Tag Archives: United States

UMD Alumnus Receives Medal of Honor

Eight seconds. That’s how long it took for U.S. Army Capt. Florent Groberg’s life to change forever.

On the morning of Aug. 8, 2012, he led a security detail tasked with escorting 28 American and Afghan personnel to a routine security meeting.

As the group approached their destination on foot, Groberg spotted an individual walking backwards in their direction. The man abruptly turned toward them, prompting Groberg to rush toward him and shove him away.

As he did so, Groberg realized the man had a suicide bomb hidden under his vest. The soldier grabbed him by the vest and continued to push him farther from the formation, with the help of Sgt. Andrew Mahoney.

The bomb detonated, and Groberg blacked out.

Moments later, a second bomb prematurely detonated nearby.

The eight-second attack left Groberg with the loss of about half of his left calf muscle, a mild traumatic head injury and a blown eardrum. Four of his fellow soldiers were killed.

But his actions during those few seconds saved many more lives. And on Thursday, Groberg received the highest military distinction in the United States, the Medal of Honor.

“For all the valor we celebrate and all the courage that inspires us, these actions were demanded amidst some of the most dreadful moments of war,” President Obama said during the White House ceremony. “That’s precisely why we honor heroes like Flo, because on his very worst day, he managed to summon his very best.”

But the blast was only the beginning of his fight. Groberg, a UMD alumnus, underwent 33 surgeries at Walter Reed Hospital during his three-year recovery period.

“A day after Veteran’s Day, we honor this American veteran, whose story, like so many of our vets and wounded warriors, speaks not only of gallantry on the battlefield, but resilience here at home,” Obama said.

A senate spending bill passed Tuesday will bring the Veterans Administration’s budget for medical services up to $51 billion, which will serve to cover care for veterans like Groberg.

The bill passed 93-0, a sign of the bipartisan effort to protect the rights of veterans who risk their lives to protect this country.

Groberg dedicated his award to the four veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“I’m so blessed and honored for the medal, but it doesn’t belong to me,” he told reporters in a news conference on Wednesday. “It belongs to them.”

Groberg will deliver the winter commencement speech at the University of Maryland on Dec. 19.

“Today and every day, we as a nation and as a University must do all we can to support [student veterans’] education and success,” university President Wallace Loh said via an email sent to the university community. “…When our veterans return home, our service begins.”

Groberg is the 10th living recipient of the Medal of Honor earned for actions in Afghanistan and the first from Maryland.

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National League Playoff Preview

By JUSTIN FITZGERALD

162 down. Only 11 wins separate five teams from their next World Series rings. Traditional powerhouses like the Cardinals against new school powers like the Cubs set up the National League for an intense October.  Who can forget David Freeses’ game tying triple and walk off homerun in Game 6 in 2011? Or David Ortiz’s utter dominance in 2013? Or Madison Bumgarner’s masterful pitching performance? This postseason is sure to be filled with incredible moments, and here I will be focusing on the playoff teams from the National League, why they have the potential to win the World Series, and what will keep them from making it to the Fall Classic.

Cardinals starter John Lackey. Courtesy of Google Images
Cardinals starter John Lackey. Courtesy of Redbird Rants
  1. St. Louis Cardinals (100-62, NL Central Champion)

Why They Will Win the World Series: Continue reading National League Playoff Preview

Congress passes spending bill to keep government funded until December

by PABLO ROA

After months of political bickering and threats of a shutdown from both sides of the aisle, Congress passed a short-term spending bill Wednesday night to keep the government running through the rest of 2015.

The stop-gap bill—which passed just hours before the midnight deadline that would’ve sent thousands of government employees home—postpones a government shutdown until at least December 11.

Continue reading Congress passes spending bill to keep government funded until December

Explore outside of College Park

By Jessica Marquez

The semester has officially started for the University of Maryland students. The College Park area is filled with many different restaurants like Chipotle, Potbelly, and Five Guys. Let’s not forget about Terrapin’s Turf and all the weekly specials that they have to offer.

While walking around campus may be fun for the first couple of weeks, you may find the urge to adventure out and discover what there is outside of the College Park area.

The DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) area offers a variety of places with good food, good sites, and sometimes good entertainment.

Let’s start off at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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The United States capitol is located seven stops away from the College Park metro station if you get off at Union Station. Union station offers a big selection of restaurants within its vicinity. So if you’re craving Johnny Rockets, Bojangles’, Häagen-Dazs, or a salad from Chop’t, Union Station has something for you.

To the left side of the capitol, if you’re facing the National Mall, is the United States Botanic Garden.

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The Botanic Garden has been around since 1820. Admission to this garden is completely free. Staff members also offer 45-minute tours throughout the day. For temporary exhibits or special topics, check out the United States Botanic Garden online website http://www.usbg.gov/programs-and-events

Across the National Mall and on Pennsylvania Avenue…

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The White House! The nearest metro stations are Farragut West and McPherson Square. If you want to protest, take pictures, or wait outside and hope to see President Obama, the White House is a pretty good place to be.

Now, if you’re looking to catch a fun and enjoyable baseball game, Navy Yard Metro station is your stop.

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While in season, Nats Nation is live! For games and tickets check washington.nationals.mlb.com

Moving north from Navy Yard and into Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland…

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Courtesy of downtownsilverspring.com

The downtown Silver Spring area offers a diversity of restaurants, shops, and events. Entertainment is a big part of Silver Spring. The Fillmore, Majestic Movie Theater, and Discovery Communications are all in the same area. The best part yet is that downtown Silver Spring is UM-Shuttle accessible.

Now let’s take it to Crystal City, Virginia.

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Crystal City…wow! It’s a growing area located about 10 to 15 minutes walking distance from the Pentagon. Ronald Reagan National Airport is a close walk as well.

If you are considering a flight into the UMD area, Ronald Reagan Airport is your best choice since it is metro accessible and a couple minutes closer than BWI.

The DMV is a place to grow, learn, and discover. There are many opportunities for students, parents, staff, and friends. Just get out there and explore!

Good Guys, Bad Guys, and the Media (editorial)

Courtesy: businessinsider.com
Courtesy: businessinsider.com

by DAN SCHWALB

The media may not use tanks or missiles, but they sure play a role in times of war. Over the past few months, American media has followed Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. Russia is accused of invading Ukraine, using brute force to conquer an innocent nation.

Reasons for invasion are not exactly clear. The conflict started when Russian troops entered Crimea, a Ukrainian territory.  These troops claimed to be an independent group (known as separatists), having nothing to do with the Russian government. However, U.S. officials and media sources said that the Russians were funding these separatists, planning a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The American public grew wary of Russia as the media continued to show Ukraine being marched on. President Obama accused leader Vladimir Putin of being dishonest about Russia’s role in the matter. The United States declared trade sanctions against Russia, punishing them for their unjustified actions.

Courtesy: frontpagemag.com
Courtesy: frontpagemag.com

Russia may seem like bullies to the American public, but citizens of Russia see things differently. Over there, the Russian media describes Ukraine as a Fascist state. They claim that the Ukrainian government is abusing power and mistreating citizens. Thus, the Russian public sees this invasion as a fight for freedom. In their eyes, Ukrainian citizens need to be saved from an evil government.

Does this sound familiar?

Since the War on Terror began, the United States has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Both times, our media informed us that these countries were under corrupt leadership. Americans were convinced that Afghani and Iraqi citizens needed our help. Meanwhile, other nations accused the U.S. of unfairly invading these regions. But our media insisted that American troops had a right to intervene.

Courtesy: globalresearch.ca
Courtesy: globalresearch.ca

As the situation in Ukraine heightens, which media source should be trusted? Is Russia the evil invader that our media portrays them as? Or is freedom being restored in Ukraine, as the Russian press insists? Questions like these won’t be answered on our television sets.

My Take: In times of war, heroes and villains are both determined by the press.

Burger King to Merge with Canadian Chain

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Courtesy: Google Images

by DAN SCHWALB

“Have it your way,” Burger King has long insisted. But now it seems the fast-food chain will be having it their way. Burger King has announced their plans to merge with Tim Hortons, a Canadian-based doughnut chain. The reason for this merger has more to do with finances than with food.

If the deal goes through, Burger King will be allowed to move it’s corporate headquarters to Canada. Moving off of American soil will save BK millions in tax dollars, as Canadian fees are much lower. The burger chain plans to open many restaurants up north, while still keeping their U.S. locations in business.

With the merge, Burger King-Tim Hortons would become the third largest food chain in the world, running 18,000 stores and counting. There is still no word on how BK plans to integrate Tim Hortons into their menu. Some predict that Burger King may shut down Tim Hortons, having bought them out simply to avoid U.S. taxes.

Tim Horton's in Dewitt. Dennis Nett/The Post-Syracuse

The United States has been losing many American-based companies to foreign nations. These corporations move off-shore not just for lower taxes, but because the cost of labor is cheaper elsewhere. With Burger King gone, Americans fear the day that all major corporations move their headquarters. President Obama has spoken out against these actions, saying that despite being legal, moving corporations offshore is “wrong”. Obama has called for “economic patriotism”, begging American companies to stay loyal to their homeland.

MY TAKE: Unless the U.S. gives incentives for corporations to stick around, we may see a mass exodus of American businesses.

Chaos in Cali

by DAN SCHWALB

California is often seen as a highly desirable place. The warm weather, hip culture and sprawling coastline continue to draw people to the state. But California has its fair share of problems, and recent events have brought these to light.

The San Francisco area was hit with a 6.0 earthquake on Sunday, causing widespread damage in the Napa Valley. Nearly 200 citizens were injured, fires broke out, and pipelines burst following the seismic event. Thousands of homes lost power, and mobile homes lay in shambles on the ground. California governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, and warned residents of potential aftershocks in coming weeks.

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As if the earthquake wasn’t enough, California is suffering from severe droughts. Since January, the state has been at record lows for precipitation, and some rural areas have run out of tap water. Tulare County is delivering water bottles to residents because local reservoirs are completely dry. The state government has been devising billion dollar plans to build water reserves, but these are yet to be implemented

Ready for the worst news? Scientists are now saying that the droughts and earthquakes may be related. Over the past century, California has pumped massive amounts of groundwater in order to counteract its dry climate.

This water extraction has caused the San Andreas Fault to rise a few millimeters per year. The Fault had historically been weighed down by underground water, but pumping this water has caused San Andreas to creep towards earth’s surface. This fault line, already one of the most active in the U.S., now puts the West Coast at risk of more severe quakes.

California Drought

If scientists predict correctly, California will continue its dry spell, and face even worse earthquakes in the coming years. These environmental disasters could lead to an uninhabitable California; causing 40 million state residents to consider moving elsewhere. Don’t be surprised when Californians move to a neighborhood near you.

How Family Guy Characters are Allegorical References for the Show Itself

An adjusted Simpson mold for the modern family: the idiot American father figure, undefined and evolving maternal role, lazy and fat son, disgusting antisocial daughter, genius baby, and a talking liberated dog. Otherwise known as Family Guy.

But what if the roles of each character actually broadcast a deeper meaning for the show itself?

Peter

What the show was always meant to be: stupid and random. He is the consistent essence of the Family Guy punchline.

Lois

An ever-changing role based on the episode’s environment and situation. She represents the evolving female demographic that TV can no longer define. The Simpsons had Marge, a family loving, stay at home, sweat heart Mom, but that character no longer reflects the modern day female. TV, and Family Guy, doesn’t quite have a stereotype for this modern segment, thus Lois vastly changes as a character each episode.

Chris

The lazy and fat son is an allegory for the millennial generation: given everything from past generations and considered special without even doing anything of merit.

Meg

A demonstration of the show’s clear masculine humor (i.e. Peter farting in her face as the family laughs at her)

Stewie

Started out as a genius but regressed into a symbol of cheap homosexual humor, symbolizing the show’s decline in satirical content. The early seasons (and role of Stewie) was original and creative, but the the shift of his character represent the decline in the quality of recent seasons.

Brian

The infamous death of this character is just an allegory for the death of the show. The writers knew that they had to kill off one of the major 6 characters. Why? To grab the media and our’s attention. Family Guy has gone under the radar and the ploy of killing of Brian has brought it back into the eyes of the public. Killing off the most intelligent character, though most likely subconsciously, symbolizes the death of the show and demonstrates the desperate need for viewers.