Political Cartoons – Student Loan Debt

The national student loan debt in the United States has recently peaked at the $1.2 trillion mark made by around 40 million students and is in a linear correlation. Lawmakers and government officials are apparently trying to find solutions to solve or reduce the issue, however it seems almost counterintuitive for them to do so when last year they made around $50 billion in interest. As reported by the Huffington Post, “[t]his is $5 billion more than Exxon Mobil, the most profitable [privately owned] company in the country.”  The following cartoons depict some of the controversy surrounding student loans and student loan debt.

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Large corporations, including four owned by multibillionaire Donald Trump, are allowed to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection if financially unable to support themselves, yet students are not on allowed to file any form of bankruptcy on their unpaid student loans.
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If student loan forgiveness isn’t good enough for our founding fathers, then it must be a poor solution now, right?
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Some student loan debts can be inherited by the closest family members after death.
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The U.S. was projected to have made around $50 billion in 2013 off of student loan debt and it is expected to increase its profits even more in the following years.
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Student loan debt has prevented students from beginning families, buying houses and, when unpaid, have led to the revocation of professional and even driver’s licenses.

OPINION: Trafficking Right in Our Own Back Yard

NAUGATUCK – The recent kidnapping of more than 200 young women in Nigeria over the past month has captivated the attention of the entire world. Political instability within the country’s government have sparked the radical Islamic group, Boko Haram, which is loosely translated as “Western civilization is forbidden,” to maliciously act out against those with differing views.

On the night of April 14th, approximately 276 Christian schoolgirls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria, were taken at gunpoint while attending their final exams in physics by the militant group. In the weeks prior to the exam, the school had been closed due to security issues, which has sparked controversy with whether the girls should have been at the school on the night of the intrusion. Despite the continuous efforts of trying to find these girls, the rescue has yet to occur after more than a month. Other countries, including the United States, have offered their resources to the Nigerian government – such as the implementation of wireless drones to monitor the country.

Boko Haram has released numerous videos which allegedly depict the girls and the intentions of the group. As reported by CNN, “[t]he appearance of [the girls] ‘unharmed’ makes it look like Boko Haram is doing this for legitimate Islamic purposes to win a prisoner exchange –  as opposed to sex slavery,” which was the initial thought by the public of this attack.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau stated in a public video that the terrorist group will not release the girls “until after you release our brethren.” His comrades are imprisoned within the confines of the Nigerian legal system. Even though it appears as though their intentions are not for sexual reasons, their abduction of the girls and the subsequent loss of their freedom is still considered human trafficking.

According to Love146, an anti-human-trafficking group headquartered in New Haven, about 20.9 million people are enslaved around the world; about 2 million are considered to be in similar circumstances as the 276 girls in Nigeria. When human trafficking becomes a topic of conversation, most think of the sex trade in Africa, Turkey, Thailand or other foreign countries, yet human trafficking is quite prominent in the United States. Love146 reports that the United States in known for trafficking of labor exploitation. Immigrants, typically females, who come to the U.S. will accept jobs at less than minimum wage – or even no pay – in order to meet basic needs. Women also from other countries are sold to johns, or sex traffickers, in the U.S. by their families to earn extra income. Such illegal activities are being stopped daily, yet there are still millions of enslaved people around the world.

Shandra Woworuntu, an activist against human trafficking as well as a former victim, was brought to the U.S. from Indonesia to service men in the underground sex slave industry. In 2001, Shandra arrived here under false pretenses that she was going to be getting a minimum wage job as a waitress. After paying about $3,500, her passport and identification were taken away by the people who brought her over. In an interview with the New Haven Register Woworuntu said, “[t]hey locked me up. I couldn’t open the door. I opened the window to try and jump from the second floor, but it was too high so I wouldn’t escape.”

“There are a lot of things that we don’t know about that happen in the U.S.,” said Senior Sabrina Sharp. “and human trafficking might be one of those things.” The taking of someone else’s liberty seems to anger people, yet when asked, many believe slavery and human trafficking occur in other places. But it doesn’t. It happens here, in the United States, to people looking for better lives. By talking about the injustices, we as a society could help bring about the end to this devastating practice.

Said Senior Tara Mahoney, “More people are affected than we know. It’s worth doing something about.”

 

 

 

Whistleblowing: Is it a Matter of Ethics or Pride?

By Jason Begin

In the midst of the Edward Snowden revelations one cannot help but ponder whether whistleblowing is always the ethical option or if there are other ways to protect your fellow citizens. Those who have been classified as whistleblowers, including Mark Felt, Daniel Ellsberg and Linda Tripp, all shared the same base feelings that the governmenNHSgreyhoundlogot was serving the public an injustice by hoarding certain information and it was their duty to release it to the public no matter the cost. Unlike many prominent whistleblowers, such as Jeffrey S. Wigand who released information about the cigarette companies to reduce their harmful impact in the 1990s, Edward Snowden’s story has disrupted the calm waters of the many American citizens by putting their information and lives at risk. By his need to improve the American’s awareness of their lack of privacy by releasing information pertaining to the online media, Snowden could have killed American soldiers and ruined the United States government’s techniques for monitoring and finding some of the most dangerous criminals.

For those who don’t know about Edward Snowden’s story I will try to give a summary of his prominence in America. Snowden, a former CIA agent was doing some work for the National Security Agency (NSA) as a third party contractor. By having a clean record in the NSA and government, Snowden was given certain privileges and was working with sensitive government and security information that is not just given to anyone. While on the job for the NSA, Snowden uncovered sensitive information pertaining to the government’s tracking of users of the World Wide Web. He had found that the NSA was tracking everyone’s web history by unscrambling certain encryptions including emails and other searches by using certain programs including those named as Boundless Informant, PRISM, XKeyscore, Tempora, MUSCULAR and FASCIA which were designed for the intended use. Additionally, he found that the government had been tracing phone calls and records of phone logs directly from the phone companies without a warrant. With this information the government had been tracking the “bad guys” including terrorists and other criminals. Essentially they would take note of people who had high activity of suspicious and illegal behavior. For example, the government would notice how certain people could be related to illegal activities based on their searches and whether they contacted other suspicious people thereby the NSA would be able to monitor activity that could eventually lead to attacks on the country and act before anything would occur.

With the information that Snowden had come across, he felt that it was his duty as an American citizen to allow everyone to know that they were being monitored. His set mission was to have the every American know that the government was tracking them on the Internet. (Well… duh.) Snowden took this information to two reputable documentary journalists, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. After weeks of collaboration they released the sensitive information and set off a chain of events leading to Snowden’s notorious revelations.

Though they claim that it was necessary to inform the public, neither Snowden nor the journalists took into the consideration that they were putting others’ lives at risk. Snowden is currently in hiding under Putin’s protection in Russia. Since the events have occurred, Snowden has numerous spies and political organizations that want him killed because they feel that the way the revelations were exposed were the most ethical way to approach it. Snowden has a warrant in the United States and is trapped in Russia without a valid passport thus he cannot leave unless he gives himself up to the United States. The U.S. had made his passport invalid thereby revoking his privileges of traveling between countries. The U.S. has since tried to bargain with Russia to hand him over though attempts have not been in favor of the government. If Snowden ever stepped foot back on American soil he would immediately be arrested and tried for his espionage and possibly treason.

Ethics are one’s moral principal to do what is right for the common good. Some do agree with Snowden and say he has not caused any harm and even consider him a national hero. (I guess our modern day Bonnie and Clyde.) Coming from a fairly heightened technical background I believe all information should be public yet, I question if the information Snowden and the journalists revealed about the programs and soldier’s locations was the best decision. In a TED talk with Snowden, he said that his course of action was the best that they could come up with and the outcome was inevitable. He mentioned that if he had addressed the issue in court he would have been immediately shut turned away within “secret courts” just as the NSA had done with some of the leading web-based corporations including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple. Another one of Snowden’s revelations showed that the NSA forced these companies to reveal their user’s private information without consent to the US government. The companies were taken into private courts who forced them obey. In an article published by computerworld.com, Jaikumar Vijayan reports, “One result [of Snowden’s revelations] is that people appear to be scaling back their Internet use. Nearly half of the respondents have become more cautious about what they say, where they go and what they do on the Internet. About 25% are less inclined to use email these days because of the same reason. Of 1,000 U.S. adults asked whom they trusted the most with their personal information, 35% picked the Internal Revenue Service, while 18% chose the NSA. Just 10% of poll respondents said they trusted Google with their personal data while about 5% picked Facebook,” She continued with her report that “When the same respondents were asked whom they feared would violate their privacy the most, about 36% picked the NSA, and 18% the IRS. About 26% picked Facebook.” Interestingly enough, it seems that citizens fear those who have been chosen to protect us whereas they have much more trust in private corporations. It seems as though Snowden’s revelations, have instilled fear within the American population rather than alerting them of the true enemies such as drug smugglers or terrorists.

The prime controversy about Snowden’s revelations is whether they should have been released at all. Under the government’s monitoring, were any citizens being hurt? (No.) Excluding a couple risqué Google searches, does the average American really have anything to hide? For anyone who has not been contacting terrorists on a daily basis would essentially be overlooked by the programs the NSA uses. The NSA has no need to monitor the average citizen’s web history or phone logs because they simply have no time or use for it. (Sorry but your cat videos on YouTube are not a matter for the National Security.) The NSA’s target mission is deep within the World Wide Web way past your Facebook status updates abut watching Frozen for the 3rd time today or your tweets that your grande Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks that are just a little too cold (#firstworldprobs). The NSA is focused on an area called the Dark Internet, a place of crime, drug deals and other illegal activity (imagine the internet version of Mobile). The Dark Internet is accessible only by the use of passwords and encrypted programs. It’s so hidden that most citizens have never even heard about it.

Taking all of this into consideration I can only wonder how and why the events that came into play happened as they did. Why would Snowden feel that it was his duty release the information? Did he feel that this information was more important than the soldiers’ lives he had put at risk? Was it his ego or personal need for international fame that made him release his revelations? Was there a better way to go about alerting the American public without putting lives in danger? I support a free and open online market but shouldn’t it be our government’s duty to protect, honor and defend every American citizen?

Debates for AP Comp Students During Block Scheduling

NAUGATUCK – Naugatuck High School has been under a block schedule for the past few weeks which means that students only have to take 4 classes a day for about 84 minutes a day rather than their 8 period schedule for about 45 minutes. Teachers have been preparing students in different ways juxtaposing their normal methods. Mr. John Carino, the AP Composition teacher at the high school, has been organizing debates for his AP students in order to show them Aristotle’s rhetorical methods that will prepare them for their test in May.

Mukti Niha (Left) and Sarah Lyons (Right) wait in anticipation for the final results.

The debate on Thursday, March 27th pertained to the issue of whether the US Federal government should reduce the number of nuclear weapons on US soil. The affirmative which was represented by juniors Mukti Niha and Sarah Lyons argued that nuclear weapons be reduced and restricted thereby reducing government costs in the future, accidents, human life risks thereby securing a feeling of safety within the country and towards other countries. The girls brought up references to the tragedy at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the people who were “killed by the blast” as stated by Niha. Niha continued with solutions  of finding “research on nuclear reduction” which included slowly releasing nuclear waste on an uninhabited island.

Winners Lacie Dube (Left) and Danielle D’Oliveira (Right) feel accomplished after the debate.

The negative, represented by juniors Lacie Dube and Danielle D’Oliveira reciprocated with arguments that showed how international support systems like NATO, which is composed of 28 nations, use checks and balance systems in order to add a feeling of safety around the world. Their arguments pertaining to environmental and financial issues also overpowered the affirmative’s point. At the conclusion of the debate, Mr. Carino and the AP Comp class ruled in favor of the negative.Mr. Carino stated at the end that both sides had great points but the negative’s points were stronger for the debate.

Culinary Competition 2014

NAUGATUCK – On Thursday March 27th, 2014, the Naugatuck High School culinary students prepared their best dishes to be judged by a select group of the school’s teachers and faculty members. Candids of the event can be viewed below:

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Sean Brunswick (Left) and Tara Mahoney (Right) preparing for the competition

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Prepared ingredients

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Shane Harrison (Left) and Taylor Bennett (Right) preparing for the competition

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Chicken preparation

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Food preparation

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Desserts awaiting to be served

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Pardee’s Last Supper

Parent Ads for the Class of 2014 Yearbook on Sale

The Naugatuck High School Yearbook staff is selling advertisements to parents, friends and family members which will be featured in the 2014 Naugatuck High School yearbook!

Check out the video for more information.

Advertisement Diagram

These Exclusive Prices are ONLY for Parents, Friends and Family Members:

1/8 page = $40.00

1/4 page = $75.00

1/2 page = $125.00

Full page = $225.00

All ads can be customized with photos of your child’s accomplishments and a short message to them.

Contact Caroline Messenger for more information.

Email: messengc@naugy.net

Historical Changes to Naugatuck High School

NHS New Wing Diagram

Naugatuck High School’s new wing layout

 NAUGATUCK – With the renovation taking place at Naugatuck High School, administrators and Board of Education members have to make decisions regarding improvements to better the school while keeping historical traditions intact. A controversy has recently started over changing the names of the building’s four wings: Judd, Castle, Goodyear and Applied Education. For safety reasons, the new names will be North (currently known as Judd); East (CAFE and beyond); South (currently Goodyear); and West (currently the gymnasium and pool area).

After many discussions with the Board of Education, fire and police departments and the board’s building committee, Naugatuck High School’s principal, Janice Saam, made the decision based on factors pertaining to safety and convenience. Like many large buildings such as hospitals or universities, the wings will be named based on their geographical location for emergency workers as well as visitors so “anyone could know exactly where they are going,” said Saam. Since the layout of the school will be quite different, safety measures are important to keep in mind.

The town of Naugatuck prides itself on its colorful history. For someone who knows a lot about the town, the current names for the wings of the high school would seem obvious. To one who is unfamiliar with the town’s history, however, the names might seem obscure. Judd, Castle and Goodyear were named after three major contributors to the school’s existence.

During the American Revolutionary War, Chauncey Judd was kidnapped by a group of Tories, American supporters of the British monarchy, on March 15, 1780. He was held hostage for five days and almost died, based on several accounts. He eventually was rescued. Israel P. Warren told Judd’s experience in his historical piece titled The Boy Stolen (available online here or as a Kindle eBook for free at the Oxford Historical Society).

School in Lewiston

School in Lewiston where Tabitha Castle taught.

Castle wing is named after a teacher from the late 1700s named Tabitha, or Tabby, Castle. Tabitha taught in one of the first schoolhouses in the Salem Bridge area near Scott’s Woods (now Scott Street). Her school was in the Lewiston district was one of the first school districts in Salem Bridge (which is now Naugatuck). Castle taught many of the town’s most significant contributors, including the children of the Hoadley family, the Lewis family, the Scott family and the Woodruff family – just to name a few. She is also one of the first teachers in this area. A great account of Tabitha’s career as well as many others are captured in William Ward’s The Early Schools of Naugatuck. (A free eBook download and web copy is found at Google Play Books).

Chauncey Judd's Gravestone

Chauncey Judd’s Gravestone

The final named wing is named after Amasa Goodyear, the father of the famous Charles Goodyear, who was the man who vulcanized rubber. Amasa, however, made the first pewter buttons in the United States and managed a factory on Fulling Mill Brook to produce them. He and the rest of the Goodyear family contributed a lot to Naugatuck, including basing their operations here for decades and providing jobs and a stable economy for the borough. The school wing was named after him because he donated the land to build a school on School Street. This building was later torn down.

Saam also added that she has been “mindful of collecting the history” of the school in order to hopefully create a historical case as soon as one enters the new front doors. Though this will not be finished for two or more years, Saam enthusiastically said that she has already “started the collection” by asking teachers who have been at the school for 30+ years to contribute to the history hallway that will be located in what will be the “South” wing. Another idea that Saam has been contemplating is a “Wall of Honor” in order to highlight Naugatuck High School alumni who have graduated and achieved great success.

 

Boys Soccer Championship Recognition Ceremony

     NAUGATUCK – Superintendent James A. Connelly, Naugatuck’s Mayor Robert Mezzo and Naugatuck High School Principal Jan Saam held a ceremony to recognize athletes for wining the 2014 NVL Boys’ Soccer Championship and having an undefeated season. The ceremony was held Dec. 19 in the main office of the high school.
“Naugatuck soccer has built its tradition from the ground up,” stated Mezzo. “Now it is a premier team in the state.”
The boys are the first team in the Naugatuck Valley League to go undefeated for a season in the past 10 years. “You don’t see the superintendents and mayors of too many towns who stop their work to recognize teams like this,” said Dean of Students Tom Pompei.
The superintendent of Naugatuck summed up the ceremony when he stated: “You made NHS proud and you made the town of Naugatuck very proud.”

The Naugatuck High School boy's soccer 2014 NVL Champions.

The Naugatuck High School Boy’s Soccer 2014 NVL Champions.

Danny Silva shaking hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, Superintendent of the Naugatuck district.

Danny Silva shakes hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, superintendent of the Naugatuck public schools.

Tyler Saad shaking hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, Superintendent of the Naugatuck district.

Tyler Saad shakes hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, superintendent.

David Deoliveria shaking hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, Superintendent of the Naugatuck district.

David DeOliveira shakes hands with James A. Connelly, superintendent.

Josh Corbo shaking hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, Superintendent of the Naugatuck district.

Josh Corbo shakes hands with Mr. James A. Connelly, superintendent.

Facundo Coitino shaking hands with Naugatuck's mayor, Robert Mezzo.

Facundo Coitino shakes hands with Naugatuck’s mayor, Robert Mezzo.

Naugatuck High School Boy's Varsity Coach, Art Nunes, addresses soccer team.

Naugatuck High School Boys Varsity Coach, Art Nunes, addresses the soccer team.

Soccer players listening intently to Coach Nunes.

Soccer players listen intently to Coach Nunes.

Soccer players listening intently to Coach Nunes.

Soccer players listen intently to Coach Nunes.

Evil Dead at the Warner Theatre

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By Jason Begin                                                                                                                       Staff Writer

The Warner Theatre in Torrington is in its rehearsal process with its production of Evil Dead: The Musical under the direction of Keith Paul and music direction of TJ Tompson. The production will take place in the Nancy Marine Studio Theatre and contains the advertised “Splash Zone”. View discrestion is advised due to the presence of adult language and situations and a waiver required to be fillde out prior to entering the Nancy Marine Studio. Tickets start at $26 for the general public and the run time is approxiamnately 120 minutes long.

Performances:

Saturday, Sep 28 @ 8PM
Sunday, Sep 29 @ 2PM
Friday, Oct. 4 @ 8PM
Saturday, Oct. 5 @ 8PM
Sunday, Oct 6 @ 2PM

Synopsis:

The Warner Stage Company’s production of Evil Dead: The Musical is just as campy and bloody as you would dream it to be, but don’t plan on sitting OUT of the splash zone – come prepared to be a part of the show…the whole show…you never know what may happen.
Evil Dead: The Musical unearths the old familiar story: boy and friends take a weekend getaway at abandoned cabin, boy expects to get lucky, boy unleashes ancient evil spirit, friends turn into Candarian Demons, boy fights until dawn to survive. As musical mayhem descends upon this sleepover in the woods, “camp” takes on a whole new meaning with uproarious numbers like “All the Men in my Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons,” “Look Who’s Evil Now” and “Do the Necronomicon.”
And although it may sound like a horror, it’s not! The songs are hilariously campy and the show is bursting with more farce than a Monty Python skit.

Cast:

Linda – Lauren Jacob
Cheryl – Rachel Matz
Shelly – Theresa Elizabeth
Ash – Doron Flake
Scott – Josh Matteo
Ed – Daniel Willey
Annie – Jessica D’Onofrio
Moose – Cole Sutton
Jake – Moses Beckett
Fake – Cole Sutton
Shemp – Dick Terhune
Spirit of Knowby…

Additional Info:

For more info about the show please visit www.warnertheatre.org. Call  the box office to reserve tickets at (860) 489-7180, Click Here for online orders or visit the theater at 686 Rubber Avenue. The box office hours are as followed:                                                         Monday – Closed
Tuesday – 10am – 2pm
Wednesday – 10am – 2pm
Thursday – 12pm – 6pm
Friday – 10am – 2pm
Saturday – 10am – 2pm
Sunday – Closed

Sweeney Todd at the Phoenix Stage Company

By Jason Begin                                                                                                                       Staff Writer

The Phoenix Stage Company in Naugatuck has been having a fantastic run of their production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street which features Naugatuck High School senior Troy Bond. Their entire production has been sold out! The final show dates are September 27 & 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

Synopsis:

The rare instance of a musical thriller, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s chilling, suspenseful, heart-pounding masterpiece of murderous barber-ism and culinary crime tells the infamous tale of the unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th century London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife.

His thirst for blood soon expands to include his unfortunate customers, and the resourceful proprietress of the pie shop downstairs soon has the people of London lining up in droves with her mysterious new meat pie recipe!

Cast:

Sweeney Todd: Joe Harding
Mrs. Lovett: Marilyn Olsen
Judge Turpin: Jonathan Ross
Beadle Banford: Ron M’Sadoques
Anthony Hope: Stephen Michaelsson
Johanna: Emily Diedrich
Beggar Woman: Amber Dunphy
Tobias: Richard Damaso
Adolfo Pirelli: Meric Martin
Jonas Fogg: Mike Shick
Ensemble: Rhiannon Carta, Deborah Diamate, Marsha Gaylord, Kristen Jacobsen, Mike Shick

Director: Ed Bassett
Music Directors:Dan Porri & John Dressel