Sanders and Trump: Voices for American dissension in a time of dissatisfaction

By Sammie Lane, Contributor

The commercialization of American politics has become an interesting trend to observe in contemporary American culture. Watching presidential candidates sling verbal jabs at each other has become commonplace in televised debates. During this election season, two candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, have progressed from relative political obscurity, to the political media limelight.  Both candidates come into direct opposition with the status quo involving politics in the United States.

The United States has long been considered a melting pot for cultures. This country was founded on the ideas of freedom and equality. However, growing inequality has led to tensions among separate communities. Josh Zubran, of The Wall Street Journal, noted in his article “Tracking Inequality in America” how the median income for whites and non-Hispanics was $123,000 greater than the median income for non-whites and Hispanics in 2013. The emergence of the “Black Lives Matter” movement over the last couple years, has led to protests across the United States. Uncertainty has settled in the air as the economy, military conflicts, education, and other issues weigh down the American conscience. In these times of turmoil, people who were once burdened by conformity have disregarded the consent of their peers. Adopting radical ideas to combat increasingly complex problems. As a result an influx of radical ideas have entered the political spectrum.

The ideological contrast between Democrats and Republicans reflect a nation that is becoming more divided. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both believe they are capable of improving the United States, but their versions of the ideal America are vastly different. These candidates are unorthodox in their approach to politics, yet they still represent sectors of society that want to bring about drastic change in America. The fact that their campaigns have garnered considerable support shows that there are people in America who believe in their bold ideas.

According to a poll conducted by Tim Malloy of Quinnipiac University, Donald Trump possesses 24% of Republican votes for presidential nomination. Trump has a lead of 1% over second place vote getter Dr. Ben Carson, for Republican presidential nomination, as of November 4th 2015. Malloy’s poll displayed that 63% of Republicans had a favorable opinion of Trump. His supporters are primarily male, as 44% of males had a favorable opinion of Trump, while only 31% of female voters had a favorable opinion of Trump. Also, Trump supporters tended to be middle aged or older. Only 22% of voters between the ages of 18-34 had a favorable opinion of Trump. That percentage rose to 38% – 43% among voters who were 50+. Trump supporters are distinct between race as well as age. Only 11% of black voters had a favorable opinion of Trump compared to 41% of white voters.

In terms of his political outlook, Bernie Sanders can be described as a Democratic Socialist. He has pushed for sweeping financial reform in the United States. Senator Sanders advocates breaking up large financial institutions that consolidate wealth. Sanders campaign has also amassed a youth following. According to the  “McClatchy-Marist Poll” Sanders possesses 58% of votes from democrats and democrat leaning independents between the ages of 18-29. That figure dips to 45% for the 30-44 age range. Support for Sanders drops rapidly as the demographic age increases, since Sanders garnered approximately 21% – 26% of votes from democrats 45+.

Donald Trump has alienated millions of voters because of his controversial statements, something that would have ruined a presidential campaign in times past. Ironically his controversial statements seem to be fueling his campaign as conservative voters admire his firm demeanor, emphasis on the white middle class, and refusal to censor himself in a politically correct society. Bernie Sanders has captivated the minds of disgruntled youth who want to revolutionize their parents’ America. He has risen in democratic polls despite the fact that he has revealed his acceptance to forms of socialism. Which has been taboo in American politics for decades.

On the surface both of these candidates appear to be complete opposites. Senator Sanders is a utopian socialist, and Trump is a financial kingpin. But they are actually quite similar.  Both are agents of change, who wield their social relevance as a tool to represent American citizens, who want their voice to be heard. Possessing the courage or audacity to proclaim radical ideas. Ideas that isolated groups of citizens believe, but individuals dare to speak.

Celebrating your greens and preserving community health: 2015 Brassica Fest

Many people believe “going green” and providing fresh “organic” produce is a trend that has been sweeping the nation, but providing adequate produce and sustainability for many people is not a trend. The way many Americans currently live is endangering their livelihoods. Many popular foods are filled with artificial flavorings, coloring, and unhealthy ingredients. There is an organization working to change the way people eat and live right here in Baltimore. The Park Heights Community Health Alliance (PHCHA) has developed a plan to promote urban agriculture. Two methods of their plan are the: third annual Brassica Fest and the Park Heights farmers market. The health initiative addresses the major causes of death within the park heights community: bad health. Saché Jones, Brassica Fest coordinator and Food Justice Consultant/Producer, has had a great interest in urban agriculture.

When asked what is urban agriculture, Jones said, “Growing food in urban centers. It’s not only food, I don’t know if I can really say that. I always associate ‘ag’ with food. But then there are also horticulturalists that are growing flowers in a large scale way, this is not your backyard garden. So are they considered agriculturalist too? That’s a question we all kind of debate with, but for me it’s creating a space with the intention of feeding people. So whatever that is — whether that be fruits and vegetables, animals, bees, chickens, or goats — all that can be considered urban as long as its within city limits.” Saché has been working with the organization for two years, after majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies. She began working with the organization after her mother and the owner were in a master gardener’s class together. She was in her senior year of college and had an interest in urban agriculture, but she wondered where the jobs and the interest in urban agriculture were. Things all seemed to fall into place, when she met with the PHCHA owner.

For Jones, urban agriculture is important because it promotes self-sufficiency and also relates to economic power. “To have access to where their food comes from, to see it, to feel it, to breathe it. And now that I have been working in this field for a couple years, I feel that it is important because it helps with behavioral changes that we are really going to need to some transformative change on the large ‘ag’ scale. A lot of folks debate on can urban ‘ag’ feed people. Can it feed cities? Will it ever be strong enough to produce enough for the people that live in that area?”

It may be hard to find an answer to that question at the present moment, but urban agriculture can get people to rethink their lifestyles and rethink what they buy. Citizens may have to get used to paying more for quality food that will help them later in life. Urban agriculture encourages the community to work hard to create a farm which can be pesticide free and “grown with love,” as Jones says. The more time that is put into urban agriculture, the more beneficial it will be to those in the community, and urban agriculture encourages those in the community to ask questions about where their food comes from and what has been done to it. The PHCHA wants to increase community engagement and to preserve the people and livelihoods of citizens by creating this center and creating local urban farms. Jones herself is a farmer and helps in producing crops for the community.

To promote health and community engagement, the PHCHA created the Brassica Fest. Brassica is a plant family that houses greens: collards, kales, turnips, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. “It’s all the foods you grew up eating and you love them already,” Jones says, “We use something that is familiar in a slightly unfamiliar way to transition people’s thinking that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You just have to slightly alter a few [things] that you are doing here and there and you can enhance your quality of life as well as the sustainability of the community and the environment at large — depending on what pulls at your heartstrings.” Jones wants citizens and the environment to thrive because we each play a role somehow.

The Brassica Fest is an educational event that highlights the purposes of the PHCHA and demonstrates what they do. Vendors will be selling handmade goods at the event, including candles handmade by a UB student. This year the fest will be broken into three segments: a community organizing segment, eat to live, and happy home setting (which describes how to bring a farm to your house and how to start the process). “We structure conference style but we call it a festival because it is fun,” Jones says. The fest even includes a youth segment that will teach children about farming, this includes activities such as seeding and planting. The idea is to teach urban citizens where we fit in, and how to transform, the food system.

The Brassica Fest promotes the idea of urban agriculture by starting at a very basic level by encouraging people to question where they fit into the system while letting the community know about their farmers market (June- November) and community supported agriculture (CSA). The fest also educates those within the community on various agricultural programs the PHCHA offers and how the community can get involved. Although we may not be part of the Park Heights community, we can still be involved in the Fest and the CSA. The Brassica Fest will happen on November 21, 2015 at 2810 Shirley Ave, Baltimore MD from 9a.m-5p.m. Visit the Brassica Fest Website for more information.

Writer’s Corner: The Crabman

By: Hayden Van Wormer

Hayden Van Wormer is an Army veteran, terrible musician, internet ordained reverend, and a cynical, pessimistic SOB who lives in Maryland by way of Alaska. He is currently an MFA student at University of Baltimore’s Creative Writing and Publishing Arts program.


 

I am a broken being who wanders the shore, a moaning soul trudging atop seaweed and bits of broken shell. I am an empty vessel stripped of worth, forever in search of a lost forbidden knowledge. I had possessed the key to the world’s truths once, and I cast it away. I still cry through my broken eyes, and churn the sand with my fists and thrash the waves, begging to be accepted back to the fathomless depths, to be embraced in the fold of cosmic greatness, but I am rejected.

Eight years ago I rowed my little wooden dinghy across the bay, faded wooden oars making the rusty oarlocks squeak against the paint chipped gunwale. Briney water slapped lightly against the planks as a bell from an unseen buoy clanged nearby. Fog had rolled in that morning, thick enough that the bow of the 12′ boat was hazy from my seat astern. I’d strung a line of crab pots the previous night and they required checking. I adjusted my black watch cap and grabbed my gaff hook to haul in the first pot. The mesh wire trap rose from the depths, mud clogged bottom making it heavier than it ought to be. A small crab fluttered wildly inside the trap, brilliant flashes of blue and white flickering off its chitinous crustacean hide. Its sharp legs clicked against the steel frame and in its pincer it held a scrap of rotted chicken neck. “Go home little crab,” I said and dropped the crab in the frigid brackish bay. The pot sank slowly and the crab’s colors faded until the murky bits of sea sludge obfuscated any view of the small creature. The rope tied to the trap now appeared as if passing through a portal to a different dimension, held taut from my hand, simply disappearing an arm’s length into the water. I dropped the small yellow crab buoy overboard and resumed my rowing position, headed towards the next trap.

A sound from the depths crawled its way out of the water, over the side of my dinghy, up my chest and hauled itself into my ears. A titanic shift, a gargantuan grating from deeper waters in the bay. The earth had popped the bones in its spine, stretching after a timeless sleep.

Concentric ripples lazily crawled along the surface towards my boat, originating from a point unseen in the fog bank. I peered into the impenetrable mist, half expecting to see the breach of a whale, or a drifting merchant ship, but was met only by the passive uncaring gaze of the fog.

There was a pull I felt in my mind, an itch, and I needed to row towards the epicenter of this tectonic movement. Fish hooks sunk into my psyche dragging me forward. My arms worked the oars, my back hauled the collective weight of the dinghy across the surface, abandoning my pots in the mist astern. A sheen of sweat dampened my shirt despite the chill, such was the fervor with which I rowed. My strokes reached a fever pitch, and my oars bent and creaked against the strain, my breath became ragged and spittle flew and foamed on the corners of my mouth, and my boat smashed against a rock, splintering the bow. I scrambled forward, abandoning my sinking boat to mount the small rock in the middle of the bay. I had crabbed this bay for decades and had never seen this feature. It had never existed and I was fascinated by its sudden appearance.

Wedged in a small crevice, I found a pale leather book, pages tattered and dripping with sea water. I sat for hours embedded in the fog atop the cold sharp rock. I could focus on nothing else but absorbing the knowledge within the salty pages. I drank it in, truths of sights unseen by man, of creatures millennia old slumbering beneath the earth, and of cosmic power incomprehensible to the human brain. The words weaved together, a mystic incantation that demanded I scream it aloud to awaken these behemoths so that they may reclaim the earth as the rightful rulers. Some force held within those elegant lines of handwritten text compelled my eyes to continue reading and shaped my lips and I chanted the words over and over, louder and louder until a maelstrom surrounded the rocks. Lightning burst across the sky and I was bludgeoned by torrents of wind and rain. A colossal groan reverberated from the depths of the whirlpool surrounding me. I was awakening one of the ancients and they would cleanse the world of man! I tried to stop, to shut my mouth and close my eyes, but my teeth shattered and my lips moved of their own accord. Without thinking I grasped the handle of my fillet knife slung on my belt and plunged the blade deep into my eyes, bursting the fluid filled membranes and blinding myself, shattering the spell that chained me to the book. Free from the leathery tomb’s intoxicating pages, I dove into the water intent on returning the book to the depths that vomited it into the world of man.

I swam down, blinded and freezing in the icy waters, chest bursting and I involuntarily sucked in the briney sea, filling my lungs. Humanity could not have this knowledge. Deeper I plunged… persisted, intending fully to drown with the cursed book, until…until I awoke on the shore, rejected by the ocean and her ancient masters. Abandoned by the gods of the sea, and I felt loss. A gaping hole in my soul now existed, and nothing but the beasts of the deep could fill it. I screamed out to the sea, now aware the book was gone and thus my connection to the ancients of the world. They will choose a new medium, some seaward soul who will act as a lighthouse towards which they will channel their lumbering fury and scrape the barnacle that is man from the hull of the world. I pray for this daily, and yet all I hear from the ocean is its endless churning. But I know what waits below. I know what waits below.

TV shows worth watching this fall

By: Wes Cooper, Copyeditor

Along with the fall season comes new seasons of TV shows. This fall, there are many entertaining TV shows airing. Whether you’re interested in comedy, drama, or suspense there is an interesting show for you. Some of the best TV shows airing this fall are “Fargo,” “Gotham,” “The Man in the High Castle” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

“Fargo”

The TV series “Fargo,” based off the movie with the same name, is currently on its second season. The second season of “Fargo” has a slightly different storyline than the first season. The second season is about a murder that took place in North Dakota during the 1970s. “Fargo’s” second season is very similar to the first in that they both follow the stories of characters getting mistakenly caught up in crime. However, the second season of “Fargo” seems to be a little more serious and dramatic than the first, but it still has some good comedic moments. “Fargo’s” mix of dark comedy, drama, suspense, and great acting makes it a show worth watching for anyone that enjoys a good crime drama.

“Gotham”

“Gotham” is a TV series about the Batman universe before Bruce Wayne became Batman. Bruce Wayne, Poison Ivy, and Cat Woman are all children while Commissioner Gordon is still moving up the ranks in the police force. Each episode of Gotham does two things: it follows the stories of Gotham City police detectives investigating criminal plots and reveals how the characters in Gotham City became villains and heroes. Many of these criminal plots are different from other TV shows in that “Gotham’s” storylines often involve more fantasy and less realism. Overall, “Gotham’s” mix of a gritty crime drama and the batman fantasy universe makes for an interesting show that keeps you on the edge of your seat. “Gotham” is available to watch on Hulu and Fox.

“The Man in the High Castle”

“The Man in the High Castle,” available to watch on Amazon Instant Video, has the most interesting setting of all the TV shows airing this fall. This TV series takes place in a world where the Axis won World War II. The United States is also divided into three separate parts. One part of the United States is under Japanese control, another part under German control, and the third part is a neutral territory. Slavery is back in the United States, minorities are harassed by the Germans, and the Japanese and Germans are the two world super powers. “The Man in the High Castle” follows the story of a revolutionary group trying to overthrow their fascist rulers. The very interesting story line and the plot twists that come along the way make for a gripping TV show that is certainly worth watching.

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” is a satirical TV series that airs once a week on HBO. The TV series combines the intelligent discussion of social issues, often ignored by the mainstream media, with clever comedy. Issues discussed on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” include problems in the food industry, injustice in the American criminal justice system, and student debt. John Oliver, the host of the show, even made a special trip to Russia to interview Edward Snowden, the man who leaked intelligence information about mass government surveillance programs. If you want to watch a TV series that discusses social and political issues in a clever and intelligent way while delivering satirical humor, then “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” is the show for you.

Letter From the Editor: Dec 2015 Issue

I know that sometimes, especially living in the United States, it can be hard to be thankful for what we do have instead of always wanting more. We are surrounded by so much it can be hard to realize how lucky we are to have the things we do have.

We’ve all faced different obstacles throughout our lives, but all of us here at UB have one thing to be especially thankful for: obtainable access to higher education. An education is one of the greatest gifts a person can receive, and unfortunately many people do not have access to one.

In fact, we all can be thankful for the education we have received throughout our lives; we are lucky to live in a place where our government provides a free education to its children. But that is only the start of education. The lessons we have learned simply by living, from the people around us, are a large part of education. We should be thankful for the people who have supported and inspired us to follow our dreams.

Now matter where you are or who you’re with, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,

Nicole

Bike More, Bee More

One of the great joys of bike riding is being able to load up on French fries while also losing weight.

One of the great pains of bike riding is finding a place to park without losing your bike to the ravages of rain — especially on a longterm basis.

With a new sheltered bike rack installed inside the Maryland Avenue Garage (MAG), UB students who live in midtown now have a new option for bicycle parking.

MAG bike parking is free.

“We want to see if there’s demand for covered bike parking for people who live in the neighborhood,” said UB Sustainability Planner Jeff La Noue.

The rack is mainly geared toward students who reside near UB but it’s open to UB bicycle commuters, as well.

Six bikes can be locked at the rack, with protection from the elements. There is room for expansion if the new bike rack proves popular.

The MAG is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. Bee card access is available all other times through the Biddle Street entrance.

Residents of the Varsity have a special room for bicycle storage. The Varsity, an apartment building for UB students at 30 W. Biddle St., is two blocks from campus. Up to 323 students can live in the Varsity.

But how many students live near UB without access to a bike room?

239 UB students live in the 21201 zip code, the same zip code as UB.

205 UB students live in 21202, the zip code next door. 

Christine Wertz, who lives ten blocks from UB, rents a fourth floor walk-up with no elevator and no room for storage.

UB students Scott Thomsen and Christine Wertz check out the bike room that provides longterm and overnight bicycle storage for residents of the Varsity, near campus. How many students living in midtown don’t have access to a bike room? Photo Credit: Laura Melamed
UB students Scott Thomsen and Christine Wertz check out the bike room that provides longterm and overnight bicycle storage for residents of the Varsity, near campus. How many students living in midtown don’t have access to a bike room?
Photo Credit: Laura Melamed

Even if there were room for bike storage in her apartment, getting a bike up and down the stairs would be impossible.

“It’s so annoying!” said Wertz, who is majoring in history at UB. “Literally, the top flight of stairs is just wide enough for me to get through.”

How many UB students are in Wertz’s situation?

When Alexis Jeter lived in Bolton Hill, she kept her bike in her living room. Jeter, an English major at UB, said bike parking in the MAG might have helped her out.

It’s challenging to get around a bike parked in the middle of your living space. My bike is now leaning against my dresser. I make sure I keep most of my work clothes elsewhere, but when I need something out of that dresser, it requires wheeling the bike halfway around the room.

I have access to storage space but it’s down a flight stairs and through heavy doors. I have to hold those heavy doors open while bike pedals scape mercilessly against my legs as I try to squeeze my transportation through a tiny space and keep it from crashing to dangerous depths at the same time.

I would definitely experiment with bike parking in the MAG if I lived close to UB.

Even bike commuters were excited to hear about the new sheltered racks.

“Absolutely,” said UB student Timothy Kleiner when I asked him if he would use the new bicycle parking in the MAG. Kleiner has a fifteen minute bicycle commute to campus.

For extra protection but no extra cost, students can register their bikes with the UB police, as well.

Please see comments below for updates on how to register your bike with campus security.

Bicycle registration, like bicycle parking, is free.

Free + free sounds like a good deal to me.

Of course you have to pay for bicycle fuel, but what’s a few extra french fries?