand, but with Capra’s direction, touches of comedy and likeable characters, this film is able to convey its message without being too preachy. Barabara Stanwyck is strong in this film as the determined Ann Mitchell. Considering the time period the film was made, Ann is a trail blazer since she orchestrates the whole plot of John Doe and created his speech that ignites the country. Any film with The Academy award winning Stanwyck, takes one back to the old glamour of the Hollywood actress; classy, statuesque and cunningly seductive. Another standout performance is Gary Cooper as John Doe/John Willoughby. Cooper flawlessly pulls off the humble and hesitant normal man. Cooper, with his shrugs, shaky hand gestures and bashful disposition conveys a man who has is never really sure of himself, but he pulls this off without over doing it. Cooper’s character may have moments where he is unsure of himself, but he makes up for it with his strong convictions as the film progresses. Movie fans who enjoy Frank Capra’s feel good films with political and social aspects such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, will enjoy “Meet John Doe”.  Because of its relatable story and strong acting, “Meet John Doe” is a memorable classic....

The Ryder Cup – Golf and Nationalism

October 17, 2012

By Matt Hansen – Contributing Writer Photo by Matt Hansen Photo by Matt Hansen On what was supposed to be a coronation of golf talent and patriotism on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, Team USA crumbled under the pressure and lost the Ryder Cup to Europe, 14 ½ – 13 ½. It was supposed to be easy, they said, since Team USA carried a 10-6 lead into Sunday over a European team that looked defeated and punch-drunk. Even the European fans appeared to have accepted the inevitable, walking around modestly that morning as if the roars and chants of Friday and Saturday had bled them of all hope. International sports events have an uneasiness to them that is difficult to describe, and the European fans were facing the reality of having spent a lot of time, money, and energy, only to get run back to Europe by the boisterous American fans. Every two years, the best golfers from the United States face off against the best golfers from Europe in a team competition. The Ryder Cup isn't the ordinary professional golf event that you may equate with the mundane traditions of a sport where everyone is polite and wears collared shirts. The crowds are loud, the emotions are intense, and the true nature of the competitors gets more exposure than it does during the average weekend on the PGA Tour. Golf is not a team sport at the professional level. Players are not accountable to one another, and when a golfer experiences failure he is generally the only person affected by it. The Ryder Cup is different, though. A pro golfer will say that it is absolutely the hardest thing to do in their sport, the pressure to perform when others are relying on you can be foreign to a golfer. The 39th Ryder Cup, held at Medinah Country Club, just outside of Chicago, was as loud and nationalistic as one would expect in such a culturally diverse corner of the country. Fans of both sides had been looking forward to the opportunity to remove the shackles and root for their team, but more importantly, and much more rare in golf, to root against the others. For the first two days of competition, Team USA was red hot. Tiger Woods and his greatness were missing in action, but other golfers like Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson worked the crowd into a frenzy with a combination of skillful shots and patriotic crowd gestures that one is used to seeing from professional wrestling. As Friday and Saturday turned into Sunday, the crowds were getting larger and the cheers were getting louder. The Europeans were sulking and coming to terms with a long flight home. The roars throughout the course could be heard as the United States started to take the last few steps towards two years worth of bragging rights. The event was oversold and at absolute capacity, even for a spread out venue like a golf course. Trying to navigate around Medinah Country Club for a decent view of the action turned into the business casual version of Lollapalooza. But something went wrong. The roars slowly morphed into groans, and the once quiet Europeans were getting louder. As Sunday afternoon inched forward, the Europeans climbed back into contention. A European player would make a great shot, or an American player would screw something up, and the roars or groans coming from the distance were the only tell what was happening. To an American fan that could only watch one match at a time, everything seemed to fall apart very slowly, and then all at once. The Americans lost, and the walk of shame to the parking lot was littered with the chants of Brits and Spaniards and drunken Irishmen who would now have a much more comfortable flight back across the Atlantic....

Student Spotlight: Mimi and Me

October 17, 2012

By Jon-Paul Kreatsoulas - Staff Writer When one thinks of a musical duo, the instrument choice and the arrangements that follow are considered by the standard each musician sets. Their interests and perceptions shine through the music in a more dynamic manner. What will the duo sound like if one individual blows on a kazoo while the other tings joyfully on a dangling triangle? Or, in the case of Mimi and Me, a duo comprised of N.E.I.U.’s own Michelle Cross and Aaron Leiva, what would  Cross’ theatrically brooding vocals and piano work sound like when layered with Leiva’s acoustic guitar chord progressions and folky southern twanged articulations? Imagine Bob Dylan as the Phantom of the opera. After a meet and greet with both Mimi and Aaron and a sensational, yet not so minimalistic approached cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” later, an attempt to cut into the meat of what it means to be a local performing musician was made. Cross’ interest in music was identified while living in her motherland of Japan with a recognition with classical piano and the philosophy that in order for one to play music passionately, the individual must observe and absorb their instrument with the physicality of a lover. Leiva started out with the piano too at a young age, but in spite of parents’ typical reservation of their children jumping from one “fad” or “phase” to another, he suggested the guitar instead so he could “rock out” a little harder at the young and budding age of a high school freshman. Through the years and gaining the bearings that a musician seeks, Cross has traversed away from her home and traveled between the east and west coasts in order to find the right fit of people in her professional music life. She says that the “music [business] has its own high school.” This leads one to believe that in order for a passionate musician to make any kind of recognizable contribution or dent in the biz, they’re bound to start by scraping along some reptilian-like scales of the music world’s underbelly, an experience that is wise to avoid repeating a second time. Cross has recorded an E.P. (extended play) and a full length album in her time of performing and has gigged in several Chicago venues like The Beat Kitchen and Elbo Room. From a more local vantage point, Leiva has addressed his love for music by teaming up with the occasional metal band from his high school days and by reasserting his influences in the patches of dirt and grass that is folk music. Leiva has recorded and gigged on his own in nearby Chicago suburbs as well as the city itself in such joints as Silvie’ Lounge, Underground Lounge and Penny Road Pub. But it took an off chance arrangement for Mimi Cross and Aaron Leiva to form what is now known as Mimi and Me. A seed was planted early in the summer of 2012 when N.E.I.U.’s English department was showcasing an event and was looking for a musical appearance. A happy accident joined the piano keys of Cross and the acoustic guitar strings of Leiva and the rest and rising ambitions are soon to come as Leiva states with sly remark and a vague smirk, “something’s a’ brewin’....

Seven Psychopaths

October 17, 2012

By Matthew Greenberg – Sports Editor Brilliantly written and directed by Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths exemplifies the best of comedy, action, thriller, and philosophical genres. Set in Los Angeles, the film focuses on Marty, played by Colin Farrell, an alcoholic scriptwriter who is struggling with his ideas for his newest script, Seven Psychopaths. Offering him some backhanded assistance is Marty’s best friend, Billy, played by Sam Rockwell, who makes a living kidnapping dogs and collecting the reward for returning them. Billy’s partner in crime is Hans, played by Christopher Walken, an old-timer who religiously visits his cancer-stricken wife every single day in the hospital. Things go awry for this odd trio when Billy kidnaps the dog of Charlie, played by Woody Harrelson, a psychotic gang leader whose mental instability overloads from the disappearance of his precious companion. The movie begins rapidly as we follow Charlie on the hunt for his lost dog, and the subsequent fleeing of Marty, Billy, and Hans as they attempt to avoid the business end of the ruthless killer’s gun (which may or may not fire when the trigger is pulled). Thrown into the mix is the Jack of Diamonds, a serial killer who focuses most of his attention on “middle to upper level members of the Italian crime syndicate” and is named for the playing card he leaves on his victims’ corpses, and Zachariah, another serial killer who travels the country serial killing serial killers, all the while with his pet bunny. As if the audience didn’t have enough to keep track of, we are also shown clips from Marty’s movie as he searches for and develops his seven psychopaths. Jeff Meyers of the Metro Times writes, “It's about what you'd expect from the filmmaker whose first feature, In Bruges, featured a coke-addled dwarf pontificating about the impending race riots to a pair of Belgian hookers.” McDonagh brings slick dialogue and spit-take worthy comedy to the screen in a manner that seems to combine the styles of Guy Ritchie with Quentin Tarantino, and it works perfectly. Add in fantastic acting, particularly by Walken and Rockwell, plenty of philosophical musings that will keep an audience thinking long after they leave the theater, and a fair share of exploding heads, Seven Psychopaths does everything that is asked of it and more. Make sure not to leave the theater too soon—just because the credits start rolling doesn’t mean McDonagh is finished throwing the audience for a loop one last time....

Records Were Meant to be Broken

October 17, 2012

By Matthew Greenberg – Sports Editor The stage was set for history to be made. Sunday Night Football has become a staple of primetime football and the stars were in place for a showdown. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers were set for what was sure to be a fantastic shootout on the Sunday Night stage. Brees was one game away from breaking Johnny Unitas’ long-standing record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Unitas has held the record since 1960, achieving an unprecedented 47 straight games with a passing touchdown. Now, just over 50 years later, Brees has tied Unitas and was searching for the magic 48th in a row that would break the record. The evening was one that finally seemed to overshadow the controversy surrounding the Saints organization this year. With key members of their coaching staff, including Head Coach Sean Payton, suspended pending the NFL’s investigation of the bounty system, the Saints have been struggling this season, to say the least. Coming into week 5, the Saints had a dismal 0-4 record. Even though Brees has been playing like his normal superstar self, the Saints defense was ranked last in the league, and the high-powered offense had not been able to compensate for the team’s defensive shortcomings. Brees put in a special request to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to allow Payton and a few other members of the suspended staff to attend the game. Also in attendance was Joe Unitas, son of the aforementioned legendary quarterback, who said, “Records didn't matter to my dad. Winning is all that mattered. He was very black and white. No gray area with him. You're either right or you're wrong. You won or you lost. You did, or you didn't.” There was no question about whether Brees did or didn’t. He did. As the first quarter was winding down Brees threw a rocket to Devery Henderson for a 40-yard touchdown pass, successfully achieving his 48th consecutive game with a passing touchdown, and officially passing Unitas’ longstanding record. It was a picture-perfect situation. Brees led the Saints back from a 10-point deficit to defeat the Chargers 31-24, throwing for 370 yards and 4 touchdowns (including the record breaker). “My father always said that records were meant to be broken,” said Joe Unitas in a letter to Brees. After decimating Dan Marino’s record for single-season passing yards last year, Brees has solidified himself in yet another way as one of the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks....

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