WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2009 • PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY • VOLUME 64, ISSUE 14
Event of the day Visit the Fifth Annual Education Abroad Fair for information about your opportunities to study abroad as a representative of Portland State University. Refreshments will be served.
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: SMSU Ballroom
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INSIDE NEWS The Daily Cut Your world in brief PAGE 3
Lofty promises, rocky follow-through Student-veterans wait for financial promises of Post9/11 G.I. Bill Kate Alexander Vanguard staff
Dorothea Lange in Oregon The Littman Gallery reveals a treasure trove of the photographer’s rarely seen work shot in Oregon PAGE 4 Dazed and confused: A critical look at our pop life I am thunder, or how we would all make terrible deities PAGE 5
The power of words Scribblenauts’ puzzle solving is only limited to your imagination PAGE 8
Having already doled out over $50 million to eligible student-veterans, the new Post-9/11 G.I. bill is the largest investment to help vets since the Montgomery G.I. Bill of 1944. The new bill will cover all tuition, books and basic living costs for veterans who served, on active duty, a minimum of three years in the military following Sept. 11, 2001. Veterans who were honorably discharged after 30 days of service, due to a service-related injury, are also eligible for the benefits. Veterans who served between 90 days and three years qualify for a portion of the full benefits, depending on length of service. Student-veterans are flooding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with applications for the benefits of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, and the department is having trouble keeping up. “Currently, over 40,000 studentveterans are backlogged,” said Dan Mckinlay, president of Portland State’s Student Veteran Association (SVA). Mckinlay and SVA Vice President Brian Friend regularly hear the stories of student-veterans who are tired of waiting for the benefits of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
The National How the economy works...I think PAGE 6
experiencing significant delays with the Portland State administration. “Some veterans at Portland State aren’t able to register until they’ve paid their tuition,” said Friend. One option for veterans is to pay tuition up front and get reimbursed by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill when the funds come in. Veterans using the new G.I. Bill are not subject to the late fees that Portland State charges students who haven’t paid their tuition by the Oct. 10 deadline. Another option, which Friend chose, is to stick with the Mont-
gomery G.I. Bill. The predecessor to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, the old bill has both advantages and disadvantages. “The Montgomery G.I. Bill gave student-veterans enough to live in 1944,” said Mckinlay, “but it didn’t keep up with increasing costs.” According to Mckinlay, some students with the reservist Montgomery G.I. Bill—compared to the active-duty Montgomery G.I. Bill— received as little as $330 during the 2008-09 school year.
G.I. BILL continued on page two
Rodrigo Melgarejo/Portland State Vanguard
Robert Hindahl: As Veteran’s Certification Officer, Hindahl helps student-vets get benefits.
Low production value with a big message Papers looks sloppy, but the story still shines through
Bank robbers are so cute Do criminal nicknames glorify violent crimes? PAGE 6
“Veterans—we don’t like processes,” said Friend. “Both of my roommates have made the comment that they’re tired of waiting for the money to come in. They’d rather drop out and be working for a living.” To avoid this situation, on Oct. 2, the VA started issuing emergency checks of up to $3,000 to aid student-veterans who have applied, been approved and are waiting for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits. Student-veterans can apply for these emergency funds on the VA Web site, which states that these requests will be processed within three business days. The VA also states that the waiting time for receiving the full benefits of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill is 35 days. “The reality is more like four to six weeks,” said Mckinlay. Additional time, six to eight weeks according to Friend, is required for student-veterans to become certified through Portland State. Ron Kincaid, campus veteran’s services officer for Region One of the Oregon VA, has seen his workload dramatically increase as a direct result of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Robert Hindahl, veteran’s certification officer at Portland State, said he has seen his workload triple. “We will be hiring an additional administrative staff member to help make sure veteran certifications are not delayed because of volume,” said Jackie Balzer, vice provost for Student Affairs. Until that staff member has arrived, certain student-veterans are
Theodora Karatzas Vanguard staff
Immigration may be an issue that has been on the table for a while, but the question of what to do with undocumented youth has been a subject our government is a lot less vocal about. Writer and director Anne
Galisky is hoping to change this with her documentary Papers: The Movie. In Papers, Galisky and her crew follow the lives of five undocumented teens: Monica, Juan Carlos, Yo Sub, Simone and Jorge, all from diverse backgrounds. All of them want to go on to greater things but, upon graduation, are faced with the realization that they may not be able to find a job or continue their education. Monica is a giggly girl who loves shopping and cannot wait to get out of high school and go to college. Sadly, during the film, she is in
Papers: The Movie: A documentary following the struggles of five undocumented teens.
the middle of deportation proceedings back to a country she doesn’t remember. Yo Sub, a 4.0 student, was born in South Korea and is involved in music, National Honor Society and other extracurricular activities. Despite these achievements, he is rejected from all of the colleges he applies to. Yo Sub speculates that it is because he is an illegal immigrant. Simone, who was brought to the United States from Jamaica by her mother, is also rejected when she goes to apply for school. Her situation, however, is far more humiliating as
she is publically yelled at in an admissions office for not having proper documentation papers. The film was produced in Portland, but the issue should be one of national concern. In the last few years, activists and lobbyists have been pushing to pass legislation to help high school students with questionable documentation status attend college without having to pay out-ofstate tuition. Papers is not a very well-produced film. The filmmakers get a
PAPERS continued on page two
Vanguard 2 | News October 7, 2009
Sarah J. Christensen Editor-in-Chief
PARK BLOCKS PREACHER
Danielle Kulczyk News Editor Theodora Karatzas Arts & Culture Editor Richard D. Oxley Opinion Editor Robert Britt Sports Editor Shannon Vincent Production Manager Marni Cohen Photo Editor Shane Danaher Online Editor Jennifer Wolff Chief Copy Editor Jennifer Wolff Calendar Editor Matthew Kirtley Advertising Manager Judson Randall Adviser Ann Roman Advertising Adviser Illustrator Kira Meyrick Marketing Manager Kelsey Chinen Associate News Editor Virginia Vickery Production Assistants Bryan Morgan, Charles Cooper Williams Online Assistant Zach Chastaine Writers Kate Alexander, Lindsay Bing, William Blackford, Bianca Blankenship, Meaghan Daniels, Erica DeCouteau, Mariah Frye-Keele, Joel Gaddis, Natalia Grozina, Rosemary Hanson, Steve Haske, Ed Johnson, Carrie Johnston, Mark Johnston, Tamara Kennedy, Anita Kinney, Katie Kotsovos, J. Logue, James MacKenzie, Holly Millar, Daniel Newman, Nilesh Tendolkar, Gogul Krishnan Shenbagalashmi Janakiraman, Wendy Shortman, Robin Tinker, Vinh Tran, Virginia Vickery, Allison Whited, Carlee Winsor Photographers Aaron Leopold, Rodrigo Melgarejo, Liana Shewey, Adam Wickham Copy Editors Rebecca Hartness, Robert Seitzinger Advertising Sales Matthew Kirtley, Ana SanRoman, Jae Specht, Wesley Van Der Veen Advertising Designer Matthew Vu Contact Editor-in-Chief 503-725-5691 firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Manager 503-725-5686 email@example.com The Vanguard is chartered to publish four days a week as an independent student newspaper by the PSU Publications Board. Views and editorial content expressed herein are those of the staff, contributors and readers, and do not necessarily represent those of the PSU student body, faculty, staff or administration. One copy of the Vanguard is provided free of charge to all community members, additional copies or subcription issues may incur a 25 cent charge. The Vanguard is printed on 40 percent post-consumer recycled paper. Copyright © 2009 Portland State University Vanguard 1825 S.W. Broadway, Smith Memorial Student Union, Rm. S-26, Portland, Ore., 97201
Adam Wickham/Portland State Vanguard
Yesterday the Park Blocks saw a repeat of a scene Portland State students have become accustomed to. A street preacher took to the sunny seating area behind Smith Memorial Student Union with a large sign reading, “You are born again, John 3:3” in all capital letters. Many students in the area engaged in a debate with the preacher, and a group of about 200 gathered to hear the shouting.
G.I. BILL |
from page one
Student-vets keep waiting The benefits of both G.I. bills are good for up to 36 months, but the old G.I. Bill offers a 12-month extension that is not available for student-veterans who are opting for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. This newer G.I. Bill has some clear advantages. Namely, it is designed for the schooling and living costs of today. Student-veterans would not only have their tuition covered, but would receive an additional monthly allowance of $1,200 to $1,500, according to the VA. In addition, the monthly stipend amount would increase for student-veterans with dependents. The ramifications of the Post9/11 G.I. Bill are huge, especially in Portland, where homelessness is a constant concern. With the new G.I. Bill, homeless veterans who are eligible for its benefits would receive an education, shelter and a monthly stipend. “One of our campaigns this year is going to be reaching out to homeless veterans,” Mckinlay said. “They should know about
The preacher mentioned to the crowd that he received his calling “from Jesus” and his first task was “preaching in front of a whorehouse.” Dressed relatively normal, Portland State students pondered what this street preacher does when he’s not in the Park Blocks. “I wonder how this guy functions in normal society, despite appearing to be out of his goddamn mind,” said Shane Danaher, 22, English major.
these options.” Homeless veterans aren’t the only ones who should be aware of college financing opportunities. “Student-veterans need to know that they can apply for grants and loans outside of the G.I. Bills, even if they’re already receiving G.I. Bill benefits,” said Friend.
To register as a studentveteran: Talk to the Student Veteran Association Smith Memorial Student Union, room M114 Visit Robert Hindahl, veterans’ services officer, in Neuberger Hall, room 104 www.gibill.va.gov
from page one
Sloppy story still shines little too artsy at times with offkilter camera angles and strange close-ups that look sloppy. The rest of the production is a little elementary in its feel and looks as though a first-year film student made it. And, at a whopping 90 minutes, the runtime could have easily been cut in half without losing much. There were also a couple moments in the film that got very uncomfortable. Specifically, when the filmmakers speak with one of Monica’s teachers. Her comments in light of finding out that Monica might be deported were limited to how well she “fits in” and what a wonderfully typical American she is. The impression garnered from this scene is that the teacher thinks Monica should be allowed to stay because she’s done such a great job conforming to whatever this woman thinks is “typical” of American culture. The question that should be asked in this situation is: What if she wasn’t so “typical?” What if she didn’t speak English or like shopping or wear the latest teen
fashions? Would this teacher be as anxious to jump in then? Despite the messiness, length and the aforementioned moment with Monica’s teacher, Papers really is a beautiful film with an important message told straight from the mouths of those being affected. What starts out looking like an immigration issue becomes a matter of equal opportunity and a duty to educate a part of our population that is not being fulfilled. Papers may not be Cannes-worthy, but it’s a good start toward exploring a topic that has been ignored for far too long.
Papers: The Movie Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m. Center for Intercultural Organizing, $10 Oct. 15, 1 p.m. PDX Latin American Film Festival, free
The Daily Cut
Vanguard News | 3 October 7, 2009
Your world in brief
News Editor: World: Report: 2 million babies and mothers die at birth JOHANNESBURG (AP)—More than 2 million babies and mothers die worldwide each year from childbirth complications, outnumbering child deaths from malaria and HIV/AIDS, according to a study released Tuesday. The study, launched at the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics world congress being held in Cape Town, also showed that such deaths could be easily avoided. “The world will continue to miss the unheard cry of the 230 babies who die every hour from childbirth complications,” unless there is better planning and implementation of policies, according to the study. Some 1.02 million babies are stillborn and another 904,000 die soon after birth. By comparison, 820,000 children die from malaria and 208,000 die from HIV/AIDS worldwide. About 42 percent of the world’s 536,000 maternal deaths also occur during childbirth, according to the study. Deaths in Africa and South Asia account for three-quarters of the maternal and infant deaths. The research was led by Save the Children, the Gates Foundation and Johns Hopkins University with investigators from a dozen countries. It was published in the October edition of the federation’s journal. “The huge numbers hide
multiple personal stories of loss,” said Joy Lawn, who runs Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives campaign. “Each death is a tragedy to a family—actually a double tragedy since almost all these deaths could be prevented.” The report said that many of the deaths could be avoided with improvements in basic health care, and training for local health care workers to perform emergency Cesarean sections and other lifesaving techniques. Lawn said she hoped that the study would be used by countries to ensure money was invested where it was needed. Poverty is one of the main causes of these deaths. In wealthier countries most women give birth with a skilled attendant while in poor countries, few women do. Most deaths also occur in remote rural areas where there are few doctors and nurses. Each year, 60 million of the world’s 136 million births occur outside health facilities, and only one out of every five babies born in African hospitals are cared for by skilled staff. Lawn told The Associated Press that researchers were taken aback by the shocking figures and the lack of attention given to these mothers and their babies. “It is seen as women’s business. Stillbirths don’t count. Sometimes the deaths of women don’t even count,” she said. However, she said that developments in Malawi show some signs
of encouragement. The country, located in southern Africa, has only three pediatricians for about 12 million people. Yet, 60 percent of births took place in a clinic or hospital, she said, adding that the majority of Cesarean sections were performed not by doctors but by trained health workers. “They knew they didn’t have a lot of money or people and so had to be strategic,” she said. The authors of the research welcomed the $5.3 billion committed by world leaders to maternal and child care at last month’s United Nations General Assembly. —Celean Jacobson
Nation: Woman gets prison in Rainbow Family LSD case CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)—A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced an Oregon woman to 28 months in prison on a conviction stemming from a probe into distribution of the hallucinogenic drug LSD at last year’s Rainbow Family gathering in western Wyoming. Thirty-two-year-old Vanessa Marie Griffee, of Eugene, Ore., pleaded guilty Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson of Cheyenne to conspiracy to possess and distribute LSD. Two others charged in the probe already have been sentenced to prison time and a third defendant is scheduled
for sentencing later this month. Investigators have said one of the other defendants told them that Griffee had mailed LSD to him for distribution at music festivals around the country. —Ben Neary
Local: Furloughs will close Oregon government offices SALEM, Ore. (AP)—If you’re planning to renew your Oregon driver’s license, apply for food stamps or buy a hunting license on Friday, Oct. 16, think again. Most Oregon state offices will be closed that day because of the state’s budget squeeze. It’s the first of 10 scheduled Fridays where state government will largely shut down because state workers must take unpaid furlough days. People who work at places that can’t shut down, such as prisons and the Oregon State Hospital, will schedule alternate furlough days. Oregon State Police will continue working and state courts will remain open, too. Gov. Ted Kulongoski says he hopes the public will be understanding of any inconveniences. —Brad Cain
Fish and Wildlife creates climate change job PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northwest regional headquarters has created a new position to push the agency’s new efforts to deal with climate change. The agency announced Tuesday that Carol Schuler will be the new assistant regional director for climate change and science application. The position comes out of Department of Interior efforts to develop a coordinated approach on a large scale to deal with the effects of global warming on natural resources. Schuler has been the director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center in Corvallis.
Danielle Kulczyk 503-725-5690 firstname.lastname@example.org
Crazy facts you may or may not care about The tooth fairy originated as a Druid custom. The Druid fairy left chunks of calf liver in exchange for teeth. Martin Luther King Jr. lip-synched most of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Julius Caesar had 12 toes. Alligator skin is not affected by microwave radiation. Morphine is highly combustible. Richard Nixon lost a Frisbee on the roof of the White House. Professional sumo wrestlers pay income tax based on body weight. Although he never received credit, Humphrey Bogart composed much of the music in the film High Sierra. Attila the Hun wore a toupee. Adolf Hitler had a twin brother who died at birth. Among the items listed on the Mayflower’s cargo registry during its trip to the New World: 12 canisters of scented anal ointment. The interior of the Australian continent is sinking at a rate of 3 centimeters per year. —Factropolis.com
Vanguard 4 | Arts & Culture October 7, 2009
Arts Editor: Theodora Karatzas 503-725-5694 email@example.com
Her press photos look like they were pulled straight out of Maxim. Her hair is silky, her eyes radiant and her body flawless. Sadly, Canadian artist Lights’ music doesn’t have half the radiance that her looks do. On her debut album The Listening, Lights sets her sights on some kind of new wave, indie-electro sound, falling miserably short of this goal in the end. Her music sounds like an auto-tune-infused pop mess, complete with sappy lyrics and overly breathy vocals. Made out to be the next big thing in electronic music, she’s more like a Britney than a Daft Punk. Some of her beats are a little entertaining and a tad bit on the interesting side, but once she opens her mouth it’s all downhill from there. She also rips off the Knife on the title track, “The Listening,” a band not even worth ripping off in my opinion. On a more entertaining note, if you go to her MySpace you can hear her commentary on the album. It’s pretty obvious that she’s trying to sound deep and far more intelligent than she actually is. She states a lot of obvious facts (“The song ‘The Listening’ is the title track of the record.” Really? I had no idea!), tries to relate to her audience and uses some new vocabulary words she probably learned that week (things like formulate, lyrical, epitome, etc.). My favorite quote from the commentary would have to be “you might say [the song ‘Saviour’] savioured me.”
ARTS & CULTURE
D orothe a L ange in O regon The Littman Gallery reveals a treasure trove of the photographer’s rarely seen work shot in Oregon Joel Gaddis Vanguard staff
A man on horseback holds a child, his face obscured by shadows. In the background, we see a woman standing beside a ramshackle tent, staring off into the distance. All around them, a landscape of open plains and scrub brush stretches out, seemingly infinite. This is a snapshot of the Fairbanks family, taken in Malheur County, Ore., during the 1930s. The woman behind the camera was Dorothea Lange, a photographer whose iconic images have come to define our understanding of the Great Depression. Throughout October and November, the Littman Gallery will be hosting Dorothea Lange in Oregon: 1939 Farm Security Administration Photos, an exhibition commemorating Lange’s work in the region that is rarely displayed. Born in 1895 in Hoboken, N.J., Lange developed a passion for photography at an early age. After a series of classes and internships, she eventually opened her own photo studio in San Francisco. It was here, amid the onset of the Depression, where Lange looked to the streets and used her camera to capture the widespread dejection of a working class without work. Photographs such as “White Angel Bread Line,” which depicted a group of unemployed men waiting for food, illustrated Lange’s aptitude for distilling the human condition with striking and poignant intensity. This skill did not go unnoticed and, in 1935, she was commissioned as a field photographer for the Resettlement Administration (later called the Farm Security Administration, or FSA). This was a program enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the aim of improving conditions for farmers and migrant workers. Lange’s task was to document firsthand the ameliorative effects of the FSA’s efforts. In 1939, her work with the FSA brought her to Oregon, where she produced the images that comprise the Littman Gallery display. This will be the first time that the photographs have been displayed in a gallery setting, as they were previously only available through the Library of Congress. According to Linda Gordon, author and professor of history at New York University, the relative invisibility of Lange’s Oregon photography was what prompted her to get involved with the Lange project. Gordon recently completed a biography of Lange’s life and will be providing an introductory speech for
the exhibition. She will also be giving a presentation on Lange’s 1940s-era photographs documenting the internment of Japanese-Americans on Friday, Oct. 9 at Reed College. “Lange was really the first person who showed that it was possible to create documentary photography that was simultaneously great art,” said Gordon. “The political impact was greater because of the quality of her photos.” Gordon attests that Lange’s work helped bolster support for Roosevelt’s New Deal. Yet, in spite of their great significance, the photos that Lange took in Oregon—a total of over 500 images—have remained in relative obscurity for some time. Organizations such as the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and PSU Friends of History are now helping to bring a number of these important cultural documents back into the light. It hasn’t been easy. For the last eight years, Michael Munk, historian and member of the OCHC, has been trying to foster interest in a showing of Lange’s pictures of the Pacific Northwest. Munk claims he had no idea that Lange had photographed in the area until he stumbled upon a shot she had taken along an Oregon highway. Inspired by this discovery, he became dedicated to bringing wider attention to this little known treasure trove of local history. For a while, Munk and the OCHC were unable to drum up enough support to launch an exhibition. Munk says he was “perplexed by the unenthusiastic response,” but persevered in his efforts. With financial backing and the assistance of photographer Rick Regan, who has made high-quality prints of the photos from the Library of Congress’ digital archives, the project has finally come to fruition. David Milholland, president of OCHC, is thrilled to be unveiling the pictures. He believes they provide a valuable window into a past that may seem distant to the postwar generation, but has a great deal of relevance to contemporary society. On Oct. 10, a series of speakers will present dramatic renditions of Lange’s notes, accompanied by a slide show presentation of the related pictures. The event will even include popular music from the Depression era to create authentic ambience. David Horowitz, a history professor at Portland State who helped organize the workshop,
Dorothea Lange’s Depressionera Photography of Oregon: Assumptions Challenged
Impounded: Dorothea Lange’s Censored Images of Japanese American Internment
Dorothea Lange’s Photographic Imagery of Great Depression Oregon
w/ speaker Linda Gordon Smith Memorial Student Union, room 238 Thu, Oct. 8, 1 p.m. Free
w/ speaker Linda Gordon Reed College, Vollum Lecture Hall Fri, Oct. 9, 4:30 p.m. Free
Linda Gordon and other presenters SMSU room 238 Sat, Oct. 10, 10 a.m. Free
Dorthea Lange: The iconic female photographer had a knack for capturing candid relfections of day-today life during the Depression.
All photos courtesy of Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission
will be taking part in the dramatic readings. Horowitz discovered Lange through his studies of populism and forms of expressive culture in the 1930s, and clearly has a great deal of respect for the message behind Lange’s photography. “Her work brings out the strength of ordinary people,” Horowitz says. He also emphasizes the connection between Lange’s work and our current economic situation.
The exhibition could hardly be timelier. The anniversary of the 1929 stock market crash that precipitated the Great Depression falls on Oct. 28, and the reality of our present recession weighs heavily on the minds of most Americans. Lange’s powerful portraits serve as a reminder that hard times can bring out some of humanity’s most admirable attributes: fortitude, tenacity and a deep sense of kinship.
Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits w/ speaker Linda Gordon Wordstock Book Fair Oregon Convention Center 777 NE MLK Blvd. Sat, Oct. 10, 2 p.m. $5
I am thunder, or how we would all make terrible deities
confused: a critical look at our pop life By Ed Johnson
Recently, I’ve had a lot of cause to consider what the world would be like if I were God. And so have you. All around us, we are manufacturing and consuming little nuggets of creation that are designed to get us thinking like the deities we never can be and, for that matter, don’t even exist. For instance, I would argue that the essential function of video games is to emulate the neverceasing power of the big, bearded dude in the sky. Sure, they have things like plot and characters, but what we really love about them is this: They give us absolute control over the worlds they create. Don’t like the way your Fable life is going? Restart. Bored of Zelda’s wanderings? Power off. It’s that simple. More revealing still is a game like Grand Theft Auto. Not only do we have control over whether the world is “on” or “off” (a classic God function if ever there was one) but we are free to literally do whatever we want, with no consequences. People tell me GTA has a story mode—and a terrific one at that—but whenever I turn on the game, all I do is go on killing sprees. For hours. Given the capacity to separate myself entirely from any consequences of my actions, and given a
separate plane of existence, I murder innocent people. I literally pull out a gun, aim at the back of digitally-rendered skulls and blast away. That’s how I know I would make a terrible god. And most people aren’t all that different. There may be moral holdouts who refuse to pick up a controller, but when push comes to shove, if they were forced into the same sick conclusion, killing people is just more fun. Now, I hear you arguing, “But Grand Theft Auto is explicitly designed as a game where you kill people, so of course that’s what you’re going to do.” Bullshit. There isn’t a game called Find an Orphan and Give Them Candy. That game would suck. And even if there was such a title, it’s pretty clear that GTA would far outsell it. No, given the ability to become God, most of us would murder and maim and absolve ourselves of the moral duties that come with being human. So, do video games encourage real-life violence? Clearly, the answer is no. If anything, the joysticked simulators have the opposite effect. Given a life that has no controls, no A or B button to jump or run, the crushing
reality of consequences is all the more real. Think about the most hardcore gamer you know. Chances are, they’re pretty timid. On the other hand, psychopaths who play video games are just as dangerous as psychopaths who don’t play video games. Another thing that made me think about the nature of God, and what I would be like if I was allpowerful, is The Invention of Lying, a new Ricky Gervais movie that opened last week. In it, Gervais plays a man—the only man—who can tell a lie in a world of truth. It’s one of those rare romantic comedies that will be a lot more interesting to think about than it is to see. (Quick review: two-thirds of the movie is shit.) But this ability to lie turns Gervais, for all intents and purposes, into a god. It may sound strange, but in a world where truth is so absolute that there’s not even a name for it, a lie is the most powerful thing. What bugged me about the movie, though, is that Gervais’ character mostly used his ultimate power to try and do good—like when he tells his dying mother that God
and the afterlife exist. This is unrealistic. The only way any one of us, given unlimited power, would act in a beneficial fashion is if the results of doing so were extremely entertaining to us personally. Call this the GTA Theory of Godlike Activity. Once evil becomes relative, and we rise above the need to understand, everything changes. To go to heaven is to go to hell, and vice versa. Just be glad that I’m not God.
Vanguard Arts & Culture | 5 October 7, 2009
Strange Animal Trivia Rabbits love licorice, but it is very bad for them because they cannot digest sugars. Honeybees have hairs on their eyes to help them collect pollen. Mice are highly promiscuous and need particularly large testes to keep up with the demand. Dolphins sleep with one half of the brain at a time and with one eye closed. Many hamsters blink only one eye at a time. A snail can sleep for three years if conditions are adverse (such as during a drought). Mosquitoes are attracted to the color blue twice as much as to any other color. The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds. Female fleas drink 15 times their weight in blood every day. Most elephants weigh less than the tongue of a blue whale. Penguins can jump as high as 6 feet in the air. Giraffes have no vocal cords and communicate by vibrating the air around their necks. —www.strangecosmos. com
Illustration by Ed Johnson
Vanguard 6 | Opinion October 7, 2009
Opinion Editor: Richard D. Oxley 503-725-5692 firstname.lastname@example.org
Monikers of yesteryear
OPINION Bank robbers are so cute Do criminal nicknames glorify violent crimes? Robin Tinker Vanguard staff
Giving a criminal a nickname isn’t new. People, the media and police have been doing it for years. Here are a few historical figures to prove it. Charlie “Lucky” Luciano Luciano was first arrested in 1915 for his dealings in drugs. After being released, he fell into New York’s mob life. He would go on to form, along with other historic criminals, Murder Incorporated, which was a hired gun sort of outfit. Legend has it that after being kidnapped, beaten, stabbed and left for dead on a Staten Island beach, he survived, earning him the nickname Lucky. Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel Another gangster from the mob days of old. Bugsy was known to pal around with Lucky Luciano from time to time, and would go on to help turn a littleknown city, Las Vegas, into a casino mecca, while founding the Flamingo Casino and Hotel. Henry McCarty, aka “Billy the Kid” Billy the Kid made his mark in the Wild West, where he allegedly shot and killed 21 people— though no one can be sure if that number is accurate. He was the most famous member of the deputized and outlawed Lincoln County Regulators. Bonnie and Clyde Not really nicknames, but infamous names nonetheless. During the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow never saw a bank they didn’t want to rob. George “Baby Face” Nelson Another Depressionera bank robber and murderer, Baby Face was first arrested at 13 years old for stealing cars in Chicago. After robbing a string of banks, he died in a shootout with the FBI in an event known as the Battle of Barrington. Harry Longabaugh, aka “The Sundance Kid” Riding along with Butch Cassidy’s wild bunch, Longabaugh pulled off a variety of train and bank robberies during the late 1800s. He was also arrested and jailed for being a horse thief, which was like stealing cars in his day.
I wonder what the River Rat bank robber is doing right now. Besides counting the money he has stolen in an estimated 17 armed robberies over the last two months, he’s probably enjoying his new pseudo-celebrity status among his friends. I’d bet he’s watching his story on the local news and thinking he is pretty cool, with his bankrobbing nickname and $10,000 reward being offered for his capture. Maybe he wishes he had one of those Old West wanted posters to really glorify his crimes. According to The Oregonian, his first armed robbery took place on Aug. 7 in Northeast Portland and the latest robbery took place Thursday, Sept. 24 in Vancouver. He has also victimized banks and check cashing facilities on both sides of the Columbia River—hence the name. I found myself irritated for the River Rat’s victims as I kept hearing him referred to by the media with this cool, fictitious name. As it turns out, the FBI hands out the pseudonyms—not that the sensationalized news programs don’t appreciate it. According to the Seattle Times, “FBI agents pride themselves on their ability to attach colorful, catchy nicknames to the region’s most prolific bank robbers.” I can’t help but ask myself: really? Giving a serial bank robber a catchy nickname—besides being in poor taste—could potentially lead to unfavorable consequences. Perhaps, after seeing the news reports, he starts to think he is like Billy the Kid. This could cause him to get bolder and commit more robberies. I have to wonder if the FBI wants more crimes to be committed by these serial bank robbers, to involve
more eyewitnesses. More eyewitness reports may help law enforcement apprehend the suspect, but at what cost? Seattle-based FBI Special Agent Larry Carr told The Seattle Times in August, “It is a marketing tool. We look at something we can do to make a caricature of the person from pop culture.” Carr goes on to talk about his favorite nicknames over the years, obviously making light of the situation. It’s pretty hard to digest the lack of seriousness on the part of law enforcement involved in these cases. Lighthearted, catchy pop culture has no place in a public safety issue such as felony bank robberies. There are multiple Oregonian archives from 2007 about
an armed bank robber the FBI had dubbed the “Waddling Bandit.” He was overweight and witnesses described his walk as a “waddle.” A $10,000 dollar reward was offered for this man too. Eventually, an innocent, elderly and sick retired teacher was arrested because he was overweight, waddled a bit and vaguely resembled the man in the surveillance video. He ended up spending 10 nights in jail, aggravating several medical conditions, and it cost him a large chunk of his own money. The charges were eventually dropped because he produced several alibis. The FBI refused to apologize to the man. Is all of this a result of the nickname? No, but I am convinced it contributed and
whomever turned in this innocent man as the Waddling Bandit for the reward money undoubtedly took the nickname too seriously. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, “These quirky monikers based on identifying features or habits have the potential for creating more news coverage, greater public interest and possibly tips that may lead to the capture of the bandits. That may lead to the capture, but not necessarily,” according to Jack Levin, director of the Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University in Boston. Levin believes there is no evidence that monikers help authorities catch criminals, but they do help create a high-profile case that generates public interest. In the 1920s and ’30s, colorful nicknames helped make criminals like “Machine Gun” Kelly and “Baby Face” Nelson into household names. Criminals today hoping to live on in infamy don’t even have to come up with their own nicknames. The FBI is doing them a favor by making them famous with this nickname method that is not necessarily assisting in their capture and is extremely insensitive to victims. Bank robbing seems to have retained its romantic image into the 21st century, with little help from the very people who are supposed to be stopping it.
River Rat’s alleged robbery dates: Aug. 7 – Columbia State Bank Aug. 11 – Key Bank Aug. 19 – Riverview Community Bank Aug. 24 – Columbia State Bank Aug. 26 – Riverview Community Bank Sept. 24 – Chase Bank Illustration by Kira Meyrick
NA T I ONAL
with Richard D. Oxley How the economy works… I think Allow me to take a moment to convey, in my limited knowledge, the complex workings of how the United States economy works. It doesn’t. And that is the extent of my familiarity with how the economy operates, which is also the scope of what the average American can figure out. Generally, people just know that America can hardly keep its head above economic water. I was at a shindig recently and, at one point in the night, we went around the room and counted that half of the people there had lost their jobs over the past year. And it got me to thinking... In a press release, The National Retail Federation reported Tuesday, Oct. 6, that the 2009 holiday sales forecast will decrease again this year. The decline in sales will only be around 1 percent, which, on the bright side, is technically better than last year’s 3.4 percent drop. What this means is
that we consumers are going to be a little bit thriftier, and watch our dollars carefully, when it comes to our holiday gifts this year. We might not be able to grasp intricate economic concepts, but we all know things are getting tight. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is now reporting that, in September, U.S. citizens lost 263,000 jobs, bringing unemployment to 9.8 percent. According to Forbes, that makes about 15.1 million unemployed Americans. Construction got hit the worst, losing around 64,000 jobs, followed by the manufacturing sector, which lost 51,000. All of this happened in just one month. What does all this mean? Well, we’ve got no work and we don’t want to spend the only money we are able to hold onto—and the economy suffers. So we know all the problems. Now what the hell are we supposed to do about it? You’ll find plenty of politicians begging for more tax breaks. President Obama can keep throwing out stimulus plans left and right. Yet, when you get down
to it, the only things that Americans really need are jobs. Over the past few years, when the going got tough, the tough got a stimulus package and maybe a bailout too. Stimulus plans can be a good thing, in the short term. But overall, what really happens? The bigger government gives smaller governments some money, which generally just keeps them afloat. Over the last year, $150 billion has been stimulating America over a multitude of programs such as Medicaid funding and weatherizing homes. But how much help is it really giving us if jobs continue to disappear? States are still cutting education funding, even though, according to a Sept. 23 New York Times article, 84 percent of $48 million was given to states to cover hemorrhaging issues such as education. Why not cut our taxes then? Well, I’ll never argue against that. Unfortunately, folks like you and I (I assume that you aren’t pulling in truckloads of cash or are a multinational corporation) don’t really constitute a huge chunk of our economy.
True, our consumer power is great, but what currently fills America’s moneybags is the larger guys with deep pockets. I figure, in my still-limited understanding of economics, when talking heads and politicians talk about tax breaks, they aren’t thinking about you and me. It all reminds me of something my father impressed upon me as I grew up. It’s an old Albert Einstein truism: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In other words, why should we think that doing the same old thing will get us out of this mess that the same old thing helped get us into? We could stimulate this, give tax breaks to that, but at the end of the day, we need jobs to provide wages that are taxed in order to provide Americans with money to spend on special incentive programs. Whatever plan Washington tries to sell to the American public, if it doesn’t provide something for folks to do from 9 to 5, then it doesn’t help.
etc. ART WEDNESDAY The New York Times Syndication Sales Corporation 500 Seventh Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10018 For Information Call: 1-800-972-3550 For Release Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Edited by Will Shortz Across 1 Source of the music for a 2001 theatrical hit 5 Partner of grease 9 Business card number 12 Legendary opera star 15 Shortly 17 Rabid fan 18 “The one beer to have when youʼre having more than one” sloganeer 19 Fixed, as a tapestry 20 ___ in cat 21 Hubs: Abbr. 22 Come back following renovations, say 24 Admonition to a cell phone user in a theater
54 Available, as a London limo 58 Stir-fried entree 60 How a particularly close nephew may be treated 61 Upstage 62 Mythical sea creature 63 Starting point for a long drive? 64 Not much 65 Banks on TV
25 Comet, for one 28 Seen
31 Bank job
32 Wing, perhaps
34 Laugh syllable 35 E.R.A. part: Abbr. 36 Ad follower
38 Giant slugger
39 Something to stroke 40 O.T. book 41 Fear
43 Part of dressy attire for a woman
47 Some revenue 49 Contents of a hoedown seat 50 Echo
51 Identity theft targets: Abbr. 53 Theater sign
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Down 1 Rent-___ 2 Wished 3 Arch above the eye 4 Night lights 5 Tell apart 6 Like the sun god Inti 7 Sounds from a 50-Down 8 Old carrier inits. 9 Superfluous person 10 Yank or Ray 11 Gen ___ 13 Like some Adventists 14 Round snack items 16 Anne of HBOʼs “Hung” 23 Cry in “Hair” 24 Intuition 25 Sound from a monastery 26 Army Corps of Engineers construction
Puzzle by Jim Hyres
28 Dog doc
29 Colonelʼs insignia 30 Refuse 33 Bumps
37 Californiaʼs Fort ___ 42 Ticked off
Hot and Crowded: Engineering and Urban Design Solutions for a Rapidly Urbanizing World 4 p.m. Northwest Center for Engineering, Science and Technology 1930 SW Fourth Ave.
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Vanguard Vanguard Etc. || 77 Arts OctoberDay, 7, 2009 Month 2009
53 Dressy attire for a man 46 Certain filers 55 “The Lord ___ shepherd …” 48 Bar closing time, 56 Enthusiastic often audience 50 Sports venue response 51 Highlander, e.g. 57 Sicilian resort
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44 Lady Lindy
52 Actress Elisabeth
59 ___ Na Na
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Group X fitness class: ShimmyPhat Fitness 6 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. Peter Stott Center, dance room
Thursday Preview of forthcoming cultural events in Portland 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Smith Memorial Student Union, room 228 David Ehrlich: Being a Gay Writer in Israel 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Women’s Resource Center
Read the Vanguard
Kaibigan: Filipino American Student Association first general meeting 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Smith Memorial Student Union, room 230
Friday PSU Weekend Preview Night party with Will Shortz 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The West Café, 1201 SW Jefferson St. $125 admission International Writers Forum 6:30 p.m. Smith Memorial Student Union, room 328 KenKen® is a registered trademark of Nextoy, LLC. ©2009 KenKen Puzzle LLC. All rights reserved. Dist. by UFS, Inc. www.kenken.com
Each row and each column ● must contain the numbers 1 through 4 (easy) or 1 through 6 (challenging) without repeating.
Thenumberswithintheheavily outlined boxes, called cages, must combine using the given
Film: Ed Wood
7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 5th Ave Cinema Free general admission
operation (in any order) to produce the target numbers in the top-left corners.
Freebies:Fillinsingle-box cages with the number in the top-left corner.
h de sig
Graphic Design Center at Portland State University
Saturday PSU Weekend Keynote Luncheon with Will Shortz Noon to 2 p.m. Smith Memorial Student Union, ballroom $30 luncheon ticket, $5 student lecture-only ticket
Richard Dawkins book talk: The Greatest Show on Earth 6:30 p.m. Peter Stott Center Free admission for PSU students
is a student operated business available to student organizations and the general public for various aspects of design work.
University fee-funded student groups $25 an hour after first 5 free hours each term.
Call us or visit our website 503-725-4468 www.gdc.pdx.edu
To place an event: Contact calendar@ dailyvanguard.com or pick up a calendar request form at the Vanguard advertising office, Smith Memorial Student Union, room 115.
Vanguard Arts & Culture | 8 October 7, 2009
Portland Fashion Week PFW begins today. Here is the schedule of shows
Wednesday, Oct. 7
The power of words Scribblenauts’ puzzle solving is only limited to your imagination Steve Haske Vanguard staff
So just what the hell is Scribblenauts, exactly? It’s a 2-D action puzzle game, for lack of a better term, with a whole dictionary-sized catalog of words you can choose to conjure. Of course, that’s half the fun. As Maxwell, Scribblenauts’ rooster hat-wearing protagonist, you have to collect starites, special items that are placed within levels of the game. The trick is that you either have to solve a puzzle or use items to get to the starites before you can collect them. The puzzles can be as easy as pushing a whale into the ocean or reuniting a crying girl with her roof-bound kitten. In other levels, the starite might be behind a switch-activated door or up in a tree. It’s up to you and your imagination to summon whatever you deem necessary to perform a task. The beauty of Scribblenauts, aside from its truly unique premise and
Local craft brewers feature fresh hop beers at Portland’s Tastival
6 p.m., reception and pre-party 8 p.m., show seating begins Designers: Icebreaker (New Zealand) Defyance (Portland)
simple hand-drawn aesthetic, is that there is no right way to solve a puzzle. I’ll give you an example of an early puzzle I came across that instructed Maxwell to collect some flowers and deliver them, in a basket, to a girl. Between Maxwell and the flowers, there was a hostile bee buzzing around, as well as a small pool of water with a piranha swimming around it. Clearly, death would come quickly from one if not both of these encounters. A reasonable solution would be to arm Maxwell with a net or some other kind of bee-catching device to capture the bee and then build, say, a suspension bridge over the water. Instead, I typed “UFO” into the notepad. Maxwell jumped in the ship, which had a tractor beam. Both bee and piranha were no longer a threat. Of course, when faced with the same puzzle you could as easily summon a tank to blow the bee to kingdom come, or god knows what else. It’s entirely up to you. Whatever you choose to do will have effects on other items you’ve created. Creatures and people have simple A.I., and may get hungry and attack you or each other. Maxwell can equip items or tools, and ride
animals and vehicles. Everything is subject to simple physics and logical properties of mass and weight, and reacts as different types of material. And to think, this is all on a goddamn DS cartridge. There are a few limitations to your utter omnipotence, however— logical ones, really. No proper nouns, dirty words or copyrighted words are allowed, for example. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. Ever wondered how Einstein might react when meeting a cthulhu? Now you can find out! In all honesty, you probably won’t even get to Scribblenauts’ game proper for sometime after you turn it on. The title screen lets you write to your heart’s content—or until you hit the screen limit which keeps the game from freezing. The first thing I did with the game was summon a disc, like a Frisbee. But I wanted a diskette, so I summoned that too. Then a “C” and a DVD. Then I summoned a dinosaur that looked like an allosaur, and after that a Velociraptor. Finally I created a black hole, which sucked everything up. Why did I choose these particular items? I don’t have a clue. And it doesn’t matter. You’ll
have similar experiences playing Scribblenauts. Or simply playing around on the title screen. There’s just one problem with the game: Maxwell’s controls are a little finicky. You move him around with the stylus, pointing him in the direction you want him to go, and can interact with objects by tapping them. Your notepad is also accessed this way. But Maxwell will often zip past an intended target, or you might accidentally move something you created rather than picking it up or getting inside of it. It takes a little patience as well as some trial and error, but the controls are by no means a deterrent to the game— just a slight blemish on an otherwise brilliant experience. So what are you waiting for? You’ve got babies to chainsaw, right?
Warner Bros. Interactive Nintendo DS $29.99
Hopping right along
Tony Dimitri (Portland) NelliDru Design (Bend) Gersemi (Sweden)
Thursday, Oct. 8 6 p.m., reception and pre-party 8 p.m., show seating begins Designers: Suzabelle Art Institute of Portland Show Emerging Designers competition finale: Angelia Sasmita (Shoreline, Wash.) Janeane Marie (Portland) Sweet Skins (Eugene) Paloma Soledad Corsets (Portland)
Friday, Oct. 9 6 p.m., reception and pre-party 8 p.m., show seating begins Designers Amai Unmei (Portland)
Jesica Milton (Seattle)
There’s no doubt that fall is here, and we’re not talking about the changing color of leaves, the suddenly cold nights or the empty thrift-store shelves after Halloween costume shopping. Fall is the time for fresh, hoppy beers, and the Fresh Hop Tastival this weekend is the best way to celebrate this turn of the seasons. You might have heard about hoppy beers. They’re the ones that make your mouth pucker, with international bitterness units (IBU) measuring up to 100. For comparison, a Coors rates a meager 15.
These beers generally use dried hops. But fresh hop beers use “wet” hop flowers that have been picked only hours before brewing. The result is a stronger hop flavor, a difference comparable to eating fresh basil rather than the dried, bottled stuff. Fresh hop beers tend to have more floral, citrus and vegetal notes. In fact, when brewers go a little too far, a fresh hop beer can end up tasting like freshly cut grass. Oregon is one of the country’s finest hop growing regions, and the beers premiering this weekend can boast that the flower they use
Aaron Leopold/Portland State Vanguard
Upright Brewing: Showcasing new beers in all their fresh, hoppy glory.
is locally grown. The festival is part of a statewide series of Fresh Hop Tastivals, a labor of love put on by Oregon Bounty and the Oregon Brewers Guild. It provides a chance for more than 25 top craft brewers to “out-hop” one another with a total of more than 50 beers on tap. More importantly, it’s a chance for students to taste-test and pretend we haven’t been settling for Budweiser all summer. Upright Brewing is one of many Portland brewers you can expect to see. They’ll be showing off a brew using Liberty hops named “Fresh Hop of Bel-Air.” It’s a Saison-style beer, based on a traditional Belgian method, which tends to avoid the spices American craft brewers so dearly love to throw into their brews. Upright won’t be using spices in this beer and will instead rely on the fresh hops to provide a delicious, earthy taste. Using Oregon hops is no new challenge for Upright, as they use only local malt, hops and yeast, and sell their beer locally. The brewery is new to the festival this year and will be featured alongside renowned brewers like Bridgeport, Deschutes and Lompoc. Recently, hoppy beers have become a big hit with craft brewers. Some Portlanders have complained about the hops craze
and wondered if it will last. Alex Ganum, an Upright brewer, expects the fad will continue. “Certain trends come and go,” Ganum said. “I thought, five years ago, these super-hoppy beers would disappear.” They’ve only become more popular. This is the Tastival’s third year, and other hops festivals are staying strong in the Northwest, like the seventh annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival in Yakima, Wash., last week. Now that you know a little about fresh hops, you ought to go put your nose in some delightfully hoppy beers this weekend and practice being the beer snob that you’ve always dreamed of becoming. Just as the warm days of summer are fading away, these beers won’t be around long—so go celebrate while you can.
Fresh Hop Beer Tastival
Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way Sat, Oct. 10, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free entry $5 for a glass, $1 per taste 21+
La Vie by Michelle DeCourcy (Portland) WyattOrr (Seattle)
Saturday, Oct. 10 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. “Ready to Roll” fashion show presented by Momentum Magazine benefiting Oregon Manifest. For a full list of Saturday’s designers, visit:
www. portlandfashionweek.net /events
Published on Oct 7, 2009