Monday, October 19, 2020

Recipe of the Week Column


By: Kasandra Lechleiter



Recipe: German Pancakes Category: Breakfast

Notes of Experience:

  • You might want to double the recipe, whether you want it to be considerably thick or just have it in a bigger pan.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs (preferably large)

  • 1.5 tablespoons (tbs) of granulated sugar

  • 1 pinch of salt

  • 0.75 cup of milk (preferably warm)

  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter (not entirely melted)

  • Optional: Serve with sliced strawberries, lemon juice, and powdered sugar to taste

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400* Fahrenheit (205* Celsius)

  2. Combine the eggs, granulated sugar, salt, milk, vanilla, flour, and melted butter in a blender and blend until smooth.  (Or I suppose you could mix them in a bowl, but if you’re really hungry, blenders will be faster.)

  3. Preheat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.  (If your oven is numbered, I suggest 5-7, the medium range)  for 3-4 minutes.

  4. Melt the butter in the skillet.

  5. Pour the batter into the heated skillet and then immediately (an carefully, for both the food’s sake, and yours) move the skillet to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

    1. The pancake is done when it is a rich, amber color and the sides have risen considerably

  6. Let the pancake cool

Enjoy!  ;)

Monday, October 12, 2020

The Power TikTok Holds in our Generation

By: Elise Stefankiewicz

In the ordinary life of teenagers, it is almost instinctive to wake up and check your phone. Inevitably, you grasp that addicting device and see what you convinced yourself you missed overnight. TikTok is an app that I´m sure each one of you has. Once you tap it, you are automatically opened up to a whole new world of creators and content. As addictive as it can be, whether you are watching the videos or making them yourself, if the app wasn't on your phone, you might struggle to understand an exchange between everyday teenagers. 

According to TechAhead´s article on the app, it is known that the platform has 600 million downloads worldwide and happens to be the 4th most downloaded app in the world. The app’s popularity took off in 2019, when it became a competition among friends to go viral on the platform. The app has thrived because it is fun, that's all there is to it. The videos that you watch either make you laugh, are heartwarming, or make you get up and learn a new dance. The app is prominent because it is so widespread and honestly, has no rules. The community of people who have gone viral from the content they have put out on the app are given extreme opportunities and partnerships. Charli D'amelio is the most followed person on the app, with 91.8 million followers but that will probably change by tomorrow. She has had many brand deals with Hollister, Morphe, and Orosa Beauty. She is sponsored by Dunkin Donuts and has her own drink on the menu, and almost everyone knows who she is. But without the app TikTok, no one would.

This platform holds an extreme amount of power in our generation and on social media. Influencers, huge brands, and well known celebrities have also joined in on putting out content on the app, which makes fans want to go on TikTok to see more of them. Trends and creators have changed what we do on our phones and how we go about our everyday lives. The dances are probably the biggest trends on the app. 31.3 million videos have been made under the sound, which shows that not only are the dances causing a huge trend, but so are music artists' streams. Other than a new dance trending every week, the app's audience and creators also do other trends like tie dye, the ghost trend, the mirror trend, pranks, and reaction videos. 

All of these things that stream the “for you” page have shaped our generation into what it is today. For some TikTok is a news source, used to keep track of what is going on in the world. For some, it is a fun way to get up and learn a new dance. TikTok is an outlet, a new way to express yourself and has shaped our world into what it is today. 


Resources:

“How TikTok Has Changed the Social Media Game.” TechAhead, 11 Sept. 2020, www.techaheadcorp.com/blog/tiktok-changed-social-media/. 


The Book Corner with Ava Tanis: The Sun is Also a Star


When romantic, Daniel Bae and fate-skeptical, Natasha Kingsley meet accidentally during what’s supposed to be Natasha’s last day in the U.S., it feels less significant than it turns out to be. They have a seemingly undeniable connection, but Natasha’s adherence to fact doesn’t allow her to truly believe in love or the power of circumstance. Daniel bets her that he can make her fall in love with him in one day, and the game is afoot. 

Exploring the stress of deportation and being forced down what feels like the wrong career path–among many other troubles of modern teenhood–The Sun Is Also a Star has potential to resonate with a variety of demographics. If you love love and beautifully-written literature, it is a charming contemporary novel that you will surely enjoy. Nicola Yoon’s writing is rich in detail and easy to follow.

Repeated coincidences that always seem too good to be true make the book feel less realistic, but nonetheless losing yourself in Yoon’s dreamy narration is an effortless process. Themes of love and fate make this book relatable to many others, but in comparison to classic love stories, it is unique for its representation of mixed race couples and immigrants as well as for bringing light to many current events and issues. 

If you are a fan of Yoon’s other novel, Everything, Everything, or of similar literary works–Call Me By Your Name, for example–you may like this sweet, romantic novel. One thing is for sure; by the end of the novel, Natasha believes in fate, and you will too. 


The Vice Presidential Debate Aftermath: What You Need to Know

By: John Stracco

Last week, vice presidential candidates Mike Pence and Kamala Harris met for their one and only debate for a last ditch effort to convince Americans why their candidate is better, even though plenty of voters have already made up their minds. When asked who won last week’s contest it is quite arguable that it was a tie. Both candidates were well put and articulate, and unlike the in presidential debates, were equally respectful of each other. They both also equally dodged as many questions as possible on issues that would make them look bad. With that said, Kamala Harris probably won last night purely because her opponent, current Vice President Mike Pence, is associated with the cataclysmic presidency of Donald Trump and was left to defend actions that cost 200 thousand and counting American lives.

Both candidates had their moments though. Senator Harris came off particularly strong on issues such as the coronavirus and racial or social issues. It seemed given however, considering Pence’s running mate, Donald Trump, is known to have immense disapproval on those issues. Pence did equally well on issues like the economy, taxes, and the supreme court, most notably calling out Harris on her refusal to answer the question asking if she and Biden would pack the supreme court following the nomination and anticipated confirmation of Amy Coney Barret.

Candidates also consistently changed topics and used their time to answer questions from previous sessions. Questions about the environment were quickly turned to taxes and questions about healthcare, which Senator Harris seemed to win at, were intertwined with the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Both also took to the habit of straight up not answering the questions. One of the most glaring examples of this was when each candidate was asked about the ages of Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Kamala Harris simply explained her entire life story when she was asked about the possibility of a vacancy in office during the next term, and Mike Pence gave little to none evidence of an answer either. This also happened on many other occasions where candidates danced around questions because they knew the answers would make them look bad. Mike Pence struggled to give straight answers about the pandemic because of the failure his administration took during it, and Kamala Harris seemed to use Trump as a scapegoat on the issues of taxes. Instead of talking about her and Biden’s tax plan she took fire at the President for his own tax records, and Mike Pence noted she refused to answer because her plan would raise taxes.

While there were a plethora of issues last week, it was overall a good night for American Politics. For the first time in forever, it seemed that two political rivals were able to have civil discourse and respect each other while also providing a decent amount of policy and substance for the American people, though the bar for this was set incredibly low. Not only that but the candidates towards the latter end of last night provided hope for American unity in one of the most decisive, and important times in our nation's history. They each told Americans of the beauty that can come from disagreement, which was shown through their debate all night; a sign of hope for the Americans of the future. And we cannot forget about the fly on Mike Pence’s head.


The Eight States That Will Decide the Election: And Why Yours Doesn’t Matter


By: John Stracco

     Americans will make one of the most important decisions with regards to the future of the country, the Presidential election. Under our democratic values, we believe that our system of government accounts for each individual to be able to vote equally; however is it possible that your vote doesn’t matter?

        Since the ratification of the Constitution, the United States has used a system called the electoral college, where state electors carry out voter preference for their respective state. This system has come under fire quite recently, most notably in the 2000 and 2016 Presidential elections. Current President, Donald Trump, was able to win the election, but not the popular vote which called into question if the electoral college really works. 

Under the system, electors carry out the desire of the popular vote in each state, so if a majority of New Jersey voters were to choose Joe Biden, New Jersey's 14 electoral votes would go to Joe Biden. The same would work on the other side where if a majority of voters in Texas chose Donald Trump, he would receive all 35 electoral votes from the state. Most states' populations swing to one side; for example: New Jersey, New York, or California nearly 99% expected to vote for the Democrat, while states like Kansas, Wyoming, and Alabama expected to vote for Republican.


There are a small number of states called swing states, which consist of roughly an equal amount of voters and can swing to one party or another, depending on the election and which candidate they believe will do a better job leading the country. Unfortunately only eight states really do have a say, and the direction they swing will decide the election. They include Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Georgia. This is the main reason why these states are campaigned in the most, candidates making almost weekly visits to them.

        

        For us voters in New Jersey,  will we be able to say that a Presidential candidate paid serious attention to the state and its outcome? Voters in states that are traditionally one sided often feel ignored, almost like the two party system failed them. This is especially true if you are a red voter in a blue state or vice versa. 


For example, Republican voters in New Jersey may as well throw their vote down the metaphorical drain. We all know that Joe Biden will carry the 14 electoral votes from the state and bearing those circumstances, the President doesn’t stand a chance in the Garden State. 


This could also play into the greater picture of the dilemma behind third party candidates. In a state like New Jersey, where the winner can be decided as soon as the polls close, voters may be more encouraged to use their vote on a candidate they actually believe in who may not necessarily be a Republican or Democrat. However, in a state like Pennsylvania that was decided by thousands of votes in 2016, voters do not have the same luxury. The Keystone State could very well hold the state of the country in its hand. In Pennsylvania every vote counts, and many consider a vote for a third party candidate to be a waste.


So how does America find its way out of this entwined political dilemma? Well, many argue that the abolition of the electoral college would suffice, but some states are taking a different approach. Maine will conduct its election via rank choice voting this year with the hope that it will encourage voters to choose candidates who represent their values instead of a party. But will it work? The very foundation of our democracy will lay within the results of this groundbreaking election.


The Political Implications Of President Trump’s Covid-19 Case


By: John Stracco

    

On the morning of Friday, October 2nd, Americans woke up to yet another disaster plaguing the year of 2020. Early Friday morning, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, announced via twitter that he and the first lady had tested positive for the Coronavirus. Obviously, this news is devastating and sad, as it is for any who contract the deadly disease; but with Trump being the oldest and definitely the most influential world leader to contract the virus so far, there are certain political implications that are unavoidable, with only 22 days before the election.

A simple place to start is with Trump’s strategy for reelection. It is obvious, the numbers don’t lie, that the US has the most Covid-19 cases in the world, and many lay the responsibility for that on the President. It has been abundantly clear that Trump is steering his campaign towards the economic recovery, “law and order”, and the supreme court. For a clear path to victory Trump would most likely hope to keep the coronavirus on the downplay during his campaign. However, his diagnosis does the exact opposite of this. For the next few weeks voters in swing states will focus on Trump's dealing with the virus, and his own immune response could be very influential in the outcome of the election. 

The best possible outcome for the President is that he has a quick and speedy recovery.To start, is the best possible outcome for the President in which he has a quick and speedy recovery. Three consequences came of Trump’s case.

 First, some voters were stirred by Trump’s positive test and may have decided he is not the man to lead the country. The second is that the President talked of how easy his run with the virus was, proving his point that many people contract the virus with mild to no symptoms.

Either way, Trump will have to self-isolate for at least 10 days which halts all campaign events and gives an advantage to his opponent, Joe Biden, who is beginning on the ground events in swing states this week. Biden will be able to speak directly to voters, while the President is stuck in a hospital. This also brings into question the second presidential debate, which is supposed to happen when he is done isolating. And after Trump’s performance during the first debate, he could certainly use another chance to appeal to voters. However, this will be substantially harder after his run with the Coronavirus.

Just like the death of legendary Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Trump’s positive test provides yet another shake up just weeks before the election that will weigh on the minds of the American people for the weeks to come; as well as swing voters  who are most likely to vote closer to the election and in person. These are some of the most influential voters on the future of the country and outcome of the election.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

WHAT WOULD THE FRAMERS SAY?


By Mary Reduzzi

There has been much speculation regarding the recent events leading up to the fourth presidential impeachment process in American history. President Trump may have committed an impeachable offense, but what the Constitution deems as such blurs the clarity of the line drawn between legal and illegal implementations put forth by the president. By analyzing the Constitution further, United States federal courts can clarify whether Trump’s call to the Ukranian president violates his Executive rights. However, the big question remains: what would the framers of the document itself say? Through the use of historical analysis, Article II. Section 4 of the United States Constitution, and the declassified transcript of the phone call in question, it is clear why the framers would not consider this act an impeachable offense. 
The Constitution, ratified in 1788, was written by men during a time when the news was delivered by horseback and official business between two nations often took months to transpire. The framers were unable to fathom the means of communication society utilizes today, and they left the causes for impeachment quite vague. According to the constitution, “The President shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” 1 Clearly, the writers could not specifically affirm that any president who calls a president of another country on the phone with intent to hurt a political rival, with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice, would be impeachable. The interpretation of “high crimes and misdemeanors” is what makes the Constitution difficult to use in the argument for and against Trump’s impeachment. Historically, this term has been used throughout English Parliament to impeach officials of the crown who abused their power and were proven unfit to serve. 2 Be that as it may, the framers were more interested in protecting the well-being of the


1 U.S Const., art. II, § 4.
public, and sought to protect against a President or officer explicitly harming the people as a whole, not just using his power unjustly to benefit himself and/or a group of supporters. That being said, an impeachable offense, according to the Constitution, can simply be interpreted as a crime committed against the general public.
Trump may not have directly endangered the citizens of the United States, but the controversial content within his phone call to Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky may prove to be a violation of his Executive powers. “Legal experts say Trump’s call with Zelensky, in which he asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden’s son Hunter and may have implicitly tied foreign aid money to the request, may not have violated the letter of the law.” 3 This 30-minute phone call did not involve payment to an individual government official and was not for business purposes, which protects Trump from an accusation consisting of bribery. The Justice Department’s Criminal Division also reviewed the call and reported that there was no campaign finance law violation. 4 President Trump firmly believes it is his right to forcefully investigate corruption with the help of other countries, and his motive, attempting to tear down a Democratic candidate, does not appear to be an injury done immediately to society itself. However, the abuse of a foreign law enforcement investigation for personal political gain is in the process of being labeled an impeachable offense on the grounds that Trump’s actions were not illegal, but may warrant his removal from office. 5 


2 Berenson, Tessa. “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” crf-usa.org. Sept. 25, 2019. Accessed Oct. 3, 2019. https://www.crf-usa.org/impeachment/high-crimes-and-misdemeanors.html
3 “Why Donald Trump’s Ukraine Call Could Be An Impeachable Offense.” Time.com. Accessed Oct. 3, 2019. https://time.com/5686104/trump-ukraine-call-impeachment-offense/
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.
The framers of the Constitution deemed impeachment a type of “check” towards Executive power and left the means of removal from office somewhat vague. There is no immediate evidence of treason, bribery, or crime committed by the President, and during the time the Constitution was ratified, political leaders were under much less scrutiny while collaborating with each other. Further, due to the fact that the framers interpreted impeachable offenses like those in English Parliament, as crimes and abuses of power done against the public, President Trump’s phone call to the Ukranian President would not seem as threatening as it does today. The increasingly-oppositional and highly-competitive party-system in the United States today strongly differs from the party-system found in 1788. The call that was made to jeopardize potential future presidential candidate Joe Biden is outrageous to American citizens who are heavily Democratic solely because he is Democratic, and feel more personally attacked than citizens in 1788 would feel. This raises the question of whether or not this “misdemeanor” directly injures the public and the members of the Constitutional Congress when they met for the first time so many years ago would say no, simply because party-politics have changed so drastically.








Bibliography
Berenson, Tessa. “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” crf-usa.org. Sept 25, 2019. Accessed 
Oct. 3, 2019. https://www.crf-usa.org/impeachment/high-crimes-and-misdemeanors.html

U.S Const., art. II, § 4. Accessed Oct. 3, 2019.

“Why Donald Trump’s Ukraine Call Could Be An Impeachable Offense.” Time.com. Accessed 
Oct. 3, 2019. https://time.com/5686104/trump-ukraine-call-impeachment-offense/