Are the Warriors Better with Kevin Durant? by John Schrup

Since the signing of superstar Kevin Durant last summer the question’s been stirring around the basketball world, are the Warriors going to be better than they were last year? Last season the Dubs posted the best regular season record in NBA history at 73-9 and were 1 game away from being back to back NBA champions. After their devastating loss in the finals up 3-1 to the Cavs, the Warriors franchise signed arguably the best player in the NBA to assure they would be Champions in the upcoming season.

Without a doubt any NBA team would love to have Kevin Durant but the accusation didn’t come cheap. The Warriors had to release starters Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut as well as key role players, Marreese Speights, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli and Brandon Rush in order to pay Durant the 27 million a season he demanded. The loss of almost half the team that got the Warriors to back to back championship appearances can prove to be problematic when raising the question, are the warriors going to be better with Kevin Durant? The last two seasons the Warriors have made history both individually as players and as a team, “Anyone who’s watched the warriors play over the last two seasons would argue that they were the best team of all time with chemistry both on and off the court . . . you can tell they were a family,” said Junior Mitch Fulfer.

Kevin Durant’s list of achievements are amongst the best who’ve ever played the game. He’s a two time scoring champion, one time league MVP, 4 time all NBA first team, Rookie of the year and the list of accolades go on and on. At almost 7 feet tall Durant’s unique ability to move and shoot like a guard but also play down low in the post makes him a matchup nightmare. With Durant the warriors add another scoring dimension to their already lethal combination with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The trio have a chance to become the best “Big 3” the NBA’s ever seen, a feat that’s nearly impossible to achieve but can only be achieved if they win multiple championships together.

45 games into the 2016-2017 seasons they’ve posted a record of 38-7 the best record in the NBA. Last season 45 games in, the Warriors were 43-2 and had won 24 straight games, the most in NBA history. Senior Trey-Shawn King Dunbar believes the difference between the two teams is, “consistency.”. “The highs this year are higher than last season but the lows are also lower”, said Mike Karimu. The warriors may be winning in bigger fashion than last season but they are also losing more often and by a wider margin. No one can argue that adding Kevin Durant an NBA superstar would make a team worse, but changing a lineup that many believed to be in the argument of one of the best all times can prove to be problematic. Only in time will we be able to know if the signing of Durant was a blessing or disaster. 

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The NFL’s Curious Drug Policy: How Painkillers Became An Acceptable Drug By Ryan Malley

If you have a back spasm, pop a pill, if you cannot make your cuts on your sprained ankle, pop a pill, if you are trying to get back to playing after shoulder surgery, maybe pop a few pills. But if you played Sunday night on the West Coast and then are playing Thursday night on the East Coast, and you are struggling to focus, that pill better not be Adderall.

All you have to do is turn on your television on Sundays in the Fall and you get to see the greatest athletes that the world has ever seen don armor that gladiators would be jealous of. Then these athletes run as hard as they can into each other for 60 minutes. There is no doubt football is an extremely physical sport. There is a reason that teams only play once a week. And to keep their bodies free from pain, the use of painkillers is a common occurrence in NFL locker rooms. Recently retired Detroit Lions Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson said, “the team doctors and trainers, they were giving them (pain killers) out like candy.”

If these NFL players continue to abuse to painkillers it can be extremely detrimental to their health. “Abuse can lead to kidney and liver failure, as well as increased risk of heart attack,” said Mindy Dioxy, an Assistant Athletic Trainer for NDNU.

What can be even more damaging is the continued abuse of painkillers by retires NFL players. A scientific study conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that retired NFL players misuse opioid pain medications at a rate more than four times that of the general population.

So why does the NFL have such a laissez-faire attitude towards painkillers, but will suspend a player who tests positive for Adderall?

The reason is that the NFL has labeled Adderall, the popular “study drug” for college students, as a performance enhancing drug (PED) as well as a drug of abuse. However, as stated the NFL does allow painkillers to help aid with a player’s ability to play through injury.

As of 2017, the NFL has determined that Adderall is a performance-enhancing drug. This means that by taking Adderall, your performance during games would be higher than if you did not take Adderall at all.  Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the NCAA have also enforced the same ruling.

As students, we may have an understanding of the NFL’s judgment on Adderall. The use of non-prescribed Adderall on college campuses can be a very common thing. According to the National Center for Health Research, a study of more than 10,000 college students from across the country found that more than half of students with an Adderall or other ADHD drug prescription were asked to sell the medication to peers and friends.

But if the NFL considers the use of Adderall to be cheating, what effects does Adderall have that would lead them to think this way? Dr Jessica DiVento who works in NDNU’s Health Services said, “For diagnosed patients with Attention Deficit Dissorder, Adderall can help them with their focus when they could otherwise not be able to do so.”

In the end, you can understand the NFL’s problem with the use of Adderall and other similar ADHD medication. Adderall has been seen as the NFL as a PED for its ability to aid in focus, which could give an unfair advantage to a player on the field. However, it brings up the question as to their ultimate motives when possibly harmful drugs like painkillers are encouraged and Adderall is not.

Legalization of Marijuana In The State of California by Micah Tateishi

CA, USA-  As of November 9th, 2016, in the state of California the majority of voters approved Proposition 64, making California the most populous state in the nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Proposition 64 allows Californians who are 21 and older to possess, transport, buy and use up to an ounce of cannabis for recreational purposes and allow individuals to grow as many as six plants. The measure would also allow retail sales of marijuana and impose a 15% tax.

By a margin of about 56% to 44%, voters passed Proposition 64, making California the fifth state to legalize recreational pot, after Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Adults cannot smoke or ingest weed in public. The measure only allows non-medical marijuana to be sold by state licensed businesses, and it gives the state until Jan. 1, 2018, to begin issuing sales licenses for recreational retailers. Though Proposition 64 will eventually allow for licensed on-site consumption. Many questions have been asked in regards to using medicainal marijuana and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. There is no way to measure how much THC (The main ingrendient in Canabis) is in one’s body with a breathalyzer, here is how this situation can be clarified. It is still illegal to do drugs and operate a vehicle, boat, aircraft or any other such vessel, and it will continue to be. The exact protocols for determining if a driver is impaired by marijuana will be set out by the California Highway Patrol. This vote happened 20 years after California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.

Seeing how Proposition 64 will have a positive or negative impact on all the citizens of the State of California I interviewed  several students and residents of Notre Dame de Namur located in Belmont, California. One student by the name of Matthew DeQuiroz said “I feel that Proposition 64 makes marijuana much more accessible for those who need medication. Since the passing of Proposition 64 I hope people will have a different outlooks on cannabis”. Another student by the name of Andy Sandoval said “I hope after Proposition 64 is passed that people do not take advantage of the law and have California turn into a state overtaken by cannabis”. Not all students and citizens had the same opinions on Proposition 64. One citizen of Belmont said that “Proposition 64 will ruin childhoods. Before you know it they will have dispensaries within walking distance of schools. Exposing youth to cannabis is the last things I want”. With the approval of the ballot measure creates the largest market for marijuana products in the U.S. It comes six years after California voters narrowly rejected a similar measure. Activists said passage would be an important moment in a fight for marijuana legalization across the U.S.

College Students Facing Homelessness by Renae Roque

College students face homelessness because of factors such as high housing costs, tuition, and other bills.

As a NDNU or private school student tuition roughly costs $30,000 dollars per year, according to College Board (collegedata). Although there are financial aid options, most salaries working-students earn isn’t enough. That being said some students end up in debt. According to The Institute for College Access and Success, “Seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt, with an average of $30,100 [dollars] per borrower” (ticas).

Most college students have to juggle school and work, but there are some who struggle with finding a place to stay at the end of the day which can take a toll on a student.

There isn’t a lot of attention on student’s who face home insecurity. According to the LA Times in 2016/17, “The only official clue to the number of homeless college students in the country is the 56,588 who identified as such on their federal financial aid applications — a number that advocates say understates the problem.”

According to Mike Palmieri, former NDNU student retention officer said, “…home insecurity isn’t something asked on a college application, and there’s usually not a standard way for schools to collect that information. Students who are starting college home insecure usually put a return/home address of some kind (relative, etc) so it isn’t known. Once they’re in school, the typical way staff/faculty find out is either if a student discloses it to them at some point because they have built a trusting relationship, or in some cases because the student’s situation is discovered (they’re “caught” living on campus in a friend’s room/apartment, or living in their car on campus).”

However, the problem of student home insecurity can change with proper assistance such as affordable or little to no cost housing options. For example, according to the California Aggie, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to help homeless college students in California. Assembly Bill AB 1228 guarantees housing for homeless youth allowing campuses to stay open during the holidays. However this bill is still in the process for the UC system and excludes the private school system, such as NDNU.

But, students such as Micah Tan, Junior and housing desk assistant at NDNU said, “Housing is every expensive and not everyone has the privilege to live with their parents close to the school. Sometimes parents kick their own children out and/or are unwilling to pay for their housing, so they should be able to stay at school.”

However Palmieri said, challenges schools face with giving rooms are, “…some staff will be needed over break to be available for emergencies, etc (RAs, professional on call staff). There’s concern for risk to the university, from a legal standpoint – in terms of liability, if anything happens, or there’s misconduct by the student(s). So, there is a lot of pushback from some of the administration regarding doing something like this.”

Although paying bills such as tuition cannot be completely eliminated, factors such as housing costs can be determined according to the student’s housing and financial situation.

Inauguration Day Impact by Lupe Gutierrez

A series of anti-trump protests and riots broke out in downtown Washington, after Donald Trump was sworn into office on January 20th, 2017. However this didnt stop the new president from signing his first few executive orders the following Monday.

Trump passed an executive order, in which he ordered a Mexican border wall to be built and paid for by Mexico. Mexico stated in a press release that they will not be paying for the wall regardless of what President Trump says. President Trump also issued another executive order regarding Obamacare and how the White House will begin to to start rolling back on the Affordable Care Act that was initiated by Obama.

President Donald Trump stated in his Inauguration speech how,  “We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions”.

Notre Dame De Namur students have become more aware of the executive orders that President Donald Trump has passed, as of late.

Sophomore student Yojani Ulloa said  “ After I found out about the passing of the executive order, in which President Trump, ordered a Mexican border wall to be built and paid for by Mexico, I was not surprised. I knew what policies Trump would bring into office and it is unfortunate how this executive order will affect thousands of Mexicans, especially Mexican students who come here for educational opportunities.

Senior student Michael Marques said Obamacare is costly. I believe the executive order that President Donald Trump passed was necessary. It needs to be rolled back due to its expense and some people are oblivious to the financial increase of Obamacare, especially in 2017

Faculty has also become aware of the changes President Donald Trump is making in office and aware of his characteristics, which will be shown throughout his presidency.

Communications Professor Natashia Lopez-Gomez stated how Many of the classes that I teach already address issues of racism, sexism, and other isms. Having Trump as our new president will only make these topics even more relevant. Why are we so feared? We have come a long way, but we still hold  people of color and women to a higher standard before we trust them or share power with them.

Trumps presidency so far has impacted thousands of  college students, who are becoming cautious of the changes he has already been making, since taking office. Within our own campus, students and faculty  have become more aware of these changes and have become worried about what to expect from President Trump, in the years to come.

Health Care in the Hands of Congress by Samantha Rupel

Washington, January 26, 2017- Senate Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan.

This vote was a big step taken towards the final repeal process, however, nothing is finalized. The Republican and Democratic lawmakers can agree that Affordable Care Act is a not perfect system, and the United States needs to fix the healthcare system. Republican lawmakers see a solution in wiping the slate clean and quickly piecing together a new system to implement. Democratic lawmakers see a solution in holding onto the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and adjusting it as we move forward as a nation. So far, the vote to repeal has won, and the gears have been set in motion to remove the Affordable Care Act.

The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to protect the health care rights of Americans by providing equal public access and choice in health care. The ACA guards the people against cancellation of an insurance plan due to an honest mistake, the right to put into question the denial of payment, and unreasonable rate increases. It gave power to citizens by allowing them a choice of primary care physician, no copayments, emergency care at any facility, and preventative health care options.

Kaiser Permanente Nurse Miles Korgan doubts about the promise of a more affordable public healthcare, “After the Affordable Care Act, I have seen more low income families receive the help they need, and even if it is not a perfect solution, we will see more health issues go untreated far too long if Obamacare is taken away.”

President Trump promised a “far less expensive and far better” replacement plan cover everyone, that would be put into action simultaneously with the repeal of Obamacare. Members of the GOP are nervous about the status of the said replacement plan, as the progress on the plan writing that has been released has been slim.

Republican and Democrats alike are concerned for the future of American health care, because no replacement plan has been finalized. Republican lawmakers are currently working to build a replacement plan, meetings are being held and calculations are being made, but nothing secure has been released. Paul Ryan promised the GOP will quickly re-write the American Care Act, but not rush the bill, ensuring that it is a well thought out, thorough health care plan.

Lawmakers do plan to keep some pieces of ACA for the new law, including young adults being cared for on the health care program their parents are under until the age of 26, and protecting children under 18 against denial of coverage for preexisting conditions.

San Jose State University student Carmen Ostrellos is concerned for the potential gap in time when public health insurance may not be available, “What makes me the most nervous is the lack of a timeline, everyone has something different to say about how simultaneous the replacement plan will be put in place of the ACA.”

Organizations, such as Families USA and Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care, have been working on affordable healthcare for many years, and have come to the table with a large following ready to fight and move forward. The Center for Medicare Advocacy encourages people to share their healthcare stories, as well as reach out to congress. Organizations like these are working to protect what progress has been made by reaching out to the people on all platforms available in this modern age of revolution. All sources say that the only course of action, in either protecting the ACA or repealing it, is to call or write to their congressperson.

 

Contact one or both of our California Representatives and state your point in the following format for the most efficient and effective outcome:

“(I am in favor of _____ or I oppose ______), and call your 2 Senators and 1 Representative on their DC and State Office lines, and you’ll be on your way to being heard.”

 

Feinstein, Dianne – (D – CA)
331 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3841
Contact: www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me

 

Harris, Kamala D. – (D – CA)
112 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3553
Contact: www.harris.senate.gov/content/contact-senator

 

 

 

International Perspective on the Election by Meleena Leon

“We’re scared, actually. We don’t know what we want to do, if we’re going to stay here, you know?” Following the recent presidential election, international students from Notre Dame de Namur have commented on Donald Trump being elected the 45th President of the United States and how they feel Trump’s entry into the White House will affect their lives.

Allison Yang, an international student from China, expressed her concern regarding the election stating, “About that news, I think everyone is just really surprised.” When asked whether or not she felt that the international community within NDNU paid close attention to the election, she commented, “We’re more focused on their presentations, and we focus on the reactions on the stage.” Zhanara Baisalova from Kyrgyzstan explained, “I think it’s important as a student of a college, you have to think about your graduation, your internships, where you want to work, and after the situation with Trump, it’s kind of makes things difficult.”

While neither explicitly said whether or not they supported Hillary Clinton, both voiced their concerns regarding the changes that may or may not occur during Trump’s presidency. In addition, both explained that Trump’s actions have had a negative effect on the international community’s perspective of the American people. Yang explains, “The behavior of the president is important; when you talk to another country as the American President, you don’t want to make a joke of it.” Parallel to Yang’s sentiment, Baisalova stated, “As international students, we want to stay in America. Now, you don’t because how the president looks and behaves, what he says, it’s like a direct definition of the country, even if it’s only for four years.”

The post-election uncertainty has both students wondering how their future will unfold, and both agree that they aren’t sure if they wish to stay in America during the four years that Trump will be in office. Baisalova explains that this is an untimely event in her life, as the next four years are vital to her education and the beginning of her career.

Yang explained that as a foreigner in the United States, she fears that as a part of the international community, she as well as others, may encounter a larger degree of prejudice. She explains, “Especially as students, we’re thinking of our education and if it’s going to be changed or not. And we feel like we aren’t too safe now. We see the news, the violence against people who come here.”