No health insurance may cause students penalties

By Feb. 15, students without healthcare coverage will be penalized on their income tax return.

“You’re going to pay income tax at some point out there, and they ask you, where’s your health insurance? And if you don’t then you have to pay a penalty. So healthcare in that sense is now tied to the IRS,” said Midland State Farm Agent Eddy Ohlenburg.

This is a reality United States residents will face in February, but there are some exceptions that students can apply for if they do not have the coverage they need, and with some determined searching and clicking on the site healthcare.gov, they can be found.

According to the site, exceptions include: being uninsured for less than three months of the year, not having availability to coverage that costless than eight percent of the resident’s household income, belonging to a federally recognized religious sect with religious objections to insurance and being incarcerated (either detained or jailed).

Other exceptions can be found at healthcare.gov.

There are also subsidies (financial aid) students can apply for if they cannot afford healthcare on their own which can also be found on the website.

When asked about subsidies, Ohlenburg said, “You’ll need to go into that website so you’ll have an idea if the government is going to subsidize your health insurance plan, because you only make so much money a year, and the answer is, they will, I just don’t know how much.”

How will the fine be given?

A simple charge on income taxes will be taken out that will progressively increase year after year without coverage.

The first penalty will either be two percent of the resident’s income, or $325 per adult ($162.50 per child) whichever is higher.

A person could get out of the penalty by not filing income taxes, but as evidenced by mobster Al Capone, that may prove to be a poor decision.

Former MC student Ronnie Griffith is a single, uninsured resident working at the local Walmart. When told he was going to be fined on Feb. 15, he said, “I don’t think it’s fair because people work hard for their money, and they deserve to have it at the end of the year.”

Residents will be considered covered if they have any job-based insurance, any plan bought for themselves, Medicare, Medicaid or other kinds of coverage.

Former MC Director of Student Life Tana Baker referenced a Transamerica Student Security Plan brochure, available to any college student. She recently changed jobs to become an MC counselor.

There are three separate plans MC students can sign up for with benefits such as daily in-hospital, emergency room sickness, surgical, anesthesia, ambulance and other protection benefits.

Rates can be found in the Transamerica brochure, and can be as low as $25 a month, or as high as $596 a month, depending on age, dependents and the plan you choose. Any full or part-time student who is registered and attending a participating college or university is eligible to enroll.

The student’s spouse and dependent children up to age 25 are also eligible to enroll.

The coverage will become effective the first of the month and is yet another option for the required healthcare every American will need.

Students may visit any MC counselor for information on the brochure and reference it for more information on the requirements to sign up for the security plan.

 

Fast food job delivers in unexpected ways

“How hard is it to deliver food? You are too stupid to get a real job” a customer yelled at me through clenched teeth.
I was temporarily mesmerized by the throbbing vein in his forehead.

Once I gathered my wits, I replied: “My intellect is not in question, but yours is lacking.”

“Your order takes 20 minutes to cook, the actual delivery takes another 30 minutes. That’s a minimum of 50 minutes, and it took me 45 minutes to deliver your order.”

“So the next time you want to channel your misplaced anger, pick a better target.”

The customer did not want his food, and I had the long drive back to think about the exchange.

Delivery drivers at Steak Express make $6.50 per hour, and yes, I know that their sign claims $14 to $15 an hour.
The inflated numbers include potential tips, and on a good week I would average $20 an hour.

The average customer was polite and would tip at least $3; some would offer me drugs or alcohol instead of tipping cash. I would always politely refuse.

Some of the benefits to being a delivery driver were learning shortcuts across town, what roads to avoid during specific times and of course listening to music all day.

Every minute I was on the road, the probability of an accident became more apparent.

Our delivery area went all the way to the Midland International Airport, north of Midland Country Club and just south of Twin Oaks trailer park.

Car accidents didn’t just happen on the road.

An elderly lady ran into our front door, drunk drivers on separate occasions ran into parked vehicles and one time a new driver was side impacted as he was pulling out.

After a year of being treated like an emotional trash can, the positives became irrelevant and the negatives became apparent.

Dealing with rude customers became a daily occurrence, but it wasn’t just rude customers.

My managers, and even some of my coworkers, would automatically assume that my IQ was below 70.
I will never know why some people automatically assume that if you work in fast-food, you must be a loser or some type of mental reject.

My experience at Steak Express was eye-opening; I learned patience and humility.

More importantly, I realized that I needed to return to college and get my degree ASAP.

Try to remember that fast-food workers are human beings, on average working more than one job to pay their bills. Many college students work in fast-food.

Do not make assumptions about the people serving your food and whenever possible, tip and tip well.

Unattended vehicles may be ticketed

With the cold weather people have been leaving their vehicles running unattended, and that poses possible penalties for drivers, according to Midland College Police Chief Richard McKee.

“Our goal is not to issue citations but to educate people and make them aware of what’s going on,” he said. “State law says when you park your vehicle that the vehicle has to be locked and the keys removed from the ignition or to turn that around, you can’t leave your vehicle running unattended with the keys in it and the doors unlocked.”

According to sec. 545.404 of the Texas Penal Code, an operator may not leave the vehicle unattended without: 1) stopping the engine; 2) locking the ignition; 3) removing the key from the ignition; 4) setting the parking brake effectively; and 5) if standing on a grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.

While some people have no idea that the law exists, it has been in effect since 1995.

Tanya Primera, director of the Helen L. Greathouse Children’s Center, said parents often leave their vehicles running while they drop off or pick up their children.

The staff regularly notifies the parents of the law and they put announcements in the newsletters. However, it is a common problem in the summer and winter months.

The fine can run up to $500, but remote-start vehicles are excluded because the keys are not in the ignition and you have the ability to lock the vehicle.

With the keys out of the ignition and the steering column locked, that allows a vehicle to warm up without the possibility of someone jumping in the vehicle and driving off in it.

“It takes [snaps fingers] that long for somebody to jump in the car and take off,” McKee said.

“While we want people to be comfortable, we also want them to be safe,” McKee said.

“One thing we have to be aware of is, while this is a small campus, and we are open to the public, there are a lot people who are not associated with Midland College who are coming onto this campus,” McKee said.

Victoria’s Secrets

Valentine’s Day is no doubt the steamiest holiday. In fact, many will spend it at the theater watching Fifty Shades of Grey with their significant others.

With more than 100 million copies of the book sold, many have been fantasizing over Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey’s relations, but how realistic are they?

Fifty Shades of Grey presents a strong representation of BDSM, or Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS), Sadism and Masochism (SM).

Examples of such include Grey’s “playroom,” filled with an abundance of blindfolds, chains, whips and other devices compared to “the sixteenth century and the Spanish Inquisition,” as stated by Steele in the book.
Steele and Grey make readers want to be involved in a BDSM relationship, but the type of roles portrayed are unhealthy and inaccurate of what should be accepted.

Research from the Kinsey Institute has revealed that 55 percent of females and 50 percent of males receive some degree of pleasure from physical pain in the bedroom, but what is written in Fifty Shades of Grey is borderline abusive.
Christian Grey has no regards to Steele’s safe words, telling him that she is uncomfortable and wishes to stop these activities. These words act as her sign of consent. Without consent, what is the barrier between consentual love-making and rape?

Grey also takes advantage of Steele’s inexperience and uses alcohol to sway her. This behavior pushes her boundaries, belittles her and ultimately sexually abuses her.

The fact that behavior like this is making its way to the big screen troubles me. Displaying sexual acts and abuse in a theater can give way to the public finding totalitarian dominance and sexual assault okay.

Fifty Shades of Grey can affect young women’s minds by making them feel insecure and feel like they need to be controlled by someone in order to be loved. This is not the case.

Couples who participate in BDSM need to be understanding of one another. Understanding of how they are feeling, what they like and what they are uncomfortable with will help the relationship.

One good thing, perhaps, presented in the erotic romance, is how Grey and Steele outline their “hard limits” as to what they do not wish to partake in. These types of boundaries are good for all relationships and build a foundation of trust and support.

Ultimately, there is no wrong way of handling business in the bedroom, as long as both parties are mutually consenting to all activities.

There is much give and take as well as communication that needs to be exchanged between partners to create a healthy and exciting environment.

Students, teachers confront possible bias in classroom

By Joshua Soto

MCP Staff Reporter

Midland College’s students, like its professors, are politically diverse and few say they have been unduly influenced in a classroom, according to several recent interviews conducted by the Midland College Press.

Any class will contain students and professors who have different points of view and biases because of their backgrounds. As a result, it is easy to forget that a professor may unwittingly have difficulty presenting controversial and diverse material in a manner that does not step on someone’s views.

“It’s a matter of trying to provide stimulating discussions without students thinking they are being brainwashed through the authority of the instructor,” said Bob Templeton, Allison Chair of Journalism at MC. “I often have to use extreme views to ferret out the motivation of the media source’s stories. I like vigorous discussion, but it must be balanced. It often runs against the grain of a student’s personal beliefs.”

As a student, it can be discouraging to attend a class and feel uncomfortable because of the beliefs and biases of the professor, some students said.

Sometimes all it takes is one comment from the professor and students can get offended. It may not be the intention of the professor, but if there is no explanation as to why the comment was said, students will immediately have a negative outlook toward the professor.

Dr. William Morris, MC History Professor, said that as a history professor, “you almost have to let students know where you stand on particular issues because otherwise there is always the feeling that I am trying to sneak something past my students.”

Morris said he believes that informing his students as to his beliefs makes him more human by letting his students judge what he says by knowing his values.

When asked about his student’s beliefs and how he handles their different perspectives, he said he does not try to persuade them to change their views. “I am not going to try to directly change anything; you can think what you want to think,” he said.

With 32 years of experience at MC, Morris has seen a growth in diversity among students.

“There are definitely more students of minority status coming to Midland College than there used to be and I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “We’ve got to have that increase.”

Morris adds that while he has never been confronted by a student on a political agenda, he has been confronted by a few students involving religion. “That seems to be the biggest stumbling block with students. It’s almost always just an issue with the person, not their beliefs, honestly.”

A former student of Midland College, Veronica Ramos, took history 1301 with Dr. Damon Kennedy. According to her, the only instance when she felt like Kennedy was challenging her beliefs was when Kennedy wanted his students to think beyond their own political agenda.

“It’s not like Kennedy tried to push his agenda on us. He would just try to get us to have a discussion amongst ourselves, the students, on certain political agendas,” she said. During class he would say something either very conservative or very liberal to see what we had to say about it.”

When asked about the teaching methods used in class, Kennedy said, “What I try to do, and I tell my students periodically, I try to present information in such a way that it intrudes on their basic assumptions. I tell my classes all the time that one of my goals as an instructor is to offend each and every one of you at least once.”

“It’s not like I stand up and say things that are purposely crude, but I will make a comment from the far left or a comment from the far right to see if I get a reaction from anybody and maybe stimulate a discussion from everybody.”

Another former student of Kennedy, Luis Estrada, was asked about Kennedy’s teaching methods.

“Kennedy would just try to get us to interact with each other as students about certain agendas,” he said. “He liked to make us think and he liked challenging our beliefs.”

Again, it is what Kennedy as an instructor tries to do.

“None of us push agendas; we just like to stimulate thought,” Kennedy said. “We all have different political persuasions. I sincerely believe there is never an intent to brainwash people, and that’s not me getting defensive about it saying it does not happen. It does happen, it just doesn’t really happen in this group.”

 

Netflix on a Nickle 04

SushiGirl_posterSushi Girl
Sushi Girl has an amazing explosion of retro star power, ranging from Sonny Chiba to Mark Hamill and everyone in between. Seriously, name a male star from the 80s to the 90s and they’re probably in this film. Danny Trejo, Tony Todd, James Duval, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, and what truly blew my mind, Noah Hathaway. Hathaway is best known for playing Atreyu in the Never Ending Story.
Sushi Girl follows a thief as he is released from prison and reunites with his criminal cohorts. The film dives into darkness quickly; walking the line between criminal and psychological thriller.
This amazing cast nails every performance, but Mark Hamill steals the show. Mainly known for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, Mark Hamill has a huge voice-over career. He played the voice of the Joker in the Batman: The Animated Series and a few of the Arkham games. Fans of Hamill’s Joker will enjoy his performance in this film. There are a few moments that the character takes on a similar persona.
If you like yakuza or western gangster films, check out Sushi Girl. However, due to the graphic violence, a torture scene and partial nudity, the film is not for everyone. The amazing cast is reason enough to watch this criminal thriller.

Automata
automata-poster-antonio-banderas-01In the future, robots are everywhere and there are laws blah, blah…seriously can we get a new concept involving the evolution of robotics? Isaac Asimov wrote the exact same story over 50 years ago.
I am a fan of science fiction and I love the idea of artificial intelligence but seriously I can only watch the exact same movie so many times.
Automata stars Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith and Robert Forster. Another film with an amazing cast combination.
All of the actors do an amazing job however the plot is pretty close to any robots-becoming-aware film.
If you want to see a passable science fiction film about robotics with decent digital effects, check out Automata.
If you want to see something with more action (more of a Terminator plot) check out The Machine.

Nightbreednightbreed_cabal_cut_poster
Clive Barker, known for making disturbing horror films and novels, is a prolific artist. Barker has been described as a living art factory—the amount of content he creates is mind blowing. He consistently turns out short stories, paintings and even murals.
Nightbreed shows the darker side of the film industry as well as the magical side. Right before the film was originally released the studio heavily edited the film, to the point of cutting out a main character. The studio also advertised the film as your standard slasher flick. Barker felt violated and mislead by the studio, wrote off his film as a lost cause and attempted to move forward.
An original print of the film was discovered, and late last year the director’s cut was released. Barker’s original version had been restored and the film was received with eagerness.
The film is about a troubled young man who is drawn to the town of Midian where a variety of monsters are hiding from humanity
Nightbreed is not a slasher flick. It has moments that are similar to some slashers, but overall it is a monster flick.
The monsters in the film are amazing, and the mythos that Barker has created feels real and believable.
Even though the clothing and music dates the film, the effects and story are not dated. Fans of horror and monster films should check out Nightbreed.

Comedian Jay Leno to grace stage at Cowan Performing Arts Series

In the past, the Phyllis & Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series brought MC famous performances such as The Texas Jamm Band, Ten Tenors, Gladys Knight and the Dance Theater of Harlem.
Now, the MC community will get to listen to Jay Leno for free.
“You will need a ticket to get in, but tickets are free from brownpapertickets.com,” said Rebecca Bell, Dean of community relations and special events. “Tickets are available on April 7. He will be performing in the Chaparral Center on April 17 at 8 p.m.”
“The Phyllis and Bob Cowan Performing Arts Series has two performers every year,” Bell said. “Most of these have been musical performances. The committee came up with some names for future performances, one of which was Jay Leno.”
After a planning committee decided to attempt to get Leno to come to MC, Bell contacted an agent in New York who arranged events.
With award-winning shows such as The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and Jay Leno’s Garage, Leno possesses worldwide fame.
He has written children’s books as well. If Roast Beef Could Fly hit bookstores in April 2004 and became a New York Times Bestseller.
His follow-up children’s book How to be the Funniest Kid in Your Class was similarly successful. His previous book, Leading with My Chin, hit the bookstores in 1998.
He also has published four versions of Headlines, the compilation of books and desk calendars featuring his favorite funny newspaper headlines and Police Blotter, a book with more humorous newspaper clips involving police stories.
Leno conducts charity events, participates in movements to stop oppression of minorities in other countries, tours the world to do events, has set land-speed records and provides voice acting for popular animated films like Pixar’s Cars, Igor and his chin inspired Nickelodeon’s The Fairly Oddparents Crimson Chin. He also writes a column in Popular Mechanics and works on his car collection when he has free time.
For more information go to http://www.midland.edu/about_mc/events/cpas_leno.php.

The Alleyway

So, it begins, the semester— that semester where it ends. The basics for my degree will be over. The metaphorical dragon shall be slain. Round two is in only eight months. Panic ensues as my psyche fails to comprehend the sheer masses of generalized stuff I have to do before the end of this chapter comes.
The professor goes over the syllabus, so does the next and the one after that. My first day of the last semester begins the same as the past three. I grow bored as my mind wanders. Could I make steak tonight? Should I get a head start on classes? Should I finish my Pokémon game? Or will I decide to curl up in bed with my laptop and watch the original Teen Titans series I bought the week before?
Finally the last class is over. This first day was not exactly exciting. Really wish I had bought a huge steak to cook tonight. Wait, I have a text as I open my car.
My heart starts pumping faster. There are demons to kill. I have been invited to join my friends on an epic adventure of demon killing. My two huge weapons are already equipped. The fiery adrenaline shoots through me as I behead one hellhound and take out three explosive zombies. The guys shoot and cast spells on the horde while I take down the front line.
No! I’ve been hit! Stupid skeleton archer, I’m after you now. Prepare to die. I am an angel of death here. I am a Valkyrie of Norse legend. Minus the wings, maybe more like the Chooser of the Slain…either way, die zombified scum, die!
Did the government teacher say something important?
Look the castle! OMG A DRAGON!!!!! I feel like I’m in How to Train Your Dragon, before the Vikings were on good terms with the dragons.
And now it is dead. I tossed it off the wall. Sorry pretty dragon. Wow, the guys killed those demons so hard it left blood on the stones. Do demons even have blood? Cool, my clothes are red now without the legendary red dye of Saffronixa.
I feel like someone is saying my name. Is it the prince? The red-haired one, not the black-haired one is calling for me right? What is his name…?
“Edgin! Pay attention!”
The professor was glaring at me from the lecturn. Well, I guess I should pay attention. But I would much rather lay down and imagine myself the hero, fighting the great war against the Homeworkians of Collegian Basin.
So, the professor begins, checking to make sure the window with beautiful sunlight wouldn’t steal my attention from the structure of Texas counties and their seats. Seats. That reminds me of basketball. March Madness is so far away.
I miss watching March Madness with my family. What I miss the most is being around them as we would make our picks on the tournament bracket.
“Last time Edgin!”
Sigh. Fine, I will pay attention. But I’m telling you, Texas needs more basketball and dragons. I will have no problem studying government if it involved more basketball and dragons.