Monthly Archives: October 2008

Saw 5 tortures audiences

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Saw movies are becoming a Halloween tradition. Already in its fifth installment, Saw V looks to continue low-budget, box office gold horror.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Production company Lionsgate swims in Saw gold every Halloween. With veteran writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan and newcomer director David Hackl, Lionsgate looks to continue the tradition.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ People who might have cheated on their spouse or neglected their children are subjected to traps. However, people can escape the torture traps by sacrificing a limb or blood. The Jigsaw killer despises murderers, but believes his traps will help these people value life.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Saw V begins like the other franchise movies: a quick trap scene is followed by the main one. A swinging pendulum tests one victim’s willingness; if he presses a button, his arms will crush but the pendulum won’t cut his throat.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Tobin Bell’s portrayal of Jigsaw has become the series’ staple. Though killed in Saw III, Bell makes appearances through flashbacks and Jigsaw’s work continues.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Seeing the first four Saws is vital because of the complex storyline. The movie timelines overlap and it can become confusing.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Jigsaw’s work has been passed on and the FBI hunts down his apprentice. Saw V becomes a cat-and-mouse thriller with ingenious traps but poor acting. As the series’ torture scenes improve, the series’ credibility worsens.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Even though the original Jigsaw is dead, Bell does most of his acting in Saw V. The film’s middle details Jigsaw’s new apprentice. Amidst a lackluster plot, Bell’s appearance is the fifth film’s highlight.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Each scene seems darker than the previous, literally. Director Heckl must’ve shot the movie without any lights on. The main torture scenes occur in a sewer and Jigsaw’s flashbacks are in complete darkness.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Saw III and Saw IV saw the franchise take a high note with unexpected twists, but Saw V does not live up to its tag line. ‘You won’t believe how it ends,’ the movie promotes, but it comes up empty. Spend your time trick-or-treating instead of seeing Saw V this Halloween.

Tis the Season: What has Fairfield done for the Presidential Election

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Faculty talks politics in Ignatian Commons
Students and faculty members congregated in the Commons of the Ignatian Residential College on Oct. 22 to discuss the impending Presidential Election.
The faculty panel consisted of Philip Lane, chair of the economics department; John Orman, chair of the politics; James Simon, chair of the English; and Jocelyn Boryczka, assistant professor of politics.’
Students had the opportunity to question the panel or a particular faculty member on all aspects of the election, from the differences in advertising tactics of each candidate to the effects of the current financial crisis on voters.

Douglas Brinkley’ in Open Visions Forum’
On Sept. 15, Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian and best-selling author kicked off this year’s Open Visions Forum season.’ In addition to discussing his new book, ‘The Great Deluge,’ chronicling the weeks following Hurricane Katrina, Brinkley also spoke on the historical significance of this year’s Presidential Election.’
‘No matter who wins we will have either a black man or a woman in the presidential or vice presidential role,’ he said.’
While Brinkley touched on the strengths and weaknesses of both candidates, he predicted that Sen. John McCain would clinch the presidency, partly due to his smart choice in vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.’ Obama’s downfall, in Brinkley’s eyes, could come due to his decision to not select Sen. Hillary Clinton as his running mate.

Mock election and voter registration drive
During the week of Oct. 2, 2008, students were able to register to vote at the Absentee Ballot ‘amp; Voter Registration Drive held in the BCC Monday to Friday.’ Students who brought their State ID were able to register to vote in their home state by absentee ballot, or register to vote in Connecticut on November 4.’ This Tuesday, Fairfield students, staff, and faculty were encouraged to vote in the Mock Election held on October 28 in the BCC from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in order to determine Fairfield University’s choice for president. The mock election is a Fairfield tradition that dates back to Eisenhower beating Democratic challenger Adlai Stevenson in 1956.

The Great Debate:
Mika Brzezinski ‘amp; Monica Crowley’
‘We’re looking at a debate held a hair’s-breadth from the elections,’ says Eliasoph, at the October Open VISIONS Forum. ‘I don’t think they’ll be changing anyone’s minds, but it will certainly be interesting to watch.’
Brzezinski became a YouTube sensation in June 2007 after she tore up and tried to burn a story of Paris Hilton’s release from jail, proving the point that she would not lead with a story so trivial while significant news on the Iraq war was breaking.

Jim Himes / Christopher Shays’ Debate
On the evening of Oct. 16, incumbent 4th District Republican Congressman Christopher Shays of Bridgeport and the Democratic challenger Jim Himes of Cos Cob participated in a 90-minute congressional debate at Fairfield University’s Kelley Center.’
The event was hosted by CPTV and WNPR and a student panel consisting of representatives from the College Democrats, College Republicans and student media were on hand to question the candidates on three significant areas which transcend some of Fairfield University’s core values: national and domestic issues, international and foreign issues and issues of education, and faith and service.

Jeffrey Toobin in Open VISIONS Forum
A little over a week after Brinkley, on Sept. 24, Jeffrey Toobin came to Fairfield University for the Open VISIONS Forum.’ The legal analyst for CNN Worldwide, staff writer for The New Yorker, and best-selling author talked about his new book, ‘The Nine,’ and the importance of this Presidential Election in particular on the future of the judicial system.’ With fascinating insight into the secretive world of the Supreme Court, Toobin correlated the paths of former presidents’ Supreme Court appointments and the decisions on controversial cases.’ Toobin also elucidated his opinion of how the next four years would play out with either presidential candidate in office.
Contrary to Douglas Brinkley’s views, Toobin confidently asserted that the election was as good as done, predicting, ‘the race is over, Obama has won in a long shot.’

Brackeen interviews Who’s Who of politics
Darryl Brackeen Jr. has come onto the political seen as the host of ‘Finding Our Way,’ a new political news show on The HAM Channel.
The show gives a fresh perspective on politics and the new, both on and off campus.
‘This is one of the greatest elections in our lives so be sure to be an informative voter,’ said Brackeen, in one broadcast of the show.
‘ ‘Future generations are depending on it. So be sure to check out all of the great candidates big or small.’
His show has featured author Diane Wilson and third party congressional candidates:’ Richard Duffy and Michael Carrano. His show has also included the political views of other students including Gina Caldwell ’11 and Dana August ’11. Brackeen is a junior majoring in politics.

And then the students spoke: What Fairfield students think about the Presidential Election

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There exists an old adage that one should never talk about three things while at social gatherings: money, religion, and politics. The reasoning behind that is obviously that there is no correct answer for any one of those three topics.

People may think they have it, but when another disagrees, an argument almost always ensues. If you feel that you have heard many arguments here around campus, but for some reason you haven’t left your residence under a rock for the past few months, election season is about to conclude.’

America is looking at one of its most unique and historic elections in history, and the vast majority of college students will be voting in a Presidential Election for the first time.’ In fact, both campaigns have really reached out for the youth vote in an effort to win as many new voters as possible.’ College campuses have become a hotbed for political mudslinging, and our very own Fairfield University is no different.

Here on campus, the debates were widely and closely watched, the New York Times has been closely read, and even the recently lowly Saturday Night Live has been enthusiastically followed. It’s fairly obvious to see that students do care about who replaces George W. Bush, whether they feel it be Barack Obama, John McCain, or anyone but Sarah Palin.’

Obama has been religiously preaching change throughout his entire campaign.’ That alone is more than enough for some voters, and he appeals to college students because of his youth and charisma.’

But some students feel that Obama is much more.’

‘Obama is an intellectual, and an intellectual like that should be in the highest position our country can offer,’ said Kat Moore ’11.’

Others, however, take an Obama stance almost by default. They aren’t quite pro-Obama, but rather anti-McCain.’

Brendan Sargent ’11, said that he does not know a whole lot about politics, but he ‘sees little to no change with McCain as president,’ but he goes on to say that his ‘confidence grew exponentially when Senator Joe Biden signed on as Obama’s running mate.
‘They are the best two candidates for the job,’ he said.

Throughout his campaign, McCain has tried his best to distance himself from lame duck President Bush.

In recent weeks, however, amidst widespread reports that Obama has widened his lead in the polls over McCain, the Republican Senator from Arizona went on a verbal attack of the Democratic Senator from Illinois.’

Alison MacNeill ’10 is an open supporter of McCain, but also doesn’t care too much for his opponent.’

When asked about Obama, she said the she ‘doesn’t believe him to be an American,’ finds him ‘inexperienced’ and finds his policies to be ‘socialist.’

‘ However, MacNeill favors McCain’s policies on taxes, citing historical references of past failures of tax hikes in order to criticize Mr. Obama’s plans for raised taxes.

MacNeil’s advice for the senator from Illinois: ‘Wait another eight years.’

All in all, this election will prove to be ground-breaking.’ If McCain wins, we will have our first female vice president. If Obama wins, we will have our first African American president.’

When all is said and done, if nothing else, politics will go back to its rightful place as social taboo for another four years.’

Anyone up for a religion argument?

John Orman: Politics Professor talks about ups and down

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What a great election we have on Nov. 4. We have two highly qualified presidential candidates from our major parties and we have a few others to pick from.

This has been one of the longest presidential races in history.

Remember John McCain’s campaign was a total failure last summer in 2007 and most pundits waited for McCain to drop out. Rudy Guiliani was the Republican frontrunner and we were reminded not to forget about the charisma of Fred Thompson.’

Hillary Clinton had the Democratic nomination locked up in summer 2007 but the new face Barack Obama might give her a good run for his money. Keep you eyes on John Edwards we were told. I told the late great Tim Russert at an Open Visions event in September of 2005 that the race would finally end up in 2008 between John McCain and Condi Rice versus Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

I was wrong. Then Rudy refused to compete in the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. He lost Florida and it was over. Obama beat Clinton in a Democratic primary race that was for the ages. He picked Biden to be his running mate. McCain revived his campaign and had the nomination locked up for the most part in February. He had the longest amount of time to focus in on one decision. Who would be his running mate? He picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Now if you have been listening to the 24/7 political channels and the advertisements McCain is a war hero, maverick who knows how to get Osama Bin Laden. He is an independent who will take on the special interests in Washington to make change.’
Palin is an executive, who is a maverick who will take on the special interests. She is very pretty and she relates to the average American person.’

Barack Obama is the new face of progressive change in America. He has transcended racial issues to become the Tiger Woods of presidential politics. He is thoughtful and decent. He has proposals for the problems that we face.’

Joe Biden is a strong candidate with foreign policy credentials.

But just maybe you heard McCain is too old and a warmonger. He is President Bush’s third term incarnate and he is really angry. Palin has no clue what is going on. She is unprepared to be Vice-President, let alone President. She was the worst choice for V-P since television. Obama, you may have heard is maybe a Marxist, Muslim, socialistic communist who is unpatriotic. He has no experience. Biden is too old and a washed up political hack. He says stupid things even more so that Palin.

There you have it. Good luck on your vote choice. Sit back and watch the results and see if your candidate wins. Whoever wins, we will have historic firsts in terms of race, gender, age. Let the games conclude.

Editor’s Note: John Orman is the politics department chair at Fairfield and an expert on the American Presidency and American pop culture.

Chattin’ with Chapin: Not an absentee ballot, but an absence of ballot

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‘ With election day less than a week away, I could not think of a day that has become more insignificant to me over the years than Election Day.’ I remember being a senior in high school and adamantly waiting for my Nov. 3 birthday to come so I could be eligible to vote.’

Being that it was my first election, I was as giddy as a freshman at the Point for the first time.’ I felt like my vote, in the state of New York, was going to make the difference in the Bush ‘- Kerry election.’

But it didn’t.’ And it never will.’ I am not an America-hater by any means; I, myself, choose not to vote in a two party system that, ultimately, leads voters to choose from the lesser of two evils. Americans have more freedoms than Fairfield University students do; however, until a third party candidate has an equal chance of winning a major political election, until a third party candidate serves more than just a vote stealer for one of the two major parties, I will not be voting.

Apparently, I am not alone in this view. America has been, over the years, one of the worst voting countries among the well established democracies.’ According to Fairvote.org, in 1996, only 49 percent of age-eligible voters actually voted. That number increased to 51 percent in 2000, and 55 percent in 2004.’

It is encouraging to see people taking an interest in politics; however, these increased numbers do not change the fact that 86 percent of people who make $75,000 or more voted last election, while only 52 percent who made $15,000 or less voted.’

People tell me that my position means that I have no right to speak out when I feel neglected by the government.’ And I do not because, no matter what I say, it is not going to change our personal predicament.’ It only adds to the commotion that is a political discussion because everyone thinks they are right and nobody will concede their position.’ The government will do as it will, and until it infringes on my personal rights, I will have no qualm.

Politics is dictated by money, especially as the stakes increase. I support local politics, county politics that specifically impact the people.’ As far as I’m concerned, most of the talking heads in Congress are merely wind bags with a smile. When appeasing certain, influential groups takes precedent over the will of the people, I stop concerning myself with politics.

I hear so much propaganda from the media, my classmates and, worst of all, my teachers. The internet offers me the opportunity to peruse various news mediums and formulate my opinions based from those sources.’

Certain teachers feel it is their societal obligation to assess the political landscape at any and all times of the class. Sometimes it is related to the lesson, other times they’re just venting about President Bush.’ I am neither a democrat, nor a republican, but there is a time and a place for a discussion to take place.’

My least favorite is the student who echoes his/her teacher’s liberal sentiments. Sometimes, when they’re talking, I wonder if they rehearse their statements in the bathroom mirror before class. And I’m not talking in terms of articulating words and sentences; I am saying that these students sound like a teacher’s tape recorder.

Most Fairfield politics classes are clearly biased toward one side of the political spectrum. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; however, I should not be subjected to someone else’s political beliefs just because they feel like voicing them.
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Faculty put money where their mouths are with campaign donations

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If you thought Facebook was the ultimate stalking device, think again.’

This election, a popular fun news source The Huffington Post developed a public online database that displays campaign donations made to political candidates. The database, Fundrace, was originally created at Eyebeam.

On the site, one can search people by name, location, employer and occupation.
The site has gained major popularity by showing the donations made by celebrities to political campaigns, it’s front page showing just a few including Jennifer Aniston, Steven Spielberg, and Jerry Springer.

By searching Fairfield University on the site, one will find that $6,453 was given to Democrats from 14 people, while $0 was given to Republicans.

In fact, according to Fundrace, Barack Obama has raised over $600 million from contributions, while McCain has only raised a little over $350 million.

All calculations are based on public records filed with the FEC of contributions by all individuals totaling more than $200 (and some totaling less than $200) to a single Republican or Democratic presidential campaign or national committee for the 2004 and 2008 election cycles.

Public contribution data is found using public U.S. Census Bureau data.
Maureen Dewan, adjunct professor in Judaic Studies, contributed to the Obama campaign on three occasions.

‘The first time was early on … probably during the primaries. The second time was after he got the nomination, and the third time was after Sarah Palin got the nod to be the Republican VP,’ she said. ‘I found it shocking, to say the least, that McCain, 72 years old and having had three bouts with cancer, could put someone so clearly unqualified so close to being president. I’m still sputtering … so the final installment was a protest against that,’ said Dewan.

‘I believe in Obama so thoroughly, and have from the beginning, especially after reading his first memoir. I have contributed to most presidential campaigns since I’ve been old enough to vote.’

Betsy Gardner, a psychology professor, contributed $1,135 to the Obama campaign.
‘I asked myself how much would it be worth to me to have Obama, and not McCain, win,’ said Gardner. ‘The answer is, a hell of a lot of money.’

‘I decided to give at least a small fraction,’ she said.

Gardner, like many other supporters, also provided funds and donations for specific causes, including LGBT rights and voter registration efforts.

‘The $1,000 was a few months ago through an organization that supports LGBT rights,’ she said. ‘I wanted to give to the Obama campaign anyway and I figured this would send an additional message.

‘The next $100 and $35 were for registering new voters and for reaching people in swing states,’ she said.

Irene Mulvey, professor in mathematics and computer science, donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the primary season, and also has made multiple donations to Barack Obama.

‘Given that Connecticut will surely vote Democratic in the general election,’ said Mulvey, ‘it seemed like the best way I could support and help the Democratic ticket was by a financial contribution which would enable them to get their message out in states where election will be closer.’