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Dhiren Shah

Editor's Note: 3/27/2014

Hello Readers, DHIREN

Finally, there is hope for finding the lost Malaysian plane, as debris was found on the bottom of the South Indian Ocean. According to the New York Times, "Satellite sightings of 122 objects floating southwest of Australia are "the most credible lead that we have" in the search for Flight 370, the Malaysian defense minister said Wednesday evening, adding that his country had asked Australia to try to recover the objects and see if they were debris from the missing jetliner...The defense minister (Malaysia), Hishammuddin Hussein, said the 122 objects were visible in satellite images forwarded by Airbus Defense and Space, the main European commercial satellite company. Malaysia passed the images to Australia, which is leading the search in the area. The Australian authorities did not report having located any of the objects by late Wednesday night."

According to USA TODAY, "The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday (March 26) that a federal law intended to keep guns away from domestic violence offenders can apply even if their crime was nothing more than 'offensive touching.' The decision was a victory for gun control advocates and groups that work to protect battered spouses and children, and a defeat for gun rights organizations that argued the federal law goes too far. For the justices, it came down to the proper definition of 'physical force' - one that a majority of them decided did not have to be violent or even directly applied to the victim by the abuser. Routine battery convictions, the court said, are sufficient to trigger the gun ban." This is needed for a non-violent society. The police cannot prevent domestic violence cases. So these kinds of laws will prevent some incidents, which is a victory for society.

The City of Newark is fighting for its fate. It will be decided on May 13, 2014, when the election for many new faces will take place. The council is divided and running for re-election with different parties, and some independently. The voters have to choose very carefully. The political big bosses are with Shavar Jeffries and grassroots organizations are with Ras Baraka. There is a political war between politics and people. Let's see who wins. I would not be surprised about anyone coming out as a winner. The race will be too close to call from now.

Right now, both candidates are too busy getting endorsements of politicians, unions and organizations. However, both have to make sure that the people of Newark benefit after they get elected. In the majority of elections, people are naive and listen to one candidate over the other and decide their vote. However, I appeal to all voters to find out the facts about the candidates and then take a side for voting. Many times a council candidate you like is from a different group than the mayoral candidate you like, so please vote for the best candidate in your opinion. You must vote for the better candidate, not because they might help you one way, but due to their policy hurt you in your taxes.

Those voters think that they are tenants. But eventually, you are paying for the taxes, as the rent goes up with tax increases. Lately, due to restrictions on tax increases, all of the townships are charging backdoor charges to increase their revenue. So before you select anyone, make sure the candidate is for the people, and that the candidate will not change after being elected, will keep his/her promises, has knowledge of the constitution, likely to solve people's problems, and improve the quality of service given to the people who have to deal with city hall. If it is a mayoral candidate, the person also has to have leadership qualities and will lead the city while administering the day-to-day work very smoothly in your opinion.

I congratulate East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor for hiring two persons as his aides for resolving the problems of constituents. All of the candidates should do the same. They should have one person to simplify the process on all of the departments and how to deal with the city, without burning up in their mind, and having a stress-free environment at city hall.

Have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you next week.

Editor's Note: 3/20/2014

Hello Readers, DHIREN

The election season is getting hotter in Newark. Due to only two mayoral candidates involved, the negativity is harder between the two. Councilman Ras Baraka said that he would not support a negative campaign. However, if the candidates do not want any negative campaigning, they should denounce all the negativity, and then I will believe they really want a good campaign.

Newark's Teachers Union had a rally on Tuesday, March 17, 2014. The rally against the school administration may have been more political than about people. Jeffries has the support of many political powerbrokers, but Baraka is leading in the polls. We need the right leader, who has charisma, intelligence, the people's personality, humility, leading ability, vision, who's ready to work with Newarkers and take Newark to a better level. The leader that the voters pick should not take advantage of people's money, making different nonprofit or non-governmental organizations and placing their people on the board and having control of finances even outside the government body. I hope that one day leader will come and really work for people.

According to Fox News, "A defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin answered President Obama's announced sanctions against a handful of officials in Putin's inner circle - but not Putin, himself - by signing a treaty Tuesday making Crimea a part of Russia. The signing follows a referendum on Sunday in which residents of Ukraine's southern region overwhelmingly backed the move. The treaty still must be approved by Russia's Constitutional Court and ratified by both houses of parliament. Those steps are considered mere formalities." This is a winning situation for Putin, as he blamed the U.S. and its allies for demolishing the historical ties between Ukraine and Russia.

Phil Jackson has joined the New York Knicks as President of Basketball Operations with a five year contract of $12 million dollars per year. This is an unprecedented high salary contract for someone in that role, but the Knicks needed this to uplift the team. It is better to give money to Jackson than hiring one player worth $20 million a year and may or may not produce anything. However, Jackson does not have any front office experience, but his name and charisma will bring the Knicks back into the lime light, hopefully with winning seasons and maybe championships down the road.

According to CBS news, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370's computer was re-programmed to fly away from its destination. The authorities have already searched the house of the pilot. Someone in the cockpit knew how to reprogram the computer and change the flight direction without any radar detection. The whole world is looking into the whereabouts of the plane, but no one knows where it disappeared to. The mystery remains, and time will tell.

Even the superpowers with the world's best technology could not find any whereabouts of the flight. So this is a failure of the money spent by countries of the world on the technology and research. According to CBS, "The suspicion is of one or both of the pilots. First someone has disabled the communication system. Authorities have said someone on board the plane first disabled one of its communications systems - the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS - about 40 minutes after takeoff. The ACARS equipment sends information about the jet's engines and other data to the airline.

Around 14 minutes later, the transponder that identifies the plane to commercial radar systems was also shut down. The fact that both systems went dark separately offered strong evidence that the plane's disappearance was deliberate." What a tragedy.

Have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you next week.

Editor's Note: 3/13/2014

Hello Readers, DHIREN

Only two months are left until the election in Newark. This is a totally unusual election, as there is no incumbent running for mayor. Councilman Ras Baraka has experience in running a school as a principal, and Shavar Jeffries was president of the Newark Schools Advisory Board. As both candidates do not have any solid experience in regards to having been a mayor before, the voters have to make decision on who will lead Newark in the right direction. Ras Baraka has grassroots support, but the question is, can he handle running a large city? Shavar Jeffries is supported by many politicians and political powerbrokers, but the question is, can he make his own independent decisions?

There is lot of negative campaigning going on. I asked Ras Baraka if he would support negative campaigning. He replied that he definitely would not. Usually, the negative campaign is led by their advisors, but as leaders, they can instruct their teams to stop it. If it does not happen, then the responsibility lies on the candidates. Negative campaigning can ruin the momentum of a candidate, which gives the other candidate enough time to bring his/her agenda to the forefront and have the momentum shift their way. Both candidates have declared their teams, but none of them have a full slate as of today. Jeffries is short by one candidate and Baraka by two.

One after another, accusations against NJ Governor Chris Christie continues. He has made some bold decisions to help the state, but at the same time he is disconnected with the people. He was portrayed as the people's governor, but turned out to be a few people's governor. Bridgegate is still an issue after two months. He still has to answer to people about his involvement and knowledge of the scandal.

A Malaysian airline disappeared from radar over an hour after its takeoff. The only clue the authorities have is that the plane turned back at a 40 degrees angle to Kuala Lumpur where it took off 40 minutes after midnight on Saturday March 8, 2014. Out of 239 passengers, 150 Chinese Nationals were on the flight. Interpol confirmed at least two passengers on the flight used stolen passports. Malaysian authorities indicated mechanical or piloting problems could be reasons for the apparent crash. The U.S. checked through a spy satellite and found that the plane made a turn back towards Kuala Lumpur, but did not have any mid-air explosion. This is an unprecedented disappearance of a plane. There is speculation that someone purposely rerouted the airline and turned off the transponder. No one has ruled out the possibilities of a terror attack.

According to Times, "Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden said Monday that the United States government is 'setting fire to the future of the Internet' with its massive domestic surveillance programs." According to USA Today, "Speaking remotely from Russia on Monday, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden told attendees at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas that encryption is still a powerful deterrent against government surveillance."

Even a traitor can speak and interact with the people all over the world. That shows the power of internet and global communication. This is scary. The government of the United States is collecting too much information about each of us. In this day and age, there is no secrecy and our freedom and rights are evaporated due to over-expanding of the internet and bad government policies.

Have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you next week.

Editor's Note: 3/06/2014

Hello Readers, Kristopher_Seals

Hi again. Relax...you only have to suffer me for one more week.

Right after Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries gave us his council slate, Ras Baraka has revealed his team, which is headlined by South Ward Councilman John Sharpe James and Councilwoman-at-large Mildred Crump. Other candidates include Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins (Central Ward), Luis Lopez (North Ward), Joe McCallum (West Ward), Patrick Council and Eddie Osborne (both council-at-large). Noticeably absent is an East Ward candidate, which makes people wonder if Baraka has yielded to the power of incumbent Augusto Amador in that part of Newark. One thing that Baraka and Jeffries have in common is that neither of them have current Central Ward Councilman Darrin Sharif on their teams.

The situation in Ukraine is getting more convoluted every day. Former President Viktor Yanukovich is hiding out in Russia, where that country's President Vladimir Putin is flexing his military power in the Crimea region that is critical to Ukraine. People have been asking why a superpower nation would make such a big deal about a much smaller nation. Simple...it's business. Yanukovich made a deal a few months back with Russia that would make for a nice payday for Putin and his country. However, the populace in Ukraine favored a deal with the European Union instead, ultimately leading to the Euromaidan Movement that led to Yanukovich fleeing the Ukraine. President Obama spoke on the phone with Putin to try and talk him out of it, and it seems for the moment that neither will need to pick up the nuclear football any time soon.

The NFL wants to make a rule that would penalize teams 15 yards for using the "N" word on the field. This is quite the polarizing topic in this nation. Older people abhor the word, while younger people embrace it. In terms of the NFL, this is basically their way of saying, "We don't want to have a discussion. Let's just make it a penalty, say we did something about it, and sweep it under the rug." I remember a few years back when a white gentleman - and I say gentleman loosely - called me that word. I just kept walking, grinned, and thought to myself, "A hardcore racist? Do they still even make you?"

I am not going to make a case for what people should think of the word in and of itself, but think of this. If I reacted, there are several things that could have happened. There could have been a fight, someone could have been arrested, or killed. Basically, bad things. Now, in terms of the way I reacted, nothing bad happened. So, from my experience, if someone uses the "N" word - or any word for that matter that you don't like - it's only as powerful as you make it. Try to ignore it. By doing that, you tell the person who said it, "Sorry, but you've failed...miserably." If they continue talking, then they're just wasting breath and getting stressed, and by that you are actually killing your opponent(s) without them even being privy to it. Eventually, they'll give up, like the Knicks have given up on the 2013-2014 season.

Finally, I want to address something. While some of you may grit your teeth upon reading this, there are some people that actually like my writing. When they ask why I don't write in the paper anymore, it's because of two reasons. One, I'm very busy with my role as Associate Editor, which doesn't give me much time to write op-eds. Two, as a professional, there are just some things that someone in my position should not speak on, and therefore I keep those items and my work separate.

Initially, I was just going to leave it that way, but then I got some feedback recently. Someone told me he didn't like my stance on a topic. I told him not to worry, as I was only temporarily writing these editorials. He then said, "No, I like reading your opinions. I just don't always agree with them." That conversation told me I had reached a level that all writers want, which is not always to be liked, but important.

So here is what I'll do. Right now, I have a Twitter account, which is www.twitter.com/kristopherseals. I don't tweet every minute of every day, but I do post every now and then. If I do some blogging and have other ventures in the future not suitable for Local Talk, I'll mention it there. I don't get paid like celebrities do for tweeting, but I made the account a while back in case if my writing career ever came to fruition.

Have a nice week. Once again, these are just my opinions.

Editor's Note: 2/27/2014

Hello Readers,

Hi. It's me again. Let's go to work.Kristopher_Seals

In Newark, mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries announced an eight-person council slate, which is comprised of East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, Councilman-at-large Carlos Gonzalez, and council candidates Brian Logan (South Ward), Kevin Waters (West Ward), Andre Speight (Central Ward), Lynda Lloyd and Former Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo (council-at-large). Now the people of Newark want to see who's running with Ras Baraka, Jeffries' opponent in the May 2014 election.

Right now, the world is focused on what's going on in the Ukraine. President Viktor Yanukovich got booted, and the people won. It seems that in the 21st Century, the people are slowly starting to get the upper hand in terms of their rights. The Arab Spring got rid of a few despots, and the push for reform in Ukraine, better known as the Euromaidan Movement, has led to the removal of Yanukovich. He bounced from the scene after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Around the world, many people wonder why dictatorships ban the Internet and other modern amenities. This is why. When people know that the world is more than the box they are told it is, they want freedom and equality. When they get the motivation to fight for freedom and equality, they look to get organized. When they get organized, dictators get removed.

Don't be surprised if people like Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria get forced out soon. For some oddball reason, there are several regimes that have an extreme problem with gay people. In Uganda, a tabloid actually published the names of 200 "top homosexuals," at a time when the nation passed a law banning homosexuality. This is obscene, and dangerous. If you want someone dead in Uganda, just go around and tell people the person is gay or lesbian. Unbelievable.

Why is this happening? Well, many of them claim "religion" or "morals." Let's be honest, if you want to know the truth about religion and morals, simply consult a George Carlin album and hear his take on the matter. By the way, can you name me one gay person who committed mass murder? Keep thinking on that. Meanwhile, I can rattle off a bunch of straight lunatics: Hitler, Stalin, Bin Laden...this list could go on and fill up this newspaper and then some.

Speaking of extreme regimes that dislike gay people, let's go to the land known as "Arizona." They want to pass some garbage making it legal to discriminate against gay people. Legislators want Governor Jan Brewer to pass it. Fortunately, it seems that she won't give in to the "religious freedom" bill.

Okay. Let's do a test, shall we? If you have a problem with gay people, and you're religious, take a moment and pray the following prayer: Dear (insert your deity here), please remove all of the LGBT people from the earth right now. After doing that, go outside, or check the Internet if you have it, and see if there is any news about LGBT people being gone. If it worked, congratulations, you and your friends were right. If it didn't, then when it comes to your stance against LGBT people...SHUT UP. Okay. That's a little extreme. You do have freedom of speech. You can talk, just keep it to a room...that no one else is in.

In sports, Jason Collins was signed to a 10-day contract by that other New York area team (We don't mention them in New Jersey, because even though they had a state-of-the-art arena they could have played in, they decided to leave like a bunch of chumps.) Collins is the first openly gay player active in the four major professional sports (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL). It is widely considered that former Missouri linebacker Michael Sam will likely be the second once his NFL career begins. (Let's just hope he doesn't get drafted by the Arizona Cardinals.)

Meanwhile, if Collins doesn't get another contract with that other NY team, he can play for the Knicks. Granted he plays Center, but the Knicks are completely discombobulated when it comes to players being out of their natural position. For instance, Carmelo Anthony is playing Power Forward even though he's a Small Forward, J.R. Smith - when he's not being benched for doing something stupid - is playing Small Forward, and although Raymond Felton is listed as a Point Guard, based on his recent legal issues, you would figure he'd be a better fit at "Shooting" Guard. (Too Soon?)

Have a nice week. Remember, these are just my opinions.

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