Mustang Daily reporter gives first-hand account of Coachella. ARTS, pg. 4 Volume LXXVI, Number 111
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
WORD ON THE STREET
Administrators to consider semesters
How do you feel about semesters versus quarters?
“I like quarters more. I like that classes only last 10 weeks.” • Nathan Jones mechanical engineering senior
“Semesters are harder to work with, because you have to stick with classes for so long.” • Chris Savoie biological sciences sophomore
Cal Poly administrators are examining the possibility of moving the university toward a semester-based calendar in response to statewide pressure to standardize the California State University (CSU) system. A CSU task force co-chaired by Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong, among other presidents of universities still using the quarter system, aims to determine the logistics of transitioning the colleges to semesters. Though Armstrong said he wants to hear opinions from campus representatives, he believes Cal Poly would do well using semesters. “If I had to make a call today, I’d say we should look really seriously about converting,” Armstrong said. “But I don’t have to make a call today. I think we should discuss it.” Armstrong spoke on the issue Tuesday at a special meeting of the Academic Senate. He told the dozens of professors in attendance his thoughts on the controversial debate, but made it clear he wants to have campus-wide discussion related to a semester-based calendar. Though the university president said when he first arrived at Cal Poly, he did not believe it was the right time to consider moving to semesters,
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Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong called a special meeting of the Academic Senate to discuss popular topics among faculty, including moving Cal Poly to a semester calendar.
There is a lot of synergy on the CSU campuses ... It would save money to have all of the schools on the same calendar. LIZ CHAPIN CSU SPOKESPERSON
mounting pressure from the CSU Board of Trustees has caused the university to reconsider its position. “The CSU is going to force our hand on this,” Armstrong said. “We’re not going to force our hand on it this spring, but we don’t need to take years.” Talks have been pending for years in the semester-
dominated CSU system to standardize the universities on a common calendar, Armstrong said. Seventeen of the 23 schools currently use semesters, and some of the remaining schools are considering a switch in the near future. CSU officials say the switch would be a cost-saving measure for the entire system.
“There is a lot of synergy on the CSU campuses,” CSU spokesperson Liz Chapin said. “It would save money to have all of the schools on the same calendar.” Armstrong said the transition would take resources and money in the short term, but he believes it is necessary if the university would end up in a better state. “There’s a long list of pros, long list of cons for quarters; there’s a long list of pros, long list of cons for semesters,” Armstrong said. “If we convert, it will be a lot of work. It will take money, it will cost money.” see SEMESTERS, pg. 2
Faculty association voting on possible strike
“I like that quarters go by faster.” • Kerynne Tejada graphic communication sophomore
KAYTLYN LESLIE/MUSTANG DAILY
The Cal Poly California Faculty Association office is located in the Mathematics and Science building, room 141.
“To be honest, I don’t really know the benefit of the quarter system.” • Tiffany Racz environmental engineering freshman
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To strike, or not to strike — this is the real question put upon Cal Poly faculty this week as the state faculty union announced plans to strike if current contract ne-
Fraternity under cease and desist
gotiations fall through. Beginning April 16, the California Faculty Association (CFA) asked its members across the California State University (CSU) system to vote on a possible strike if an acceptable agreement is not reached over contract nego-
SPORTS, pg. 8 Sprinter trades wheel chair for spikes.
tiations. Among the issues being debated are class sizes, tenure appointments, lecturer contracts, sabbaticals and faculty salaries. Striking a stance Cal Poly faculty members have
Tomorrow’s Weather: high Partly sunny
been voting on the possible strike since Monday of last week, despite originally being scheduled to only start voting yesterday. So far, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, Cal Poly’s see STRIKE, pg. 2
INDEX News.............................1-3 Arts..............................4-5
The Sigma Pi fraternity is under investigation after allegedly hosting a party where minors were present and alcohol was served, Student Life and Leadership (SLL) Director Stephan Lamb said. The fraternity was placed on cease and desist Friday after Lamb heard from several university staff members about an alleged party, held at the fraternity’s Foothill property, Lamb said. “They’re under a cease and desist order,” Lamb said, “which basically is the terminology that we utilize when I have cause to believe that an investigation of a situation or an event warrants my review and that’s the case with them.” Lamb was unwilling to go into the details of the current investigation but did express his dismay that the cease and desist order brought an end to Sigma Pi’s participation in Greek Week last week. “It’s regrettable that this happened in the middle of Greek Week, because it affected the black team (Sigma Pi’s team),” Lamb said. Lamb said he felt investigating Sigma Pi was necessary in order to be fair to all fraternities, he said, especially after Delta Sigma Phi was placed under cease and desist two weeks ago for a party. “To be consistent with how I handled Delta Sigma Phi — basically removing them from Greek Week — I felt I had to be consistent, so I needed to do that to Sigma Pi as well,” he said. Though both incidents occurred relatively close together, Lamb didn’t think this was unusual. Warmer weather means more events and activities, and Lamb said SLL often sees a rise in parties when this happens. “In spring quarter, we become aware of more student activity out in the community, and I think that’s linked to the weather,” Lamb said. The investigation is news to the Interfraternity Council (IFC), of which Sigma Pi is a member, IFC director of public relations Jason Colombini said. The investigation was announced at the IFC meeting Monday night, he said. “It’s a new investigation,” Colombini said. The Sigma Pi president and vice president could not comment as of press time. Victoria Billings and Allison Montroy contributed to this article.
Opinions/Editorial...........6 Classifieds/Comics..........7 Sports..............................8
MDnews 2 STRIKE continued from page 1
CFA Chapter President Glen Thorncroft said. “I can honestly say, it’s been almost universal disdain for the way contract bargaining is going, almost universal disdain for the Chancellor,” Thorncroft said. “Faculty are really fed up. They’re watching their salaries lose out to inflation, they’re watching their colleagues be laid off and they’re watching the Chancellor give hefty raises to the administration at the same time.” CSU Chancellor Charles Reed is the major force stopping the two groups from reaching an agreement, Thorncroft said. When it came time for contract renegotiations in 2010, the CFA proposed minor amendments to the contracts, many of which were low or no cost changes, but Reed refused, according to Thorncroft. “Bargaining means you bargain, and he’s not bargaining,” Thorncroft said. “He’s not moving from his position, and by definition, that’s not bargaining. And that’s why we’re trying to get him to move, and sometimes you have to move somebody by force.” The Association’s show of force could appear in the form of a statewide two-day rolling strike as soon as this spring in which all CSU campuses would be split into groups to
protest over consecutive days, according to the faculty association’s website. Though class time and money would be lost if faculty choose to strike, they would be taking a stance on something that is more important, CFA communications specialist Brian Ferguson said. “Our position has always been, we don’t want to strike, but we will if we have to,” Ferguson said. “We’d much rather be in the classrooms working with students and teaching, than out on the picket-lines, but we think this is … something we have to do.” Despite the possible interruption, the union has received a lot of support for the proposed strike so far, Ferguson said. “What we’re seeing from the faculty is they’re very upset about what’s going on on campus,” Ferguson said. “The question of priorities has really encouraged faculty to come out in great numbers in support.” Priorities in debate One such priority comes in the form of lecturer contracts. Lecturers in the CSU system are traditionally signed on for a three-year period and are chosen by members in the department. Reed has proposed that those three-year contracts be reduced to one-year contracts, to be reviewed not by the department, but by the campus president to preserve
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 lecturer quality. This could lead to already employed lecturers being fired and asked to re-apply under the new regulations for less pay, as happened at Northwestern University in February, Thorncroft said. “It’s a classic corporate America strategy that I wish would not touch us,” Thorncroft said. Cal Poly English professor Johanna Rubba said changes to lecturer contracts are one of the negative parts of Reed’s proposals, because it will decrease the stability of the department. She said it will also create unnecessary time burdens upon campus presidents. “The president isn’t going to have the time to review all that — he’s busy enough as it is,” Rubba said. “They’re going to hire more administrators to do that, and who knows if those people will have any idea of what the department does.” Another topic of debate during the 22-month bargaining between the CFA and the CSU are increases in executive compensation for campus presidents. San Diego State University (SDSU) President Elliot Hirshman receives $350,000 annually, plus a $50,000 stipend from the SDSU Foundation, making him the highest paid executive in the CSU system, according to a CSU executive compensation fact sheet. Cal Poly’s own Jeffrey Armstrong was also making headlines upon his appointment as president in 2011. At that time, Armstrong became the second-highest paid CSU executive in the system — his base salary is $350,000 a year, plus $30,000 from the Cal Poly Foundation, according to the fact sheet.
The discrepancies between increasing executive compensation and faculty salaries, which have remained the same since 2007, are creating tension between administration and faculty, Rubba said. “It should be, you know, we’re all in this together,” Rubba said. “But the Chancellor is kind of drawing this line between the higher executives and the rest of the university, saying they are somehow privileged and higher than us.” Comparing presidential salaries to current faculty salaries is like comparing apples to oranges though, CSU media specialist Erik Fallis said. “If you have a sitting executive — someone who has been in their position since 2007 — they have not received an increase,” Fallis said. “New hiring decisions are a different point than faculty who are already hired.” And contrary to popular opinion, faculty have received pay raises in those years, Fallis said. “Faculty actually have received increases of about $60 million between ‘08 and 2010,” Fallis said. “That’s pretty significant.” This includes promotional increases such as an associate professor being promoted to professor, as well as equity raises in which lower-paid faculty individuals were paid more to bring them up to the department standard, Fallis said. Thorncroft said though there was some money that could have gone to faculty for equity raises and promotions, since the state pulled funding from CSUs, it has not gone where it needed to: toward cost of living increases and more tenuretrack hirings.
from technology specialists who would have to change computer software to athletics programs who would have different calendars for how students’ academic calendars sync with athletic ones. “I’ve seen these processes go really, really well, and I’ve seen them go poorly,” Enz Finken said. “It’s all about planning.” Though there is what Armstrong calls a “soft mandate,” to make the change to semesters, he said he still wants to solicit student input on the decision. Students, he said, tend to be in favor of quarters, whereas faculty and staff are split on the issue. Biological sciences junior Kristy Liu said she thinks Cal Poly works better on quarters because of it’s fastpaced environment. “Being in a quarter system might be better,” she said. “I like it because if you don’t like a class, you’re out of that class sooner.” Though she said semesters might be less stressful than 10-week quarters, like many
continued from page 1
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Recently-hired provost Kathleen Enz Finken has experience with transitioning from quarters to semesters. When she taught at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, Enz Finken saw the school change as part of a larger movement in the state’s colleges. Like Armstrong, she is a proponent of the semester system and said she believes it would bring a positive change to Cal Poly. “In my experience, the semester system, for me, was definitely preferable,” she said. “It’s harder for me to understand what specifically about Cal Poly would be different.” Enz Finken said it would, however, take years to turn Cal Poly around and reorient all of their systems to fit with semesters. She said the change would affect everyone
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What we’re seeing from the faculty is they’re very upset about what’s going on on campus. BRIAN FERGUSON CFA COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
Mediation and beyond To aid the CSU and faculty association in reaching an agreement, both groups have agreed to go into mediation, Fallis said. As a part of the mediation process, the two groups are currently gathering all of the relevant information to support their decisions and will present their findings to a panel made of outside parties, Fallis said. From there, the panel will issue a report, which the CSU and faculty association could then choose to support or refuse. “It’s a complicated process,” Fallis said. “Negotiations always are.” Because this process hasn’t been completed, the association doesn’t have the ability to strike as of yet, Fallis said. “It’s really premature right now — the faculty union can’t legally strike,” Fallis said. “It really presumes failure on the part of the CFA. Where the CSU might be approaching this from getting a report done, the CFA seems to be presuming failure.” Whether or not it is presuming failure, the faculty association will continue with the strike vote. Until a decision has been made, the effect a strike would have on Cal Poly will remain unknown, Cal Poly Provost Kathleen Enz Finken said.
“It depends on what the decision is, on what they decide,” Enz Finken said. “Until there is more clarity on what they are planning, we really don’t know.” Faculty have a difficult decision ahead of them though, she said. “Faculty on a campus such as this, they don’t want to short-change students,” Enz Finken said. “That’s not what they are here for. But you get to a certain point where you are kind of pushed against a wall. People are frustrated, salaries are not good (and) they’re working hard.” Faculty must also factor in not being paid for the days they strike, Finken said. “Since the salary issue is already troubling, and there’s plenty of people who are not in a good place financially, that would be another reduction in their pay,” Finken said. “I can’t answer for faculty, but I think for many of them, it’s a struggle to have to be put into this position and make those kind of decisions.” Strike voting will continue until Friday. Only CFA members are eligible to vote, though faculty can sign up for membership at the Cal Poly chapter office in the Mathematics and Science building, room 141. Votes can be submitted both electronically and to the CFA office between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
students on campus, she plans to graduate by the time a change could be made. “If it were to happen, it’d probably be after I graduate,” Liu said. “So it doesn’t really affect me.” Faculty, on the other hand, seem to be split on the issue. Glen Thorncroft, a mechanical engineering professor and president of the California Faculty Association chapter at Cal Poly, said professors in more technical majors tend to prefer quarters; those in non-technical departments, he said, are more likely to support converting to semesters. Thorncroft himself is an adamant proponent of quarters. After Tuesday’s Academic Senate meeting, he said he was sorely disappointed in Armstrong “resigning to semesters” like the rest of the CSU. “I think when you really add up all the advantages of both systems, the quarter system produces a better product and a unique product for Cal Poly,” Thorncroft said. “I think semesters is the vanilla solution.
Trying to be like everyone else isn’t the answer. When you’re No. 1, you don’t turn around very often to see who’s chasing you. I’m sorry, but that’s where I stand on it.” But Armstrong said if there ever was a time to make the change, he wants to start planning for it now. The committee he is co-chairing will provide funding to help with the transition, and he said he wants to get feedback from the students before CSU Chancellor Charles Reed makes a final decision on if the quarter-calendar schools will need to convert. “It’s controversial because many people believe it’s really part of our uniqueness, part of our mystique,” Armstrong said. “Certainly it’s a part of it. I believe the greatness and uniqueness at Cal Poly runs much deeper than that and is more complicated just the fact we’re on quarters. Certainly we need to talk about it, we need to discuss the pros and cons of quarters and semesters. But we need to make a decision and move on.”
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
WORD ON THE STREET Do you worry about mad cow disease?
“No. I like beef a lot.” • Alex Kost mechanical engineering freshman
“I don’t worry about it because there are other things to worry about.” • Alison Sunahara recreation, parks and tourism administration junior
“Not really. I don’t eat that much red meat.” • Stacy Stapleton special education graduate student
“I wasn’t worried until now.” • Nick Levy mechanical engineering freshman
Mad cow found in US PAUL ROGERS
San Jose Mercury News
In a move that could raise new questions about food safety and result in economic setbacks to California’s multibillion-dollar agricultural industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday confirmed that a case of mad cow disease has been found in a dairy cow in California’s Central Valley. The incident is the first case of the disease ever found in California — and the first detected in the United States since 2006. John Clifford, the USDA’s chief veterinary officer, said the cow was detected at a rendering plant, where the animal is now being held as part of an investigation. The USDA did not release the name of the farm the cow was from or the name of the rendering plant. The public is not at risk, he said. “It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health,” Clifford said. The Associated Press reported Tuesday afternoon that the cow tested positive at a rendering facility in Hanford, 15 miles west of Visalia in Kings County, operated by Baker Commodities. The company has 21 plants across the United States that convert animal by-products into pet food, poultry feed and tallow, used in soaps, paints and cosmetics. The company advertises that it provides “dead stock removal” for dairy cows and cattle. Mad cow disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, is a progressive brain disease that is always fatal in cattle. The disease can be transmitted to humans through eating
meat tainted with infected brain or nerve tissue of an infected animal. It is not transmitted through consumption of milk, the USDA reiterated on Tuesday. The human form, known as variant CreutzfeldtJakob disease, is rare but can be fatal. After a dairy cow in Washington state was diagnosed with mad cow disease in 2003, it devastated the U.S. beef industry. Dozens of countries refused to import U.S. beef, and U.S. beef shipments plunged 82 percent. When the disease swept across Britain’s farms in the 1980s and ‘90s, an estimated 3.7 million animals were slaughtered. The disease was linked to the deaths of 180,000 cattle and roughly 150 people. A case in Canada in 2003 also caused cattle futures in that country to tumble — as did stock prices of McDonald’s and other fast-food chains that use beef. Numerous questions remained unanswered Tuesday, including where the cow came from, how it got the disease, whether other animals in the herd might be infected and whether any meat from them has been sold for public consumption. California agriculture officials issued a statement Tuesday saying the discovery of the animal is an indication of the success of the state’s food safety system. “The detection of BSE shows that the surveillance program in place in California and around the country is working,” said Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. “Milk and beef remain safe to consume. The disease is not transmitted through milk,” Ross added. “Because of the strength of the food protec-
tion system, the cow did not enter the food or feed supply. There are numerous safeguards in place to prevent BSE from entering the food chain.” But critics said the incident shows shortcomings in food safety regulations. “For years, Consumers Union has been trying to get the USDA to test more cows each year. Since the Bush administration, the number of cows tested each year has diminished,” said Elisa Odabashian, director of the West Coast office of Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. “Only 40,000 cows a year — of millions of millions slaughtered — are tested,” she said. “We don’t know if this is an isolated, unusual event — or if they are not finding it because they are not looking. There very well may be more beef that has this disease. Our monitoring program is tiny.” In 1989, the United States began prohibiting imports of animals such as cattle, sheep
and goats from countries that have cases of BSE. Animal feed and beef-based products were also banned. In 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the practice of adding slaughterhouse scraps to animal feed. Until then, the U.S. agricultural industry, like Britain’s, recycled animal scraps by turning them into cattle feed and fertilizer. This process, known as animal recycling, causes a lowlevel infection to become dramatically amplified. In England and other countries, spread of the disease in cattle has occurred when cattle ate feed containing infected tissue and bone meal. U.S. ranchers now feed their cattle an alternative type of supplement, based on soybased proteins and cotton seed meal. The USDA said Tuesday that samples from the California animal were tested at a USDA lab in Ames, Iowa. USDA scientists are sharing the results with scientists in
England and Canada. USDA researchers also will be conducting an extensive investigation in California with state veterinarians. The form of the disease detected “is a very rare form not associated with an animal consuming infected feed,” Ross said. “CDFA veterinarians are working with the USDA to investigate this case and to identify whether additional cows are at risk,” she said. “Feed restrictions in place in California and around the country for the last 15 years minimize that risk to the greatest degree possible.” There have been three confirmed cases in the past decade of variant CreutzfeldtJakob disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All three people had lived in England or Saudi Arabia, where the CDC says it is likely they became infected. One died in 2004, one died in 2006, and one was still alive as of December 2010.
UNITED KINGDOM —
Aided by a rapid decline in the state’s inmate population, California prison officials are proposing a dramatic change in the way they do business and moving to take control of the system back from the federal courts. In a plan announced Monday to close one prison, revamp others and scrap most of a $6 billion prison construction plan, officials say they will save the state billions of dollars in coming years. “It’s a massive change,” Matthew Cate, secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said at a Capitol news conference.
In the first criminal charges to emerge from the federal probe of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a former engineer for BP was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of intentionally destroying evidence requested by federal authorities who were investigating the April 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform. Kurt Mix, 50, of Katy, Texas, was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court’s Eastern District of Louisiana and unsealed Tuesday. The charges cover actions Mix allegedly took after the April 20 explosion, during the period when BP tried its failed “top kill” effort.
The media empire of Rupert Murdoch possibly had inappropriate contacts with leading British politicians when Murdoch’s giant News Corp. was mounting a takeover bid of broadcaster BSkyB, according to evidence placed before a judge Tuesday. News Corp. executives, including Murdoch’s son James, were in regular communication with the office of Jeremy Hunt, the government minister in charge of deciding whether the bid to buy BSkyB was legal. According to evidence presented by the lead lawyer in a judge-led inquiry into media ethics, Hunt’s office passed on tidbits and comments by Hunt to News Corp.
‘Mein Kampf’ to be reprinted in Germany KLAUS TSCHARNKE
Local authorities in Germany are to reprint “Mein Kampf,” Adolf Hitler’s hate tract, for the first time since his death in 1945. Tuesday’s decision by the state of Bavaria, which controls the copyright, means the book will be available again in three years, when its German copyright expires, but with content warnings throughout. It follows years of agonized debate about whether Germans remain susceptible to Nazi ideology and how to stop it reviving. The book is available in many other countries.
After meeting anti-Nazi activists in Nuremberg, the city that once hosted Nazi Party rallies, Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder said a complete edition, with annotations throughout by historians warning against Hitler’s errors, would help demystify the book. A separate edition for schools also would be issued, with historians already at work writing the commentary. “In all the editions, we want to make clear what nonsense the book contains as well as its fatal consequences,” Soeder said. Bavaria will fund scholars to analyze Hitler’s speeches to the Nazi Party rallies in Nuremberg
to see how he recycled his ideas. Hitler published ‘’Mein Kampf’’ in two volumes, in 1925 and 1926, seven years before he was elected German leader in 1933. The book set out race theories, claiming the Germans were superior Aryans, whereas Jews and others were inferior. Nearly 10 million copies were printed in the Nazi period. A free copy was given to every German couple when they got married. Bavaria took over all of Hitler’s assets, including his copyrights, after his 1945 suicide. It has since blocked all attempts to republish his writings.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
J.J. JENKINS/MUSTANG DAILY
A Mustang Daily reporter shares his experiences at his first ever Coachella. J.J. JENKINS
We buzzed along a blank stretch of highway in Palm Springs, Calif., as the tires of our Subaru hummed against the asphalt. And to us, it was music. Something about it being 2 a.m. on Monday, or the previous three days we spent at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, brought out a sixth sense that transformed any persistent sound into a melody. Less than three days earlier, a group of four friends and I pulled into a vast parking lot with the 100-degree heat beating down mercilessly and proceeded to put on absurd amounts of sunscreen. Getting sunburned on day three would be bad enough, but dealing with it after day one would have been unthinkable. We took a quick shuttle
ride to the venue, wound through various gates and passed through two layers of full pat-down security, where I got more action than I have all year. Finally, I stuck out my right arm with an accompanying wristband. A machine beeped as it registered the computer chip housed inside, and I stepped into the venue, officially losing my Coachella virginity. The selling point on the not-so-cheap tickets for me was that The Black Keys were headlining, but with hours left until their 10 p.m. performance, we scoped out underthe-radar groups within the three tented venues in a feeble attempt to stave off the heat. Luckily, we were rewarded with catching Gary Clark Jr. whip off riff after incredible riff in the best feat of guitar skill I witnessed all weekend. He didn’t say a word other than his soulful lyrics, and he stood onstage in a tank top, beanie and aviator sunglasses that concealed his closed eyes. Before he concluded with his signature “Bright Lights,” the tent was rife with the rumor he was simply a Jimi Hendrix hologram — more on that later. Soon after, on the main stage the Arctic Monkeys played
as the sunset began to unveil a famed purple sky that still defies belief. Frank Ocean brought heat back to the night as he packed one of the tents full of swooning would-be lovers, but eventually, the time was upon us to head back to the main stage to get close to the front for The Black Keys. I didn’t realize it before I got to Coachella, but there are literally tens of thousands of people at almost every performance, and once you get to the nighttime headliners, the once-empty expanse that stretches out from the main stage is swarmed with people. I wasn’t going to be stuck watching a screen for my favorite band of all time, so we worked our way as far forward as we could. With about 15 people directly in front of me, we hit what might as well have been a brick wall, but the view was as good as it gets, especially when there are more than 50,000 people behind you. I won’t go through their set song-by-song here (if you come talk to me, I am more than willing to oblige), but I will say that when Dan Auerbach, the master of subtlety, said he wanted someone to help them play a song to honor The Band’s Levon Helm,
PHOTO COURTESY OF NICK LARSON
Jenkins recounts his feelings when John Fogerty (left) walked onstage to join The Black Keys: “In what was only the sweetest moment of my short life, the now trio jammed through ‘The Weight.’” who passed away the day before, my jaw dropped. I had seen The Black Keys three times before, going back to 2008 when they opened for My Morning Jacket at Red Rocks in Colorado, and the duo had never brought a guest onstage. But this was Coachella. And then John Fogerty walked on stage. In what was only the sweetest moment of my short life, the now trio jammed through “The Weight.” “Take a load off Anny, and put the load right on me,” echoed through my head as I set it down on my pillow and drifted off to sleep in a cramped motel that night. While Saturday was filled with star performances from classics such as Radiohead and groups that will probably go on to define an era such as Bon Iver, a slender comedian-turned-rapper by the name of Childish Gambino stole the show. Watching from the second row, which was as close as we got to the main stage all week, Donald Glover’s alterego adopted an almost-crazed persona that guided his way through an entertaining set that included some freestyle, Fire Fly and Bonfire. While Gambino was intended to be the funniest and most
light-hearted rap show of the festival, that honor went to A$AP Rocky who performed to conclude the day. Not only did he have about 20 other people, who I can only assume are his friends, on the stage to dance aimlessly around, but he greeted the crowd by saying, “Where are my purple people at?” I’m not sure it made any sense (neither did his references to “purple swag”), but A$AP Rocky is the only person on earth who would OK a shirt that says, “I be a pretty motherfucker.” My roommate may have been the only person who bought one. Day three of Coachella kicked off in earnest as I poured water over my head for the final time while we waited for The Weeknd to take the outdoor stage as the sun dipped behind the desolate mountains. The only way I can describe The Weeknd is that he rips your soul out and breaks it into a million pieces. Girls literally wept in the front row. Luckily, the electric-dance group Justice was there to pick up the pieces, give my soul a much-needed pep talk and assure me I would never be alone again. And, to the cute girl from Scripps College I put on my shoulders for the
song, I apologize for not getting your number, so if you’re reading this, I owe you lunch. The last day of the festival was different from the rest — it felt like everyone was sad to see it end while simultaneously eager to see if Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg would bring back Tupac, maybe for real this time. And the two didn’t fall short of expectations. A star-studded cast of characters from Wiz Khalifa to Eminem rapped alongside Snoop, who puffed on the fattest blunt I have ever seen, and essentially turned the clock back to the ‘90s with classic gangster rap. As for the Tupac hologram, it was both impressive and underwhelming. The graphics were extraordinary, especially the animation that appeared on the screens next to the stage, but it was nowhere near “real” enough for me to be sincerely weirded out. The duo exited the stage by being lowered beneath it, as we left the venue for good. Post-Coachella depression, which I guarantee you is real, began to set it. Only the pact we made to stash away a couple dollars a day in order to continue returning to the festival in the desert helped overcome my malaise. But for now, all that’s left is a wristband I refuse to take off.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Mixing social networking and politics Erik Hansen is a graduate student pursuing a masters in public policy and Mustang Daily graduate columnist. By many accounts, the political season leading up to the November 2012 election will be nasty. And while everyone ought to care about who represents them at local, state and national level, it can be tough forming a rational political opinion and deciphering signals with so much noise surrounding us in the media. For those whose core values skew them in one of the two (traditional) partisan directions, this is great, as they are provided with a multitude of entertainment options. Many on the left can comfort themselves by watching MSNBC and reading The New York Times, and many on the right can reaffirm their beliefs by watching Fox News and reading the Wall Street Journal. Those in the middle — or with an independent streak — have a few options too. However, most of these options require more effort than just turning on the television or reading a blog. This can include attempting to coalesce arguments from the left and right to arrive at a hybrid or alternative opinion or scouring for institutional data sources from
which to derive an opinion based on empirical evidence. Either way, unfortunately, tuning out most media outlets is probably a sure way of cutting the crap out of one’s life. However, after canceling your cable television subscription and ending your monthly donation to NPR, you log in to Facebook only to see a “friend” post “Jesus wants everyone to vote conservative!” Or, “I want to give birth to Barack Obama’s lovechild!” Psh, whatever. The Pew Internet & American Life Project released a report in March titled “Social Networking Sites and Politics.” The report discusses its findings after running a survey of those who utilize social networking sites, their use of social networking sites to relay a political message and their reactions to their friends’ political messages on social networking sites. Some of the findings from the report were interesting or surprising, with a few of those findings summarized below. The Users Approximately 80 percent of adults in the United States use the Internet, and of this 80 percent, 66 percent participate in at least one social networking site — or SNS — such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Bro-
ken down by ideology: • 74 percent of liberal Internet users participate in at least one SNS • 70 percent of moderate Internet users participate in at least one SNS • 60 percent of conservative Internet users participate in at least one SNS Discovering the Unexpected Approximately 38 percent of all SNS participants learned someone’s political beliefs were different than what they had originally thought, based on something that person posted on a SNS. Again, broken down by ideology, those who identify as liberal, very liberal and very conservative were most likely to have discovered through their friends’ postings their political beliefs were different than what they had originally thought: • 54 percent of very liberal SNS participants had made this discovery • 52 percent of liberal SNS participants had made this discovery • 52 percent of very conservative SNS participants had made this discovery Conservative and moderate participants, however, reported results in the low 30s.
See Ya Later Approximately 82 percent of all SNS participants have never taken action against someone who they disagree with politically, or who litters their wall and/or newsfeed with politically based rants. However, this means 18 percent of SNS participants have taken some form of action. Whether it was to block, unfriend or “hide” someone, of all SNS participants: • 10 percent have taken action because someone posted too frequently about political subjects • 9 percent have taken action because someone posted something about politics or issues they disagreed with or found offensive • 8 percent have taken action because someone argued about political issues on the site with the users • 5 percent have taken action because someone posted something about politics the user worried would offend other friends • 4 percent have taken action because someone disagreed with something the user posted about politics. In addition, there is a fairly pronounced divide by ideology in who would take action; approximately 28 percent of
liberal SNS participants have blocked, unfriended or hidden someone for one of the above reasons. This compared to 16 percent of conservative SNS participants and 14 percent of moderate SNS participants. Of those that got the boot: • 67 percent were a distant friend or acquaintance of the SNS participant; • 31 percent were someone that the SNS participant had never met in person; • 31 percent were a close personal friend of the SNS participant (lulz); • 21 percent were coworker of the SNS participant; and • 18 percent were a member of the SNS participant’s family (double lulz). Keeping It to Yourself Interestingly, those who identify themselves on the left or right of the political spectrum
were the most likely to “selfcensor,” or make a conscience effort to not make a politically based post on a SNS. Respectively, 29 and 30 percent of very liberal and liberal SNS participants and 27 and 24 percent of very conservative and conservative SNS participants, self-censor. This compared to only 18 percent of moderate SNS participants. As things really begin to heat up in the later part of the year, it can be expected that you will be increasingly bombarded by all kinds of political messages in the media, including social media. While you can choose to turn off the television or talk radio, and put down the magazine or newspaper, many rely on at least one SNS to communicate with friends and family on a daily basis. As your Facebook wall and newsfeed fill up with others’ opinions, what will you do?
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 Volume LXXVI, Number 111 ©2012 Mustang Daily
“I thought we were all out of Sigma Phi somethings.”
Then why do you use hash tags if you hate them? You’re just like Katie Morrow. You won’t take a stand on anything. — Jeff
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Thank you for insulting half the population of this country by saying that since they are conservatives, they are inferior to you, a liberal, who is more intelligent. In other places, this is called Nazism, one people being superior to others. — sam
the aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis, it is that high oil prices lead to technological solutions, reducing the dependence on oil at a global level (e.g., conservation, development of alternative energy sources, opening of new oil reserves). In some buildings, you can still see “turn off the lights when leaving” signs from those days. As a result, some OPEC members have been concerned about high oil prices prompting conservation and development of alternative energy sources. Following this logic, the market likely holds a ceiling for U.S. gas prices. According to current estimates, if the average price of gas breaks the $5 barrier at the pump, cars powered by hybrid engines and alternative fuel sources would become less expensive to buy and operate than those powered by internal combustion engines. Thus, one can argue that it is in OPEC’s interest to keep the price of gasoline below $5 a gallon. The technology is available, increased demand for the technology would make it more accessible. One would expect OPEC to act accordingly.
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The argument for increasing oil production in the United States to decrease gas prices at the pump has sparked passionate debate, but it undervalues the influence of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. In recent years, OPEC has shown an ability to manipulate the price of oil around the world, making it unlikely for an increase in U.S. oil production to reduce gas prices. However, this unfortunate fact has a silver lining: OPEC’s need to sustain its market base and hold off the alternative energy industry is likely to keep oil prices from skyrocketing. Two factors tend to be ignored in the discussion on gas pricing. First, oil markets do not behave as other commodity markets do, such as corn or soybeans. The world market for oil uniquely involves the OPEC cartel controlling the world supply of oil and thus controlling the price of oil by increasing or decreasing production. (During internal quota negotiations in 2008, OPEC members clashed on whether to adjust production to increase prices or just to sustain the price. Subsequently, and consistent with its historical policy, Saudi Arabia vowed to ignore the quotas in order to stabilize the price.) Second, it is difficult to imagine U.S. political support for imposing an export control system to prevent the oil produced domestically from being sold abroad (e.g., nationalization of oil extraction, a tax — or retention — on oil exports or a legal embargo to the world). Now, consider this pair of scenarios: (1) The U.S. buys less oil from abroad; as a result, OPEC would cut production and increase prices again (that’s what cartels do). (2) The U.S. increases oil production to the extent that it stops buying oil abroad; OPEC would cut production and keep the world price high. In both cases, U.S. consumers would end up paying the OPEC price because U.S. producers (in the absence of trade restriction that would cre-
ate an isolated market) will export at the higher OPEC price instead of at the lower U.S. price. It should be remembered that in 2011, the U.S. became a net exporter of petroleum products — and that this development contributed to higher prices at the pump. This is more evidence of a global market where OPEC-controlled oil prices have a direct impact on U.S. gas prices: U.S. companies find it more profitable to sell the additional production abroad, at prices driven up by OPEC, than to bring the U.S. price down by selling domestically. Again, the only quick solution — nationalizing oil production or imposing trade restrictions — would be unacceptable in a free-market system. While this may seem dire for U.S. consumers, it does not mean that OPEC holds all the cards. As a Saudi oil minister said in 1973: “The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.” In other words, the Saudis understand supply and demand and the historical evolution of technology. If something was learned from
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Rafael Corredoira is an assistant professor of management and organization at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. He wrote this for the Baltimore Sun.
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the conservative voice, as if it were some putrid bi-product of democracy. Liberals such as Mr. Bloom pride themselves on being the “open-minded” ones, but cling to any ridiculous pseudo-scientific study that proves they are intellectually superior to others and discounts the credibility of their opponents. It seems to be pretty clear that Bloom “extrapolates to the extremist platitudes which breed prejudice” — not conservatives. Treating those with opposing viewpoints as if they were intellectually inferior is tantamount to racism. Beyond all the “fluff,” Mr. Bloom’s article is a sad misconception of the truth and a rejection of Cal Poly’s core values.
No quick solution for gas prices
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(and have not submitted to the increasing “moral relativism” around them)? Studies from the Pew Research Center show that Republicans are happier than Democrats. And while financial success is one factor, it surely is not the only one. Marriage, family and religious activity are all major determinants of happiness. Ultimately, Mr. Bloom deals with conservatism as if it were a disease — something to be despised along with those who advocate such views. Whether he means it or not, he clearly expresses a desire to shut out the “grating voice of conservatism” from today’s political dialogue. The only alternative he provides is that of childishly ignoring
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End of story. To use a phrase such as “clinically misguided” to generalize the conservative worldview seems a bit much, even for someone who finds excessive comfort in his pocket thesaurus. By this logic, only psychopaths work hard, believe in God and live prosperous lives. Really, Mr. Bloom? Could it possibly be that certain Americans are financially successful because they work hard and are good at what they do? Or could it be that certain Americans don’t buy into the belief our world is based on “class struggle.” And could it possibly be certain Americans live more fulfilling lives because they have found comfort in their faith
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I usually don’t spend time responding to my liberal colleague’s articles, but I believe the last one merited my attention. I write to you all today as a victim of the prejudice expressed in Mr. Andrew Bloom’s latest piece about “conservative intelligence.” I write with the hope that bleeding heart liberals will flock to my aid as the latest victim of discrimination in our unjust society. Hello? Jesse Jackson? President Obama? Gloria Steinem? You there? Oh well. It was worth a try. Obviously, I would never classify Mr. Bloom as a bigot. But to use skewed, manipulated research to degrade conservatives as “inferiors” (citing studies that appear to have popped out of the psych world’s loony bin) seems just a bit ridiculous. In fact, the studies Mr. Bloom mentions seem more fitting in the field of eugenics than psychology. Mr. Bloom quoted a report by “Psychological Science” that suggests a correlation between “the bottom 50 percent of yesterday’s children” with “the ingrained dogmatism of today’s social conservatives,” and argues that “lack of effortful, deliberate thought” somehow causes
an “endorsement of conservative ideology.” Mr. Bloom goes on to suggest that having a “religious” or “economic” worldview is “artificial” in nature, and that the conservative endorsement of capitalism is “curious.” Of course, the fate of many liberal college grads waiting in the unemployment lines could be due to the fact they reject the realities of capitalism (and hope for the next big socialist revolution). Anyone seen the photos and videos from Occupy protests? It’s also “curious” that the same liberals who cry for social justice perform less charity than conservatives. Arthur Brooks, author of “Who Really Cares,” discovered conservative households give 30 percent more to charity than liberal households. They also do more volunteer work and donate more blood than liberals. This must be part of their feeble-minded nature. As Mr. Bloom rightfully states, the world is complicated because it is constantly changing. Yet conservatives generally manage to stay on top (or at least, remain financially solvent). Why? Because they are able to adapt. While liberals often expect the world to conform to their idealistic views of economics, social justice and so on, conservatives confront reality and deal with it head-on.
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Brendan Pringle is an English senior and Mustang Daily conservative columnist.
Conservatives: Victims of left prejudice?
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Instead of commenting on a party that is still under investigation, would it not have been better to mention the $5,000 raised by Delta Sigma Phi for Aware, Awake, Alive one week ago? — Ozzie
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One year ago, he was traveling between classes in a wheelchair. Just prior to a fateful day in April 2011, he was running personal best times good enough for conference-qualifying standards and dreaming of someday turning pro. But for junior 100- and 200-meter sprinter Antwaine Miller, his season, his career and his life all changed in a snap — literally. Running at full speed halfway through the 100-meter dash at Cal Poly’s home track and field invitational, Miller felt a torturous pop in his left leg. The pain in his femur caused the sprinter to lose his balance mid-stride and dive to the ground where he landed directly on his right shoulder. In the aftermath of the fall, lying on the track and unknown to Miller, his left leg, continuing with his momentum, bent back upon itself, his femur snapped in two. His season was finished. “It was the lowest I’ve been ever,” Miller said of the days immediately following the injury. “It was one of the most depressing times for me. I define myself
as a runner, and not being able to run and not being able to walk was huge.” Miller didn’t know the extent of the injury to his femur directly following the tumble. The Cal Poly athletic training staff told Miller he needed to be transported to an emergency room immediately due to a dislocated shoulder — suffered during his plunge into the track’s synthetic rubber. Sophomore sprinter Jamison Jordan was in the lane next to Miller’s when he went down. “I heard a pop (coming from the lane next to mine),” Jordan said. “I had a feeling that he had fallen like he had tripped. I thought he could have just hurt his hamstring or it was just another common track injury, but I didn’t know how bad it was.” Doctors later told Miller the news of his femur, an injury they said was precipitated by the presence of a stress fracture in his femur sustained at an earlier date. “I just felt like asking ‘Why is this happening to me of all people? Why am I always the one to get hurt? Why do I have to go through something like this?’”
he said. The injury not only affected Miller’s psyche, but his teammates’ as well, especially his running partner Jordan. “He was having a great year, and to see something so catastrophic happen was devastating for everyone on the team,” Jordan said. But Miller didn’t dwell on his misfortune for long. His path to recovery started a month after his accident. With dedication and help from coaches, athletic trainers and family he made an astonishing improvement during the fall. Miller used a strict training regimen beginning with lowimpact strength exercises for his legs such as aquatic therapy and mimicked simple flexural motions to regain movement in his leg. He gradually began walking and was back on the track by the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, jogging his way to top form. Despite his rapid improvement off the track, on it Miller isn’t where he once was — he said he’s only 90 percent recovered from last April’s injury. For Miller, a self-proclaimed student of the sport, the experience has taught him one thing: not to take his love of track for granted. “I became more of an individual,” Miller said. “Before I was scared of the shame of losing, but now I can only do as best as I can. As long as I put in 100 percent everyday, then that’s what I can expect out of it.” Track and field head coach Mark Conover attests to Miller’s admiration of the sport and says that the sprinter’s comeback from injury exemplifies the innate competitiveness he brings to the track. “When you’re out for a while it really tests your ability to have patience, and I think he’s learned a lot about how important sport is in his life,” Conover said. “You grow from that.” Miller recently competed in the 100-meter dash at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif., and earned a finishing time of 11.05 seconds, well off his personal best of 10.64 seconds run the month before his injury. While his times may not clock in where he wants them yet, Miller believes with patience and training he’ll regain the form necessary to help the Mustangs vie for a Big West Championship. In time, he hopes to turn pro and bring pride to his mother and the rest of his family, similar to what his half brother — NFL retiree Warrick Dunn — did when he was drafted to play professional football. As for now, Miller said he is just thankful he was able to turn in his wheelchair for one of his most beloved items of clothing: track spikes.