Thursday, January 28, 2011
An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903
COLLEGIATETIMES 108th year, issue 8
News, page 4
People & Clubs, page 3
Opinions, page 5
Sports, page 7
Classifieds, page 6
Sudoku, page 6
BY LINDSEY BROOKBANK | features editor Autopilot: Functioning in an unthinking or reflexive manner. Most are familiar with the term. Most people do it, function on autopilot that is. Perhaps it is easier to perform habitual routines daily, focusing only on ourselves and the tasks at hand, than recognize those around us. But for Alyson Neel, adapting to a busy schedule while interning with the Cook Political Report in Washington, D.C., didn’t stop her from taking time for others. As a southerner, the Louisiana State University graduate was unaware of Metro behavior when she arrived in D.C., two summers ago. With dozens of people jammed into a small train — perspiring because it is not only awkward to have their noses stuck in another’s armpit, but hot from the warm bodies jumbled together — it is uncomfortable to start a conversation with fellow riders. Sly glances are made at the man catching a snooze in the corner, snoring obnoxiously, but no mouths open and no hands poke him in the arm. Strangers are not to be bothered — right? Neel explained that where she is from, people make eye contact, say hello and relay good mornings to strangers — practically foreign etiquette to northerners. “It took me a few weeks to really realize that no, you are not supposed to talk to everyone on the Metro,” Neel said, laughing. But, on a standard summer morning, Neel experienced something out of the ordinary on the Metro. “I was on my way to work, and it was morning rush hour,” Neel said. “And, I just got on, and by this point, I knew the unwritten rule of ‘You just ride.’” Inches away from Neel sat a young man dressed professionally. Because he was so close to her face, Neel quickly noticed he was upset — wringing his hands, shaking his head. Neel said he looked like he was about to cry, and she was in such close proximity to him that she was staring unintentionally. “What do you say?” Neel asked. “It is one of those things where you want to say something or reach out somehow, but people don’t really look or talk or communicate on the Metro.” While Neel stared at the young man, he looked up, making eye contact. Neel said she gave him a look she would give a friend whose family member just died. She smiled at him to convey she was sorry for whatever he was going through. Embarrassed by the exchange, Neel stared down when the Metro came to a stop, but the young man stood up and touched her on the shoulder. “The guy goes, ‘You probably already forgot what you did. It didn’t seem like a big deal. This year has been the worst year of my life,’” Neel said, recalling the young man’s words. “‘What you just did a second ago, though really small, that is probably the most anyone has reached out to me ever in this past year.’” The young man then rolled up his shirtsleeve. At this point, Neel said her mouth was agape. He was wearing a green wristband. He told Neel he wasn’t sure of the meaning behind the wristband, but it represented a pay-it-forward notion. He then thanked Neel and handed it to her. “And that was it,” Neel said. see ACTIVELY CARING / page two
Obama’s new plan for Crossroads Music and Pres. clean-tech meets with skepticism Movies closing Sunday TIFFANY HSU
JAMIE CHUNG / SPPS
Crossroads Music and Movies, located at 210 Prices Fork Road, will close on Sunday. It is going out of business because of high rent and competition from other movie rental companies.
BLACKSBURG’S SOURCE FOR CULT MOVIES, RARE CDS, VINYL TO BE REPLACED BY GROCERY CLAIRE SANDERSON news reporter There is a subdued feeling inside Crossroads Music and Movies this week, where a handful of people quietly browse its emptying shelves for the rare CDs, DVDs and vinyl that made the store so unique. The store will close this Sunday. According to manager Alex Williams, Crossroads is going out of business because of high rent and competition from other movie rental sources such as Redbox and Netflix. “What people are really looking for nowadays is convenience,” Williams said. “I really believe that we’re becoming a cyberculture. We’re more in tune with convenience, and we can download all the movies and music that we want online.” Crossroads was unique because it was one of the only places in Blacksburg to find rare CDs and DVDs, cult movies, and new and used vinyl records. The store’s large rental section also included many
new releases and Blu-ray discs in addition to the older, rarer movies and shows. “We had really rare stuff on the floor for rent, like all the old cult collections, stuff you couldn’t find anywhere else,” Williams said. “We also had all the new releases, even before they got to the kiosks.” As customers came to the counter to check out, many offered condolences and mentioned how sad they would be to see the store go. In the background, even the soft, instrumental sounds of an Explosions in the Sky CD that Williams was playing in the store Wednesday afternoon seemed to give the place an empty feel. Williams said the employees were especially sad. “They’re honestly pretty upset about it. There are guys who’ve been here for years,” Williams said. “Some of them have other jobs to fall back on, but a lot of them are just sad to see the store go because it’s been
such a point of interest in the community.” But what music and movie lovers in the area will also miss about Crossroads is the personal attention they get when they shop there, said Williams, who spent much of his time helping customers locate exactly the CD they were looking for. “That’s another thing people will be sad to see go,” Williams said. “And it’s not something you can get at Redbox or Blockbuster.” In Crossroads’ place, India Garden owner Baljinder Singh plans to open a convenience and grocery store called NRV One Stop. “I hate to see the record store go, but I’m sure people will find this convenient. And at least it will be a locally owned business,” Williams said. Singh, whose restaurant is located directly next door to Crossroads, said the close proximity of the two stores will make it easier to manage both of them. “Our lease begins March 1,” Singh said. “But with one to two months, NRV One Stop should be open.”
LOS ANGELES — President Barack Obama has grand plans for a green nation — 1 million electric vehicles on the road within four years and clean power sources providing 80 percent of the nation’s energy by 2035. But after getting a surprisingly extensive shout-out in Obama’s State of the Union address — he sees clean tech as the country’s best chance to seize its “Sputnik moment” — industry officials this week were less than enthused and questioned whether the ambitious targets were even attainable. “It’s a lofty goal, but it’s like the race to the moon in that it’s generally achievable,” said John Cheney, chief executive of solar project developer Silverado Power. “The issue is whether we have the political will and ability to pull together and actually do it.” The guarded reaction to Obama’s speech comes as many clean-tech companies are struggling to recover from the recession and at the same time are facing aggressive competition from China. Many fear Obama’s longrange objectives will be distracting and take the focus off crucial, short-term projects. The American Wind Energy Association, a trade group for wind power companies, said the industry wants to ramp up developments right away after laboring through a major slump in 2010. “We don’t need to wait nearly three decades,” said Denise Bode, the group’s chief executive. And other clean-tech industry executives are grumbling that Obama has grouped “clean coal” and nuclear power along with solar panels, wind turbines and biofuels as green power sources. Nuclear energy — a pet cause of Obama-appointed Energy Secretary Steven Chu — creates radioactive waste that lasts for thousands of years and also carries grave security concerns, said Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Coal plants, even those that would capture and store carbon dioxide emissions, would still use enormous reserves of water and could still release toxins that could cause severe health consequences.
And then there is the big money question. Before aiming for such a high clean-energy threshold, companies first need to feel more secure about financing, executives said. Obama asked Congress to swap billions of dollars in subsidies given to oil companies for clean-energy initiatives. That move is likely to encounter significant resistance from the fossil fuel industry. The renewable-energy market needs a stable supply of funds, not the erratic cycle of government incentives that expire every year or so, clean-tech executives say. Last year, solar and wind companies temporarily suspended new project developments while they lobbied for federal financing programs that were threatened or were about to expire. A steady nationwide system of loan guarantees, clean-tech manufacturer subsidies and consumer energy efficiency rewards could help make the 80 percent goal a reality, some said. “The more scale we get for solar, the more the cost comes down for everyone,” said Lyndon Rive, CEO of residential panel installer SolarCity. “If Obama’s goal gets the resources it needs, there’s no reason we can’t do this.” But hitting those targets will also depend on the mood of capital investors, who are still skittish about the economy. Some companies complained that scrounging for funds last year was like dealing with loan sharks, with 13 percent or 14 percent interest rates compared with low-single-digit rates in China. The Asian superpower also has a comprehensive national green policy, which the U.S. lacks. The absence of a unified federal approach has led to an exodus of U.S. clean-tech companies. Obama needs to push for a nationwide standard on renewable power while also simplifying the patent approval process and backing more research and development efforts, industry executives said. The government should also continue fast-tracking the permitting for projects such as the expansion of Molycorp Minerals’ rare-earths mine in Mountain Pass, Calif., and opening up offshore space for wind farms and public lands for solar installations. Obama’s plan may also get stiff resistance from Republicans in Congress,
many of whom are loath to fund these projects. But Silverado’s Cheney said that partisan resistance seems to be thawing — at least if California is an indicator. “Politically, it looks like people are starting to reach across the aisle,” he said of Sacramento. “Everybody’s embarrassed by the horrible politics, so they’ve moved on from the grandstanding.” If so, Obama might have an easier time making his 2015 electric vehicle goal a reality. Although a wave of hybrid and battery-powered vehicles is set to arrive over the next two years, the number of such vehicles on the road is expected to be small initially. Consumers are facing complicated fuel economy ratings and varying permitting processes for installing home chargers. The government needs to collaborate closely with the market on industrywide standardization, said Brian Wynne, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association. “It’s all about reducing market barriers for these vehicles, encouraging manufacturing in this country, continuing to move the technology along,” he said. “There’s a global race with an enormous amount at stake.” Environmentalists and scientists applauded Obama’s speech, but “getting the details right is crucial” to achieving wanted results, according to a joint statement that included the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Union of Concerned Scientists. “We can’t afford any more false starts on clean energy,” they said.
january 28, 2011
Actively Caring creates links throughout country in school systems from page one
That green wristband was one of 2,000 given out on the Virginia Tech campus in 2008 for Actively Caring, a movement with a basic idea: Individuals can create a more compassionate world every day with a simple act of kindness. If a person sees someone else perform a friendly act, then they take their wristband off, thank the person for caring and pass it on. This gesture creates a chain reaction among strangers. Coincidentally, Neel was not a stranger to Actively Caring when she was given a green wristband. Neel’s internship was funded by a scholarship. The woman who gave Neel the scholarship introduced her to friends and family members, one being Shane McCarty. Neel stayed with and befriended McCarty, a senior business marketing major and Actively Caring member, and his sister. When Neel first met McCarty and his Tech friends, they gave her a green wristband of her own. A few weeks later, she encountered the young man on the Metro — an experience Neel said had a significant impact on her. Riding the rest of the way to her internship, Neel said she thought about how small acts of kindness make a difference in her own life. As soon as she stepped off the Metro, she called McCarty to tell him the story.
The wristbands not only allow their wearers to reflect on their own actions but also on those of others. They create the links within the chain, allowing people to recognize how their actions influence others, according to Brandon Carroll, a senior agriculture and applied economics major and Actively Caring member. “You literally see the impact of your actions, and when people think about doing something negative, maybe they would know that has 10 ripples in it,” he said. “We are trying to influence actions in the sense of what you start with.” McCarty said the positive acts people perform each day could have a lasting effect on people who are unfamiliar to them. “We are never quite sure how everything we do affects other people, but it does,” McCarty said.
On her last day in D.C., Neel realized what it felt like for a stranger to
change her day. Neel stopped at a public restroom while visiting a park, where she said people were frustrated from waiting in line in the heat. As people fought for sinks, bumping into one another, Neel said she was left standing with soapy, wet hands when a young girl washing her hands signaled her over. Neel said the young girl moved aside from her sink and allowed her to rinse her hands. “It sounds so tiny,” Neel said, “and it was.” But, Neel appreciated that the young girl shared with her. In turn, Neel gave the young girl the wristband McCarty and his friends gave her at the beginning of the summer.
Random acts of kindness create a connection between people. When a person helps another person, they form a relationship. Actively Caring seeks to take that bond one step further, according to Carroll. He said the movement is empowering people to empower people. Carroll explained that when a person does something nice for someone else, they receive a wristband. When that person witnesses someone else do something nice, they pass the wristband on to continue the cycle. “It exponentially grows. (People) are a part of the network, and they don’t even know,” Carroll said. “Every single person wants to live, learn, love and leave a legacy. Everyone has a desire to do all four of those. That is the human dynamic — we are trying to help people leave a legacy. The impact you can have on someone else — that is a very powerful thing. When you give a wristband, you know you impacted them.” Actively Caring’s roots stem from E. Scott Geller. The alumni distinguished professor and movement’s mentor coined the term “actively caring.” It was first published in a 1991 editorial for “The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis” concerning safety in organizations, the first one being Exxon, which is now Exxon Mobil. During a brainstorming session at Exxon, Geller invented the concept to explain what needed to be done to improve the company’s wellbeing. “We needed a brother’s, sister’s, keepers process where people were willing to look after each other beyond their job requirement,” Geller said. Although everyone cares, not everyone has the bravery to act on it, according to Geller.
“If someone is hurt or drops their books, we all think about that,” McCarty said. “But, the ‘actively’ caring part of Actively Caring is actually getting up and acting to show that you care.”
While shopping at Kroger in Blacksburg in September 2010, Patrick Coyle, a first year graduate student studying industrial organizational psychology, helped an elderly woman simply because he noticed she needed assistance. He was purchasing the usual groceries needed for NFL kick off Sunday and waiting in line when he recognized the woman behind him. “You could tell she was game day shopping,” Coyle said. The woman had cases of soda, water, beer and plenty of other items, so Coyle asked if she needed help. Coyle said the woman cheerfully said she could, and he waited for her while she checked out. He walked her to her car, opened the trunk and unloaded her groceries. To thank Coyle, the woman gave him a wristband that her granddaughter from Radford passed along to her. “It was a reminder that there are people in this world that will care about each other if you just present them with an opportunity to,” Coyle said.
Although Geller tried to promote his idea of actively caring on campus for 20 years, it never flourished until he met McCarty and Carroll at a Pamplin Leadership Conference three years ago. At the conference’s lunch, the men strategically sat next to Geller to network with him. They spoke with him about random acts of kindness and how people don’t care enough. This was where the men learned about Geller’s actively caring concept. To their surprise, Geller used bits of their conversation in his keynote speech for the conference. A week later, the men visited Geller’s office and told him they wanted to take his idea of actively caring and apply it to the Tech campus. “We went, ‘Holy smokes, that can be applied to everything and anything,’” said Joey Zakutney, a senior business marketing major and Actively Caring member, about Geller’s idea. “It’s been spreading like wildfire ever since.” Soon after discussing how to promote Actively Caring at Tech, the
COURTESY OF ALIE REICHLING The Actively Caring crew, promoting random acts of kindness in schools across the country, poses near the pylons on the Virginia Tech Campus. The group hopes to bring their philosophy full circle with the wristbands. 2,000 wristbands were ordered and distributed to resident advisors, who in turn passed them out to their residents to facilitate a sense of community, according to McCarty. Hunter Bradshaw, a junior political science major and Actively Caring member, is an RA at Tech. He said many RAs use the wristbands as a way to connect to their residents on a deeper level and develop them into mature college students. “I have seen a growth in a lot of residents that I never thought I would see through this,” Bradshaw said. However, Actively Caring has not only spread on the college level, but also on the secondary school level, mainly to prevent bullying. According to Carroll, the movement’s idea is to recognize the unrecognized. In the classroom, bad students are typically acknowledged for their negative behavior. Meanwhile, the good students with positive behavior are not. “(We need to) focus all the attention on the good,” Carroll said. “Would that change the dynamic in the classroom?” McCarty added that the Actively Caring program in schools is not focused on the bully or the victim, but
instead on those who see someone being bullied and provide them with the courage to stand up for themselves. “That is what the whole world needs more of — people doing the right thing,” McCarty said. This idea directly relates to the bystander effect, which asks who is more likely to intervene in an emergency. Are people willing to step in and help someone else when they recognize a negative situation? For example, 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010, after his sexual encounter with another man was allegedly streamed over the Internet by his roommate and his friend without Clementi’s knowledge. “Who were the bystanders? Did they do anything? Did they call someone up? Did they spread it to their friends or did they try to stop it?” McCarty asked about those who knew of the video. “You are not going to stop the five percent that are bullies or the individuals that are victims. You have to get the people in the middle saying, ‘This is right. This is what I need to do to make a difference.’” Seung-Hui Cho — who killed him-
self and 32 others, while wounding 17 in the April 16, 2007, campus shootings at Tech — was also a victim of bullying. According to Carroll, Cho was ridiculed all his life for many reasons. “If you look at his videos he talks about that,” Carroll said. “You can see his anger. He ended up taking that out on other people.” Geller said Cho wasn’t very social, and in turn, people left him alone. “My feeling is we leave too many people alone,” he said. “He needed one friend. One friend could have gotten him to talk and speak up and maybe feel better about his life. Instead, he saw the rest of the world as enemies beating up on him.” Carroll was a freshman the day of the shootings, and ever since, he has been determined to prevent another disaster like it. By educating students in their key development stages, the Actively Caring team seeks to start a change early. In a classroom, Carroll said, there is typically an in-group and an outgroup. The in-group bullies the out-group. To prevent being bullied, students see ACTIVELY CARING / page six
editors: lindsey brookbank, kim walter email@example.com/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES
people & clubs january 28, 2011
She said: Breaking a sweat can be fun As I walked into the grocery store the other day, chocolate boxes and 100-calorie snack packs surrounded me. Talk about mixed signals. Was I supposed to be indulging in chocolate to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Or should I have been stocking up on low calorie snacks to lose some of the extra weight I gained? Once I made my way to McComas Hall, I found my answer. There’s nothing like a new year to motivate students. With the stereotypical resolutions and the various weight loss commercials on television, the gym is jam-packed with students hoping to lose weight. Finding an elliptical machine in the beginning of the semester seemed impossible. However, classes have begun, and the hype is fading. I’ve recently noticed that most of my Virginia Tech guy friends could be on the “Jersey Shore” — they go to class, eat, go to the gym, eat, shower and throw on a T-shirt. As guys enter McComas, they head directly to the weight room. A towel hangs over their shoulder as they strut through the gym preparing for social hour. Instead of rushing to complete their workout, guys space out their reps and strike up conversations. When girls go to the gym, it’s not
about mingling. Girls will represent their sororities and even wear makeup to look presentable, but we are not there to gossip. We already do that enough. There are two types of girls at the gym. There are girls who actually love to exercise and work off steam, and then there are those who down right hate it. It sucks to be a girl sometimes. We are expected to look nice in class, eat healthy and be skinny. Our daily routine is a vicious cycle that revolves around femininity. When we head into the gym, we mean business. It’s all about burning as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time. It’s rare for a workout to be our favorite time of the day. We don’t spend three hours in the gym. Going to the gym is just another thing to check off our to-do list. Whether guys know it or not, we are constantly thinking about five things at once. We’re thinking about how our day went, how many calories we’re burning, what we’ll eat for dinner, what the plans are for the weekend and when we can squeeze completing our homework into our schedules. You don’t see girls smiling as they work out, and you pretty much never will. It’s just a fact. We’re there because we’re expected to be there. It’s depressing to watch how many girls step on the scale before their work-
out. But it’s even more depressing to watch how many of them step on it again afterward in desperate hopes of seeing immediate results. With busy schedules and cold weather, it’s hard to find the motivation to go to the gym. For me, I’ve found that I get a better workout in the comfort of my own apartment. Trying to do the “Insanity Workout” is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but laughing with my roommate as we lay on the ground gasping for breath makes it worthwhile. We may look like idiots, but there’s no one watching. However, I must admit I expressed my hatred toward Jillian Michaels at least five times today as my muscles screamed in agony with every sudden movement. But then again, pain is beauty right? Guys may spend an obscene about of time at the gym, but at least they’re enjoying themselves. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s time for girls to start enjoying exercise instead of being miserable. It’s time for us girls to kill two birds with one stone.
CHELSEA GUNTER -features reporter -sophomore -communicaton major
He said: Females and workouts don’t typically mix, but males and weights mesh It’s hard to complain about weather when Northern Virginia has more snow than an ’80s record executive meeting. Perspective has never interfered with our generation’s whining, though, so I’ll play the role of the cranky columnist and moan about the icy windshields, the wind tunnel we call the Drillfield and the weeks on end of drab gray skies. It’s downright depressing. If I wanted to go to the University of Michigan, I would have applied there. Venturing out into this week’s freezing rain made me think of bears — the furry quadruped kind, not the furry Jay Cutler kind — and how good our mammalian cousins really have it. Donning nature’s North Face would be enough for most mighty beasts, but those greedy bears also own the evolutionary trump card: three months of cozy hibernation. My biggest regret is not living in a
time when mankind has harnessed this ability. Skiing, snowball fights, my birthday — all beloved wintertime events I would skip in a heartbeat if offered a nap until April. For now, we’re — wait for it — left out in the cold, and unlike those lucky bears, we can only spend so long lounging indoors before the need for non-sexual physical activity sets in. Students with exercise-starved bodies brave chilled conditions to join the onslaught of self-conscious, newly minted sorority girls trekking to campus’ recreational mecca: McComas Hall. Even its once disgracefully small size (for serving a campus of 25,000 students) can now cheerfully be described as less than adequate. Every person has a unique exercise routine that defines his or her gym experience. In the interest of full disclosure: I’m a thoroughly mediocre pickup basketball junkie. My high school
friends taught me a sweet jump shot; other than that, I’m the guy who plays “energetic” defense and couldn’t run a pick-and-roll if Steve Nash were manning the point. This distinct lack of talent has never fazed me. Even the most painful, turnover-laden games at McComas are a blast compared to the lifeless drudge through weekly class schedules. I doubt I’m alone in feeling that way. Sure, there will always be a few bodybuilder types, but for the most part, guys go to the gym because it’s a great place to blow off steam. This constitutes the kind of logical thought process that girls seem intent to fight tooth and nail. “If it makes sense, they won’t do it,” may be a bit extreme as a guideline to understanding the fairer sex, but sometimes the shoe fits. They complaining about ogling strangers while wearing skin-tight leggings, for instance, or get frustrated over our
subpar mind-reading ability. Along those lines, I have never seen a girl happy at the gym. Actually, that’s a lie. The bench press champion at my hometown gym seemed pretty content while she threw up 200-plus pounds. I’m assuming she is the exception to the rule, because there are few sights this side of Mets training camp less hopeful than a row of girls on treadmills. The chorus of exasperated grunts is accompanied by facial expressions running the gamut from bored frowns to glares of sheer murder. Outside of zumba classes — quite zesty, I’m told — misery seems to be the prevailing attitude. Not a normal “my insides are on fire” workout appearance but a look that says, I would rather be James Franco in “127 Hours” than stay on this damn elliptical. Honestly, the entire female workout process seems ass-backwards. Whereas
guys exercise to release stress, many girls seem to be at McComas for the sole purpose of piling on more pressure and insecurity. This baffling ritual piqued my inner journalist’s interest. Needing to know more, I did my best Woodward and Bernstein impression with some highquality investigative research. A very scientific survey, administered over cell phone to 50 females linked only by acquaintanceship with me, produced some interesting explanations for the dour expressions at McComas. Unsurprisingly, variations of “probably because going to the gym sucks” and curiously shortened words dominated the study. Typical answers resembled, “Why would anyone look happy at the gym?” and “prob cuz it sucks, and I always feel like people are watching me and it’s awk.” “Girls prob go to the gym more
as a result of societal pressures to be thin. Whereas guys go to be more fit, feel good, etc. Haha I have no idea,” responded one girl, who clearly had no idea. It wasn’t until the end of the response period that someone helped me solve the mystery: “Cuz they’re thinking, ‘Why did I wear the baggie tee. I didn’t know andrew rielly [sic] was gonna be here!’” It makes sense now. Ladies, if you like my throwback bank shot and 20-inch vertical leap that much, you should have told me. I’m not a mind-reader after all.
ANDREW REILLY -features staff writer -junior -communication major
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january 28, 2011
what you’re saying //comments from online readers...
On license plates for victims of April 16 :
Speaker, GOP delegates back autism coverage
Anonymous>> There has to be an endpoint to memorialization. I don’t oppose what is already up, e.g. the memorial on the drillfield and the other things Tech did. However, we have to move forward. Continual commemoration isn’t healthy for a culture. Two days from now is the 25th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger blowing up. Will we fly our flags at half staff as happened after the explosion? Last month was the 70th anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor? Are we remembering and mourning September 11th as heavily as we did ten years ago? Again, I genuinely feel for the families who were affected by this massacre. Society has to move forward and learn from but not dwell on such tragedies.
On terrorism “double standard”:
Greason’s bill would extend privatesector insurance coverage for early intervention services for children with autism spectrum disorder from ages 2 through 6 up to an annual maximum benefit of $35,000, unless a company’s plan elects to provide coverage in a greater amount. The bill does not apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Hugo’s bill largely mirrors Greason’s. It also includes applied behavioral analysis as a covered service for children of state employees with autism who are ages 2 through 6. -tyler whitley, mcclatchy newspapers
Matty>> Man, you lost me when you cited Paul Krugman. The Tuscon shooting was not “political terrorism” because the guy was not into politics at all. Instead of watching commentators on Fox and MSNBC, watch his YouTube videos-- he was mentally deranged, end of story. Political rhetoric had nothing to do with his motives. Overall I agree with your column though. Because Saddam is a bad guy, we label the entire country bad and kill a million Iraqis. This is just wrong. And I also agree with you that political violence will rise. How could it not? For four years one president/party screws over half the population, and then the next four years another president/party screws over the other half. This is also wrong. The Founders warned against democracy (we are a republic) because screwing other people is wrong. And, of course, it will cause people to hate government even more than they already do.
crime blotter offense
Student body president who is illegal immigrant may quit FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno State student body president Pedro Ramirez, the subject of criticism for admitting he is an illegal immigrant, told student leaders Wednesday he may have to resign if he needs surgery for injuries received in a recent traffic accident. Meanwhile, the student senate postponed indefinitely a decision to formally review Ramirez after the American Civil Liberties Union called the move an improper attempt to force him out of office. Ramirez sparked controversy after admitting last fall that he is an illegal immigrant. He also has drawn praise and criticism for lobbying in
Washington, D.C., for the DREAM Act. Ramirez, who does not have a California driver’s license, was injured Jan. 9 while giving a ride to a friend who had been drinking. Ramirez was driving a pickup that crashed into a tree. Officers said there were signs Ramirez was speeding, but no alcohol was detected on him. The student senate decided to postpone the votes to give the senate’s attorneys time to evaluate a letter from the ACLU that calls into question the process by which the senate would remove Ramirez from office. In the Jan. 25 letter, ACLU attorney
Linda Lye said the student senate’s personnel committee already has reviewed anonymous complaints about Ramirez and student vice president of finance Cesar Sanchez. The two received copies of the complaints, but were not told when a hearing was being held and have not received copies of the findings. Ramirez or Sanchez can be removed from office only for missing three or more senate or executive officer meetings in one semester or if their grades or conduct fall below Fresno State standards, Lye wrote.
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-paula lloyd, mcclatchy newspapers
V I O L A T I O N - A F F I D A V I T location
No Crimes Reported
Another good example, the KKK is a terrorist organization but ethnic gangs like the crips and MS13 are not. The LAPD will not patrol entire neighborhoods out of fear of being killed. Yet the Crips aren’t targeted by federal agencies like White Supremacist groups. We need to overcome our uncomfortably with race, that is the common root of all this double standard.
Labor and Commerce Committee takes up House Bill 2467, introduced by Del. Thomas A. “Tag” Greason, R-Loudoun, and House Bill 2512 introduced by Delegate Timothy D. Hugo, R-Fairfax. “As a businessman with many years of experience in the private sector, HB 2467 not only is the right thing to do, but will be a huge help to so many families who have children with autism,” said Greason, executive vice president for Current Analysis, Inc. “Hundreds of families will get the care they need to help make a real difference in the treatment of this disorder.”
nation & world
With the powerful backing of Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, two other Republican delegates today promoted legislation to provide insurance coverage for children between the ages of 2 and 6 who have insurance spectrum disorders. Howell said the bills strike a balance between the needs of the business community and families with autistic children. Such legislation has been killed in recent sessions. It drew immediate fire from the National Federation of Independent Business, which said it would create a mandate that businesses can’t afford. Today the House
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january 28, 2011
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Tech needs to rethink winter weather policy eing at Virginia Tech over the past couple of winters, I have B noticed something disconcerting. I realize that no matter how bad the weather is, the school stays open and we are expected to make our way toward classes — some of us even slipping on the ice and snow missed by the plows and salt. Last winter, while walking to West End, I wiped out on the sidewalk because it was not cleared well enough. I saw a person on crutches struggling on the sidewalk and almost fall. I saw a person in a wheelchair slipping and sliding on the sidewalk and then someone had to come to push them. It disturbs me to see so many people struggling to get to class when it snows. It seems like Tech is so worried about staying open that it does not realize the sidewalks or roads are a hazard, and some commuters cannot even make it to class. I know it costs money to close the school and that is why it stays open, but still, if there are hazardous conditions, then why is the school still open? It is impossible to close the school every time it snows, I understand that, but I am talking about when we actually get dumped on and only the buses are able to drive in it. Just because the
school is open does not mean it is actually safe to venture out. I realize there are only so many people who can take care of the sidewalks and roads when bad weather strikes and there is only so much that can be done when it snows. However, I feel like there could be more done to make the sidewalks more accessible, especially for injured or disabled students. I know there is only so much one can do in preparation for snow, but if the school is going to stay open, shouldn’t it be easier for students to get to classes, especially without getting injured? I think the inclement weather closing policy needs to be revisited, especially the way the university handles snow clearing and prevention of ice. I think students should be asked to attend a meeting so the officials can hear what makes it hard for students to get to class and get some ideas about how to make it easier.
BRITTANY FORD -regular columnist -junior -history major
A call to protest ignites American call to arms hy are Americans such wusses? Threaten the Greeks W with job losses and benefit cuts and they tie up Athens, but take away Americans’ jobs, 401(k)s, even their homes, and they pretty much roll over. Tell British students that their tuition is about to go up and they take to the streets; American students just amp up their doses of Prozac. The question has been raised many times in the last few years, by a variety of scholars and commentators — this one included — but when the eminent social scientist Frances Fox Pivenbrought it up at the end of December in an essay titled “Mobilizing the Jobless,” all hell broke loose. An editor of Glenn Beck’s website, theblaze.com, posted a piece sporting the specious headline “Frances Fox Piven Rings in the New Year by Calling for Violent Revolution,” and, just two weeks before the Tucson shootings, the death threats started flying. Many of the most provocative comments have been removed from the site’s comment section, but at one time they included such charming posts as: “Bring it on biotch (sic). we’re armed to the teeth.” Or: “We’re all for violence and change, Francis (sic). Where do your loved ones live?” If the dozens of Beck fans rhetorically brandishing their weapons at Piven were all CEOs, bankers, hedge fund operators and so forth — i.e., the kind of people who have the most to lose from mass protests by the unemployed — all this might make more sense. But somehow, and I may be naive about these things, it’s hard to imagine a multimillionaire suggesting that “folks buy battle carbines with folding or collapseable (sic) stocks and 16(-inch) barrels so they can be more easily hidden under jackets and such. Also, buy in NATO-approved calibers (5.56/.223, 7.62/.308) so you can resupply ammo from the bodies of your enemies too.” One of Piven’s would-be assassins even admits to being out of work, a condition he or she blames, oddly enough, on Piven herself, adding that “we should blowup (her) office and home.” So perhaps economically hardpressed Americans aren’t wusses after all. They may not have the courage or the know-how to organize a protest at the local unemployment office, which is the kind of action Piven urged in her December essay, but they stand
ready to shoot the first 78-year-old social scientist who suggests that they do so. Americans were not always so myopic that they saw the world through the cross-hairs of their rifle sights. During the depression of 1892 to 1896, unemployed workers marched to Washingtonby the thousands in what was then the largest mass protest this country had seen. From the ‘60s to the ‘80s, Americans marched again and again — peacefully, nonviolently and by the hundreds of thousands — for civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, economic justice and against wars. In fact, this has been a major focus of Piven’s scholarly work over the years — the American tradition of protest and resistance to economic injustice — and it’s a big enough subject to keep hundreds of academics busy for life. There are all kinds of explanations for how Americans lost their grassroots political mojo: iPods have been invoked, along with computer games and anti-depressants. And of course much of the credit goes to the so-called populist right of the Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck persuasion, which argues that the real enemy of the down-and-out is not the boss or the bank but the “liberal elite” represented by people like Piven. But at least part of the explanation is guns themselves — or, more specifically, the recent and uniquely American addiction to high-powered personal weaponry. Although ropes and bombs are also mentioned, most of the people threatening Piven on Beck’s website referred lovingly to their guns, often by caliber and number of available rounds. Never mind that there are only a few ways you can use a gun to improve your economic situation: You can hock it. You can deploy it in an armed robbery. Or you can use it to shoot raccoons for dinner. But there is one thing you can accomplish with guns and coarse threats about using them: You can make people think twice before disagreeing with you. When a congresswoman can be shot in a parking lot and a professor who falls short of Glenn Beck’s standards of political correctness can be, however anonymously, targeted for execution, we have moved well beyond democracy — to a tyranny of the heavily armed.
BARBARA ENRENREICH -mcclatchy newspapers
MTV’s ‘Skins’ not accurate portrayal of country’s youth ring on the culture warriors. MTV’s new hot and steamy B teen series “Skins” has sparked, not surprisingly, uproar from several outlets dedicated to preserving the ethics of television — an act in futility if you ask me. “Skins” draws its success from the fool-proof formula of teens engaging in sex and drug use while outsmarting their archaic parents and idiot teachers. Nothing is new or groundbreaking with this one except for the fact that the majority of the sex-crazed cast is underage, a revelation that has provided ammunition for The Parents Television Council to demand the show be removed from MTV. In fact, PTC has recently called for a federal investigation into child exploitation and pornography charges. It remains to be seen if its efforts will prevail or not. Aside from the obvious wonton disregard for what constitutes suitable viewing material on cable television, “Skins” creators have failed in a far more significant way. What I find most irksome about the new series is simply how far removed from reality the premise and character depictions truly are. Perhaps my formative years in suburban America, deprived of the midafternoon orgies and daily blunts in bathroom stalls, were abnormal or atypical. True, drugs were an underlying part
of some students’ high school experience, as were sexual encounters. Yet to suggest that those experiences comprise the majority of high school students’ lives is not just irresponsible: It isn’t true. In a tragic yet almost comical twist, the “Skins” cast members, a group of minors in high school themselves, believe they are providing a public service to our country by exposing the “widespread” underground lifestyle of the average teenager, promoting a newfound understanding of their struggles. I would like to think, perhaps misguidedly, that casual teen trysts are anything but common, that drugs have not replaced sports as afterschool activities and that the next generation would care to spend more time probing for solutions to the problems of today than finding cures for the latest sexually transmitted disease they’ve contracted. But my faith is dwindling. To say the average teen navigating dayto-day life remains unaware of the issues affecting the future and the world around them is a gross understatement. MTV as an outlet for teenage entertainment has taken strides over the years toward becoming a more socially conscious network, with series such as “True Life,” “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom,” all of which provide a glimpse of the reality some American adolescents face.
Despite being unsavory at times, these programs illustrate the negative consequences of teenage sex that often affect youths for the rest of their lives. Although some conservative news media have been critical of even these shows in the past, they provide genuine insight into some of the struggles of modern day adolescents. “Skins” simply does not. RatherthancapitalizingonAmerica’s perverse fascination with watching juveniles engaging in sex and drug use, why not strive for authenticity in portraying teenage existence? Truly influential work possesses a certain fundamental relevance and legitimacy that resonates with the viewer. It inspires change and identifies with the lives of many. The average American teenager has not been relegated to a life without ambition or purpose, as “Skins” might have us believe. Have the American people not hit their limit for useless drivel on television? After all, one “Jersey Shore” is enough.
BROOKE LEONARD -regular columnist -junior -economics major
Getting involved in local politics more important than national willing to bet that you don’t know who your state repreI’m sentatives are. Very few people can name the members of Blacksburg’s town council. Hardly anyone has read the Constitution of Virginia, while it’s just as important as the federal Constitution. But everyone can name the president. A good number of people know prominent federal politicians, such as congressmen. But people tend to have much less interest in politics at the state and local levels. Another great thing about local politicians is that people can call, meet and — my personal favorite — drink with them. Most in office I have met want citizens to share their concerns. If you’re really cool and they have an opening they might even hook you up with a job. Now I’m not saying that federal and international politics aren’t interesting or important. I’m as guilty as the next guy of laughing when Boehner cries, cringing at Pelosi’s mask/face or trying to count how many chins Chavez has (usually just two, but I spotted three once). National and international politicians really are fascinating creatures. But local lawmakers are just as interesting. The only reason we don’t follow them as closely is because they aren’t put under a microscope by the media
and political pundits. Everyone has some sort of political view, and our views are framed by what we see in the news. For some reason we debate these issues over which we have very little influence and ignore ones we can personally change. Unfortunately, there is very little one person can do regarding foreign policy, national economics and major social issues. However, anyone can attend town council meetings and voice concerns. So instead of just talking about broad issues and controversial politicians, who are most likely beyond your reach, act locally. Instead of saying cliche lines at a useless protest, attend a town hall meeting. Unless you’re watching C-SPAN (it helps put me to sleep), ease off on the political shows and meet some real politicians instead. I know politics isn’t for everyone. Sometimes it’s frustrating, boring and superficial. OK, it’s always superficial. But as the corny line goes, “You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you!” It’s true. Regardless of whether you care about political issues, they will affect your life. I understand some people never want to run for office or volunteer to make phone calls. I certainly don’t blame them. But please at least pay attention to the political choices that will affect
you, and know the people who are deciding them. Also, vote on the issues that you know and care about. That should be obvious. Talking is important in politics, but it’s useless if you’re not talking to the right people. While it is fun to chat about foreign policy with your friends while playing Xbox (that might just be me), also talk about local matters with people in office. I doubt potential employers will care that you solved the Middle East’s problems while playing Halo 3 (seriously, I did), but connections with lawmakers never hurt. Volunteering for campaigns or interest groups also looks good. In a sick way it can even be fun. Even if your grassroots efforts fail, you will still gain experience and make contacts. If you have enough experience and know the right people, even you could be a local politician. If you’re good at that, maybe you’ll even move up to the federal level. Maybe you’ll be president. Don’t hold your breath on that one. But who knows? If you do become president, please don’t let people write songs about you. It’s creepy and annoying.
JOHN LANGLEY -regular columnist -political science major
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january 28, 2011
Actively Caring: Green wristbands swirl around campus, cyberspace from page two
join the in-group. But if students believe it is not cool to be a bully, but it is cool to care, then they will be more likely to shy away from joining the bullying group. After visiting a New York middle school, where McCarty and other Actively Caring members promoted the movement, McCarty received an e-mail from two sixth-grade girls.
The ‘actively’ caring part of Actively caring is actually getting up and acting to show that you care. SHANE MCCARTY ACTIVELY CARING MEMBER
“(They) talked about how just us coming to talk to them, about how college students (think) caring is cool has made an impact on them,” McCarty said. “They’ve always felt like doing the good thing and doing the right thing is what they should do,
but their peers and their environment doesn’t always allow them to be the best they can be.” In the future, McCarty said he thinks the Actively Caring philosophy could live in every school nationwide. Geller said he believes the movement could inspire a new way of thinking — a social norm to actively care. “When we think about Virginia Tech, we think about football — something that unites us all. We all appreciate Lane on a Saturday. The even bigger picture is more people can relate to caring and helping others than even football at Lane,” McCarty said. “Everyone can be part of it, and everyone can be included in it. That is the power of it all.” For example, a group of Actively Caring members were in a car when it came across a man with a flat tire and offered to help him. Carroll said the man was so shocked they stopped to assist him that he offered them $50. “It is those kinds of things. A mindset, a way of life in the sense that you
OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH Sociology graduate student seeking participants for thesis research on bi/ multiracial identity. Recruiting Virginia Tech students to participate in interviews Only criteria: 1) must be 18+ 2) have parents of different races In addition to fulfilling my own research needs, the interview will offer an avenue for individuals to discuss their own racial identities and life experiences in a confidential environment. Contact Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest in participating or to ask any questions
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always want to focus on a way to care, focus on a way to give kindness,” Carroll said. The wristbands facilitate caring by breaking down uncomfortable barriers. McCarty understands the discomfort in randomly going up to someone and asking them how they are. But, having the wristband gives people something to talk about, making them more likely to help.
The wristbands can now be tracked on the Internet.There are currently 40,000 to 50,000 wristbands circulating internationally. However, 10,000 numbered wristbands were recently made. John Kurlak, a junior computer science major, created the new Actively Caring website AC4P.org, which was launched today. Here people can write about how they gave their wristband away. With the numbered wristbands, each person who wore it can see its journey. People can also post their wristband stories via Facebook
the scholarship. In 1987, he created Make a Difference, LLC. He is paid to give talks, which he does quite often. All the money he receives from these, as well as government funds, is put into Make a Difference, LLC. The organization also supports the Center for Applied Behavior Systems, which provides students with research opportunities related to the development and evaluation of interventions to improve quality of life in the community, in organizations and in homes and families. CABS essentially drives Actively Caring research.
However, the wristbands circulating across the country literally keep Actively Caring alive. Neel kept the wristband the young man gave her on the Metro for months before giving it away. But, on a rainy evening at LSU, when nothing was going her way, Neel found the right moment to pass it along.
Without an umbrella, with her laptop in her backpack, Neel clutched her bag to her chest and began running to avoid the droplets falling from the sky. Suddenly, a young man, who didn’t speak English, ran up next to Neel, pointing to his umbrella. Although Neel told the young man not to worry about her, he shook his head and kept following her. The young man walked Neel to her car and waited for her to find her keys. When he left Neel, she realized he was walking in the opposite direction. Neel said she was frantic, but remembered the wristband she was given on the Metro. She ran after the young man in the rain. It was difficult for Neel to explain the meaning behind the wristband to the young man because of their language barrier. She used phrases such as “pay it forward” and “pass it on” to help him understand, and she said she thinks he got some sort of meaning out of it. Neel said she realized again how something so small really mattered. “It floored me,” Neel said.
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Connect. In addition to its media efforts, Actively Caring has an informal group called AC Underground, which holds weekly action meetings to find ways to make a difference. For example, going to a dining hall, finding someone who is eating alone and sitting with them. The Actively Caring for People Scholarship, which was created in 2009, recognizes two students per year for their caring efforts. Two years ago, only one student, Vince Mirabella, a junior biochemistry major, received the scholarship and was given $4,500. However, if the scholarship were given to two students, the money would be split. Geller said the scholarship typically goes to rising sophomores who need the money to continue at Tech. In addition, they must have a record that demonstrates excellence in the classroom. Applicants are required to write a brief essay about how they’ve actively cared in the past and plan to in the future. So far, Geller provides the funds for
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By Steve Salitan
ACROSS 1 It has more than 5,000 feet 5 With 60-Across, noodle product derived from “The San Francisco Treat!” 10 Game with trump cards 14 Tehran’ s land 15 “A work of __ a confession” : Camus 16 Whittle 17 Throat soothers 19 Help in a holdup 20 Raggedy dol l 21 Stackable cookie
1/28/11 22 Not chronic, as illness 23 Edible pastry decorations 27 Hurting the most 29 Going badly in the mil.? 30 Answer 31 Stingless mal e 35 Org. in Tom Clancy books 36 Gonzalez in 2000 news 38 Send packing 39 Ancient Roma n language 42 Exxon competitor
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44 Eve’ s partner 64 Asia’s __ 45 Like a costly Mountains victor y 65 Phenomenon 47 High-quality bed described by the linen ends of 17-, 23-, 51 Dislike and mor e 47- and 5752 __ scale: talc-to Across diamond 53 Yokohama yes 56 SpongeBob, e.g. 57 Wet bar container s 60 See 5-Across 61 Very cold 62 Saragossa ’s river 63 Swedish furniture giant
31 Clamor 32 King David’ s wife 33 Military ve t 34 Job rights agcy . 36 End-of-list abbr . 37 Green wedge in a gimlet 40 New Hampshire city known for its annual motorcycle week 41 Purim’ s mont h 42 Getting gradually louder, in mus. 43 Subway under B’way 45 Irrational fear 46 Violinist Menuhi n 47 Father: Pref. 48 Digital novel 49 River of Lyons 50 Refine, as ore 54 Longfellow’ s bell town 55 “Help __ the way!” 57 Supermarket chain with a redand-white logo 58 Animation frame 59 Plop lead-in Thursday’s Puzzle Solved
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Spell the phrase in the grid above it, writing each unique letter only once. The correct solution will spell the complete phrase along a single continuous spelling path that moves horizontally, vertically and diagonally. Fill the grid from square to square - revisiting letters as needed to complete the spelling path in order. Each letter will appear only once in the grid. © 2010 Thinking Machine, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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january 28, 2011
Women’s basketball falls to Georgia Tech, winless in 2011 ALYSSA BEDROSIAN sports staff writer The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team has yet to win in 2011, as the Hokies were handed their seventh consecutive loss Thursday night, falling to Georgia Tech, 78-57. Earlier in the season, coach Beth Dunkenberger expressed her confidence in this year’s team, despite its inexperience. “We want to go to the NCAA Tournament,” Dunkenberger said. “We expect to be there every year and that’s how we’re preparing.” The Hokies, now 0-6 in ACC play, have long lost their NCAA Tournament aspirations. An ACC win may even be unrealistic, with upcoming games against UNC, Maryland and Duke, among others. The Hokies began the first half with a different starting lineup from their previous game against Virginia. Dunkenberger has experimented with different groups of five throughout the
season, unable to find the cohesiveness she desires. “We are trying to find some intensity,” Dunkenberger said. “We went with the four guard lineup tonight and I think we only had 13 turnovers.” Georgia Tech grabbed its first lead of the game five minutes into the first half, thanks to Deja Foster’s lay up in the paint. A minute later Nikki Davis responded, landing a three-pointer and giving the Hokies a two-point lead. Davis, one of just three seniors on the team, ended the game with seven points and three assists, yet also committed four turnovers. Sophomore guard Alyssa Fenyn led the Hokies with 17 points, coming off a game against Virginia in which she did not start. Both teams played with a lot of emotion, as an intentional foul on Georgia Tech’s Alex Montgomery and a double technical foul on Tech’s Aerial Wilson and Georgia Tech’s Chelsea Regins were called within just 10 seconds of each other in the first half. “It was just a physical, intense game,”
Dunkenberger said. The Yellow Jackets broke away toward the end of the first half, thanks to Tyaunna Marshall’s eight points in the last four minutes. Marshall, the freshman out of Maryland, finished the game with 22 points. Marshall has been named the ACC Rookie of the Week five times this season, averaging 13.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game coming into Thursday night’s matchup. The half ended with Georgia Tech on top, 35-26. An old fashioned 3-point play by Fenyn jumpstarted the second half for the Hokies, but the Yellow Jackets quickly responded, extending their lead to 12 just three minutes into the half. Georgia Tech’s 30-10 run in the first nine minutes sealed the deal, as Tech was unable to bounce back. The Hokies could not seem to buy a basket, shooting just 29.7 percent from the field. Georgia Tech, on the other hand, was 29-of-58. “We shot a lot of pull up jumpers off
the dribble with somebody right on us. That’s a hard shot to hit,” Dunkenberger said. “When we get impatient on offense, we shoot a lower percentage shot, and therein lies the trouble.” Tech’s last NCAA Tournament appearance was 2006, and its last NIT appearance was 2007. The past three years, the Hokies have failed to make a postseason appearance of any kind. Once again, it is unlikely that Tech will compete in any postseason play. Yet despite what the future may hold, the Hokies must turn their focus to their next ACC match-up this Sunday at North Carolina at 2 pm. “We obviously know that we haven’t won a game in the ACC yet,” Fenyn said. “Obviously it bothers us, but we still come out and fight every game with intensity.” What will be the focus headed into Sunday? “We’ve got to be ready to hang on to MALLORY NOE-PAYNE/ SPPS the ball,” Dunkenberger said. “We’ve got Freshman Monet Tellier drives against a Georgia Tech defender to make sure we’re ready to defend the paint and rebound.” Thursday night. The Hokies have lost seven consecutive contests.
january 28, 2011
Carmichael fights to boost draft stock in Senior Bowl MATT JONES sports reporter For departing Virginia Tech cornerback Rashad Carmichael, the Senior Bowl and its practices will be the most important football of his life. Scouts from every NFL team will be in attendance, observing every detail of his game while making decisions on the cornerback’s future.
2011 NFL Draft April 28-30 Radio City Music Hall New York Carmichael, a two-year starter for the Hokies, is still battling an ankle injury sustained in the Miami game in late November. While the injury is particularly problematic for a cornerback, Carmichael battled through the pain the first two days of Senior Bowl practice. “I thought he looked fine, I had no idea he was battling an ankle injury,” said Matt Bowen, former NFL safety and current writer for the National Football Post. “If I’m a scout or a pro scout watching right now, I say this kid is responding pretty well.”
Rashad Carmichael defends a pass against Stanford’s in Tech’s Orange Bowl loss. The game was Carmichael’s last as a Hokie. He is now trying to boost his NFL Draft stock. The Senior Bowl, which takes place in Mobile, Ala., showcases college football’s top seniors on a professional stage. Players are assigned to a north or
south team based on their college’s geographic location. Carmichael is playing on the north squad, coached by the Cincinnati Bengals’ Marvin Lewis.
While certain players thrive in defenses that allow them to blitz and move around, the Senior Bowl is designed to strictly observe a player’s fundamental skills. Carmichael, who finished his collegiate career with 10 interceptions, is thriving in the environment. “He’s comfortable in his drop, he’s a fluid kid, he stays compact with his footwork, and he has good closing ability,” said Wes Bunting, the National Football Post’s director of college scouting. “He’s a nice soft zone corner, and when asked to play in press this week, he’s actually been a little more physical than I thought he would.” Carmichael could not be reached for interview, but the corner let his play do the talking on the first two days of practice. “The first thing that stands out is he’s very competitive,” Bowen said. “That’s the thing you look for in all the players - how they compete. This is the best competition they’ve faced all season top to bottom.” The 2011 NFL Draft, held April 28 through April 30 at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, is top-heavy with cornerbacks. Louisiana State’s Patrick Peterson is the consensus top overall cornerback, possibly even a target of the Carolina Panthers at No. 1 overall. Following Peterson, Prince Amukamara of Nebraska intrigues many NFL teams with his ball skills and intangibles. He is another player that likely will go in the top half of the first round. Carmichael is rated a 77 in the NFL Draft rankings on ESPN.com, generally a second to third round rat-
ing. ESPN resident draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. weighed in Wednesday via teleconference on Carmichael’s draft status. “I think Carmichael is in that third round mix,” Kiper said. “He’s in that second tier of cornerbacks.” While not the highest of praise, the NFL scouts know what a defensive back from Tech is all about.
That’s the thing you look for in all the players – how they compete. This is the best competition they’ve faced all season top to bottom.” MATT BOWEN NATIONAL FOOTBALL POST
“The thing that all these pro scouts and NFL coaches know is that Virginia Tech is known for producing defensive backs,” Bowen said. “If there’s a kid down here with a Virginia Tech helmet on and he plays defensive back, you expect him to look like Carmichael did.” Since former Hokie and current secondary coach Torrian Gray was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft, 15 other Tech defensive backs have been drafted into the NFL. Bowen went on to rave about Carmichael’s feet and overall quickness. “I think when you compare him to the other cornerbacks on that north squad roster, he stands out right away because he’s got the best feet,” Bowen said. “You always look for that in a corner, how they move, can they get in and out of their backpedal, and if they react quickly to the ball.”
Carmichael, nicknamed “Rock” by his late father, is built like one. At the Senior Bowl weigh in, Carmichael measured at 5-feet-9inches and tipped the scales at 185 pounds, small for an NFL corner. “He really values film study,” said Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc. “He’s undersized but has very good ball skills and is able to make a play on the ball very easily. His first two days at the Senior Bowl he had two interceptions and a chance for two more before he got injured. He can be productive in the sense that he has good ball skills and instincts.” Several teams will be in the market for a cornerback come late April. The experts explained why a few teams are looking at Carmichael. “I think the Eagles because they like to play their corners off,” Bunting said. “A lot of Cover 2 teams could be interested in him as well — the Colts, Bears, Vikings and Titans — any team where he’s not consistently pressing guys off the line.” “I think for a team that can use his ball skills, use him as an instinctsbased guy,” Weidl said. “For example, the Baltimore Ravens would be a great fit for him. I think he has a chance to stay in that second to third round range because he’s still the player he was before the injury.” “I think it’s too early to look at what teams are interested, because you have to go through the whole process with the combine, the pro day, all the hype from this week,” Bowen said. “Just know if you’re a good corner and you’ve got good feet, there’s a spot for you in the NFL.” For a player like Rashad Carmichael, the NFL is no longer a childhood dream.
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