Monthly Archives: December, 2009

Por Ser Méxicano: Because He Was Mexican

By Krystal Diaz

(Photo, compliments of Maria Nieven Alonso-Almagro)

Every year, thousands upon hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world travel to the United States, whether in search of religious or political freedom, education development or sponsorship through work reform.

According to Wikipedia, immigration has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout history. The United States accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than any other country in the world, totaling to 37.5 million people, as of 2006.

One such lucky person that came to the United States was Maria Nieves Alonso-Almagro. Maria comes from the capital of Spain, born and raised. Now, she is an assistant professor of Spanish of the college. However, it wasn’t an easy trip for her.

Maria earned her B.A. at the Universidad Autonama de Madrid in her early twenties, and then later received her M.A. The education system in particular Spanish countries, including Spain and Argentina, differs from how the education system is in the United States.

For most students that do well throughout elementary school into high school are given a chance to enter into public universities…for free. Therefore, college is free for those that are within obtain good grades; whereas those who don’t obtain good grades have to pay for it. The education system determines whether or not a student is eligible to continue in to either public or private school through placement testing towards the end of high school and can also determine what type of degree a student can apply for.

Through the State University of New York, Maria was given a scholarship at Stony Brook to continue her way into a Ph.D. Even though she was able to receive a scholarship she still needed to obtain a F1 student visa. There are many types of visas that one can obtain through the U.S. Department of State. There is a lot of paper work that needs to be done to apply and receive a F1 student visa. Most of the paperwork needs to be done online.

Every year, about 60 to 70 thousand people go to the United States with visas from Spain. However, only those that are financially stable or have an education and are continuing on as a professional can obtain said visas. In order for Maria to get a student visa she had to prove that she could go to Stony Brook without the scholarship she was given.

Some people cannot obtain a visa because they have no money or do not have an adequate education. Mostly it is because in order to obtain a particular visa, it has to be done online, such as a Diversity Lottery. There are still many areas that do not have access to a computer and/or do not know how to access the internet.

According to the U.S. Department of State online, “When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America.”

Although Maria came in 2000 through her visa and scholarship she was able to reapply for another three years. The one thing that she was able to do here that she would not have been able to do in Spain is get a teacher’s assistant job. After her M.A. she would have needed to start a job automatically, but Maria wanted to further her education and get a Ph.D. “Going abroad for a year or going abroad for a semester…it’s something that you cannot really put a value to that,” said Maria, “I’m very glad that I did it.”

It takes a lot of courage to leave ones country and try to make it here in the United States. Many people come here without papers looking for work. This country was created through a melting pot of immigrants. However, the economic and social part of immigration have brought about controversy regarding ethnicity, religion, economic benefits, job growth, levels of criminality, nationalities, and work habits.

In any country, whenever something bad happens, economically speaking, usually the first to blame is the immigrant. There is a climate of fear: fear of people that are different and mostly through ignorance.

Maria is one of the editors of a bilingual magazine titled HYBRIDO. Their latest issue contains true stories of those that can be found on the streets of Farmingville; those that huddle near each other in the damnedest of weather looking, waiting, and struggling for work. Not everyone that migrates to the United States has a happy story like Maria…this is Ana’s.

This story comes from the tenth issue of HYBRIDO in 2008. It is a vague translation of her story since it is in both English and Spanish. Ana comes from Colombia.

She came to New York with her parents when she was 16 years old. She obtained her degree in political sciences, is married and it works with an agency that promotes the rights of people. In this fragment she speaks of her first experiences working in this country. Her parents, who were professors in their country, work here in a factory.

Ana: It was September eleventh. At that time, my father was working at an airplane parts company. He left and began to work with my mother as assemblers, lines of work pieces were passed to and from them… where they put tickets for the soda machines.

My father had afternoons free and one lady of a restaurant wanted him to work in “fast food.” Then, he took me and said to me, “See if they accept you.” Well, we were, we applied, and without any problem, they accepted me too. Well, I knew more or less English they placed me in the front.

It was very hard because we worked, my father and me, and sometimes we returned home twelve and on average one in the morning. We had to wash everything, fry things; in that restaurant I lasted more or less 2 years there. I was in High School; I was seventeen.

I remember this one time, it seemed horrible to me, was when I worked in that fast food restaurant. All of the cooks were of El Salvador or Mexico. They hardly arrived and they do not speak English. We spoke in Spanish because it’s necessary but…

We worked there in the restaurant a little while when the manager said to us, “Oh. We have complaints from the customers and they would like not for you guys to speak Spanish.”

-So they’re not going to get chicken? I’m sorry. They’re not going to get chicken, or they are not going to get anything? You know nothing.

Because how am I supposed to tell the people that cook that I need tacos con queso con tomate con lechuga con…? If they want to have their food on time, how am I supposed to tell the person that cooks, you know, they need chicken, they need this, they need that. How?

-“Oh, well then they should speak English.”

-All right then. Then we leave and then bring the people that speak English. This was their customer. He came in. He orders. So I’m like Juan, José, whoever. I need this and I started asking them in Spanish.

The guy said, “What are you saying? Are you talking about me?”

“I’m telling them to cook your meal, is that a problem?” That is the typical American who thinks that we are always speaking badly of him or that everybody is looking at him. Delirious of persecution.

And he’s like, “Are you talking about me?”

-“I’m not talking about you. You’re not that important for me to talk about you. I just met you.”

-“Oh, are you being rude?”

-I’m like, “I’m not being rude. You are being rude to me.”

-“Oh, you people come here, and you think you own everything and you don’t even speak English.”

-And then I’m like, “Do you really want somebody that works here to speak English? How many kids do you have? You have kids? Tell them to come and apply and see if they can do the job that they are doing. Believe me. Believe me. If you have people in the United States, Americans, that want to go and work and do the job that the immigrants do, believe me, nobody will come here. For what? They will go to another place. For what?” And I told the guy, “Tell everybody we’re hiring. You want applications? I’ll give you applications. Tell everybody that we are hiring. You get me 5 cooks and we leave.”

And unfortunately I got very upset and I threw the chicken at him. But, whatever…

It is very hard for immigrants to obtain a visa let alone remain here under the God given respect that every human being deserves. The pen is mightier than the sword; just as it is written on those Starbucks coffee cups, “I wish everyone could see how much we all have in common.” For more information on what Long Island is doing about it go to www.longislandwins.com, www.longislandimmigrantalliance.org, and check out the latest issue of HYBRIDO at www.hybridomagazine.net.

Adjusting to different Countries, and Lifestyles-Iordan P. Michev

By: Lauren Maio

Bulgaria is a country in South Eastern Europe that dates back to 7th century AD. It borders other countries such as Greece and Turkey and is the 39th most popular place for tourists.

Little do SCCC faculty, staff and students know, our very own Math professor, Iordan P. Michev, emigrated here with his family being from Bulgaria. Prior to the US immigration, the Michev family lived in Japan from October  1997 to August of 1999. The family did not exactly experience “culture shock” when they arrived here because it had already occurred when they settled down in Japan.

“It still  wasn’t easy living on Long Island for six months. We were using transportation during this time and I had to learn how to drive at 40 years old”, he explained. After living in Kyoto Japan and  attending the University, the family moved to Boston, MA in September of 1999. Michev was a teaching at Boston University when they arrived but left shortly in December of ’99.

“Since January of 2000 we have been living on Long Island and I have been teaching at SCCC. At first , we encountered a lot of visa problems (J1- and H-1B basis) but have finally become Permament residents with a green card”. In the near future, Michev and  his family will apply for US citizenship. It is a long and difficult process to go through in the country because a test is mandatory.

This is someone who has lived in a variety of counties that are all so different. After World War II, Bulgaria was ruled by a communist state and did not get their democracy back until 1990 because there revolutions of 1989 forced the government out of the country.  Japan has undergone several problems as well, especially during World War II when they bombed Pearl Harbor. They were ruled by a government were the people had no voice and to this day , they have a prime minister.

As we all know, The US has never experienced such rulers and never will because of our pride in freedom. The Michevs have moved to a country where they can vote and learn to drive without anyone telling them “no”. “ We did not have problems adjusting to the American way of life”, he said. Now, Japan and Bulgaria have more democracy than they ever did.

Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in Kenya Anymore

By Jackie Maczkiewicz

People have been immigrating from their home countries to America for many years.  It all seems to fall under the category of wanting a “better life” and finding it in America.  Although some people don’t look at America as the greatest place in the world, they don’t realize how extremely good we have it here compared to other countries.  Kauthar Hassan is a 19 year old girl who came here from Kenya.  I was able to sit down with her and interview her journey as she moved here in 2000.

Me: What was it like making such a big move like that?

Kauthar : It was exciting to travel from there to here as we didn’t travel much before.  Suddenly we were on a very big trip.

Me: Why did you and your family come to the United States?

Kauthar: We came to the United States because my parents wanted better things for all of our family, so they brought us to this country.

Me: How is the United States, New York in particular different from Kenya?

Kauthar: When we came here, we were amazed at how different everything was.  I mean there were big cities in Kenya, but there was nothing to compare with the atmosphere of the New York area.  In Kenya, we had a huge variety of animals and wildlife.  The plains of Kenya were really close to the city.  We used to go on safaris and watch sunsets, they were always so beautiful but here it seems to be really hard to find wide open spaces.

Me:  What is one thing you miss most about Kenya?

Kauthar:  Wow, to be honest, its kind of weird but I miss when it was really early in the morning.  I would wake up and the smell of pancakes and mandozi would fill my nose.  If I had to pick something else it would probably be the sunsets I was just talking about also.

Me: Im sorry, Mandozi?

Kauthar : (Laughs)  It’s a Kenyan pastry we used to eat all the time.  They were so good.

Me: So missing all those parts of your life, do you like it here?

Kauthar: I do.  Everyone is pretty friendly for the most part and when I first came in 2000 a lot of people were interested in where I had come from and wanted to know all about me.  That was pretty cool because I was pretty excited to be here.  Also, theres a lot of things that I can do here that I couldn’t do at home.  Theres different foods that Ive grown to love and I didn’t realize that there are so many different cultures in America.

Me: What is the difference between you and an American child?

Kauthar: (Laughs) When I first came here I noticed that a lot of kids take things for granted.  Back home, we didn’t have microwaves, or dishwashers.  We washed our dishes by hands.  I guess when I first came here I was different by knowing how to do things without the technology of this world.  Although I completely loved it !

Me: Final question, do you think it was the right decision for your family to come to the United States?

Kauthar:  Although I miss Kenya a lot sometimes, I definitely think we are in the right place for our family to be in.   We have gotten so many opportunities that just would not have been possible in Kenya.  I don’t regret it, just miss certain aspects of it.

After talking with her, I realized myself that there may be certain things I take for granted myself.  My father is a german immigrant and moved here with his parents when he was only 2 years old.  After learning of Kauthars story, it made me want to talk to my father about his family story.  Even if he was only a toddler when it happened.  It was amazing to see what different people have gone through to get to where they are today and how different countries can change a persons life.  If you have any free time readers, ask your grandparents or parents where your family has come from and what they went through so that you could live the lifestyle you do today.  I think you would find it interesting and shocking by the stories you may find out.

Registration = Frustration

By Jackie Maczkiewicz

Its the end of the semester and everyone is more than excited.  Christmas break is coming soon, tests and finals will soon to be no more, and studying is nonexistent for close to 2 months.  Many find this as heartwarming and nice to know that they don’t have to worry about school issues for even a short period of time.  Its finally time to relax.  So why is it that so many students are still finding it difficult to do this?  One word; registration.

It seems to be that it doesn’t matter how many semesters you have completed or if you are just entering for the first time, registration is the most stressful thing a student can go through.  What classes are still needed to be completed, how to figure out the crazy Sain report on the website, which teachers to look for, and how to get into these classes are the essential tools a student needs to go through.  However, its not all that easy to get the “perfect schedule.”

With so many students now here on campus it is amazing that people are even finding their way into the classes that are necessary to fulfill their requirements.  This year at Suffolk was one of the biggest entry classes it has ever had and due to that fact more and more students are finding it difficult to find their way into a nicely put schedule.  I had always found that in the past I could weasel my way into finding the classes I needed and managing to only come to campus 2 days a week.  This past semester I was not so lucky.  I had to come in now 4 days a week and on two of those days had only 1 class which I might add was quite annoying as it was in the middle of the day.

I think there were many other students who were in a similar situation as I.  What made it so difficult was trying to continue to work full time at my job at Sports Authority and go to my desired classes.   Yes, full time, meaning close to 40 hours a week.  It was quite simple when I only went to school twice a week.  I worked 5 and the days when I had off I went to school.  This semester not so easy.  I had work and school on the same days running back and forth to both, making life both tiresome and crazy.

With registration just passing I wondered what students were feeling and looking forward to for the next semester.  Fortunately, I will no longer be a student here on campus so registration here was no longer an issue of mine.  I met up with some students of all different kinds.  One who has been here for several semesters, one who is going into their second semester and one who will be beginning in the fall of 2010.

Emily Mark, a student here for now over a year, is still confused as to what she wants to do with her future.  “I think registration is always difficult for anyone, but when you don’t know what you exactly want to do, you really have no idea what classes to take.  Its almost like you feel like you are completely wasting your time with some of these classes.  It even feels like you get the leftovers at times.”  This statement did not really surprise me to say the least.  I would have to agree that it is probably difficult in making a schedule when you are not sure what it is you want to do.

Another student, Felicia Cruz, is now going into her second semester here on campus.  “When I made my schedule the first time it was a breeze.  They basically told me what I had to take when I was just starting because I was in all of the intro classes and welcome to college type stuff.  Now I get to make my own schedule, which I love but at the same time it was really hard to find the classes I needed with my crazy schedule.”  She works full time also, so clearly I could relate.  “The classes seemed to be filling up really quickly and I didn’t even get some of the classes I wanted which completely stinks because they only offer it in the spring which now means I will have to try and get into that class next time spring comes around.”

With all these students having trouble when they are already enrolled in the campus, I found it difficult to try and talk to someone who is looking forward to starting college and a new experience.        Tracy Muratore will be heading off to college for the first time in the fall of 2010 once she graduates highschool this coming June.  I wondered what she was feeling as she knows students who have been having trouble finding classes here at suffolk and any concerns she may have.  “Im not sure exactly what to feel.  Im excited to start a new part of my life and get out of high school finally but I must admit that Im a bit nervous that I wont be able to get what I need.  I know suffolk had so many students come in this year plus the ones that were already here.”  She asked me if students who were already enrolled had the opportunity to pick their classes first.  I felt unfortunate to tell her that they did.  It is what is called “Pre-Registration” or early registration.  With all the students here on campus and the classes filling up in an insanely quickly manner, it was no surprise to me that she would be nervous to what she would get when she goes to try to register in the fall.

I also did some more research past just the Suffolk campuses.  Don’t worry students, it is not just Suffolk that is having this problem.  Friends that attend St. Josephs, Hofstra, and Stonybrook are finding it extremely hard to find the classes they need in a schedule that can work for them.  Countless facebook status’ of how annoying, ridiculous and stupid their school is overflowing lately on my news feed as Im sure everyone can find this to be true on theirs as well.   More and more students are finding it harder and harder as they are reaching the end of their education career at their school.  The only thing a student can do is to try their best to find a schedule to fit their wants and needs and get done as soon as they can.  Good luck Suffolk Students!  You will prevail!

Immigration Reform Way Overdue

Photo Credit Google Images

By Lisa Behnke & Nicole DeCoursey

The much anticipated Immigration Reform Bill has been put to the backburner since its defeat in the house last spring. It came two votes shy of being passed, and for many hopeful immigrants has become a dream unfulfilled. 

Students, who are in the United States on student visas, would have benefited from the Dream Act of 2009. According to the official summary of the Open Congress website, “the amendment to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act of 1996 would ensure eligibility for higher education benefits based on state residence. It would also have authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who:

1. Entered the United States before his or her 16th birthday and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act;

2. is a person of good moral character;

3. is not inadmissible or deportable under specified grounds of Immigration and Nationality Act;

4. At the time of application has been admitted to an institution of higher education or has earned a high school or equivalent diploma;

5. from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal; and

6. Was under age 35 on the date of this Act ‘s enactment. Sets forth the conditions for conditional permanent resident status, including:

(1) Termination of status for violation of this Act; and

(2) Removal of conditional status to permanent status. Authorizes an alien who has satisfied the appropriate requirements prior to enactment of this Act to petition the Secretary for conditional permanent resident status. Provides for:

(1) Exclusive jurisdiction;

(2) Penalties for false application statements;

(3) Confidentiality;

(4) Fee prohibitions;

(5) Higher education assistance; and

(6) A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report respecting the number of aliens adjusting under this Act.”

Just as important to the reform bill, is the Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2009, which would provide increased protections and eligibility for family-sponsored immigrants. According to the official summary of the Open Congress website, “the amendment would authorize the Secretary to adjust the status of aliens who would otherwise be inadmissible (due to unlawful presence, document fraud, or other specified grounds of inadmissibility) if such aliens have been in the United States for at least five years and meet other requirements.”

The Visa Reform Act of 2009 was also introduced, as part of the reform bill, and would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to revise employers and government provisions regarding H-1B (specialty occupation) and L-1 (intra company transfer) nonimmigrant aliens. An employer would be required to:

1. Revise wage determination requirements;

 2. Require internet posting and description of employment positions;

3. Lengthen U.S. worker displacement protection;

4. Apply certain requirements to all H-1B employers rather than only to H-1B dependent employers;

 5. Prohibit employer advertising that makes a position available only to, or gives priority to, H-1B non immigrants; and

6. Limits the number of H-1B and L-1 employees that an employer of 50 or more workers in the United States may hire. Revises to the application can be reviewed for provisions and will then get authorized by the Department of Labor (DOL), will be looked over to;

(1) Investigate applications for fraud; and

(2) Conduct H-1B compliance audits. This directs DOL to conduct annual audits of companies with large numbers of H-1B workers and allows them to initiate H-1B employer applications and to investigate them and then can cause increased employer penalties. This information is shared between the DOL and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services regarding employer noncompliance.

With so many parts to the Immigration Reform Bill, it is unlikely Congress will agree upon and pass it any time soon. “If we don’t see something by August at the latest, we won’t see anything passed for a long time,” said Melinda Rubin, a lawyer who specializes in immigration.

For illegal immigrants who hope to see a law passed, the only thing she can suggest is to wait it out a little longer.

Thirsty Thursdays?…No, Thirsty Weekends

By Jackie Maczkiewicz

Weekends have become an epic part of young adults lives.  Halloween Eve, Thanksgiving Eve, Christmas Eve, and New Years Eve are not just the only days to go crazy and party anymore.  Although Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest night of the year for partying, it seems as if regular weekends are making their way onto the scene.  Living on Long Island, there are multiple clubs and bars where a person could go on any given night to be considered the “hot spot.”  So how do people know where to go on what night?  Which place will they have the best time at?  Well, most of the time especially here on campus, they have little notes that are left on their cars to tell them all about it.

Michael Stabinksy, also known as the infamous Mikey Stubbs, is a student here at the Ammerman Campus.  Not only is Mikey known for being a familiar face at all the top clubs and bars on the weekends, hes known for running the shows.  He works for NEO Promotions and LI Nights promoting company.  These companies sponsor and hold different events at different bars and clubs that may be themed related or have a famous person coming to draw the crowds.  Some of the places that he has done events at have included Bianco Ultra lounge, Shy, 620 Lounge, The Crazy Donkey, and Edge, just to name a few.

“Basically what I do is try to inform as many people as I can of upcoming events and the different ways of transportation we offer to get there. This is usually done via verbally, internet, such as facebook event invites, mass texting or distribution of flyers.”  So those little cards with half naked girls on them that are left on your cars when you come out of class, may just be from Mr. Stubbs.

“The most important thing to remember about my job is that you cant be shy.  You always need to be outgoing and social otherwise people don’t respond too well,” he went on to say.  I wondered if he found it difficult to always be this social.  “The only difficulties i sometimes experience are having to run around and meet people to collect the money for transportation and exhaustion.  It doesn’t seem like much but my job is extremely stressful and tiring, but my job is great minus that. I meet a lot of new people and have met some new best friends through doing this. Promoting has many perks and thats why i do it!”  Sometimes if Stubbs is promoting a certain event, a person can go to the door, say his name and either get reduced or even free admission.  Usually this happens before a certain time and then everyone will have to pay full price.

Never being a really big person who was into clubs and stuff I found it somewhat hard to get myself to go out to one.  However, Thanksgiving Eve came and I decided to go out with all of my friends to a club/bar called Edge in Rocky Point.  One of the promoters of this event was Mikey Stubbs.  About a week before the event was going to take place, I received a text and an invite through facebook just like he had told me usually happens.  There was a party bus that is basically a huge coach bus with disco lights and a lot of alcohol that takes you from a meeting place to where the club is.  Sometimes it is known as a “moving club.”  I was at work till late so I didn’t have time to make it onto the coach bus.  However, my friends went on and met me at the club.  “The coach bus was insane.  Like I didn’t think it was going to be as much fun as it was.  But everyone was just there to have a good time.  We were all drinking and dancing and singing our hearts out and were pretty much all drunk before we even got to the club,” said Kristina Mark, also a student here on campus.

Outside of the club I waited for my friends to get off the huge coach bus sitting in front of me.  Once inside, I couldn’t even grasp what I was seeing.  There were so many people inside of the somewhat small club that you couldn’t even move.  I had known that this night in particular was a huge one to go out but never quite imagined how many people would actually be there.  It took almost a good 20 minutes to even get one drink because there were so many people there.  This may have been the only downfall of the night.  I had so much fun with my friends dancing and basically acting like complete idiots for just one night.  It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life and kick back and enjoy the company of friends, music, and my good friend Mr. Bud Weiser.

“Thanksgiving Eve was probably one of the craziest nights Ive been apart of so far.  Every night we go out and do this it just gets better and better.  The people are great, the music is great, the ladies are always looking lovely and its just a really good time,” said Stabinsky.  As the night went on, the dancing continued, as well as the drinking.  It was a great time had by all and now I am not so unsure about going out to certain places as experiencing it first hand was something I would do all over again.

If you are ever interested in learning about what is going on at different clubs and around the island you can contact Mikey Stubbs through facebook, twitter, or go onto LINIGHTS.com for all necessary information.

Rated R : And Thats Not For Restricted Anymore

By Jackie Maczkiewicz

In the past year, superstar Rihanna has gone through some of the best and worst emotions anyone could feel.  She has undergone love, pain, heartbreak, fear and true stardom since the release of her last album “Good Girl Gone Bad.”  The Barbados native has now returned with strength, swagger, and what seems to be improved vocals.  Instead of her up beat dance tracks that completed her last album, she has taken her experiences  and creates a darker, edgier sound.   Her inner emotions of one year  in the spotlight and the tragedies she went through seem to be depicted extremely well.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you should know exactly what Rihanna has went through as it has been all over the news.  She had been dating Chris Brown, another superstar in todays music, for about 2 years and it seemed like everything was perfect to the fans.  They were americas favorite couple.  Just two young, extremely talented artists who found happiness in each other.  However, about just one year ago as we are approaching Grammy awards time, it was a different story for the two lovebirds.  Rumors were being processed, stories were being released, and it came out that Brown had a domestic violence case on his hands.  He had beat, battered, bruised and bit Rihanna and turned himself in the next morning for it.  For a 20 year old girl, superstar or not, it is a hard thing to deal with.  Of course, for someone like Rihanna, she took her anger, hurt, and confusion and turned it into her next album in which she would call Rated R.  On an interview with MTV she expresses that the R is for Rihanna, not an explicit cover like we see in movies.  She goes on to say “Im just me now.  Just Rihanna.”

Rihanna starts Rated R off with “Mad House,” a dark and gloomy track that gives off the impression of a carnival fun house. The introduction sets the tone for the album.  Sometimes you just gotta wait your turn to get a chance. The unofficial single “Wait Your Turn” is a very catchy and is a up-tempo track with plenty of bass.  Hard, Featuring Young Jeezy is the second single on the album. Rihanna let’s you know why she goes hard and is still one of the baddest chicks in the game.  Atlanta Rapper, Young Jeezy, adds his swagger on the track like no other.   “Stupid In Love” is a beautiful track written by R&B Superstar, Ne-Yo. “Stupid In Love” is somewhat an ode to Chris with all the subtle distinctions of a broken relationship. It’s rumored to be the 3rd single from “Rated R” and Rihanna’s favorite track on the album.  The infamous Slash rattles “rock stars” everywhere with his capabilities on the guitar strings. “Rockstar 101” is a bass thumping world of Rihanna’s inner rock star. It’s a track that makes you want to pick up an electric guitar and rock out.  A dark metaphor of something much more serious than a game of chance and luck; “Russian Roulette” is the lead single from Rated R.   Dark, edgy, and morbid is the exact words to describe this  ballad. The lyrics describe the game of Russian Roulette, but also talks about the pain of domestic violence.  “Fire Bomb” is actually a beautiful song, but I really don’t think it should have been written for Rihanna.  It comes off as a song that could have been written for someone younger and upbeat all the time such as Taylor Swift, or Miley Cyrus.  A bangin’ beat is the ingredient for a “Rude Boy”.   Steel drums, and swagger are the base of this track. This fun track was written by Ester Dean, who also wrote the hit song “Drop it Low,” adds a light touch to the dark impression the rest of the album leaves.  Sometimes the only memories you have are from a “Photograph”.   Will.i.am and Rihanna co-wrote the mellow track that brings you on a journey of reminiscing.   Cold Case Love is another track that listeners would depict as a dedication to heartache caused by ex boyfriends, in her case being Chris Brown.   It was written by Justin Timberlake.  The orchestral instruments, drums, guitar and smooth vocals not only make this track an easy listen on the album but also somewhat makes a similar impact on tracks that Timberlake has done himself.   Guitars-strums, piano and hurt behind a voice are heard throughout the “Last song”.  No really, thats the name of the final track.   After hearing an impressive album, it is somewhat a depressing way to end it off.  I suppose she wanted it done this way so you would remember her story, and everything she had just expressed to you throughout the story of her album.

“Rated R” is an amazing album from Rihanna. The thought provoking and creative lyrics captivate the minds of the audience. This album could be the soundtrack to the lives of many young girls that may have been or are in Rihanna’s shoes. It seems clear that there are many shots taken at Chris Brown throughout the album.   Overall, it is an extremely well performed and written album that I think many people will enjoy and learn to fall in love with as they listen over and over again.

This is It! The Michael Jackson Tribute (August 29, 1958-June 25, 2009)

By Nicole DeCoursey

Photo Credit: Google Images of "The King of Pop" (Aug 29,1958-Jun 25,2009)

“This is It” directed by Kenny Ortega, documents the legacy of Michael Jackson and his quest to spread love around the world along with trying to make the world a better place, as a whole.  Michael Jackson shocks the world one last time with spectacular and stunning visual effects along with great choreography from our favorites like, “Smooth Criminal”, “Thriller”, and “Beat it”.

“This is it! This is it! This is it!… This is the final curtain call!” the King of Pop, calls out at the press conference where he announced a planned series of 50 concerts.  The concerts were scheduled to begin in the O2 Arena in London this past July, and continue through to March 2010.  But just three weeks before the first concert, the musical legend died suddenly due to cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home on June 25th, at 2:26 p.m.

“This is it”  was released on October 28th, for a two-week limited engagement around the world.  It gave us an inside-look behind the American musician, dancer and entertainer, “The King of Pop” had shown us for nearly three decades.  The film showcased Michael as an upbeat hard worker, who never seemed to have a broken spirit about all the tabloids or paparazzi discussing false rumors and hurtful allegations about the artist.

The film showcased his best work from “Beat It”, “Wanna Be Starting Something”, “They Don’t Really Care About Us”,  and “Billie Jean.”, along with showing his vocal ability with songs like, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Human Nature.” The spectacular visual effects is what gave the film great excitement throughout.  The special effects, make-up, and set designs set a very high standard for the legend and showed us one more time that he is a musical legend to all.

His hard work throughout the years has constantly  improved year after year and was stated to have set the bar at a new record high for what it means to put on a good performance.  Though we will never be able to see the final product, we got a remarkable and entertaining glimpse of the brilliance behind the man who changed most people’s out-look on the meaning of pop music.  He may no longer be with us but forever Michael Jackson, will remain one of the greatest entertainers to have ever lived, and will always live through his music.

Faces Changing in the Community

By: Thomas Lucas  & Ayse Dincsalman

Immigration is continuing to be a growing concern in today’s society. Although there are many illegal immigrants living on American soil, many legal ones are viewed differently just because of their ethnicity.

Without having these illegal immigrants many jobs would not be filled, they are willing to take the lowest paying, most hardworking jobs to support their family since nobody else is willing to take them. These may consist of landscaping, busboys, and carpentry.

The reason of this is mostly to send money back to their families in which came from. Although immigrants are hardworking individuals, residents in familiar communities are beginning to notice a rapid “face change” in neighborhoods.

“One main business that has been adopted by immigrants is nails salons. I go to Asian Nails in Shirley and every employee is Vietnamese. The business is family owned and operated. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, but it takes away from business opportunity for American’s,” said Kimberly Alker, a Shirley resident who is aware of the changing faces in our communities.

The businesses have seemed to become a cultural thing. Certain businesses are particular to certain ethnicity. “The diners are owned by the Greeks, gas stations are owned by the Turkish, Dunkin Donuts and Seven Eleven’s are either owned or ran by the Indian’s and Pakistan Ian’s,” claimed Orphe Dy, a resident of the town of Holbrook.

The face changes are certainly recognizable. It is something you can’t miss; this is why America is called the “melting pot.”

“I love the Turkish man who works at the CITGO gas station on William Floyd Parkway. He is a pleasant man and I do not see why the fact that he is an immigrant has to be an issue. Immigrants are people just like as and should be treated equally,” said Sammy Korur who is currently dating an immigrant from Brazil. “I love the culture and flavor that my girlfriend adds, people who migrate here simply appreciate what we have to offer and this is not a negative thing,” he said.

When students at Suffolk were confronted about the issue of “changing faces,” in our neighborhoods, the responses were varied. Some don’t mind it, some do.

“I certainly notice it, the car wash, deli and McDonald’s by my house are all filled with immigrant employees, this does not bother me though,” said Anita Cepeda, a second year student on the Ammerman campus.

“I think this is really bad, we are in a recession and it seems like they get all the jobs,” said a source that wishes to remain anonymous.

Opinions of various people seem to conflict with one another. The input of the community does not change the fact that these faces are changing and will continue to change.

Now ask yourself this, what would life be like with out them? We should appreciate the hard work they give back to our community. We are all Americans and freedom is a right.

2012 : End of the World?

By: Thomas Lucas

The movie “2012” was released in theaters Nov. 13th and was directed by Roland Emmerich, that of “Independence Day”, “The Day After Tomorrow” and “Godzilla”. From his past work you know to expect fear and mass destruction on screen.

So the movie begins in 2009 with scientists discovering that the world is in fact going to end, just as the Mayans predicted. The government starts preparing for the worlds destruction by building these metal arcs strong enough to withhold extreme force to protect human life.

The movie basically centers on a divorced couple , John Cusack and Amanda Peet, with their kids and Peet’s new husband. The earthquakes have already begun and thousands of people are dying by the second as Cusack drives through it all to rescue his children.

They travel to see a crazy man, Woody Harrelson, who always talked about the end of the world on his radio show. He gives them maps to the ships and they go on a wild adventure to find them, passing over Hawaii which is engulfed in flames and lava.

They learn that the ships were only built by the government to rescue those who where involved and billionaires who bought their seats. The reason of this was to ensure the ships would be built in time, by having them pay tremendous amounts per ticket, so the government would have enough money for all the preparations.

The action scenes of this 2 ½ hour movie are non-stop and keep you guessing who is going to survive.

Overall this was an extremely good movie and will have you at the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next. But the thought of this actually happening on the well know date of Dec. 21 2012 may scare those who believe even more then they already are.