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The Brown Daily Herald M onday, S eptember 22, 2008

Volume CXLIII, No. 75

Since 1866, Daily Since 1891

Liberian president granted honorary degree Alumnae

Hall changes please groups

By Alexander Roehrkasse Higher Ed Editor

Africa’s “Iron Lady,” President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, spoke on College Hill on Friday, recounting her tumultuous path to the presidency and outlining her vision for the future of her war-ravaged country. The University conferred on Johnson Sirleaf an honorary Doctor of Laws, bringing her, in President Ruth Simmons’ words, into the “Brown family.” In receiving the honorary degree, Sirleaf joined the ranks of former U.S. presidents George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson — all of whom have been likewise honored by Brown — said Chancellor Emeritus Artemis A.W. Joukowsky ’55, who commenced the ceremony. Professor of Africana Studies Anthony Bogues introduced Sirleaf, acknowledging her exemplar y professional accomplishments as exemplary but emphasizing her outsize moral and political fortitude — displayed often in the face of grave personal danger — as most deserving of commendation. “There is a unique courage which she has demonstrated in facing down undemocratic political authority,” Bogues said. “The individual we honor today has paid the price for her belief in democracy.” In a short acceptance speech, Johnson Sirleaf proudly described the progress her country has made since recently emerging from a series of bloody civil conflicts, but continued on page 4

By Joanna Wohlmuth Senior Staff Writer

Justin Coleman / Herald

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf received an honorary Doctor of Laws Friday.

Interview with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf The Herald sat down with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to discuss her political career, her efforts to rebuild Liberia and the U.S. presidential election. The Herald: You are the first elected female leader of an African state. Here in the United States, we find ourselves in a presidential election of firsts –– we will either have our first black president in the form of Barack Obama or our first female vice president in the form of Sarah Palin. Your election

was seen in groundbreaking terms. Do you see the present U.S. presidential election in similar, that is, groundbreaking, terms? Johnson Sirleaf: Yes, I certain-

Q&A ly do. I think there’s been a sea change in American politics. Just think about it — it was also Hillary who was running for president as a woman. First one that came that close. Then, of course, the African American who really is in the race

Tour of campus reversed to emphasize Main Green Kelly Mallahan Contributing Writer

Prospective students on admissions tours hear the same anecdotes and Brunonian lore that tour guides have been using for years — that John Hay’s nose is lucky before exams, that the Rockefeller Librar y was once referred to as “the John” instead of “the Rock” and that Brown computer science students once played a giant game of Tetris on the side of the Sciences Librar y. But now, because of a change in the tour route, they hear these memorable tidbits in reverse order. Tour coordinators Jillian Nickerson ’09 and Br yan Smith ’10 worked with the Office of Admission during the summer to revamp the tour route. Though the direction has changed, the content of the tour has remained almost exactly the same. “It is vir tually the same tour route, except backwards,” Smith said.



Reversing the route “allows us to go through Sayles and MacMillan” and puts more emphasis on the Main Green, she added. While the tours still begin at the admission office or outside of Manning Chapel, they begin with a walk through the Green and also end there. “We want prospective students to leave with a strong image of the Main Green. Now they see it twice, not just as an afterthought at the end of the tour,” Nickerson said. The new tour route allows students to see more interior spaces, with a look inside the Sharpe Refector y if the tour is small enough and “at least a peek in MacMillan 115,” Nickerson said. However, the tours still do not include a look inside a freshman dorm room. “Whenever I give tours, people are always asking me especially, ‘Can I see a dorm room?’” Nickerson said. Adding a room to the tour is still “a huge project that’s pretty far off,” she added.

Brunonians rock lupo’s Saturday Morning Project performs at Lupo’s with a diverse set list



and doing well. And now a woman vice-presidential candidate, so you know, I think the U.S. has come a long way. In this election, both race and gender have arguably played important roles. When you were running for president of Liberia, you said you hoped to heal the wounds of war by bringing a “motherly sensitivity and emotion to the presidency.” How much did gender play a continued on page 4


Justin Coleman / Herald

Musicians show off their drumming skills Friday on the Main Green.

Student performance groups will have a new space to showcase their abilities this year, thanks to the persistence of some of their fellow performers. Alumnae Hall underwent some dramatic upgrades over the summer, including the recircuiting of the entire building and the purchase of about 80 theatrical lights. The final touches will be completed soon, said Nick Leiserson ’09, one of the students who has lobbied for more performance space. “We have everything we could possibly want to make Alumnae Hall into a wonderful and workable theater space,” he said. As president of Brown University Gilbert and Sullivan and co-chair of Brown Opera Productions, Leiserson knows first-hand the difficulcontinued on page 6

Hillel’s new rabbi arrives from Canada By Emmy Liss Senior Staff Writer

Brown/RISD Hillel’s new rabbi, Mordechai Rackover, got to College Hill late last week to start his new job. But –– awed and blown away by the Brown community –– he feels like he’s been “dropped in Times Square.” Rackover, who will replace Serena Eisenberg ’87 as the Hillel rabbi, said he’s been impressed by the intelligence and creativity of the people he’s met so far. And, he added, “unbelievably impressed by the range of fashion choice.” Eisenberg’s position has been split into two: an executive director will focus on administration and finance, while the rabbi will focus on teaching. That means Rackover will have more opportunities to educate than past rabbis, said Megan Nesbitt, executive director of Hillel. “He’ll be more accessible,” Nesbitt said. Because of traveling, fundraising and other administrative duties, Eisenberg “just didn’t have enough time to do as much as she would have liked” in the realm of teaching, Nesbitt said. Rackover comes to Brown reflecting many of the qualities Brown students have themselves, said Janet Cooper Nelson, chaplain of the University. “(He’s) exciting to talk to,” she said, adding that Rackover is a vicontinued on page 7

¿Hablas español? Students help non-English speaking patients communicate with doctors



Confessions of TV Junkie Adam Cambier’09 wishes people would open their eyes to quality television

195 Angell Street, Providence, Rhode Island


Football Wins opener Bears’ defense drowns Stony Brook Seawolves in home opener to win 17-7

News tips:

T oday Page 2

Monday, September 22, 2008


We a t h e r TODAY

Vagina Dentata | Soojean Kim TOMORROW

sunny 65 / 47

partly cloudy 66 / 46

Menu Sharpe Refectory

Verney-Woolley Dining Hall

Lunch — Broccoli Noodle Polonaise, BBQ Beef Sandwich, Polynesian Chicken Wings, Asian Vegetable Blend

Lunch — Fried Clam Roll, Manicotti with Tomato Basil Cream Sauce, Fresh Broccoli

Dinner — Rotisserie Style Chicken, Chicken Teriyaki, Vegan Roasted Vegetable Stew, Italian Couscous

Dinner — Roasted Honey Chili Chicken, Spicy Cuban Stir Fry, Vegan Vegetable and Tempeh Saute

Brown Meets RISD | Miguel Llorente

Sudoku Fill in the grid so that every row, every column and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9.

Epitmetheos | Samuel Holzman

Enigma Twist | Dustin Foley

© Puzzles Pappocom RELEASE DATE– Monday, February 11,by2008

Los Angeles Times Daily oCrossword Puzzle C r o ssw rd Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis

ACROSS 1 Opinion piece 5 Mil. fliers 9 Biblical hymn 14 Set loose 15 Congenial 16 Nepal’s southern neighbor 17 Cousin of Simon says 20 Highland hillside 21 Ugly Tolkien creature 22 Standout player 26 Pilot’s compartment 30 Something to sip oolong from 31 Actor Perry 32 Genetic info transmitter 33 Yucatán natives 34 Living room centerpiece 35 Like a handyman 36 Words spoken during a swearing-in 39 Pot starter 40 Courage 41 Diva’s pride 43 Firmed up, as a date 44 Part of MIT: Abbr. 45 Stickups 46 Parboil 48 Most doting 49 Bird that’s sometimes spotted 50 Some Van Gogh works 51 Support a proposal, in a meeting 59 Port-au-Prince’s country 60 __ qua non 61 Forearm bone 62 Wipe off the board 63 Pea containers 64 Hunk of clay DOWN 1 Inaccurate 2 Old hand 3 Sushi choice 4 Dover’s st.

34 In a rut 47 Codgers 5 Open on 35 R2-D2, notably 48 Devilish one Christmas 37 From way back 50 Buckeye’s home morning when 51 Ship, to its 6 Ravi Shankar’s 38 Nevertheless captain instrument 39 Nile snake 52 Musical 7 Be sore sensitivity 8 Lawyer’s charge 42 Body shop approx. 53 Covert fed. group 9 Alda’s “M*A*S*H” 44 Nonstudent 54 Recipe meas. role resident of a 55 Harbor craft 10 Between-meals 56 Feeling poorly college burg bite 45 Conan Doyle’s 57 Lennon’s widow 11 Chime in detective 58 Take into custody 12 Tell it like it isn’t 13 Scratch or dent ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE: 18 Like angles between 90 and 180 degrees 19 Carefully consider 22 PIN requester 23 One with a mentor 24 Newborn’s paraphernalia 25 Land or sea ending 26 Places for links 27 Basis of an argument 28 Contaminates with germs 29 Tit for __ 31 Reluctant 2/11/08

Alien Weather Forecast | Stephen Lichenstein and Adam Wagner

Free Variation | Jeremy Kuhn

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Ross Frazier, Vice President Mandeep Gill, Treasurer Darren Ball, Secretary By Diane C. Baldwin (c)2008 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


The Brown Daily Herald (USPS 067.740) is an independent newspaper serving the Brown demic year, excluding vacations, once during Commencement, once during Orientation and P.O. Box 2538, Providence, RI 02906. Periodicals postage paid at Providence, R.I. Offices are located at 195 Angell St., Providence, R.I. E-mail World Wide Web: Subscription prices: $319 one year daily, $139 one semester daily. Copyright 2007 by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

A rts & C ulture Monday, September 22, 2008

Saturday Morning Project offers weekday delight “We were standing outside of Jo’s one time, and we just decided to do it,” says Morrison. The band’s Saturday Morning Project, a band name came about when they discovcomposed of six Brown students, is ered that Brown-RISD Hillel housed just happy to be here. a piano and drum set and began The band played a short-and- jamming there every Saturday. sweet, 35-minute set opening for After a couple of lineup changes Stars at downtown venue Lupo’s –– including the addition of Alex Heartbreak Hotel on Thursday. Korzec ’10, the band’s bassist and There’s a palpable, genuonly junior –– the group REVIEW ine, goofy excitement to played some shows on their show, a way of letting campus. you know just how thrilled they are “We played a few shows that we to be there. They can’t stop thank- really had no business playing,” ing the audience, they’re smiling the laughs Doug. “I think we (even) whole time and at one point they do played one show without a druma choreographed sort of graduated- mer.” jump move that’s kind of cheesy in Ultimately, though, they played the best way possible. a show to a packed house at the They don’t take themselves Underground and later had the too seriously –– as evidenced by a opportunity to open for Guster at brilliant cover of Dr. Dre featuring the 2007 WBRU Summer Concert Eminem’s “Forgot About Dre” and Series. : a poignant rendition of The Foun“It was the best day ever,” Berdations’ “Build Me Up Buttercup” man says. “There were so many that blends into a hilarious Sir Mix- people there.” a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” They’re The band took a break last year not trying to be too cool, and it’s while Morrison, McGear y and refreshing. White studied abroad, but now Over coffee on Thayer Street they’re ready to get back into playthe next morning, electric violinist ing around Providence, and hope and violist Jenna White ’09, guitarist to play a show closer to campus Josh Morrison ’09 and lead vocalist/ soon. In the meantime, their first EP, guitarist Doug Berman ’09 are just “Parapluie,” was released in spring as funny, friendly and sincere in per- of 2007 and is available on iTunes. son as they are on stage. They tease Just last week, they recorded a twoeach other, they smile a lot and they song set live at WBRU. positively beam when asked about Their sound, which Berman the previous night’s show. calls “pop-conscious rock” sets “It was fun. It was so nice to itself apart from typical pop-rock see a lot of the faces that we see at with interesting arrangements, the our other shows (closer to College unexpected addition of an electric Hill),” Berman says. violinist and eclectic musical inspiraIndeed, the show was heavily tion. Berman, White and Morrison attended by members of the Brown list everything from classical to hipcommunity. In addition to a number hop as influences. of students, Dean of the College “I feel like our music is easily Katherine Bergeron and Professor palatable,” Berman says. of Music Butch Rovan were there Their songwriting is a product to support the band. Four members continued on page 6 are taking their team-taught course, MUSC 0450: “On Songs and Songwriting.” Brown has been crucial to the band’s evolution, so it’s fitting that Saturday Morning Project is now so valued by the Brown community. “We all would never have met each other and started a band if it weren’t for this school. We’re all really different people, and we’re all on different tracks of school,” says Josh, crediting the University for bringing the six –– whose concentrations range from COE-Business Economics (White) to Biophysics (keyboardist Sean McGeary ’09) –– together. In fact, the stirrings of what would later become Saturday Morning Project coincided with the beginning of its members’ Brown experiences. White explains that three of the band’s members met on their way to A Day On College Hill. “On the train, Josh passed me wearing a ukelele, and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I was wearing a Guster shirt and he was so excited that I liked Guster, so we started chatting.” Ben Zlotoff ’09, the band’s drummer, was in the same train car as well. “We decided we wanted to start a band that day,” says Morrison. Meanwhile, Berman and McGeary lived next door to each other and would often play together, and upon befriending the other three members, everything fell into place.

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By ellen cushing Contributing Writer

Courtesy of Andrew Evans

Production Workshop’s “J.B.,” directed by Aubie Merrylees ‘10, will have its final performance tonight at 8 p.m.

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Johnson Sirleaf urges Liberians to inspire change continued from page 1 admitted that much work has yet to be done. Overall, she offered a message of cautious hope — one that celebrated Liberians’ tenacity and faith in a promising future, but also acknowledged the challenges they must face along the road to development. “We’re glad today that we have an opportunity for a new beginning — a chance to right the wrongs of the past,” Johnson Sirleaf said. “But I’ll be the first one to tell you that though we’ve made much progress, we’ve still got a long way to go.” The filled-to-capacity Sayles Hall included many members of Rhode Island’s Liberian diaspora, whose frequent thunderous applause and occasional celebratory outbursts lent the event an air of energetic pride. When Mator Kpangbai, president of the Liberian Community Association of Rhode Island, issued a series of particularly resounding celebratory cries, Simmons, seemingly mistaking him for a member of the presidential delegation, asked from the stage: “Are you a member of the family?” “We’re all family!” shouted another audience member in response. After the degree-conferral ceremony in Sayles Hall, the Liberian president sat down with Simmons for a public conversation before the same audience. Johnson Sirleaf described the “humbling responsibility” she feels she has as a leader to women in Africa and around the world. As the first elected female African head of state, she said she also faces challenges working among African male leaders. “I can’t invite them to go have a beer,” she said. “It’s lonely out there. I’m waiting for two or three others to join me.” In describing the state of Liberia’s efforts for restoration, Johnson Sirleaf cited the importance of developing strategies for capitalizing upon the country’s resources and making sure that they are responsibly reinvested in Liberia’s economy. This, she said, requires attracting foreign investment by restoring Liberia’s reputation as a peaceful, democratic nation. Improving education and professional training in Liberia is also crucial, said Johnson Sirleaf. She said that recently enacted compulsory education laws had brought

Monday, September 22, 2008


national enrollment rates up to 40 percent. “It has its own downsides. Enrollment means not enough schools and not enough teachers and not enough books,” she said. “But we’re trying to tackle that also.” Johnson Sirleaf, who held several high-ranking positions at the United Nations and in the private sector before becoming president, came to study in the United States more than four decades ago, and eventually earned a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard. When Simmons asked her about her views on changing attitudes in the United States toward education, she recalled an era when access to education was much more limited, but its merits were much more highly valued. “I’m not sure whether today there’s as much of a longing and an appreciation for what an education stands for and what it brings,” Johnson Sirleaf said. “There’s something missing.” She also said that it is unfortunate that the West persists in its ignorance to the complexity of African issues, and said that students and activists interested in Africa can begin to remedy the situation by visiting the continent to work, study or volunteer. Johnson Sirleaf also issued a challenge to the Liberian diaspora to “make that sacrifice” by reinvesting the skills they’ve acquired abroad back into their country. “You’ve got to go back — to give back to those who are there,” she said. Johnson Sirleaf even seemed to pose a similar challenge, though perhaps more of an invitation, to Simmons herself. Simmons had asked where she could acquire elaborate clothes similar to those of Johnson Sirleaf. The Liberian president brought the conversation to a close, saying: “Her outfit awaits her in Liberia.” Kpangbai, the president of the Liberian Community Association, said he thought Johnson Sirleaf’s words were “brilliant,” adding that in the face of much misinformation about the state of affairs in Liberia, it is important for Liberians in Rhode Island to hear firsthand about issues facing their country from their president first hand. As for Johnson Sirleaf’s calling on local Liberians to give back to their home country, Kpangbai said, “It’s a challenge, and I’m excited to work on it.”

Q&A with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf continued from page 1 role in your election and how much has it been a factor in your presidency? Gender played an important role because my appeal went to grassroots people, and essentially to women — women marketeers, women traders — and really they mobilized on my behalf. And they made a big difference because they went out there, house to house, campaigning. They tried to ensure that their children made the right choices, who were of voting age. And then, you know, since I’ve started, women continue to be my main supporters ... in Liberia and the women throughout Africa, because they see me as representing their expectations and their aspirations and the one that’s going to open the door even wider for women to take huge new political leadership roles. How do you view the current U.S. presidential candidates in terms of their stated policies towards Africa? I don’t think any has come out very clearly with what their policy would be for Africa. I can only say that I think they will continue in the tradition that Africa is the last frontier. Africa is the place that will make a difference in this global village, if Africa can truly become independent, self-sufficient and use its natural resources for its own development and become more competitive. The Bush administration had a strong African policy, and the Clinton one before him. I expect that whichever one wins the election will have to carry on in the same level. You’ve implemented in Liberia a poverty reduction strategy, and you’ve been touring Liberia speaking about the program in town-hall meetings. What are the biggest challenges to reducing poverty that you hear voiced by your countrymen and countrywomen? The biggest challenge is unemployment. Thousands and thousands of the war-affected youth, who have had no skills because they were denied an education during many years they were exposed to violence –– now we have to get good jobs for them. We’ve got to train them and give them some skills, and so our biggest challenge is to see how we can get the programs, give them the skills, put them back into school and then create the jobs for them by opening the economy. You said last week, “Corruption impedes the development of any society and must therefore be resisted by all Liberians wherever it exists.” How much of your strategy to combat corruption in Liberia relies on regulation, oversight and punishment, and how much of it relies on changing norms and values? In Liberia it’s more the latter. I mean, we’ve got the laws. We’ve got the regulations. We’ve got all the enforcement procedures. But the foundations are just so many because it’s so embedded in the many years of depravation, many years of poverty, many years of indiscipline and lawlessness. People feel ‘Get what you can get!’ when the opportunity exists. So our biggest challenge is how

do we turn that around? It’s got to be a combination of many things: better working conditions, better compensation, more of the marriage system and then the enforcement of the laws too, so you know there’s a penalty when you betray the public trust. And just working on the attitudes to see the debilitating effects of corruption — because people just don’t see that it has any effect beyond what they get out of it. They can’t see the bigger picture of how it actually impedes our effort to be able to accelerate development and deliver to them the basic services and jobs that they need. Former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Willis Knuckles, a former trusted aide of yours, is being investigated for allegedly soliciting money from expatriate companies in return for government contracts. You have called his behavior “a despicable act of betrayal” in light of your strong efforts to combat corruption at all levels of Liberian society. How fragile is the faith of the Liberian people in their government’s ability to preser ve its integrity and resist corruption, and how does a scandal like this undermine your efforts? It does. No doubt about that, because this is someone who worked closely in my office. This is why I say I feel it’s a despicable act. It is a betrayal because of what I stand for. My record speaks for itself. But these things do happen, and this is one case where you set in place investigations that are really going to bring out the truth, since he has denied some of it. And those investigations, when they lead to conclusions that are backed up by evidence, then whatever the law requires, the law will have to take its course. And I’ve been very clear about that. You’ve acquired the nickname “Iron Lady.” How did you get it and why do you think it has stuck? Well, I got it from the early years of my professional life as a fiscal disciplinarian, one that made sure people spent money wisely and kept people staying with the regulations, making people pay if they violated. It has stayed with me throughout because in all of my professional life too, you know, I don’t suffer fools gladly. I work hard and those who work with me, I put them through a lot because I expect them to perform. I want them to aspire to excellence, and that means really I’m a hard driver. That’s where that comes from. But I always say in this job I’ve got to be both the Iron Lady and the grandmother in a society that’s so complex after so many years of conflict. You have to be able to show one and the other when the circumstances call for it. In 2006 you addressed the U.S. Congress, saying: “I will make you proud in the difference which one woman with abiding faith in God can make.” How much does faith inform your politics? Very much so. I grew up in a very strongly religious family –– my mother was a pastor. So I do have a strong faith and I believe that whatever we do, that being able to reach out there to the divine and being able to pray, that that also

helps to give one the courage and the strength to take those hard decisions and to know that somehow, if you do the right thing, you will be protected. That’s been the experience of my life. For the bulk of your political career, you’ve been no friend of Liberia’s governments of the day. You were imprisoned under the military regime of Samuel Doe in the 1980s, charged with treason after Charles Taylor assumed the presidency in 1997 and have been twice exiled from your country. What does it mean for your country to have one of its foremost dissenters now as its foremost leader? You know, I still say when those say, ‘You’ve fought every government’ ....I say, ‘But doesn’t that show a lot of consistency? Consistency in standing up for the things I believed in?’ And now that I’m there, I hope now I can make a difference. Because, you know I’ve been through it all, I’ve seen it all. And so my challenge is to turn Liberia around, to really put it on the right road away from dependency to self-sufficiency, to introduce those tenets of good governance like accountability, hard work and all of that that’s been missing in our society for so long. And I feel like we’ve made a very good start. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is progressively teasing out the painful truths of the bloody conflicts that ravaged Liberia for 14 years. Do you believe that the TRC’s efforts to strike a balance between justice and peace have been successful, and how do you measure such progress? I think they have. I mean, we deliberately — during the Accra peace talks –– chose the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as opposed, for example, to a war crimes court. That’s because there were thousands and thousands of young people who committed atrocities, most times not under their own control. They’d been subjected to drink and drugs and all of that. The fact that today, many of them are testifying — it’s not a perfect situation. Some of it is accusatory, some of it is defensive. But at least they’re talking about it and it’s coming out. And now it’s up to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to take a look at it, to sift through it and really get those strands of truth and those strands of the processes that conform to contrition and forgiveness. ... It’s talking about a process where people can admit and ask forgiveness. Some of that is happening — not enough. But we always said that at the end of the day the commission also has a right to make a recommendation that says that there can also be justice. So that those who agree to feel that just confessing is not enough, that they want to bring people to justice and the rule of law, that that should be part of a process that will follow. And so I see this as an important mid-step to work toward justice, because it will reduce the amount of people (who demand further judicial action) through that process of contrition and forgiveness. And if we get to hard-core cases where justice is required, then we’ll move in that direction, and the state will be able to support that process also.

C ampus n ews Monday, September 22, 2008

Introducing invasive plant life? You’re in luck By Christopher Baker Contributing Writer

In a recent study, a Brown researcher and a colleague have challenged the conventional understanding of the dangers of introducing new species to existing ecosystems. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Dov Sax, assistant professor of biology, and Steven Gaines, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that invasive plant species have rarely caused the extinction of native plant species on islands. Sax said this discovery was unexpected because the introduction of exotic birds and other terrestrial vertebrates to islands frequently leads to extinction of native species. Additionally, on the islands the scientists examined in their study, more exotic plant species are becoming naturalized over time, and this process shows no signs of slowing. As a result, biodiversity in these areas is steadily increasing. Furthermore, the results of the study have helped further scien-

tists’ understanding of what causes extinctions, allowing them to better avoid these future events. The study suggests that invasive terrestrial vertebrates are more threatening to native species than invasive plants because vertebrates are more likely to be predators. In cases involving the introduction of exotic terrestrial vertebrates, “the combined influence of predation acting alone and predation acting in concert with other factors is believed to account for 98 percent of all extinctions,” says the study. The competition between exotic and native plants does not usually lead to immediate extinctions, so exotic plants are able to gradually become a part of the islands’ biodiversity. “The number of new exotic species is just going up every year,” said Sax. “That’s surprising because the expectation would be that the number should be starting to level off at some point if these islands are filling up with species. And so there’s just no evidence that these islands are filling up. There seems to be room for more and more species to be added.”

The findings offer a better understanding of conservation strategies such as assisted migration, in which a threatened species is relocated to a more advantageous location. “On some level, my work suggests, on islands –– if that can be generalized –– is that you could probably move plants without causing other plants to go extinct,” Sax said. But there are still concerns that invasive plants might contribute to the long-term extinction of native plant species. According to Sax, some native species might be experiencing what is called “extinction debt”. “What’s really the next level is figuring out how extinction debt works,” said Sax, who hopes that his research will address the possibility of long-term extinctions that are not immediately apparent. For the time being, scientists like Sax choose to err on the side of caution. Until more is known about extinction debt, “you probably wouldn’t want to move plants around,” said Sax, whose next research project will investigate the phenomenon.

Students interpreting for local hospital patients By Sydney Ember Contributing Writer

Student volunteers in the Brown Interpreter’s Aide Program are breaking down linguistic barriers at Rhode Island Hospital. Student interpreters in the program help doctors and non-English speaking patients at the hospital communicate, in the process gaining medical experience and learning professional terminology. Students in the program, which is run jointly by the Alpert Medical School and R.I. Hospital, work weekly four-hour shifts at the hospital throughout the year. The program’s interpreters allow non-English speaking patients to “express what they are really feeling,” said Zoila Quezada, manager of minority medical affairs at the Med School. Because non-English speakers constitute a growing percentage of the U.S. population, the need for interpreter ser vices continues to increase at Providence hospitals, said Martha Aktchian, manager of interpreter services at R.I. Hospital. Many of the interpreters work with locals who speak Spanish or Portuguese. The program stresses the importance of language proficiency, targeting bilingual freshmen fluent in those languages. According to Laura Mainardi Villarino ’10, one of the program’s coordinators, many of these bilingual students know what it feels like not to be able to communicate with doctors based on their parents’ experiences. Though many students involved in the program are premed, she stressed that most participants are drawn to the program because they want to volunteer in the Spanish-speaking community. “It’s a program for bilingual students who want to help,” Mainardi Villarino said. “People go in for the right reasons.” Given the program’s relatively small size — five undergraduate students participated last year — recruitment ef for ts, especially

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among current medical students, have increased. The leaders of the program are hoping to boost its membership to 10 or 15 volunteers this year. Thirty-five students attended a recent info session for the program, but the time-intensive training process and the time commitment required discourage many students other wise interested in the program. Before students can become interpreter’s aides, they must take a language exam focused on medical terminology and other standard vocabulary, then undergo training. Nermarie Velazquez ’10, the other coordinator of the program, said it was important to test for proficiency because members “need to be fluent, need to be comfortable.” Students then spend 16 hours shadowing a professional interpreter at the hospital. Most participants

who join at the beginning of the academic year are able to interpret by themselves by December. Because doctors treat interpreter’s aides as hospital employees, the experience is “really interesting if you’re pre-med,” Velazquez said. “Being part of something like this, you see the end result of where you want to be.” Many students also find that the program helps their ability to communicate and understand different dialects, an important skill for future doctors, who will have to navigate an increasingly multilingual society. “Ever y countr y has its own brand of Spanish,” said Velazquez, a native of Puerto Rico. She remembered struggling to understand a mother from Guatemala who was telling the doctor her daughter would not drink formula, a word continued on page 6



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‘Microbe hunter’ honored with Lasker Brown alum and microbiologist Stanley Falkow PhD’61 will receive the Lasker-Koshland Achievement Award in Medical Science on Sept. 26 for his advances in identifying how the smallest organisms function. Falkow told The Herald he first became interested in microbiology when he was 11 years old. He was given a copy of “Microbe Hunters,” a book based on the lives of Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch. Falkow said he remembers being “fascinated” by the book and knew then that he wanted to devote his life to studying microorganisms. The Lasker Foundation, according to its Web site, is now recognizing Falkow as “one of the great microbe hunters of all time.” He developed a method of examining how bacteria pass certain traits on to each other using recombinant DNA technology and pioneered the use of fluorescent imaging to track microorganisms inside host cells. He also established the existence of plasmids and proved that they were pieces of DNA outside the chromosomes. In 1976, Falkow and one of his students were able to isolate the toxin gene from a strain of diarrhea-causing E. coli, in a sense cloning the first gene related to bacteria transmission. His methods and discoveries revolutionized the way scientists study the spread of bacteria and he played a major role in discovering and understanding the causative agents of diseases like tuberculosis, whooping cough and certain sexually transmitted diseases. Despite his extensive list of laboratory-related accomplishments, Falkow, who is a professor of microbiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, said that teaching is one of the most important parts of his life. “A pleasing part of the award is that it talked about teaching,” he said. “Professors learn more from their students than their students learn from them.” According to the Lasker Foundation’s Web site, the award is given to scientists “whose professional careers have engendered within the biomedical community the deepest feelings of awe and respect.” The Lasker Foundation was established to honor the work of Mary Woodard Lasker, a medical research activist. The award, which includes a $300,000 prize, will be presented at a ceremony in New York City. Falkow still remembers the influence his own teachers had on his career. “The Biology Department at the time was really supportive of me and what I did. I was quite lucky in that sense.” Falkow admits that he “worked pretty hard” at Brown, but also recalls meeting Seymour Lederberg, professor emeritus of medical science, when they were both students together. He and Lederberg, whom he cites a source of personal inspiration, used to sit in a drugstore on Thayer, drinking fountain sodas and discussing their lab work. “Being a student is the best point of your life. You have no responsibilities besides learning,” Falkow said. Falkow said he was “lucky enough to have (his) dream come true.” For students pursuing their dreams today, he has two pieces of advice: “Follow your heart and take advice from someone who can give you wise council.” He added, however, “It’s important not to try to please others. You have to ask them what they want and you have to do what you want.” — Anne Speyer

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Monday, September 22, 2008


Graduation $350,000 allocated for summer renovations to Alumnae looms for band of seniors continued from page 1

continued from page 3 of each of their individual contributions. “There’s something about collaboration between six people that you just can’t create on your own,” says Morrison, adding that one person usually comes up with the beginnings of a song, on which Saturday Morning Project’s other members build until they have a finished product. So what’s on the horizon for Saturday Morning Project as graduation looms for five of its members? “We’re just going to take it where we can this year,” says Morrison. In the meantime, they’re just enjoying themselves, making music and hanging out. Zlotoff and Berman live together, and Saturday Morning Project routinely holds band dinners. “Just meeting each other and finding these people is great,” says Berman. “Yeah,” says Morrison, smiling, “there’s a lot of love.”

ties of finding suitable performance space on campus. Dance and theater groups often use open rooms or lecture halls, such as Salomon 101 and List 120, that are not made to house such productions. Spaces that are designed for performances are often inaccessible given the large number of campus groups wanting to use them. When Fusion Dance Company was told that it would not be able to hold a performance in Ashamu Dance Studio last year, Jake Ricciardi ’09 decided something needed to change. “I realized that operating just as Fusion, we couldn’t get anything done,” Ricciardi said. “By getting other groups involved we could accomplish more ... and get our needs heard.” To that end, Ricciardi organized the Student Dance Initiative to represent the campus dance community and spearhead a lobbying effort for improved rehearsal and performance venues. Ricciardi contacted members of other campus dance groups to discuss what specific needs they had. “It was an effort by a lot of different people working together and listening to each other,” Ricciardi said. “Groups have pretty similar needs.” After meeting with student activities officials last semester, Ricciardi

was told he should get in touch with Leiserson. “If you are one student with an idea, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen,” Director of Student Activities Ricky Gresh said. “But if you can get other students who can benefit and also think it is important, you can build a case that the impact of what you want to do will be broader.” Gresh had originally spoken to Leiserson about the need to improve performance space, but at that time it had not been a high priority for the University. By the time he was contacted by Ricciardi, “a window of opportunity opened because the University was trying to do something to support dance and performance art groups on campus.” Brown’s Gilbert and Sullivan group and BOP began using Alumnae Hall for performances during Leiserson’s first year, but they had to find ways to overcome the building’s shortcomings. The design of the stage and ceiling did not allow for adequate lighting, and the poor acoustics caused performers’ voices to be drowned out if they were accompanied by an orchestra or standing toward the back of the stage. The students created their own lighting systems and later rented theatrical lights at a cost of about $1,500 to $2,000 per performance. Even as the makeshift systems became more advanced, the groups

ran into problems because the building was not circuited to draw enough power, and Brown’s office of Environmental Health and Safety expressed concerns. “We blew fuses we didn’t even know existed,” Leiserson said. Last fall, Leiserson proposed what changes would need to be made and met with the University’s electrical engineer to discuss what would be possible. He then got preliminary bids on the project from contractors. Once he had taken the planning stage as far as he could, Leiserson ran into the problem he had known was inevitable. “I had the plans but no money,” he said. Leiserson was in Alumnae Hall working on an upcoming opera production when he received an e-mail from Ricciardi. “Five minutes later, I was on the phone with him,” Leiserson said. Three days later they had a meeting with University administrators. Originally, both Leiserson and Ricciardi had been told their proposed project would not be finished until after they had both graduated. But through the combined efforts of Brown’s dance and theater communities, the project was approved with a $350,000 budget by the provost’s space committee, which allocates resources for on-campus projects, Leiserson said. “You literally could have picked

my jaw up off the floor,” he added. The funding for the project came from money set aside by the University for improving facilities, said Senior Vice President for Corporation Affairs and Governance Russell Carey, who presented the plans to the space committee. “We realized that with a relatively modest investment (Alumnae Hall) could do much, much more for student performance groups,” Carey added. A few years ago, Alumnae Hall’s electrical capacity was increased, though the circuits had never been replaced to handle the increased flow of electricity, Gresh said. Because the students’ plans would make use of the increased capacity, it made sense to go ahead with the project. Alumnae Hall was recircuited over the summer and now has more than doubled its lighting capacity. A chain motor was installed to allow lighting fixtures to be raised and lowered with the push of a button, and two 21-foot-tall lighting trees that hold 12 lights each have been purchased. A 96-dimmer rack and an intercom system have been installed, along with a 24-foot by 8-foot thrust — or stage extension — to expand performance space. The new theatrical lights, ordered by Leiserson, will be delivered in the next few weeks and will be installed by students. “With the infrastructure we have now, it will be a lot easier to do smaller projects” such as replacing incandescent lights with energy-saving L.E.D. bulbs, Leiserson said. In addition to the improvements to Alumnae Hall, T.F. Green 205 — a practice space used by many dance groups — had new mirrors and a ballet barre installed. Plans for the Nelson Fitness Center also include practice space for martial arts and dance groups, Carey said. The administration was receptive “to the idea that the size of the dance community at Brown shouldn’t be limited by the resources the school has,” Ricciardi said. For Leiserson, the last six months have seemed like a “whirlwind.” “I am just astounded and wonderfully, wonderfully grateful,” he said, admitting that though the improvements are beneficial to overall performance community, his excitement also has selfish motivations. “I get to play with this stuff.”

Interpreter’s aide program helps relieve patients continued from page 5 which translates as “passion fruit” in Puerto Rican Spanish. David Harmon ’11, who joined the program as a freshman, said that being an interpreter’s aide also teaches students how to deal with the more “intense” aspects of communication, like telling patients they have a severe illness like cancer. But many students also find the relief they bring to patients is especially meaningful. Mainardi Villarino said that during each shift at the hospital, she is “helping to erase cultural disparities” for patients.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Page 7


Two Americans die in latest Pakistan blast government after a truce with his forces collapsed last year. Malik showed journalists a dramatic video of the attack, in which ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 21 — a large dump truck rammed into Pakistani officials said Sunday that a metal barrier near the hotel and 21 foreigners, including two Ameri- caught fire. The video showed cans stationed at the U.S. Embassy, guards scattering, trying to put out were among the victims of a massive the blaze, and scattering again when suicide truck bombing Satthe driver kept going, detourday night that destroyed nating the huge blast. WORLD a luxury Marriott hotel in Marriott said in a statethe capital. ment Saturday that several Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gil- hotel guards who had gone out to lani said the bomber’s intended tar- examine the truck were among the get was Gillani’s official residence a dead. block from the hotel, where newly The truck had been packed with elected President Asif Ali Zardari 1,300 pounds of military explosives, and other officials were gathered to mortars and other weapons, Malik break their daily Ramadan fast when said. The bombing was timed to cothe bomb exploded about 8 p.m. incide with the fast-breaking meal, “The purpose was to destabilize when guards were eating and likely democracy,” Gillani said. to be distracted. As rescue teams combed the Malik said the attack was intendstill-smoldering five-story building, ed to destroy the hotel, a center of officials put the death toll at 53, with social and political life in the Pakian unknown number of people still stani capital and a frequent choice unaccounted for. At least 266 people of foreign visitors. The ambassador were injured. Most of the victims from the Czech Republic was among were hotel workers. the dead, officials said. A spokesman for the Pentagon Security and political analysts in in Washington said Sunday that the Pakistan said the carefully planned two Americans killed in the blast bombing, the worst ever terror atwere members of the U.S. defense tack in the capital, could force the forces assigned to the U.S. Embassy government to prove it is serious here. Their names were not imme- about combating terrorism or admit diately released. defeat. Pakistani officials said a con“If they don’t rise to this chaltingent of 30 U.S. Marines was be- lenge, they are finished,” said Talieved to be staying in the 290-room lat Masood, a retired army general hotel. and defense analyst here. “I am not A senior government security sure they have the capacity to take adviser, Rehman Malik, pointed the on such determined militants. To finger at Islamist militant groups those who call this America’s war, based in South Waziristan, a volatile the government must make absotribal area near the Afghan border. lutely clear that this is Pakistan’s These groups have vowed to re- war and how it plans to meet the taliate against the government for challenge.” stepped-up military raids and for a Zardari left Pakistan on Sunday series of U.S. military incursions for the United States, where he will in pursuit of al-Qaeda and Taliban address the United Nations and fighters. meet with President Bush. Several “All roads lead to South Wa- hours before the bombing, he gave ziristan and Tehrik-e-Taliban,” Malik his first speech to Parliament, callsaid, referring to a militant group ing terrorism a disease and saying headed by Baitullah Mehsud, who the government sought to free the has repeatedly vowed to attack the country from its grip. By Shaiq Hussain and Pamela Constable Washington Post

Courtesy of Mordechai Rackover

Rabbi Mordechai Rackover, with daughter Eden Sara Sasha, has moved to Providence with his family.

New Hillel rabbi getting to know Brown continued from page 1 brant teacher and “has a good sense of humor.” “Students find him compelling,” she said. After an “elaborate search process” involving the Hillel Board, a University committee, the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life, Cooper Nelson says that Rackover is “a good match for Brown.” Rackover hails from Montreal, where he was raised in a “culturally Jewish” but not strictly observant home. As he progressed through high school, he became more involved with the local Jewish community, he said. At McGill University, he joined Hillel and immersed himself in Jewish life. But after about a year, he dropped out to attend a yeshiva, or seminary, outside of Jerusalem. “I was really not observant to begin with,” he said. “I was just studying and learning.” Rackover said that his rapid progression though Jewish studies “freaked me out a little bit,” especially since he had yet to complete college. He returned to Canada and finished his remaining two-and-a-half years at McGill in 19 months, leaving with a B.A. in Jewish Studies. He headed back to Israel, finished seminary and was ordained. While there, he met his wife, Nechama Lea, a native of the Czech Republic. They were married four-and-a-half months later. Rackover decided that he wanted to find a way to turn his knowledge into a career, and he began studying education at Pardeis University in Jerusalem, “a more liberal and open environment,” he said. He also took courses at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After finishing his studies, Rackover moved to Potomac, Md. to teach at a Jewish day school. He took a second job as the youth director at a 450-family Orthodox synagogue, where after two years he became the assistant rabbi and director of education. Rackover came to Brown for an interview at Hillel and was most impressed by the students. “The faculty and staff are all really nice people, but it was really the interest level of the students,” he said. After working at a suburban synagogue, the religious life at Hillel was eye-opening, he said. “Here people come only when they want -- they’re really interested. There is no sense of obligation.” Though Rackover is Orthodox, he feels he has “a pretty healthy sense of

the broadness of Jewish life.” Hillel’s student president, Liz Piper-Goldberg ’08, is Reform, and said that he “will focus us in a good direction.” “I’m excited for us to fill the spectrum (of religious involvement) and help people connect in different ways,” she said. Rackover has no specific plans for what he will teach and said he wants to see what students would like to explore. In general, he’d like to enable an integration of culture with daily life. “People get an Ivy League education and they may not have the Jewish knowledge that matches,” he said. “It’s important that I give people those tools to be more balanced with their tradition and culture.” One of the many voices involved in the search process for a new rabbi was Eytan Kurshan ’08, the former Hillel president. Kurshan found that Rackover “electrified” students in a way no other candidate did. The fact that Rackover had no experience working at a Hillel before was actually a selling point for Kurshan. “He was different, and that appealed to me,” he said. “At a place like Brown/RISD Hillel, it’s important to

have someone who’s open to different ways of expressing Judaism, but also someone who’s learned enough in the different types of Judaism to help students in their personal journeys.” Rackover’s openness, Kurshan said, “is really hard to come by.” Rackover said he wants to make Hillel “as comfortable as possible, for as many people as possible.” He wants Hillel to be a place where people can “come by, hang out and learn,” he said. For the Rabbi, the first few months of school are all about learning, too. He wants to follow a student through a day-in-the-life to understand the pace and experience of Brown, and he said he would like to attend classes, meet advisers, eat in the Ratty, visit the libraries and experience dorm life. “If a student comes to me and says, ‘Rabbi, I can’t stand my dorm!’ I want to understand what that means,” he said. Rackover’s wife and three children — Tuvya Shalom, 7; Simcha Avraham, 4; and Eden Sara Sasha, 15 months — join him on Brown’s campus and will be present at Hillel. “We want to be available to people as a family,” he said.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Page 9


Football, and its defense, Volleyball wins Invitational take down Stony Brook continued from page 12

continued from page 12 11 yards and added another firstdown run just three plays later, when he ran a draw play for four yards on third and 1. After quarterback Michael Dougherty ’09 found receiver Buddy Farnham ’10 over the middle for 22 yards to put the ball on the Stony Brook 19-yard line, the Bears turned once again to Edwards. On first down, Edwards found a hole up the middle and ran untouched into the end zone to give Bruno a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing drive, the Bears effectively shut down Stony Brook’s running game, forcing the Seawolves to punt again. Running back Dereck Knight ’09 kept the next drive alive with a fourthdown conversion run, and three plays later, on third down, another completion to Farnham put the ball on the 30-yard line. After an incompletion, Brown continued to move the chains, on an 18-yard completion to receiver Bobby Sewall ’10, followed by Knight’s 10-yard run to the 2. On first and goal, with Sewall lined up behind Dougherty, Farnham was set in motion, and took the handoff up the middle, catching the defense off-guard and plunging in for the touchdown. In addition to his rushing touchdown, Farnham made a game-high 14 receptions for 111 yards, and added a 41-yard kickoff return in the second half. The next drive told a similar story for the Seawolves, when on third and 7, tackle David Howard ’09 broke through the line and came up with a sack for a sevenyard loss to force the Seawolves to punt again. “Our goal on every drive is to force a turnover or a three-andout, so we achieved our goal on the first four drives of the game,” Ziogas said. After Brown took over at the Stony Brook 42, Dougherty continued to move the ball down the

field with completions to Farnham and Sewall. The Bears failed to convert a third and 1 from the 6, but Robert Ranney ’09 was successful on his first field goal attempt of the season, converting the 25-yard try to give the Bears a 17-0 lead with 14:16 left in the second quarter. Though the offense failed to score again for the remainder of the game, the Brown defense continued to dominate, and Stony Brook was unable to get even a first down until its final drive of the first half, which ended in a fumble. “Coach put all the confidence in the world in us, and we had to come out and prove that we were capable of doing that,” Develin said. “We were fired up…and we just came out and had one hell of a game.” Early in the fourth quarter, the Seawolves finally got on the board, when Stony Brook safety Cory Giddings stepped in front of Dougherty’s throw to Sewall, and returned the ball 19 yards down the sideline for the touchdown. “In the second half, (the offense was) just so out of sync,” Estes said. “The defense helped us, because every time we created a problem, they ended up taking care of it for us.” Midway through the fourth quarter, Brown had a chance to put the game away, but with fourth and 6 on the Stony Brook 32, tight end Colin Cloherty ’09 was tackled four yards short of the first-down marker, giving the Seawolves the ball back with 5:05 remaining in the game. They moved the ball down to the Brown 21, but on fourth down, Sweeney’s throw to the end zone fell incomplete, allowing the Bears to run out the clock for the 17-7 win in their season opener. Next week, Brown will play Har vard in the Homecoming game on Saturday, whom it has not beaten since 1999, in its Ivy League season opener.

All-Tournament Player, she played like a senior.” Their Friday game against Stony Brook was the toughest match the Bears played all weekend. After clinching that victor y, the Bears were unstoppable in their next two matches against Quinnipiac and Br yant, sweeping both teams in three games. Not only did the Bears sweep, they also shut down their opponents’ hitting percentage in the hundredth of a point range. In their match against Quinnipiac, the Bears’ defense held the Bobcats to a .065 hitting percentage in the first game and a zero hitting percentage in the final game, while the offense put down a .360 hitting percentage to take the win. In their final game against Br yant, the Bears again overpowered as they shut down the Bulldogs while hitting at .583 in the final game to put a period to their perfect weekend. This weekend boosted the team confidence as the Ivy League season draws near. “We go out and give our 100 percent ever y time,” said Gliottone, who was named to an AllTournament Team for the first time in her collegiate career. “We have the talent. It doesn’t matter who we are playing, whether it’s (defending Ivy League champion) Princeton or whoever, we go out and fight each time.” Shor t also believes that her team “will be ready” for the upcoming Ivy League season. “This year, we are not beating

ourselves; we are beating teams we should beat,” Short said. “Starting the Ivies is like starting a new season. We certainly will bring our play up a notch.”


E ditorial & L etters Page 10

Monday, September 22, 2008


Staf f Editorial

Sharing stories With 38 years at the Boston Globe, three Pulitzers and a book about art theft in the works, Stephen Kurkjian was full of witticisms and hardy advice when he talked investigative reporting with The Herald staff Sunday: “What we do is real, real important.” “Reporters are the most honest brokers in the city.” “Don’t take advantage of people. It’s really important not to take advantage of people.” He spoke in the dizzying and knowing fashion of a reporter who’s covered nearly four decades of news — from the Iran-contra affair to sexual abuse in the Boston Catholic church — jumping from how to handle court clerks in hypothetical investigations to filing daily stories when he happened to be the only reporter at the first day of Woodstock in the summer of ’69. Talking alternately about the tenacity needed of an investigative reporter and the gentleness needed of any writer, he elucidated the timeless difficulty of our craft: We ask people for their stories and offer them nothing directly in return. That is, except a critical eye on our surroundings and a check on power through the power of the press. There’s the rub. Many of you reading this column may have already faced this dilemma: Why speak to a reporter? If you have a vested interest in a topic — say, you’re an activist or a politician or a marketer — you’ll likely be happy to share your stor y with the paper. Or maybe you have nothing to gain. Offering your reaction to an event, helping a reporter gather data, sharing your frustrations with a new policy — what do you get from putting your name in the paper? Nothing. You will obtain no personal gain from speaking to the press. All you will do is enhance the quality of the paper that you hold right now and the learning experience for other readers who, like you, use this as a portal to understand their world. And we appreciate your stories. We hope we handle them with care. Kurkjian broke his usual rough-and-tumble tone when he remembered a time when he couldn’t bring himself to value getting the stor y over compassion for his sources: “This wasn’t so easy with Vietnam.” Speaking slowly and looking down, he remembered calling the family of a fallen vet whose name he had seen on a list of the dead. “Hello?” he recalled the cheer y, unknowing voice he heard on the end of the line. That was his cue to hang up, he said. The stor y could come later.

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F ranny choi

Letters Real Food Challenge is opportunity for change To the Editor: It is an enduring truism of American culture that we vote with our dollars. Unlike our occasional tryst with the ballot box, we speak with our dollars daily. The University, in crafting a budget, makes a loud political statement about what it values, what it believes in and what it would like to see manifest in the world. The Real Food Challenge is a critical opportunity for Brown University and its students to make a resounding political statement about what we believe in. Does Brown University believe in a healthy natural environment and ecological sustainability? Does Brown University believe in the value and dignity of labor, the rights of workers to fair wages, the humane treatment of animals? The Real Food Challenge is a student led initiative, aimed at stimulating Brown to allocate 20 percent of Dining Services’ budget to the purchase of ‘real food’. The national campaign’s website (realfoodchallenge. org) defines its central term as “food that is ethically produced, with fair treatment of workers, equitable relationships with farmers (locally and abroad), and humanely treated animals. It’s food that is environmentally sustainable — grown without large-scale mono-cropping, or huge carbon footprints.” Every year, American colleges and universities cast around 4 billion dollar-votes about how they think food should be produced, distributed and consumed. Let’s vote to make an outstanding example of this university, and to put it in a leadership position around a movement


whose time has come! The academy is brimming with new literature and buzz around the subject of food. A growing chorus pronounces the failures of our industrial food system: its waste, its pollution, its connection to this country’s obesity and diabetes epidemics, and especially its failure to sustain a culture of small and family farms. Isn’t 80 percent of the budget plenty to spend on that sort of food? Brown Dining Services does a tremendous job, and like all departments, does the job it is funded to do. If we want food that tastes better, makes us healthier, supports small farms, and saves the environment, we must demand funding for it. The moment to do that is right now. On September 30, the vice president of campus life and student services, Margaret Klawunn, will finalize her budget request to the University Resources Committee. This is Ms. Klawunn’s first year on the job, and students should be excited to see what kind of changes she is poised to make at Brown, exemplified by her proposed budget. If eating real food is important to you, if you believe in a fair and healthy food system, then please give Ms. Klawunn the support she needs to make this bold request. Contact her office, write her an e-mail, show up, make noise, tell her it’s important and do it by Sept. 30! Eli Marienthal ‘08.5 Sept. 21

l a r i f i c a t i o n

An article in Friday’s Herald (“Hospital recertified as Level 1 trauma center,” Sept. 19) reported that, for many, Rhode Island Hospital is “a hospital of last resort.” The phrase was meant to indicate that the hospital can provide emergency care that others cannot.

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O pinions Monday, September 22, 2008

Page 11


A new vision for television adam cambier Opinions Columnist Have you ever seen one of those cartoons where an oafish main character spends so much time watching television that he leaves a permanent butt-shaped imprint on his favorite spot on the couch? It is with some measure of pride that I attest to being able to identify at least three specific instances of such characters, and thus count myself among their ranks. I’m an inveterate television junkie. I can tell you precisely when each of my favorite shows (along with all the ones I can’t stand) appears, and my work schedule is strictly regimented around what’s airing at any given time. I once decided not to go see Barack Obama speak because “Survivor” was on. I think I’m starting to take root in my sofa, which only reminds me of the episode of “Nip/Tuck” where an obese woman becomes grafted to her couch. There was once an era where I might have been embarrassed to admit this. Not long ago the best TV had to offer was dreck like “Everybody Loves Raymond” and shows in a similar vein. These days, though, with the increasing prominence of basic and premium cable programming, the powers that be have been able to turn shows of every genre into an art form. For every idiotic game show or competition like “Deal or No Deal,” there are two critically acclaimed entries like “The Amazing Race” or “Project Runway” to take its place, and more relaxed decency standards on non-network

stations allow shows to push the envelope to create both edgier comedy and drama. It’s no coincidence that I write about television this week. The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards were held on Sunday, and although at the time of this writing the winners had not yet been announced, the nominees alone proved to be historical in nature. For the first time, a basic cable show (two of them, in fact) has been nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. What is really special about these nominations is the fact that basic cable has long been stuck in the wasteland

“Cold Case” and “Without a Trace,” TNT has rolled out its own lineup of original police and legal thrillers. Shows like “The Closer” and “Saving Grace” have earned awards and critical acclaim, and the network has even attracted talent like Steven Bochco, the creator of some of the first series to bring legit edgy credentials to the small screen. Amidst the constant reruns of “Castaway” and “Ocean’s Eleven,” TNT has carved a niche for itself as the pioneer of high-quality cable dramas. TNT’s precedent helped to pave the way

With the increasing prominence of basic and premium cable programming, the powers that be have been able to turn shows of every genre into an art form. between the money and audiences of the networks and the money and cachet of premium channels like HBO — before recently, basic cable had never had the money, the potential audience or the creative free license to put together anything worth watching. A handful of channels, however, have changed that. On the backs of its legion of syndicated crime dramas like “Law & Order,”

for FX’s “Damages” and AMC’s “Mad Men,” the two basic cable dramas nominated for the most prestigious Emmy this year. Both shows are founded on the immense talent their respective networks have attracted: “Damages” stars five-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close and a Ted Danson far removed from his “Cheers” and “Becker” days, and “Mad Men” is run with an iron fist by one of

the minds behind “The Sopranos.” What really makes the shows special are the liberties basic cable allows them to take. “Damages” tells the story of the shady goingson at a high-power law firm with graphic violence and a timeline so convoluted it would give “Lost” fans a headache, and “Mad Men” operates through a slow, simmering burn that, although it would probably get the show canceled within a few weeks at a regular network, makes the ultimate payoff that much sweeter. Last but not least amongst the veritable pantheon of shows that have revitalized the wasteland of basic cable comes my personal favorite, “Battlestar Galactica.” A re-imagining of the schlocky ’70s series of the same name, the new series uses space as a backdrop for commentary on very modern issues of spirituality, military power, political corruption and our right to life. Who would have ever imagined that a show about humans locked in a mortal struggle against evil robots would win a Peabody Award or be declared the best show on TV by Time magazine? Ultimately, though, it isn’t critical acclaim that is needed to keep these shows afloat. Programs like these need viewers, who are sometimes hard to come by. So, I ask of you: Don’t watch “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Only by watching more sophisticated fare can we get TV executives to further push the envelope. Hopefully in the long run we’ll be able to make the days of bad television feel remote.

Stop eating people’s old French fries, Adam Cambier ’09! Have some self-respect — don’t you know you can fly?

Playing with fire in Latin America BY adam siegel Opinions Columnist After visiting Latin America in 1982, Ronald Reagan famously remarked, “You’d be surprised. They’re all individual countries.” And although hopefully most Americans today understand the difference between Peru and Paraguay, the geopolitical issues surrounding Latin America have been largely absent from both the current presidential campaign and the national discourse on foreign affairs. This disregard of Latin American issues has long been lamentable, but recently a tense crisis has unfolded throughout South America, one which demands both our attention and immediate action. We must be proactive and prevent further escalation — this is the perfect venue for America to reassert its diplomatic might and regain the high ground in world politics. It’s a kind of preemption that President Bush and the Democrats could actually agree on. In the past two weeks, American relations with Bolivia have nose-dived and those with Venezuela have plunged to even further depths. Given other foreign policy issues facing the U.S. at the moment, the souring of our Bolivian partnership may not initially appear to be a paramount concern. The rising tensions with Bolivia and Venezuela, however, are only half of the story. The developments constitute a burgeoning crisis because Russia is poised to assert itself in a grand and foreboding fashion as the U.S. begins to lose its influence in these important South American countries. Considering the lack of media attention paid to these developments, it may be necessary to quickly recap the current state of our

relationships with these countries. Bolivia, already in the midst of an escalating internal upheaval, expelled the U.S. ambassador on Sept. 11, accusing him of supporting rebel groups hostile to President Evo Morales. In return, the U.S. removed the Bolivian ambassador from Washington, and the Drug Enforcement Agency, which runs various operations in the coca-producing country, has shockingly been forced to relocate operations to neighboring Peru. Concurrent with this burgeoning diplomatic crisis, the U.S. and Venezuela, each accusing the other of political

U.S. interests in the region. Signs show that this alliance of sorts is expanding across Central and South America. Honduras refused to approve its new American ambassador as a show of solidarity with Venezuela, and new Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has publicly signaled her intention to create friendly relations with Chavez. While Latin America is far from unified, it seems clear that U.S. influence there is waning. The Bush administration has pursued an overall failed strategy in the region, predictably influenced more by drug eradication efforts

Any student of American history knows what happened when Russia started moving arms to one of our Latin American neighbors. subterfuge, expelled their respective ambassadors and began a new slew of accusations. These escalating tensions are more than an unfortunate confluence of events; they represent the new power dynamic evolving in the region, facilitated by the rise of leftist Latin American leaders unafraid to challenge the U.S. Although leaders like Chavez and Morales are by no means ideologically or politically identical, they have formed a loose cohort, giving them a greater ability to oppose

than by a coherent plan to gain trusting and mutually beneficial alliances. Our strongest Latin American ally, Colombia, is more of an anomaly than a model, only a friend due to the necessity of combating the drug trade. And then there is Russia, which is making a not-so-subtle ploy at gaining friends where we have lost them. Russian officials recently confirmed that their naval ships will participate in military exercises with Venezuela by the end of the year. And who will step in for the

just-vacated DEA in Bolivia? Russia has offered anti-drug money and military support. Any student of American history knows what happened when Russia started moving arms to one of our Latin American neighbors, so while these developments are not a direct provocation, they are a cause for serious consternation. Or, as the ever-subtle Chavez stated upon announcement of the Russian alliance, “Go ahead and squeal, Yanquis.” Don’t squeal just yet. But it’s time for America to recognize these events as part of a surprisingly rapid new alignment of power in Latin America. The job of our next president will be to significantly re-examine the manner in which we wield influence throughout Latin America, and reaffirm our commitment to supporting both democracy and anti-poverty measures there. Instead of countering Russia’s military might with a buildup of our own (in say, Colombia), the U.S. will have to show respect for the higher-quality governments that have emerged in past years by working with them towards their goals — just as we do with our European allies. Latin America is emerging from the previous century as a more stable and confident region, and efforts to assert the level of U.S. control from past decades will be ineffective and breed resentment. Supporting continued progress in democratization will earn back respect and create new leverage for the U.S., while at the same time neutralizing the influence of Russia, whose military aid will certainly not advance this goal. A prosperous and independent-minded Latin America is our best bet. An armed and divided Latin America is our worst nightmare.

Adam Siegel ’09 lets the beat build.

S ports M onday Page 12

Monday, September 22, 2008


Defense helps football to victory over Stony Brook M. soccer

holds two foes scoreless

By Benjy Asher Spor ts Editor

As Stony Brook quarterback Dan Sweeney leaped for the end zone, linebacker Andrew Serrano ’11 had other ideas. Stonybrook 7 W i t h t h e 17 clock windBrown ing down to halftime and the ball on the Brown one-yard line, the Seawolves were looking to cut into the Bears’ 17-0 lead. After two running plays had failed to get the ball across the goal line, Stony Brook lined up three receivers on the left side, and Sweeney dropped back to pass. But when defensive end James Develin ’10 burst through the left side of the line, Sweeney was forced to roll out to the right and try to take the ball to the end zone himself. As he leaped for the goal line, Serrano met him in midair, knocking Sweeney to the ground and jarring the ball free to be scooped up by fellow linebacker Kelley Cox ’10. The Bears went to the locker room for halftime with their 17-0 lead intact. It was that kind of day for the Brown defense, as Stony Brook scored its only points on an interception returned for a touchdown in a 17-7 win for Bruno. Develin led the defensive effort with a teamhigh nine tackles, including two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss, while linebacker Steve Ziogas ’09 made eight tackles and provided pressure on the quarterback throughout the game. “Against a team that prides themselves on the run…we took them out of their game, and they had to end up throwing it, which is not necessarily something they like doing,” Ziogas said. The Seawolves, who came into Saturday’s game averaging 169.3

By Katie Wood Assistant Sports Editor

Justin Coleman / Herald

Tight end Stephen Peyton ‘12 helped Bruno dominate the Seahawks Saturday, 17-7. rushing yards per game on the season, netted just 36 rushing yards on 29 attempts. “Against a team that was big and physical, that had some great running backs and a big offensive line, we physically dominated the line

of scrimmage,” said Head Coach Phil Estes. “Today was one of the great efforts by a whole group of inspired defenders, and this was, since I’ve been here, one of the best defensive efforts.” After the defense forced Stony

Brook to punt on its first drive, the Brown offense took over at its own 33-yard line. On second and 8, running back Jonathan Edwards ’09 took the ball up the middle for continued on page 9

Volleyball cruises to victory By Han Cui Assistant Spor ts Editor

Justin Coleman / Herald

Lyndse Yess ‘09 serves during the Brown Invitational last weekend.

The volleyball team looked unstoppable this weekend. As the host of a four-team Invitational, the Bears showed no hospitality on the court, as they swept all three games to clinch the tournament title. The team is not yet a third of the way into the season, but it already posts a 7-1 record that matches its wins total from the entire 2007 season, when Bruno finished 7-17. The Bears kicked of f the weekend on Friday night against Stony Brook. The Bears took control of the match early, taking the first two games, 25-18 and 25-19, while the impenetrable defense held the Seawolves to a .065 hitting percentage. In what looked like a locked win for the Bears, the tenacious Seawolves refused to give in and caught the Bears off guard with a two-game comeback, 25-20 and 25-22, to put themselves right back in the hunt. The final game was a hard-fought battle, and Brown fell behind late, 13-12, but two consecutive kills put down by cocaptain Lyndse Yess ’09 gave the lead back to the Bears. The Bears ultimately edged the Seawolves, 16-14, to take their first victor y

at the Invitational. “The team played ver y consistent and stayed focused,” said Head Coach Diane Short. “We lost a little focus (in the third and fourth games) against Stony Brook, played a little flat, but overall, we played well and played like a team.” The team chemistry has been the key to the Bears’ success so far this season. “Last year, we might have two people playing really well, but this year, ever ybody is playing well,” Short said. The high performance standard was set from top to bottom, with the two senior captains leading by example. In the game against Stony Brook, Yess posted a double-double with 19 kills and 14 digs. Beside her, cocaptain Natalie Meyers ’09 led the Bears with 52 assists and 19 digs. Meyers was later named to the All-Tournament Team along with teammates Annika Gliottone ’12 and Danielle Vaughan ’11. “The seniors are really leading the team,” Short said. “Meyers is making better decisions this year in her assists. She is our quarterback on the team. Lyndse, although she was not named an continued on page 9

Brown men’s soccer has held its last two opponents, Boston University and Rhode Island, scoreless with a strong defensive effort. It’s the offensive struggle that has been as successful as the defensive side of the ball. “We need to score more and create more opportunities for ourselves,” said Head Coach Mike Noonan. The Bears battled BU on Wednesday to a scoreless tie at the end of regulation, and neither team could muster up a goal in either of two overtime periods. Brown headed back home for a Saturday night matchup against in-state rival URI. This time, the shutout produced a win, when the Bears found the net to pull out the 1-0 victory. The back line of defenders Rhett Bernstein ’09, co-captain Stephen Sawyer ’09, David Walls ’11 and Ian Smith ’11 held strong in the first half despite being outshot 11-3 by the Rams. It only took a little magic from midfielder Darren Howerton ’09 to ignite the Bears’ offense. He made his season debut with an outstanding assist in the 50th minute to Bernstein. Howerton delivered his famous flip-throw perfectly to the middle of the box as Bernstein got a head on the ball and sent it past Rhody goalie Chris Pennock. Bernstein led the team in shots on goal with four and tallied his first goal of the season. Goalie Jarrett Leech ’09 secured the victory for Brown by recording his fourth consecutive shutout. “Obviously the score speaks for itself,” Noonan said. “We have a better chance of winning when we shut out our opponents.” In the first six games of the young 2008 season, the Bears have scored a total of five goals. However, the defense has proved to be a strong force for the team, keeping opponents off the scoreboard with four shutouts. “We’ve started to come together in the back,” Bernstein said. “We’ve played solid the past few matches. The last two games have defined how strong we are as a defensive unit – we’re going to get better from here on out.” Defense is keeping the Bears in games. The back four have become a cohesive group and have emerged as a threat to opposing teams. “We’ve improved a lot since the beginning of the year,” Sawyer said. “It helps having three of the same four back guys. Defense is something we pride ourselves on as a team.” The Bears look to improve on their scoring ability and keep the defensive pressure up as they tackle two more non-conference foes prior to their Ivy League schedule. Brown takes on cross-state rival No. 16 Boston College at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. “We’ve played well against BC in the past,” Noonan said. “Slowly but surely we’re (now) coming together as a team.” The Bears head to UNC-Greensboro for a match-up at 7 p.m. on Saturday. They will open up their Ivy League schedule at home on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 4 p.m., when they take on Columbia.

Monday, September 22, 2008  

The September 22, 2008 issue of the Brown Daily Herald

Monday, September 22, 2008  

The September 22, 2008 issue of the Brown Daily Herald