Category Archives: Opinion


Photo Poll

Zack Penzien & Liz Whittemore

Production Editor & Photo Editor


Doug Johnson

Liberal Arts


“It’s my girlfriend’s birthday, so I get to be extra romantic.”

Jeremy Case

General Education


“I don’t care about Valentine’s day.”

Alyssa Ferri



“It’s singles awareness day, just sayin.”

Arthur Knislay



“The giving of chocolate, cuz it always ends up in my face. I love chocolate.”



Mouth washed with SOPA

Sean Lathrop

Guest Writer

For those of you who haven’t heard, there was a bill that was introduced legislation by Sen. Lamar Smith (R-TX) back in October that was designed to end online piracy called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

This was a noble cause, but it went a bit too far.

The bill had the focus to stop anyone from posting anything online that may have been copyrighted, or anything that had copyright material, such as music and movies.

It had the backing of numerous movie and music companies, such as Universal and CBS.

The issue was much greater than just piracy.

The bill went on to not allow people to speak about certain copyrighted movie plotlines or the lyrics of a song, which in turn lost the backing of numerous online corporations like Wikipedia and Reddit; these are websites that would of been shut down for having copyrighted material on their sites.

Jan. 18, 2012, there was a website blackout by numerous websites across the nation, as well as the “hacktivists” group Anonymous took down the websites of any supporters of the bill.

Sen. Lamar Smith went on record to say that this was just a publicity stunt. However, this in turn changed the tide of supporters of the bill from 80 to 65 and increased the opponents from 31 to 101.

The bill is now been considered dead.

So, what is next?

Well, legislation has recently announced a new bill that is similar to SOPA, the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN Act).

This bill is supported by online companies instead of media companies, and it is encouraged for people to read it.

What about the corporations that don’t want to have their stuff stolen anymore?

Their resolution is a simple one; they need to get with the times.

People generally don’t want to steal, as we saw with iTunes. The sales of CD’s went from its drought to a gradual increase when it became easier for people to purchase their favorite music.

Perhaps Universal, or CBS, should provide something where they can buy digital copies of movies or television shows over the internet.

Don’t worry though. There will still be nerds like me who would be willing to buy the hard copies with all those nifty special features.

Clay’s Chaos Column

Clay Kimball


If you haven’t realized by now, I’m pretty nerdy.

Between my computer knowledge and the amount of video games I play, I won’t deny it.

My latest adventure into nerdy addictions is a well known card game called “Magic: The Gathering.”

Magic addiction starts off simple.

I told myself I wouldn’t end up like the people who put two hundred dollars into a single deck. I started with a twenty dollar starter deck.

Then, the addiction started.

Photo by Andrés Aguiluz Rios under a Creative Commons license.
Photo by Andrés Aguiluz Rios under a Creative Commons license.

First came my religious Wednesday Night Magic participation at the card shop. Next I found myself buying grab packs twenty dollars at a time hoping for rare cards. When the grab packs ran out, I resorted to more expensive boosters.

I realize now that I became just what tried to avoid, a Magic addict. Then again, I would make the same mistakes all over again.

Magic may be addicting and expensive, but it’s that way for a reason.

It’s fun, plain and simple. Strategy, skill, arithmetic, mastering these skills in order to outsmart and overpower your opponent, there’s not a better feeling.

The legend continues

Zack Penzien

Production Editor

“Avatar: the Last Airbender” fans unite! The creators of the original series are almost done with a new show set in that world.

“The Legend of Korra,” takes place 70 years after the original series, and will follow Korra, the new avatar.

For those of you who have not seen the original series, “Avatar: the Last Airbender” takes place in a China inspired fantasy world. The world is filled with hybrid animals, spirits and people who can control or “bend” one of the elements: fire, water, earth, or air.

The series fallows the avatar, a reincarnated individual who can control all the elements and is looked at as a peace keeper between the nations.

The new series will follow Korra in her quest to learn to control the final element of air. The setting will be in a new city that has a strong “anti-bending” movement. The world of Korra is one shaped by the events of the original.

“Legend of Korra” is coming out in the middle of this year on Nickelodeon and is set to run for 26 episodes.

All three seasons of the last series are currently available on DVD.

Clay’s Chaos Column

Clay Kimball


Welcome back to another semester of Erie Square Gazette production. This issue being the first of my last semester, I thought I’d talk about an issue very important to me, internet censorship.

As some of you may have heard, the United States Congress has been trying to pass through a number of anti-piracy acts, such as SOPA, PIPA, and the international treaty ACTA.

While in theory these acts would be beneficial to the average internet users, in practice they would allow for censorship of nearly any content producing site on the internet, such as Reddit, Facebook, and YouTube.

In recognition of this potential, many companies and websites such as Google, Reddit, and Wikipedia have petitioned Congress against the passing of these acts. Some have even gone as far as blacking out their websites on Jan. 18, 2012, showing the public what would happen if the acts were passed.

After the blackouts of major sites, many congressmen retracted support for SOPA, resulting in it being tabled.

Although the danger of SOPA has diminished, an equally malicious bill, PIPA, still lurks in Congress. Many denizens of the internet still fight these acts the best way there is, writing en masse to representatives and petitioning the removal of the bills from Congress.

As for me, I’ll just keeping preaching the truth and exercising my right to free speech until the government takes me away.

If you have any questions for me, send them to eriesquare gazettewm @ I may feature the answer to your question online, or in a future issue.

Photo Poll

Carol Szparaga

Staff Writer

“What is your favorite class this semester and why?”

Caitlin Combs

Port Huron


“Fundamental of acting. It has helped me open up, because I was really shy in high school. This has helped my career.”

Steven Kronnich



“It would probably be the computer class, it is lots of fun.  The teacher makes it fun.”

Lexy Aslakson



“Physics, I love science and I know what I’m doing naturally.”

Cianna “Cece” Peterson


Science, Medicine

“Socialolgy.  Heidi Browne is very smart.  I’m learning stuff I never learned or even heard of before.”

Christian’s Column

Christian McGeachy

Sports Editor

On Jan.15, many Hollywood stars enjoyed a night of eating, drinking and listening to the hilarious Ricky Gervais burn them at the Sixty-Ninth Annual Golden Globe Awards.

The Golden Globes is an award show that recognizes great achievements for television and film from the past year.

Many recognizable stars came out and received awards for their achievements presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press.

George Clooney won for best actor in a motion picture – drama for his role in “The Descendants.” Meryl Streep won best actress in a motion picture – drama for “The Iron Lady,” which was her eighth Golden Globe of her historical career. Winning for the first time was Michelle Williams, for her role in “My Week With Marilyn.”

Best Picture – drama went to “The Descendants,” and comedy went to “The Artist.”

Though the Golden Globes are over, there are a lot of other movie award shows still to come.

On, Jan. 29 is the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAGs) on TNT and TBS. Nominations are fairly similar to the Golden Globes, but the film categories are not split into comedy and drama. All actors and actresses from either genre can be up for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Ensemble and Best Picture.

Then on Feb. 12, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs) hold their award show. Many people don’t know about the BAFTAs due to the fact they are from the British, but it does include a lot of American film and television.

Also, when a lot of actors, actresses and films get nominated in all of these awards, it’s almost a guarantee to go to the Academy Awards.

The Eighty-Fourth Academy Awards will be on Feb. 26 on ABC. Already people are making their predictions, and I will do the same.

Without a question, Best Supporting Actress will be Octavia Spencer from “The Help” and Best Supporting Actor will go to Christopher Plummer for “Beginners.”

Best Actress and Best Actor are a different story with so many great performances it’s so hard to choose. I will be between Brad Pitt for “Moneyball” and George Clooney for “The Descendants.” Also, Viola Davis for “The Help” and Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady” will fight it out.

All and all, this is the best time for movies and I can’t wait to watch the results.

T-bird’s tidbits: is it wrong to celebrate Christmas?

Twana Pinskey

Head Elf

There are varying opinions concerning Christmas and the celebration of this Christian based holiday. It depends on how you look at it. For me, celebrating the holiday the way it seems to have evolved, sours my stomach.

Christmas is a holiday that seems to grow every year. This boggles my mind. How does something change that occurs on the same date every year?

Before the Halloween items were clearance priced, Christmas items were stocking store shelves.

The holiday season comes earlier and earlier every year. If you doubt this, just look at all the pre-Thanksgiving sales and Black Friday Sales. Relatively new on the scene is Cyber Monday offerings. Camping out for Black Friday sales days in advance just to save a couple dollars? I can sure think of ways to better use my time.

I am realistic enough to understand the days of the “Norman Rockwell” holidays are long gone.

Just because the holidays of my childhood are no more, does not mean the holidays are wrong.

Thanksgiving once reserved for reconnecting with friends and loved ones, has become a strategic planning session to map out one’s desired plan of attack to secure the desired Christmas gifts. Pepper spraying fellow shoppers, or store employees getting trampled have become the norm.

The commercialization used by ad agencies brainwash our children, and some adults, into believing they simply have to have a specific item under the tree on Dec. 25.

I can’t help but wonder if these same agencies put that much effort into suggesting we as a society volunteer at a homeless shelter, offer a kind word to those we meet on the street,  or even shoveling the sidewalk for our elderly neighbors, that the world just might be a little better for it.

Freedom, it’s so close

Danielle Kennedy

Jingle Elf

The final countdown has begun.

If you perk your ears and listen, you can hear the rumbling thunder of the approaching storm that is exams. But beyond that storm rests clear skies and winter break.

How do you intend to spend that time off?

Hopefully relaxing.

I know that’s what I intend to do. Exams are still a week away and my brain feels ready to explode. As if it’s trying to take in too much information and unable to find any more room to store it. Hopefully I can make it past exams without burning out.

Once I finish that last test, I fully intend to book it out of here. I don’t want to as much as think of SC4 until it’s time for the winter semester to begin.

I’m going to give my brain some nice relaxation time while feeding it loads and loads of junk. Cartoons, movies that make no sense and video games. Lots and lots of video games. My family will most likely have to pry me off the couch when it comes time for winter semester.

Photo by Hamish Duncan under a Creative Commons license.

Not that the fall semester was without its good times. I got a chance to meet some rather awesome young journalists at Woodrow Wilson, and got to reconnect with old friends while making some new ones.

Those are experiences I will treasure and think back on fondly when I’m old and decrepit.

The constant papers and tests, well those won’t make for such fond memories.

I guess that in the in the end, I must think it all worth it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have signed up for winter.

I’m watching you

Photo by Twana Pinskey
Photo by Twana Pinskey

Santa Claus

Guest Writer

North pole- SC4 Faculty, students and staff, I’m making my list and checking it twice. Have you been naughty or nice?

That’s right, I’m in town. And I’m the real deal, not that imposter that’s been traipsing around campus in fake Santa clothes and a Halloween mask.

I stopped by with the intention of reclaiming my good name, but my mission changed entirely when I noticed some of the solemn faces lurking about your campus.

Where are the smiles? Where’s the good will?

Has no one told you that it’s the holiday season?

Regardless of what belief you may follow, this is a time meant for cheer and giving. A time when you should be willing to lend a hand to a stranger simply because they’re in need.

I’m not saying for you to empty your pocket book into the nearest collection bucket, even I understand that times are tight. Just last week I had to let some of my elves go.

I’m talking about the simple things. When entering a building, if you notice someone coming in behind you, hold the door open. If someone drops their books in the hall, stop and help pick the books up.

Even the smallest of deeds can make a difference in someone’s day.

And remember, patience is truly a virtue.

Just because someone may not be moving at the same pace as you doesn’t mean you should fly off the wheel and start hurling foul language in their direction.

Such behavior gets you on the naughty list, just a hint.

So SC4, I leave you with these parting words. Smile a little. Relax. And don’t let exams gets you down. It’s the holiday season, act like it. And let a little good will into your hearts.

I’ll be back, that I promise you. And just for you, I’ll check my list a third time. See if some of you naughty folk have migrated to the nice side.

Happy holidays, and ho ho ho!