Obama campaigning not leading

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Jan 282010

When an obvious opportunity to criticize a politician at the national level arises, typically I knock over three nuns, a pregnant woman and a Ming vase to make sure I get in my shots.

Today, however, is a new day. I feel confident saying President Barack Obama’s speech was an epic turd, and I mean that in the most sincere and literal sense.

But instead of breaking down his State of the Union address like the Zapruder film, I feel compelled instead to point to some problematic developments overseas.

As the president mentioned, Iran has failed to comply with the disjointed, feeble and incompetent pressure applied by the so-called international community.

While Iran presses forward with its plan to develop and maintain a nuclear weapon, the president prattles on about how he inherited a toilet a year ago that was backed up for the previous eight. A toilet, he added, covered in gold in the year 2000 before his evil predecessor took office.
Now, while the role of president typically includes serving as the voice of NATO, this president regularly proves how far his stock has dropped since his campaign for president ended.

He campaigned for Chicago to get the Olympic games and failed. He campaigned for the Democratic Party’s candidates for three major elections and had similar results to John Elway’s first three Super Bowls.

Why is his failure to successfully campaign as a president so vital to the Iran situation? More importantly, why is it relevant to my column?

As Iran moves toward the day it can declare to the world it has a functioning nuclear weapon, Israel is standing in the shadow of that threat and gesturing to President Obama as if to say, “You going to do something about this or should we?”

The reality for Israel is very dark should Iran successfully produce a nuclear weapon. Lest you forget, Iran refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and have made threats to wipe the Israelis from the Earth.

As this president fails to accomplish anything significant at home, Israel is hoping he will somehow muster the gumption to act as a leader for an international intervention to prevent Iran from fulfilling its goal of nuclear arms.

If Israeli leaders sense his incompetence and failed politics at home are solid indicators of how he will execute foreign policy, they are going to handle the problem on their own.

It is not much of a risk to say this could literally happen at any moment of any day. The Israelis will not petition the U.N., ask for weapons inspections, bluster or apologize.

They will most assuredly deploy their own nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike to ensure their own survival.

While the American public at large listened to the silky smooth voice of Uncle Barry telling them everything will be okay, the economy is stabilized and TARP worked, ask yourself what the country, much less the economy, is going to look like if a nuclear weapon is detonated in the Middle East.

Assume for the moment Israel successfully takes out all of Iran’s suspected dozens of nuclear facilities with multiple nuclear attacks. Iran is still there, but badly hurt and angry.

Try not to assume things would go well for the U.S. if this happens. What do you expect happens to gas prices –– and as a corollary the prices of nearly every other consumer good –– here when Iran shuts down the Strait of Hormuz or the Persian Gulf?

Thus far, his policy of sitting silently has not resulted in a nuclear war between Israel and Iran, in the words of Homeland Security Secretary –– and world-class fool –– Janet Napolitano, “the system is working.”

While I have reasonable doubts the president or international community should or will prevent this particular can of explosive worms from detonating; there exists no plan for a fuel crisis in America.

I have zero faith in this current helping of guano serving as elected leadership to handle anything correctly, but the proverbial defecation will hit the rotating oscillator in America if this results in a gas shortage.

This, fellow citizens, is why our system can only succeed if we elect leaders, while we instead have elected politicians. Rare is the individual who can do both, and we currently have a shortage.

Seth Stern is a senior journalism and sociology major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:26 pm

Animal activist group portrayal misrepresented dairy industry

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Jan 282010
Authors: Robyn Scherer

For anyone watching the evening news this week, you probably saw a video of dairy cows being abused and mistreated. This video, put together by Mercy for Animals, is the exception rather than the rule in the dairy industry.

It always amazes me that people treat animals this way, but even more so that this image is portrayed as the “norm” in the industry. Most managers in this situation would immediately fire the people involved.

Do you really think most dairy farmers would allow this kind of treatment? Cows in the conditions shown in the video pose multiple risks for the farm. Infections and sick cows can cause the other animals to get sick, and sick animals do not produce milk.

This loses the producer money. If for only that reason, dairy farmers would take care of their cows for profitability. However, most dairy farmers I have met take care of their cows because they sincerely care about them.

The video shows dairy cows in deep manure. The narrator says, “Filthy living conditions are an industry norm.” This is not usually the case. It is true that a lot of dairy cows are kept on concrete, with sand stalls they can lay down in if they choose. In the several dairies I have visited, these pads are powerwashed daily.

One common practice shown in the industry is disbudding of horns. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, disbudding is done because it makes the cattle less of an injury risk to workers and other cattle.

William Wailes, the head of the Animal Science Department at CSU, said many producers actually use a paste to disbud cattle, although electric dehorning does occur. The paste is relatively painless and is usually done early in the calf’s life, not as was shown in the video. Wailes has been involved in the industry for 25 years.

Part of the video shows calves being dragged away from their mothers. The dairies I have been to do not drag the calves as the video shows. However, it is true that calves are not left on their mothers like beef cows.

Calves are given colostrum from the cows, which is vitally important and usually pasteurized to keep bacteria from harming the calf. They are then fed milk every day (again pasteurized), just like a beef calf would be. They are usually kept in huts with a run, and steers usually go to a feedlot to be used as beef cattle, not as veal as the video described, although some do.

When CBS aired this video, the anchor stated, “Cows are kept perpetually pregnant so they will produce milk.” This is absolutely incorrect. Yes, the cows are bred so they will calve, which makes them produce milk; but most cows are then milked for 90-100 days, rebred and continue to be milked for seven months of gestation. They are then allowed a “dry period” of 60 days to recuperate before they calve again.

Dairies are regulated by the U.S. Health Department, and operations are checked twice a year. In addition to that, every load of milk that is shipped is checked for bacteria and dumped if it does not meet quality standards. Artificial steroid hormones, like those mentioned in the video, aren’t allowed.

Videos like this appeal to people because of anthropomorphism. Groups like Mercy for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States (not to be confused with your local humane society –– different group) play on that and push political agendas in these videos. Don’t believe me? Listen to the end. “Please choose kindness over cruelty at your next meal by adopting a vegan diet.”

If the person who shot the video actually cared about the animals himself, he would have helped those animals in need rather than exploit them for his own personal gain. Interesting thought isn’t it?

I am a livestock producer, and I use humane practices with my animals. My animals are more than a job. They are a large part of my life. Many dairy producers feel the same way. The cows they milk support their families, send their children to college and help to feed people like you and me.

Robyn Scherer is a senior animal science, agricultural business and journalism and technical communication major. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:25 pm

Former bodybuilder running for CSU provost

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Jan 282010
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Before Valerie Hardcastle entered the world of academia, she was an amateur bodybuilder.

“I still pump iron,” Hardcastle, one of the three final provost candidates, said Thursday sitting in the University Club.
She started lifting when she was 18 and competed in triathlons up until a recent hip injury, but said if you hit the gym early enough you’ll see her there.

“I keep hoping I’ll wait it out and then be able to compete again,” Hardcastle said, adding that her favorite type of music is from another era.
“I’m a big 80’s fan. The Eurythmics, the Talking Heads.”

Hardcastle got her undergraduate degree at Berkley and her Ph.D. at the University of California at San Diego and said her favorite thing about the West that you don’t find in Cincinnati is “big sky, big blue sky.”

As dean of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati, Hardcastle said, she has a casual outlook on her job and her door is always open to students, faculty and staff. She said she plans to bring that same transparency to CSU if she gets the job.

“You just have to be approachable,” Hardcastle said. “ But, I don’t do Facebook or Twitter. I do a lot of e-mailing.”

If she were hired as the university’s No. 2 leader, Hardcastle would oversee all the academic initiatives on campus, serve on both CSU President Tony Frank’s Cabinet and the Faculty Council and chair the Council of Deans.

Her three core values include:
Faculty, staff and student partnerships,
Collaborating instead of competing, and
Shared governance.

A fellow dean at UC, Elizabeth King, said she has been working closely with Hardcastle for two-and-a-half years and said she would be missed.
“She speaks her mind, she’s assertive and you know where you stand with her at all times,” King said. “You always know her position on controversial issues.”

The Collegian contacted most of the UC’s deans, but only King was available for comment.

Diversifying its resource base and being aware of what revenues the university brings –– and what it doesn’t –– is key for CSU to cope with the challenges of cuts to higher education funding, Hardcastle said in an e-mail previous to her arrival on campus Thursday.
The idea is to “plan very long term,” Hardcastle said, “… and do not be afraid to think like a private institution, even though CSU very clearly isn’t one and shouldn’t be one.”

It is necessary, too, to sell Colorado voters on the idea of higher education, she said, and up until this point, “we in the business of higher education have done an incredibly bad job at convincing people of our fundamental importance.”
Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com._

 Posted by at 5:08 pm

CSU plans 9 percent increase in tuition

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Jan 282010
Authors: Matt Minich

CSU undergraduates could pay 9 percent –– or $434 –– more for tuition next school year, university officials announced in a preliminary budget report this week.

The increase is part of a draft of the university’s operating budget for fiscal year 2011 that assumes the Colorado appropriations committee will allow state institutions of higher education the authority to raise tuition that much.

Under the proposal, graduate students would see even greater increases, with a 15 percent or $917.20 jump in tuition for in-state students and a 5 percent, or $905.45 for students coming from out of state.

Out-of-state students will pay an additional 3 percent, or $622.

The increase will mean $13 million in new money for the university, should enrollment remain flat.

The proposed increases mirror the tuition hike students saw for fiscal year 2010, which increased in-state tuition by 9 percent. The increases brought the average annual tuition and fees for an in-state student to $6,318.

Administrators announced the proposed increases at budget discussion hearings Wednesday, where deans and department heads gathered to discuss what they call “budget 2.0”: a proposed budget for FY11.

According to the draft, the university will need to cover more than $3 million in new expenses created by Financial Aid inflation, maintenance of new buildings and other causes in 2011.

These new expenses come at time when the university has been left at about $12 million under budget by a barrage of cuts to the state’s higher education funding.

Dan Gearhart, the president of the Associated Students of CSU, said that tuition increases are “necessary but unfortunate” in the university’s current fiscal environment.

“It’s something students have to give if they want the same quality education,” he said.
Gearhart, who pays his tuition with a $7,500 student loan, added that the increases would put increased pressure on students receiving financial aid.

Since his freshman year, Gearhart has seen more and more of his loans consumed by rising tuition costs. This year, he said, the money has covered little more than his tuition and books.

While yearly tuition increases have come to be viewed as a normal occurrence over the last decade, the increases announced Wednesday are far from official.

“We’re still just making proposals to the campus at this moment for discussion,” said Interim Provost Rick Miranda.
Miranda said it was unlikely that any budget for next year would be written without some kind of jump in tuition, but stressed that no increases are final.

“The ultimate decision on the budget is the president’s,” he said. Frank will choose a finalized budget and present it to the university’s Board of Governors later this spring.

News Editor Matt Minich can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:05 pm


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Jan 282010
Authors: Ryan Levitt
 Posted by at 5:03 pm

Life on the Edge

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Jan 282010
Authors: Dave Anderson
 Posted by at 5:03 pm

CSU Parking Services employee caught embezzling money

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Jan 282010
Authors: Sara Michael

A CSU Parking Services employee was fired for embezzling about $150 in cash from parking ticket fines, according to a police report.

In September, Charlene Noah, an administrative assistant and assistant manager at Parking Services, was discovered ferreting funds from payments that students made to the department to pay parking fines.

“I just kinda did it,” she said in the police narrative. “I’m guilty as sin.”

Initially estimating that she had stolen nearly $300, she later confessed to taking only $150 during the months of August and September.
She said in her statement that she used the money for “(baby) formula and food.” In her statement, she also added that in August she got into a “financial bind” and “did not know where to turn.”

CSU officials said in the narrative that they were aware of complaints about missing payments dropped in drop boxes in major parking lots throughout campus and in the CSUPD lobby but hadn’t done anything to change the situation.

The drop box allows people to pay their citations with cash or check and leave the envelope containing the payment in the box.

Noah was found out when Parking Services Director David Bradford recorded the serial numbers from several actual citation payments and turned them in to her to record in the computer.

According to the police report, Noah then altered the computer records, resulting in an unaccounted for $80.

CSUPD matched serial numbers from the missing cash to cash in Noah’s possession, and though she initially denied any involvement, she eventually confessed.

“I am truly sorry,” she wrote in her statement. “I do not like the feeling this brought and the bad name this has caused.”
When contacted by the Collegian Thursday afternoon, Noah had no comment.
Staff writer Sara Michael can be reached at news@collegian.com._

 Posted by at 5:02 pm

Rams gain needed rest at home

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Jan 282010
Authors: Adam Bohlmeyer

The CSU Rams aren’t looking for defense to win them a championship; they are just hoping it can make them a contender.

The Rams (12-8, 3-3 MWC) have relied on a solid defense to carry the team for most of the season, a fact guard Adam Nigon says needs to continue if the team wants to have any sort of post season run.

The junior explained that, if CSU can get back to the level of defense it was playing early in the season, it will lead to success.

“It’s just going back to the basics and getting back to where we started. That’s really our bread and butter on defense right there,” Nigon said.
“When we are playing hard and diving around on the ground for loose balls it seems like we can play with anybody. When you are doing that on defense, offense becomes the easy part because you get good looks.”

After giving up more than 80 points during their most recent three-game losing streak, the Rams defense got back on track Wednesday night, giving up only 57 points in a win over the TCU Horned Frogs.

CSU point guard Dorian Green admits the Rams can struggle on offense, but said the team can still win when they are at their best defensively.

“What we need to do is to continue to be solid and rely on our defense,” the true freshman said. “If we aren’t making shots, then hopefully we won’t let other teams score. We are going to be in close games, but if we can limit teams offensively, then we are going to have a good chance to win.”

The Rams’ next chance to continue their solid defensive play is set for this Saturday as they play host to the San Diego State Aztecs (14-6, 3-3 MWC) in Moby Arena. The game marks the completion of a two game home stand.

With a win, CSU can jump past the Aztecs into fourth place in the conference standings.

Rams head coach Tim Miles explained that the Aztecs represent one of the high level MWC teams CSU is trying to become. The third year Rams coach added that his team has to beat teams like this to accomplish their season goals.

“If you look at their RPI and everything, they are one of those top four teams in conference,” Miles said. “In my eyes, we have to beat a few of those top four teams everybody talks about and Saturday seems like a pretty good day to start.”

SDSU enters the game on a mini hot streak, winning two of their past three games. The Aztecs only loss during this span came at the hand of 14 ranked BYU, 71-69.

Nigon gave SDSU and head coach Steve Fisher credit for what they have done this season, but said he doesn’t doubt the Rams ability to pull off the upset.

“They are good. They are definitely in the top three or four teams (in conference),” he said. “They rebound the heck out of the ball and have some fast guys. If we can limit their second chance points I think we’ll have a real good chance against them.”

Tip off for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:57 pm

CSU looks to close out road trip with win

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Jan 282010
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

CSU women’s basketball (11-8, 3-3 MWC) is set to play its second consecutive road game Saturday as they head to San Diego to face the San Diego State Aztecs (12-6, 4-2 MWC).

Currently SDSU is ranked third in the Mountain West Conference standings and have won 13 consecutive MWC home games.

Last season, the Rams played the Aztecs close, losing the season series by a total of three points. Mountain West coaches picked SDSU as the preseason conference champion primarily due to the fact that the Aztecs returned four starters from last year’s 24-8 team.

CSU stumbled Wednesday with its loss against TCU and is looking to bounce back after one of their poorer performances of the year.

“I think hopefully we’ve got that one out of our system,” said head coach Kristen Holt said. “It comes down to mentally going in. Our players need to not look at who we’re playing. They just need to come in and play their game no matter what.”

This season the Aztecs are led by First Team All-Conference guard and reigning MWC Defensive Player of the Year Jené Morris, who averages 15.4 points and three steals per game.

“She’s a really nice player, real athletic and quick,” Holt said. “She certainly is the leader of that team. We’re going to have to keep her under wraps and limit what she does, because if she does what she does she could hurt us.”

This season Morris is the conference’s third leading scorer at 15.4 points per game.

The Rams did not come back to Fort Collins between games for the first time all season due to the distance to both Fort Worth and San Diego from CSU. Staying away from home presents different challenges for a team like the Rams due to their small bench.

“We certainly have to keep track of their legs and their energy and adjust (practice time) throughout the rest of the week,” Holt said.

SDSU is near the middle of the conference in terms of offensive averages, ranking fifth in both scoring offense and scoring margin.

Holt credited the Aztec’s talent, focusing specifically on athleticism.

“They’re the most athletic team in the conference,” she said, “If they (the Rams) have any fears about playing them, we definitely took it to them last year, so hopefully we have that same kind of mindset.”

Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at sport@collegian.com

 Posted by at 4:37 pm

Swimmers glad for Senior Day, Rebels’ arrival

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Jan 282010
Authors: David de Besche

Saturday marks both beginnings and endings for the CSU swim team.

The Rams are set to host the University of Nevada Las Vegas this Saturday for a late Mountain West Conference dual meet that CSU hopes will continue the Rams’ trend of winning as the postseason comes into view.

The showdown with the Rebels also marks the final home meet for Ram’s seniors who will be honored during the annual Senior Day. CSU has nine seniors this season, including: Lindsay Borman, Carmen Gisella Cianci, Nora Kennedy, Mari Anna Loftness, Valerie Maldonado, Kathleen McCleary, Jennifer Muniz, Molly Myers and Shaelen Quigley.

Rams coach John Mattos said all the seniors have contributed to the program in their tenure at CSU.

“They have brought the program back to a very high level both performance wise in the classroom and in the pool,” Mattos said. “They are just quality young ladies. I am going to miss them immensely.”

The Rams seniors will have earned 33 Varsity letters and thirteen individual All-Conference awards. Seven of the senior Rams are four-year letter winners.

Regardless of their accomplishments though, the seniors see each other as family.

“We have been through so much and have such a bond. I have friends outside of swimming. They aren’t as tight knit as were are,” Mari Anna Loftness said.

The seniors share a bond that only comes from swimming and working out together for four years –– an advantage they said only seniors have.
“We know how to motivate and amp each other up for every different situation,” Loftness said.

With it being Senior Day, this will be the last time the nine girls compete in Moby Pool, a place they have trained and practiced since they arrived as freshmen in fall 2006.

“It’s home away from home,” said Nora Kennedy, a senior. “We have had ups and downs here, but this is where it’s happened.”

As the they host the Rebels, the Rams will also look to improve their conference record to 6-1 while staying in second place of the Mountain West Conference. The Rebels come into Fort Collins with a conference record of 2-4 (2-8) after losing to UC Santa Barbara last weekend.

“It’s gonna be emotional, the last time our families will be here watching us, and the last time our entire team will be cheering us on,” Loftness said.

As the season nears a close, the Rams look to continue their success with UNLV on Saturday and at rival Wyoming the next week, all in preparation for conference meet in late February.

Kennedy explained this is going to be two big conference meets for the Rams and added she and her fellow seniors want to go out on top.
“It means a lot to finish on a high note,” she said. “We want to keep it going.”

Sports reporter David Debesche can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:21 pm