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thebattalion ● wednesday,

november 25, 2009

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Bonfire traffic closes Hwy. 6 Matt Woolbright Courtney Crosby — SPECIAL TO THE BATTALION

The 2009 student bonfire burns. The 2009 stack was 45 feet tall with five tiers, the largest being 32 feet tall.

Honoring the 12 Students made 12 miniature bonfires and put them around the student bonfire to represent the 12 students who died in the 1999 Bonfire collapse. The bonfires were lit at the same time as student bonfire.

The Battalion Just before 8 p.m. Tuesday many Aggies and other fans traveling to see the off-campus student bonfire burn heard a news flash across Candy 95.1’s radio waves. “The Department of Public Safety is telling drivers heading to student bonfire to turn around and go home.” The statement, from the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Highway 6 and Old San Antonio Road were “parking lots.” They said anyone heading to bonfire would face massive delays and not see the event. DPS said the small back roads sur-

rounding the site were not designed, nor capable of handling the volume of traffic. “It was very frustrating being turned around on OSR, so close to bonfire,” said Brandon Earman, a senior construction science major who worked on bonfire. “But I’m also happy that so many Aggies went out and are able to experience bonfire this year.” Officials in charge of the student activity said people attempting to walk the remaining distance to see the event were not allowed on property to see the burn. Freshman biomedical science major

Brittany Brown said she was looking forward to seeing the burn and was sad she missed such a special burn. “It’s so disappointing to get turned away and miss my first bonfire as a student, especially since it’s been a decade since the fall,” Brown said. Freshman Josh Jones, a political science major, worked to build the student bonfire but was forced to turn around, even though he left two hours before the event was to begin. “It’s such a big letdown and feels like a waste of sweat and time to miss out on bonfire burning,” he said. Senior agricultural systems management major Andres Gonzalez Jr.,

worked on bonfire and said going to burn isn’t everything to him. “In six years of building bonfire this is only the second time I’ve been to burn,” Gonzalez said. “Bonfire to me isn’t about burning it, but about building it, we only burn it to make room for next year.” Earman, who is a staff member of The Battalion, was disappointed about missing burn, but was looking forward to next year. “Even though I put hours of hard work and sweat into it and won’t be able to see my labors burn, I’m looking forward to seeing what bonfire 2010 will bring.”

Renewing a

Thanksgivingtradition 2009 marks 116th meeting between 2 rivals Kyle Cunningham | The Battalion


he Lone Star Showdown. The Backyard Brawl. No matter what it’s called, everyone in the state knows of the Texas – Texas A&M rivalry. From its inception in 1894 to today, the rivalry has gained national recognition and intensity with every game that is played. The series, which Texas leads 74-36-5, is the third-most played rivalry in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision history. “This is one of the greatest traditions of all time,” head coach Mike Sherman said. “This state looks forward to this game every single year. It’s a very special game.” The first game ever played between the two Texas institutions was in 1894, when the Aggies traveled over to Clark Field in Austin. It was not only the Aggies’ first matchup with the Longhorns, but their first game of college football ever that was sponsored by A&M. Their inexperience was evident in the score, as the Osa Okundaye — THE BATTALION

Graduate students advance to IT management finals

No more red light cameras Red light cameras in College Station are gone for good. “Effective today at 3:00 pm (CST) intersection safety cameras have been turned off and no further violations will be issued,” said American Traffic Solutions Vice President George J. Hittner on Nov. 24. The decision comes after a Nov. 3 election in which a referendum proposing to make red light camera citations unenforceable passed with 52 percent of the vote. The election was called after a petition started in summer 2008 received close to 1000 signatures, over 25 percent of the College Station electorate. Jim Ash, the College Station citizen who started the petition, said he fully supports the decision. “It’s been a year-long project and in many ways I can hardly believe it’s over,” Ash said. “Today I’m happy, but today I’m sad that it took this much effort for the citizens to be heard.” Julie Rambin, staff writer

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See History on page 4

Travis Lawson


Elephant Walk festivities kicked off at Spence Park Tuesday with an opportunity to take pictures with live elephants.

Where elephants never forget Ann Littmann The Battalion Spence Park was filled with music, the sound of laughter and the trumpeting of elephants on the morning of Elephant Walk, but the mood turned somber when it came time for the class of 2010 to relinquish their position as the leaders of Texas A&M. It was an emotional afternoon for many seniors as they gathered by the Twelfth Man statue to step off for one last walk around the Texas A&M campus. At 2:10 p.m., members of the class of 2010 embarked on a journey down memory lane. The group walked around campus, stopping at Fish Pond, the Lawrence Sullivan Ross Statue, the Corps Quadrangle and the Bon-

fire Memorial to participate in yells and look back on all of the good and bad times experienced at Texas A&M. “I’m remembering all the friends I made here at Texas A&M,” said senior education major Beth Wimberly. “My fiancé, Matt, proposed to me under the Century Tree. That is a very special memory.” Elephant Walk brings a sense of unity to a class size of several thousand, said senior education major Jennifer Bone. “Our class is so big and it’s not often that we get to do things together,” Bone said. “It is so awesome that everyone turns out for this event and that we are united.” See E-Walk on page 4

The Battalion Texas A&M University graduate students won the regional “International Case Competition on the Strategic Value of I.T. Management” and will advance to world finals in Las Vegas, Nev. The competition combines different technology and business problems that each team must research and solve. The graduate team, which consists of Lakshminarayanan Subramanian and Beth Lipton for management information systems studies and Bedanta Talukdar for industrial engineering studies, won the Case Competition at the Mays Business School in October. The victory made the team eligible to compete in the Southwest regional in Tuscan, Ariz. The team secured another win in Tucson placing them among 11 other teams from all over the world that will compete in the finals. “We secured the first place and got excellent feedback from the panel of judges on our presentation and solution,” Subramanian said. The team beat the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Arizona, and Oklahoma University in Arizona to claim the regional victory. Each team is presented with a case to solve and then a twist at the end.

“It was an extremely challenging experience with respect to the amount of research we had to do in the limited time span,” Subramanian said. The Aggie team said it was a joy to be the group representing the University and were excited they gave a good showing. “We felt honored to represent Texas A&M in a regional competition and win it,” Subramanian said. “We are very happy to give something back to the school which has done so much for us.” Talukdar said she couldn’t wait to face the 11 other teams at the finals in May. She was honored to give back to Aggieland. “The honor of representing Texas A&M in the regional round at Arizona was something I will cherish,” Talukdar said. “I am really excited about representing the University in the global finals at Las Vegas and we hope to do well there.” Lipton said the competing teams were made up of students with a lot more experience than them so having success was uplifting. “A lot of the other teams were made up of MBA students so we were very proud to be victorious over them,” Lipton said. “The three of us together, we all kind of keep each other in balance. I think we make a really good team.”

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A former condominium owner who accused Southern Methodist University of forcing him from his home to make way for George W. Bush’s presidential library has reached a settlement with the school. Plaintiff Gary Vodicka and We make it easy to drink better... attorneys for SMU declined Tuesday to reveal the details of the deal. But Vodicka says he’ll J.D. Swiger — THE BATTALION get enough money Fade 2 Black performs Tuesday by the Aggie Ring replica outside the Clayton Williams to leave a legacy Jr. Alumni Center to promote Elephant Walk and E-Walk. for, in his words, “my children’s children.â€? The deal could be tripped up Officials by a contingency that both sides on site declined to disclose to review but characterized Fort Hood as minor. Vodicka and another condo FORT HOOD, owner sued SMU Texas — Leaders WASHINGTON — Faced with limited job PSOS, CD9 in 2005. of a Pentagon options, many young adults are turning to an old Associated Press According to the investigation into standby to weather the recession: moving back in latest Pew survey with mom and dad. the Fort Hood and census data: Nearly 1 in 7 parents with grown children say shootings were corrections they had a “boomerang kidâ€? move back home in at the Texas Army million The Battalion the past year, according to a study released Tuesday post Tuesday. Two people by the Pew Research Center. In a turnabout in the welcomes readers’ former Pentagon ages 18 to 34 live rite of passage in which a college graduate finds a comments ofďŹ cials, former at home with their job and an apartment, many are returning to their about published Army Secretary parents — roughly parents’ empty nests because of tight finances or as information that Togo West and 30 percent of that they pursue an advanced degree. may require former Navy chief age group. That’s “The journey home for Thanksgiving won’t be correction. Vernon Clark were quite so far this year for many adults,â€? said researchup from about We will pursue appointed to lead ers Wendy Wang and Rich Morin, who wrote the 18 million, or 27 your concern to report. “Instead of traveling across country or across the 45-day review. percent, in 2005. determine whether town, many grown sons or daughters will be coming They will examine percent a correction needs to dinner from their old bedroom down the hall.â€? procedures for of young to be published. Pew’s survey and analysis of government identifying volatile adults ages 18 to data found that the share of adults 18 to 29 who Please e-mail at military service lived alone declined from 7.9 percent in 2007 to 34 said they were editor@thebatt. members hidden 7.3 percent this year. Drops of that magnitude were forced to move in com. in the ranks and also seen during or immediately after the recessions with a roommate lapses that might of 1982 and 2001. because of the poor allow others how to apply Data released this year showed that older Amerieconomy. to slip through cans will make up all of the growth in the U.S. If you are percent of unnoticed. It’s work force in the coming years as a nearly unpreceinterested adults 18 dented number hold onto jobs and younger people unclear if they will in writing or decide to stay in school. to 34 said they had try to talk to Maj. contributing Among 16- to 24-year-olds, 46.1 percent, are postponed getting Nidal Hasan, who’s content in The employed, the smallest share since the government married due to the been charged Battalion apply at began collecting such data in 1948. A record high recession. That with 13 counts, or of about 11.5 million ages 18 to 24, or 40 percent, share increases to of premeditated call 845-3313. attended college in October 2008. 21 percent for adults murder in the Nov. “Boomerang kids are a major trend, and they The Battalion ages 25 to 34. 5 shooting. He represent a shift in cultural norms,â€? said David Morwelcomes any Pew based its ďŹ ndings on remains in intensive rison, president and founder of Twentysomething data from the Bureau of Labor Texas A&M care recovering Statistics and the Census Bureau. Inc. “Young adults are the first to feel the brunt of It also interviewed 1,028 people student interested from gunshot a bad economy and the last to feel the benefits of ages 18 and older by cell phone or in writing for the landline from Oct. 21-25. The poll a recovering economy. So the first way you hedge wounds. has a margin of error of plus or arts, campus, your bets is to minimize your expenses.â€? Associated Press minus 3.9 percentage points. metro or sports staffs to try out. We particularly First lady pulls off ďŹ rst state dinner like a swan encourage WASHINGTON — The ďŹ rst state dinner of the Obama White House had it all: Oscar-winning freshmen and entertainers, Hollywood moguls, a knockout guest chef and even a wardrobe malfunction. Traditional sophomores evening gowns vied with saris of vibrant colors Tuesday night at the high-glitz dinner in honor of Indian to apply, but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. There were turbans and bindis as well as diamonds and brocades. students may try “Everyone looks great; we’re feeling great,â€? White House social secretary Desiree Rogers told a out regardless phalanx of cameras as she arrived, betraying no hint of nerves at the biggest social event of the Obama of semester presidency. First lady Michelle Obama had been a little more forthcoming earlier in the day when she standing or major. described the trick to pulling off the event as sort of like being a swan: calm and serene above the No previous water but “paddling like mad, going crazy underneath.â€? The 338-person guest list was a mix of wonky journalism Washington, Hollywood A-listers, prominent ďŹ gures from the Indian community in the U.S., and Obama experience is friends, family and campaign donors. necessary.

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Amanda Casanova, Editor in 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 ofďŹ ces 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 classiďŹ ed advertising, call 979-8450569. Advertising ofďŹ ces are in The Grove, Bldg. 8901, and ofďŹ ce 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.

11/24/09 10:48 PM


page 3 wednesday 11.25.2009


Lightning strikes


Scientist predicts Houston lightning storms through radar, research Anthony Gerhart The Battalion Who doesn’t enjoy sitting on their porch during a lightning storm? The unpredictability of such an aweinspiring phenomenon is a beauty to watch. Despite its dangerous, erratic nature, these free light shows elicit a strangely calming sense of serenity. That being said, lightning is also one of the most dangerous forms of weather, killing an average of 87 people per year according to the National Weather Service. Lightning danger in Texas is most prevalent in the Houston area, where 1.6 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes occurred from 1989 to 2000. Clearly, it’s a dangerous area to live during the storm season, and people must be as aware and cautious as possible. Enter Richard “Dick” Orville. A graduate from the University of Arizona, Orville is a professor and director of Texas A&M’s Cooperative Institute for Applied Meteorological Studies and contributor to nearly 120 reviewed publications dealing with severe storms and lightning. The meteorologist made one of his first breakthroughs in helping to develop the National Lightning Detection Network in 1983. “The system was first set up on the east coast, and eventually it spread to cover 48

states in 1989,” Orville said. The network specialized in the data collection of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. In the states observed, the statistics recorded include stroke location, estimates of polarity and peak current and the number of strokes within the flash. The detection network project made its transition from an academic organization to a commercial, profitable organization. “I ran it for six or seven years, and then it was taken over by a commercial company. I’m now a professor of a university, so we’ve lent it out to them since 1991,” Orville said. Focus then turned to Houston, the so-called “lightning capital of the state of Texas.” Orville said the funding for the Houston lightning detection and ranging network began in 2003, courtesy of the National Science Foundation. The detection and ranging network uses a new type of lightning sensor that has higher resolution and listens to a frequency band right below the bandwidth used for FM radio broadcast, whereas the detection network uses a low frequency just under the AM broadcast band. The upgrade allows for the computer viewing of a 3-D display of lightning flashes in an area. In addition, the sensors are not only able to map data from cloud-to-ground lightning, but cloud-to-

cloud lightning as well, which Orville claims is another step closer to being ahead of the storm when it comes to lightning safety. “Cloud-to-cloud lightning can precede cloud-to-ground lightning by as much as 5 to 10 minutes,” Orville said. “Though that’s not always the case, it’s always best to be cautious when a storm’s nearby.” Orville said Houston is not the only place with a lightning detection system that logs data with such thoroughness. “There are other installations like ours, but what you could say is unique about the one in Houston is that it’s in a large city with millions of people,” Orville said. While Houston was chosen primarily for extensive research purposes because of its high frequency of lightning flashes, Orville was also interested in the area because he wanted a big population to be able to use his radar to ensure their safety and potentially save a few lives. The 12 separately placed lightning sensors in the Houston area log the precise time, latitude, longitude and altitude of each lightning flash and upload the data to the Internet. This data is publicly available in real time on the lightning detection and radar network Web site. “You can go to the Web site for free. If you’re a soccer coach, baseball coach or running a golf course, you can go there to know when a storm system is producing lightning,” Orville said.

Orville has also brought the fruit of his research to graduate programs at A&M. The Institute for Applied Meteorology Studies receives national data taken from the detection network each month for further research. “We publish papers and work on the national data,” Orville said. Graduate student Greg Seroka has been working with the data in addition to learning about, monitoring and helping to improve the efficiency and reliability of the lightning sensors of the detection and radar network. “Aside from my thesis, [the lightning detection and radar] is part of my research. I’ve been looking at it with similar radar and lightning data to further research 3-D lightning detection,” Seroka said. “I wasn’t specifically looking at lightning when I applied for graduate school, but I came here for research, got an offer, and now I get paid to go to school.” Seroka and Orville’s research stems from a fascination with applied meteorology and the desire for the safety of the population as far as severe storms are concerned. Through their findings and assistance, forecasting dangerous lightning is now more efficient and more accurate in the Houston area. Perhaps later, the advanced technology will be picked up by more cities nationwide. Until then, we have the benefit of knowing when and where these breathtaking light shows will happen.

Jeremy Northum — THE BATTALION

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Longhorns thrashed the Aggies by a score of 48-0. On the eighth try, Texas A&M got into the win column, overtaking Texas on Nov. 27, 1902 in San Antonio by a score of 12-0. Texas disputes this win by the Aggies, however. 1909 is the first win over Texas that is not disputed by the school. make it easy to... TheWe first undisputed win, like the first tie, was held at a neutral site; Texas A&Mâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s defense shut down and shut out the Longhorns on Nov. 9, 1909 by a one-sided score of 23-0. Just over a half month later, the Aggies repeated their performance by beating the Longhorns in Austin 5-0. Bonfire was also started that year by Texas A&M students to show a â&#x20AC;&#x153;burning desire to beat the hell outta t.u.â&#x20AC;? A friendly competition began to turn into a hostile rivalry in the second decade of the 20th century. Texas grads decided that in 1916, the Longhorns needed a Longhorn on their sidelines. Steve Pinckney collected $124 from 124 Texas Exes to buy the steer, which was unnamed at that time, and delivered the animal to the Texas student body on Thanksgiving Day in 1916. The owners suggested branding the steer with a large T and the score from the 1916 game (Texas won the 1916 matchup 21-7), but the student body decided the idea was too cruel for the animal. On February 11th, 1917, however, the owner of the stockyard where the longhorn was kept found a â&#x20AC;&#x153;13-0â&#x20AC;? (the score A&M beat Texas by in 1915) branding on the steer. While it has never been confirmed, it has been assumed to be Texas A&M students. The Longhorns, devastated that this happened on their watch, crafted the 13 into a B, the dash into part of an E, and put a V before the 0, turning the name into â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bevo,â&#x20AC;? which was also the name of a famous

E-walk Continued from page 1

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page 4

Friendships made at the University are culminated during the tradition, Bone said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Beth was my first friend that I made here at A&M,â&#x20AC;? Bone said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is so great that we are still friends four years later and she is with me in this last journey together.â&#x20AC;? Although many seniors dread the thought of leaving the A&M campus, many agree that this is the best way to go out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great way to leave

From 1924-1955, the Texas Longhorns dominated the rivalry, especially in Austin, where the Aggies were only able to muster a tie in 1948. The biggest win for Texas during this period came in 1940. The Aggies, who were the defending national champions, came into Austin with an 8-0 record and a defense that had allowed only seven points total in its last three games. The .com Longwww. villagefoods horns, coached by former Aggie head coach Dana X. Bible, shut out Texas A&M at Memorial Stadium, bringing the Aggiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; hopes of a repeat national championship crashing down. 1941 was another big year for the Longhorns, who had not defeated Texas A&M in College Station since 1923. Before the matchup, students went to fortune teller Mozzelle â&#x20AC;&#x153;Madame Augustaâ&#x20AC;? Hipple, hoping for anything to bring them to victory over an Aggie team that was undefeated. Hipple told the students to burn red candles, which she said symbolized challenge and opposition. Students, alumni, and Texas fans burned red candles throughout the week. The Longhorns upset Texas A&M 23-0 and the annual â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hex Rallyâ&#x20AC;? was started. Hex Rally has now become a pep rally that happens in the week before the game with Texas A&M. In 1956, the Aggies traveled to Austin to face a Longhorns team that was sitting at 1-8. Texas A&M, in its third year of the Bear Bryant era, came into the game with an 8-0-1 record and a stranglehold on the Southwestern Conference championship. The game was the final one for the eight seniors left from the Junction summer camp of 1954, and would be their last shot to beat Texas. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There was no doubt whatsoever [that we would beat them],â&#x20AC;? Dennis Goehring, a guard on the 1956 team and one of the survivors of the Junction camp, said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were a seasoned team by then, and we

A&M,â&#x20AC;? Wimberly said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Walking through the place where we have grown up in that last four years and reminiscing on all the memories we have made makes me realize how blessed we are.â&#x20AC;? Elephant Walk is not only a significant day for seniors, but also for juniors. Junior E-Walk signified the Class of 2011 becoming the leaders of Texas A&M. Juniors stepped off from the Corps Quadrangle at 2:11 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It feels like just yesterday that we were freshmen,â&#x20AC;? said geography major Melissa Brauks. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Time has really flown by.â&#x20AC;? Junior E-Walk is a relatively new tradition, beginning in 1992, but one that holds significant value to juniors, said biomedical sciences major Katie Licht. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a great tradition,â&#x20AC;? Licht said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we walked through campus I was remembering being an underclassman. I especially remembered my first day here, when I got horribly lost when trying to find my class and an upperclassman had to show me the way.â&#x20AC;?

knew what we were doing, and we had a determination that we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have for any other games. We were destined to win.â&#x20AC;? Despite an early 13-0 Aggie lead, the Longhorns were able to fight their way back to within six, 20-14, at the half. The second half of the game was completely controlled by the Aggies, outscoring the Longhorns 17-7 en route to a 37-21 final. The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Junction Boys,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; however, had planned on one last surprise if they had been given the ball with any time left on the clock. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was towards the end of the game and we were on the offense, I was going to change out with [senior fullback Jack] Pardee,â&#x20AC;? said Goehring. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He would be on the line and I was going to be in the backfield. We were going to let the linemen run in the backfield whether we got the ball or not. That wouldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve put Coach Bryant in a state of hysteria.â&#x20AC;? Kyle Field hosted the â&#x20AC;&#x153;War in Texasâ&#x20AC;? in 1975. Legendary coaches Emory Ballard and Darrell Royal took to the sidelines for the No. 2 Aggies and No. 5 Longhorns, respectively. Both teams brought out the Wishbone and controlled the clock. But in the end, the Aggie defense was able to hold down the Texas offense, taking a 20-10 victory. On Nov. 18, 1999, the Texas Aggie Bonfire collapsed, and 12 students lost their lives. On Nov. 26th, the 24th ranked Aggies hosted the Longhorns, who were ranked No. 5. At the half, the Aggies were down 16-6. But a determined Texas A&M group went out into the second half and never allowed the Longhorns to score again. With just over five minutes left, quarterback Randy McCown found receiver Matt Bumgardner in the end zone for a 14yard touchdown pass. Dennis Franchione may not have been the most successful coach in Texas A&M history, but one thing he will be remembered for is his upset over the eleventh-ranked Texas Longhorns. After losing


There was no doubt whatsoever [that we would beat them]. We were a seasoned team by then, and we knew what we were doing, and we had a determination that we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have for any other games. We were destined to win.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Dennis Goehring guard on the 1956 team

to three straight ranked teams previous to the Longhorn matchup by over 16 points per game, not to mention the â&#x20AC;&#x153;VIP Connectionâ&#x20AC;? newsletter scandal, Franchione looked to be on his way out. But, in front of 88,253 screaming Aggie fans, the much-maligned coach had what can only be called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Franâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Last Stand.â&#x20AC;? The Texas A&M offense came to play early, scoring two touchdowns including a fake field goal run by holder T.J. Sanders, and a field goal to give the Aggies a 17-0 lead. By the end of the half, Texas was able to get a field goal to cut the score to 17-3. Franchioneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s offense clicked for the second straight half, and at one time the Aggies held a 38-17 lead. Texas scored two quick touchdowns to get to within eight points, but the Aggies got the ball on the ensuing kickoff, ran out the clock, and won 38-30. After what was arguably the biggest win of his career, Dennis Franchione resigned. Another chapter will be written on Thursday, when Mike Shermanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s improvements during his second year at the helm are tested against what could be the best Longhorns team since 2005, if not ever. But, as history suggests, nothing is impossible. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not too many experiences in college football like this,â&#x20AC;? junior quarterback Jerrod Johnson said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get up for this, why play the sport?â&#x20AC;?

J.D. Swiger â&#x20AC;&#x201D; THE BATTALION

Former First Lady Barbara Bush served as this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s keynote speaker for the 2009 Elephant Walk on Tuesday.

Junior E-Walk not only allows juniors to take their place as the leaders of A&M, but also provides an opportunity for students to remember fondly their favorite memories thus far. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I remember running around campus to get a picture with every statue,â&#x20AC;? Licht said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was late at night and people who saw us looked at us like we were crazy but it was a great bonding moment with my friends and probably one of my favorite memories on Texas A&Mâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campus.â&#x20AC;?

Just as elephants are known for their strong memory capabilities, graduating students of Texas A&M will always be able to recall their time spent at A&M, Licht said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can never forget your experience here because it is unlike anything else in the world,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Being at A&M changes you and makes you a better person and a better leader. No matter what happens in our lives after graduation, we will always remember the lessons learned at Texas A&M.â&#x20AC;?

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Texas vs. Texas A&M 7 p.m. Thursday. Kyle Field. thebattalion 11.25.2009 page5

Aggies look to stop No. 3 Texas Brad Cox The Battalion Much like Texas A&M’s game against Texas Tech on Oct. 24, few people are giving the Aggies a chance against No. 3 Texas. At Kyle Field on Thanksgiving night, the Longhorns will put their 11-0 record on the line against A&M, who has struggled with consistency all season. “The challenge is they don’t have any weaknesses,” Aggie Head Coach Mike Sherman said about Texas. “Every area they’re very strong in. If one side isn’t up to par, the other side is beating you, whether it’s special teams, offense or defense.” The Longhorns lead the Big 12 in scoring offense, rushing defense, total defense, kickoff returns, pass efficiency, turnover margin, opponent first downs, opponent third-down conversions, red zone offense and are near the top of almost every other statistical category. The combination of quarterback Colt McCoy and receiver Jordan Shipley has Texas fans talking about Big 12 and BCS National Championship games as the end of the season nears. “We’ve still a great window of opportunity here because we control our own destiny,” Texas Head Coach Mack Brown said. “We have to continue to play hard, and we felt like sewing up the Big 12 South title really takes a lot of pressure off of this week, so we can go play and enjoy the game.” Texas’ rush defense, which leads both the Big 12 and the nation, will have its hands full with the A&M rushing offense, which has excelled since A&M beat Texas Tech University. The Longhorns give up an average of 50 rushing yards a game, almost 20

yards better than the No. 2 team. The Aggies are No. 2 in the Big 12 in rush offense with 190.45 yards a game. The trio of sophomore running back Cyrus Gray, freshman running back Christine Michael and junior quarterback Jerrod Johnson has helped put A&M in bowl contention after beating Baylor 38-3 on Saturday. Gray leads the team with 741 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Michael, who had a school-record 97-yard touchdown run against Baylor, has 684 yards and eight touchdowns. Johnson, one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the conference, has 358 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Accounting for 2,875 passing yards and 24 touchdowns, Johnson is the No. 10 offensive player in the nation in total yards per game. “One of our motivations is to beat Texas every year along with every other team, but for me to say that this game doesn’t have a little bit more than the rest, I’d be lying to you,” Johnson said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it” The Aggies, who won two of the past three meetings with Texas, are looking to reverse the disappointing 2008 finish, which ended with a 49-9 loss to the Longhorns in Austin. The game was Sherman’s first against Texas since he took over as head coach. The two previous wins were while the team was coached by Dennis Franchione. “I don’t necessarily equate last year to this year in any way, shape or form,” Sherman said. “I think each season, each game, each practice is different. I spend my time in the present. That’s how we deal with this game.”

Staff Predictions T.D. Durham: 27-24 A&M David Harris: 35-31 A&M Mike Teague: 42-31 UT Micah Stevens: 30-24 A&M Matt Woolbright: 31-28 A&M Kyle Cunningham: 31-27 A&M



2008 File photo

No. 4 Texas: 49 Texas A&M: 9

2007 File photo

Texas A&M: 38 No. 11 Texas: 30

2006 File photo

Texas A&M: 12 No. 10 Texas: 7

2005 File photo

No. 2 Texas: 40 Texas A&M: 29

Yell to start at 8 p.m. Yell Practice will be held on Wednesday at 8 p.m. instead of its usual time slot at midnight so that the players can be in attendance.

Aggies to commemorate bonfire collapse The football team will have a special ribbon intertwined with the “T” on their helmet decals in honor of the ten year anniversary of the 1999 bonfire collapse that killed 12 Aggies.

Pg. 5-11.25.09.indd 1

David Harris

Throughout historic rivalry, it’s been safe to expect the unexpected. 2009 should be no different.

Student Predictions Cyndi Vail: 35-21 UT Matt Hoffman: 35-34 A&M Karlee Hickman: 21-13 A&M Steve Brock: 31-28 A&M Zach Papas: 27-24 A&M Josh Loch: 34-24 A&M Dan Langford: 35-28 A&M

‘Throw records out the window’

1999 File photo

No. 24 Texas A&M: 20 No. 5 Texas: 16

he year was 1979. Texas A&M was in its second year under Head Coach Tom Wilson. The Aggies were limping into the annual Thanksgiving showdown against Texas with a record of 5-5. The Longhorns were on their way to securing a spot to play against top-ranked Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. However, when the Horns walked into Kyle Field, they found out the hard way that Texas A&M-Texas isn’t just any other game. The Aggies stunned the Horns that frigid Thanksgiving evening by the score of 13-7. Why I am telling you all this? Because if this legendary rivalry has taught me anything, it is to expect the unexpected. Just ask former Head Coach R.C. Slocum who coached in the game 30 times, more than anybody in the 115-year history of the rivalry. “I think one thing. In that game, you can throw out all the records,” Slocum said. “What the teams have done prior to the game doesn’t always reflect the outcome of that game. I go back to ’79. They came over here and were on their way to the Sugar Bowl, and we shouldn’t have been on the field with them. But when the smoke cleared, we won. The next year in Austin, we weren’t very good and we didn’t have a lot to lose and as the game went on, they let us hang around and we beat them again. In ’84, they were heavily favored and we beat them pretty good. And, as we all know, in ’99, they were No. 5 in the nation and we beat them.” The Lone Star Showdown. Primetime football at Kyle Field. Thanksgiving night. The perfect setting for one of the best rivalries in all of college football. This year marks the 116th meeting between the two squads making it the third most played rivalry in all of Division 1-A. Besides the longevity, there is much more that goes into making it so special and unique. It’s special because it is the biggest game in a state that lives off of football. It’s special because it pits the best of Texas high school football against one another. It’s special because of the traditions associated with it: Bonfire, “Sawing ‘em off,” the Hex Rally. But more than anything, it’s special because of the mutual respect from both sides. “I’ve been in this thing longer than anyone in history, but I never felt hatred for them,” said Slocum. “I never wanted the team to hate anybody. Respect is a much better emotion. I have great respect for that program. They’re a good university. It’s the biggest game played in the state of Texas, and if you can’t get up for that, then something is wrong.” You’re right, Coach. If this Aggie team can’t get up for this majestic matchup, then there is something very wrong. Call me crazy. Heck, call me an absolute lunatic, but I’m going to go out and say it. Texas A&M will win on Thursday night. The Aggies will end Texas’ national title hopes in front of the Twelfth Man. Now, do I have any legitimate or logical reason to make such a bold statement? Heck, no. No. 3 Texas is two wins away from playing for their second national championship in five years. If we’re being honest, they’re better than A&M in every single aspect of the game. Defense? Check. The Horns have the No. 1 rushing defense in the country and are giving up an average of 1.6 yards per carry. Offense? Check. Colt McCoy, Malcolm Williams, Jordan Shipley, Dan Buckner and the list goes on and on. The skill positions in burnt orange should strike fear into anybody who bleeds maroon. The Horns are second in the country in scoring offense, averaging over 42 points a game. “The challenge is they don’t have any weaknesses,” said Head Coach Mike Sherman. “Every area they’re very strong in. If one side isn’t up to par, the other side is beating you, whether it’s special teams, offense or defense. If one side just isn’t clicking, the other two are.” Sherman couldn’t be any more correct. Look, if Texas and A&M both play their best games, Texas will win this game by multiple touchdowns. So, you have every right to ask, “Why are you picking the Aggies to prevail? Why, after bashing this team all season long, are you picking them to shake up the college football landscape?” Well, because I see a Texas team that hasn’t experienced the crazed atmosphere of a Thanksgiving Kyle Field crowd desperate to salvage their season with a win over their most hated rivals. This Texas team has all the pressure in the world squarely on their shoulders. They’ve won every road game this season with relative ease. What will happen if adversity strikes in front of a hostile environment? Granted, it’s up to the Aggies to provide that adversity. They’ll need to play the best football they’ve played in the last three years to have a chance. They need to run the ball effectively, control time of possession and keep the ball out of McCoy’s hands. But, if they can do that, then who knows? Remember, strange things tend to happen in this rivalry. Just look back to ’79, ’80, ’84, ’99, ’06, and ’07. “Without a doubt, we’ll have a chance to win the game,” said Slocum with a straight face. All right, coach. I believe you. Aggies. 35. Horns. 31. With it, Texas’ national title hopes dissipate into the College Station air. The biggest shocker of the 2009 college football season. And, yes, I am dead serious. David Harris is a junior economics major

11/24/09 10:55 PM


page 6

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The Association of Former Students encourages you to support eleven years of Maroon Out! November 26, 2009

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The Battalion Texas A&M is on a twogame win streak heading into the last two games of the season at Colorado and at home against Missouri. Although they struggled in the last half of the season, Texas A&M (16-10, 9-9 in Big 12) can finish their season by winning their final four games. A&M heads to Colorado on Wednesday to take on the Buffaloes (7-20, 2-16 in Big 12), who they defeated earlier this season in four games 25-17, 2511, 23-25, 25-17. In that match, senior outside hitter Sarah Ammerman had a game-high 21 kills, while senior outside hitter Jennifer Banse added 15 for the Aggies. The Aggies combined to hit .319 in the game. Three Buffaloes swung for double-digit kills, as Rosie Steinhaus led the team with 13 kills. Banse said that as the regular season comes to a close, the team knows what is at stake and what they need to do to finish strong. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We need to win the next two games to tie for fourth in the Big 12,â&#x20AC;? Banse said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Other teams need to beat other teams. There is no doubt that we are going to get it done and win these last two games. We got our confidence back a little bit after those losses. Just like last year, we are in a position where we have to win out to give ourselves a chance. We know what we are fighting for.â&#x20AC;? The Aggies will return home

on Saturday to take on the Missouri Tigers (18-12, 9-9 in Big 12). In their first meeting of the season in Columbia, the Tigers narrowly defeated the Aggies in five games 21-25, 22-25, 2522, 25-19, 15-13. The Tigers had 61 total kills in the match behind Julianna Klein and Paola Ampudia, who both had 19. The team had a total hitting percentage of .122. Senior outside hitter Mary Batis led the Aggies with 19 kills, with Ammerman also having a solid showing with 16 in the loss. A&M managed to hit only .111. These last two games are crucial to the Aggiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; shot at the tournament, Ammerman said. She said, though, that they are not focusing on the other teams as much as they are on themselves. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Really, we are just looking at these last four matches our side of the court and executing it at a high level,â&#x20AC;? Ammerman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to get our rhythm going and getting all of our hitters involved and having a balanced attack.â&#x20AC;? Saturdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s game against Missouri will be the last game of the season, in which the six seniors will be recognized. Sarah Ammerman, Jennifer Banse, Mary Batis, Dylan Faulkner, Jola Kelner, and Kristen Schevikhoven will all be honored in their last home game in the Aggie uniform. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe that our final game is here, and it is really sad to think that I am done,â&#x20AC;? Ammerman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am not ready but at the same time I am. It is very bittersweet.â&#x20AC;?



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Menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s basketball participates in 76 Classic in Anaheim The Texas A&M basketball team will be spending their Thanksgiving weekend in Anaheim this year. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll open the tournament against No. 19 Clemson at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday. Other than the Tigers and Aggies, the tournament includes No. 8 West Virginia, Long Beach State, Minnesota, No. 12 Butler, UCLA, and Portland. The championship game will be played at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Aggies come into the tournament with a 3-0 record after defeating Angelo State, SMU and Samford to start the season. Senior guard Donald Sloan leads the team with 20 points per game and senior guard Derrick Roland isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t far behind him with nearly 16 points per game. A&M will return to Reed Arena on Dec. 2 when they welcome in Prairie View A&M.

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What a Rush Cole Allen

Media personalities are not journalists, but should be held to the same standard for reporting information.


utspoken Republican talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has been dishonest in his criticism of President Barack Obama’s “college thesis.” Like many other media personalities, Limbaugh is not held accountable for misleading America in a quest for ratings. In Obama’s ‘supposed’ college thesis, “Aristocracy Reborn,” he wrote about the nation’s Founding Fathers, the U.S. Constitution and the distribution of wealth. Essentially it spoke of him having doubts about the Founding Fathers and called for action against the Constitution. This thesis was not Obama’s but rather a joke, one which Limbaugh pretended to believe so wholeheartedly that he proceeded to talk about the president in the most pessimistic and derogatory tone possible. The fictional thesis apparently fooled Limbaugh, who stressed the disapproval Obama had for the Constitution. This illustrates a large flaw with an opinion driven media, who conjure up whatever can appeal to the public eye. Regardless of how accurate the source, various personalities throughout the nation sacrifice ethics to make a boring story more colorful, only reporting stories based on what they think will get them better ratings. When listening to certain outlets, please take in mind the personal views that influence what the personality talks about. The best arguments are made from an unemotionally connected logic, but understandably people tend to watch more about subjects when they feel an emotional connection to the speaker. Which leads me back to Limbaugh. If you listen to Rush, bear in mind the man is a racist. He once called the president a “little black man-child.” While of course he has valid reasons to disagree with him, his way of expressing his feelings is extreme. Rush is rarely objective or fair, hypocritically unwavering in his support of Republican leaders. Despite a claimed conservative belief in small government, Rush remained a huge supporter of former President George W. Bush. Ironically, Bush largely increased the power of federal government through the Patriot Act, which contradicted what is constitutional. But whatever Bush did, said or tried to say, Limbaugh was there, supporting him 110 percent. Yet when a democrat writes a joke thesis, Rush turns into an ardent defender of the Constitution. Sounds kind of fascist, especially for a Republican. It’s not just Rush and the right though. Other personalities with strong influence and media ties consistently seem to make obvious mistakes. The Rev. Al Sharpton has said many offensive things, including the infamous Obama and neutering statement he made. A lot of these are taken out of context, but it is no lie that he is also a tad racist. Even evangelical Pat Robertson called for extreme attacks and assassination on Cesar Chavez, supporting terrorism and murder and contradicting his religion. The reason for these commentator’s inaccuracy stems from their emotional overlaps in what they believe. Their beliefs are so strong that they don’t think logically at times, which leads to giving false or exaggerated statements because of how they personally feel. Other news stations and even papers, often put a twist on stories to make them more interesting than they really are. Bosses aren’t happy unless they see high ratings, so it’s only natural for people to make up possible extreme alternatives. This unfortunately means replacing traditional news stories with a feature format that appeals to a larger audience. Unfortunately the facts gathered by opinionated personalities often are misleading. But sadly, the truth of the matter is that not every story will be sensational. Americans have become too focused on their news being entertaining, and the cost has been the credibility of many pundits.

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Cole Allen is a political science major.

MAILCALL GUESTCOLUMNS 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.

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Direct all correspondence to: Editor in chief of The Battalion (979) 845-3315 |

EDITOR’SNOTE The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and forum participants in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of Texas A&M University, The Battalion or its staff.

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California scheming M

any call the prospect of attending college and attaining some form of higher education a “golden opportunity.” Well, such an opportunity in the Golden State will cost you. On Thursday, the University of California Board of Regents approved raising undergraduate fees 32 percent by next fall. “It’s difficult to sympathize with the Regents because they don’t really listen to student concerns,” said Nathan Houle, a senior English major at UC Santa Barbara. “I can understand they have to fill the budget gaps, but it’s unfortunate when they are forced to do so because of their own mismanagement and at the expense of the students in this public education system.” The reasoning is simple: California is $68.5 billion in debt, and education is not cheap, so the 10-campus system’s state funding has decreased. The system president, Mark Yudof, said that the state funding per student is half of what it was in 1990. While I understand the logic of the decision, California is shooting itself in the foot by taking from education to close the budget gap. More baffling is the insignificance of the savings on the total debt. The cuts will save the state $813 million, but that is only 1.2 percent of the state debt. The future of America is in its youth and their education. If students cannot access highquality education, who will fix the financial problems of the nation? The system has seen major reductions: 1,900 employees have been laid off, 3,800 positions cut and the hiring of 1,600 new positions, mostly faculty, suspended. “There’s significantly fewer classes and sections being offered,” Houle said. “It’s really difficult to get the classes you need to graduate and many people have spent a lot of time getting all the credits needed for various minors and their minors are being cut so they’re left out in the cold.” The University of California system is one of the nation’s best, boasting six schools in the Top 50 of the U.S. News and World Report college rankings. The Berkeley campus headlines the group at No. 21; the Los Angeles campus follows closely at No. 24, and the San Diego, Davis, Santa Barbara and Irvine campuses rank 35, 42, 42, and 46 respectively. Recent budget cuts cause concern about these prestigious and highly ranked universities maintaining excellence in years to come. Student protesting began with a “walkout” on Sept. 24, in which faculty were main proponents. On Oct. 24, a statewide meeting was held and all public education institutions, not just the UC system, were invited. There have been multiple protests and demonstrations across the state since the mobilization, making national news this past week. At the Berkeley campus, 41 students were arrested Friday while staying in a campus building. The Santa Cruz campus had an administrative building takeover that lasted the weekend, until the students “voluntarily” left at the urging of police officers. It should be noted that arrest was threatened if the students did not leave, the crowd outside the

Matt Woolbright

Undergraduates will under graduate with a tuition increase in one of the nation’s leading university systems. building was pushed by riot control and several students were clubbed in the chest. One faculty bystander was injured. “Although the administration did not take the students’ demands seriously, the students consider this a victory because students weren’t arrested, no one was seriously injured and students will still be able to organize,” said Erin Ellison, a media contact for the student protestors at UC Santa Cruz. Outside the UC system, the library at the California State University at Fresno was occupied past closing time Friday to protest the reduced hours of operation. “The general idea is to defend public education and keep it available to everyone,” Ellison said, “and them raising the tuition 32 percent is more than many of us can bear. Going to Kerr Hall was an attempt for students to send a message to the top administrators and show them the faces of the students who won’t be there next fall if the increases stay.” Academics have been hurt, course sections have been cut and majors dropped at an attempt to alleviate the strain after a 20 percent budget decrease in state funding for the system. At the UC Santa Barbara campus for example, 1,600 people rallied to support a sports and exercise minor that faces termination. As schools continue to report record size freshman classes across the nation, California’s debt is catching up to them at the worst possible time. A 2007 report from the Public Policy Institute of California said that state’s workforce would not be prepared for the job load in the future. The report estimates that in 2020, 39 percent of the jobs in the Golden State will require a college degree. The problem is the same report claims only 33 percent of the work force would have a degree by the end of the coming decade. Keep in mind that the report was published before the latest cuts to education. In one of the nation’s leading states in many categories surrounding the workforce, quality labor is only going to become harder to come by if the legs of the higher education system are cut out from under it. While we may complain about multiple tests in a week or an especially tedious project, be thankful. Aggies receive some of the finest education in the world, and we have avoided major setbacks to the high quality of our academics, for now. Matt Woolbright is a sophomore international studies major.

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2009 Aggieland yearbooks are here. IF YOU did not order the 2009 Texas A&M University yearbook (the 20082009 school year), a limited number are available at the Student Media office, Bldg. #8901 in The Grove (between Albritton Bell Tower and Cain Hall). Hours: 8:30 A.M.–4:30 P.M. Monday–Friday. $59.95 plus tax. Cash, check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted. IF YOU pre-ordered a 2009 Aggieland, it has been mailed to your billing address.

Prices, items and offers effective Monday, Nov. 23 thru Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009. So that all of our customers can take advantage of our outstanding prices, we reserve the right to limit quantities. None sold to dealers, restaurants or other retail establishments. Copyright 2009 KROGER TEXAS L.P.

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Nov 25 2009 The Battalion Print  

Nov 25 2009 The Battalion Print