Author Archives: Vincent Vonschert

Avengers Infinity War

Avengers Infinity War has been called the most ambitious film in history and for a good reason. The film is the culmination of 18 films and over ten years of build up. But does it live up to the hype? In short, yes.

Spoilers!

I’ll get the bad out of the way first, as with all modern Disney movies the humor is hit or miss and jokes can be made a little too often, but none felt that bad. Peter Dinklage as a giant Dwarf, which I’m guessing is a pun on a Giant Dwarf star… haha. Well in a movie of awesome special effects you could just tell he was green screened in. Finally, the scene where Star-Lord held a gun to Gamora’s head while Thanos urged him to shoot reminded me too much of the time when I met my girlfriends’ parents.

Also if you haven’t seen all the Marvel movies, you may have a hard time keeping up. This isn’t necessarily a negative, but I definitely wouldn’t classify it as one of the movies strength.

Now time for the good and there is a lot. All the characters seem to stand on their own, and none feel like their personality is sacrificed for someone else’s plot. Thanos may not have the best motivation, but he is an absolute joy to watch on screen and is easily the strongest Marvel cinematic villain so far. There were a lot of ways this movie could have gone wrong or fell flat, and it didn’t.

On a personal note, I went into the movie wondering “could Thanos beat up the Hulk?” And the movie answered it in about five minutes.

The Marvel cinematic universe is on full display, proving it can do its self better than all the imitators. Like the Laughably bad DC universe with Batman vs. Superman, arguably the worst thing ever made by a human.  Or the tragically bad Universal Dark Universe, where they butcher the classics, like Brendan Fraser’s “The Mummy Returns.” Marvel even proved they could do dark and gritty better than those, with the boldest ending I’ve ever seen in a Disney film.

Even characters whose movies I didn’t particularly enjoy like Dr. strange were a joy to watch in this movie. But not everyone is created equal. The Hulk is about as disappointing as my statistics test.

I asked Chabot students what they thought and Jennifer Mendoza a two year undeclared, major said: “it was awesome, the action never stopped.”

Cameron Hernandez, a first-year biology major, said: “I was expecting it to be one of the best movies of all time, I guess I went in with too high of expectations.”

Currently the fifth highest-grossing film of all-time, as well as the highest-grossing film of 2018. There was a massive line to see it a week after it came out when I went to see it. So the outlook is pretty good for Disney as this film continues to smash records.

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The Pope and Hell: A Controversy Made in Heaven

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica claimed that the Pope said there was no hell, but is that outlandish statement based in reality? No, says the Vatican. The Vatican reaffirmed that the souls of sinners are forever doomed to “eternal fire.”

Often fear is criticised as the lowest form of motivation in moral development prompting many Catholic priests to shy away from the old style of fire and brimstone preaching. Although the Catholic church has had debates on whether Hell is a state, a place or both they have been mostly consistent with the Hell existing. Although other Abrahamic religions, like Judaism and some sects of Christianity, deny the existence of hell.

“There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls,” allegedly said Pope Francis who is known for his less dogmatic and more modern approach to Catholicism. Many news outlets to include those in the mainstream media ran with the story.

However, the Vatican and the Pope have made clear that hell is in fact real. The Pope flat-out accused the newspaper of violating the 8th commandment of bearing false witness in an official statement.

The People’s Pope as he is sometimes informally called is known for his unorthodox views. Having previously said a good atheist could go to heaven, gays can potentially go to heaven and implied the catholic church should modernize their views on contraceptives.

I ask Jeremy Xang a three-year sociology major and member of a campus Bible study group what he thought of the alleged Pope’s statement. “Although we do not like to talk about hell. The devil and hell are real, but that also means heaven is real.”

“The devil’s greatest trick is teaching the world he doesn’t exist.” Is a common saying but one thing that is for sure the Catholic will certainly not be teaching it anytime soon.

Romeo and Juliet: A Chabot Theater Review

Chabot theater department put on a production of Romeo and Juliet, beginning with a first performance on the April 12, and the last performance on April 21. The production had a runtime of 2 hours and overall was an enjoyable experience.

I will get the criticism out of the way first. The big elephant in the room is the wardrobe. It flat out was the worst I have ever seen including high school productions. Also, the Nurse played by Joanna Lopez overacted a scene to the point where the focus was entirely on her, I could best describe her performance as channeling Ursula from the Little Mermaid.

And now for what was good. I enjoyed the lewd humor and innuendo the cast added to the classic Shakespearean work. Stand out actors were O’Byrain for his performance as Romeo, Juan Torrez-Cornejo and Curtis manning as Mercutio. All of them had outstanding performances, however, the stand out was Sean Bonggiovanni as Friar Lawrence, who not only did an incredible job acting he had the most believable costume as well, besides maybe the Apothecary played by Lauren Allen.  

I was lucky enough to interview the director Joel Mullinnex. He stated the first play he ever directed was Romeo and Juliet at Chabot. He went on to say that the scene on the balcony when Juliet says “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.” is the “most exalted expression of love.”

Overall I would highly recommend the play which is an accomplishment in its own right considering I do not care for Romeo and Juliet that much. For a 2 hour and 20-minute production it felt entertaining, and it went by quickly.

Gender Wage Gap

Recently the National Bureau of Economic Research put out a 70-page paper on the gender wage gap, and when taking many economic factors and many different studies into consideration, the gender wap gap may be much smaller than initially reported.  The primary cause for the appearance of the wage gap is on average females tend to work fewer hours than males.

The study requires you to be aware of past studies and have knowledge of how pay works. As a journalism major, I had neither, but I was still able to decipher it. Females have made significant progress in several areas in 1978 females made up 43 percent of all Bachelors and Associates degrees now they make up 57 percent

79 cents for every dollar males earn is probably a saying you’ve heard thrown around. However, some studies even have females making more in some fields, but the average came out to 92 cents for every dollar a male earned when taking into account working fewer hours and factors.

I asked Chabot students what they thought of the wage gap and got a surprising answer from the first woman I asked, Sharon Tang a second-year economics major said: “if a woman made 78 cents for every dollar no company would ever hire men.” She said she wasn’t surprised that multiple studies seemingly closed the original gap the department of labor puts out. She also cited anti-discrimination laws that make pay based on gender illegal.

Although the gender wage gap may be nowhere near as large as many pundits like to cite the same calculation of studies has it closing 21 percent since 1980 if the current trend continues the outlook is very good.

What Has Disappeared

If you’ve been to South Hayward recently, you’ve probably noticed the plethora of shutdown business. Whether you’ve fond nostalgic memories of Holiday Bowl or received critical services from the now-closed Kaiser hospital, many residents have felt the impact of disappearing businesses.

Kaiser Hospital once provided emergency medical services to all of Hayward and beyond. Although there are a few emergency care clinics located in South Hayward like St. Francis Urgent Care Center, the options are not as good. As Franchesica  a first-year sociology major put it, “I was born there, and it sucks to see it close.”

Many things that once brought joy to the residents of South Hayward are now gone. The most prominent monument to disappearing businesses is the Holiday Bowl which closed in 2005. It is currently overgrown with vegetation. Plans are in place to tear down the facility and put 72 townhouses in its place. Residents now need to travel to San Ramon or Fremont to go bowling.

Another famous closed business Valle Vista Skating rink which was open from 1950-2003. After it closed down it became a location for migrants and homeless until it burnt down in 2008, no one was harmed. Now residents have to go to the skate park in north Hayward or drive all the way to San Ramon “Golden Skate Rink” to get an authentic skating rink experience.

Over the years many industries have closed down all over Hayward often moving to more affordable states. One of the recent loses is the Gillig Bus manufacturer that took over 850 jobs to Livermore after deciding that it “outgrew” its Hayward location.

“What community,” said a local Hayward resident when interviewed by a student as part of the community outreach project. This proved to be a common trend when Professor McFarland’s class conducted their interviews with South Hayward residents.

One thing’s for certain there’s a growing sense of isolation in South Hayward as many residents perceive the city is continuing to focus on the downtown area. But with new grant money available and the new effort by the city to bring businesses to South Hayward the future may be better.

Veterans Succeed at Chabot

Veterans have a long history of utilizing their benefits for education and veterans at Chabot are no exception. Roughly three percent of our student population is veterans, and most of them utilize the benefits at the veterans office.

After World War II veterans were given educational benefits to help return them to the workforce and that tradition continues today. Many student veterans utilize the generous GI bill as they complete their educations.

Student Veterans tend to have a higher success rate than non-veteran students 72 to 42 percent higher depending on how you look at the numbers.

National Veteran Success tracker or NVST is a lobbying group that does have a vested interest in seeing the GI succeed. NVST does have some concern as Congress is rolling back some of the benefits. So they do try to make student veterans look more successful.

“Being a veteran makes you financially set up.” Said Krista a veteran program coordinator, Army veteran, Criminal Justice major, and second-year Chabot student when asked to justify why veterans have a higher success rate than average students.

Michael, a third-year computer science major and army veteran said, “Veterans have a sense of community and are willing to help.”

That being said why 42 percent vs. 72 percent? Their statistics do include 18 percent still attending college. And another 10 percent that got a vocational degree or certificate but may have even flunked out of college. That being said it still does beat the lowest number for civilians at 39 percent most likely due to readily available financial aid.

The typical veteran is a 25-29-year-old Latino or White man, older than most Chabot students. They make up roughly 3 percent of Chabot’s student population while making up 5 percent of degrees or certificates issues in 2016.

If you’re curious about what Chabot veterans center can provide from medical benefits to comfort dogs, please visit room building 2300, 2nd floor, room 2353 (Above the cafeteria). Melissa, the program coordinator, said: “she is happy to give back to veterans.” Chabot welcomes all those who serve, and/or plan to serve our country.

What’s on Your Mind?

If you have been following mass shootings for the last few years, one narrative has been a constant call to action on mental health usually by a politician. This raises the question does this country have a mental health problem? The answer is rather complicated.
The answer may appear to be obvious with the recent string of mass shootings. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, only three to five percent of violent crime can be attributed to severe mental illness.
According to Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, who has been tracking mass shootings since 1966, only 14.8 percent of mass shooters have a diagnosed mental illness.
“To Shoot up a school, you have to be crazy.” Said 2-year Psychology major Caroline Phan. The thought of shooting up a school was so anathema to her that she is certain that a sane person couldn’t do it.
Chabot Psychology Professor Felicia Perez said, “in a very rare set of circumstances (a mass shooter) could be sane if they had a traumatic past or were pushed.” She went on to contribute the previous statistics of only 14.8 percent.
One of the few issues that President Obama and President Trump are in agreement on is that this country’s mental health services are inadequate. Both Presidents would cite lack of availability of psychiatrists in this country as an issue.

This also raises the question do people who have mental health issues feel a stigmatism toward getting help. Professor Perez states that “masculinity” may be a factor in preventing people from seeking help. She went on to point out that most violent crime is committed by males. According to FBI crime statistics, 78.2 percent of violent crime is committed by males and 88.8 percent of murders.
If you or somebody you know is in need of mental health services Chabot Counselors can help or refer you to someone who can help, they are located in building 700 and can be called at 510-723-2642. If you don’t feel comfortable with school services, you can call Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1‑877‑726‑4727 for a referral.

Chabot Rallies for Gun Control

Chabot college joined most of the country on March 14 in a nationwide walkout at Cesar Chavez square protesting gun violence. The protest was inspired by the recent Parkland High School shooting that left 17 dead in Florida.

A lone drum beat a steady tone while students marched out to the square with victims of gun violence pictures hanging from the trees. Most students were quiet. Over 150 students and staff participated in the walkout.

At well as over 3,000 schools across the nation, similar scenes unfolded. However at least one student there did not agree with his peers, Gavin a second-year mechanical student wore an NRA shirt. He said his choice of attire was unintentional but “I am glad I wore it.” He also said we should always blame the individual for the crime and not the object.

Almost everyone else at the rally was on the same page, that legislators had to act to prevent gun violence.  

“I am here for the injustice of gun violence,” said Gezzel Sanchez a first-year EMT major.

Christina, a staff member at Chabot college, summarized feelings of many people at the protest “young people taking action is the source of change.” and “with our leaders acting like children it’s time for our children to act as leaders.” She would also go on to call President Trump’s plan to arm teachers “stupid.”

After 20 minutes the rally moved inside where students and staff talked about how gun violence affected their lives. One man shared a story of how his cousin, a church deacon, was shot 13 times over a game of dominoes, a woman talked of how her husband and father of 3 kids was shot outside her home for no reason, and another woman described both of her brothers being murdered in a five-month period.

Although there was a healthy amount of optimism at the protest, many doubted the current administration would do anything. Emma, a fourth-year undeclared major, said: “I hope they take action, but this has to be the most unproductive congress in history.”

DACA Update

DACA has once again been in the spotlight with it being the primary issue that lead to the government shutdown and potentially threatens another. DACA is an issue that is important to Chabot college due to us having a large population of Dreamer students. At the board of trustees recently declaring us a sanctuary campus like many other Californian campuses.
Chabot’s, status as a sanctuary campus means that we will not cooperate with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should they ask for records or attempt to apprehend a student on campus. This is made redundant by ICE’s policy of not apprehending people in “sensitive” areas such as schools and churches. Yet, under the Trump administration ICE has been much more proactive. According to The New York Times raiding a total of 98 7-Eleven’s in January resulting in 23 arrests.

In the short term, DACA recipients should have nothing to fear despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing the end of DACA. The Chabot College Dream team recently sent out an email stating as of January 13, 2018, U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it will again accept DACA renewal applications as a result of a recent order issued by a U.S. District Court.

Chabot has its own Dreamers Club that according to the group’s president Jacklen a first-year math major, “is to create awareness and support for undocumented people at chabot.” She went on to state the group provides scholarship information, guest speaker and group support for its members.

Chabot’s Dreamers club isn’t just for the undocumented, they accept allies as well. One such ally is Savannah a 1st-year business major. Savannah joined because “My friend was undocumented and a few of her family members and I knew of the fear and anxiety they face.”

President Donald Trump has stepped away from Mexico funding his border wall in the short term and sought to get the funding from Congress. But with Democrats opposed to constructing the wall along with any member of his party. President Trump has attempted to use DACA as leverage to strike a deal with Democrats. The disagreement lead to the first government shutdown with the ruling party holding the majority seats in Congress since Jimmy Carter.

Chabot Dreamer club meets on Thursdays at noon in room 506. DACAs future remains uncertain for the foreseeable future while both political parties seem to be unwilling to compromise.