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thebattalion ● tuesday,

october 9, 2012

● serving

texas a&m since 1893

● first paper free – additional copies $1 ● © 2012 student media


The Cassatt String Quartet performs for College of Liberal Arts faculty at their fall reception Monday afternoon at the Annenberg Conference Center.

Cassatt crescendo Musicians perform pieces from Russian, A&M composers Elise Brunsvold The Battalion


or a moment, there was silence. A subtle stillness permeated the concert hall as the quartet straightens their posture. An inhalation, and then the bow pulled across the strings of the violin with the vibrations resonating outward as the opening notes of the musical composition.

The world-renowned Cassatt String Quartet will collaborate with students and faculty in their upcoming concert, sharing both new sounds and professional instruction for the Texas A&M musical community. The Cassatt String Quartet’s per-

formance will function as the opening to a new season for Texas A&M’s Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts. The concert, featuring pieces by composers such as Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Texas A&M professor Peter Lieuwen, is meant to enter-

tain and teach students. Jennifer Leshnower, a violinist in the Cassatt String Quartet, said the group is excited to work with students and faculty during their residency on campus. “The opportunity to stay and work together and go into classes where students work is very special and something that the Cassatt Quartet enjoys immensely,” Leshnower said. “GreenSpace,” the piece composed by Lieuwen, calls for a triplestring quarter, therefore allowing students of the Texas A&M Orchestra the opportunity to work with the

professional ensemble. “It’s designed as a teaching tool and as a means for the Cassatt Quartet to share [techniques] with the students,” Leshnower said. Lieuwen’s piece celebrates the parks and national forests of the country while touching on the unification and harmony of these areas with those of a more urban nature. Lieuwen said the piece includes contrasting elements, bringing together two differentiating motifs. “It’s rhythmically vibrant,” Lieu-

Showtime and ticket prices ◗ The concert will be in Rudder Theater at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

◗ Tickets can purchased online at boxoffice.tamu. edu or at the MSC Box Office in the lobby of Rudder Tower. Regular tickets are $10, student tickets are $5.

See Cassatt on page 6


Freshmen find Common Ground Julie Blanco The Battalion Freshmen liberal arts majors gathered to hear author Adam Shepard share his experiences and advice so they could relate to one another as they begin their college careers. The 2012-2013 Common Ground Lecture for the College of Liberal Arts — where Shepard spoke — was held Monday evening

inside column | 4 Launch failure

at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center. The Common Ground Lecture is an annual series for freshmen liberal arts students. This is the seventh year the event has been held. The goal of the lecture series is to provide the liberal arts community with a bond through reading and to provide students with a co-curricular experience, said the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts José Luis

Bermúdez. The College of Liberal Arts is the heart of Texas A&M and graduates more students each year than any other college, Bermúdez said. Books that are selected for incoming liberal arts students to read are ones that not everyone agrees with or likes. They are meant to be of debatable topics. See Common on page 3

The Big SEC welcome

Due to decreases in government funding, NASA struggles to continue as a source of national pride and job opportunity for scientists and engineers.

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Adam Shepard addresses freshmen from the College of Liberal Arts at the 7th Annual Common Ground Lecture Monday evening.

liberal arts

College recognizes faculty achievements Jon Cooley

column | 5 From the outside looking in Voting in the Venezuelan election in Houston on Sunday drew closer ties to home country and U.S.

Julie Blanco — THE BATTALION

Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION

Union Directors from both The Big 12 and SEC schools meet at Texas A&M to tour the MSC and give presentations about educational performance Monday afternoon.

Special to The Battalion Incoming faculty and notable academic achievements were recognized by the College of Liberal Arts in a reception showcasing topics from shipwreck exploration to the awarding of various endowment funds. Professors and students in the College of Liberal Arts came together at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center Monday evening to congratulate the academic achievements of faculty and students, as well as welcome new faculty members during the college’s fall reception. Six professors were awarded fellowships within the Rothrock and Cornerstone programs. These awards are given to professors who have excellent professional records and have a high im-

pact on students in the classroom. The recipients are given funding to continue with their future research projects and innovative teaching methods. Four professors were appointed with endowments and professorships from various organizations to continue their research. One of the professors was also a new faculty member recruited from the University of Texas at Dallas. Catherine Eckel, the chair of the Sara and John Lindsey Professor in Liberal Arts, teaches economics and focuses on how social actions of people affect their financial decisions. Upon receiving the appointment, Eckel said she hopes to do pilot research with new students and help send them to workshops, See Award on page 3

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The Battalion staff represents every college on the campus, including undergraduates and graduate students. The leadership of The Battalion welcomes students to participate in the First Amendment in action as you utilize your student newspaper. We are students.

If you are interested in writing or contributing content in The Battalion, apply at, or call 845-3313.

Editor in chief senior English major Trevor Stevens THE BATTALION is published daily, Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters and Tuesday and Thursday during the summer session (except University holidays and exam periods) at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843. OfďŹ ces are in Suite L400 of the Memorial Student Center. 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. Newsroom phone: 979-845-3315; email:; website: Advertising: Publication of advertising does not imply sponsorship or endorsement by The Battalion. For campus, local, and national display advertising, call 979-845-2687. For classiďŹ ed advertising, call 979-845-0569. OfďŹ ce hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Email: 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. Call 979-845-2696 for mail subscriptions.

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MAILCALL Make your opinion known by submitting Mail Call or guest columns to The Battalion. 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. Direct all correspondence to: Editor in chief of The Battalion (979) 845-3315 |



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Dean of Liberal Arts, Jose Luiz Bermudez, and Association of Former Students representative Ron Spies present professor Adam Seipp with an Association of Former Students College-Level Teaching Award on Monday.

Award Continued from page 1

conferences and to help publish their work. Eckel’s research on campus involves giving students one of her psychological tests that uses real money to study how charitable a person can be. “How the way people interact with each other socially affects how they make decisions about their money,� Eckel said. For others, like assistant professor of international studies Natalie Khazaal, the reception was a formal welcome to Texas A&M University. “It is a great opportunity to have a university support your teaching and especially your scholarly agenda,� Khazaal said. Khazaal teaches Arabic culture, which includes media, literature and language. The headliner of the night was George F. Bass, professor emeritus of the nautical archaeology department. Bass was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the academy that celebrates the leaders in the academic world. Bass became interested in nautical archae-

Common Continued from page 1

The chosen book for this year’s lecture was “Scratch Beginnings� written by Shepard. During the lecture, Shepard shared with students the events of his life that led him to writing the novel. As a college graduate with two degrees and a broken dream of becoming a professional basketball player in Europe, Shepard said he set out to make his own American dream become a reality. “My life had just been a succession of failures up to this point,� Shepard said. “I had come home from Germany as a failure.� He soon decided to move away from his home of Raleigh, N.C. and into a homeless shelter in Charleston, S.C., and began a new life from scratch. “The experience is the most fantastic moment of my life,� Shepard said. Throughout the lecture, Shepard offered the freshmen class advice on creating a life where they are continually doing something new. “Think of something you can do that’s outside the box,� Shepard said. “There are things you just can’t learn from a book.� He also reassured the audience that regardless of the outcome of their endeavors, he said they should keep working toward

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ology when he was asked to go to Turkey to excavate a shipwreck. On his first underwater excavation he found that the ship, which was initially thought to be Greek, was in fact a near-eastern ship. His discovery changed the perception of the sailing history of near-eastern people, and the overall approach of nautical studies. “I was the first person to excavate an ancient ship on a seabed in its entirety,â€? Bass said. “I was the first archaeologist who learned to dive in order to do it.â€? It is because of that historic find and the amount of publications Bass put out that JosĂŠ Luis BermĂşdez, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, refers to Bass the father of nautical archaeology. His find in Turkey and subsequent book received not one positive review. Initially, his finds were so controversial that nobody believed him. But in his next excavation his theories and thoughts turned out to be true and were publicly recognized. “Looking back I can’t imagine a more rewarding career,â€? Bass said.

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their dreams. “You’re going to fail,� Shepard said. “That’s a guarantee. But you’ve got to keep going.� During his struggle to find an agent and have his book gain popularity, Shepard called nearly all of the top-100 newspapers in the nation and finally found interest from The New York Post. “If you’re passionate and believe in what you’re doing you’ve got to keep pushing,� Shepard said. Students who attended the lecture said they felt that reading the book was beneficial as they began their college careers and created a bond among them. “Since we all read it at the same time it’s not just a personal journey,� said Macy Moore, freshman telecommunications major. “We did it together.� Students also said the book had common themes with what they are experiencing now. Shepard said he embarked on a new journey like incoming college students do. “I think it’s relatable to my life,� said Corrin Presnall, freshman communications major. “We’re all starting out with something new.� The lecture series allows the students to find common ground among each other and share their point of view on the book. “We all take it in differently,� Presnall said. “We get in situations when we feel lost. This was cool because it gives you inspiration.�

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Half a percent John Rangel: US deems point of national pride, icon of scientific milestones unimportant


ireman! President! Astronaut! Travel to any American classroom and ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and the responses will almost always be the same.

A fascination with space has gripped the imaginations of Americans both young and old ever since the glory days of Apollo and Gemini. Space exploration serves to inspire new generations of engineers and scientists, all of whom grew up responding with the same answer. But for how long? Beneath the rhetoric of this year’s continued policy gridlock and presidential race lies an often overlooked fact: NASA and the nation’s space endeavors continue to be neglected.

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In its proposed 2013 federal budget the White House apportioned $17.7 billion to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. At face value this may seem like a large sum, but to understand why such a value is actually extremely low one must first consult several other spending figures. According to The New York Times, NASA’s portion makes up only 0.5 percent of the proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2013. In the federal budget, NASA does not merit even a full percent of the nation’s spending

abilities. A quick look through the proposed 2013 budget shows some interesting comparisons between NASA’s portion and arguably comparable science and technology related departments: The Department of Energy: $27.2 billion; The Department of Education: $69.8 billion. The list could go on, but the point is easily made. Somewhere along the line, NASA’s title as a leader in scientific advancement was shelved and its meaning to so many aspiring scientists and engineers seemingly forgotten. Never mind that NASA might be the only current federal program a taxpayer can actually boast about. When was the last time anyone bragged about America’s health care system, tax code or social security? Despite deep budgetary cuts, a vague mission statement and after retiring the shuttle program, NASA was still able to achieve the seemingly impossible: successfully land the most advanced scientific rover ever created on Mars. The total cost? A mere $2.5 billion. Divide that by the eight years it took to develop the program and the total cost per

year to the federal government is the infinitesimally small sum of $312 million dollars. For perspective: the Obama campaign alone has spent about $400 million during this presidential race (depending on which source you consult), and the Federal government loaned $528 million to the now-infamous green tech start up Solyndra, before it went bankrupt. Fiscal arguments aside, NASA as a national symbol is long overdue to receive the federal backing it deserves. History has proven that great things start with humble inspiration, and NASA’s greatest achievement is perhaps the unique position it holds in American culture; an icon, a challenge and a reason for children to dream of becoming “astronauts.” Inspiration cannot be bought with money, but it certainly can’t be continued with half a percent of our attention. John Rangel is a freshman aerospace engineering major and writer for The Battalion.

10/8/12 10:01 PM


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tuesday 10.9.2012

From the outside looking in David Cohen: National identity can be established despite international origins


a sangre es mas espesa que el agua, or blood is thicker than water — so the saying goes. I had the opportunity to finally understand the underlying meaning behind this oftenrepeated phrase after I participated in the Venezuelan Presidential election on Sunday.

I came to the U.S. five years ago, as my parents, like many others, hoped to provide our family better opportunities. Stubbornly rejecting the changes, I felt that I would forever lose connection to my country of origin. Ironically, the farther I got from the home I loved, the more I understood its value. After years of struggling to keep those ties alive, the solution to my problem came

as a simple decision: I have to vote in the elections. To my surprise, this wouldn’t be quite as simple as I hoped for. A mountain of paperwork and bureaucratic hurdles quickly made my goal seem completely unreachable. As I worked to overcome these, I understood that the real reason I was putting so much effort into this task was because it is the only

tool that I have for representing my ideals and helping those who made me who I am today. In this sense, family and that which you hold close is far more important than all other things. As the decisive moment approached, I was a bundle of nerves. Would I mess up my election ballot? Would I vote for someone I didn’t mean to vote for? Would I have a nervous breakdown in the middle of our voting center? Fortunately, both my parents quickly laughed off my inane concerns and reassured me of the worth of the process. Before I knew it, Oct. 7 arrived — election day. My parents and I drove to our consulate in Houston, eager to stand for hours in the unexpectedly cold weather. There was an atmosphere of camaraderie as everyone waited for a turn to vote. Regardless of political affiliation, social status or upbringing, all Venezuelans came together to make their voices heard. Not only did I not have a breakdown in the balloting area, but the whole process went rather smoothly. After years of trying to create a link between myself and my past, I was finally able to help those who needed me despite the fact that I can’t physically be there for them. Being an expatriate — let alone a first-time voter — there is a certain sense of fulfillment that comes with being able to protect one’s beliefs through voting. While comparing experiences with my friend and fellow voter Daniela Garciacaro, sophomore international studies major, she said despite the many sacrifices we had to

make to vote so far from home, the reward for helping our families and country move forward is worth all the trouble. This idea very concisely echoed my feelings on the whole experience. Voting, by itself, is a rather mundane occurrence. You do it because you are told it is your civic responsibility. Nevertheless, taking action during elections creates a sense of community and identity that very few events can. Tuesday is the last day to register for voting in the U.S., so take a moment to evaluate your options and prepare yourself for the upcoming elections. If it becomes clear that you don’t want to sign up — because it is a hassle or because it won’t make a difference — remember who is truly affected by your actions. Go out, register to vote and take part in this essential process. And when you do, take everything in, including all the little nuances and details that make it so interesting. These things that make you comprehend who you are and what you stand for. It is absolutely worth it.

David Cohen is a junior international studies major and writer and photographer for The Battalion.



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page 6 10.9.2012



Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower will perform as members of the Cassatt String Quartet at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Rudder Theater.

Cassatt Continued from page 1

wen said. “The lyrical parts represent nature while the more active and rhythmic parts represent the urban aspect.� Leshnower said the group is enthusiastic about working with Lieuwen on his piece, offering them a chance to receive input from the actual writer. “This is our first opportunity working with Peter,� Leshnower said. “It’s very rewarding getting to work with a living composer.� Also to be performed in the upcoming concert are pieces by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich. Leshnower said this assortment will offer audiences a variety of compositions, mixing the lighter tones of Tchaikovsky with the heavier work of Shostakovich. “It’s a program of contrasting works,� Leshnower said. “Shostakovich’s work is written under duress with a heavy heart for people

all over the world who are suffering. Tchaikovsky is from the romantic period and is well known for ballet music and symphonies.� Jessica Knott, program coordinator for AVPA, said the academy hopes to gain recognition for the new direction it’s taking this year with the upcoming performance. Knott said there will be more collaboration and joint efforts in the future of AVPA. “I think it’s a pretty big deal,� Knott said. “We hope that people learn through the performance of the music and that they will see what talent we have here at A&M and what we have to offer.� Leshnower said she hopes that students have the opportunity to attend the concert and experience a live performance from a string quartet. “We hope it’s enjoyed by all and that we have the opportunity of returning in the future for more,� Leshnower said. The concert will be in Rudder Theater at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

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campus A&M football receive accolades, ranking after Ole Miss victory After the comeback Saturday evening against Ole Miss, the Aggies are starting to get national recognition for their now 4-1 record. The Aggies are the No. 22 ranked team in the country in the updated Associated Press Poll after winning 30-27 in Oxford, Mississippi. After committing a season high six turnovers, the Aggies were able to engineer two drives in the ďŹ nal eight minutes to extend their winning streak at four. Before the season began, skepticism ran high about the new

environment that was taking over Texas A&M. In a new conference, with a new coach and new quarterback, many questions surrounded how the offense would be able to perform against SEC defenses. Redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel has shown that he can lead the Aggies, even with their backs against the wall. For the game against Ole Miss, Manziel went 17-26 with 191 yards, including the game winning 20-yard touchdown pass to senior wide out Ryan Swope. Manziel added 179 rushing yards on 20 rushes, including a 29-yard rush for a touchdown. For his performance, Manziel received, for the third time this season, SEC Co-Freshman of the Week. Michael Rodriguez, staff writer



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MEXICO CITY — The Mexican navy nabbed a suspected Zetas cartel leader accused of involvement in some of the country’s most notorious crimes in recent years, authorities said Monday. Navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara announced that Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo was arrested Saturday and is believed to have masterminded the massacre of 72 migrants in the northern state of Tamaulipas in 2010. The man known as “Squirrelâ€? also has been linked to the killing of U.S. citizen David Hartley in 2010 on the U.S.-Mexico border. Vergara said Martinez was captured in Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas. The navy said Martinez is also a suspect in killings of people who were buried in mass graves. Nearly 200 bodies were discovered in April 2011 close to the U.S. border. Those two crimes have been the most fatalities since Mexico’s federal government launched an armed offensive against drug trafďŹ ckers in December 2006. Vergara did not offer evidence on Martinez’s speciďŹ c involvement in any of the alleged crimes. Martinez is considered to be the Zetas’ regional chief for the northern states of Mexico.

Skydiver plunges from space ROSWELL, N.M. — Experienced skydiver and extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner hopes to take the leap of his life Tuesday, attempting the highest, fastest free fall in history. If he survives, the man dubbed “Fearless Felixâ€? could be the ďŹ rst skydiver to break the sound barrier. Baumgartner has been preparing for the jump for ďŹ ve years. While he and his team of experts recognize the worst-case scenarios they have conďŹ dence in their solutions. Those solutions are something NASA is watching closely. The space agency is interested in the potential for escape systems on future rocket ships. Weather permitting, Baumgartner will be lifted into the stratosphere around 7 a.m. MDT by a helium balloon that will stretch 55 stories high. Once he reaches his target altitude, he will open the hatch of his capsule and make a gentle jump. Any contact with the capsule on his exit could break open the pressurized suit that will protect him from temperatures as low as minus 70 and a lack of oxygen. Baumgartner promises this jump will be his last. He says he plans to settle down with his girlfriend and y helicopters on mountain rescue and ďŹ reďŹ ghting missions in the U.S. and Austria. Associated Press

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