WHAT’S INSIDE? Ormsbee: Students get the shaft...again Scott: So what if a fetus feels pain? Museum opens secret collection for summer
TWINKIES ARE BACK P3 P3 P2
Pg 2 AP Photo/Hostess Brands
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Volume 123 / Issue 31
Facebook.com/ TheHoustonian Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Court reaffirms limits of affirmative action
Race ok to use, but institutions must use strict scrutiny in admission decisions STEPHEN GREEN Editor-in-Chief The U.S. Supreme Court just made it a little harder for universities to use their affirmative action policies. In a 7-1 decision, the Justices side-stepped a major ruling on the nature of affirmative action admission policies before sending the case back to lower courts. The case, Fisher v. the University of Texas, centered around Abigail Fisher; a white female who believed her rejection stemmed from the system’s affirmative action admission policies. In the majority opinion, issued by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Justices did not address the larger issue of affirmative action. Instead, they chose a more technical approach. “The Court concludes that the Court of Appeals did not hold the University to the demanding burden of strict scrutiny,” the decision reads. Strict scrutiny means that the government must prove that reasons for racial classification are “clearly identified and unquestionably legitimate,” according to the 1967 case Loving v. Virginia. The lower court now must decide whether the University of Texas upheld the burden of strict scrutiny when Fisher’s application was rejected. They will have to provide concrete evidence and numbers as to why such a decision is necessary to create diversity. The Court said in University of California v Bakke that diversity is a goal institutions of higher
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File
AFFIRMATIVE NONACTION Abigail Fisher, right, who sued the University of Texas, walks outside the Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court has sent a Texas case on race-based college admissions back to a lower court for another look. The court’s 7-1 decision Monday leaves unsettled many of the basic questions about the continued use of race as a factor in college admissions.
education can seek to attain, granting the way for policies like UT’s. However, the Bakke case said, the institution must follow the standard set forth by Loving. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is widely regarded as one of the Court’s most liberal-leaning,
was the lone opposition and spoke directly to affirmative action’s Constitutionality. “Government actors need not be blind to the lingering effects of an overtly discriminatory past,” she said. “I have said before and reiterate here that only an ostrich
Texas Legislators debate tough 20-week abortion ban bill CONNOR HYDE Contributing Reporter Texas lawmakers will determine the future of the state’s abortion policy today, ruling on the standard of women’s healthcare and protect unborn children. Under the proposed legislation abortions would be illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Doctors performing abortions would require admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. If the bill becomes law Texas would become the 13th state to pass a 20-week ban and uphold one of the toughest abortion restrictions in the nation. A packed gallery within Texas Legislature argued well into Monday morning with state Democrats fighting to stall Senate Bill 5 passage before receiving preliminary 97-33 approval. State representative and SB-5 sponsor Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, claims the bill strictly focuses on pregnancies far along in development stages and does not prohibit an abortion from rape or incest. Opponents of SB-5 claim the new regulations would limit the number of abortion clinics to just five within the state. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, argued that women should remain to have the option for abortion. “Do you want to return back to
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the coat hanger or do you want to be able to give them an option to be able to terminate their pregnancy because they have been raped?” Thompson said during Monday’s delegations. According to Yahoo! News, supporters are pushing the bill to protect women and keep the unborn child from feeling pain while opponents fight to keep 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics from facing closure. “Sadly, too often today the backalley abortion is the abortion clinic because the standards for providers and the facilities are too lax or substandard,” Laubenberg said. “This bill will assure that women are given the highest standard of healthcare.” Thompson responded, beating a coat hanger in her hand, the bill could cost lives. “There are going to be more people ending up in the hospital dead on arrival for trying to do the abortions themselves,” she said. Social media exploded Sunday night with news of the debates, including the “Binders Full of Women” Facebook page with more than 318,000 page likes. The Texas Senate is expected to vote late with an expected Democrat filibuster pushing the midnight deadline. If is the case, Governor Rick Perry could call another special session and attempt delegations further.
could regard the supposedly neutral alternative as race unconscious.” The ninth Justice, Elena Kagan, recused herself from the decision because she dealt with the case while serving her role as Solicitor General prior to her appointment
to the dais. Kimberly West-Faulcon, a Consitutional law professor at Loyola Law School –Los Angeles, said the decision doesn’t do anything for or against affirmative action. —
COURT, page 4
AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool
eorge Zimmerman , left, arrives in Seminole circuit court with his wife, Shellie, on the 11th day of his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 24.. Zimmerman is accused in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The defense began the serious trial with a lighthearted, some would say off-putting and non-serious, statement. “Knock, knock.” He then followed with: “Who’s there?” “George Zimmerman.” “George Zimmerman who?” “Ah good you’re on the jury.” The joke, which Zimmerman’s attorney asked not to hold against his client, points out the media circus surrounding the case since Martin was gunned down in that Florida neighborhood. Zimmerman said he killed Martin in self-defense after seeing him acting suspicious. Zimmerman claims he and Martin had a physical struggle where he was injured prior to the gun going off.
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Museum unveils hidden collection for summer JENNIFER GAUNTT Released to the Houstonian Deep in the recesses of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum lies an assortment of items that rarely see the light of day. These “Backroom Curiosities” will be dusted off and put on display as part of an exhibition that began Tuesday, Apr. 23, in the Katy and E. Don Walker Sr., Education Center Exhibit Gallery. “Most museums contain a great number of objects and collections that do not pertain necessarily to the museum’s mission,” said Casey Roon, SHMM curator of exhibits. “While we highlight the life and times of Gen. Sam Houston and his family, as well as early Texas, we house all sorts of other interesting items as well. “I felt compelled to create an exhibit that could show the public some of the unusual items that are stored here at the museum; bring them out and let people see them.” Among the items from the museum’s vault and other storage areas are artwork, furniture, clothing and “unusual pieces of history” that may have never been displayed but have been stored in the museum for many, many years. “Pieces showcased in this exhibit have been found throughout the museum complex, tucked away for different reasons,” Roon said.
“The museum has received over the years, and continues to receive, items donated or brought in by the public for safekeeping that do not always have a tie to the Houston family. Because of that, it is not often possible to display these types of curiosities unless it is in an exhibit such as this.” Roon said she feels the large
variety of “curious pieces” will appeal to a wide audience. “In addition to artwork, we will be showcasing a vignette of period furniture; musical instruments; clothing; sculpture; as well as small, interesting objects such as a 19th century syringe and needles; ambrotypes; and so much more,” she said. “While I’m quite attached to
Twinkies ready to stuff shelves again STEPHEN GREEN Editor-in-Chief Customers were gobbling up boxes of Hostess’ cream-filled cakes for 82 years when the company bit the big one. It closed the bakery doors in November after an unsavory labor strike and bitter economic downturn forced the company to declare bakruptcy...ending it’s long run in the confectionary world. But, Twinkies will make their return on July 15 says Daren Metropoulos, principal of Metropoulos & Co., owner of one of two companies that sunk their teeth into Twinkies and other brands when Hostess was forced to close. “America wanted Hostess back,” he said. “They wanted the original.” The forever-cakes aren’t the only ones making their big, market-shelf return. CupCakes, Donettes, Zingers, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, fruit pies and mini muffins will hang out along side the yellow cakes. Other brands formerly owned by Hostess (Wonder Bread and Drake’s snack cakes) have been bought by other companies that have yet to announce a delivery date. Twitter user @impossiblebones is among many on social media excited to get their hands on the sugary treat. “Ohhhhhh...after the return of Twinkies, all else is anticlimax,” he said. @Char_Char_15 might consider the news to be a sign, she’ll have boxes and boxes of birthday cakes to buy. “Just found out Twinkies will be back in stores on my birthday :),” she said. “Best
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news I’ve heard all day :) #HappyTweet.” More than 18,500 employees lost jobs when Hostess choked. The Texas-based company had more than $2.5 billion in sales, which wasn’t enough to feed the appetite of an ever-demanding work force and overhead. Fans of the brand were devestated when the news first came out about the closure. Some even buying boxes for upwards of $1,000 on auction sites after shelves were empty of product. After such a public outcry, the company decided to feed the hungry fans what they wanted. The brand and five bakeries were bought under a new name, Hostess Brands, for $410 million by Metropoulos’s company and Apollo Global Management, which are private equity groups. Metropoulous’s company also owns other consumes other consumables like Pabst Blue Ribbon beer; and in the past, Chef Boyardee, Bumble Bee seafood and PAM cooking sprays. Those products were later sold to food product glutton ConAgra Foods Inc. There won’t be as many jobs for the picking as there were when the company went under. The company only plans to hire an inital 1,800 employees for the bakeries and other vital facilities to get the snacks to stores by the July 15 benchmark. Other former-Hostess items like SnoBalls will not take to the shelves as fast as their cohorts. The company owners say customers may have to let their stomachs growl for a little longer as it may take a few months to get those out.
every piece in the show, one of my favorites is the ‘Crazy Quilt,’ a patchwork quilt found in the museum’s storeroom with no documentation to accompany it,” Roon said. “The quilt itself tells a marvelous story of the quilter and her loved ones, replete with names, initials, history and even dates, telling a vibrant story dating back as far
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as 1884. The beauty and detailed work in this quilt is astonishing, and I’m certain that the public will enjoy it as much as I do.” To kick off the exhibit, which will be on display through Aug. 30, the museum hosted a “preview reception” on Monday, April 22, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Walker Education Center Exhibit Gallery. “We decided to begin the exhibit and run it through the summer to give students, the Huntsville community, and visitors traveling over the summer a chance to view this unique exhibit,” Roon said. “The majority of the pieces in the ‘Backroom Curiosities’ show have not ever been seen by the public. This may be the only time that their stories are told.” The museum is open year-round and contains historic buildings like the Steamboat House where Sam Houston died in 1863. The museum also hosts a variety of demonstrations for the public usually free of charge. The museum also recently began offering free admission to their exhibits to veterans enrolled in the Blue Star Program for active duty military personnel and their families. The program is also located in other areas across the United States. For more information, contact Megan Buro, museum marketing coordinator, at (936) 294-3839 or “like” the museum on Facebook.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 houstonianonline.com/viewpoints
So what if a fetus does feel pain?
BRANDON SCOTT Guest Columnist The Texas House voted 9534 on Monday to give final approval to Senate Bill 5, which adds restrictions to abortion procedures and a ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Abortion opponents are claiming medical reports indicate
that fetuses can feel pain around 20 weeks, though abortion rights advocates don’t buy it. The bill now goes before the Senate, which by legislative rules must wait 24 hours before considering the bill. This would be a huge change to reproductive rights in Texas and the way abortions are carried out. All of this because of the distinct possibility that a fetus can feel pain at a certain age. Yet in the grand scheme of things, it seems a bit twisted to use this as some sort of compelling piece of information. If a fetus is believed to feel pain, we have to be certain that actual child bearing is no walk in the park. No one seems to be making that case. The abortion opponents are
appealing to humanity rather than embracing logic and reason. No matter what side of this issue one stands on, pain is undeniably something the child would feel at some point in real life. If we’re protecting the babies from pain, it’d make more sense to abort them immediately, because after all, that’s unavoidable at a certain point. Perhaps inflicting pain on the fetus means cruel and usual treatment for what’s being considered a living, breathing human being. There goes a fundamental way of looking at this, whether a heartbeat, fingernails, memory and the ability to feel pain constitutes human rights for an unborn child. Let’s say it does. Then what? At
some point the right to live got confused with the right to birth and it’s not hard to see how we could have this kind of hang-up. But no one was brought into the world based on any kind of right or entitlement to be here. Each and every time, it’s because someone consented to give birth. Bringing a child into this world is still a parental decision, not a moral or political one. Unfortunately SB 5 is making an effort to change this. Advocating abortion is something I find difficult to do. Having children can make you better as an individual, for most parents would agree that you don’t know love and sacrifice until you’ve held your own child in your arms. The moment is rivaled by
nothing. There’s also a lot of pain and suffering involved, from child bearing to the baby’s first fever. Pain is not liberation, like the Texas lawmakers would have you to think. Controlling your own parenting decisions is. And what could be more painful than being born into a world where your mother didn’t want you, couldn’t take care of you, or was backed into a corner to get you here? It needs to be clearer if this is a pro-life or anti-pain stance, because that’s not exactly the same thing. - Brandon is a mass communication major at SHSU and staff reporter for the Huntsville Item.
Generation Y don’t you care?
Congress defaults on obligations to students
ANTHONY ORMSBEE Columnist It is business as usual in Washington D.C. as Congress remains in a gridlock on significant issues. One issue of concern for students at Sam Houston State University and those enrolled in institutions of higher education across the nation is the battle over student loan reform. Unless the Federal government acts quickly, interest rates on the subsidized federal Stafford loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2013. Contrast the interest loans available to students to those given to giant corporations, the same ones that have had to be bailed out due to lack of oversight and financial responsibility, and you will find that most corporations can get a loan from the Federal Reserve Bank for near 0.75 percent interest. Congress has become an institution that no longer invests in initiatives and young minds but sees education as a luxury. Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren says it best, “That isn’t right.” Student loan debt has replaced credit card and auto loan debt as one of the highest held debts in America; only home loan debt surpassed the amount of student debt. According to data from the Department of Education and Federal Reserve Bank, the cost of attending college has risen over 440 percent in the past 25 years. This means without acting quickly, there will be more people with more debt in the near future.
Warren has laid out the best plan for temporary reform which would provide Congress with additional time to work out an efficient long term plan and bring immediate relief to students. Under the Warren plan, subsidized undergraduate loan interest rates would be reduced to 0.75 percent while maintaining the current rate for unsubsidized loans. This bill is the wisest option because it provides the best temporary relief while giving Congress time to perfect the long term plans. This bill will make attending college possible for millions of students. But student loan reform shouldn’t be the only thing students do to help maintain
EDITOR’S NOTE Articles and views by Houstonian staff members or others in this paper are their own and not the opinion of the Houstonian, unless it is noted as such. Submissions and letters to the editor are welcome. Please send viewpoints to mjones@houstonianonline. com. Articles may be edited for grammar and spelling at discretion of editor. Deadline for submission is by 5 p.m. on Mondays, or Wednesdays.
Not everyone can follow Mitt Romney’s advice and borrow money from our parents or a bank.
fiscal responsibility. They can also learn how to properly manage our student loans and finances. When high school graduates look at colleges to apply for, looking at the cost of the degree as well as the cost of living for the community will help to assess what kind of financial aid you
will need and if that college is affordable. Not everyone can follow Mitt Romney’s advice and borrow money from our parents or a bank. Those fortunate enough to qualify for a student loan from a bank need to shop around for a loan that fits their needs and ability to pay the loan back in a timely manner. There are always unclaimed grants and scholarships that students forget to apply for. Free money never hurt anyone so take an extra thirty minutes and fill out those applications. At SHSU, the ScholarX program allows students to apply for hundreds of university scholarships with one application.
As citizens and students there is an obligation to speak out against any obstacle that stands between us and a quality education. We live in a nation that has been a foundation of growth, economic development and leadership but as student loans become more difficult to obtain or repay, education levels will drop because it’s unaffordable and the biggest resource in America, an educated workforce, will no longer be able to compete in a global economy. - Anthony is a sociology major at SHSU. This is part of his ongoing series addressing Generation Y and issues that impact them.
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CORRECTION In the Houstonian’s Best of Huntsville awards, Bearkat Tan was named the ‘Best Tanning Salon’ in Huntsville in error. The salon named has been closed for more than a year and should have been disqualified. Mystic Rays tanning salon will be noted as the winner of this category. The Houstonian apologizes for the error and any inconvenience.
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“That makes the outcome a victory for proponents of all kinds of affirmative action,” she said. “However, by sending the case back to the lower court on this particular set of facts, the Court could potentially send the wrong message to universities.” She said that although the Court still said diversity is a “compelling government interest,” the decision doesn’t fix the aesthetic problems with the law. “The real problem continues to be the Supreme Court’s conception of what constitutes ‘modern race discrimination,’” West-Faulcon said. “By ruling as it has in Fisher, the Supreme Court could unfortunately perpetuate the impression that denying admission to even an unqualified white student puts schools in legal jeopardy unless they completely ignore race. On affirmative action, it is the Court’s rhetoric on race discrimination against whites not the law that is the problem.” Many view this as a victory for affirmative action policies because the Court reaffirmed its stance from the Bakke case that race can be a factor. Alan Jenkins, executive director of The Opportunity Agenda, said he is excited the majority of the Court found in favor of equal opportunity in higher education. “The Court reaffirmed once again that providing a diverse learning environment benefits students, our workforce, and the country as a whole,” he said. “And it made clear that universities may consider racial and ethnic diversity as one factor in shaping a class of well-qualified students. In light of the Court’s decision, America’s educational, business, and other institutions should recommit to fair and thoughtful ways of fostering diverse participation.” Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote a concurring opinion, was one of few Justices to join Ginsburg in discussing racial diversity as a compelling state interest. His opinion was one criticizing the need in affirmative action, despite his own benefit from such policies during his youth. “Unfortunately for the University, the educational benefits flowing from student body diversity — assuming they exist — hardly qualify as a compelling state interest,” Thomas said. Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a concurring opinion where
he clarified that his agreement with the majority was not based on the Constitutionality of racial diversity as an interest, but rather if the lower Court used the correct standard in assessing the case. “The petitioner in this case (Fisher) did not ask us to overrule Grutter’s holding that a ‘compelling interest’ in the educational benefits of diversity can justify racial preferences in university admissions,” he said. “I therefore join the Court’s opinion in full.” The Court has yet to decide on three cases that could potentially set landmarks for gay marriage and voting rights. Hollingsworth v. Perry, commonly referred to as the Proposition 8 case, examines the Constitutionality of a state defining marriage as between a man and a woman under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although, many experts say they are more likely to side-step that issue as well and focus on whether those defending the law have the ability to do so after California stopped defending the law. United States v. Windsor is the second of the gay marriage cases. It takes the same issues into account regarding the Federal definition of marriage. Although, again, many experts say they are more likely to rule on either of the two other reasons: (1) Does the Executive Branch decision to agree with the unconstitutionality give the Court ground to hear the case? (2) Does the group hired by conservative members of the House of Representatives have the right to defend the law when the Executive Branch will not? The voting rights case, Shelby County v. Holder, will examine whether or not the 2006 decision by Congress to mandate preclearance is allowed under the Fourteenth (equal protection) and Fifteenth (denying right to vote) Amendments, violating the Tenth (state v. Federal powers) Amendment and Article IV of the Constitution (full faith and credit). The Court must reach all decisions by the end of June. The Fisher case will go back to the Fifth Court and await it’s decision there.
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