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The Progressive Publication of Stony Brook University

FEB09

THE

INAUGURAL ISSUE 2 Inauguration Photos 18 Sean Penn as Harvey Milk Finally, Some Progress

KAtrina vanden Heuvel

A Welcome Letter From our Editor

The editor and publisher of The Nation , the oldest weekly news magazine in the country, talks to us about investigating the Bush adminstration, what its like working at a liberal magazine, and why she wakes up feeling 143 years old.

THINK was there to document an historic inauguration.

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Before gay was chic, San Francisco elected the first openly gay asseblyman.

THiNK Magazine

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February 2009


THiNK

We Invite You To Think A Bit Differently

Magazine

A Letter From the Editor

It is my distinct privilege to present the first issue of THiNK Magazine, a new progressive voice here at Stony Brook University. Over the next few months we will be continuously building, adjusting and completely reworking the magazine, with the hopes of emerging from our first year with a distinct voice and clear purpose. Of course, there will be bumps along the way, growing pains if you will. I don’t want to promise excellence right away, but what I can guarantee is improvement. We are learning as we go, and as we get better at producing the magazine so to will the experience of reading it. THiNK was first conceived in the summer of 2008. I attended a conference hosted by Campus Progress, whose gracious support made this issue and all future issues possible, and with their encouragement we began the process of creating a publication that later became known as THiNK. These last few months we have witnessed a resurgence of the American left. The election of President Obama was just the surface. Issues that conservatives once campaigned on—opposition to gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research—no longer accurately reflect the opinion of the public at large. History teaches us that it is progression that ultimately prevails, not regression. The forward thinking of our greatest leaders—Abraham Lincoln’s abolition of slavery, Martin Luther King’s march for equality, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s campaign for suffrage—all helped shape the country we live in today. Our mission is to ensure those progressive voices are heard on campus and in the community. We cannot afford to sit still in these tough times. What we as a nation need is to map out a clear path for the future and move forward down that path. It will be unfamiliar and difficult at times, but as our president has taught us, change is what this country wants and needs.

Think Magazine is a student-run publication at Stony Brook University. We are committed to providing our campus and community with a progressive voice through in-depth journalism, thought-provoking opinions and hard-hitting feature stories. The publication of this magazine is made possible by Campus Progress and by our advertisers. If you would like to support this publication, the easiest thing you can do is support our advertisers. We cannot function without them. If you would like to join us, we would love to have you! Please visit our site at www.thinksb.com or send an email to join@thinksb.com.

www.campusprogress.org

Contributors to this isse:

Adam Peck Doug Newman Stefan Salva Cruz Darla Gutierrez David Mazza

-Adam Peck Editor-in-Chief THiNK Magazine

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February 2009


14 Gay Marriage in New York?

A MORE PERFECT UNION

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President Barack Obama takes the oath of office and the cleanup of George W. Bush’s mess begins.

4 How To Read THiNK

12 12 Election Showdown A look back at the 2008 presidential election, March Madness style.

American Progress 5 7 Latte Liberal The Afterthought 23 24 THiNK Ahead

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GReen TEch

Takes Over CES

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C U L T U R E 20

SEE MORE

18/19 22 THiNK Magazine

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Silencing Your Vote

February 2009


How to Read The Cover! Feel free to judge THiNK by our covers... we think they hold up quite nicely.

Find out what’s inside.

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Our regular features will start here. All the goodies like THiNK Tank and American Progress Some suggestions on what to do between now and our next issue!

thinksb.com

Afterthoughts. Because no matter how serious the news seems, there’s always something to laugh at.

For More! THiNK Magazine

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February 2009


v

Los Angeles, CA

Students at UCLA are facing a March election to choose new members of their city council. But as it turns out, voters who flocked to the polls in record numbers in November are less than enthused about local city politics. It is a story that could play out at Stony Brook as well, as there is a special election on March 31st to elect a new supervisor for the town of Brookhaven.

Salt Lake City, UT GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman recently stated his support for civil unions for gay couples. The stance is at odds with the heavily conservative state, and he has been roundly criticized for supporting them. It is unlikely that his support will sway many minds in Utah’s government, but gay rights activists were applauding the move, and hope that Huntsman is just the first of many to change his mind on gay rights.

New York, NY St. Paul, Minnesota Al Franken still leads former Senator Norm Colman by just over 200 votes in the still-undecided Minnesota senate race. A bipartisan board of judges reviewed the recount process and formally declared Franken the winner weeks ago, but the ongoing appeal process by Coleman has stalled Franken’s assumption of office. That’s not stopping his staff from referring to him as Senator-elect though, with no protest from the former comedian.

Denver, CO

GOP efforts to restrict the rights of gay couples hit a snag in Colorado, as lawmakers voted in favor of a bill that allows gay couples to list their partners as legal beneficiaries. Doing so would grant gay couples some of the legal protections that are currently only held by heterosexual couples, including the ability to sue in the event of wrongful death and to oversee estates. The bill was voted 7-3 in favor by a state panel and will now be sent to the full House for debate.

THiNK Magazine

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February 2009

The Wall Street executive pay cap that has survived stimulus package slashing and excited many taxpayers over the past week may not be as exciting as hoped. The bill allows for Secretary of the Treasury Geithner to delay the implementation of pay caps for up to a year. What’s more, the bill has other loopholes for executives to work through and receive extra money despite the $500,000 cap.

Washington, DC

Earlier this month, the second-ever Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference met in Washington, D.C. The new administration supports the green labor movement; the stimulus package provides a possible $80 billion for the creation of green jobs. Leaders point out that most green jobs are the same jobs we’ve had for decades, just with more environmentally friendly ends. The construction of environmentally beneficial structures such as wind turbines employs everything from engineers to electricians to cement companies.


The RighT...Steve Doocy of Fox News: “In

The RighT... has been mercilessly attack-

that clip, you know, the guy goes, “You tortured them.” And he goes, “Well, it probably was torture under your definition.”

ing the stimulus plan, accusing Democrats of everything from attacking religion to funding ACORN.

...Is WRONG. The opposition to President

...Is WRONG. In this case, is completely insane.

Obama’s call for another stimulus package began the day Obama made his objective clear. But rather than take an ideological position against the package, conservatives have turned to the old playbook and have tried to demonize Congressional Democrats in a dizzying display of distortions, lies, exagerations and oversimplifications. For example, the notion that the stimulus package contains provisions that are antireligion is a complete fabrication. The stimulus package contains language first put in place in the early sixties that states that federal money allocated for education cannot be spent on the construction of buildings primary used for religious purposes. As in, President Bush’s No Child Left Behind contained the exact same provision. And then there’s the argument that government spending won’t do anything to lift us out of a recession. Judging by how the conservative policy of slashing taxes at the first sign of an economic downturn has turned out, I’d say listening to them would be like taking a parenting class taught by Sarah Palin.

The topic of discussion this particular morning was the legality of torture. But what takes this particular discussion to a level all its own is the evidence that Doocy and guest Glenn Beck use to defend their position. The “guy” that Doocy is referring to, who claims to have used torture to extract information that saves American lives? That would be Jack Bauer. As in, main character of the hit TV show 24 Jack Bauer. Steve Doocy, on a news program meant to inform and educate viewers, cited a fictional Congressional hearing as proof that torture works. What’s more, the same show that Doocy uses as evidence for the effectiveness of torture portrayed another, equally likely scenario a few seasons back. Bauer’s interrogation of Marie Warner in season 2 resulted in Warner giving false information regarding the whereabouts of a nuclear bomb. As many experts and other reasoning human beings note, what protection is there from a tortured suspect giving false information to interrogator’s? Absolutely none. But Jack Bauer clearly knows something we don’t. THiNK Magazine

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February 2009


Affirmative Action’s Still Essential In my Political Science class the other day, a passionate if underprepared debate raged over affirmative action policies. The issue seems to reemerge every few years on the national stage, splitting opinions neatly down party lines. But the next time Congress addresses affirmative action will be considerably different. Barack Obama’s presidency undeniably changed the conversation on race, and affirmative action by association. Of all the heated political debates out there, from gay marriage to abortions, affirmative action never really piqued my interest. As an infrequent beneficiary of the policy, I suppose I have always been for it, but only after having to defend the policy in class just this week have I really come to understand why I support it. Affirmative action is still necessary in the U.S, but it shouldn’t be. My support for the policy stems more from the realization that discrimination still exists in the workplace, not so much from the belief that minorities should be given preference based solely on the color of their skin. What really irks me about the debate however is the opposition. Its not so much that I don’t understand the arguments that conservatives make, its that taken in conjunction with the hard-line

conservative stances on the Employment NonDiscrimination Act currently bouncing around Congress and the conservative opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, conservative positions on equality in the workplace are this: It is not okay to hire people based on race, gender or sexual orientation (Affirmative Action), but it is okay to fire people or not hire people based on race, gender or sexual orientation (Civil Rights Act of 1964/ ENDA). And politicos wonder why Republicans can’t win the votes of minority groups.

Of all the criticisms directed towards President Obama on a daily basis—mild support at best for the stimulus package, a handful of nominees undone by faulty taxes—perhaps the strangest and most absurd one has nothing to do with the issues. It seems some people take offense with Obama’s dress code in the oval office. I have heard on several occasions people deride Obama for undoing the Bush practice of wearing a jacket in the White House at all times. It’s disrespectful, they argue. Seriously? The economy is in disarray, the national debt has doubled in the last few years, we’re in the middle of two wars, and people are in a dither over a missing jacket.

And its not just fringe nobodies who are up in arms. George W. Bush’s first chief of staff Andrew Card spoke with Inside Edition about the issue, saying: “I think it’s appropriate to have an expectation that there will be a dress code that respects the office of the President.” I also once thought it was appropriate to have an expectation that the office of the president of the United States not dismantle the constitution, lie unapologetically to American citizens, commit acts of high treason, wage a war under false pretenses with no concern for the lives of US troops, violate the most basic tenets of the Geneva conventions, spy indiscriminately on US citizens…

Taking It All Off

THiNK Magazine

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February 2009


News///New York

The Democrats Now Control Albany.

So When Will Gays Be Allowed TO Marry? On Saturday, February 7, New least not any time soon. In attempting to put a York State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith confirmed what damper on the excitement of many supporters of same-sex members of New York’s gay and lesbian community and other supporters of marriage equality in the state, Smith broke his and the New York political establishment’s marriage in New York State had months-long silence about the isalready feared since the November sue. [Suggest: In breaking his and elections: same-sex marriage may the New York political establishnot be legalized in New York in ment’s months-long silence about 2009. During his keynote speech this issue, Smith put a damper at a Human Rights Campaign on the excitement of members of gala, Smith, a same-sex marriage New York’s gay and lesbian comadvocate, told the assembled munity and other supporters of crowd that, “Although we do not marriage equality in the state.] have the number of votes at this Since November, when Democrats time needed to pass the marriage won control of the Senate for the equality gender bill this legisla- first time in decades, the official tive session, we are committed to silence on this issue [suggest: that pursuing its passage.” With that silence] had been deafening. In theory, marriage equality in statement, he sent a clear message: we’ll try, but we may not win, at New York should be imminent. At the urging of Governor Spitzer,

Doug Newman Staff Writer

THiNK Magazine

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February 2009

Assembly passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in 2007. If such a bill came across his desk, Governor Paterson has said he would sign it into law. The only obstacle, or so it seemed, was the Senate’s long-standing Republican majority, who would not even allow a vote on such a bill. Then-Minority Leader Malcolm Smith vowed that if his party became the majority in the Senate after the 2008 elections, it would remove the last roadblock to legal same-sex marriage in the state. At an Empire State Pride Agenda fundraiser in 2007, his tone could hardly have been more confident

Check out the podcast for a conversation on gay marriage. www.thinksb.com


Gang of Three. He would become president pro tempore of the Senate (its most senior post), while newly-elected Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr., whose unsavory history includes numerous fines for campaign finance violations and who broke with the party over underrepresentation of Hispanics, not same-sex marriage, would become majority leader. But the deal soon disintegrated over Smith’s misgivings. Perhaps his conscience got at him; a document later published on the New York Times’ web site

wouldn’t support him because of his support for gay and lesbian New Yorkers’ civil rights. In such a situation one could hardly help but wonder how committed Malcolm Smith really was to the rights of same-sex couples in this state, whether he would really fight to the bitter end for what he knows is right. One could hardly help but wonder if perhaps the sorry spectacle of Proposition 8 in California had given certain people cold feet. One could hardly help but wonder a lot of things, given the apparent information blackout from Albany and the thoroughly transparent standard cop-out line offered instead: that we really have to focus on the economy right now, as though the expansive government of the State of New York couldn’t cut funding for education and healthcare and ensure equal rights for same-sex couples all at once. But now we have an answer. Majority Leader Smith is still committed to legalizing same-sex marriage (or so he claims), but he promised in 2007 what he now thinks he can’t deliver in 2009. And indeed, you don’t have to be a math major to figure out that if, as is likely, none of the Senate’s 30 Republicans will vote in favor of marriage equality, nor at least two of the 32 Democrats (the despicable Díaz and the contemptible Kruger), we’re at least two votes away from becoming the first state to legalize same-sex marriage by legislation rather than by a court ruling, as it has been in Connecticut and Massachusetts and, for a little while, California. Smith says he is still working to change that. Now it’s time for him to prove it.

“We’re at least two votes away from becoming the first state to legalize same-sex marriage by legislation rather than by court ruling.” indicated that the deal would have involved a promise by Smith not to bring a same-sex marriage bill to a vote in the Senate. Regardless of the motive, the deal collapsed shortly after it was supposedly sealed with a handshake and, sickeningly, a prayer from the abominable Rev. Díaz. Yet magically, the Gang of Three all wound up caucusing with the Democrats. Smith became majority leader and president pro tempore. And nobody wanted to talk about samesex marriage. In such a situation one could hardly help but wonder whether some other, less-public deal was brokered, selling out the civil rights of gay and lesbian New Yorkers to keep Díaz and Kruger in the party. For his part, Díaz said he was persuaded to support Smith by his son, a Democratic member of the Assembly and a same-sex marriage supporter. Díaz had earlier said that, were his son up for the post of majority leader, he THiNK Magazine

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News///New York

as he declared, “We’re going to make sure [same-sex marriage] happens in ‘08, when we take over the majority.” Same-sex marriage supporters rejoiced, and during the 2008 election season, their money poured into Democrats’ campaigns for marginal seats like the one in Suffolk County [suggest instead: New York’s 3rd District?] that Brian X. Foley captured, with the help of Stony Brook College Democrats, from Cesar Trunzo, the 82-year old Republican dinosaur who had occupied it since 1972. But no sooner did Democrats capture the requisite 32 seats on Election Day 2008 than hopes for marriage equality began to disintegrate. Three Democratic senators — the so-called “Gang of Three” — refused to caucus with their party and support Smith for majority leader. Among them, two did so because even the chance of equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian New Yorkers was enough for them to start an insurrection. The two miscreants were Reubén Díaz, Sr. of the Bronx, a Pentecostal minister positively brimming with anti-gay hatred, and Carl Kruger of Brooklyn, a man so cozy with the old Republican majority that now-indicted former Majority Leader Joe Bruno made him the only minority member in Senate history to be given a committee chairmanship. Suddenly, dramatically, the possibility of marriage equality in 2009, so recently heralded by Mr. Smith, appeared to be up in the air thanks to a few Albany troublemakers. Eventually, after days of wrangling, Smith made a deal with the


News///National

Spending G reen to G o G reen Green Technology Takes Center Stage at Annual Consumer Electronics Show This year’s Consumer Electronics Show held on January 8th in Las Vegas boasted plenty of products that will help Americans reduce their energy consumption in new and inventive ways. CES is often at the forefront of new gadget technology for the upcoming year. Since green seems to be everyone’s new favorite color, the tech industry is constantly looking for new green technology, while looking to rake in a different kind of green for themselves. However, some technologies are still cutting some corners just to make a dollar. The new eco friendly technology has spurred ideas from well-established companies, along with making new companies with products devoted entirely to conservation and renewable energy. Motorola revealed the world’s first “carbon neutral” mobile phone, “The Renew.” The Renew leaves no carbon footprint and boasts zero carbon emissions. Of course this may not necessarily apply to the manufacturing process of the phone, but that’s another story. The Renew’s casing is made of 100% recycled plastic and is said to be 100% recyclable when you’ve moved on to your next eco-friendly phone. The Renew is currently being sold through T-Mobile. Green Plug, a new energyconscious company, unveiled its

Stefan Salva Cruz Staff Writer

THiNK Magazine

Innergie charger. The charger works in two ways: it’s a universal charger, which is meant to reduce the need for multiple (and therefore wasteful) specific power chargers for each electronic device, and its innovative charging interface. The interface is designed to stop power consumption once objects are shut off. The Innergie can completely shut off power to a connected device once it is fully charged and does not require power. This will be very useful to the more green-minded of us that constantly have to remove plugs around the house once they’re done being used. Green Plug’s ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for separate chargers entirely, which become wasteful over time. Solar power was a huge trend for gadget makers, big and small. Energizer unveiled its new Rechargeable Solar Charger. It can charge AA and AAA batteries and has a USB 10

February 2009


still taking shortcuts in an attempt to make a quick buck. Fuji is marketing a new “eco-friendly” line of batteries, the EnviroMAX battery. Fuji is pulling out all the stops to market these batteries to the ecoconscious consumer, even trumpeting the recycled paper that it is packaged in. Now, it is true that these batteries do not contain any harmful materials such as mercury and cadmium and that the factories that produce them are “some of the world’s most eco-friendly battery plants, operating under some of the most strict standards of environmental responsibility” according to their website However, the fact that they are simply newer, slightly more efficient versions of old technology rather than something, for example, renewable, does nothing to alleviate the already large amount of batteries that are often not recycled properly. These batteries are said to break down over a course of 1000 years, and yet Fuji claims that it’s perfectly fine to throw into a landfill! The level technology and innovation demanded by the “green” community is still not present from this year’s CES. What’s more, the gadgets that have a chance at making a difference are still out of the price range of the average consumer. Thankfully the demand is growing fast enough that the major companies are taking notice. Perhaps 2010 will be the year that the tech world goes truly green. We can only hope.

Watch Interviews of Greenpeace at the CES 2009 www.thinksb.com

THiNK Magazine

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February 2009

join@thinksb.com

Have a thought? Share it with the world. Always looking for interested writers.

News///National

port to charge your iPod and any other USB devices using only solar power. It does, however, include an AC adapter in case there’s extended sunless weather. Voltaic went to CES with its already popular line of solarpowered backpacks and messenger bags. These bags are designed to charge most laptops and any USB charged device while you’re walking out in the sun. The bags themselves are also made of 100% recycled material. Their bags, however, usually cost around $200-$500. But if you’re willing to dish out the cash it’s a good way to stay powered and green at the same time. While all of these products indicate a general movement towards greener technology, the products displayed at CSE this year – many of them small appliance chargers and entertaining gadgets -- are still a far cry from the more affective innovations we truly need to become more ecofriendly. Many of these products will not make a significant impact unless almost every consumer were to use these objects. On top of that, other companies that are promising greener products are in fact


2008 Election What we will remember

CHANGE

Buzzword Bracket

CHANGE

HOPE

CHANGE

MAVERICK MAVERICK

REFORMER

“YES WE CAN!” “MY FRIENDS”

“9/11” “YOU BETCHA!”

“YES WE CAN!”

“YES WE CAN!” “YOU BETCHA!” THiNK Magazine

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“Quotes” Bracket


SHOWDOWN the most from 2008.

LIPSTICK

Scandals Bracket

LIPSTICK

REV. WRIGHT

TERRORIST

FIST JAB

TERRORIST

FIST JAB TERRORIST FIST JAB

TINA FEY

TINA FEY TINA FEY

Vote for the winner now at thinksb.com

3am PHONE CALL

TINA FEY Media Bracket

THiNK Magazine

KATIE COURIC

TITO THE BUILDER JOE THE PLUMBER JOE THE PLUMBER 13

February 2009


A More Perfect Union

A Fog Is Lifted From a hurting nation as Bush Leaves office and President Obama Takes Oath When President Obama stumbled on his words midway through the oath of office on January 20, there was barely a chuckle on the national mall.

Adam Peck Editor-in-Chief

were there for closure after a long and trying election that lasted nearly two full years. Still others were there to celebrate the departure of former President Bush, whose eight years in office were marked by tragedy, incompetence, recklessness and scandal. For Georgette Hendricks, a mother of three living in rural Maryland, the overriding emotion of the day was that of hope. “I have never felt so sure that any man will succeed in helping this country,” she exclaimed, face lighting up at the very thought. “My mother’s hospital bills [are] unbearable, and my oldest

Perhaps the relative silence could be traced to the temperature, hovering near freezing as the inauguration ceremonies began after 11am. Or maybe there was an overriding sense of exhaustion; many in the crowd had been waiting in line—several lines, in some cases— images.google.com for hours. Or maybe there was simply no room to exhale. The most likely explanation though was the sheer magnitude of the moment. Each of the two million people gathered in the shadow of the capital had his or her own reason for making the journey to Washington D.C. Some were there to witness history, the first AfricanAmerican to be sworn in as president of the United States. Others

THiNK Magazine

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February 2009

daughter wants to go to college. Without change, I couldn’t breathe.” Hendricks says she voted for Obama because she believes he will bring about the changes that will most directly affect her family. Obama’s campaign promises to make healthcare more affordable to every American and provide $4000 to students who volunteer in their communities were two specifics that were especially appealing to Hendricks, though it remains unclear whether Obama will be able to fulfill those promises amidst a sputtering economy.


Polls show that the public is willing to give President Obama time. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 74 percent of Americans expect the recession to continue for at least another year, a figure that likely provides some relief to the Obama administration, which feared that lofty expectations of the president would hurt his public opinion and make it more difficult to pass key pieces of legislation. President Obama’s governing was less of a concern for New York resident Shawn Wesley,

ginning of the Obama presidency occupied every street corner and open space in downtown. And the crowds that gathered for both the inauguration and the concert at the Lincoln Memorial days had a large black turnout. Besides reactions to Obama’s inaugural address and the wild cheering immediately after Chief Justice Roberts congratulated President Obama shortly after noon, the crowds remained relatively quiet save for one exception. Each time the huge Jumbotron screens that lined the mall displayed images of outgo-

the LGBT community. The decision was debated and criticized in the weeks leading up to the event, but there was little reaction to his speech. With Obama now comfortably in office, some have expectations that they hope the new President can meet in the coming years. Jimmy Kelly, the student body president at Vassar College who volunteered for the Obama campaign and traveled to Washington for the inauguration, listed several issues that he would like addressed, including bringing the Iraq War to a close, tackling

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict Obama’s and discord.” -President Inaugural Speech

climate change and fixing a broken healthcare system. who made the trip to Washington ing President Bush, audible boos But Kelly admits that meeting to witness the first black man could be heard from every directake the oath of office. tion. Same for former Vice Presi- those goals will be far from easy. “I think it will be hard for “My kids won’t ever live dent Dick Cheney, whose boos him to fulfill all of his campaign in a country where a black man were laced with a few chuckles can’t do something,” said Wesley, at his temporary wheelchair that promises. But if he is able to accomplish half of them then his a young, expecting father. was necessitated by an injury There were certainly othseveral days before the inaugura- presidency will be a success” It has been less than one ers like Wesley in Washington. tion. Tables of merchandise with One surprisingly dull moment month since Obama was sworn phrases like “Welcome to the was Pastor Rick Warren’s invoca- in, and already we have witBlack House” celebrating the be- tion. President Obama’s decision nessed the undoing of several to call on the pastor Bush policies. The stimulus package passed Congress and now of the megachurch awaits signature from the PresiSaddleback in California angered many dent. It is of course much to early to tell how the Obama presidency gay rights activists, who blame Warren, will be defined, but if the first 30 days are any indication of the among others, for next 1000 or so, change is cerperpetrating discrimination against tainly an applicable word.

See photos from the Inauguration, read the reaction of SBU students.www.thinksb.com

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THiNK Magazine is entering the world of print journalism at a time when many other news organizations are leaving it. The Internet has led to decreased circulation and revenue at virtually every newspaper and magazine, even forcing some to close entirely. To help steer us through these difficult times, we enlisted the services of Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor and publisher of The Nation magazine. Who better to guide the youngest news magazine in the country than the editor of the oldest? THiNK Magazine spoke with Katrina vanden Heuvel shortly before the presidential inauguration.

THiNK Magazine: As editor of the oldest and one of the most respected news magazines, what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

The Queen Of The Left

Katrina vanden Heuvel: I have a range of responsibilities from actually ensuring that we get out every week—which is no minor thing—to the broader strategic thinking about the issues that we feel are important, and not only to cover them week to week, but to put them on the radar. Those are what I would call not-readyfor-prime-time issues: nationalizing banks, welfare, abolition. But all in all, its about crafting the direction of a magazine that has always been independent, that has stood outside the estabTHiNK Magazine

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lishment, that has been committed to principles of justice, of peace, of economic service, civil liberties and civil rights. So there’s a broad responsibility, in addition to actually pushing with the editors, to make sure pieces are being edited correctly, that we have the right lineup and we deal with the face of the magazine. But I would add..is yours a print magazine?

THiNK: Yes, but we also have a website we update in between issues. KvH: We have a web editor, but the other thing I do almost


every day is work out what’s going to be on our website, because it amplifies the magazine but there is original material here as well, so its almost as if I’m editing two different magazines every day.

THiNK: The Bush administration is now over. And while that is certainly good for the country, it may prove to be an interesting obstacle for liberal and progressive types who have had tremendous success butting heads with conservative, Republican leadership. Does The Nation intend to keep going after the Bush Administration post-mortem or will the magazine move on? KvH: Well you’re absolutely right that the 8 years of the Bush administration not only provided us with an enormous amount to cover and to expose, it increased out circulation by some 70%. But the role of The Nation has

The Nation magazine. The Vietnam War did not end, nor did civil rights legislation come about from pressure, but not just from congress. So what we need to do about it is not just keep a mindset of pure opposition, but never lose sight of our core mission, which is to be honest, particularly in holding politicians accountable while giving them backbone and spine with encouragement and pressure.

THiNK: The Obama administration has been coy when it comes to investigating the Bush administration’s wrongdoings. Is that something that publications like The Nation should push for, or is it time to focus on the crises at hand? KvH: I think you can walk and chew gum at the same time. I think that part of moving forward is learning lessons for the past.

“I think that part of moving forward is learning lessons from the past.”

always been to hold politicians accountable, to push the limits of debate, to expose abuse and corruption regardless of party. For the first time in many years we’re going to have allies inside this administration, but the great changes of our time in this country have come when people working outside, whether it’s a movement or magazines have pushed. The New Deal didn’t happen without labor movements, the end of slavery did not happen without the abolitionists, who by the way founded

The Nation not only has a major piece this week by former District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman, who played a role in the Watergate investigations, but we also have our netroots movement correspondent Ari Melber, who has worked with the Obama camp’s website change.gov and pushed forward the question of whether the Obama administration will appoint a special prosecutor. It is now the most popular question on that website, and Obama was pushed to reply to that question by George Stephanopoulos of ABC this past Sunday. THiNK Magazine

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I will say that we plan to move forward as we do every issue. For example, how do we craft a recovery plan to get us out of this economic crisis? But at the same time, there is also a belief in upholding the rule of law and pushing this administration to think hard about how it can hold Bush administration officials accountable. I don’t know if we will be successful, but part of our work is not measuring success by purely metric outcomes but by holding true to principles which guide The Nation and I hope the nation.

THiNK: Its funny that you mention Ari Melber, he’s actually coming to speak to us here at Stony Brook in February. KvH: Oh great, he’s terrific! Part of our work at The Nation is to think hard about new media and how we can connect to it, and we want to be a part of it. Ari has been terrific as netroots movement correspondent, first time we’ve ever had that position. THiNK: From the newest magazine to the oldest, do you have any advice for us as we prepare for our first issue? KvH: I will tell you, The Nation magazine is 143 years old, and I feel 143 years old some mornings. There’s nothing like starting a new magazine, and I admire and respect you for doing so, having the moxie and the time to do it. So I wish you all the best, you and your colleagues.

Find the articles that Katrina mentions in her interview. www.thinksb.com


Media Credits: Directly above courtesy of USA Today. The rest Adam Peck for THiNK Magazine

1.20.09

THiNK Magazine

18

February 2009


Media

Credits,

Clockwise

from

top

left:

David Mazza for THiNK Magazine, Adam Peck for THiNK Magazine, Courtesy USA Today, David Mazza

For More Photos from the Inauguration,

visit us online at thinksb.com THiNK Magazine

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February 2009


Culture/////Books Culture/////Music

A Close ONE

Naomi Wolf Shows Us Just How Close Bush Came To Undoing America

The End Of America

If dissent is in fact patriotic, there is no greater patriot than Naomi Wolf. Her appearance at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts was sold out, the documentary shown based on her bestselling book The End of America received a standing ovation, and the book signing that followed had a line stretching out the building. All of the bravado and the accolades are deserved of course. Her book is an alarm bell, meant to stir a sense of unease in the reader. The historical comparisons that Wolf highlights are drastic yes, but not entirely unjustified. It reads like a manual for how to deconstruct a democracy, install a dictatorship, and subvert the will—and free will—of the people. The point, of course, is that the United States has taken several steps in that direction over the last few years. Things like establishing secret prisons (Guantanamo), spying on average citizens (FISA), and

Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot A Citizen’s Call to Action Author Naomi Wolf Genre Non-Fiction/Current Affairs Page Count 176

restricting or intimidating the press (Long Island’s very own Peter King calling the New York Times treasonous) were tactics many thought ended in 1940’s Germany. And Wolf is not exactly a voice that is easily ignored. She travels the country giving similar presentations to the one she delivered here, speaking at rallies, book clubs, protests, and anywhere else with a stage and microphone. Nor is she a voice that will be lessened under an Obama administration. Yes the Bush presidency was responsible for enacting many of these policies, but the onus is as much on Obama to dismantle them as on his predecessor who introduced them. If a fantastical novel or absorbing biography is what you’re looking for, best look elsewhere. But The End of America is second to none for books that captivate, inspire and motivate.

Finishing Touches that, and many of the Coldplay

areas where Viva fell short Prospekt excels. Glass of Water and Rainy Day provide some variety from the band’s new sound, Lovers in Japan (Osaka Sun Mix) nixes the Reign of Love portion of the song that weighed it down in Viva, and Life In Technicolor II is an extended version of first track off Viva, complete with much-appreciated lyrics. The most interesting track however is Lost+, not to be confused with Lost! or Lost? The “plus” in this collaboration is Jay-Z, an interesting and surprising mix that works.

Album Prospekt’s March EP Label Capital Records Tracks/Total Run Time 8 Tracks/27:29 Minutes

Coldplay’s latest EP Prospekt’s March feels like the director’s cut of a DVD. The last full album Viva la Vida, which was one of the top selling records of 2008, was a critical and commercial success but it was lacking in range and variety. The British band seems to have recognized

Check out Coldplay’s favorite organization, Oxfam America.

www.Oxfamamerica.org THiNK Magazine

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February 2009


The Difference Between Proposition 6 and Proposition 8? Harvey Milk.

MILK

whole equation, yet Brolin is able to capture the viewer’s attention and make him question what he thought he knew. Van Sant gives the movie the feel of a documentary, making use of old footage and occasional shots with a handheld camera. Van Sant is less concerned with the life story of Harvey Milk as he is about the legacy and impact that his life had. Milk is defined in the movie through his actions, not so much by his life story. A police roundup of homosexuals at a bar one night sends Milk to the streets, taking up position atop a plastic crate to calm down residents. A Teamsters boycott of Coors beer leads Milk to craft a surprising alliance between one of the largest unions and the gay community. And continual discrimination leads Milk to run for office several times before he finally manages to secure enough votes. Watching the movie after the historic elections in 2008 is especially rewarding. It takes very little effort to draw historical comparisons between the film and what transpired both nationally and in California. Thirty years before Proposition 8, there was Proposition 6, the Briggs Initiative that would have banned gay men and women from teaching in public schools. Thirty years before Barack Obama became the first black president, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. Go see this movie for entertainment. But watch this movie for the lesson it teaches.

Directed by Gus Van Sant Starring Sean Penn, James Franco, Emile Hirsch Runtime 2:08

One of the reasons that Proposition 8 passed in California was a lack of organization by its opponents. In fact, gay rights activists have done a much better job protesting the outcome of the Nov. 4 vote than they did protesting the ballot before it was voted on. Perhaps they could have taken cues from Gus Van Sant’s latest biopic Milk, a film as much about the gay rights movement as it is about title character Harvey Milk. That may be because Milk and the gay rights movement are so intertwined. Harvey Milk moved to San Francisco from New York in the seventies, seeking refuge from discrimination and misunderstanding and a place where he could build a community that was both tolerant and proactive for gay rights. That community turned out to be the famous Castro district of San Francisco, a neighborhood still very much defined by a large LGBTA population. Milk settled into the neighborhood, opened a business and then proceeded to launch political campaigns, running for vacant seats on the city council and state assembly. The role of Harvey Milk is played to perfection by Sean Penn, who captures the nuances and quirks that Milk was known for. But the true appeal of the film stems from the ensemble cast. James Franco and Diego Luna take turns as Milk’s lovers, both delivering inspired performances. Emile Hirsch, the apparent understudy of Sean Penn, joins Alison Pill, Lucas Grabeel and a half dozen others as the campaign staff for Milk’s political bids. And then of course there’s Josh Brolin, who adds tension and suspense to the role of Assemblyman Dan White. Anyone familiar with the story of Harvey Milk knows how White fits into this THiNK Magazine

21

February 2009

Culture/////Film

A Man And His Movement


OPINIONS

Why Does Stony Brook University’s Representative in Albany Want to Take Away You’re Right to Vote?

If you have an OpEd you’d like to be considered for the magazine, please send a copy to: oped@thinksb.com.

We will contact you if your piece is selected for publication.

The North Shore Sun ran a profile of the Stony Brook College Democrats the other day, noting the potential impact a university with 16,000 students can have on the Brookhaven Town Supervisor special election on March 31st. Buried beneath the fluff of the story however is this little nugget: “The practice of holding voter registration drives on campus, where most of the students registered to vote are not “permanent” residents of Brookhaven, is something that does not sit well with local Republicans. “It’s been a problem for a long time,” said Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who until this month served as the chairman of the State Senate higher education committee.” That’s Ken LaValle of LaValle Stadium notoriety. He and State Senator Flanagan, who represents, among other areas, Stony Brook University in Albany, are arguing that Stony Brook students shouldn’t be given the right to vote. Of course, they don’t say it in those terms. Instead, they take the much less controversial route by questioning the legitimacy of registrations done on campus. Students who are registered at home, they argue, shouldn’t get to register at school. But they both know full well that when you register someplace new, any old registrations are voided, for the very reason that LaValle and

Flanagan cite: voting twice would constitute voter fraud. But that’s not stopping them from sounding the false alarm. Senator Flanagan believes that people can have only one permanent address and can therefore only register in one place. New York State law disagrees, though. You can register to vote anywhere in New York so long as you have resided at the address given for at least 30 days before the election. The law was passed for the benefit of college students, most of whom are at school during November elections. It makes no sense to force students away at college to either travel home to vote in the middle of the week (Tuesdays, don’t forget) or cast absentee ballots. The reason that Flanagan and LaValle (and Jeff Garcia, the chair of the Brookhaven Republican Committee) are lobbying hard against voting at the SAC is that students tend to vote for the other guys. All it takes is a look at the 2008 elections, where Obama beat John McCain by a margin of 8-1 on campus. And in his concession speech, former Republican State Senator Caesar Trunzo blamed college students mobilizing for Democrat Brian Foley for his loss. In the end, what Flanagan and LaValle are advocating for is just a subtle case of voter suppression. And while we certainly don’t support it, Republicans shaking in their boots are what we live for.

Editorial

THiNK Magazine

22

February 2009


The weather was cold, the wait was long. The crowd was huge, 2 million+ strong. Nobody slept, even though all were tired, But 5 cups of coffee, and I was wired. My feet were blistered, no room to sit down, It took quite some effort to avoid a frown. Then the gates were opened, all poured through Security, bag checks, two by two. The concert was shown, from the Sunday before I was there too, front row, on the floor. People packed in, as did some light snow, But all were fired up, they were ready to go. Over the loudspeaker, the guests were announced The Clintons, Al Gore, most of the House. The outgoing president entered to loud boos, A surprise, some said, but this time no shoes. And then just like that, the ceremony began, A welcoming speech from California’s Dianne A prayer from Rick Warren, the controversial pastor When he said “Malia and Sasha,” some laughter. Eruptions of cheers and applause filled the place every time the big screens displayed Michelle’s face. Joe Biden went first, bible held by wife Jill “Do you solemnly swear?,” and he knew the drill. Yo-Yo Ma then performed a short musical piece Itzhak Perlman played too, a John Williams release. Finally, at noon, the moment arrived, The event that Lincoln, King, and others described. Centuries of racism, of hatred and abuse Rectified, only partially, by remarkable news. In the nation’s capital, in front of a record crowd The next commander in chief read the oath aloud. And on a sunny, winter day free of drama America saluted, at last, President Barack Obama. THiNK Magazine

23

February 2009


How to Keep Busy UNtil our next issue

Why was this US Army Veteren hospitalized by Nassau Police?

For more information on these events and more suggestions, visit us online

SAC Auditorium Campus Lifetime

thinksb.com

2/25 Matthis Chiroux and SBU’s Michael Schwartz

Town Supervisor candidate Mark Lesko answers your questions.

2/25

March 3 HARVARD SAC 303 CLUB OF 6:00p

w/ Born Ruffians and Harlem Shakes Webster Hall Doors 7pm

NY

Eddie Tabash

Has Our Nation Moved Beyond Race? 3.2.09 6:30p-10p The New York Times’ Frank Rich, David Frum and two Harvard professors discuss black America in the age of Obama.

SAC Auditorium

3.13.09

Want a club event displayed here? Send information to thinkahead@thinksb.com to be considered for next issue.

THiNK Magazine

24

February 2009

THiNK Magazine: February 09  

The February 2009, and first ever, issue of THiNK Magazine, the progressive publication of Stony Brook University