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What is the best or worst family vacation you have ever been on?

thebattalion ● tuesday,

july 7, 2009

● serving

texas a&m since 1893

● first paper free – additional copies $1 ● © 2009 student media

Elizabeth Yang junior political science major

“Me and a group of friends went camping at Lake Bryan over the winter. We didn’t bring sleeping bags. Got in trouble for building a bonfire. It was pretty epic. Apparently there was a burn ban that we didn’t know about. We stayed up until like 6 in the morning, so that was fun.”

Santosh Nazare sophomore public health major

“Once we went to my grandpa’s place, in rural India. We went with all my family members. There was a huge rural spring festival. I’d never seen anything like that in my city area.”

Selyna Nunez senior bioenvironmental sciences major


Drought strikes College Station missing summer lightning Meagan O’Toole-Pitts

“In the Bahamas. Just enjoying the scenery. The beach. The white sand. I went with a friend and her family. We went sailing around to the different islands.”

Drew Wendeborn senior spatial sciences major “My best family vacation would have to be to Alaska. Part of my family lives there. We went halibut fishing. It was fun. We parked the boat on an island and had a fire on the beach.”

Satoshi Kamata wildlife and fisheries sciences graduate student

Hispanic studies prepares trailblazer ■ First doctorate degree recipient supports program, University

“The best one is when I was a small kid I went to my grandparents’ house in northern Japan. It’s a very grand place. I caught a cicada and beetles and put them in a small cage and fed them watermelons. We had handmade syrup and we watched fireworks.”

Cathrin DiFilippo freshman biology major

“When I went to Colorado with my whole family. We were all really nice to each other. We drove 15 hours to Colorado Springs. We went skiing.” Kalee Bumguardner and Stephen Fogg — THE BATTALION

Pg. 1-07.07.09.indd 1

The Battalion The drought has an upside — less lightning. Houston, the lightning capital of Texas, is struck about eight to 10 times per square kilometer per year, said National Weather Service lightning expert John Jensenius, and College Station is struck about eight times per square kilometer per year. The number of lightning strikes per year in College Station is much smaller than in Houston simply because of the city’s smaller size, he said. “With a geographic area of 1,558 square kilometers, the Houston area would have between about 12,500 and 15,580 cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in a typical year,” Jensenius said. “Of course, if you are simply counting the number of lightning strikes in a city area, then the geographic size of the city will largely influence the number of lightning strikes.” Ordinarily the College Station area sees an accelerated incidence of lightning in the summer, said atmospheric sciences professor and Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies director Richard Orville, but

Megan Clark The Battalion Since the first Hispanic Studies Ph.D. was awarded to Juan Carlos Ureña in 2008, more doctoral graduates are expected, said Alessandra Luiselli, associate professor and the recipient of the 2009 Texas A&M Women’s Progress Award. The graduate program was first conceived in 1997, developed from 1998 to 2003 and approved by the University and Board of Regents in 2004. The first students entered the graduate program in the fall of 2004. Ureña’s dissertation, “History and Poetic Structure of Hispanic Popular Song,” was introduced in April and Ureña graduated in August of 2008. Ureña is now an assistant professor at Stephen F. Austin University and plans to continue teaching Spanish and pursuing his career in music. “I think the completion of his degree has had a positive and beneficial impact on his employment See Degree on page 4

drought has inhibited thunderstorms. “As the temperature rises, we experience more lightning. Note as we go from January to the summer, the temperature rises and we have more thunderstorms. So we know the trend and why we have more lightning. It is a function of temperature and moisture,” Orville said. “But drought brings less lightning and less thunderstorms.” A recent change in the jet stream has caused hindrance of thunderstorms and consequently a drought, said Gary Huffines, University of Northern Colorado associate professor of meteorology and Texas A&M doctoral graduate. “Thunderstorm activity in the country has been shifting because of changes in the jet stream, so places like Colorado are seeing more thunderstorms than we are [in College Station]. We have a high pressure center along the coast here and that’s averting a lot of the storms away from us,” Huffines said. “That’s something that happens occasionally, some years the jet stream will change its position and that tends to be a long-term change. So our summers could be very wet or very dry, depending on which year.”

“With a geographic area of 1,558 square kilometers, the Houston area would have between about 12,500 and 15,580 cloud-to-ground lightning flashes in a typical year.” — John Jensenius National Weather Service lightning expert

See Lightning on page 4

Where on campus?

Stephen Fogg — THE BATTALION

Think you know every nook and cranny of Texas A&M? Test your campus know-how by e-mailing The Battalion and telling us where you think this photo was taken. The first people to get the answers correct will have their names published. Send your response with your name, class and major to

Monday’s answer: Bright Complex

Correct responses: Victor Vega, Class of 2006 Christina Lassen, senior mechanical engineering major J. Clayton Riley, senior interdisciplinary studies major Ralph Segars, infared thermographer, TAMU Physical Plant

Petroleum engineers cited for excellence ■ SPE earns international award for service to students Alex Worsham The Battalion The Texas A&M chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE, has been named the 2009 Outstanding Student Chapter for the North American region. The chapter will be recognized on Oct. 4 at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, La. “The award is given basically on what the chapter has done in charity work, and finding jobs and internships for students,” said graduate petroleum engineering student and SPE graduate student representative Arash Hagshenas. Before the award was distributed continentally, the Texas A&M SPE chapter received the global award. “It’s a huge deal to be recognized, and I think we’ve pretty much won it every other year for the past while,” said senior petroleum engineering major and SPE secretary Jeanna Easley. Chapter members were honored to have won the award again, See Award on page 4

7/6/09 10:40 PM


Today Mostly cloudy High: 94 Low: 75 30% chance of rain

thebattalion 7.7.2009

Palin resigns as governor

China arrests 1,434 URUMQI, China — China’s state news agency says police have arrested 1,434 suspects in connection with the worst ethnic violence in decades in the western Xinjiang region, which killed at least 156 people. In Urumqui, where the riots took place Sunday, hundreds of paramilitary police with shields, rifles and clubs have taken control of the streets. The unrest began after 1,000 to 3,000 protesters gathered at the People’s Square and protested the June 25 deaths of Uighur factory workers killed in a riot in southern China.

how to apply If you are interested in writing or contributing content in The Battalion apply online at thebatt. com, or come by The Grove, 845-3313.

JUNEAU, Alaska — Outgoing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday laid the groundwork to take on a larger, national role after leaving state government, citing a “higher calling” with the aim of uniting the country along conservative lines. Palin’s lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, said that she believes that the hostile political climate and legal bills have become too much of a distraction for the state. “I think she believes it’s in the best interest of the state for her to move on to other issues,” Flein said. Associated Press

The Battalion welcomes any Texas A&M student interested in writing for the arts, campus, metro or sports staffs to try out. We particularly encourage freshmen and sophomores to apply, but students may try out regardless of semester standing or major. No previous journalism experience is necessary. Check us out on, Facebook

Wily Armstrong jumps to 3rd at Tour de France

Summer studio

Associated Press

Teaching awards honor faculty The Texas A&M University System awarded $507,000 to outstanding faculty throughout the system in the second presentation of the Teaching Excellence Awards, a voluntary, studentselected honors program launched last fall. The program was initiated by Chancellor Michael D. McKinney in 2008 to honor and financially reward the system’s top teachers as selected by students.

Stephen Fogg — THE BATTALION

Senior environmental design major Elizabeth Miller works on her final architecture studio project Monday afternoon in the Langford Architecture Center. Each semester environmental design majors are required to take a studio class in order to gain experience in their field of study.

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Kalee Bumguardner, Editor in Chief Mattie Williamson, Managing Editor Meagan O’Toole-Pitts, City Editor Jill Beathard, Lifestyles Editor Brett Sebastian, Sports Editor

Jason Staggs, Opinion Editor Karen Cruickshanks, Graphics Chief Christine Soriaga, Photo Chief

THE BATTALION (ISSN #1055-4726) is published daily, Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters and Monday through Thursday during the summer session (except University holidays and exam periods) at Texas A&M University. Periodicals Postage Paid at College Station, TX 77840. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Battalion, Texas A&M University, 1111 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-1111. News: The Battalion news department is managed by students at Texas A&M University in Student Media, a unit of the Division of Student Affairs. News offices are in The Grove, Bldg. 8901. Newsroom phone: 979-845-3313; Fax: 979-845-2647; E-mail:; website: Advertising: Publication of advertising does not imply sponsorship or endorsement by The Battalion. For campus, local, and national display advertising, call 979-845-2696. For classified advertising, call 979-8450569. Advertising offices are in The Grove, Bldg. 8901, and office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Fax: 979-845-2678. Subscriptions: A part of the Student Services Fee entitles each Texas A&M student to pick up a single copy of The Battalion. First copy free, additional copies $1. Mail subscriptions are $125 per school year. To charge by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express, call 979845-2613.

Pg. 2-07.07.09.indd 1

Alberto Contador of Spain, the 2007 Tour winner and favorite this year. “Good positioning, experience, a little bit Armstrong of luck,” Armstrong said. “Just before that corner I was 20 guys back and I decided just that idea to move up enough to be on their wheel. And there it went. “Whenever you see a team lined up at the front like that, you have to pay attention,” he said. “You know what the wind’s doing, and you see that a turn’s coming up, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you have to go to the front.” But Contador didn’t. Nor did Levi Leipheimer of the United States or Cadel Evans of Australia or 2008 Tour champion Carlos Sastre of Spain. All lost 41 seconds to Cavendish, Armstrong and Cancellara. Armstrong said it was “not my objective” to gain ground on Contador, insisting he was “just trying to stay up front and out of trouble.” Associated Press


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LA GRANDE-MOTTE, France — If age is Lance Armstrong’s enemy, then experience is his friend. With a savvy sense of the pack and a touch of luck, the 37-year-old Texan surprised some of the younger Tour de France contenders Monday to move within striking distance of the yellow jersey. He made up for what his legs lack in power with road smarts during the breezy third stage along the Mediterranean, rising from 10th to third place. Armstrong hitched a ride with a breakaway group led by old sidekick George Hincapie’s Team Columbia. Mark Cavendish, a Columbia rider from Britain, won the stage for the second straight day. Race leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland kept the yellow jersey for a third day in a row. Most of the favorites were trapped by the wind during the 122-mile ride from Marseille to La Grande-Motte. Sensing the gusts were playing havoc ahead of a turn with about 18 miles to go, Armstrong simply stayed in front, outfoxing riders like

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“The Black Hole” in Bush Library: As part of the Classic Film Series, the Bush Library Foundation will play the 1979 science fiction movie “The Black Hole” at 7 p.m. Thursday in Auditorium B of the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center. The series is provided in conjunction with the “Beyond the Moon: NASA’s Continuing Mission” exhibit.


7.7.2009 page3

Like your favorite sandwich spread,

Strawberry Jam adds flavor to local music

Hear Ye: |howdy, Session II’ers| |nice to have you here| |took long enough...| |these 10 songs rock| |and when i say rock| |i mean ROCK| |so get ready|

1.Led Zeppelin “Black Dog”

4LTVYPLZMHKL @LHYIVVRZ SHZ[H3PML[PTL Order your 2010 Aggieland yearbook (chronicling the 2009-2010 school year) when you register for fall classes. For info, call 979.845.2613 or go to http://

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Photos by Patrick Clayton— THE BATTALION

Strawberry Jam performs at The Corner Thursday.

each other, musically and personally. “We’ve figured out where we need to The Battalion go, and now we’re starting to go there,” The College Station-based, Aggie-popthe drummer said. ulated jam band Strawberry Jam plans to Strawberry Jam plays at least one show record an album in the fall. The guys in a week in the Bryan and College Station the band reference music groups Phish, Led area, but they also do shows in Austin and Zeppelin, Mideski and Herbie Hancock as Houston. No two shows are the same for some of their influences. this band. They play covers or originals, Strawberry Jam emerged in January bring in guest performers, encourage audi2008, and was officially formed in April ence participation, and sometimes structure the same year. Vocalist Andrew Bennett, shows around a theme. bassist Evan Tate and guitarist James Bobal With the new attitude, the band memplayed music together as freshmen at Texas bers have been striving to play more acA&M University. While Bennett studied curate renditions of cover songs. Instead of abroad during his sophomore year, Bobal throwing bits of a cover into a jam session, met multi-instrumentalist Zack Morgan they will play a cover and designate a segand drummer Matt Bongirno. ment within it for jamming. The shows go The band’s style is based around jamwith the flow of the crowd though, and ming, and each individual plays multiple they leave plenty of breathing room to iminstruments. Strawberry Jam began as a jam provise. For example, the band might ask band; the whole idea was to, as senior hissomeone in the crowd to shout out a key signature, and then they will jam in that key on the spot. “If we didn’t have an audience, we wouldn’t know what to play. The audience inspires us to play what we play; we are making art in front of people, for people. They are our inspiration, and it’s refreshing that we can do that for people, and it’s refreshing for us that they come back for more,” Morgan said. Since the jamming allows for longer performances many of the shows last up to four hours. “The entire point of art is to look for the next step — combining ideas together, trying to find something new,” said Tate, a graduate accouting student. “Strawberry Jam aims to present art that is relevant to people in an intangible way. Each of us, especially with improvisation, is looking to explore new methods or genres of art.” The band will begin recording a fulllength album in the fall and finish by DeBand members James Bobal, Andrew Bennett, Matt Bongirno, Evan Tate, Zack cember. It should be released by spring. Morgan sit in front of their flyers on Northgate. They do not have a title or a set number of

Clay Harley

and for goodness’ sake, turn up the volume

tory major Bennett put it, “just show up and throw down.” One of the things Strawberry Jam tries to provide through their music is an escape. “With the economy and everything going on, we want to give people an avenue of escape. We want to escape the doldrums of regular bands and do something different — from inception to creation to production,” said Bobal, Class of 2009. However, the members’ ideas about music have been changing. About a month ago, the guys started putting more effort into the band. Senior agricultural economics major Morgan recounted a revelation he had at a music festival in the Ozarks. When he saw that bands there put so much work into the music, he was inspired to take Strawberry Jam more seriously. Class of 2008 Bongirno said that it takes time for a band to develop a sound and style, and for the members to get to know

2.Big City Rock “Black Betty” |it’ll get you jacked up|

Upcoming shows Fitzwilly’s July 11 with Rio Tripiano & Lindsay Harris Revolution Cafe & Bar July 25 with Plump Summer Jazz show Aug. 1 with Condiment Sandwich First Friday Sept. 4 with Funkotron Find Strawberry Jam online on Myspace, Twitter and Facebook for information or to listen to the music. tracks for the album, but most of its songs will be composed, with specific sections for jamming. Each member has been in the studio individually, but they have not recorded together as Strawberry Jam. “When it comes to albums, you want to have chosen every note — each one should have a purpose. Personally, I hate the studio — it can take the joy out of what the band began as, because you want recordings to be a perfect representation of what the band is, and that can be hard and tedious,” Tate said. Studio recording will create a challenge for the group. “You have to put something solid down, so the music is more sterile in the studio than in live shows; you’re like a scientist in a laboratory,” Bongirno said. “I never like to play a song the same exact way twice.” The band remains true to their style of improvisation and experimentation. “The cradle of art is the exploration of the mysterious — we challenge ourselves to play stuff that’s different than we thought we could, and we bring the audience with us. We want our songs to be appreciated by musicians, and accessible to nonmusicians. Each of our original songs has some sort of interesting musical technicality,” Bennett said.

3.Edgar Winter Group “Frankenstein” |hard and heavy|

4.Weezer “Say It Ain’t So” |wait for it|

5.Brand New “Sowing Season” |a more depressing sort of rock|

6.Led Zeppelin “Since I’ve Been Loving You”

|zeppelin again| like that’s a surprise

7.Red Hot Chili Peppers “Suck My Kiss” |haha|

8.The Flaming Lips “Free Radicals” |sticking it to the man|

9.The Beatles “Helter Skelter” |think you can rock?| |have a listen| |and get back to me|

we all make mistakes

10.The Who “Won’t Get Fooled Again” |long, but worth it| |to hear the greatest 5 seconds in all of rock| |seriously|

you’ll know

Buy them.

 

|unless you can’t take it| pansy


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FOR RENT $295, 1-room in shared, furnished apartment. All bills paid. Short term leases o.k. Call agent Ardi 979-422-5660. $375, AVAILABLE NOW and pre-lease. 1/1, 2/1. Free Wi-Fi, On Northgate, on Shuttle. Short term leases ok. Call agent, Ardi. 979-422-5660. $800, PRE-LEASE, 2, 3, and 4 bdrm. houses near TAMU, pets ok. Call Agent Ardi 979-422-5660. 1,2,3&4 bedrooms available. B/CS Property Management. 1-3/bedroom apartments. Some with w/d, some near campus. $175-$600/mo. 979-696-2038. 1-MILE FROM CAMPUS, 3bd/3ba duplex, all appliances, $1175/mo 832-689-1984. 1-Roommate needed. 4bd/4bth $325/mo., washer/dryer. University Place on Southwest Parkway. 281-844-2090. 1bdrm near campus, on bus-route, coin-op W/D, available 7/4/09, $545/mo. +deposit, 979-255-2286. 2,3&4 bedroom houses w/yards. Great locations for students. Pets welcome. 979-492-3990. 2b/1b fourplex. 2000 Longmire in College Station. $475/month. Call 979-822-1616. 2bd/2ba 4-plex. Spacious floorplan, W/D connections, close to campus. $550/mo.,979776-6079. 3/2 duplex at Western Oaks, W/D, yardcare, spacious, available August, 713-854-2211. 3/2 Townhouses &Apartments, 1250sqft. Very spacious, ethernet, large kitchen, washer/dryer, walk-in pantry &closets, extra storage, great amenities, on bus route, excellent specials. 979-694-0320, 3/2/2, 2700 Normand Circle, College Station. $1250/mo. 979-822-1616. 3/3 duplex. All appliances, fenced yard, large living ares, yard maintenance, available August. 979-204-2644 or 3bd/2ba C.S. Huge duplex, fenced, shuttle route, w/d connection. Treehouse Trail, $995/mo. 979-268-1074. 3bd/2ba, 3703 Marielene, Rock Prairie, available August, $1200/mo., includes W/D, refrigerator and lawn service. 979-450-5666. 3bd/2ba. 1209 Milner. Wood floors, new bathrooms, fenced. 2 blocks from Texas Ave., across from TAMU golf course! $1400/mo. Available August. Call 832-215-1801 or 832-338-5397. 3bd/2ba. 512 Kyle St.- Wood Floors, 2 car garage, fenced. Walking/biking distance to TAMU! $1400/mo. Available August. Call 832-215-1801 or 832-338-5397. 5-bedroom house for lease. For more information 979-966-3913 or

Pg. 4-07-07-09.indd 1

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tuesday 7.7.2009

Lightning Continued from page 1

The absence of thunderstorms and drought are interdependent, Huffines said. “Drought and thunderstorms is a chicken-and-the-egg situation — long-term lack of rain causes a drought and a lack of precipitation is caused by the high pressure setting in this area,” he said. Although drought is a detrimental climate condition, the absence of lightning at a local level is beneficial. “Lightning has a peak temperature of 50,000 F and peak electrical currents from 20,000 to 200,000 amperes,” Orville said. “This is enough to start fires and kill humans in contact with the current.” Approximately 50 to 60 people are struck and killed by lightning every year in the U.S., Orville said. “If you’re outside and can hear thunder, you are at risk of being struck by lightning and possibly killed,” Jenenius said. “Many victims were simply involved in normal daily activities.” If thunder can be heard, even distantly, shelter should be sought immediately — in a building or in a hard-topped metal vehicle – and retained for 30 minutes, Jensenius said. “The biggest myth is that lightning is attracted to metal. FALSE. Lightning is not attracted to anything, but tends to strike the tallest object in the immediate area of the lightning strike. In the case of a hard-topped metal vehicle, it is the metal shell that protects

Award Continued from page 1

Hagshenas said. “It shows that we are supporting students in the petroleum engineering department and we are ranked No. 1 among universities,” Hagshenas said. SPE officers fill out an annual report that logs SPE members’ involvement in monthly meetings, local charities and the community. “We had a lot more student involvement,” Easley said. “I’d say it was a really successful year. Last year was my favorite year so far, and I’ve been involved with it since my freshman year.” Texas A&M’s SPE chapter is involved with charities such as Scotty’s House, a center for abused children, and Toys for Tots. “I know we had a charity barbecue for Scotty’s House,” said Russel Greco, senior pe-

Degree Continued from page 1

and future career,” said Hispanic graduate studies director Eduardo Urbina. Ureña worked a full teaching schedule while obtaining his doctorate, according to Hispanic Studies professor Nancy Joe Dyer. He worked all day then took classes at night, while commuting, Dyer said. His positive attitude and lack of complaints made him a role model for future generations of graduate students. “He earned my admiration for his solid and original contributions to class, high quality work handed in always on time, and the genuine joy he derived from the subject matter,” she said. Family pushed him to reach his goals, Ureña said. “My parents were the people who made me who I am, my wife enriched my life and goals, and my children have taught me what love is truly about,” Ureña said. Hispanic graduate studies is a very demanding and highly interesting program that makes the students think about the relationship between the United States, Latin America and the Hispanic world in general, Ureña said. The bestowment of the first Ph.D. in Hispanic studies has allowed for the continuation of the program and for more students to become considered for their doctorates, Luiselli said. There is an equally important distinction soon to be made

news thebattalion

Lightning strikes the same place twice. The Empire State Building in New York City is struck more than 20 times per year. — Richard Orville atmospheric sciences professor

you,” he said. “Another myth is that rubber (either tires or rubber-soled shoes) will protect you. FALSE. The small amount of rubber does nothing to protect you.” And, lightning may indeed strike the same place twice, Orville said. “Lightning strikes the same place more than once,” he said. “The Empire State building in New York City is struck more than 20 times per year.” Lightning is a catalyst for wildfires, which could be especially dangerous during this dry summer, Huffines said. “In a drought situation you should be glad you don’t have much of it because wild fires could start,” he said. “The chance of fires increases dramatically [in a drought].” Lightning strikes are not likely to increase in intensity due to any climate change, but it is undeterminable what effects other climate changes may have on thunderstorm and lightning formations, Jensenius said. “As for the future, we don’t really know how changes in our climate will affect lightning strikes in any particular area,” he said.

troleum engineering major and SPE vice president. “We raised over $1,500 for them.” Lecturers are present at monthly meetings, Greco said. “For the technical lecture we have in our meeting, we get an industry professional and at the end there’s a meet and greet, so that’s a good contact right there,” he said. SPE also works to assist its student members with finding jobs and internships. “We’re a professional society that acts as an interface between students and the professional industry,” Greco said. “Out of our [2009] graduating class, everybody got a job except for like five people.” A job fair for students is held every year to assist students. “Our department requires students to have an internship before they graduate,” Greco said. “We make sure there are lots of companies present so students can talk to them and set up interviews.”

I hope that this program will produce many more Ph.D.s in Hispanic Studies. — Juan Carlos Ureña assistant professor of modern languages at Stephen F. Austin University

in the department of the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in Spanish, she said. “I am very confident that this honor will be taken by our current undergraduate advisor, Rosalinda Aregullin, whose dissertation I have the pleasure of directing,” Luiselli said. “I underline the fact about gender because for me, and for the 2020 Vision Texas A&M, diversity is extremely important, and gender appreciation is one of the aspects we ought to consider when we think ‘diversity.’” Soon Hispanic studies will be pairing Juan Carlos Ureña, from Costa Rica, and Rosalinda Aregullin, from Texas, as their first doctoral graduates, according to Luiselli. “I do not believe the distinction ends with Dr. Ureña, we still need to see the first woman graduating from our doctoral program,” Luiselli said. Ureña said he will continue to support the program and hopes to see it evolve. “I know that the program will continue to grow as this relationship [between the United States and Hispanic culture] becomes more important every day,” Ureña said. “I hope that this program will produce many more Ph.D.s in Hispanic Studies.”

7/6/09 10:35 PM


EDITORIALBOARD The Battalion’s editorial opinion is determined by its Board of Opinion, with the editor in chief having final responsibility. Editor in Chief Kalee Bumguardner


Managing Editor Mattie Williamson

7.7.2009 page5

Think nothing

Opinion Editor Jason Staggs


Palin should find new way to serve the public


e were surprised to hear of Gov. Sarah Palin’s resignation last week, but are glad that she is doing what is right for her family and the state of Alaska. It is a disgrace that the chief executive of one of the United States can be made to accumulate such a substantial personal debt, due to legal fees arising from official actions, that she is driven from office. We hope and are confident that she will be able to raise the funds necessary to pay off these debts, and that her successor, unencumbered by the vicious attacks that have plagued Palin since last fall, will be able to serve the citizens of Alaska more fully. Although we sympathize with her, we urge her not to run for higher office. Her résumé is not one that recommends her to serve on the national stage. Having completed less than one term as governor of the 47th most populous state in the nation, she has left the electorate outside the “land of the midnight sun” with little on which to judge her should she choose to run for office in 2012. Her previous jobs, as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, and as city councilwoman, while they speak to her dedication to serving her fellow citizens, reflect an absence of preparation for national office. Gov. Palin’s 2008 campaign for vice-president revealed that she has a telegenic personality, but she appeared incapable of straying successfully from packaged and re-packaged talking points in both her speeches and interviews. Since her return to Alaska after November’s disappointing election results, Gov. Palin has unfortunately shown that she is not capable of simultaneously governing even a small state and managing the complications resulting from her national exposure. Her lack of experience in international affairs, and the absence of any experience dealing with large and diverse electorates who any national leader must represent, provide convincing reasons for us to recommend that she stay away from elected office for a substantial number of years. She has a family to help raise, many legal and financial issues to deal with, and most promisingly, a guaranteed niche as an attractive and eloquent public speaker. We hope she will energize the Republican party over the next few years and contribute to the dynamism of American politics as President Obama slowly becomes stale news.

TOSUBMIT Mail call must be fewer than 200 words and include the author’s name, classification, major and phone number. Staff and faculty must include title. Guest columns must be fewer than 700 words. All submissions should focus on issues not personalities, become property of The Battalion and are subject to editing for style, clarity and space concerns. Anonymous letters will be read, but not printed. The Battalion will print only one letter per author per month. No mail call will appear in The Battalion’s print or online editions before it is verified.

Osa Okundaye — THE BATTALION


ast spring, the country was temporarily horrified to hear of the polygamist practices of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, who were uncomfortably brought into the public eye by a raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch. The group, which numbers well into the thousands and lives in isolated communities throughout the southwest, believes that polygamy is a mandate from God and necessary to reach heaven. Girls as young as 11 or 12 years old are regularly married to men in their 30s or 40s. As was quickly discovered after the raid last year, most of these children don’t feel abused. Occasionally, traumatized teenagers and adults do escape from the group speaking of its evils, but most don’t see anything wrong with their culture — it must be we who are wrong. The refusal of the children, almost unanimously, to admit to anything which might incriminate their elders was a key factor in officials ultimately returning nearly all of them to the ranch with nothing to show for their trouble. Which begs the question, where is the line between culture and cult? Sure, the rest of America “knows” that raising children to believe that pedophilia is OK is wrong, but is that just our cultural bias? All children are raised inside a cultural box of some kind, be it America, Texas, conservative or liberal. But when the boxes become so tight that the children are forbidden to question and are never exposed to other ways of life, that box becomes a prison. Thankfully, in America closed cultures like this are rare, but that isn’t the case everywhere. Over 90 percent of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the group responsible for the barbaric, merciless war in Uganda, are kidnapped children. As the army raids and pillages, violently murdering along the way, they kidnap children who are young enough to be convinced that theirs is the right way. They’re stolen from their families and taken to encampments where they are taught day in and day out that the LRA is right and this is the only way. If the chil-

Kat Drinkwater

We cannot escape the influence of society, but we can shape our destiny. dren survive to reach adulthood, many will become leaders in the movement. Recently, four children under the age of 14 who were being trained as suicide bombers were arrested in connection with al-Qaida. The use of children as combatants is, unfortunately, well established. Becky Fischer, a pastor featured in the documentary “Jesus Camp” thinks they’ve got the right idea. “Where should we be putting our efforts? Where should we be putting our focus? I’ll tell you where our enemies are putting it. They’re putting it on the kids. They’re going into the schools. I want to see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I want to see them as radically laying down their lives for the Gospel as they are over in Pakistan and in Israel and Palestine and all those different places.” How can a child learn that killing is wrong, if they’re told only that it’s right? How will they learn that sometimes boys like boys and girls like girls, and that doesn’t make them any less of a person, if they’ve only been taught hatred? It’s like expecting a child who has never heard anyone speak to learn to talk. They won’t. When people aren’t allowed to think for themselves, when children aren’t allowed to ask “why?”— when they’re deaf, blind and mute to all outside influence, told what to believe and those beliefs are daily, rigidly reinforced by the society they are immersed in — that’s a box that’s too tight. Because when they start feeling that something’s not right about what they’ve always been told,

what then? The boxes that most of us here in the U.S. grow up with and deal with every day aren’t turning us into murderers or pedophiles, but damage is still done. Subtle prejudices and double standards become built into our thinking, and it breeds people, like shamed pastor Ted Haggard, who don’t know how to be themselves and wind up living conflicted double lives, never feeling content. Lately Haggard is largely unemployable. He’s selling door-to-door insurance, in between promoting his post-fall-from-grace documentary. But at 52 years old, he’s finally gotten out of his box, and he finally has a message that, more than just a crowd pleaser, resonates with him, too. Because despite that charming smile, Haggard could never completely get behind the message he preached before. It was one that came from his box, but not from his whole heart. Humility, forgiveness and the struggles we all face will be his new theme. Getting out of that box may be one of the best things ever to happen in his life. Everyone is formed by their environment, predominately our parents or caretakers. At some point, often in college, everyone has to examine the world view we were equipped with and decide if it’s something we want to carry into adulthood. I hope you find yourself thinking about why you believe what you believe and how you plan to raise, or are already raising, your children. Because even a box that yields a model citizen is still a box. Life requires a dynamic explanation, not a box with the top nailed on. People who are isolated from the world believe what they’re told, although they’re not sure why, until they start wondering and their box starts splintering. College isn’t too late, 50 isn’t too late; take off the blindfold, get your fingers out of your ears and step out of your box.

Kat Drinkwater is a senior University Studies-Honors: psychology and neuroscience major.

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Hottest tickets assigned


McNair’s girlfriend purchased gun

LOS ANGELES – The stage was set Monday for Michael Jackson’s final act. Ecstatic fans who won the lottery for seats at Tuesday’s memorial received the tickets that will get them into the 20,000-seat Staples Center. The participants will include Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Usher, Lionel Richie, Kobe Bryant, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer and Martin Luther King III. More than 1.6 million people registered for tickets to the noon memorial, which will be broadcast worldwide. A total of 8,750 people were chosen to receive two tickets each. The lucky ones picked up passes at Dodger Stadium.

US, Russia to slash nukes MOSCOW – Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev confidently committed to a year-end deal to slash nuclear stockpiles by about a third on Monday, but the U.S. leader failed to crack stubborn Kremlin objections to America’s missile defense plans — a major stumbling block to such an agreement. Associated Press

Police say the gun found at the scene where former NFL star Steve McNair died was bought by his girlfriend less than two days before the two were shot to death. Sahel Kazemi, 20, bought the semiautomatic handgun Thursday evening from someone. An autopsy showed that McNair and Kazemi died early Saturday.

thebattalion 7.7.2009 page6

Officials ID suspect in SC serial killings GAFFNEY, S.C. — The serial killer who terrorized a South Carolina community by shooting five people to death before police killed him Monday was a career criminal paroled just two months ago, authorities said. Patrick Burris, 41, was shot to death by officers investigating a burglary complaint at a home in Gastonia, N.C., 30 miles from where the killing spree started June 27. Bullets in his gun matched those that killed residents in Gaffney, said State Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd. Investigators did not have an address for Burris. While evidence left no doubt he was the killer, they still had no idea why he did it. Burris had a long rap sheet filled with charges such as larceny, forgery and breaking and entering from states across the Southeast, including Florida, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. He had been paroled from a

North Carolina prison in April after serving nearly eight years. Gaffney farmer Sam Howell, 61, was among dozens of people from Cherokee County who came to the news conference where authorities identified Burris. The mystery of the serial killer ended in Gastonia Monday after a couple called police to report a suspicious vehicle. Mike and Terri Valentine were on edge because the Gaffney serial killer was just a short drive away. They watched two people who sometimes visit the neighboring home get out of the vehicle, followed by a third man who matched the description of the killer: tall, heavyset, unshaven and wearing a baseball cap. The man appeared to be drunk, Mike Valentine said.

New GI Bill not one-size-fits-all From the scene The Battalion staff writer Calli Turner is an intern at the Gaston Gazette and has video from the scene of the incident in Gastonia, N.C. http://www. gastongazette. com/video/

Associated Press

June 9, 1916 — July 7, 2009 | Robert S. McNamara

Defense chief during Vietnam War dies WASHINGTON — Robert S. McNamara, the cerebral secretary of defense vilified for his role in escalating the Vietnam War, a conflict he later denounced as “terribly wrong,” died Monday at 5:30 a.m. at his home. His wife Diana said he had been in failing health for some time. McNamara, 93, was fundamentally associated with the Vietnam War, “McNamara’s war,” the country’s most disastrous foreign venture, the only American war to end in abject withdrawal. Known as a policymaker with a fixation for statistical analysis, he was recruited to run the Pentagon by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 from the presidency of the Ford Motor Co. — where he and a group of colleagues had been known as the “whiz kids.” He stayed in the defense post for seven years. Ted Sorensen, a speechwriter and adviser who worked with McNamara in both the Kennedy and John-

son administrations, said President John F. Kennedy thought the late defense secretary “was the most brilliant member of a very smart Cabinet.” McNamara After leaving the Pentagon, McNamara became president of the World Bank and devoted evangelical energies to the belief that improving life in rural communities in developing countries was a more promising path to peace than the buildup of arms and armies. A private person, McNamara for many years declined to write his memoirs. In the early 1990s he began to open up. He told Time magazine in 1991 that he did not think the bombing of North Vietnam would work but he went along with it “because we had to try to prove it would not work, No.1, and (because) other people thought it would work.”

In 1993, after the Cold War ended, he began to write his memoirs because some of the lessons of Vietnam were applicable to the postCold War period. In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam appeared in 1995. McNamara said that by 1967 he had deep misgivings about Vietnam. Despite doubts, he had continued to express public confidence that the application of enough American firepower would cause the Communists to make peace. In that period, the number of U.S. casualties — dead, missing and wounded — went from 7,466 to more than 100,000. “We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations acted according to what we thought were the principles and traditions of our country. But we were wrong. We were terribly wrong,” McNamara, then 78, told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of the book’s release. Associated Press

When the new GI Bill kicks in Aug. 1, the government’s best-known education program for veterans will get the biggest boost since its World War IIera creation. But the benefit is hardly the “Government Issue,” one-size-fits-all standard the name implies. In fact, depending on where service members and veterans decide to attend college, they could receive a full ride, or little. An Associated Press review of state-by-state benefits under the bill shows huge discrepancies in the amount veterans can receive. The explanation stems from the formula the government created, as well as a much-criticized decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs on how to implement the law. The GI Bill covers full instate undergraduate tuition and fees at any public college. That’s far more generous than the old GI Bill, which provides a monthly stipend that is the same from state to state. But Congress also wanted to help veterans attend often pricier private schools. So the new bill offers them an amount equal to the tuition at the most expensive public college in the same state. That penalizes veterans going to private colleges in states that have kept their public university tuition low. The GI Bill is a great deal for vets in states like New Hampshire, New York and Texas; a pretty good one in states like Ohio; and hardly any deal at all in Massachusetts and especially California, where the state constitution prohibits public universities from charging tuition. Instead, California’s public universities typically charge “fees.” Associated Press

Benefits vary state by state ■ Veterans who choose a private school in Texas could get close to $20,000 a semester from the government for a typical course load. Those picking schools in California will get nothing for tuition. ■ Veterans attending New Hampshire colleges like Dartmouth might get $25,000 from the government each year, and in Dartmouth’s case essentially a free ride, thanks to an additional grant from the Ivy League school. But in neighboring Massachusetts, it is a different story. At that state’s numerous private schools — many just as expensive as Dartmouth — the government’s baseline tuition benefit is only about $2,200 a year.

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The Battalion: July 7, 2009  
The Battalion: July 7, 2009