In the Indy
Welcome Back Fears of the Unknown Credit Cards! Police Corruption! Pot!
Looking Back at ISU... By Bridget Baggot For the last four years, ISU and Normal have been my home. I was impressed by how far ISU goes to help its students. Any problem I experienced, from the flu, picking courses, to needing help with my math class, there was always a kind person there to help me. Despite the many classes I have taken, I have had only had a handful of bad professors. The professors here have passion for the subjects they teach and go out of their way to engage their students. I was also impressed by the opportunities ISU provided me. I was able to study abroad in Lima, Peru and in the Amazon rainforest. I was able to be a part of student organizations and have a direct impact in the community. I am glad for all that ISU has done for me. Life at ISU is also challenging. The high cost of attending ISU creates a hardship. Every student I know has had to work thier way through school, despite their family’s savings, and borrow deeply into debt. We don’t realize that ISU is in many ways a gated community. Thousands of our peers were barred from entering ISU because they could not afford its high cost. The greatest difficulty I had with ISU was its social life. College drinking and partying is seen as fun and glamorous, and often it is. But there is also a dark side to it. When a people first come to college they are free from their families, teachers and the rules they impose. What we often finally realize is that those rules were put there for our own good. I used to work as a night operator at Waterson. It was the worst job I have ever had because I had to deal with the dark side of ISU night life. The party fueled chaos in the dorms is so severe that night operators have to call the cops and paramedics almost every night.
The stories I could tell are endless, the worst being when a pregnant coworker was attacked because she refused to take someone’s form of ID. People are different when they are drunk or stoned. Our nice classmates become violent and dangerous. People who try to prove that they are cool or macho by binge dinking end up having their stomach pumped by paramedics. People get hurt, not just in the severe ways of sexual assault and violent fights but also in the subtle ways of friends betraying each other and people who say things when they are drunk that cannot be forgiven. We also forget that drugs and booze are addicting, some people have to drop out of college for rehab. We need to realize that when we go out we are playing with fire. We can have a great time or we can end up hurting others or destroying ourselves. The key is to never get so wasted that you are no longer yourself. I would advise incoming freshman to relax and appreciated the opportunity they have. Don’t try to plan your future in detail. Over planning results in disappointment when things don’t turn out exactly as you expected them to. We need to have direction and boundaries in our life while remaining open to change. Count your blessings; the fact that you are here already puts you far ahead of the pack. Many people who come from educated, upper middle class families don’t realize that being accepted into a four year university is an incredible achievement and opportunity. Most Americans never have the opportunity to attend college. Most people our age are stuck in medial jobs and higher education is limited to technical school or community college. Take advantage of the opportunity you have. College life is stressful and difficulty but it is enjoyable and a life altering experience.
August 20, 2009 Vol. 9, No. 1
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Redbird Nation, You Have Officially Been Warned. By Outlaw29 Police, in general, suck. The Twin Cities of Bloomington Normal is a center point of regional police activity. Normal Police Department (N.P.D), Bloomington Police Department, Illinois State University Police (whose jurisdiction is all of McLean County), McLean County Sheriff’s Department, and the State Police of Illinois all patrol and punish offenders of major and minor infractions of the law within the Twin Cities. In my heart of hearts very little love exists for police. The whole idea of an arbitrary power taking away my capacity to live by my own code of conduct makes me fearful of the police. Ninety-five percent of me consider the police of no use, but you never know when you will need a person willing to protect and serve you in a dilemma. Yet, as an Afro-kin in Central Illinois, you feel the heat profiling your actions whether you drive, walk, or ride a bike. That is why I am so grateful that the student body of Illinois State University returns in August. The influx of part time residents with a propensity for binge drinking deflects attention from the benign lifestyle of Outlaw29. At the end of April 2009, I received a warning from an undercover police unit in sub-district 32 of Normal for “J” walking. The truth of the situation was these cops made up their minds that I was a pot dealer making rounds. My infraction of the law consisted of taking three steps off of a lawn onto the shoulder of Market Street. I was literally less than five feet from the sidewalk adjacent to the lawn I stopped walking upon en route to my residence. As the cascade of red and blue flashing lights assaulted my retinas, and the siren in their vehicle belched a “whoop, whoop” to tingle my eardrums, I threw my hands in the air, and turned to face
the Babylonians wondering “What the fuck is this about?” The patrolmen claimed they were protecting me from harm, for earlier in the dusk hours of the evening a pedestrian was hit by a motorist while walking in the street. I was wearing my Dark Blue Carolina hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. The police reasoned with me that I was “difficult for a potential motorist to gain sight of in the road.” I was relieved when they told me they were going to let me off with a warning, but their brief detention of my person granted them opportunity to quench their thirst of suspicion inspired by my dreadlocks. They desired to search my backpack for marijuana. Their probable cause was that my neighborhood was a hotbed of activity linked to the trafficking and utilization of narcotics. When prompted for permission to search my backpack, I offered a token resistance to the cops. “Aw man, I really don’t want you all violating my person. Yet, I’m not sure what rights I have in this situation, and if I say ‘no’ it could trigger a prolonged detention, so here.” I gave them my back pack for inspection and played it cool as I let the contents of my bag authenticate the story of my day: “I worked, went to the Coffee House for an Indy meeting, and now I’m on my way home after being at work since five a.m.” The only thing drug related they found upon my person was the book I checked out from Milner Library, Ganja In Jamaica. When the patrolman in good standing found the text, I could hear the suspicion and persecution in his voice as he cried out the book title. Thank Jah for the First Amendment! Having resided in the Bloomington-Normal community for 15 years has offered an interesting
See Redbird Nation on page 7...
Continued from back page... strength and alleviate pain. The routine was one where I would have a pipe or two to myself and then engage in stretching exercises or a walk to the Bloomington public library. As my mind desensitized from the energy expended at work, my movements became fluid versus atrophied. I would regain a sense of well-being and enjoy the moment, thus my attention to my motions enhanced to create a focused system of thought and action under the spell of marijuana. For a brief period of time I had a connection that allowed me to acquire medicinal marijuana from the state of California. The strain of fame is called “Sponge Bob”, aptly named due to its capacity to stick back together after breaking apart a large nugget of pot into two pieces. After a long day of work I acquired and sampled the “Sponge Bob”, then I began to stretch my legs and back. About five minutes into this process of stretching a profound surge of energy ascended my back and into my brain operation. I determined that this energy was primal aggression. I was in a stretch pose on the floor that allowed me to hoist my legs over my hips and rest them just past my head. The change in consciousness was intense for a drive to kill was pulsing in my mind but there was no threat at hand. I calmed the initial violent impulse but allowed for the energy I was experiencing to aid the stretching of my back. I then went on a walk and exercised increased flexibility and new perceptions on how to contort my body while in motion that alleviated the stress from physically debilitating work. This experience concretized my opinion that there are valid healing properties in marijuana for people to utilize. Since March of this year it seems that willingness exists in the republic to consider revising our collective wisdom about marijuana. The Illinois House of Representatives heard testimony from citizens about the merits of allowing medicinal marijuana to be accessible to those with the need, National Public Radio did a gag story on April 20th considering the reaction to the decriminalization of marijuana by the federal government, and in early May msn.com had a feature article asking if marijuana could save the economy. As a Trinidadian American I find myself in a liminal cultural opinion about being a citizen of the republic. I enjoy the diversity and freedom the first amendment gives my life, but I’m livid about the execution of social and political policies that imprison and disenfranchise citizens. The government and the Supreme Court have acted in concert in the
August 20, 2009 Indy last thirty years of the 20th century to infringe upon the Bill of Rights to give more power to the government to punish people for engaging marijuana as a lifestyle choice. It seems that my Rastafari mentor was correct in claiming that this country has not given up on the institution of slavery, it has simply changed the rules of the game. My Trinidadian ancestry infuses me with an understanding that cultural diversity can be an essential element toward creating egalitarian social policies. Ansley Hamid has authored the book titled The Ganja Complex, and in it he examines the impact that Rastafari culture and the utilization of marijuana had on Trinidadian Africans. In the forward of his text he expresses that lessons offered from the ganja complex that developed in Trinidad are most applicable to the multicultural United States. There is potential to empower lower classes of a society when a ganja complex is in effect. Ansley Hamid had this to say about developments in Trinidad and Tobago: “In the late 1960’s and during the 1970’s, desperate young Trinidadian Africans, both on the island in immigrant communities abroad, had been stalemated by the frustrations of exclusion from the educational system and job training, unemployment in an increasingly consumerist society, high rates of inflation, migration, and disarrayed families. They had responded by committing petty crimes and misusing alcohol and eventually by rioting and an attempted overthrow of the government. Then they discovered marijuana, smoking it in a communal setting utterly transformed them. They metamorphosed into prudent, ambitious businessmen, self employed artisans, and responsible paterfamilias, who delighted in reading the Bible, scholarly books, and the newspapers and philosophizing about what they learned by cross referencing them. Furthermore, they translated their revolutionary sentiments into a program of community betterment, in which they reinvested marijuana revenues to foster selfsuffiency or independence from mainstream institutions.” This citation resonates with me, for though the U.S.A fashions an image of itself as the land of the brave and the home of the free, we are cowardice to admit that class stratification exists and that collectively we allow for social policies that limit the people in their pursuit of happiness. In reality we are a culture that loves to be at conflict in order to define our community relations: the War on Poverty, the Culture Wars, the War on Drugs, the Cold War, the War on Terror. At what point will the collective wisdom in the U.S.A decide
chatterbox Fear of a Blank Plan By Blair Wittig Although i am writing this mid season, I refuse to make a cliche about how we have to reflect on our past mistakes and our future problems. I will say this: we screwed up, and we are continuing to screw up. Sure, we have a black president who is the most prolific speaker since Kennedy. Yes, we are making great strides in ecological advancements. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are still destroying the fragile psyches of civilizations and are being puppeteered by the very same bastards that were whipping us the last eight years. We are still getting off (and offing ourselves)to the almighty dollar, taking whatever pills they seduce us with to try to erase the fact that our medicare won’t exist and neither will our jobs. We are out of ideas. In fear, we are simply tweaking past actions, afraid to
completely revamp them to fit what we know we should do. We need to burn the old system, completely trash all past plans, wipe harddrives, etc. We need to drink from the figurative cask of armageddon and, in our divinitory hazes, drunkenly turn to that liberalist whack job gleefully observing and ask him what he would do in your situation. you write it down and the next morning, follow it to the very last incessant detail: destroy every last golden arch and Chanel hook insignia ever forged by Capitalist hands, and dig. Dig to expose the thick tarlike underbelly, let it get under your overmanicured fingernails, stain your oversanitized skin. You hold your breath, maybe let out a maniacal laugh, sit back and wait. Sit there. Breathe in the dirt, out the carcinogens. Feel that breeze in your head? That’s clarification. Take a few minutes to enjoy it, because in a second you’ll want to duck to avoid that nuclear missile.
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Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Indy staff and supporters: Allison Grossz, Amanda Clayton, Anthony DiMaggio, Blair Wittig, Bridget Baggot, Bryan Alveraz, Casey Reynolds, Erik Abderhalden, Jessica Heiden, James Meece, John K. Wilson, Jon Kindseth, Ken Panfilio, Kevin Yang, Lilly Fahrenwald, Lisa Shelton, Lynn Haller, Rana K., Simone Runyon, Stefanie Lindsey, Tariq A., Yuri Gonzales. Cartoonists: Arlene Waclawek, Kathy Elrick, radicalgraphics.org, and Matt Wuerker (www.mwuerker.com). The Indy is published regularly during the school year, with a circulation of 5,000 copies. To advertise in the Indy, email the Indy at email@example.com.
that it is time to relax and strive for peace in action? Understanding that community ethics can evolve from caring for nature and utilizing natural elements can have a profound impact in developing self suffiency in our import driven consumer society. The Ganja Complex has demonstrated that it can
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transcend time and place to offer human beings co-activity that is win-win and empower the havenots in a society; it is an institution that could honestly empower the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of many citizens in our republic.
August 20, 2009 Indy
New Credit Card Regulations Will Limit College Students By John K. Wilson
The credit card reforms passed in May will benefit many consumers, but there’s one group that is harmed by these well-intentioned measures: college students. Starting in March 2010, college students under the age of 21 will find it much more difficult to obtain a credit card. The new law is expected to impose the following conditions: * Before issuing a card to a person under 21, the issuer must obtain an application which contains either the signature of a co-signer over 21 or information indicating an independent means of repaying any credit extended. * Card issuers may not raise the credit limit on accounts held by a person under 21 who has a co-signer without written permission from the cosigner. * No prescreened card offers can be made to people under 21 unless they have consented to receive such offers. * Card issuers cannot provide tangible gifts to students on campus in exchange for filling out a credit card application. * Colleges must publicly disclose any marketing contracts made with a card issuer. Except for the college disclosure rule, these rules aren’t actually good for college students. They’re condescending and unfair. A twentyyear-old is an adult and should be treated as such. Yes, there is a danger that college students can abuse credit cards. But the response should be to improve the education available for students, to offer advice about credit, not to restrict the freedom of college students and others under 21 to seek credit. For example, not allowing the credit limit to be raised without written permission is a great boon for the credit companies. As someone who has had a low credit limit in the past and paid a $39 fee for accidentally going above it, I can assure you that credit card companies love the idea of students paying more of these fees. Right now, a college student
Events “Hemingway’s Personal Farewell to Arms” will be the subject of a presentation by scholar Susan F. Beegel on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m. on the sixth floor of Illinois State’s Milner Library. Beegel’s presentation is in conjunction with the traveling display “Picturing Hemingway: A Writer in his Time,” on display at Milner Library through Sept. 30. Beegel is the editor of The Hemingway Review, a scholarly journal on the work and the life of Ernest Hemingway. Her
who might be near a credit limit (for example, due to buying a computer and textbooks at the start of the semester) can simply call up the credit card company and ask for it to be increased. In the future, it may require written permission from a co-signer, leading to more fees. It’s true that credit card offers are an incredible annoyance, and you should only rarely accept an offer like this after researching it, but there’s no reason to paternalistically protect college students from junk mail. Existing credit card companies will also benefit from the lack of competition. They won’t have to worry as much about other credit card companies making better offers to college students because of these marketing restrictions, so they can
jack up the interest rates on college students. The one (temporary) benefit of this bad legislation is that credit card companies will be anxious to sign up as many credit cards users this fall before they lose much of their marketing schemes to government regulation. Get your credit card now, and look carefully for the best deal. Students need information about credit cards, and they need education. But what they don’t need are special age-based restrictions on adults. If we trust 18-year-olds enough to elect a president, why can’t we trust them to select a credit card?
presentation is sponsored by the Alice and Fannie Fell Trust Fund. Steven D. Levitt, author of Freakonomics, will speak about his book on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. in Braden Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Sage Trust Fund. Levitt is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and published Freakonomics in 2005. The book, which has been described as a melding of pop culture and economics, has been hailed by critics and readers alike. The book spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, having sold more than three million copies worldwide.
Credit Cards Are Good for Students By John K. Wilson
College students are often warned to stay away from credit cards. That’s bad advice, unless you’re an irresponsible idiot who can’t handle your plastic. The truth is that if you use credit cards wisely, they’re convenient and you get paid a little for using them. Remember, never use a credit card for cash advances, never spend more money than you have, never exceed your credit limit, and pay off your entire balance in full every single month. According to askmrcreditcard.com, the best credit card for students is the Citi mtvU Platinum Select Visa Card for College Students. You earn five points per dollar spent at (1) bookstores, (2) record stores, (3) restaurants, (4) movie theaters, and (5)
video rental stores. You get 25 points every billing cycle if you pay your minimum payments on time and do not go over your credit limit. Twice a year you earn points based on your grades—up to 2000 points for a 4.0
Join the Indy. We meet every Wednesday, 6pm-7pm, at the Coffeehouse in downtown Normal. “An Evening with Morgan Spurlock” will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. in Braden Auditorium. The Academy Award nominated director will discuss his film, television, theatre and literary career. Spurlock’s first feature film, the documentary Super Size Me, was one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time. The film focused on Spurlock’s experiment of eating only fast food for a month. His subsequent book, Don’t Eat This Book, continued his examination of eating habits and obesity in America. His presentation is sponsored by the UPB, the College of Applied Science and Technology and Milner Library.
GPA—if you’ve bought something in the past three months. Also, there’s no annual fee, 0% introductory APR and balance transfer for six months. It’s a big benefit if you use a credit card properly. First, you earn cash back on your purchases. Second, you can delay paying for your bills if you have a cash flow problem. Instead of paying cash right now, you can delay payment 15-45 days simply by using your credit card and paying it on time. (Set up your payment online to pay your credit card bill automatically from your checking account on the last payment day, which means you’ll never forget to pay it and you’ll delay payment for the longest possible period.) Third, you’ll build a good credit rating. With Citi mtvU, you can get a $100 student loan rebate for 10,000 points. A $100 credit to your account costs 14,500 points, so you may be better off buying regular purchases with a standard 1% cash back card (such as Chase Freedom, which gets you 3% back at grocery stores) if you don’t have a student loan to pay off. You should also get a Discover Credit Card, but only for their quarterly 5% cash back categories; for regular purchases, Discover’s cash back reward is terrible. But the Citi mtvU credit card is worth getting for the GPA and monthly payoff bonus, and the big rebates at bookstores and restaurants. If you spend $1000 on books every year, you’ll get back $34-$50 in rebates on that alone, and $15-$20 for earning a 4.0 GPA. It’s a great deal for college students, and a great opportunity to prove that you’re not a money moron. Students who use credit cards wisely can make some money.
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Author Louise Erdrich will discuss her books and take questions from audience members on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. on the main floor of Milner Library and again that evening at 7 p.m. in Illinois Wesleyan University’s Presser Hall. Her presentations are part of the Ames/Milner Visiting Author Program. Erdrich is the author of twelve novels, as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
4 Campus News
Reflections with President Bowman Dear President Bowman, The Indy staff would like to thank you for granting us the opportunity to interview you. Please feel free to answer these questions in any way you like. Thank you so much, The Indy 1. Upon accepting the position of president of Illinois State University, what were your initial goals for addressing the complexities of ISU mission and community? How have those goals been met in your tenure as president? Have any of these goals changed? My top goals have been and are paying competitive compensation in order to recruit and retain top-caliber faculty and staff members, advancing our academic enterprise while increasing the academic quality of our students, and creating and maintaining high-quality facilities and technologies for our students, faculty and staff members. In the fall of 2005, I unveiled my Salary Enhancement Plan—an effort to bring faculty and staff member salaries closer to comparison group averages. Since then, more than $3 million has been added to faculty and staff member salaries in addition to the merit-based raises that are associated with each fiscal year. In 2005, salaries for full professors lagged 14 percent behind comparison group averages while today it is about 10 percent. For associate professors, the lag percentage in 2005 was over 10 percent compared to 6 percent today. For assistant professors, the 2005 lag percentage was 2.2 percent while today, assistant professor salaries approximate comparison group averages. Administrative/ Professional salaries are at or above comparison group averages, and Civil Service employee salaries are about a percent higher than peer group averages. Ten years ago, Illinois State was thought of as one of many other public universities after the land-grant University of Illinois. Today, Illinois State has clearly separated itself qualitatively from the directional institutions. We have more nationally recognized programs than ever before and our faculty and staff members are receiving more national and international honors and attention than ever before. We have advanced a tier in the U.S. News & World Report College Rankings and have continued to advance in the sub-categories of that tier each year. The high school grades and standardized test scores of our incoming freshmen are at historic highs and our graduation rate stands at a historic high of 69.9 percent, the second highest graduation rate in Illinois public higher education. Despite a very challenging economy, Illinois State has benefitted from the construction of new facilities and the rehabilitation of older buildings. We are in the process of building a new Student Fitness and Kinesiology/Recreation Building. We have completely remodeled our largest classroom building (Schroeder Hall) and are in the process of enhancing Stevenson and turner Halls. We have remodeled five residence halls and are beginning the rehabilitation of the Watterson Towers complex. Through an innovative partnership with the University Foundation, we opened a new Alumni Center just last year. We have also improved Milner Library, other classroom buildings and many recreation and athletic facilities.
August 20, 2009 Indy 2. Under the President’s Goals on the ISU website, one can find that you intend to “Refine the University’s financial aid investment to ensure that it facilitates student recruitment, access and affordability.” Could you elaborate on how you envision fulfilling this particular goal? State support for public higher education has dropped dramatically in the past decade. For example, even if the Governor’s proposed FY2010 budget for Illinois State is not amended, the operational spending authority would be about the same as it was in FY2002. Since FY2002, Illinois State has lost tens of millions of dollars in spending power and we’ve had to absorb a larger share of the costs the State used to provide for things group health care insurance premiums, veteran’s tuition benefits and the Monetary Award Program (MAP). Because of this, Illinois State, along with all public and private universities, has increased tuition significantly over the past several years. I still strongly believe that an Illinois State University education is an affordable investment, and we get independent verification of that from publications such as Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, which for six straight years has ranked Illinois State in the top 100 public universities nationally for quality and affordability. The fact that our application numbers continue to increase each year also indicates that people consider Illinois State an affordable investment. Still, we must be careful to keep Illinois State affordable and accessible to the students who have the least ability to pay. Last year, Illinois State added $5 million of its internal funds to supplement the state’s Monetary Award Program and the Federal Pell Grant program. Because we did that, more than 1,500 students from families with a combined
annual income of less than $40,000 were able to attend Illinois State. Most of those students come from underrepresented groups, and demographic data show that the numbers of these groups is rising rapidly. In order to attract and retain those students, we must be able to offer financial incentives, so my goal in to infuse even more funds into the MAP supplemental program (over $6 million this fiscal year) to help these students attend Illinois State. 3. In regards to ISU’s push to better itself through Educating Illinois program; how are individual departments asked to demonstrate their commitment and progress to the program? Is there a rubric to measure progress on a common scale? As you know, Educating Illinois is the best example of our institution’s commitment to shared governance. The plan was written, and has been revised several times through the efforts of our faculty, staff members and students. It is the plan from which all other University strategic plans emerge. All departments create strategic plans, and all must be aligned with the mission, vision, values and goals of Educating Illinois. Each year, through a process called program review, the departments demonstrate in writing how they have helped achieve the goals of Educating Illinois. The program review is a public document that is presented annually to our Board of Trustees. In addition, the Educating Illinois website includes a “dashboard” which tracks University-wide accomplishments related to Educating Illinois.
4. What is the role of the ISU president in fundraising for athletics and subsequently how do ISU athletics promote our standing in the overall reputation of Illinois State in the Illinois Higher Education community? Athletics fundraising is part of my portfolio, but the major responsibility for those initiatives falls on the shoulders of our very capable Athletic Director, Sheahon Zenger, and his staff. Thirty years ago, the state provided over half of the funding needed to operate a public university. Today, it is about 25 percent. That dramatic decrease in taxpayer support means private fundraising for public institutions has become critical. The role of the public university president in private fundraising has also greatly increased. Individuals and companies capable of making large contributions expect to meet with the president and discuss their contribution. That is equally true for potential donors who want to contribute to athletics. In terms of the role of athletics in the court of public opinion, my goal is to help Illinois State achieve excellence in all of its academic and nonacademic programs and I want us to reach national prominence in as many areas as possible. While our fundamental purpose as a university is teaching and research, the byproducts of that core mission provide tremendous benefits to our students and to society at large. Our athletic programs allow us to enhance the educational experiences of student athletes. Athletic competition fosters lifelong learning, training for leadership, the ability to work in teams, competitiveness, self-control, and discipline. Our athletic programs also have an impact on our ability to build a sense of community. Athletic programs help create a campus identity that distinguishes us from other universities. Athletics also helps sustain alumni loyalty, and over the long run, contribute to the financial strength of the institution and its national reputation. 5. Some argue that student athletes are members of the university community solely for the entertainment they provide to the community, students and alumni and the financial benefits that they bring to the university. Although ISU may not fit into a large school persona that comes along with this athletic enigma, what is ISU doing to promote successful student athletes outside of the arena and in their futures after the rigors of collegiate athletics? While the mission of a university is educational, co-curricular, extracurricular, cultural and athletic activities also play an important role in creating and maintaining a successful collegiate environment. The quality of our athletic programs helps create a positive image for our University, and brings new visitors to our campus community. Although athletics at Illinois State University is not the cash cow associated with other universities, the funds raised by athletics help sustain their programs and facilities, since they do not receive state funding in the same manner that academic programs receive them. Our student-athletes are students first and they compete in the classroom and laboratory as well as competing on the field of play. Their public visibility also makes them great ambassadors for the University. Here is some information about our student athletes that you may not know: • ISU Athletics set a new department GPA record in Spring 2009 with a combined 3.13 GPA for the semester • It marked the third-straight year that the Redbirds set new standards for department GPAs • The ISU Athletics Department has contributed at least 2,000 hours of community service in each of the last four years, including a department record 2,518.5 hours this past year. • ISU Athletics has a record 254 student-athletes on the AFNI Athletics Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or higher) during the fall 2008 semester • In the spring 2009, ISU Athletics had a department record 44 student-athletes earn 4.0’s
August 20, 2009 Indy
6. ISU has made a conscious effort to examine itself in order to promote tolerance and community cohesion. What progress has the university made over the 2008-09 academic year, and what is in store for the near and far future? One of the best ways to create and maintain a welcoming environment for underrepresented groups is to help those populations be successful on campus. I am pleased to say that through the efforts of the Julia Visor Center and other programs, our graduation rate for African-American students has hit 52 percent, compared to the statewide average of just 35 percent. For this fall’s class, the percentage of students admitted from underrepresented groups has risen dramatically from last year—a 22 percent rise for African Americans and 32 percent rise in Hispanic students. During my State of the University address last fall, I announced the creation of two action committees. One committee investigated methods to increase the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups. The other examined the campus climate for diverse populations. Both committees did an excellent job, and have forwarded reports that will soon be available online. I am currently examining the recommendations from those reports, and with the input of our shared governance leaders, will announce several new initiatives during this fall’s State of the University Address. 7. Many public administrators are influenced in their early years by either a mentor or a teacher. Who was the most influential person in your academic career and how have their lessons boiled over into your present career? My father’s influence has touched nearly every phase of my life. It was his belief that hard work trumps nearly everything. He was able to carve out a successful professional career and family life during a period in American history when that was particularly challenging for African-Americans. Since my father served as a faculty member and dean of men at a small seminary, I was fortunate to grow up in an apartment in a residence hall. Essentially, I’ve spent my entire life on a college campus. Understanding academic culture is sec-
ond nature for me and it has served me well during my professional career. 8. What was your favorite childhood book and how has that manifested itself in your adult life? During my freshman year, I stumbled upon Erving Goffman’s Stigma and it had a profound impact on my understanding of the development of social identity. At a critical point in my search for an
understanding of my “place” in the world, his book helped me understand that the stigma associated with being a member of a marginalized minority group heavily influences one’s sense of self. nt an immediate terrorist attack that would kill thousands of innocent Americans? This scenario was pure propaganda designed to rally moral support of a human rights atrocity. The reality of torture is that it is a very ineffective means of intelligence gathering. Intelligence agencies use torture only when they are too incompetent to use more humane methods, such as legal spying and infiltration. Under torture, most people will say anything to make the pain stop. They will claim to be Osama’s right hand man, even if they are really just a student or a humble farmer. They give the name of every
person they have ever heard of as fellow terrorists. They will confess to crimes they never committed, warn of attacks that were never planned and fill hard drives and record rooms with bad intelligence. Despite eight years of torture committed during the Bush era, there is no evidence that any intelligence derived from torture actually prevented a terrorist attack or resulted in the capture of a terrorist. Torture is against both U.S. and international law. Obama so far has been sloppy and indecisive on justice and restoring America’s moral creditability on human rights. On the same day that the CIA torture memos were released, Obama promised immunity to all torturers. He then went to the CIA and assured his support despite their crimes. Hours later, Obama was forced to bite his tongue as Americans screamed outrage upon hearing the extent of the torture. Prosecuting the criminals responsible for such atrocities is an urgent need. The criminals in question are not only guilty of horrid crimes, but they are extremely dangerous since they are currently active members of the military and CIA. Even if legal prosecution is not currently possible, the least Obama could do is force known torturers to resign from their positions of power. Human right atrocities are not something a country can shake off. The damage done is not limed to the physical and emotional scars of torture’s victims. America was once the global leader of human rights. Now it has the reputation of a brutal violator of human rights, on par with counties like China and Iran. Recovering from such crimes will require investigation, legal justice and a transformation of the CIA, the military and the executive branch. Obama is at risk of losing an opportunity to assert justice and restore America authority as the global leader of human rights. He already allowed the proposed truth commission to die on the senate floor. If Obama continues to ignore demands to shine truth and justice upon the secrecy and crimes of the Bush administration, he will commit one of the greatest errors of his presidency. We must pressure Obama. Young progressives are his strongest supporters. In this time of economic turmoil and decline, we are the demographic he cannot afford to ignore.
How the Bush Administration Screwed Up the al-Marri Case John K. Wilson
Former Bradley University student Ali al-Marri pleaded guilty on April 30 to a charge of conspiracy to commit terrorism carrying a maximum term of 15 years in prison. The Indy covered the al-Marri story back in 2003 and again earlier this year. But the deeper story here is how the Bush Administration’s incompetence may lead to an al-Qaeda agent being released from prison only a few years from now, if al-Marri’s 7.5 years in custody are counted toward his sentence, as would normally be the case. The incompetence began when al-Marri was facing trial for fraud in 2003 in Peoria. There’s no doubt that he was guilty, and would have been found guilty. But the Bush Administration wanted al-Marri to reveal information about al-Qaeda. So they decided to name him an “enemy combatant” in order to have full control over him and perhaps use their “enhanced interrogation” techniques. In fact, the Bush Administration was so anxious to have al-Marri as an “enemy combatant” that they agreed to drop the fraud charges “with preju-
dice,” meaning that he could never be charged with them again. Reports indicate that the Bush Administration never got any worthwhile information from al-Marri; the “enemy combatant” designation was an utter failure. This was the first major error of the Bush Administration. If alMarri had been convicted on fraud, the years he spent in prison for that would not be deducted from his 15year sentence. In essence, by naming al-Marri an “enemy combatant,” the Bush Administration ended up reducing his time in prison. The second major mistake of the Bush Administration was the torture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. By torturing Mohammed rather than using normal interrogation techniques, the Bush Administration made all of the evidence he provided inadmissable in any court. If the more reliable and effective interrogation techniques that reject torture had been used, prosecutors would have been able to tie al-Marri directly to terrorism. The problem for pros-
ecutors today is that al-Marri had never been an operational terrorist, and although he was an al-Qaeda agent, he was sent as a sleeper agent to the US to coordinate al-Qaeda’s follow-up operatives arriving after 9-11, operatives who never arrived due to the global crackdown on al-Qaeda. Without Mohammed’s evidence and without the fraud evidence that the Bush Administration had tainted and
dismissed with prejudice, prosecutors were in a very difficult position to prove that al-Marri had done anything illegal. That’s why they felt forced to agree to a relatively short 15-year sentence, which may be further reduced by the time spent as an “enemy combatant.” Once again, we’re all paying the price for the failures of the Bush Administration.
6 Indy News
August 20, 2009 Indy
Your Not the Only One Who is Broke, Our Government is Too
By Bridget Baggot There is a silent crisis that is threatening Obama’s agenda. For the last four decades the government has been as financially responsible as we are at a twenty four hour currency exchange. Obama and the Democratic majority are pushing an agenda of economic recovery, health care reform, and environment sustainable. These needs are direr but they require more money then the US government currently has. Our President and our leaders are ignoring a pending crisis. Both parties have led our government on a dangerous spending spree. We are now so deep in the hole that not even cash for gold can help us. The US national debt is 11.3 trillion. Such large numbers are difficult to comprehend. 11.3 trillion means 37,000 of debt per person. Per person includes babies, children, the elderly, the disabled, and the desperately poor. Such people cannot help pay of the debt .So the actual amount every taxpayer will have to pay is higher then 37,000. The national debt is created when the federal government spends money that it does not have. The government uses treasury bonds the way we use visa cards. Privet citizens and foreign countries buy treasury bonds and invest in the US treasury. Such bonds and investments must be paid back in time, but for the short term they give the government money. The national debt is the money the US owns to individuals and nations. The US owns the most money to investors, who have bought up trillions of dollars of treasury bills and saving bounds. The second largest owner of our debt is the Chinese government. Tyrannical and power hungry China owns a forth of our national debt. Middle Eastern OPEC countries also own a large amount of national debt. One of the great ironies of our time is that we have financed wars and massive military spend by borrowing from our rivals and adversaries. It gets worse, for we also owe money to our social programs. Social Security and Medicare are going bankrupt. If our generation wants to receive Social Security and Medicare, we need to invest an unprecedented amount of money into it. The United States is the world’s largest economy and the wealthiest civiliaztion in history. Our debt is the product of reckless politics and greed. Our deficit woes began with the election of Ronald Reagan. Prior to Reagan,
the US had a moderate national debt. Reagan and his Republican allies slashed taxes, tripled military spending and eliminated as many finance regulations as possible. Reagan disguised this recklessness as economically sound. He told Americans that they could have it all. They could have low taxes, which would allow the middle and upper class to furnish their suburban homes with designer goods and tech toys. Under Regan the standard of living for white, well to do Americans increased drastically. Regan failed to cut any government spending which would justify the tax cuts, and instead drastically increased the government’s military spending. When Regan left office with high popularity rating and an image of a conservative icon, he left behind him a massive debt for
our generation to pay. Bush the first continued Reagan’s tax cuts and high spending. The economic boom of the late nineties helped Clinton balanced the budget and generate a surplus. The gains made under Clinton where drastically reverse by Bush the second. Former president Bush ranked up the largest deficit in American history by issuing massive tax cuts while fighting two wars. The stimulus packages are the latest piece of the deficit. Despite being in office for only seven months, Obama and the Democrats have added two trillion dollars to the deficit. Our politicians deserve a lot of blame but it is our values and apathy that has allowed them to be so reckless. For decades we have demanded more and more wealth and material goods. Our
government gave us this by keeping taxes at an artificially low rate. All the crap we buy takes a heavy toll on both are environmental and economic sustainability. Just as the consumption of resources threats the long term health of the planet, it threatens the long health of our economy as well. Our reckless spending has created a grim future for ourselves. If the US continues to go deeper and deeper into debt we will see economic turmoil that will make this recession seem miniscule. Eventually, either no one will be willing to loan us any more money or the interest payments on the debt will be so high that the US cannot afford to make them. Once our debt hits rock bottom, the US will be forced to quickly and painfully pay off its massive debt. The government will have to raise taxes to an unbearable rate. The majority of everyone’s income will have to go taxes for debt payments. With such high tax rates,
the wealthy will send their money out of the country and foreign investment will flee. This will further diminish the tax base and shrink the economy. Simultaneously, the government will be forced to cut almost all government spending. Millions of government employs, from soldiers to school teachers will be laid off. Public education, health care and the military will be drastically cut back or abolished completely. The economy will shrink drastically, accompanied by massive unemployment and bankruptcies. In order to keep the nation running, the government will be forced to print more money then actually exist. The value of the dollar will decrease rapidly, causing hyper inflation. Hyper inflation is when you start caring your money around in a wheel
barrel. The middle class will crash into poverty and the working class and poor will find themselves living in third world poverty. Such economic chaos will bring social and political unrest. We will be terrified and desperate. We will be so disgusted with our democracy that we will want a new government. Our democracy will be under threat by fanatics supported by fearful masses. This scenario is not fiction. This is exactly what happened in pre world war two Germany and in Argentina in the early nineties. It was a debt crisis that ushered the Nazi and the Argentine death squads into power. In the third word, debt caused economic turmoil is common and has fueled everything from military coups to genocides. We wanted to believe in American exceptionalism, that our strong democracy will make us immune to such chaos. But the laws of economics are like the laws of nature, they do not care what country they are working in.
We have a responsibility to ensure that this scenario never occurs. The good news is this scenario is a long way off and we already know how to avert it. Preventing the debt crisis requires sacrifice and responsibility. We need higher taxes. Conservatives have long purposed that slashing government spending will eliminate the national debt. This is ineffective. Government services, from public education to road construction are necessities that can not be eliminated. The government does waste some money due to incompetence and corruption, but this waste is small change in comparison to the trillions that is needed to close the hole. Taxes are the only thing that will directly solve the debt crisis. For years we have lived beyond our means. We now must began to pay our bills. We cannot afford any more tax cuts, instead liberals should be demanding an increase in taxes. The most painless and just way for the government to get more money is to take it from those who are rolling in it. We need to close the lop-holes that allow corporations and the supper rich to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. We also need to demand higher taxes for the moderately rich and upper middle, consumer class. While this will mean less cash to spend on Mc-mansions and luxury SUVs for many of us, it is necessary. The low taxes that allow our extravagant lifestyle cannot continue. The debt crisis is similar to the environment crisis in that it averting it requires that we learn to live within our means. Just as global warming demands fuel efficient cars and renewable energy, the debt crisis demands that the American taxpayers pay their fair share. Nothing is more unpopular then taxes, but it is time for our politicians to address us as grown ups and demand responsibility. Our leaders need to ask the unpopular from Americans. Higher taxes are a small price to pay for preserving the economic stability and democracy of our country.
August 20, 2009 Indy
Do Something Crazy: Get involved. Being a freshman can be lonely. Sure you go out and meet people on the weekends but when will you see them again… the next time your drunk at a party or waiting in line for subway at 2am? If you want to meet people that like you for who you really are then try joining one of the many registered student organizations (RSO) Illinois State University. At ISU, you name it and there is a club for it. For those hispanophiles there is the Span-
ish Club, Chemistry Club so that those that love chemical bonds can work on their social bonds, and Euchre club for students looking for a strong handed partner so they don’t have to always go it alone. At ISU there is one very visual option; Go GREEK! If you’re looking to meet hundreds of students and alumni from ISU with just one organization, this is it. Greek recruitment begins in Aug. 24th for both women and men. For more information on going Greek, see
Redbird Nation Continued... opportunity to witness the ethnic diversity of the population transform perceptibly. As gentrification transformed Chicago during these years, the Afro-American population in the Twin Cities has increased. This demographic shift has prompted a tense response from the town of Normal. In 2002 The Town of Normal opened a secondary police station on Orlando Avenue west of Main Street, where a good deal of the housing available is categorized as section eight. As a person who has valid urban credentials across America, I can honestly identify the neighborhood as an AfroAmerican ghetto. When the town of Normal expanded their presence into the Orlando Community, the sentiment was immediate and widespread among Afro-Americans that they were being watched. Since 1999, I have been making relationships and establishing roots throughout the Normal community. I have gotten to know the teens of this town, and gathered many stories relating being profiled by Normal Cops as marijuana users and distributors. Long hair, facial hair, and any type of non-conforming clothing style made one a target to be pulled over by the NPD and subjected to a vehicle search for illicit substances. Now the Afro-American population has become the prime group suspected of drug running. A co-worker of mine, The Jazzman, expressed this opinion after being stopped for driving while Black on Vernon and Veterans in Normal. According to his testimony the pullover was arbitrary, following a minor traffic violation. Initially, one police officer made the stop, but when checking The Jazzman’s history for arrests or warrants three more police arrived upon the scene of detention. Unique to his detention was that the fact checking computer system in the cop car was experiencing technical difficulty. The Jazzman happens to be from Detroit, Michigan and was borrowing his friend’s car, an Illinois resident, to run errands. The fact checking system never returned online to clear the Jazzman of a suspicion maintained by the N.P.D that his Michigan license was invalid. Though the N.P.D did not ticket him for a driving violation, the car he was borrowing was impounded out of a suspicion of drugs. The Jazzman was given a ride
the Dean of Students’ website for more information (as well as all of the other great ISU RSOs). You will meet hundreds of people and make lifelong friends. Perhaps it sounds corny but you do meet your bridesmaids and groomsmen in college. Even if your not 100% sure if Greek life is for you, give it a try. That’s what college is for… taking risks, trying new things, meeting new people, and maybe learning a little Greek (or Spanish) along the way.
home by the officer who made the stop, and had to explain to his friend why the vehicle was no longer in his possession. On Tuesday July 28, 2009 WGLT reported that the Sheriff of McLean County announced he would be running for re-election. In touting the success of his tenure, the Sheriff cited the record drug busts made in the County over the last year. He termed these arrests as being “luc r a t i v e .” It makes me ponder if an o b j e c t i ve bias exists amongst police in order to turn their departments in to revenue centers. I find that the Normal P.D. has a similar objective, for since 1994 the Town of Normal has been “in the black” in its fiscal operations. It was in late May 1994 that I recall it being announced on WGLT The Town of Normal placed a quota system on its patrolmen and patrolwomen regarding traffic violations. Since this policy implementation, the beginning and end of the calendar month are dangerous times for a registered driver to travel three miles over the speed limit. As the Jazzman learned, the police are aggressive ticketing citizens, for they have a budget to balance, and superiors to answer to for their actions. It is my belief that a psychology has developed where the cops see Blacks as the potential vehicle to allow them to stay in the black fiscally. Thus, I think their motto should be “To Suspect and Tax” in order to honestly convey their relationship with the public. In 2002 I worked as a cashier for Fast Stop Soooo Convenient on Raab Road just east of Main Street. Prior to closing for business, it served as a hangout and meeting place for all the Police forces with jurisdiction in Normal when their shift began or when on lunch break. Cops are okay people, down to earth working class
folks. One of them even gave me a ride home one night to save me a walk home from Raab Road to Empire Street in Bloomington. It is a fond recollection because I went into my house and smoked a bowl of pot after my police escort. I also got to meet an ex-ISU cop Steve Javey, who is a Hopkido Master and member of the Karate Hall of Fame, the guy has a great sense of humor. It was easy to see that the officers I witnessed respec ted and relished their power to relieve people from their distresses. Yet within that spectrum of character analysis, and opposite character field existed. Some of the male patrolmen constantly had a grudge that only relented when interacting with members of the fraternal order. It was as if they carried a tender scar from a time when they were not empowered by the authority of the community; and once they possessed the authority vested in a police badge over that scar, the will extract respect from the public one ticket at a time to make their ego whole. That was why I got humble quick fast and handed over my bag for police inspection that during that late April twilight of 2009. With great power comes great responsibility, and developing an unflinching calm when faced with a set back or challenge is a mature way of developing the power and authority to achieve goals. In my workplace, I got to witness how a potential Normal Police Department trainee handled this dynamic toward living. I’ll call him Joe Average, and indeed, to have your average life with a wife, two kids, and a good paying job was his ambition. In the spring of 2008, Joe Average reached a fork in the road regarding career options. He had to decide between becoming a cop, or persevere in food service on the man-
agement track. He chose the latter option because he got to work with his wife, and received validation from inferiors and superiors for possessing a high quality babe in the workplace. It was my observation that his department Superior loved him like a brother. With a company expansion on the horizon, new jobs with management for salary were to become available over the next year. Thus, Joe Average has a more than adequate opportunity to gain promotion, especially so since his Brother Superior had a hand in the decision making for management staffing. It was not until December of 2008 that the first wave of promotions into management was announced. Joe Average got passed over for an assistant management position in the kitchen due to inexperience, and because a storeowner trumped Brother Superior’s decisionmaking. Upon learning who became his superior, Joe Average went into a volatile tirade. This was in the restaurant at eight a.m. in the morning. He cursed and screamed to the point of being inconsolable and terrorized the staff on duty into a stunned silence, and then walked off the job for the second time in his career with my employer. Joe Average proceeded to get in his car and drive for twenty minutes so that he could confront the storeowners at their office about their decision-making. He communicated with them with an equivalent level of anger he displayed at the store he traveled from when deciding to quit. I’ve known my storeowners for some 14 years, and later spoke to one of them about the level of danger he faced on that day: “What if Joe Average had a secret identity, with a passion for, and possession of a gun? He could have gone home gotten the weapon to quench his anger at being passed over for upper management. I hear a rumor that you all might forgive him and bring him back, I don’t want to work with a person who has flown off the handle twice in a year and a half.” To think that this was the type of person that the Normal Police Department thought worthy of giving a gun and badge to sends a chill down my spine. Joe Average showed me the nature of the beast, and that is why I maintain my opinion: Police, In General, Suck! Redbird Nation, you have been officially warned.
8 Indy Backpage News
Ganja Complex By Outlaw29, Redbird Nation, It is officially love, the relationship between Outlaw 29 and the Illinois State community has expanded beyond the twin cities of Bloomington and Normal, Illinois. Over the spring break in March, I visited my closest friend and fellow ISU alumni while he endeavors toward a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. The synchronicities that have fostered our friendship are deeply concentrated in the story of Illinois State University. Lawrence is a radical anthropologist known to cause a ruckus in the UNC community. His father is the late and great Lawrence McBride, head of the history department while I earned my diploma from Illinois State in that discipline. As Lawrence and I have matured as men, the purpose filled work in our lives has grown committed to articulating the Rastafari faith perspective. Lawrence is the investigator, and I am the innovator within a faith perspective that believes prophecy has a language. Initially, I envisioned Redbird Nation to be an ethical mission to build educators able to go anywhere in the country, and be successful building critical thinking skills in children. As I have explored the pragmatic realities of my utopian vision, my personal relations have gained an unparalleled authenticity. Lawrence’s program development and my spiritual cultivation are at a point of complementing each other. An ideal accident is now on the cusp of developing into a faith narrative for modern man to identify and authenticate divinity within. Rastafarians believe that marijuana is a natural medium allowing for an intimate connection and expression of the self as divine. Marijuana is a drug that has detrimental effects ranging from causing amotivational behavioral patterns in adults to slowing the cognitive function and development of youths under the age of 18. In becoming a “brethren” member of the Rastifari the controversy surrounding marijuana consumption is personal. Contemplation fills my consciousness with ambivalence regarding how and why I utilize marijuana in my life story of developing into a Rastafarian. I’ve been under an incredible amount of stress from rigorous work and a hostile workplace since becoming a whistle-blower on the job. Depressants take away my aches and unwind my mind after 10-hour shifts, and weed leaves less damage to my psyche operations than liquor spirits, allowing for recovery to repeat the feat the next day. Working justifies the coping mechanism yet points me to a theme of addiction. In persevering through my work routine I have awakened to dormant powers within me and have cultivated a method of expression that can flourish when utilizing cannabis. Yet, when I began my employment a sincere desire for myself was to smoke less, or not at all, to instill greater discipline to my character. Paradoxically, I achieved the latter goal by failing to be sincere to my initial goal. Anthropology has examined the phenomena of marijuana as a tool that aids work in the studies Ganja in Jamaica and Working Men and Ganja. Both studies took place in Jamaica and have informed us about the acceptance and reluctance to marijuana consumption within that island community. Testimony’s are
August 20, 2009 Indy given with fervor that smoking a spliff or consuming a tonic of marijuana enhances capacity and will to do physically taxing labor. Among the Jamaican working class, a cultural institution has emerged that standardizes modes of human co-activity with marijuana. The three distinct patterned activities comprising the Ganja Complex are the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of marijuana. The Ganja Complex is evidence of a cultural transmission that develops human intuition to utilize nature for the mutual benefit of man and plant. Immigrants from India introduced marijuana to the island communities of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. In both islands the laboring class of African descendents integrated the marijuana production and consumption techniques introduced from India in order to ease the rigors of work. The practice of growing and consuming marijuana by the laboring class members of a society began in India during the late nineteenth century. The practice became so widespread that in 1894 The Indian Hemp Drug Commission was developed to determine if an amotivational syndrome was robbing male laborers of ambition and preventing them from working. In fact, The Indian Hemp Drug Commission found that long-term marijuana consumption greatly benefited the lives of laborers across the many regions of India where members conducted investigations. The Commission specifically addressed claims of an amotivation syndrome being associated with marijuana to refute them. Vera Rubin and Lambros Comitas, directors of the Ganja in Jamaica study, made a similar discovery, and subsequently their students did ethnographies in Greece and Costa Rica to echo the Indian Hemp Drug Commission’s findings. I gleaned all this understanding from the library of my good friend Lawrence, he has every book on the subject matter of the Rastafari that the U.N.C. library has on catalogue. Ganja is a city in the far north of the India, and serves as the synonym for marijuana due to it being an original growing ground introducing the plant to Hindu culture by 1000 B.C. The Chinese were utilizing marijuana for medicinal purposes before this time, but it was in India that marijuana utilization first had an intoxication or divination purpose. The evolution and migration of marijuana has always been linked to human activity. In following the trail of the Ganja Complex as it relates to the human activity of work, it seems that the plant of marijuana transmits knowledge to humans that foster community and provides an institutional framework for society to function. Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire: a Plant’s-Eye View of the World makes an argument that plants manipulate human desires in order to create a mutual advantage for the plant and its cultivator. In his examination of marijuana’s impact
on human desire Pollan tracks the creation of the cannabis sativa-indica strain that developed and flourished during the late nineteen seventies in the United States. The irony in this story is that as the federal government cracked down on seizures of marijuana crops, cultivators adapted by moving production indoors to ultimately create plant crops with greater concentrations of THC. Thus, the United States federal government attacked the new genet-
ic species of marijuana and the community of growers intuited a way to allow the plant to flourish genetically in historically unprecedented proportions. The theme of cultivating community has been an ever-present concern in my development utilizing principles of the Rastafari. Which came first, communing with JAH to foster community, or communing with pleasure seekers through being high? It was the latter, of course, and my roll call is esteemed: Maui Wowee, Super Silver Hayes, Skunk 1, AK-47, Northern Lights, Humboldt County grown Blueberry and numerous hybrids of anonymity. With each braggart memory of pleasure consumption, a pause of sober reflection is committed to money and time wasted on an undisciplined phase of living. When that behavior culminated in letting go of everything I held dear, and embarking upon a lifestyle reformation that values work and creation, the role of marijuana usage transformed in concert with my identity. It has been a puzzling balance, but one that served me well in coping with a physical right of passage that has scarred and exhausted my body-mind. Work turned into an ordeal where my need of money fostered a commitment to not quit. Once my employers understood that I was willing to work ten plus hours without a break to complete job responsibilities, they were unwilling to honor my commitment with a higher wage that would meet the cost of living. The pain from working was psychological and physical in scope to foster doubt and despair about getting out of bed on my off days. Muscles ached for days at a time, and doing routine activities like food shopping became Herculean efforts. I was loath to afford buying $80 to $100 dollar bags of marijuana every two weeks, yet the stress I created by choosing to persevere dictated some physical outlet to alleviate tension. To not get frustrated with my spending of limited means on marijuana, I adopted a mentality that considered the action a cost of living expense. Within my first year of experiencing hard labor I determined that I would have to exercise after working to build muscle See Ganja on page 2...