Network neutrality: Good in theory, unrealistic goal
Apr15

Network neutrality: Good in theory, unrealistic goal

A select few know how the Internet really works, but the rest of us are like the little toy aliens from Toy Story. You know, the ones who speak with reverence of their diety, “The Claaaaaawww!”   Most have no clue what’s really going on behind the scenes of the Internet; we just respect its inner-workings with undeterred reverence.   The Federal Communications Commission and its policy makers are attempting to set guidelines for telecommunications corporations and all Internet service providers (ISPs) in what is known as “net neutrality.”   To sum it up, network neutrality, as it is known formally, is the battle to set, or not to set, parameters for what ISP corporations can do with the internet they provide.   Can they set limits on how much you can use, how you can use it, and to whom they choose to provide certain provisions of the networks?   Still confused as to what net neutrality is? New York Times writer Neil Irwin analogized the battle by comparing the difference between regulated electrical utilities and cable TV providers.   Electric companies charge you for how much you use, but how you use it is up to you. Cable providers tell you what you’re going to get, how you can use it, and the cost is indicative of their moneymaking mind sets. The FCC ruled in favor of the former.   In February, the FCC approved rules found in Title II of the Communications Act that classified ISPs like Verizon and Comcast as telecomm service providers rather than information providers.   This Monday the FCC’s rules became official and published in the Federal Register. They formally go into effect June 12.   Now the FCC wields more authority and leverage over large broadband providers like AT&T.   Pushbacks from ISPs are on their way already. Expect more. The lawsuits will continue to pile up.   Is it a win for the freedom of the Internet? Sort of.   The problem is that someone’s got to have control of the internet. It’s really not free since the FCC has its hands on it. It’s technically protected from government overreach, except for when its commissioners are appointed by president.   Net neutrality is a good idea, but not when the FCC is the lesser of two...

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Cru For Life brings awareness through diaper drive
Apr15

Cru For Life brings awareness through diaper drive

Hope Pregnancy Centers serves Central Texas by offering compassion, accurate information and practical help to men and women facing unplanned pregnancies and past abortions.   “We want to help them in any way possible,” Junior Christian Studies major and Cru for Life officer Mike Perry said, referring to the group’s dedication to bolster relations with other ministries and to promote pro-life causes.   To serve an immediate need of Hope Pregnancy Centers, Cru for Life held a Diaper Drive from March 23 to 27.   “All the donations from the Diaper Drive went to Hope Pregnancy Center in Temple, TX,” Junior Psychology major Cru for Life President and Rachel Booth said.   “The center’s director was very thankful when we delivered the baby items. Pregnancy centers rely on the donations and support of others, so we are always looking for ways to serve them, especially since they provide such incredible resources for mothers, fathers, and their babies.”   Cru for Life received several diaper donations and nearly $300 in donations, which they used to buy infant supplies at Walmart.   The gifts served to meet more than a physical need Perry added.   He said the infant supplies will help break some ill-seeded beliefs about the pro-life cause.   “Hope took all of the diapers and items that we collected and is giving them to families and mothers within their first year of pregnancy that are in need of help. This is a crucial part of the pro-life movement, as the popular opinion is that pro-lifers don’t care for the women after they have the baby, but Hope and Cru for Life are looking to break that false stigma,” Perry said.   Today, the group heads to the Temple center to help plant flowers for its garden, “and we encourage all students to join us.” Booth added.   The Temple center is located at 2010 W. Avenue H.   “This semester has been awesome for Cru for Life. It’s been wonderful to connect with Hope and learn more about their ministry,” Booth said.   There’s more to come from Cru for Life this semester, though, as the work continues to spread their message.   “On April 28 at 7 p.m. in Shannon Commons, Cru for Life will be hosting a guest speaker named Arland Nichols, who is the founding president of John Paul II Foundation for Life and Family. He will be speaking to our group about birth control and Plan B,” Booth said.   As the world’s mentality is constantly bombarded with a pro-choice message, a talk on the issues is welcomed by a group seeking change.  ...

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Jon Stewart, signing off from The Daily Show
Mar04

Jon Stewart, signing off from The Daily Show

Jon stinkin’ Stewart signs off; he leaves The Daily Show at the end of the year. ‘Bout time. The only thing he contributed to the world was a sub-par satirical act and the occasional laugh when he attempted to combine the show with hard news.   The New York Times deemed him the nation’s satirist in chief. That seems to put him on the same level as our commander in sleep, Barack Obama: the hip, young, pointless president we all know and love.   I’ve got a Buzz Feed article for you. It’s entitled “The top three knuckleheads who make a joke out of our nation:”   1)   Barack, the selfie-stick groper, Obama 2)   Joe, the wife-groper, Biden and 3)   Jon stinkin’ Stewart   At least Stewart’s job description allows him to be an idiot.   He’s no Jimmy Fallon, however. Fallon’s no friend to a conservative base. Shoot, I wish he could be NBC’s only pundit, though. He’s hilarious. He and Bruce Springsteen spoofed The Boss’ Born to Run making fun of Gov. Chris Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’.   It’s real comedy, whether I agree politically or not. It’s like when Frank Caliendo impersonates George W. Bush. I get a little upset. Bush is a hero of mine. (Heck, he gave an amazing speech at the McLane Lecture). I still chuckle. Know why? It’s well-executed comedy.   Can’t say the same for Stewart’s 15 painful years on The Daily Show. So, what’s next for him?   There is talk of him taking Brian William’s spot. Let’s just hope Williams’ is responsible for that rumor. The only good thing the world ever received from The Daily Show is Steve Carell.   Stewart isn’t going anywhere. You think he’d disappear? Heck no. He couldn’t stand not getting to duke it out with Bill O’ Reilly and other conservative talking heads. And as cynical as this Op-Ed is to his comedic career, Jon Stewart might bring something viable to the media world’s table.   We saw a glimpse of it when he took a hiatus from The Daily Show to direct ‘Rosewater,’ a well-done film adaptation of Iranian-born journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir. He was imprisoned for 118 days after reporting on the nation’s disputed 2009 election.   In our field, Stewart is a necessary evil. For his entire progressive, pompous thought, not having him is like the Roadrunner not having Wile E. Coyote. It’s a relationship.   And as joyous an occasion it is to not have to hear his antics on The Daily Show, it’s also nice knowing the bird-brain’s coming back to the media world in some...

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Goodwill gives jobs to local vets
Mar04

Goodwill gives jobs to local vets

HALO (High-altitude, low opening) jumping: it’s a free-fall from 21,000 feet. Paratroopers release chutes moments before meeting mother earth in the most unfortunate way. The jump’s purpose is to avoid enemy radar detection.   Our military personnel preform extraordinary tasks during service years, yet many find the leap back into the civilian world a formidable foe.   “They’re used to military jargon, military everything,” Goodwill’s Operation Good Jobs program manager Katie Martin said. “They hit the reality of what the actual standard salary is in the Temple/Killeen area.”   She serves clients, some of which made an “upwards of $70,000 a year,” in the military, by helping them succeed in the workplace.   Operation Good Jobs is a non-covert mission to thank our military persons. It’s a program funded by a $5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation.   Goodwill expects to serve more than 4,000 veterans and military families over the grant period that extends into July 2016.   Heart of Texas Goodwill Industries is one of 12 Goodwill store participants.   “Our area covers from Killeen to Waco, so we have exactly 220 people enrolled in the grant right now,” Martin said.   The grant is performance based. Heart of Texas Goodwill’s potential funds from the grant sits at $300,000.   Martin added that it’s not a program just for veterans: “it’ active duty transitioning out, family members, both spouses and dependents, and it’s even Reserves and National Guard,” she said. “Just as long as they don’t have a dishonorable discharge, we’ll absolutely take them.”   The goal of the program is geared to find participants a job that is “career sustaining, family sustaining,” she said.   Heart of Texas Goodwill Learning Center Coordinator for Temple and Belton, Victoria Cairo, said they would help participants in any way possible.   So, whether it’s helping clients get a bus pass, enrolling them in a computer class, providing them with interview clothes or even advice on resume and portfolio building, the learning center staff will help.   She echoed Martin’s statements of the long-term placement being the backbone of the program.   “There’s only so long you can work at a minimum wage paying job with three kids,” Cairo said.   The learning centers are for everyone, not just those who meet the Operation Good Jobs requirements.   “We’ll help you find a quick job if that’s what you want, but our goal is, what’s long term?” she said. “If you’re real goal is to make a certain amount of money and be employed full-time, come back in. Let’s make sure we update that resume and we’ll check in...

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Hunger gets canned by Helping Hands
Feb18

Hunger gets canned by Helping Hands

Helping Hands’ Warehouse added 40,000 pounds of food to its shelves after Canstruction 2015.   “The previous highs were during last year’s Canstruction event: 35,000 pounds of food and 1,400 guests,” Executive Director Rucker Preston said.   They served 4,000 guests this year.   Canstruction is a worldwide charity event crafted from good hearts, cans and art.   As canstruction.org states, the event “showcases colossal structures made entirely out of full cans of food.”   After structures reach completion, they are organized for the public as a giant art exhibition. All the food is donated to local hunger relief organizations.   The charity has raised more than 25 million pounds of food since its founding in 1992. Canstruction events are held annually in more than 150 cities around the world on five continents.   Helping Hands brought the charity to Central Texas five years ago. This year, the art displays were as masterful as ever.   “Who isn’t impressed by carousel horses with beef jerky manes? Or a ship sailing on a river of tuna? Or Mr. T on a Wheaties box?” BSM director Shawn Shannon asked rhetorically.   She’s gathered students each year to help with the de-canstruction process.   Shannon has witnessed Canstruction become an established community experience.   “The structures themselves are always amazing, and the items for the silent auction will surely bless those who purchase them to bless others,” Shannon said. “Yet, I really like how well Helping Hands tells the story of needs seen and met through the mediums of pictures, pamphlets, video and testimonies. It is an amazing on-going story of goodness in action,” she said.   And what might Jesus canstruct if He participated?   “Whatever he would make, it would be good, true and lovely,” Shannon said. “Whose to say he wasn’t there?” She added.   “For an event like this to go as well as it did, I believe that God’s hand was at work well before and all during the event,” he said.   Central Texas houses many underprivileged families and individuals with great needs. Often, the need can seem too much to meet.   “Part of what I love about the work of Helping Hands is that they approach situations that most of us find overwhelming and move with Christ into these hard, otherwise impossible places for the good of people and the glory of God,” Shannon said.   She has seen how the Canstruction event brings the community closer: “There is something crucial about gathering together around the purpose of caring for those in need. Here we learn together about needs and opportunities,” she said.  ...

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