January 28, 2015 issue of The Egalitarian

Page 1

Today’s Weather

72/55 A mainly sunny sky during the day. A few clouds from time to time during the night.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 • Vol. 41, No. 1 • HCCEgalitarian.com TRIO aids students see News, Page 3

Je suis la liberté, le respect et la tolérance

Astros retool for 2015

see Commentary, page 11

see Sports, Page 8

Going Green?

Bill proposes decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot Alyssa Foley

The Egalitarian On Dec. 15, State Rep. Joseph “Joe” Moody, D-El Paso, filed House Bill 507, which, if passed, would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Texas. The bill would make possession of an ounce or less a civil — not a criminal — offense with a penalty of no more than $100. Offenders would be brought to court by a citation rather than by arrest, and they would not receive a criminal record. Being caught with up to two ounces of weed in Texas today is a Class B misdemeanor, which can land the offender in jail for six months and give them up to a $2,000 penalty. With the current law, offenders receive a criminal conviction, which cannot be removed from their record. The bill’s author, Rep. Moody noted that, “It’s not going to legalize anything. It changes the way we sanction for small amounts of Marijuana.” He also added that the Civil Penalties Bill is not a medical marijuana bill. “I think that on a lot of levels, doing something like this is better for everyone involved, and it’s better than what we’ve been doing.” Rep. Moody’s reasoning behind proposing the bill includes benefits he foresees for both the police and the offenders. First, he said the proposal would free up police officers’ time. Instead of booking people

Groups seek policy change Alyssa Foley

The Egalitarian

Elaine Thompson/AP PHOTO In this photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, young plants stand under grow lamps at the Pioneer Production and Processing marijuana growing facility in Arlington, Wash. Texas is set to join other states discussing either medical marijuana or decriminalization during its upcoming legislative session. State Rep. Joseph “Joe” Moody, D-El Paso, filed House Bill 507, which proposes decriminalizing possession of small amounts in the state. for small marijuana possession, they could focus on addressing more serious crimes such as drunk driving and violent crimes. “We all know that we have limited resources to handle criminal justice issues...You know, is that the best use of our taxpayer dollars?” Second, it would prevent individuals from receiving a criminal conviction, which not only leads to an automatic driver’s license revocation, but

also jeopardizes their chances of receiving financial aid for school, naturalization, housing and employment. “We’re making a class of people completely unemployable. I think that hurts the Texas economy,” he explained. Recent Pew Research Center data shows a broad agreement that minor possession of marijuana should not draw jail time. 76 percent of Americans said that there should not be

jail time for small amounts, while only 22 percent said there should be. Public opinion has also shifted in support of states moving away from mandatory drug sentences in general. Only 46 percent of Americans believed that moving away from mandatory drug sentences is a good thing in 2001, but in 2014, 63 percent believed so. This may see

House Bill 507, Page 3

The Official Student Newspaper Of The Houston Community College System

There are people in Texas who are ready to see Rep. Moody’s Civil Penalties Bill become law. Jason Miller, Executive Director of the Houston chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said that, “I’m optimistic that it’s going to make some major headway. How far it’s going to get, it’s just kinda a wait and see kinda thing. ” Hunter White, Communications Director of the Texasbased Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition shared Miller’s enthusiasm. “We’re optimistic. It’s a baby step, but it’s a common sense policy. And people seem to be on board.” H.B. 507 would not make smoking weed legal, but legalization in Texas is the ultimate goal of both organizations. According Pew Research Cen-ter poll, Americans seem to be warming up to the idea of legalization. 54 percent of Amer-icans believe Marijuana should be legal, 42 percent believe it should be illegal. The trend has been shifting towards legalization since 1990. “We’re very optimistic that not see

Pot Policy, Page 3

Campus Briefs hccegalitarian.com

Page 2 - Wednesday, January 28, 2015



The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974

Interested in having your event in the campus briefs? Want the HCC Community to know that you have an upcoming meeting or an event? Let us help! E-mail your event info to hometeam@hccegalitarian.com! JANUARY 28

Central SGA The Central Campus Student Government Association will hold a recruitment session 10 a.m.noon in the Central Learning Hub Science Building Lobby Southwest Club Sports Tryouts Men’s basketball tryouts will be held at 9 p.m. at the Alief YMCA, located at 7850 Howell-Sugar Land Road. Eaglettes Dance Team Auditions The Eaglettes Dance Team will hold auditions at 12:30 p.m. in Room 300 at the Stafford Campus, located at 10041 Cash Road in Stafford. Dancers auditioning must wear black, with tennis or jazz shoes. No experience required. For more information, contact 832.909.4956.


#MobileMoments, from Central Art. Jan. 22 – Feb 21. Reception, Thursday, Jan. 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m. #MobileMoments examines the emerging art form of mobile photography and social media through this exhibit of images from Instagram. Visitors can become a part of the exhibit by uploading their own images that respond to the exhibit, by including a #MobileMomentshou. In the Art Gallery the Fine Arts Center, 3517 Austin at Holman. For more information, see In the Gallery Now or call 713-718-6600 Creative Collaboration, from Central Music. ArtWorks Master Class, Thursday, Jan. 29, 11:30 p.m. Opera-To-Go, Central’s artist in residence offers a free master class on the collaborative process. A performance of The Pastry Prince

will be followed by discussion with the composer, Mark Buller, and the librettist, Charles Silvestri. In the Heinen Theatre, 3517 Austin. For information: 713-718-6570. TSI Testing TSI Testing will be 9 a.m.6 p.m. at the Stafford Testing Center. Empowering Women Session Leila Sarmecanic, attorney at law, will speak on the topic of minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and making a living wage at 1 p.m. in the Eagle Room at the Spring Branch campus. Sarmecanic is a respected attorney who has focused on representing the interests of educators and educational institutions throughout her career. She has led the legal departments of two Houstonarea school districts and worked previously in the legal department of Houston Community College. She previously served on the HCC board of Trustees representing District V. HCC and Live Nation present Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth in concert The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the House of Blues, located at 1204 Caroline Street. Doors open at 6 p.m.

January 30

Leadership Training The Central Campus SGA will host a leadership training session 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in Room 101 of the Central LHSB Leadership Training. The training is free for students. SGA meeting The Student Government Association will meet at 8 a.m. in Room C101 at the West Loop Campus, located at 5601 West Loop South. Spring Mentor

Training Session The HCC Society of Eagle Mentors (SEM) will hold a Spring Mentor Training Session from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. at Room 119 at the Northline Campus. The Mentor Training Session will focus on providing specific information on mentee/mentor roles, establishing rules of engagement, goal settings and expectations, engaging your mentee, and more. Our guest speaker is Mr. William H. Jones from Men of Honor mentoring program at the San Jacinto College North. Mentors are required to meet with mentee twice during a semester, authentically shares his/her knowledge and college/ career experiences, and provides information on internal and external resources as needed. Mentors need to be available through phone/emails during business hours; all meetings take place on campus. All faculty, staff, and second year students with a GPA of 2.75 or better are eligible to become mentors. Other sessions include Tuesday, Feb. 10 from 1 p.m.-3p.m. in the Eagle Room at the Spring Branch Campus and Wednesday, Feb. 18 in Room 108 at the Eastside Campus. HCC and Live Nation present Seether and Papa Roach in concert Concert begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Bayou Music Center, located at 520 Texas Ave. HCC and Live Nation present Railroad Earth in concert Concert begins at 7p.m. at the House of Blues.


Southwest Club Sports Tryouts Men’s soccer tryouts will be 10 a.m.-noon at the Stafford Campus field. Women’s soccer tryouts will

follow at noon-2 p.m. Jan. 31, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. HCC Stafford campus. All participants must have a minimum enrollment of six credit hours. National Society of Leadership and Success The National Society of Leadership and Success will hold an event at 9 a.m. in Room W102 the Scarcella Building on the Stafford Campus. The event will feature a guest speaker. UT Houston Medical School Pre-Med Conference The UT Health Chapter of the Student National Medical Association in partnership with the office of Diversity and Inclusion at UT Houston is proud to host the fourth annual Pre-Med Minority Conference themes: “Still I Rise: A Guide to achieving a Career in Medicine” at 9 a.m. Registration is limited and preference will be given to underclassman University students who have never attended the conference. Registration fee is only $ 20.00. Students must register. See link below. If any students have any questions, concerns or are in need of financial assistant, please contact: Kimberly Marchand at 713.500.5177. HCC and Live Nation present Big Head Todd and the Monsters in concert Concert begins at 7p.m. at the House of Blues.


Southwest Club Sports Tryouts Women’s basketball tryouts will be at 5 p.m. at the Alief YMCA, located at 7850 HowellSugar Land Road.


HCC Northeast

College Student life to host lecture and luncheon The Art Hub Gallery opening lecture and event at Codwell will feature artist Leonard Freeman at 11:30 a.m. After the opening lecture students, staff and faculty are invited to attend the Black History Kickoff luncheon in the multi-purpose room.


Hope Stone Dance Community Class, from Central Dance. Fridays, starting Feb. 6. Hope Stone Dance, an artist in residence at HCC Central, is now offering open community classes in modern dance. Classes taught by artistic director Jane Weiner will meet Fridays from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. in Central’s Studio Q, in Theatre One, 3517 Austin. For information: Megan.Lasher@ hccs.edu


Southwest Club Sports Tryouts Softball tryouts will be Feb. 8 and Feb. 15 at 3 p.m. in Room 142 at the Stafford campus, located at 10041 Cash Road in Stafford.


Cultures and Conversation Meeting The Cultures and Conversation Club will meet at 1:30 p.m. at the West Loop Campus


HCC NE at Northline to host artwork of Quincy Cooper and Gery Wyche Students, faculty and staff of HCC North East College, Northline Campus will be able to indulge in the artwork of Quincy Cooper and Gery Wyche. The artist will be speak on the inspiration of their pieces and answer questions in regards to their artwork.


The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974

TRIO aids students

Wednesday, Janaury 28, 2015 - Page 3 House Bill 507, From Page 1

Tamitra Harris The Egalitarian

Trio Student Services Support is a program located at Houston Community College-Central. The program provides academic support for first generation, low income students who are enrolled at HCC Central, working toward an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree, have less than 30 credits, or have a disability, and plan on transferring to a four-year university. Some of the many services Trio SSS offers are personal and academic counseling, advice on choosing a degree plan, one-onone tutoring sessions, a computer lab, field trips, supplemental grants, seminars, workshops and scholarship opportunities. Trio prepares and assists students with transferring to a fouryear college or university upon graduation. They also host social events such as festivals, parties, plays and picnics. College life is sometimes stressful enough to cause one to




Image courtesy of LaTanya Jones Jason Patterson, left, tutors Shirley Daramy. consider giving up. Whether it is a difficult time adjusting to school, a heavy study load, or home life and other activities combined with classes and studying, it is not uncommon to feel weighed down by the pressure that comes with these responsibilities. With their open-door policy and welcoming atmosphere, Trio staff facilitates members in devising a strategy to help alleviate the tension, continue their education, and obtain their degree. Not only do students receive educational and financial benefits when they become a

member of Trio, but they receive personal benefits as well. Colleges and universities may extend invitations to join various organizations, but this doesn’t mean they can offer you the accommodations or the assistance that you require. While each individual has different wants and needs, a stable learning environment and encouraging support systems are things that are important for students to have to ensure their success in completing their education and accomplishing their goals.

Pot Policy, From Page 1 only has public opinion changed, but the laws are going to change along with that,” Miller said, “...it’s just a matter of time before we’re able to get the legislature to be, you know, aligned with the voters they represent.” “We’re going to have to wait and see how far the bills make it—if they make it through committees,” Miller cautioned, “A lot of this is going to rely on testimony that happens in the hearings.” “But this is going to continue,” Miller resolved, “this is going to continue in every legislative session until we have full legalization…” While he’s optimistic, White discussed the opposition the bill will face in the in the Republican

it…” Rep. Moody said his background in criminal law also motivated him to propose taking this offense out of the criminal justice system. Moody was a prosecutor in El Paso before becoming a State Rep. He has served on the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and the Select Committee on Criminal Procedure in the house. “What we do in criminal law is a lot of things that impact lives across the state. I try to bring that level of seriousness—that level of real world experience that I have in dealing with some of these cases.” When asked if The Civil Penalties bill should be made law, HCC student Zachary Duhon said, “They need to do that,” adding, “I’m down to try it. I think that’s awesome. That’s a really good thing because a lot of people go to jail over marijuana.” “It still don’t give people the right to carry it around,” said HCC student Latrice Barnes, “but it’s a good proposal.” She added that, “I’m very surprised. I’m like, Texas somewhat legalizing marijuana?... Just getting people to OK it!” ———

have to do with the fact that 83 percent of individuals reported that they are not bothered if other people use weed in their own homes. “This is something that continuously get’s brought up, that continues to get talked about,” said Rep. Moody. During the last state legislative session, a bill that would lower the severity of minor possession to a Class C misdemeanor made it out of committee—a crucial step for any bill. However, it did not pass. “The system in Texas is definitely not built to pass legislation,” Rep. Moody dryly laughed, “Any bill that is proposed faces a difficult task to get passed into law.” That includes his Civil Penalties Bill. Moody still seems to be optimistic about the proposal’s chances. “I’ve heard from other colleagues in the House that constituents of theirs are contacting them to support House Bill 507. That shows that there is a grassroots movement to change the way we do things in Texas.” Rep. Moody said that not only has he been receiving a positive response from his constituents in El Paso, but that, “The idea actually came to me from a constituent I met sitting down having coffee in El Paso. When we really kinda started talking about this, in terms of me proposing

The text of H.B. 507 can be found online here: bit.ly/15FW9j0 While the Pew Research Center report can be accessed here: pewrsr. ch/1lnagfK

majority Texas legislature. “You have lots of Republicans who don’t understand how prohibition is in a lot of ways contradictory to where the party stands on individual liberty, personal choice, personal freedom, the idea that you shouldn’t have the government telling you what you can or can’t put in your body. There are Republicans who see that, but you also have some that don’t because for one reason or another, they have a moral objection.” White and other members of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition work within the party and legislature to advocate for change. According to a recent, national survey on drug use, the number of Americans who used marijuana in the last month increased from 14.5 million in 2007 (5.8 percent) to

18.9 million in 2012 (7.3 percent). “You can’t just try to reduce the demand through enforcing these laws, because it doesn’t work,” Miller said, “...it’s never going to work. There is always going to be a demand.” Supporters of drug reform can attend Miller’s NORML group’s monthly events. “We have a lot of people that come to our meetings,” Miller began, “that are doctors, parents, teachers, former police officers [and] attorneys... It’s not necessarily people that smoke a lot, there’s a lot of people involved with this movement that don’t smoke at all. A lot of times it’s because they have a family member or a close friend that has a medical condition.” A condition, he added, with symptoms that can be treated with medical marijuana.

Community hccegalitarian.com

Page 4 - Wednesday, January 28, 2015



The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974

Fort Bend Astronomy Club looks to stars Alyssa Foley

The Egalitarian The Fort Bend Astronomy Club holds monthly meetings in HCC-Southwest Stafford campus’ Scarcella lecture hall. On Friday, Jan. 16, 7– 9:30 p.m., the group featured lectures on the moons of our solar system and the how the world’s largest telescopes are created. The club’s meetings are free and open to the public. Justin McCollum spoke on the Moons of Our Solar System from Jupiter to Neptune. “A lot of these moons are actually humiliating the Earth; one has more water and another has more fossil fuels than Earth.” McCollum was talking about Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Titan respectively. McCollum called Europa the arctic moon, its surface is solid water ice. The moon is believed to have more than twice as much water than the planet Earth. After his presentation he explained, “Europa has about 3 billion cubic kilometers of water. That means, for every 8 oz. glass of water you have here on Earth—fresh or salty—you have 2 and a quarter 8 oz. glasses of water [on Europa].” Saturn’s Titan is notable, among other characteristics, for its abundance of fossil fuels. McCollum explained more afterward, “When I talk about Titan, I’m talking about the hydrocarbons—the basic chemical of fossil fuels. You got these lakes

that are probably about two hundred times greater than all the proven oil reserves on Earth. And all that dry, airy dessert is basically solid hydrocarbon particles... But if you were to compare their energy density to that of coal, they would surpass the coal reserves of the totality of the Earth.” When asked after his presentation why people should study astronomy, McCollum said, “You’d be astonished how much understanding of the geology of these planets we can compare to the geological history of our own Earth. Studying the history of the solar system, well, that knowledge can basically help us understand more about the Earth itself in terms of how lucky we are to live on this planet and take care of it, because look at all these extreme environments! Not a lot of these places are habitable to live. I mean, if you were to do a manned mission to Jupiter, the only moon you would really want to land on is Callisto because the radiation is pretty safe...” The second speaker was Bill Spizzirri, who talked about the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The lab is in the business of creating the largest telescopes in the world. Larger telescopes have more light gathering capability and can produce better images of the universe. Telescope mirrors were originally created with a flat disc


James Quigg/AP PHOTO Zia Amba, a first grade student at the Academy for Academic Excellence watches the observatory doors move during the school’s Astronomy Day Friday in Apple Valley, Calif. of glass which was shaved into a curve. Spizzirri emphasized how labor intensive making telescope mirrors was in the past, “You grind it, and grind it, and measure it. If it’s not right, you grind it and grind it again for hours.” The mirror telescope on Mt. Palomar was the world’s largest till 1993 with its 5 meter, 14 ton mirror. It was believed that a mirror larger than 5 meters couldn’t be made. “It would be too big to cast. Too much to grind. Too heavy to ship. Too heavy to focus. Too much money to make,” Spizzirri explained. Change came when a revolutionary mirror making process was inspired by how when water spins, it naturally curves up the edges of the container into a parabolic curve. With the water spinning method, glass is melted, spun, and cooled into shape inside

a giant oven—no grinding needed. Less glass is used which saves money. It also produces superior images of the universe. “It’s a winwin-win-win-win-win situation,” Spizzirri concluded. These spin cast mirrors are created at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. “Nobody is making bigger mirrors, and as far as I know, no one else spins them—and that’s the fun part,” said Spizzirri. Likely coming in 2022, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope or LSST will record images of the cosmos with a three-billion pixel digital camera. Also, The Giant Magellan Telescope is coming soon to Chile’s Atacama Desert. It will have seven 8.7 meter mirrors, all spin cast at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The GMT will have a resolving power 10 times greater than the Hubble


Space Telescope and will be the biggest telescope in the world. An audience member asked what job backgrounds are needed to work at the mirror lab. Spizzirri said, “These guys are engineers. Engineers from all different backgrounds. There are only a few astronomers in the mirror lab.” One student in attendance was homeschooled seventh grader, Madison Dillon. About the speakers’ presentations, she said, “I learned about how the mirrors were made; I thought that was really cool with all the different processes.” The Fort Bend Astronomy Club hosts free and public meetings every third Friday of the month at HCC Stafford, 10041 Cash Road. Their next meeting is on Feb. 20, 7– 9:30 p.m. and will feature a lecture from Joe Dellinger on asteroid research. Visit: www. fbac.org

If you are interested in joining The Egalitarian staff ... come to Room 232 in the Fine Arts Center at Central Campus Fridays at 11:30 a.m.

The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974



Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - Page 5

Kochbacked machine ramps up

700 rape kits await testing in Amarillo

Philip Elliott & Steve Peoples

AMARILLO, Texas — Amarillo police have more than 700 rape kits they are waiting to have tested under a state law aimed at reducing similar backlogs across the state. At least some of those kits come from open investigation where prosecutors could use DNA evidence linking a suspect to the case, the Amarillo Globe-News reported (http://bit.ly/1yYZlzS ) on Sunday. Police said they’ve long waited to send kits to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which received $11 million in state funding two years ago to accelerate rape-kit testing. DPS contacted Amarillo police in January to start the process of testing kits after receiving an inquiry from the newspaper. Amarillo police have now sent 50 packages to a Virginia lab contracting with the state and hope to eventually have more than 550 tested. According to state and local figures, Amarillo has the fifthlargest backlog of rape kits, which include examinations and other forensic evidence from which an attacker’s DNA can sometimes be found. DPS has previously estimated there are as many as 18,000 untested rape kits statewide. Forensic evidence is particularly important in prosecuting rape cases, especially because jurors who have seen crime procedurals or read crime stories often expect to have DNA evidence. “They’re all going to expect us either to provide scientific evidence to corroborate the other evidence or have a reasonable expectation for why it isn’t available in this particular case,” said James Farren, the district attorney in Randall County. DPS said the process of testing was underway and would be fully completed by next year.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Flexing its financial might, the political machine backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch on Monday told its allies that spending across its conservative network would approach $1 billion ahead of 2016’s elections. The stunning sum from Freedom Partners would dwarf expected spending from official GOP committees and many of the hopefuls expected to seek the party’s presidential nomination in 2016. The $889 million budget is almost twice what 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney spent from his campaign accounts. The hefty budget also suggests that the Koch-backed groups are prepared to spend heavily and early to weaken the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Koch-backed groups such as Americans for Prosperity aired tens of millions of dollars in negative ads against incumbent Democratic lawmakers in 2014 and helped Republicans win a majority in the Senate. While the Koch-backed groups are tremendously effective, even some of their allies eyed the latest budget figure with

J. Scott Applewhite/AP FILE PHOTO Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, arrives at the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio seems to be moving toward a bid for the Republicans’ presidential nomination, and late Sunday he joins Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky for an audience with the conservative billionaire Koch brothers. wariness. Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, a Republican who now heads the American Bankers Association and who calls the Kochs “wonderful human beings,” lamented the ballooning role of outside groups in politics. “This is the new normal,” Keating said. Freedom Partners is the central hub for the Koch-backed network that includes groups like the activist-recruiting Americans for Prosperity, the millennial-targeting Generation Opportunity and the Hispanicwooing Libre Initiative. Taken together, the Koch-endorsed groups make up a political machine that raises and spends more than any outside network in politics — and more

than the official Republican and Democratic campaign committees. But unlike those parties, the Koch collection of organizations is mostly made up of nonprofit groups that do not disclose their donors. Democrats have heavily criticized the Kochs’ spending in politics and lack of transparency. A Washington Post-Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the Koch-linked network found $407 million in spending during 2012’s elections. Freedom Partners’ twice-as-large 2016 budget was included in a Monday briefing that Freedom Partners officials offered a record 450 allies and donors who huddled for a weekend in Palm Springs, California.

BP calls witnesses as it fights for lesser spill penalty Cain Burdeau

The Associated Press NEW ORLEANS — BP struggled for 87 days to contain the millions of gallons of crude that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, but an expert witness on Monday called its cleanup response exemplary. “They were very prepared,” said Frank Paskewich, a retired Coast Guard captain and president of Clean Gulf Associates Inc., an oil spill response cooperative. BP had a sound plan for reacting to the deadly explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil

rig, “and they pulled the trigger on that plan,” coming “out of the gate quick,” he said. Paskewich also testified that 37 percent of the spilled oil was recovered or broken down by skimmers, dispersants and burning, compared to just 8 percent in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska’s shore. But he was forced to acknowledge that he isn’t sure about the long-term impact of the chemical dispersants used to break up the oil. And Justice Department attorney Brandon Robers noted that his cooperative is funded by oil companies and

led in part by BP. BP is trying to convince U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier that it shouldn’t pay the top civil penalty of $13.7 billion for polluting the gulf, since it has already spent $42 billion on cleanup, criminal penalties and civil settlements. BP PLC’s overall market value is $122 billion, but its lawyers have said that paying the top fine would strain the finances of BP Exploration and Production, the unit deemed responsible for the spill. Government lawyers countered that any fines can be borne by more than one part of the corporation.

Last week, a government accounting expert testified that the spill did not stop the company’s growth. He found that BP’s assets totaled $315 billion on June 30, 2014, up from $236 billion on June 30, 2009. The government also seeks a penalty of more than $1 billion from Anadarko, a minority partner in the Macondo well. The judge isn’t expected to rule until April at the earliest. He already found that BP acted with “gross negligence” in the explosion, which caused its Macondo well to send clouds of oil billowing to the surface.



Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - Page 6

The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974

Deficit to shrink to lowest point under Obama Stephen Ohlemacher The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Solid economic growth will help the federal budget deficit shrink this year to its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office, according to congressional estimates released Monday. The Congressional Budget Office also projects a 14 percent drop in the number of U.S. residents without health insurance, largely because of Obama’s health law. In a report released Monday, CBO says the deficit will be $468 billion for the budget year that ends in September. That’s slightly less than last year’s $483 billion deficit. The official scorekeeper of Congress projects solid economic growth for the next few years, with unemployment dropping slightly. “In CBO’s estimation, increases in consumer spending, business investment and residential investment will drive the economic expansion this year and over the next few years,” the report said. CBO also cited wage increases, rising wealth and the recent decline in oil prices. For future years however, CBO issued a warning: Beyond 2018, deficits will start rising again as more baby boomers retire and enroll in Social Security and Medicare. By 2025, annual budget deficits could once again top $1 trillion, unless Congress acts. At that point, Social Security

J. Scott Applewhite/AP FILE PHOTO Copies of President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget are set out for distribution on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Congressional Budget Office says the federal budget deficit will shrink this year to its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office. CBO says the deficit will be $468 billion for the budget year that ends in September. That’s slightly less than last year’s $483 billion deficit. As a share of the economy, CBO says this year’s deficit will be slightly below the historical average of the past 50 years. benefits would account for onequarter of all federal spending, said CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf. “The underlying point is that we have a handful of very large federal programs that provide benefits to older Americans,” Elmendorf said. “And with the rising number of older Americans and a rising cost of health care, those programs get much more expensive.”

CBO says the number of U.S. residents without health insurance will drop from 42 million last year to 36 million this year, largely because of Obama’s health law. These numbers don’t include people who are in the U.S. illegally, who are ineligible for subsidies under the health law. The report says 19 million people will have health insurance because of the law, which could make it harder for congressional

Republicans to make good on promises to repeal it. Obama inherited an economy in recession when he took office. The annual deficit topped $1 trillion for each of his first four years in office, including a record $1.4 trillion in 2009. As a share of the economy, CBO says this year’s deficit will be slightly below the historical average of the past 50 years. The federal budget deficit

became a big issue during Obama’s early years in office. In 2011, Obama and congressional Republicans struck a deal that resulted in significant spending cuts at many government agencies. At the start of 2013, Obama persuaded Congress to further address the deficit by raising taxes on top earners. The White House said Monday that Congress still has more to do. “CBO’s longer-term budget and economic projections confirm the need for Congress to act to strengthen our economy for the middle class while putting our debt and deficits on a sustainable trajectory, including by making the investments that will accelerate economic growth and generate good new jobs for our workers to fill,” Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said in a statement. Declining budget deficits, however, could reduce pressure on Congress to continue addressing the government’s finances. “Over the last few years as deficits have fallen, so too has the effectiveness of Republican rhetoric about a ‘big government’ boogeyman,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. “Now is the time for Republicans to join with Democrats to invest in constructive programs that help middle-class Americans climb the ladder and achieve the American dream.” Republicans, however, signaled that they aren’t done cutting spending.

Border Patrol aids Super Bowl security Astrid Galvan

The Associated Press

Ross D. Franklin/AP PHOTO A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent sits in a control booth as the X-ray machine he is in scans a tractor trailer truck outside of University of Phoenix Stadium, site of the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game, for a media security demonstration Monday.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Black Hawk helicopters and truck-sized X-ray machines that are typically deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border have been brought to the Super Bowl venue to assist with the security effort. U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed off the technology Monday as it helps with Super Bowl security. Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske was on hand for a demonstration of

the agency’s Black Hawks and large mobile X-ray machines that are used to detect contraband and explosives. The helicopters and X-ray machines are from Tucson and Nogales, some of the busiest spots in the nation for the smuggling of drugs and immigrants. Kerlikowske said Arizona’s border with Mexico still has adequate security while some equipment is used in Glendale for the Super Bowl. He said it’s not just the technology that will help keep the big game safe, but the expertise behind it.

“The real key about this equipment is the people who operate them,” Kerlikowske said. The CBP is also deploying about 100 officers who will assist other federal and local law enforcement agencies. The X-ray machines are mobile and the size of a large truck. They slowly pan outside a semitruck while operators inside the X-ray machine look for anomalies. The X-ray machines are in heavy use at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, one of the busiest ports of entry for commerce in the country.

The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974



Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - Page 7

Complaints challenge Gitmo orders

Blizzard threatens Northeast Meghan Barr

David Dishneau

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Tens of millions of people along the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor rushed to get home and settle in Monday as a fearsome storm swirled in with the potential for hurricane-force winds and 1 to 3 feet of snow that could paralyze the Northeast for days. Snow was coating cars and building up on sidewalks and roadways in New York City by evening, and flurries were flying in Boston. Forecasters said the storm would build into a blizzard, and the brunt of it would hit late Monday and into Tuesday. As the snow got heavier, much of the region rushed to shut down. More than 6,500 flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled, and many of them may not take off again until Wednesday. Schools and businesses let out early. Government offices closed. Shoppers stocking up on food jammed supermarkets and elbowed one another for what was left. Broadway stages went dark. “It’s going to be ridiculous out there, frightening,” said postal deliveryman Peter Hovey, standing on a snowy commuter train platform in White Plains, New York. All too aware that big snowstorms can make or break politicians, governors and mayors moved quickly to declare emergencies and order the shutdown of streets and highways to prevent travelers from getting stranded and to enable plows and emergency vehicles to get through. “This will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in the history of New York City,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio warned. He urged New Yorkers to go home and stay there, adding: “People have to make smart decisions from this point on.” Commuters like Sameer Navi. 27, of Long Island, were following the advice. Navi, who works for Citigroup in Manhattan, said he takes the Long Island Rail Road every day and left work early Monday after warnings by local officials to get home before the brunt of the storm. “I did leave earlier than usual,” he said. “Penn Station less crowded than I thought it would be so I’m guessing people left earlier or didn’t go to work today.” Up to now, this has been a largely snow-free winter in the urban Northeast. But this storm threatened to make up the difference in a single blow. Boston was expected to get 2 to 3 feet of

FORT MEADE, Md. — Some female guards at the Guantanamo Bay prison have filed equal opportunity complaints challenging court orders barring them from jobs that would require touching detainees while escorting them to hearings and attorney-client meetings, a military judge said Monday. The two complaints filed with the Defense Department’s Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity complicate a dispute that stems from the detainees’ assertion that their Muslim faith prohibits physical contact with females who are not their wives or relatives. Some defense lawyers have argued that the government recently added women to the escort teams to humiliate the men and disrupt their ability to defend themselves. Prosecutors have argued that barring women from escort duty would amount to gender discrimination. The complaints were revealed Monday by Navy Capt. J. Kirk Waits as he presided over a pretrial hearing for Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi at the U.S. base in Cuba. The Associated Press watched a closedcircuit video feed of the hearing at Fort Meade, near Baltimore. Waits said he heard on Friday about the complaint in al-Hadi’s case but hadn’t seen it. Waits issued an interim order in November barring female guards from the escort work with al-Hadi. Defense attorneys want the judge to make the order final, with oral arguments scheduled later this week. Army Col. James Pohl, the judge in another U.S. Military Commissions case against the five defendants in the Sept. 11 attacks, advised attorneys Monday that he learned Friday of a similar complaint challenging a ruling he made in January.

Mel Evans/AP PHOTO Workers attach snow plows to trucks at a New Jersey Dept. of Transportation maintenance yard, Monday in Newark, N.J. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency saying NJ Transit will shut down late Monday as a winter storm threatens to dump as much as two feet of snow over parts of the state. snow, New York 1½ to 2 feet and Philadelphia more than a foot. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile swath of the region, meaning heavy, blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions. Forecasters warned that the wind could gust to 75 mph or more along the Massachusetts coast and up 50 mph farther inland. New York City’s subways and buses planned to shut down by 11 p.m. In Massachusetts, ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard was greatly curtailed and to Nantucket was suspended. Commuter railroads across the Northeast announced plans to stop running overnight, and most flights out of the region’s major airports were canceled. Authorities banned travel on all streets and highways in New York City and on Long Island and warned that violators could be fined $300. Even food deliveries were off-limits on the streets of takeout-friendly Manhattan. The governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island also slapped restrictions on nonessential travel. “We learned the lesson the hard way,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, referring to instances in which motorists got stranded in the snow for 24 hours or more. Nicole Coelho, a nanny from Lyndhurst, New Jersey, stocked up on macaroni and cheese, frozen pizzas and milk at a supermarket. “I’m going to make sure to charge up my cellphone, and I have a good book I haven’t gotten around to reading yet,” she said. Shopping cart gridlock descended on Fairway, the gourmet grocery on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The meat shelves were all but bare, customers shoved past each other and outside on Broadway the checkout line

stretched for a block as the wind and snow picked up. Store employees said it was busier than Christmastime. Ben Shickel went grocery shopping in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and found shelves had been cleaned out. “We’re used to these big snowstorms in New England, but 2 to 3 feet all at once and 50 to 60 mph winds? That’s a different story,” he said. Last minute shoppers filed into the Jersey City ShopRite Monday evening, looking to stock up before the brunt of the storm hit. “I heard it’s supposed to be snowing for two days straight, so we plan on staying inside and munching,” said 18-year old Christian Waiters, who serves in the military. On Wall Street, however, the New York Stock Exchange stayed open and said it would operate normally Tuesday as well. Coastal residents braced for a powerful storm surge and the possibility of damaging flooding and beach erosion, particularly in New Jersey and on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Officials in New Jersey shore towns warned people to move their cars off the streets and away from the water. Utility companies across the region put additional crews on standby to deal with anticipated power outages. The storm posed one of the biggest tests yet for Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who has been in office for less than three weeks. He warned residents to prepare for power outages and roads that are “very hard, if not impossible, to navigate.” The storm interrupted jury selection in the Boston Marathon bombing case and forced a postponement in opening statements in the murder trial of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Sports hccegalitarian.com



Page 8 - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Threeand-out John Cañamar

The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974

Astros retool for 2015 season John Cañamar The Egalitarian

NFL is not fooling anyone It has been said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” If that is the truth, then shame on you NFL fans. Yes, shame on you NFL fans for allowing a commissioner of the sport that you love let individuals in the sport to be bigger than the sport itself. Let’s go down memory lane so that you can see why you should be ashamed.

First Down

Back on February 15, 2014 at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City Ray Rice delivered a left hook to his then fiancée, now wife, Janay Palmer. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave Rice a two game suspension for violation of the NFL’s domestic abuse rule. When TMZ released the video of the incident from inside of the elevator at the Revel Hotel and Casino on Sept. 8 Goodell and the NFL came under fire. Later that day, the Baltimore Ravens terminated Rice’s contract. Goodell followed the decision of the Ravens and increased his suspension from two games to indefinitely. An arbitrator later overturned Rice’s suspension. The Ravens settled for an undisclosed amount of money with Rice for wrongfully terminating him.

Second Down

Then on Sept. 13 Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse in Montgomery County, Texas. Goodell placed Peterson on the exempt or commissioner’s permission list. The NFL Player Personnel Policy Manual states: “The Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in see

Three-And-Out, Page 9

The Houston Astros have been making many moves this offseason to continue the improvement that they had in the 2014 season. After a 2014 season that saw a 19-game improvement from the 2013 season, Houston Astros’ fans were pleased, but not yet excited about the future of their beloved baseball team. Astros’ general manager Jeff Luhnow started retooling the team in September by hiring manager A.J. Hinch. Hinch comes from the San Diego Padres organization where he was the vice president of professional scouting from 2010 until August. Luhnow has been active throughout the offseason with multiple signings and trades. With a little over three weeks until the team reports to spring training, in Kissimmee, Florida, the Astros are still turning over their team. From the 48 players that spent any time during the team’s 70-92 2014 campaign, 25 of them will be returning to spring training. There will also be 15 new players that will be making the trip to central Florida. for a chance to make the opening day roster. To help Jose Altuve, Jon Singleton and George Springer, Luhnow has added players like relief pitcher Luke Gregerson, shortstop Jed Lowrie and outfielder Colby Rasmus Gregerson comes by way of free agent sighing. Last year he was with the Oakland A’s where he came into relief in 72 games and recorded 72.1 innings pitched, 59 strike outs, 15 walks and a 2.12 earned-run average. Gregerson, with his six years of experience, will help lock down the closers position and hold onto the late inning leads that slipped away from the team last campaign. Lowrie is a seven-year shortstop, that can also play the rest of the infield, is returning for his second term with the Astros. The team signed Lowrie to a three-year deal worth $23

The Houston Astros made several moves in the offseason in the hopes of improving from their 70-92 record in 2014. One of those moves included bringing in A.J. Hinch as manager. The team also signed Toronto’s Colby Rasmus to a one-year, $8 million contract. Other roster moves included adding relief pitcher Luke Gregerson and shortstop Jed Lowrie from Oakland. Gregerson (above) comes to Houston as a free agent after spending last season with the A’s, where he struck out 59 and held a 2.12 ERA in 72 appearances. The Astros inked Lowrie (left) to a three-year, $23 million contract with a team option for a fourth year. —Above: Joe Camporeale/USA Today/AP Photo Left: Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

million with a team option for a fourth year at an additional $5 million. “Knowing that this team had pursued you from the beginning and aggressively,” said Lowrie, “Being wanted and knowing where you stand with the organization is a good feeling.” Rasmus was signed for his

strong defensive play and leadership abilities. “Being in a leadership role just means going out there and playing and doing what you’ve got to do for your team, and more so leading by example and not with my mouth,” he said. “It’s just being good to guys and loving guys, even the younger guys. Try to

love everybody and make them feel welcome and make them feel like they’re a part of the team. … If we can all pull on the same rope, with the talent we have, we can definitely make a run at this thing.” see

Astros Retool, Page 9

The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974



Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - Page 9

Watt shines at Pro Bowl

Pro Bowl testing range for rules Bob Baum

AP Sports Writer

John Marshall AP Sports Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz. — J.J. brought some Wattage to the Pro Bowl with an array of athleticism and hip-shaking shimmying. Even in a game his team didn’t win, J.J. Watt found a way to steal the show — just like he had all season. Capping an electrifying season, Watt intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble and showed off his dance moves to a sellout crowd at the Pro Bowl Sunday night. “I just tried to enjoy it; that’s what the Pro Bowl is all about, giving the fans a good show,” Watt said. “Everybody worked so hard to get here, you want to enjoy yourself and play some good ball.” OK, maybe the good ball was a stretch. As is the case with most Pro Bowls, the game wasn’t exactly scintillating, filled with shoddy tackling and less-than-full effort from the players. Team Irvin won it over Watt’s Team Carter team 32-28. The 6-foot-5, 289-pound defensive end showed off his athleticism with an interception in the second quarter, leaping to swat down Matthew Stafford’s pass, then gathering the

David J. Phillip/AP PHOTO Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt poses with the Pro Bowl cheerleaders after Team Irvin defeated Team Carter 32-28 in the NFL Football Pro Bowl Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. deflection. He recovered a fumble in the third quarter, swatted down another pass and defended four passes in the defensivelylacking game. Watt also put his dance moves on display during a third-quarter timeout, raising his arms in the air and shaking his hips, drawing big cheers from the crowd when it was shown on the video board. He shimmied again during timeout in the fourth quarter, this time drawing Team Carter teammate Marcell Dareus into the mix. Watt was named the defensive player of the game — his cheers were much louder than for Stafford, the offensive MVP — and closed out the night by posing for a selfie with Team Carter defensive end Robert Quinn. “Guys are dancing around and having a good time, that’s what

it’s all about,” Watt said. Now his attention turns toward Saturday’s NFL Awards show. Watt is one of the favorites to win the NFL’s MVP award, though faces long odds, at least historically. The MVP award has been an almost exclusively-offensive club through the years, handed out to defensive players twice in NFL history: Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page in 1971 and New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986. The award usually goes to a player from a winning team; the last MVP from a non-playoff team that was Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson in 1973. Whatever happens, Watt proved his worth this season after becoming the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history

with a six-year, $100 million contract. Watt was the NFL defensive player of the year in 2012 and may have had a better season in 2014, becoming the first player in NFL history to have two 20-sack seasons by tying a career with 20.5. He led the league with five fumble recoveries, was tied for second with four forced fumbles and his sack total was tied for second. Watt also scored five touchdowns: three on offense and one each on a fumble and interception returns. Numbers like those ratcheted up the MVP talk, but Watt deflected it, just as he has all season “I’m sure it’ll be a fun show,” Watt said of the awards shot. “My family will be out, so it will be cool.”

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The odd rules that the NFL tried in the Pro Bowl made for a strange sideshow. No kickoffs, no blitzing, alternate possessions to start each quarter, two-minute warnings for each quarter and stopping the clock when a running play doesn’t gain a yard in the final two minutes. And skinny little goal posts, particularly hard to hit on longer extra-point kicks. A capacity crowd of 63,225 watched Team Irvin beat Team Carter 32-28. Chances are no one came to see if Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri — who had not missed a PAT in five years — could squeeze a 33-yard extra point through 14foot wide uprights. Twice he couldn’t. Vinatieri’s counterpart on Team Carter, rookie Cody Parkey, didn’t miss. But he didn’t like the experiment.

Astros Retool, From Page 8 “He and [newcomer] Jed [Lowrie], those are going to be the type of guys - obviously, [Jose] Altuve is young, but he’s going to be a leader. We’re going to count on [Rasmus] for some leadership. It’s a good opportunity for him to take that clubhouse presence to the next level,” said Luhnow.

Three-And-Out, From Page 8 unusual circumstances. The list includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit. Only the Commissioner has the authority to place a player on the Exempt List; clubs have no such authority, and no exemption, regardless of circumstances, is automatic. The Commissioner also has the authority to determine in advance whether a player’s time on the Exempt List will be finite or will continue until the Commissioner deems the exemption should be lifted and the player returned to the Active List.”

While a player is on the Exempt List he continues to receive his pay according to his contract. On Nov. 4, Peterson pleaded no contest to the charges. After which, Goodell suspended him until no earlier than April 15.

Third Down

Now on Sunday, Jan. 17 the New England Patriots were caught using footballs that were two pounds under inflated. Not one or two footballs were under inflated, but 11 out of 12. If any other team was caught doing this it may be seen as an oversight, not with the Patriots.

This is the second time that there has been proof of the team cheating under the same leadership of Coach Bill Belichick. Back in 2007 the New England Patriots were caught in the videotaping controversy known as “Spygate.” What will Goodell do? Does he respond like his predecessor did and suspend and fine Belichick? If he does suspend him, will it be prior to the Super Bowl? Goodell cannot fall back and claim that he is waiting on the outcome of an investigation, the results are already in. If Goodell does not act swiftly and hands out a suspension prior to the Super Bowl,

you as fans should be screaming for his job. You must demand integrity within the game. Do not allow the NFL to pull the wool over your eyes again, and say that they are conducting an internal investigation and that they will come down with a swift and proper outcome. We have seen what an internal investigation leads to, nothing but a document that is over 50 pages long filled with a lot of lawyer speak that says nothing. Command a change! It is now fourth-and-long. You as intelligent football fans know it is time to punt. Or should it be said that with Goodell, it is three and out.

Arts &Entertainment hccegalitarian.com



Page 10 - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974

House exhibit set for debut

Fans scramble for Oscar movies Leanne Italie

The Associated Press

Brenda Jacoby The Egalitarian

Houston’s Project Row House in the Greater Third Ward inspired a collaboration between Rice University and Tokyo-based architecture studio Atellier BowWow. The studio was commissioned by the Rice School of Architecture and Rice University Art Gallery to create a semblance of a row house inside Rice Gallery. Since last year, Rice Assistant Professor Jesus Vallallo and his students have worked alongside Atellier Bow-Wow principals, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoya Kaijima. Row houses, primarily used by African-American communities became popular as former slaves became free and needed housing.

Image courtesy of Rice University Art Gallery Members of the Tokyo-based Atelier Bow-Wow architecture studio studies a historic row house in Houston in 2014. The studio, in collaboration with Rice University’s architecture school and art gallery, are sponsoring an exhibit of row houses starting Jan. 31 and running through mid-March. The students did extensive research on the cultural significance of the communities, as well as their decline. The exhibition will include many of the research uncovered in the form of documentary photography surveys, tracing the

genealogy of the architectural type and construction techniques. The opening reception is on Friday, Jan. 30, 5p.m–7p.m. The exhibition will remain on view until March 15. Regular hours resume Jan. 31, Tues-Sat 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.,

Thurs. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 12-5 p.m. Closed Mondays. The gallery is free and open to the public. Rice Gallery is on the ground floor of Sewall Hall, use Campus Entrance 1 at Main Street and Sunset Boulevard.

Houston Grand Opera brings back ‘Madame Butterfly’ Chutiya Metheesupapak The Egalitarian

Houston Grand Opera is bringing back Madame Butterfly, one of the greatest operas of all time. Composed by Giacomo Puccini in the 20th century, it originally had two acts, but Puccini thought the second act was too long; therefore, he divided it into three acts. The musical was greatly composed and unique because it used Japanese Pentatonic scales to introduce the Japanese cultures. Madame Butterfly is about the interracial love story between the 15-year-old Japanese girl named Cio-Cio San or Madame Butterfly (Ana María Martinez) and the American Navy Lieutenant Pinkerton (Alexey Dolgov). Butterfly was promised

to marry Pinkerton. Nevertheless, Pinkerton left Butterfly for over years and came back with an American woman. The lovable and memorable song from this musical is “Un bel di (One Fine Day)” because it is the main aria of Madame Butterfly. In this song, Butterfly expressed that she believed Pinkerton would come back to her because of his promises. The show runs from Jan. 23 – Feb. 8 with various show times offered at Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center. Address: 501 Texas Avenue, Houston, TX 77002. Ticket prices range from $38-$386.25. For purchase tickets and more information,visit: www.HoustonGrandOpera.org or call 713.546.0248.

Image Courtesy of Houston Grand Opera Houston Grand Opera’s production of “Madame Butterfly” is running from now until Feb. 8.

NEW YORK — There’s a fever spreading across the land. It’s Oscar fever, with a reasonably short incubation period but symptoms that turn otherwise rational film buffs into bingeing maniacs. In a good way! Between Jan. 15, when Academy Award nominations were announced, and Feb. 22 — the movie industry’s big night — sufferers flock to theaters, beg screening DVDs from voting Screen Actors Guild members and trek to marathons to see as many contenders as possible in one stretch. Actor-filmmaker Asher Grodman in Los Angeles gets it. He’s the 27-year-old son of film fans and counts himself among the Oscarobsessed, squeezing in all he can as soon as nominations are announced to watch and learn but also because of the pull of tradition. “I’m about halfway through the best picture nominees right now,” he said. “My parents, they took me to see ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Traffic’ when I was, like, 11, when I was a little too young. That probably should not have happened, but you go and see these films in theaters and your parents are moved by them and it sort of does something to you.” AMC theaters are oh-so onboard. For the ninth year, the country’s No. 2 chain on Feb. 21 — the day before Oscars night — will host 24hour marathons for best-picture contenders in six movie markets around the country: Los Angeles; the Kansas City area; Dallas; Chicago; New York; and the District of Columbia included. This year, there’s a twist. The company is partnering with the crowdfunding site Tilt to help people elsewhere whip up enough interest in their areas for one of the in-theater marathons by reserving tickets ahead of time and spreading the word.

Commentary hccegalitarian.com

The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974

Egal•i•tar•i•an (adjective) aiming for equal wealth, status, etc., for all people

3517 Austin; 303 Fine Arts Center; Houston TX 77004 713.718.6016 713.718.6601 Adviser: Fredrick Batiste

SPRING 2015 EGALITARIAN STAFF Editor-in-Chief.................................................Alyssa Foley Managing Editor..........................................................TBA News Editor................................................. Jimmieka Mills Community Editor................................... Sabrina Alvarado Sports Editor............................................... John Cañamar A&E Editor..................................................Brenda Jacoby Commentary Editor......................................................TBA Photo Editor.................................................................TBA Social Media Mgr.........................................................TBA Staff Writer................................................Ariana Gonzalez Staff Writer....................................................Tamitra Harris Staff Writer...................................Chutiya Metheesupapak Staff Writer...................................................... Maria Smith ———

The Egalitarian has been the official student newspaper of the Houston Community College System since September 1974. The Egalitarian is published bi-monthly, every other Wednesday except during holiday breaks. Print circulation is 8,000 copies per issue and distributed to selected HCC campuses in the Houston, Spring Branch, Alief, Katy, North Forest and Fort Bend areas. Comments and contributions are always welcome. Deadlines for contributions and advertisements are one week before the issue print date. The Egalitarian is written and edited by students of Houston Community College. This publication does not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, interests, attitudes and tastes of the Board of Trustees, HCC administration, faculty, staff or students. Opinions and editorial content of The Egalitarian that are unsigned do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Egalitarian staff or adviser. The Egalitarian reserves the right to edit any submitted material for grammatical errors, offensive language, libelous materials and space constraints. It may also refuse any advertising that does not adhere to the HCC mission.


The Egalitarian staff consists of three part-time students who must complete all tasks required to produce the newspaper, which serves all campuses of the HCC System. We want all students from all majors to contribute. However, we must follow our submissions policy in order to operate under our limitations of time, energy and staff. All staff and contributing writers must be currently enrolled students at Houston Community College. The Egalitarian interacts with contributing writers via e-mail and telephone. Visiting The Egalitarian will not help contributors get published, only quality work will. Publication priority is given to staff members and assigned articles, and verbal commitments for assignments will not be accepted or recognized. Press releases, story ideas, news tips and suggestions are always welcomed. Any student interested in joining The Egalitarian staff may request more detailed information regarding story length, topics, style, etc., by e-mailing The Egalitarian Faculty Adviser Fredrick Batiste at adviser@hccegalitarian.com.



Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - Page 11

Je suis la liberté, le respect et la tolérance Since I was a little girl, my mother taught me that tolerance is a powerful tool for your everyday life. I learned that not only tolerance, but also patience, could let you accomplish an incredible amount of things in life. As an international student and future journalist. I have learned a lot about different cultures. I have coexisted with those who think differently, who have different religions and I have accepted those comments that I do not like. Patience and tolerance: two small words that can change so many things. Seventeen people died in the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris. A conclusion that is acquired from this bloody expression of intolerance, barbarism and ignorance is that the truth is contrary to appearances. In other words, if someone feels—not angry or offended—but threatened by a cartoon, it is clear that this person has convictions that are too fragile and vulnerable. It is the opposite of appearance. At first glance, people think that fans have strong, deep convictions and inspired ideas. They proclaim their slogans loudly, with arms raised and detonating bombs that are capable of killing thousands of innocent people and they are even willing to commit suicide for the sake of their beliefs. This is backwards. Those ideas are so childish that they are not capable of supporting the hint of a smile or the power of a laugh. The strength of an idea is not only measured in its validity and its persuasiveness, but also their triumph over other ideas. The dispute is with other ideas. Not bullets. If anyone believes that a canvas, a video, a text or a caricature is disrespecting his or her religion, that person has the right to respond with its own canvas, video, text or caricature. Never with a bullet. If someone feels that he or she must take up arms to defend their god or philosophy or is tempted to use a weapon to protect themselves

Maria Smith from a joke, at that moment the person betrays their pathetic fragility. There is no loud crying, slogan or even an explosion, as hard as it sounds, that might convince you otherwise. Another fact that this insane attack on freedom of expression reveals is the power of speech and pen, which are generally considered weak against a rifle. It is also backwards. They are so powerful that for centuries, the authorities have made bonfires of books and have persecuted writers, artists and comedians, feeling threatened by satire and the written word. T.S. Eliot once said, “Humor is also a way of saying something serious.” I come from a country when freedom of expression in no longer allowed. Humor still is our only way out of reality back in Venezuela. Mockery and derision against our government helps us to get through to that nonexistent freedom that we have. The fact that we can still laugh is healthy and necessary. However, it’s also dangerous and for that, very brave and admirable. For most of us, it is difficult to understand the mind of the cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo. Why were they seeking to offend? Why make fun of what is sacred to others? Why provoke Islamic extremists if they knew they may react with violence? As a reader of its publication and its jokes, I think they did it because they were convinced of a truth—we cannot coexist with irrational and intolerant fanatics. In the view of the French weekly,

politically correct tolerance is like trying to live with an abusive husband. You believe that your husband is naturally good, and hits only when he’s provoked. Finally, you become convinced that is not your abuser’s fault, but yours. We often believe that if we are good, nothing bad will happen to us. Experience shows that, sooner or later, the striker hits. I can be politically correct and say that the illustrations of Charlie Hebdo were “too controversial.” But that is the same as arguing that a raped woman’s dress was “too sexy” or “she was asking for it”. Here there is some controversy—on one hand we have drawings, and on the other murderous bullets. Certainly there are styles of dress, ideas, drawings and texts that can be annoying and even offensive, but making fun of any religion is not correct either. However, killing for it does not make us better than the mockery. Many illustrations of Charlie Hebdo did not make me laugh and several times they infuriate me. But the only civilized alternative is to ignore or respond in the same way—writing, drawing and arguing. If we react with physical violence, we become beasts, and as Buddha said, “who makes you angry, dominates you.” The difficulty of living with others is part of human experience. It is also human nature to try to have the last word in every argument. Those who killed Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and editors tried to have the last word in the most cowardly manner. By doing it in a malicious and ignorant manner, they confirmed that monsters live with no sense of humor or love. Can we live with fans if we don’t provoke them? Or, should we leave them in evidence so people become aware of their brutality? Those are not simple questions, but I agree that Charlie Hebdo is a problem, which we must deal sooner rather than later. Despite the fact that often I do not share their humor, it was and will remain necessary to ensure freedom and protect their voices from future attacks.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - Page 12



The Student Voice of Houston Community College Since 1974

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