Issuu on Google+

Journalist’s Portfolio Ashley Carey www.ashleycarey.net

Table of Contents News..........................................................................................1-2 College Board Addresses Budget Crisis.....................................................................................................................................1 College Addresses Accreditation Issues.....................................................................................................................................1 Congressman Adam Schiff Hosts ‘Brown Bag’ Lunch..............................................................................................................2 Gay-Straight Alliance Raises Funds for Center..........................................................................................................................2

Features........................................................................................3 Student Shaken by Japanese Disaster..........................................................................................................................................3 Finding Nemo on the Cheerleading Team...................................................................................................................................3

Reviews.........................................................................................4 LawQA Offers New Online Service............................................................................................................................................4 ‘13 Assassins’ Give the Shogun a Bloodbath..............................................................................................................................4

Opinion.........................................................................................5 The Tobacco Industry Should be Held Accountable....................................................................................................................5

Graphics...................................................................................6-8

When Credits Don’t Count -- Accreditation Graphic................................................................................................................6 Your Piece of the Pie -- Budget Graphic...................................................................................................................................7 Journalism Club Ad...................................................................................................................................................................8 House website Ad......................................................................................................................................................................8 Mock bin Laden Cover Graphic................................................................................................................................................8




Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NEWS

College Board Addresses Budget Crisis By Ashley Carey

EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

T

he Glendale College Board of Trustees is campaigning for a move they believe will soften the blow of the school’s budget crisis, and save students $30 per unit in tuition fees. The financial crisis, a statewide $25 billion budget gap, will be felt mostly during the oncoming budget year. Proposition 98, first passed in 1988, guarantees an annual increase in the budgets of K-14 education. Tax extensions first passed five years ago, would help retain some funding for community colleges. The extensions would last an additional five years. The support of an additional four Republican district represen-

tatives is still needed to ensure the tax extensions make it to the ballot. “Proposition 98 funding constitutes over 70 percent of total K-12 funding and about twothirds of total community college funding,” Legislative Analyst Office’s website states. “Currently, Proposition 98 spending (General Fund) is almost 45 percent of General Fund revenues.” Proposition 98 has the option to be suspended, allowing the Legislature to decide at what level to fund K-14 education. A proposed tax extension would preserve some of the college’s funding, but is not yet on the ballot. Under Governor Brown’s budget proposal, the California community college system would see

a 2.6 percent decrease in funding through a changed census date. This would mean a $400 million cut to community college funding. A $10 per unit student fee increase is included in the proposal, compared to a $40 per unit increase if the tax extension does not pass. Community colleges already suffered the majority of cuts under Proposition 98, said Mark MacDonald, a lobbyist with the MacCallum Group in Sacramento. “If Proposition 98 is suspended, we’re talking about a $1 billion cut to community colleges,” MacDonald said. “We’re talking about a completely different way of doing education in California.” “We have 2.7 million students at community colleges. We need

to use all of them,”he said. The board hired the MacCallum Group to lobby for the tax extensions during tough financial times. “Use us to get where you need to be,” said Board of Trustees Clerk Dr. Hacopian. “We know that for us, if the governor’s budget would pass, a little over 2,000 students would still not get served. But, if Proposition 98 is suspended, 5,000 students would not get served,” said Board Vice President Mrs. Gabriellian. Over 2,500 bills relating to the budget have been introduced in the last month, covering a variety of issues. Things like funding, financial aid, contracting, and accountability are among the issues on the bills. Each proposal must

be in print for at least 30 days prior to receiving legislative action, MacDonald said. “This is the most important election that you will be part of in a long time,” he said. “Assuming the measures make it to the ballot in June, we need student, faculty and staff, and the board promoting the importance of the measures to the college.” Other topics covered at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting included accreditation issues, and an overview of the success of the Glendale College nursing program.

Ashley Carey can be reached at Ashley_Carey@elvaq.com

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NEWS

College Addresses Accreditation Issues By Ashley Carey

EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

S

tudents can rest easy regarding the safety of their credits. After years of accreditation issues, and one warning status later, it seems that GCC is back on track. Back in 2004, the college was visited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The visiting team from this Western-U.S. based commission left the college with a list1 of 10 recommendations. These would ensure continued accreditation by the governmentofficiated committee. The recommendations covered things like addressing technology needs, completing timely employee evaluations, and developing a comprehensive Educational Master Plan for the school. The ACCJC team visited again in 2007 to create a focused

midterm report2 on the issues. This updated report addressed the college’s specific goals to meet each recommendation before the 2010 deadline. However, due to legislative, administrative, and financial chaos on campus, the college simply lacked the resources to fix the issues. The report reflected that fact, and GCC was given another chance. In May of 2010, the ACCJC sent a new team to GCC to draft a Final Evaluation Team Report3. This report presented a list of nine new recommendations. Some were revised versions of previous recommendations, like employee evaluations (which were still incomplete.) Others, like measures preventing overheating of campus Internet servers, were entirely new. One month later, the ACCJC issued a letter of action4. The team deemed GCC’s progress not up to par, and left the college with an “On Warning” accreditation

status. The warning made much of the students and faculty uneasy. Accreditation is vital for any legitimate college. Only accredited schools are eligible for federal funding, and only students of accredited schools are eligible for federal financial aid. Accreditation also puts a high value on the credits earned at a college. Credits from nonaccredited institutions generally do not transfer to those that are properly accredited. March 15, 2011, marked the due date for GCC’s own followup report5 regarding compliance with ACCJC recommendations. On Monday, the ACCJC team will return to investigate and verify the claims in our follow-up report. The team will meet with small groups of GCC administrators directly involved with the four specific accreditation issues, and form their own report. “We believe we are

in contention with the recommendations,” said Jill Lewis, Manager of Accreditation & Program Review at GCC. The initial warning status was no surprise to the school, Lewis said. This marks the first time that GCC has touted full compliance with ACCJC recommendations. Once the visiting team submits their report on Monday to the ACCJC for executive review, GCC will receive no news until the end of June, or perhaps even early July. Then, perhaps finally, its accreditation will be safe and free of warnings. Sources: The complete list of recommendations from the 2004 report is available on the GCC website at http://www.glendale. edu/index.aspx?page=1278. 2 The complete 2007 focused midterm report can be found at http://www.glendale.edu/index. aspx?page=1279. 1

The May 2010 Final Evaluation Team Report can be found at http://www.glendale.edu/ Modules/ShowDocument. aspx?documentid=7430. 4 The June 2010 ACCJC Action Letter can be found at http://www.glendale.edu/ Modules/ShowDocument. aspx?documentid=7431. 5 The March 2011 GCC follow-up report can be found at http://www.glendale.edu/ Modules/ShowDocument. aspx?documentid=9840. 3




Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NEWS

Congressman Adam Schiff Hosts ‘Brown Bag’ Lunch By Ashley Carey

EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

A

mid rising gas prices, growing tensions in the Middle East, and continued refusal by Congress to recognize the Armenian genocide, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Glendale, had a lot to cover during his visit to Glendale College on Tuesday. Citing the recent U.S. killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Schiff said America’s relationship with the nation is unsteady. The Pakistani government objected to an unauthorized U.S. military strike that killed bin Laden on Pakistani soil, and unauthorized use of the country’s airspace by the U.S. and NATO. There are more Al-Qaeda members in Pakistan than anywhere else, Schiff said, highlighting the importance of sustaining a good relationship with the nation’s government. “This is a troubling, problematic, difficult, sometimes

excruciating relationship, but a necessary one,” he said. Meanwhile, Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province and an outspoken voice for moderation, was shot and killed by his own bodyguard in January. “Tens of thousands of Pakistanis took to the streets in favor of the assassin,” Schiff said. “We are not winning.” Many Afghan citizens still believe the U.S. government planned 9/11 to obtain Middle Eastern resources. Problems in Pakistan and Afghanistan are related, he said, and Afghanistan’s young democratic government is not ready to survive on its own. His outlook on ending the war was grim. “It may take a very, very long time to end this civilian mission,” Schiff said. Schiff assured students that Congress is working hard to find solutions to repair the country’s damaged economy.

“There is a menu of discreet choices we have to make. None of them are very pleasant,” he said. “Now is the time to make those difficult decisions, but that’s something we owe to all of you, because quite frankly, we’re spending your money.” Schiff, who was formerly an adjunct professor at GCC, touched on the potential threat of federal cuts to education. Investing in education is investing in the country’s future success, he said. “You don’t eat your seed corn,” Schiff said. “You don’t kill your future.” Fortunately, making cuts to education on a federal level is a difficult process, he said, and cutting the nation’s defense budget could also have adverse effects. “Defense has to be on the table with everything else,” Schiff said. Many in the audience voiced concerns about Schiff ’s efforts toward Congress’ official recognition of the 1915 Armenian

genocide. Glendale has the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia. “I believe, frankly, that you can only deny history for so long,” he said. “It undermines our credibility when we are seen as picking and choosing our genocides.” Schiff said his efforts were “frustratingly close” to succeeding last year. Since the event, the U.S. has chosen to steer clear of the term “genocide” to preserve its relations with Turkey, one of its few allies in the region. President Obama has recognized the issue using the term “Meds Yeghern,” Armenian for “the great crime.” “Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire,” Obama said in a statement. “The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the Armenian people.” Turkey’s biggest concern in

the U.S. Congress is lobbying to prevent recognition of the event, Schiff said. Strict immigration laws are making it difficult for the best and the brightest from around the world to stay in America, he said. Schiff suggested that those who graduate with a U.S. degree and want to start their own business be issued a green card. We can’t afford to kick out those we educate here, he said.

Ashley Carey can be reached at Ashley_Carey@elvaq.com

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NEWS

Gay-Straight Alliance Raises Funds for Center By Ashley Carey

EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

L

ast Thursday, in place of the usual rotation of hip-hop and electronic music from the DJ’s turntables, Plaza Vaquero was filled with positive indie-pop songs from bands like Of Montreal. The bubblegum soundtrack set the mood for the campus’ first GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) public fundraising event.

The club hoped to raise $1,000, enough money to enter the YPC (Young Professionals Council) Beach Volleyball Classic on Aug. 6, a charity event to benefit the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. Though this GSA was just founded, it is not GCC’s first. “The first one was started in the late 1980s. I know because I was one of the ones involved as a student back then,” said Hoover Zariani of the Center for Student Involvement. “However, it is the

first GSA in at least three to four years or so, if my memory serves me correctly.” The event was a combination of promoting visibility and raising funds, said Mark Gens, GSA’s co-adviser. Aside from fundraising, the club hopes to promote tolerance and support for LGBT — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered — students and faculty on campus. “GCC tends to be more on the conservative side in a lot of

ways,” Gens said. He pointed out cases like public displays of affection, wherein same-sex couples deal with more abuse than their hetero counterparts. “They feel like they can’t speak out,” he said. Carlos Melendez, a dance major, says GCC is a safe campus for those with alternative lifestyles. He can’t recall a case regarding lack of tolerance toward LGBT students, he said. “We’re here to meet friends

and allies,” Melendez said. “To promote toleration.” The club offered free chips and soda to passers-by, and sold Skittles, an appropriate candy tribute to the rainbow symbol of homosexual tolerance.

Ashley Carey can be reached at Ashley_Carey@elvaq.com




Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FEATURES

Student Shaken by Japanese Disaster By Ashley Carey

EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

K

enta Yamashita was at home in Pasadena when the March 11 earthquake hit Japan. But he felt the whole thing. Yamashita, an aviation major at GCC, was in a Skype video call with his family in Tokyo that Thursday night. He was meeting his newborn nephew for the first time when the image on the screen started to shake. He began to panic as his memory flashed back to a terrifying day just one week after his eighth birthday Yamashita moved to the United States six years ago. But in January of 1995, he and his family lived in Osaka. On January 17, 1995, a 6.8 earthquake devastated Hanshin, the area between Osaka and Kobe. Yamashita was only a child, but the destruction that resulted left a permanent mark. “I experienced a huge earthquake, and right after that I saw the burning homes and buildings,” he said. “I was too young.”

Yamashita knew the Kobe area well. Seeing such a familiar place in ruins was nothing short of traumatizing. The television footage left him with a panic disorder that he still deals with today. Though he was safe in California on the night of March 10, Yamashita felt the shaking in his own body. He cried out for his family to cut the gas line, to take shelter. His mother yelled back for him to finish cooking his dinner. He was more afraid than they were. Yamashita’s mother, sister and nephew evacuated to Nagasaki on March 15 to stay with his grandparents. His father remained in Tokyo to continue working. “Most people in Tokyo can’t leave,” he said. The Japanese culture puts great emphasis on hard work. After the disaster, many people just wanted to go back to their jobs. Yamashita’s friend Mikiko lives in Sendai, where the earthquake and tsunami hit the hardest. She was waiting for her friends at

a train station when the ground began to shake, she recalled on her web blog. Unable to stand, she crouched to the ground. “I can die like this,” she thought. The earthquake continued for two minutes. When it was finally over, she walked home in high heels that left blisters. The tsunami that followed the quake had begun to destroy her city. She passed a bus stop in ruins, and saw a road collapse. An hour later, she arrived home in the dark. The power was out everywhere. “I feel so guilty because I have plenty of food and water,” she wrote. “My situation is much better than other people’s.” Mikiko and her family remain safe in their well-designed home. “Strict safety codes saved many lives,” Yamashita said about Japanese architecture. But he’s worried that aftershocks may weaken the buildings. Yamashita frequently checked in with family and friends in the region. Despite his six years in America, his internal sense

of time had reset itself 16 hours ahead to Japan’s local time. After the nuclear reactor coolant systems in Fukushima failed, the towers began to leak nuclear fuel. Yamashita stayed awake for days, constantly checking updated reports of Tokyo’s radiation levels. “Japan should be in a state of emergency,” Yamashita said six days after the earthquake. At the time, it was still unsure whether the nuclear situation would elevate. “The radiation leak is small for now, but it could get worse.” Since then, power has been delivered to the Fukushima plant, and the cooling systems are functional again. Radiation levels rose and then dropped considerably. Still, as of March 24, the leak continues. A group of Japanese students at GCC began collecting donations on campus the Monday following the disaster. So far, the students have raised more than $1,000 for the Japanese embassy. Donations will greatly assist

Japan in rebuilding its cities. The maturity and diligence of the Japanese people have already proven to be a significant advantage in their recovery. “We have a lot of experience with huge earthquakes,” Yamashita said. “I am pretty sure we can take care of this.” More photos online at www.elvaq.com Ashley Carey can be reached at Ashley_Carey@elvaq.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SPORTS

Finding Nemo on the Cheerleading Team By Ashley Carey

EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

A

mid the cornucopia of team sports offered at Glendale College, its award-winning cheer team is a hidden gem. The Beach Boys once wrote, “be true to your school.” This spirited sentiment resounds in the creed of the Vaquero cheerleading squad. “Being a cheerleader, you’re not just out there to go and do a routine,” said squad member Kevin-Anthony “Nemo” Zelaya. “You’re out there to go and promote your school. The most important thing is school spirit.” Zelaya is one of several males on the squad. With experience in sports like football and baseball, he says that cheerleading is the most physically demanding sport

he has ever been a part of. “This is unlike any other sport,” he said, wiping his sweatcovered brow. “It’s one team, one cohesive routine, and that’s it.” Donning practice attire, the girls look like several variations of a workout Barbie. But their range of movement and physical abilities are something with which no Barbie doll could compete. Smiling proudly with one hand on his hip, Zelaya suspends both feet of a girl in the palm of his outstretched hand. When the girl jumps to descend, so does Zelaya to catch her. Like most of his teammates, Zelaya majors in kinesiology, which is the science of human movement. “I can’t say I know a cheerleader that isn’t majoring in kinesiology,” he said.

Zelaya’s plan is to graduate from GCC and go on to the University of Alabama, the school with the nation’s top cheerleading team. “I actually just wanna be a sports physical therapist,” he said. It’s not uncommon for an outsider to underestimate the challenge of cheerleading. Some stigma still exists in the way people perceive the sport, but things are looking up. “Whenever I have someone tell me, ‘Hey, I see cheerleaders, and they’re just skirts and cheers on the sideline,’ I show them a little bit of the stuff I can do, and a little bit of the stuff my buddies can do,” Zelaya said. Organizations like the Universal Cheerleader’s Association and the National Cheerleader’s Association, together with ESPN,

broadcaster of the national competition, are doing their part to represent the plight of cheerleaders as hard-working athletes. The Glendale cheer squad has been featured in movies such as Bring It On, and in several nationally-broadcast television commercials. The team returned in March from the Universal Cheerleader’s Association championship in Orlando, Fla., where they placed 8th in Small Coed Division II. “We will be back this year, and we’ll be bringing back a national championship banner for the gym here,” he said. Zelaya’s advice those who might be interested in the sport? Just try it. “If you wanna be a part of Glendale College cheer, just come out. I have respect and com-

plete admiration for anyone who tries to do what we do,” he said. “If you can put on some shoes, and you have that want to go out there, then you’re a cheerleader in my book.”

Ashley Carey can be reached at Ashley_Carey@elvaq.com




Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WEBSITE REVIEW

LawQA Offers New Online Service By Ashley Carey

EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

F

acebook keeps members of today’s online society connected to their peers. Yelp keeps users in-the-know about where to spend their money. Twitter keeps visitors entertained with a glimpse into millions of minds. And now, LawQA can keep people informed when they may find themselves in legal trouble. Free online services have inserted themselves into our daily lives, serving as useful and reliable tools for the public. One such service is LawQA.com -- a new website offering free and anonymous legal information from lawyers in a variety of areas.

LawQA was founded in July 2010 by a North Orange County attorney. In an attempt to bridge the access gap that local attorneys face with their consumers, LawQA became a place for lawyers all over the country to showcase their legal knowledge while providing a free, no-obligation service to the public. The site serves a wide demographic, but is especially helpful for college students. “College-aged kids often find themselves in alcohol-related infractions, employment disputes, landlord/tenant disputes, and immigration issues,” said Ryan Heavican, the site’s content manager. Heavican said the site is a

great starting point for those who are faced with their first offense, or anyone who might be scared and unsure of what to do next. The website’s homepage features a single search box, along with a sidebar listing attorneys in the user’s area. Each attorney is given a personal profile page displaying information about themselves and their firm. Banner advertisements for law firms help the site remain free. Each question is anonymous and sent directly to the inboxes of several local lawyers who specialize in different legal issues. Most questions receive more than one response from a qualified professional. “Since we launched in July,

we’ve had about 20,000 published answers from attorneys, and just under 9,000 questions,” Heavican said. The jury is still out on how useful the service has proven itself for students. Due to the anonymous nature of the service, students who have had actual experience with the website were unable to be identified. “Our ultimate goal is to help consumers,” Heavican said. “Some other, similar websites do charge, but we think that’s ridiculous.” In the Internet age of anonymity, Heavican said it’s important to know which sites to trust. LawQA aims to provide a trustworthy source of legal information for

those who need it most. It is important to note that information offered on the site is not official legal advice. “Specific legal advice can only be given with full knowledge of all the facts and circumstances of your situation,” the website states. All questions submitted to the site are public, and can be seen by all visitors. Ashley Carey can be reached at Ashley_Carey@elvaq.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ENTERTAINMENT REVIEW

‘13 Assassins’ Give the Shogun a Bloodbath By Ashley Carey

EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

I

n preparation for the American release of his latest film, Japan’s cult-classic director Takashi Miike held a Hollywood pre-screening of “13 Assassins,” his new out-of-character samurai flick in March. Miike’s decision to remake the 1963 film “Jûsan-nin no shikaku” was an interesting one. The director is best known for his dedication to extreme graphic violence in horror films. He’s left his mark on the genre with movies like the cult-classic “Audition” (1999), criticallyacclaimed “Ichi the Killer” (2001), and “One Missed Call” (2003), a horrifying tale that made half of Japan (and one El Vaq reporter) deathly afraid of a mobile ringtone. So what, after such success in horror, prompted Miike to direct such a serious samurai tale? “I really don’t like the way people want to say, ‘Oh, this director is this kind, he directs this kind of genre,’” Miike said in a Twitchfilm.com interview.

But perhaps the real reason for Miike’s genre-jump becomes clear about halfway through the film, when the dialogue fades and the swords are drawn. Miike loves gore. And as Japan’s resident expert on the subject, he demands realism in his gore. This realism goes beyond basic blood-and-guts special effects, and perhaps beyond whatever comes after that. Several fight scenes in “13 Assassins” offer a unique look at the human arterial system from an angle normally only available to witnesses of horrendously debilitating lawnmower accidents In classic Miike style, this is a film that can go gracefully from whispered tea-time assassination plotting to gut-wrenching quadruple amputation in less than 10 seconds, all without sacrificing a seamlessly fluid storyline. The plot is simple enough to follow — if you’re Japanese. If not, it may take some basic knowledge of Bushido philosophy to keep up with the dialogue. In the mid 1800s, as Japan nears the end of the feudal age, a

group of samurais band together to murder tyrannical leader Lord Naritsugu, who hungers for a repeat of Japan’s Age of War — mostly because he just thinks it was awesome. Lord Naritsugu, played by Gorô Inagaki, is the Shogun’s sadistic little brother. Due to his family’s status, and perhaps a childhood devoid of hugs, Naritsugu never quite grasped basic moral concepts. This is shown in his casual hobbies, which include bounding randomly selected families in rope and murdering them oldestto-youngest with a bow and arrow for entertainment between meetings. Despite the samurai code, which focuses on offering your life to protect your lord, this group of characters boldly decides  to protect the people from their lord instead. As is typical in revolutions, this effort confronts a countereffort composed of hundreds of warriors still loyal to their lord. The situation is reminiscent of the movie “300,” but with better special effects, a great

soundtrack, and a lot more blood. Comic relief in the film is scarce, but nearly all of it is provided by The Hunter, a hyperactive risk-taker who lives in the mountains. The Hunter guides the group to safety, where he proves to be more deadly with a slingshot than most people are with semi-automatic machine guns. Americans aren’t often given the chance to see a film with a serious storyline, serious characters, and very little comic relief. In fact, it’s the American way to poke fun at things that are too serious. Perhaps that’s the reason attendees at the press screening of “13 Assassins” chose to interpret their own comic relief. During what were undoubtedly intended to be serious scenes, the audience erupted in laughter at the sight of an expertly executed demolition of a large building, a torrent of fresh human blood, and the head of a warrior being kicked across a field like a soccer ball. Although cultural expectations may cause varied reactions to the film, the one thing that transcends

culture is how universally kickass Miike’s artistic direction once again proved to be. It seems the only real difference in Miike’s films, no matter the genre, is whether the viewer leaves the theater shaking with fear, or shaking with excitement. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.






Wednesday, May 25, 2011

OPINION

The Tobacco Industry Should be Held Accountable By Ashley Carey

EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

T

he tobacco industry makes me feel weak. With most injustices in this world, we can usually see at least a notion of a light at the end of the tunnel. And even if we can’t, we can at least imagine one. That’s what helps keep our hope alive. The tobacco industry is manipulative and morally devoid. Maybe at first, when we saw the Native Americans using tobacco, we weren’t aware of the adverse health effects. Maybe. I don’t know. But right now, and for the past several decades, we have known one thing for sure: cigarettes are a poison. They kill people. We have known this for a long time. It has been scientifically proven. It is common knowledge among smokers and non-smokers alike. What many people don’t know is that secondhand, or “passive” smoking, kills an estimated 53,000 non-smokers per year. That’s right. Just standing near a smoker is almost as fatal as being one. Maybe since tobacco is natively American in its own right, we haven’t given its approval much of a second thought. But if things remain legal after being proven wrong, then what happened to America’s human slavery business? And wasn’t it once an American tradition to prohibit women from voting or owning

land? Tradition does not excuse injustice. It never has and it never will. I have no idea -- not even an inkling of a clue -- what the light at the end of the tobacco tunnel looks like. I don’t even know if there is one. And if there isn’t any, then everything I’ve ever believed about democracy — the power of the people to rise up and change things — is wrong. The tobacco industry has a lot of social weapons on its side. The spoilsports who don’t want others smoking around them may be considered pretentious, controlling and whiny. They should let the people do what they want. It’s their body, right? Don’t want kids smoking? Don’t worry! There are plenty of anti-smoking campaign ads all over the place, they’ll tell you. But perhaps these provide the rebellious ones with more reason to try it. And then there’s the good ol’ surgeon general’s warning — “Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy.” These have been on every pack since 1966. If smoking killed your family members, maybe they just didn’t see the warnings. Does that make you feel better? The tobacco industry wants us to believe that it’s just your runof-the-mill friendly American corporation, minding its own business while providing the people with cigarettes, if they

happen to want them. But anyone with a bit of common sense can see how true that isn’t. Tobacco is everywhere. It’s in my family. In everyone’s families. It’s on the street, outside our workplaces, on our campus, and even in our houses. It’s used by so many of the people we love and care about. Becoming addicted to cigarette smoking does not make someone a bad person. It makes them just another victim of the fierce and deadly effort led by the largest, most powerful corporations in the world. It’s not easy to escape their grasp. But if you arm yourself with the ability to recognize their attacks, you can. Knowledge really is power, and that power is the best protection against tobacco’s corporate claws. But how can we fight something that has so much power? So much legislative support? So many advocates? Half of tobacco’s advocates are the smokers themselves. They know the facts, they know the risks, but they don’t want to face the guilt. So they decide to try and justify it. Maybe they don’t want to be smokers; to be among the victims of a money-hungry powerhouse. But they’re hooked. So many of us fail to realize that each justification, each “cigarettes are bad for me, but this one is good for me, and I need it,” empowers the industry that attacked and enslaved them. Like a child taking refuge in the

arms of his kidnapper. If cigarettes were introduced to the market today, I don’t think there’s any question that they would never, ever be sold in the United States. In the age of the highly controversial War on Drugs, and with the current scientific evidence we have against tobacco, what government in its right mind would approve such a thing? The fact remains that cigarettes are the most dangerous, lethal, and most addicting drug sold legally. For many reasons, both traditional and dishonest, the FDA has turned a blind eye to the continued marketing of a consumable poison. The tobacco industry owns the FDA. The tobacco industry owns Congress, the senate, and the law. And if you’ve ever bought a pack of cigarettes, the tobacco industry owns you, too. Each time you buy a pack, your money rewards the industry with more funding for the most charming, charismatic, and manipulative lobbyists that the world has ever seen. Tobacco lobbyists are so phenomenally successful, that even several movies have been made about their expertise. These lobbyists make sure that you can keep smoking cigarettes, and that your kids -- their future customers -will be able to start. They fight day and night drafting arguments about how the hundreds of carcinogenic

chemicals, coupled with the most addictive legislated chemical on the planet, are necessary for the happiness of the American people and the success of the American economy. They work their fingers to the bone constructing the most intricate lies to present to their targets. These lies are so hard to trace, many don’t bother. The lobbyists encourage complacency in our lawmakers, doctors, scientists, and citizens. In return, nobody has to read the 1,000-page report they forged. We can refute their obvious lies. We know tobacco kills people -- and despite what the companies claim, they know too. The tobacco industry has no interest in whether or not the people we care about are a part of its victims. But if we can’t fight back — if we can’t work just as hard to tear the industry down and save so many lives — then how free are we, really? Ashley Carey can be reached at Ashley_Carey@elvaq.com




GRAPHICS


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BUDGET

Your Piece of the Pie Comparing state budgets, present and past California State Budget 2011-2012

DID YOU KNOW?

The resident’s tuition you pay does not belong to GCC. California community colleges are funded by the state. Tuition is decided by the state, and what you pay belongs to the state fund, just like taxes. This money is used to fund all community colleges. The higher education portion of the budget dictates how much of the state’s money goes to funding community colleges.

California State Budget 2010-2011

K-12

Higher education will receive a one percent cut in this year’s budget.

The Good News Tuition Costs Around the Nation California $26/unit

New York $167/unit

Vermont $205/unit




GRAPHICS

El Va uero

Hide and go Sheikh

G lGe nl ednadl ae lCe oCmommumnui tnyi tC lo le y oC lg -e

www.elvaq.com

n e d a in L

] D A [DE

a m a s O

b

Campus comments on page 96.


Journalism Portfolio