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The Lyric welcomes Japanese film series BY ALICE KIM | features staff writer If you thought “Black Swan” was thrilling, wait until you see “Tokyo Sonata.” The 2011 Japanese Film Festival is here, featuring three films — including the aforementioned “Tokyo Sonata” — that will be shown every other Saturday starting Jan. 29 at The Lyric in downtown Blacksburg. John and Mihoko Lanier contributed the funds that allowed the festival to come together. In an effort to promote Japanese culture at Virginia Tech, the foreign languages department is showing three films for free at the theatre. Viewers won’t have to worry about a language barrier. The films have English subtitles. see FESTIVAL / page five

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

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COLLEGIATETIMES 108th year, issue 5

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Students donate time to community renewal projects JAY SPEIDELL news staff writer Students at Virginia Tech celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by giving back to the community. This past weekend, 165 students donated their Saturdays to help out day care and head start centers in the New River Valley. This was part of the Martin Luther King Week of Service, sponsored by the Center for Student Engagement & Community Partnerships. Groups of eight to 15 volunteers went to 16 day care facilities in the New River Valley Saturday, with projects ranging from construction to painting and cleaning. Jim Dubinsky, founding director of CSECP, said the local centers are “one of the foundational kinds of organizations” in a community. Dubinsky said this is especially true in an economic downturn, when families with two working parents or a single parent need reliable day care. “They’re almost always underfunded, and they’re almost always understaffed,” Dubinsky said. While they have enough staff to take care of children, Dubinsky said day care facilities often lack the resources to do maintenance and improvements. Tech’s lacrosse club was hard at work cutting wood and building platforms that will make up decks in a play area at Rainbow Riders Childcare Center on Ramble Road. About 30 players showed up to help. “As a team we feel very privileged to be in such a great area, and we’re blessed to be going to such a good school,” said C.J. Babb, the team’s treasurer. “We want to give back to the community.” Babb said the team was just having fun and helping out. “This is a good experience, a good way for the team to come together outside of lacrosse,” Babb said. Another group from the lacrosse team was doing cleanup and maintenance at another Rainbow Riders facility down the road. Karl Rice, a freshman engineering major, was carrying an armful of debris to a trash bag. “I actually enjoy this a lot, to be honest. Just kind of us hanging out, having a good time,” Rice said. Not all of the service projects were done by organizations. A group of friends who met in theme housing

were painting at Children’s Nest. “I like getting involved with the community more, and helping out,” said Molly Wagner, a sophomore marketing management major. “It’s little things like this that mean a lot to the people we are doing it for.” The group was painting the walls blue in a play area, as well as painting chalkboards in the classrooms with a special chalkboard paint. “This is great service they’re doing for here for the kids,” said Gulbun Esen, owner and director of Children’s Nest. This is the third time the facility has gotten help from Tech students, with a mural on the wall in the front hall being the result of an earlier project. More work was going on across town at Blacksburg United Methodist Church. The group, including members of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, was painting smudged walls in the hallways a bright yellow. “I feel like you have to be happy when you’re painting with this color,” said Shannon Grosse, a biology major. Sylvia Ramos, a mother of two working for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at Tech, was also helping out with painting. “We don’t spend enough time doing things that are for our children, thinking about how we can make an environment more conducive for their learning, growing, and happiness,” Ramos said. “For me it’s just about being able STEVEN SILTON / SPPS to come together with others and learn Bruno Vega (left), Kevin McDonough (back, center) and Sean Meacham (right) cut wood as a part of a community project helping youth centers. about their passion for service.” The service projects were inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., but they extend far beyond this day of service. The Martin Luther King Week of Service is the winter portion of CSECP’s Seasons of Service. “Part of seasons of service, the idea behind it, is to get people to volunteer all year long,” said Lexi Edwards, a volJAY SPEIDELL unteer with Americorp Vista. “People news staff writer who take part in all four events will be able to look back on the year and say, ‘I did good things all year long.’” Construction is underway to Edwards and Dubinsky said what remodel Campus Exxon, turnstudents take away from the experiing the garage into a 24/7 food ence is as important as what they have store. done. John Newton, of PMI “The most magical part of this is Management Services, says to see the sense of ‘I’m giving up a the location will be completely Saturday, I’m doing this good work, but rebranded. it’s actually a lot of fun,’” Dubinsky said. The gas station will become a Shell, “They enjoy the work, they get into it, adding diesel fuel and Kroger’s disand you can sense that it’s something count program, and the inside will they’d do again.” become a Stop In Food Store complete with a Beer Cave and an outside eating area. “We’re going to offer a lot of varieties of food 24 hours a day,” Newton said. The menu will include foods such as breakfast biscuits, sandwiches and wraps, pulled pork sandwiches and salads, as well who helped save the congresswoman as coffee, cappuccinos and after she was shot, will be seated with slushies. first lady Michelle Obama. So will the Newton said the store is looking family of 9-year-old Christina Taylor to partner with local businesses to MARK UMANSKY / SPPS Green, who died in the rampage, and expand its options. Dr. Peter Rhee, the head of trauma at It has already made an agreement The Campus Exxon gas station on North Main Street, seen above, will convert to a Shell station in March. Lance Partleton, a superinten“We’re trying to get engaged walk-in refrigerator, called the Beer University Medical Center in Tucson. to sell Carol Lee Donuts, and is Obama, speaking for the first time in seeking a partnership to sell Hokie with the students,” Newton said. Cave, with a variety of beers. The dent with South-End Construction, “We plan to have events for the alcohol selection will also include said the project is on schedule his 2-year-old presidency to a House merchandise. and should be finished within controlled by Republicans, plans to Newton said the goal is to fill a gap students, like a hot dog eating wine and kegs. Newton said he expected the loca- 90 days, if Blacksburg’s weather emphasize healing the economy and not covered by other restaurants and contest.” allows. The remodel will also include a tion to open by mid-March. working together. Republicans have a convenience stores. 242 to 193 majority in the House, and Democrats control 53 of the Senate’s and what he has been selling?” House Heritage Foundation, a conservative for $80 billion in savings by Sept. 30. Early signals aren’t positive. 100 seats. The group would roll spending back Bill Frenzel, a former centrist Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., policy-research center. “He has to back “We’re not going to have a debate in Washington about whether we need to Republican congressman from asked Monday. “Will he continue sell- it up to the point that his base says, ‘Wait to 2008 levels on everything but defense, homeland security and veterans. Cantor make some changes and whether we Minnesota who’s now a political analyst ing that which he did or will there be a minute, we didn’t sign on to this.’ “ Obama’s expected to discuss his “com- said he “looks forward to these cuts and need to control spending. We’re going at the Brookings Institution, a center- a new direction? The success of this to have, hopefully, a bipartisan discus- left policy research center, predicted Congress will rest on this question and, petitiveness agenda,” which includes others being brought to the floor for an sion and work together on how we go that the new mood won’t overcome frankly, the outcome of the election in boosting investments in infrastructure, up-or-down vote.” Democrats vow that none of this will education and innovation. But, Gibbs 2012.” about doing that,” White House spokes- strong partisan disagreements. Conservatives hope that Obama warned, “I don’t think you’ll see a laun- get far, and that later this year, everyone “They won’t get anywhere,” he said. man Robert Gibbs said Monday. is going to have to find ways to comdry list of issues.” Republicans say they want strong, breaks visibly with liberals. The more consequential question The Democrats’ immediate worry is promise. “He has to do something palpable. He about the speech involves its aftermath, specific commitments from Obama “They repealed the health care bill, whether the symbolic bonding in the — and evidence that he’s distancing needs to make (an overture) towards about potential cuts this year, in fisRepublicans that creates a ‘wow’ fac- cal 2011. The conservative Republican but the bill is not repealed,” said Rep. chamber for the speech will mean himself from liberal Democrats. “Is he going to decouple himself from tor,” said Michael Franc, the vice presi- Study Committee, which includes most Keith Ellison, D-Minn. “Really, it’s politmuch once policy deliberations begin what we’ve seen over the last two years dent for government relations at the House GOP members, called last week ical theater.” in earnest Wednesday.

Civility on the agenda for State of the Union address DAVID LIGHTMAN & WILLIAM DOUGLAS mcclatchy newspapers WASHINGTON — Lawmakers plan to be polite and civil Tuesday night as President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address, but once it’s over, all signs point to sharp partisan divides over spending, health care and virtually every other major issue. Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, starting at 9 p.m. EST, will be filled with reminders of Washington’s efforts to create a calmer political climate in the wake of the Tucson shootings Jan. 8 that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., critically wounded, six people dead and 12 others injured. Republicans and Democrats plan to break tradition Tuesday night by sitting alongside colleagues from the other party, instead of in partisan blocs. “It’s a symbol; a way we can show we can reason together,” said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a staunch conservative who helped lead the recent House of Representatives tribute to Giffords. Daniel Hernandez, a Giffords intern

Remodel set for N. Main gas station

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news editors: philipp kotlaba, liana bayne, gordon block 540.231.9865

january 25, 2011

what you’re saying //comments from online readers... On representation of women in math and science majors: Dead>>


virginia Attorney sentenced to three years for theft CLAIRE GALOFARO

Believe it or not some girls come to this institution hoping to find a husband and never having to work again.

Anon>> It’s getting to the point that Americans are becoming underrepresented in Engineering and STEM fields. It’s not just a gender problem

The thrill of victory

mcclatchy newspapers A disgraced and disbarred Grundy attorney will spend three years in federal prison for stealing upwards of $260,000 from an estate, left to the four daughters of a late Buchanan County couple, and stiffing the government out of $250,000 in federal taxes. David Eugene Cecil, 59, pleaded guilty in United States District Court in October to fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. He was sentenced Monday to 36 months in prison followed by three years of supervised probation. He was ordered to pay $291,451.19 in restitution. With the court-imposed $1,000

monthly payments, it will take Cecil nearly 25 years to pay back the family. The Virginia State Bar revoked his license in September 2009. Cecil was hired in February 2007 to administer the $2 million estate of Buchanan County doctor Robert Baxter and his wife, Nancy. He was a long-time family friend of the Baxters. Frannie Minton, the eldest daughter, testified Monday during his sentencing hearing and said her father trusted Cecil to take care of his family after his death. In 2007, Cecil met with the Baxter daughters and quoted a one-time fee of 2 percent of the estate, or $40,000, to liquidate the trust and distribute the money to the family, according to

court documents. The theft started with one property -- he sold it for $60,000, kept the money and told the daughters that the Internal Revenue Service confiscated it, Cecil testified Monday. It went on from there. In total, he paid himself more than $260,000 from the estate. In October, Cecil told the court that he deposited the money into various accounts to skirt detection and avoid paying taxes. At his sentencing hearing Monday, Cecil testified that he was sick, his law practice was falling apart and that he had to feed and educate his family of five. Prosecutors noted that he meanwhile bought a $50,000 truck and $2,235 in University of Kentucky basketball tickets.

nation & world Unusual dinosaur fossil discovered in China BILLY SMITH mcclatchy newspapers

Nicholas Vukmaravich, is congratulated by fans after a Virginia Tech victory. See to view photos from the Virginia Tech Club ice hockey team’s weekend matchups against ECU and Liberty. photo by Brad Klodowski, spps

BEIJING — A fossil found in China of a previously unknown single-clawed species has shed light on the evolution of dinosaurs, international scientists said Monday. The species of monodactyl theropod was unearthed in China’s Inner Mongolia region, the scientists said. Theropods are a primarily carnivorous group that includes the well-known tyrannosaurus and

velociraptor. Theropods had short forelimbs and ran or walked on their hind legs, eventually giving rise to modern birds. Lead Chinese researcher Xu Xing and colleagues discovered the Linhenykus monodactylus fossil in rocks from the Upper Cretaceous Wulansuhai formation near Inner Mongolia’s Linhe city, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The rock formation dates back 75 million to 84 million years and is one of the world’s richest veins for

dinosaur fossils. The researchers found a partial skeleton, including bones from the vertebral column, the forelimbs and hind limbs, the report said. It said the small dinosaur probably grew to a maximum height of about 1 meter and weighed about the same as a large parrot. Its development of a single claw “highlights a complex pattern of evolution in the hand of this dinosaur group,” the report said. Unlike that monodactyl, most theropods had three claws.

opınıons 3

editors: scott masselli, gabi seltzer 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

january 25, 2011

The Collegiate Times is an independent student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903

Your Views [letter to the editor]

New rail, bus combo serving Blacksburg would simplify travel Jan. 18, Roanoke City made the elecOn trifying announcement that it would seek a state grant in February for a bus from the high-performing Amtrak Lynchburg — DC — Boston Train to Roanoke (daily) and Blacksburg (weekends), a grant Virginia Tech also endorses. If approved, the core benefit will be access to the wider world, and the chief beneficiaries locally — Tech students — essentially being able to say, “Adios, Interstate 81.” Starting in July, tired students could be streaming out of Blacksburg for a less expensive, more relaxed and safer ride home on morning buses, and nostalgic alumni could be streaming into the area on evening buses. Students could now take day trips to Charlottesville to visit friends, historic sites and libraries or take in sporting events. They could visit Manassas battlefields, a top tourist destination because of the 150th

anniversary of the first battle of Manassas. Friends, family and prospective students could have less hectic and more enjoyable weekend visits on campus. Students could take return buses to Lynchburg and hop the Amtrak Crescent to Charlotte, Atlanta and New Orleans. Students could take trips to New York and Boston, or over the long winter break, conveniently transfer to three Washington, D.C., airports for cheaper fares. A student could have breakfast in Blacksburg one day and breakfast in Brussels the next. Conversely, a friend could wake up in London and go to sleep in Blacksburg. The Lynchburg Train Bus would benefit students today and build support for a train tomorrow.

Daniel Peacock Virginia Association of Railway Patrons, Manassas, Va.


Tech plan to restructure Virginia Cooperative Extension flawed ate last fall, some troubling information came my way regarding L the university’s administration of the

Language barriers require empathy, cultural understanding a quick introduction for this new semester, my name As is Owen Davis and I am a senior political science major. I am currently studying abroad through Virginia Tech’s Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. I am here with about 25 other liberal arts undergrads and 15 students from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. For the next four months, the liberal arts program covered here will focus on issues of environmental sustainability, culture, society and green policy. Don’t worry though; this isn’t your run-of-the-mill hippie-fest indoctrination. While the tantalizing topics of U.S. current events and politics will undoubtedly pull me into writing certain columns this semester, I also want to infuse elements of my experience here to help make some of my columns more unique. This is one of those columns. Coming to Switzerland, my greatest fear was being able to communicate and operate in what I saw as an alien world. Rather than worrying about getting lost in a European city or being “Taken,” I worried about how to ask where the bathroom was or how to come off as a friendly, not boorish, tourist. Last semester, I was required to take an introductory Italian class (the southern region of Switzerland — where Riva is located — is Italianspeaking) but I forgot most, if not all, of what I learned over winter break. Not to mention the fact that not all of Europe speaks Italian. I was selfconscious to say the least. But I’m here and after a week of living and traveling through a few different cities, my anxiety and discomfort has turned into a realization; everyone must feel this way when they’re not in their native land. Just think about the little things in your daily life that require you to communicate with people around you. Whether it’s buying a coffee, practicing common driver etiquette, side-stepping to the right or left of someone before you walk into them, or providing a “bless you” to someone who sneezes, such little things are so small and so common that they become natural and knee-jerk. When you enter a world that has different languages and customs, this reality is completely flipped upside down. You don’t know if left is right or right is left. You’re filled with angst and a pressure to fit in that only further reminds you that you’re not at home anymore. It’s hard to tell if saying “hello” (in any language) to a passerby is a demonstration of camaraderie or just plain impolite. Recently, I discovered that saying “ciao” — the common “hello” in Italian — is not something you should say to older adults. In fact, it is seen as disrespectful if you do so. For strangers who are elderly, you are much better off saying “salve” instead. Of course this is common knowledge to anyone with half a brain here

in the surrounding regions of Italy, but for an off-the-plane American, such as myself, this doesn’t even cross the mind. Back in the States, I could parallel this example to someone who may not provide a quick and expected “Thank you,” to another who holds the door open for them. I’m sure this has happened to you. You hold the door open for someone right behind you, naturally, and as “You’re welcome,” just sits on the tip of your tongue, you feel slapped in the face with silence. “How rude,” you might think. A snide “You’re welcome,” might come out of your mouth, just to make your feeling of insult known. You feel offended for the fact that such a common and simple form of social etiquette has been completely ignored at the expense of your feelings. I find this sentiment all too common in the States, especially toward those who are obviously not American. Immigrants who seem quiet or slow to react to social cues are often described as anti-social or socially awkward, labels I would readily accept as I stand in an Italian bar with a deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. Ridiculing someone who speaks poor English or judging without empathy are just a forms of ignorance in itself, as it neglects qualities of human nature. No one wants to come off as rude or strange, and the fear of crossing into those categories only amplifies when you’re put into a foreign environment. When you’re not comfortable with the surroundings and customs, sometimes it is just easier to not say anything at all, rather than put yourself in a position to be judged by an outside world for how you pronounce a word or respond to someone. As I sit in this library, with no Internet access, and look out the window to see a towering mountain of rock with snow-capped ridges, my feelings of displacement resurface. I am not in Blacksburg anymore, and this is not the American culture I am used to. I can’t imagine what thoughts run through the minds of immigrants who look out their dorm room windows to see a colossal multimillion dollar football stadium, but I would bet that it’s similarly sobering. Thousands of differing cultures exist in this world, ranging from the American Deep South to the Ticino valley region of Switzerland. My opportunity to experience both environments is something that should be fully appreciated, but the expectation to quickly assimilate myself within both worlds is just wishful thinking. Let us empathize with those who may not be familiar with the particulars of our customs rather than hold a different standard up to anyone else that takes on the enormous challenge of such a transition.

OWEN DAVIS -regular columnist -senior -political science major

Virginia Cooperative Extension program. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences decided to develop a restructuring plan to reorganize the way it implements the extension program, which provides advice and support for farmers, consumers and households across Virginia and organizes the state’s 4-H program. As it exists now, the cooperative extension operates offices in nearly every locality in Virginia. My knowledge of the program comes mainly from my lifelong participation and association with the 4-H program and from my experience with agricultural extension in my home of Washington County. The proposed restructuring plan — which was created without the input of extension agents or other stakeholders at the local level — aims to drastically cut down on the number of offices and agents across the state, consolidating services into “business centers” that would serve multiple counties or cities. While this type of organization may seem efficient from a practical standpoint, it could effectively kill the positive impact that extension has on Virginia’s communities. Virginians have come to rely on the extension service as a valuable resource for a wide array of problems and needs, and one of the reasons the program is so frequently used is its accessibility. If the university moves forward with the proposed plan, accessibility will surely be affected, leaving many farmers and consumers with few ways to get valuable information when they have questions. Furthermore, VCE administers the 4-H program statewide and on the local level. With more than 150,000 youth and 20,000 volunteers, Virginia 4-H is one of the largest, farthestreaching youth organizations in the state. Youth involved in 4-H programs have the opportunity to gain important life skills through a broad spec-

trum of project areas including agriculture, public speaking, citizenship, science and technology. If this restructuring plan is implemented, county and city 4-H programs, which have already faced significant budget cuts, would lose the dedicated people who make 4-H so successful for Virginia’s youth. Furthermore, upon the plan’s implementation, many local extension offices around the state would close. The number of agents who deal directly with farmers, consumers and youth in the field would decrease, and new “unit coordinator” positions would mean an increase in the number of administrator positions that would involve no contact with people in the field. How could anyone who understands the mission of cooperative extension, as being for the service of the people, see this as a reflection of that mission? Since the restructuring plan was first released in October, negative reactions has been widespread and severe. Petitions have been circulated among concerned citizens, and a number of county boards of supervisors, who share responsibility with the state in funding local extension offices, have passed resolutions in opposition to the plan. By implementing this plan, Tech would be destroying a long-standing relationship with local governments that has been critical to the success of extension programming. Even members of the Virginia General Assembly have been outspoken critics, and some have even gone as far as to question Tech’s allocation of funds that were budgeted for local extension services. Some have claimed that high-ranking university officials’ salaries have come out of funds designated by law for local extension programming. Recently, a special committee in the House of Delegates has been formed to investigate the university’s handling of extension funding. If legislators have reason to believe Tech has not been fulfilling its role adequately in recent years as administrator of the program, they should also question Tech’s motives for this restructuring plan.

In other words, if Tech may not have had the interest of local extension and local citizens at heart with its distribution of funds, why should Virginians believe it has their interests at heart with this reorganization plan? Tech administrators need to critically examine the proposed restructuring plan for the VCE and listen to the concerns of the people the extension is intended to benefit: farmers, consumers and youth at the local level. If this plan continues as it is currently structured, it is surely a signal Tech has lost touch with the rest of the state. It signals that the folks in Blacksburg have lost interest in how people in other corners of the state are going to get critical information upon which they rely for the success of their farms, businesses and families. It unfortunately signals that Tech no longer seeks to fulfill its land-grant mission to serve all Virginians. I urge Tech to reconsider the proposed VCE restructuring plan. Start again from the beginning of the restructuring process and get the input of the people this plan would affect most: stakeholders at the local level, including current extension agents. I urge the General Assembly to look more deeply into questions about how the university has handled allocation of extension funds in the past and decide whether Tech is truly guarding the welfare of Virginia’s farmers, families and youth. Virginia Cooperative Extension has played a tremendous role in my life and the lives of Virginians around the state, from Arlington to Abingdon, from Norfolk to Norton. If this goes forward as planned, with an implementation goal of 2012, one of the Virginia’s best assets will surely lose effectiveness. For the good of the state, the College of Agriculture and the university must change paths with regard to this restructuring plan.

BRAD COPENHAVER -regular columnist -junior -agricultural economics and political science

Farm practices misrepresented by animal rights activism advertisements January 2008, one of Katie Couric’s top features on “CBS In Evening News” was a story surrounding an animal abuse case in a California slaughter facility. Video clips taken by an anonymous person showed plant workers physically abusing “downer” cows (cattle unable to walk as a result of weakness or sickness) in order to get them to the slaughtering station. Throughout the two-minute video, emotional clips flashed between the abuse and other resources, including the president of the Humane Society of the United States, who made statements concerning the neglect animals face in these situations. As the last clip showed a cow being dragged by her front leg, Couric’s voiceover said, “The most shocking part about this video is that it happens all of the time.” As the sixth generation to live on my family’s beef cattle farm, I was appalled. My family takes great pride in being able to feed our community, our country and our world. A video such as this, targeting families much like my own, creates a blanket statement that practically says, “All farmers abuse their animals.”

It seems to be a current campus trend, especially since last semester, that more and more students are interested in where their food comes from, as evident in the local food movement and the common book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” This eventually leads to an investigation of who produces that food. Unfortunately, the most publicized agriculturalists are a very small minority that poorly represent our industry and oftentimes portray farmers as unintelligent, ignorant rednecks in overalls. What today’s media fails to report are the actions farmers take to ensure a quality life for their animals, the efforts they take in improving the environment and the technological advances within the agriculture industry. Programs such as Beef and Pork Quality Assurance train farmers to properly provide health care, nutrition and transportation handling to livestock; all in a way that is both beneficial to productivity and the life of the animal. Soil and water conservation districts have recognized the importance of agriculture as the No. 1 industry in Virginia.

They have teamed up with farmers who wish to fence off streams from their animals, which improves water quality for both livestock and people. The growth of population and decrease of farmable land has led to technological advances such as the use of GPS to record crop yields and genetically modified seed to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides. I don’t remember any of that being mentioned in the evening news. Consider this when you see media portraying farmers in a bad light: If you hear of a bad procedure by one dentist, does it mean that you will never go to a dentist again? If a dentist completes a faulty operation, he as an individual is charged with malpractice. Why is it acceptable to assume that the minority of farmers who mistreat their animals are a quality representation for the agricultural community as a whole?

MORGAN SLAVEN -guest columnist -freshman -animal and poultry sciences, leadership and social change

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january 25, 2011

page 4

Suicide bombing in Moscow airport Monday kills 35 MOSCOW — A suicide bomber slipped into a crowd waiting for international passengers arriving at Moscow’s newest and busiest airport, detonating a huge blast that killed 35 people and exposed another weak spot in security for global air travelers. The attack at Domodedovo international airport illustrated how difficult it is to safeguard public areas at terminals, even as the United States and other governments engaged in a cat-and-mouse battle with would-be bombers have tightened screenings of passengers and their luggage. In the United States, such areas at airports are protected by a hodgepodge of security agencies. In Moscow, visitors are supposed to pass through a metal detector but one survivor of Monday’s attack said he saw no one being required to do so. There was no immediate claim of

responsibility for the bombings, which also wounded about 130 people. However, Russia has suffered repeated attacks by Islamic militants based in the Caucasus region. Russia has fought two wars against separatists in Chechnya, and though the military campaign has largely ended, sporadic violence continues there and in neighboring regions. Russian officials said they were searching for three Chechen men in connection with the bombing, and added that the attack might be linked to the explosion of a homemade bomb in a Moscow apartment on Dec. 31. A woman officials believe was being prepared to carry out a suicide attack was killed in that blast. Domodedovo, which underwent a massive renovation and expansion in the last decade, is about 25 miles southeast of central Moscow and is the largest of three airports that serve the capital. In 2004 a pair of suicide bombers were able to buy tickets illegally from airport

personnel at Domodedova and went on to detonate explosives in midair on separate flights, killing 90 people. Flights from Germany and Britain were among those arriving about the time of the explosion late Monday afternoon, and Russian officials said two British citizens were among the dead. One witness said he believed he saw the bomber from the back, a man who was in the middle of about 150 people crowded into the cavernous arrival hall awaiting passengers. He said the man was dressed in a black coat and hat, and had a suitcase at his feet. “At that very moment when I was looking at him, he disappeared in an explosion,” said the witness, 30-yearold Artyom Zhilenkov. “I think it came from the suitcase. I was standing between two columns propping up the ceiling, and that is what I think saved my life, cushioning the shock wave. People all around me were lying on the ground. A choking smoke was quickly

filling up the place.” Zhilenkov, a former military officer who was meeting a friend arriving from Dusseldorf, Germany, said in a telephone interview that he ran for the exit fearing a second explosion, but then turned back to help the injured. “The place was full of dead people, torn-off limbs, arms and legs and people who were still alive — writhing on the floor helplessly and in great pain,” he said. Zhilenkov said he and another uninjured man put a woman whose leg was nearly severed on a luggage cart. “She was screaming in agony all the time we were rolling the cart to the exit. We left her outside where she could at least get some fresh air and ran back,” he said, adding that he then helped another man whose leg had been severed. The bomb was packed “full of metal pieces” and had the force of between 15 and 22 pounds of TNT, a source in the Russian Investigation Committee




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told the state RIA Novosti news agency. Grainy cell phone pictures showed bodies piled up in the smoky hall. The arrivals hall was equipped with a metal detector to screen visitors coming to meet passengers, Zhilenkov said, but no one seemed to be using it. U.S. officials said they had not increased security at domestic airports, which have been on alert since an attempt to blow up two U.S.-bound cargo planes in October. An offshoot of al-Qaida operating on the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for that plot. Heightened security procedures in place since then include “unpredictable security measures” such as checking bags at random for traces of explosives and using bomb-sniffing dogs, “including before the checkpoint,” said Kristin Lee, a spokeswoman with the Transportation Security Administration. Access to ticketing and baggage claim areas typically doesn’t require

passing through a checkpoint or showing identification. The Moscow bombing “shows how vulnerable these targets are,” said Rick Nelson, director of the homeland security and counterterrorism program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. It would be safest to search everyone who enters a public area, said Nelson, but that’s not realistic. “More can always be done, but you have to weigh the cost in terms of dollars and civil liberties.” President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned the attack. Russia President Dmitry Medvedev ordered special security measures at airports and other transportation centers. Domodedovo reopened a couple of hours after the explosion, but increased security resulted in huge crowds of people at the entrances, where they were searched extensively.

arts & entertainment 5 january 25, 2011

editors: lindsey brookbank, kim walter 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

‘Dancing with the Stars’ cast member sings in Blacksburg MIA PERRY features reporter ark Ballas, whom most people know as longtime dancer on hit M ABC show “Dancing with the Stars,”

performed at Top of the Stairs Monday night. But he was singing, not dancing. His performance was part of a tour to promote his new album, which comes out in February. Ballas began dancing at age ten. Seeing the success of his world championship dancer parents, he decided to “give it a go.” After retiring from dance competitions at age 21, Ballas focused more on a music and theater career. But soon Ballas got a call from “Dancing with the Stars” and he only needed a couple days before he decided that the show would be his next move. “Dancing is an expression of power through the body, and music is kind of connecting emotionally and lyrically through song with the audience. They are both really fun,” Ballas said of his performing talents. This past season, Ballas partnered with celeb Bristol Palin, and the duo won third place on the show. He even got to meet Sarah Palin. “She was pretty sweet — very normal, nice lady,” Ballas said of the controversial politician. Ballas is following his dream he says, and suggests the same to college students. “If you have a dream, follow it, no matter what anyone else says to discourage you. When I was in college I had goals and I followed them. I wouldn’t let anyone get in my way. As AUSTEN MEREDITH / SPPS long as you are doing something you love that’s all that matters.” Michael Ballas (right), who rose to fame while competing with Bristol Palin on the past season of “Dancing with the Stars,” sang Monday night at Top of the Stairs in Blacksburg.

Portman sshines in ‘No SStrings AAttached’ o Strings Attached” is the typical formulaic romantic comedy. But N for all its predictability, it still keeps the viewer interested and entertained. Starring Ashton Kutcher as sensitive and warm Adam, and Natalie Portman as logical and emotionallydistant Emma, “No Strings Attached” starts out being quite cliche, with its leads being complete opposites, yet totally right for each other. The plot is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill “chick flick.” Adam and Emma are friends who decide to become “friends with benefits” because Emma doesn’t want a relationship with her hectic schedule, but it’s clear from the beginning that Adam wants more. Honestly, from there the plot goes exactly where you would think it would go. Not to give too much away, but it’s the typical boy meets girl, boy and girl get together, boy and girl fall apart movie. I’ll let you fill in the last part of that formula. The 1998 shot-for-shot remake of “Psycho” (1960) seems to have more originality. So what’s there to like about “No Strings Attached?” Surprisingly, it is quite funny, with its many one-liners and physical humor. There are a few jokes that don’t work, but for the most part, the movie got its comedy right. It’s no “The Hangover,” but it’s hard to accomplish that level of humor for any movie. The supporting characters, mainly friends of Adam and Emma, are a delight to watch and at times are more interesting than the main story line.


Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher happily come together in romantic comedy “No Strings Attached.” They keep the movie going at a steady pace. Kutcher and Portman do deliver solid performances and are genuinely believable. Their on-screen relationship is fragile, funny and heartfelt. One or two of their scenes did feel a bit forced, but I blame that more on the writing than the actors. There’s only so much they can do with a poorly written scene. After Natalie Portman’s performance in “The Black Swan,” “No Strings Attached” was a great follow up for her. It’s easy to see that she’s having

fun with the film as opposed to her emotionally draining role in the former. Watching Portman’s easygoing demeanor definitely ups the enjoyment for the viewer. I’m not one for liking chick flicks, but I have to be honest and say that “No Strings Attached” was decent as far as “rom-coms” go. It’s one of the better ones that I have seen over the last few years. There have been some pretty terrible romantic comedies recently, giving the whole genre a bad name. “No Strings Attached,” while certainly not destined to win any Oscars,

is a pretty good attempt at taking a stale plotline and jazzing it up with humor. I recommend “No Strings Attached” to anyone who loves chick flicks or anyone who wants to see a movie that’s relaxing and funny. It’s lighthearted and not trying to be anything more than what it is.

COURTNEY BAKER -movie reviewer -political science major -junior

Festival: Three films boast many awards from page one

“Coming out to the Japanese Festival can people get in touch with a culture that is completely different from the American culture,” said Jinelle Baldorado, an officer in Virginia Tech’s Japanese Cultural Association. “Not only are the films funny and entertaining, but they can show people halfway across the world that there are lots of notable similarities and differences between the two cultures.” “Departure,” the first of the three films, is about a devoted cellist named Daigo Kobayashi who finds himself suddenly without a job. Daigo decides to answer an ad in the paper entitled “Departures,” which he mistakes to be an advertisement for a travel agency, only to discover that the job is actually for a “Nokanshi,” or a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry in the next life. Daigo learns to respect the Nokanshi as an art, acting as a gatekeeper between life and death. The film follows Daigo in his profound yet comical journey in contemplating the meaning of life and living. “Departure” will be showing at 3 p.m. Saturday. Named after a hit Japanese punk song, “Linda, Linda, Linda” tells the story of a high school girl band that is in pressing need of a vocalist for a performance at their school’s cultural festival. In desperation, the other members quite literally ask the first girl they see — a Korean foreign exchange student. Given the language barrier, the girls meet difficul-

ties and misunderstandings. But despite the cultural tribulations, the girls are able to understand each other through sharing the ins and outs of high school life. “Linda, Linda, Linda” will be showing at 3 p.m. on Feb. 12. “Tokyo Sonata” was directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who could be considered the Japanese equivalent of Darren Aronofsky. Set in contemporary Tokyo, the film tells the tale of a seemingly ordinary Japanese family of four. However, after the father loses his job, the family starts to slowly, but surely, disintegrate. The film probes the dark side of human nature and the social problems that confront contemporary Japan. Kurosawa’s portrayal of the degradation of Japan’s “family” archetype recieved many praises. “Tokyo Sonata” will be showing at 3 p.m. on Feb. 26. JCA president Ashlina Chin is enthusiastic about the festival. “It’s a really great opportunity for people interested in Japanese culture to watch some award-winning movies,” Chin said. Trailers, summaries and more information can be found at

‘Kiss Each Other Clean’ showcases Iron & Wine’s bold new sound ron & Wine is back today after more than three years, dropping brand new Ialbum, “Kiss Each Other Clean.” I’ve given “Kiss Each Other Clean” a few listens and I’m more than pleased with the stylistic changes Sam Beam has made to his band’s technique. Growing and evolving ever since the group’s beautiful yet divisive release in 2007, “The Shepherd’s Dog,” this newest album represents an even further change in sound. The result is enjoyable, though, succeeding in not coming across as a folk singer “selling out.” Instead, it glows with the joy of an artist letting his work grow in whatever direction feels right, exploring the vibrant colors in the rest of his palette. If people were taken aback by the experimentation found on “The Shepherd’s Dog,” they’re bound to be even further polarized by “Kiss Each Other Clean.”While adding a variety of new elements to the mix on “The Shepherd’s Dog,” the album was still clearly based in folk. However, long gone are the gentle banjo ballads with Sam Beam softly whispering his poetic lyrics. Instead, “Kiss Each Other Clean” only occasionally hints at its creator’s folk roots, mostly glistening in the sheen of retro pop. The new album features the thickest instrumentation ever on

an Iron & Wine record, incorporating everything from electric guitar, to brass arrangements to electronic elements. Vocals are given new emphasis as well, with Beam singing loud and clear, having now become “the whisper and the shout” as he sings in the final song. Highlights are plentiful on this album. “Me and Lazarus” features a bass line reminiscent of the Beatles’ hit “Come Together,” grooving with a similar sort of late-60s, early-70s funk. Fans hoping for a folk tune will find shades of one in “Half Moon,” the only track on the album that hearkens back to Iron & Wine’s early recordings. Beam delivers one of his strongest vocal performances yet on “Glad Man Singing,” harmonies rising and falling against a backdrop of smooth acoustic guitar, warm marimba and the occasional buzz of a synthesizer. “Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me” perhaps best represents the shift in Iron & Wine’s sound. It is heavy on brass and bass, really serving as a culmination of the 70s pop influence. The song itself is seven minutes long and moves through a wide range of sounds and moods. The track begins lightheartedly enough, but about halfway through a shift in mood is quickly signified by a heavy drum break. At that point, it

turns into something darker, something more ominous — the drum and guitar work gets more traditionally rock than I think has ever been heard in an Iron & Wine track. Overall the album is an interesting progression in Iron & Wine’s sound that I think feels organically motivated and meticulously well crafted — certainly deserving of a listen from any fan that may have been on the fence after “The Shepherd’s Dog.” “Kiss Each Other Clean” is out today via Warner Bros. Records.

KEVIN MCALEESE -music reviewer -political science major


6 sports january 25 2010

editors: michael bealey, garrett ripa 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

Higgins siblings create dual threat for Tech swim team COURTNEY LOGFREN sports reporter Charlie and Caroline Higgins would best be described as “pool rats,” according to their parents John and Sally Higgins. Both Charlie and Caroline began swimming at a very young age near the family’s home right outside of Charlotte, N.C. “They started (swimming) when they were five for summer league, and they started club swim when they were about seven,” John said. Now both Charlie and Caroline are instrumental forces on the H20kies, excelling at backstroke in varying distances. Charlie, a junior consumer studies and resource management major, has been one of the most reliable swimmers for the men’s team throughout his first two seasons, according to Ned Skinner, the team’s head coach. “He’s a kind person; he’s a good person with a good heart,” Skinner said. “He’s just incredibly coachable and I think he’s a good example to his teammates about how nice guys finish first. Not to mention that he’s the best backstroker in the history of our team, having school records in the 100(-yard) and 200(-yard) back and 50(-yard) back for that matter. So he’s a key guy in our relays as well.” Charlie has represented the H20kies at the NCAA Championships the last two seasons. Last year, he finished 23rd at the NCAAs in the 200-yard backstroke and 25th in the 100-yard backstroke, while also setting the school record. He chose Tech over the University of North Carolina when coming out of high school, mainly because of the coaching staff. “It came down between Tech and UNC,” Charlie said. “I love the coaches and the team, and it’s a great school so I just felt more at home here than anywhere else.” Even though Charlie started his career so successfully, Skinner still

believes he has room for improvement. “Charlie is swimming currently better than he ever has before,” Skinner said. “He’s training at a completely new level. He’s really worked at his strength and power. In college, becoming stronger in the weight room translates directly to being a better swimmer. He’s already an incredible kicker — he’s probably the best underwater kicker I’ve ever seen. He’s gotten very strong in his upper body so, yes, we firmly believe that over the next two years he is going to get better.” Caroline, a freshman psychology major, credits Charlie’s success and growth with the coaching staff as one of the main reason she decided to attend Tech. “I loved growing up with my brothers,” Caroline said. “They definitely influenced me, especially Charlie. I feel like I’m a lot like him, so when he came to Tech I figured I might as well try it out too. He took off his freshman year. And I thought that there was a great opportunity for me here.” Even though Caroline is just a freshman, Skinner is already impressed by the contributions she has made to the team this season. “Caroline has natural sprint abilities in backstroke — just like her brother,” Skinner said. “They’re very similar in that way that she has a natural feel for backstroke. We see her as one of our top 50(-yard) and 100(-yard) backstrokers. We see her 200(-yard) backstroke is really going to develop, and she gets a little more strength and power and she can sustain her endurance a little bit longer. So backstroke is really her weapon.” Skinner believes that with her positive attitude she will be able to succeed at the college level. “We’re actually trying to toughen her up a little bit,” Skinner said. “I think she’s starting to understand in college swimming how racing is so important to it and that mentality that you can be nice but when you get on the blocks you want to go after it


Siblings Caroline and Charlie Higgins practice their backstrokes. Another Higgins sibling, Collin, committed to the H2Okies in December. and be a great competitor. It’s already showing in her practicing and the way she approaches the sport.” With Caroline joining Charlie in Blacksburg this year, both siblings have benefitted from having some familiarity around. “I don’t feel like I’m as far away from home now, having her around,” Charlie said. “It’s good, you know, we don’t really train in the same group, you know we’ll see each other every day but it’s not overwhelming. We’re here for each other if one of us needs

the other.” Caroline believes the adjustment to college has been easier with her brother here. “It was a kind of tough for me, I got a little homesick but knowing that he was there for me made it a lot better,” Caroline said. Skinner also believes both siblings benefit from having one another around, especially with swimming. “I think it’s pretty cool that they are on the same team, and Charlie looks out for his sister,” Skinner said. “She

has a lot of pride in him, it’s really a great thing to see two kids on the team that get along and they want each other to do well, and I think they’re great role models for our program.” The support and confidence that the coaching staff has brought to the Higgins family has been received well by every member of the family according to John. Next year the Higgins will have a third swimmer on the team. The youngest brother, Collin, committed

in December and will join his brother and sister as another backstroker on the team. Having all three children on the same team will make life easier on Sally and John, who attend every home meet and try to go to as many away meets as possible. “It’s been nicer for us (having Charlie and Caroline together), I don’t know about for them,” Sally said. “But, for us, it’s been great because it’s one stop and we’re here. It’ll be nicer next year because we’ll have all three here.”

Two Hokies impress scouts at Shrine Bowl JOSH PARCELL sports reporter Two former Virginia Tech Hokies officially started their trek to an NFL career Saturday in the East-West Shrine Bowl. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor and center Beau Warren suited up for the victorious East squad. Many eyes were set on Taylor, the all-time wins leader among Hokie signal-callers. The biggest concerns with Taylor heading to the next level are his lack of height (he is just six feet tall) and his passing accuracy from inside the pocket. Taylor played well on Saturday, completing four-of-five passes for 60 yards. He directed two first-quarter touchdown drives. The second score came on a four-yard run by Evan Royster, former Westfield (Va.) High and Penn State star. Taylor’s most impressive play came on a third down in the first quarter when he stood tall in the pocket and completed a 17-yard strike to Terrance Turner for a first down. Replays showed Taylor twitched his feet, apparently thinking of breaking the pocket and scrambling like he did in college. Josh Liskiewitz of The Sporting News gave praise to Taylor’s natural ability, but added he needs to be more patient in the pocket. “He flashed his athleticism getting out of the pocket but seemed

too quick to tuck the ball and run,” Liskiewitz said following Thursday’s practice from Mobile, Ala. “He needs to be more patient working through his progressions and view running as more of a last resort.” By staying in and delivering the long throw on target, it showed Taylor is working to hone his game for the NFL. “Arm strength, pocket presence and to show I’m looking to guys up the field,” Taylor told the NFL Network on what he wanted scouts to see before the draft. That doesn’t mean Taylor will keep his legs cemented inside the hash marks all the time. Later on the drive, he scrambled for a seven-yard gain on a thirdand-three before ducking out of bounds. The success of mobile quarterbacks such as former Hokie great Michael Vick, Vince Young and even Tim Tebow could make NFL teams more likely to take a chance on Taylor, who provides the added threat of turning a broken play into a positive one. Most scouts hoped to see Taylor work out as a wide receiver and kick returner, like former college stars Joshua Cribbs and Brad Smith, who have succeeded playing in the NFL, but Taylor was adamant about practicing exclusively at quarterback. If the NFL doesn’t work out, one renowned draft analyst thinks Taylor still has a bright future playing football. During NFL Network’s broadcast


Tyrod Taylor scrambles out of bounds at the East-West Shrine Bowl. of the game, Mike Mayock said he believed Taylor was an “ideal” quarterback for the Canadian Football League, where quarterbacks roll out of the pocket much more frequently than in the NFL. According to Mayock, Taylor’s size and speed are

much better suited for the CFL. The next stop for Taylor is the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in late February. Warren, a two-year starter at center at Tech, has not been invited but he will take part in the Hokies’ Pro Day workouts in March.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 Print Edition  
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 Print Edition  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 Print Edition of The Collegiate Times