August 23, 2009

The Latest News

Greetings again, all you our fellow readers!

Once again it is time to start another school year at the University of Nebraska, and here in Lincoln we are gearing up for another fun filled time!

Two announcements, the first a repeat from last semester:

I, Tobias, the editor/manager from last year, have retired from the newspaper in pursuit of higher goals. This means that I won't be running the Student Newspaper anymore, but here comes news item two:

The Student Newspaper has been taken over by Andrew Lacy, a writer and a great assistance to the past Student Newspaper. Over the summer he has reworked the format and done many other things with the paper, so much in fact that he decided to call it something new. Also, the "Student Newspaper" is obviously super-generic sounding, although it makes for a great laugh.

Anyway, this web-site will not post any more new stuff, but the new newspaper is already up and running, the first issue was printed just a while ago.

Allow me to introduce to you the conservative voice on the UNL campus: The Nebraska Thinker.

If you wish to continue to follow the work started by the Code Walrus team, check out the official blog for news. Nothing is up yet, but hopefully later this week.

April 23, 2009

Weekly Summary: Week Eleven

Here is a letter from the Editor.

Death Penalty and Somalian Pirates

A twist on a classic pirate tale.

Experts Debate Death with Dignity Law
Oregon's suicidal law is discussed.

Don't Despair
For those who were distressed over last weeks article, here is something hopeful.

New Haven Firefighter gets Hosed
Racial inequality goes both ways, as this firefighter learned.

Principle, not politics, should guide President Collins

An ASUN Senator may be presenting a politically charged, but good, resolution.

Weekly Puzzler


Thanks for reading!

Weekly Puzzler

This weeks Puzzle presented by:
Nathan Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineering Major


A Puzzling Matter



Across:
1 Map detail
6 School org.
9 Make lace
12 _____ Witherspoon of “Just Like Heaven”
13 Rowing implement
14 Physicians' group (abbr.)
15 Declaration
17 Salesperson, briefly
18 Minute particle
19 Ridiculous
21 Scheduled
24 Mails
25 Narrowed
27 Tyke
28 Nile viper
29 Baby's seat
31 _____ and downs
34 Cry of surprise
37 Childhood disease
40 Of the sun
42 Make
43 Dwelling
44 So-so
45 MGM lion
46 Temporary
51 Snaky shape
52 Sombrero, e.g.
53 Roof edges
54 Give _____ break! (2 wds.)
55 Gorilla, e.g.
56 Snooze

Down:

1 Tax org.
2 Fish trap
3 Dead _____ Scrolls
4 Tycoon's property
5 Wobble
6 Limerick, e.g.
7 Summer shade
8 Picasso, e.g.
9 Big, hairy spider
10 Revise
11 Cassettes
16 Cindy Crawford, e.g.
20 New (prefix)
21 RR terminal
22 _____ Vegas
23 Horse breed
26 Water barrier
30 Praline nut
32 Teacher's favorite
33 Wind direction (abbr.)
35 Possessed
36 Vocalist _____ Franklin
38 Gets up
39 Continuing story
40 Massachusetts city
41 Fat
44 Destiny
47 Eminem's milieu
48 Eden lady
49 Born as
50 Chef's unit (abbr.)



Last weeks puzzle solutions are:


Death Penalty and Somalian Pirates

Chester Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineering Major


In a dramatic and unprecedented move Barack H. Obama wreaked terror on the families of several underage black youth by ordering these presumed innocent teenagers shot to death. Several Somalian youth were engaging in a 5 day spring break excursion aboard a small fishing on the high seas with former cab driver Richard Phillips when angry, probably conservative military men shot them to death from the safety a nearby multi-million dollar warship.

While the military complex has suggested that one of the black youth was pointing a presumably loaded AK-47 rifle at Mr. Phillips, it is more likely that Mr. Phillips was providing the underprivileged youth helpful firearms safety training. Perhaps when the Military complex releases the full, unedited video footage we may be able to make this judgment.

While it might seem as though these actions contradict the well known Obama statements that "Harsh methods undermine our moral authority and do not make us safer.", the actions are completely consistent with his ideas on small weapons proliferation. "It is absolutely critical that the United States join as a full partner in dealing with this issue,” said Obama with regards to reducing the transfer and sale of firearms to oppressed minorities in Mexico.

Vice-Admiral Gortney seems to agree with most normal people who think unprecedented violence toward black youth does little to ensure the safety of Americans "This could escalate violence in this part of the world, no question about it.''

While Obama continues to infringe on the intelligence gathering properties of placing a caterpillar in the holding cell of a non-uniformed armed enemy combatant captured in a war zone, he should consider his own legal obligations as Commander and chief. The U.S. War Crimes statute, which applies to offenses “whether inside or outside the United States”, forbids war crimes. The statute notes that the Geneva Conventions specifically forbid torture as a war crime, defining torture as “The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering … for the purpose of punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.”

It is likely that shooting several youth enjoying a holiday at sea in the head or shoulders, maiming and than killing them, certainly qualifies under this statute. Mr Obama should reconsider his actions against these young black seaman and his attitude toward other oppressed minorities.

Experts Debate Death With Dignity Law

Stephen Harris, a Journalism Major at Multnomah University, interviewed key people discussing the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, a law which took effect in 1998 and allows terminally ill patients the option of suicide. The following interview is published with permission.

Experts Debate Death With Dignity Law
Stephen Harris
Journalism Major at Multnomah University


More than 400 people have ended their lives through the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, which took effect in 1998.
Eli Stutsman, board member of the National Death with Dignity Center and one of the law’s principle drafters, said he thinks that the law provides a vital option for terminally ill patients.
However, Dr. Ken Stevens, vice president of Physicians for Compassionate Care, said he thinks the law wreaks havoc on the medical profession. The Voice spoke to each man.

The Voice: How does this procedure coincide with the Hippocratic Oath?

Stutsman: Physicians debate this. First of all, not all physicians take the same oath. If you think [the Death with Dignity Act] is doing harm, you probably don’t support it, and you probably should opt out.
But many physicians would disagree. If a patient is dying, if a patient is facing a difficult death under the narrow circumstances of the Oregon law, you’re not doing harm by helping that patient hasten the death. And some physicians would say [that] to do otherwise is to abandon them in their real time of need.

Stevens: It’s opposite. It turns medicine upside down. It’s medical killing. When a doctor writes a prescription, a prescription is a written order directing the patient. You’re basically ordering a patient to die.

The Voice: Does this procedure’s legality justify it ethically?

Stutsman: One doesn’t mean the other. It’s appropriate to consider both together. When you deal with law, medicine [and] ethics, you are dealing with the intersection of very important issues and areas that we have been balancing, not only in this country but other countries, for centuries.

Stevens: There was a time in this country when slavery was legal. What is interesting is that the move to legalize assisted suicide has not come from medicine. It’s coming from attorneys. Usually medical advances come from science, and here we have politics that’s affecting what doctors do.

The Voice: What is the difference in public opinion about the procedure when describing it as aid in dying as opposed to assisted suicide?

Stutsman: Assisted suicide is still a crime in Oregon. Even if a physician’s engaged in it, he or she can be prosecuted. What we did is we created a narrow exception.
It’s important to use words that are meaningful and understand the baggage they bring.
And if you appreciate the criminal history and the tragic history associated with assisted suicides and separate that from the context of the terminally ill, you might very well use different words for a different purpose. And you might very well get a more favorable response when you use accurate language.
But if you want to load the question up so that it reflects criminality, so that it reflects all the emotional, tragic suicides you can think of, you’ll drive the support rate down. But I don’t think you’re proving any larger point.

Stevens: Language is used as a weapon in this war. Assisted suicide proponent organizations use euphemisms. A euphemism clouds the issue. If I say I want to die with dignity, what does that mean?
They usurp that phrase so that death with dignity means that it’s death with an overdose. Or they say that it’s aid in dying. That it’s a hastening [of] death. In fact, the word euthanasia is a euphemism, but it has developed a bad connotation so they don’t like to use it. So now we need euphemisms for euphemisms.

The Voice: On a societal level, does this procedure cause us to value our infirm and elderly more or less?

Stutsman: It does not diminish the dignity or inherent worth of an individual to talk about when and how we die. We know today that we’ve modernized curriculums, that we’ve brought more resources and care into end-of-life decision making than we ever had before. It’s been described not only as a silver lining, but the little engine that could.
This debate over hastened death elevates the discussion and has improved end-of-life healthcare in Oregon and elsewhere.

Stevens: Less. Much less. The proponents [of assisted suicide] say that they want to be in control–that there are some things that are worse than death. What things are worse than death? Being in a wheel chair.
When those with physical disabilities hear this, what do they say?
“You’re describing me. So you’re saying that my condition is worse than death?” Those with disabilities have probably been the strongest opponents of the legalization of assisted suicide because they realize the danger that they are in.

Don't Despair

William Collen
Omaha Area Writer


Confronted with all the horrible things happening these days, not only in our own country but also abroad, what is the Christian supposed to do? Is it really worthwhile working against an oppressive government, the eroding family, the economic debacle, and so many other problems (a nice list of which were published in the last issue of Student Newspaper)? What should we do? Throw in the towel? Make some last, futile, doomed effort? Be a hermit somewhere? What?

The answer to all of those possibilities is a resounding NO! As Christians, we can be assured of Christ's victory over all his enemies, and the triumph of his church. “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). These words were spoken by the God who cannot lie.

But that doesn't mean that the gates of Hades won't try to prevail. God's enemies will do all they can to defeat and destroy Christ's people, whether that be through direct persecution, as is happening in most Muslim countries, or indirectly through totalitarian governments and a corrosive culture. But what does the Bible say about these attempts of man to shake his fist at God?

“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then he shall speak to them in his wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure” (Psalm 2:1,2,4,5).

All of man's antagonism towards God is vain. God, being ruler over all the earth, is in complete control of all that happens down here, and His purpose is to advance the glory of Christ his son through the church. And it doesn't matter how great the opposition against God is. God's power is limitless, and X is always less than infinity.

So what should we do? “Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:10,11). These words are applicable not only to rulers but to all of humanity. Christian: dedicate your life to the service of God, and believe his promises of assured victory. Don't be afraid of the machinations of this world. Your work is not in vain!

Letter from the Editor

[The paper publication had a shortened version of this letter, the full length is presented here online]

Greetings to the astute reader:


As many of you are aware, a few weeks ago the State of Missouri put out a watch list, warning the police of potential terrorists in the form of people who own guns, who view the Constitution as a legal document, who go to church on Sunday, and who are basically your good old country boy Christians.
Noticeably absent from the list was any mention of Islamic terrorists, Greenpeace terrorists, or any of the other groups who actually commit acts of terrorism on a regular basis.

Now, upping the scale, last week the Homeland of Security released a report also warning law enforcement of right wing extremists, again describing your typical country Christian. Gun owner? You might be a terrorist. Church goer? You might be a terrorist. Think abortion is wrong? You might be a terrorist.
When I think about it, it could be be the new “Might be a redneck” comedy punch-line of the year. I can imagine Jeff Foxworthy adding it to his list: “If you have a gun by your couch, you might be a terrorist.” Except the Homeland Security is serious.

Consider this: You, a traditional gun owning church going American, decide to go to the airport with a “God bless America” shirt on. Airport security, under influence of the Homeland Security, profiles you as a potential terrorist and pulls you out of line. Congratulations, now you get to spend a few hours in a cold cell. Probably get searched. Miss your flight. And the worst part? The airport won't refund your ticket, since Homeland Security says you may have presented a threat, probably because you think God might be willing to send a few blessings our way.

Isn't it great to know the Homeland Security office is helping track such dangerous criminals? You know, like the Islamic terrorists who apparently blow themselves up at bus stations. Oh. Wait.

The question is: Can we do anything about it? William Collen, an Omaha writer, points out that we must not despair when governments press down on us. Right now you have a great opportunity to begin speaking out for your rights: The Constitutional right to bear arms and the right to free assembly. You can tell the government you don't appreciate getting put on the same level as someone who blows themselves up at a bus station.

It's pretty easy, really. The hardest part is probably the few minutes online looking for your governor's e-mail or office address. Just take a few minutes, once a week, to write another letter communicating to the people in office. You could even put it on your schedule. Like, right now.

Thanks for reading, thanks for caring.

-----Tobias Davis
Editor and Manager for the Student Newspaper
UNL Mechanical Engineering Major

New Haven Firefighters Get Hosed

Benjamin Kantack
UNL Political Science and Spanish Major


Students approaching finals week can surely sympathize with the story of Connecticut firefighter Frank Ricci.

Six years ago, according to the New York Times, Ricci had a once-in-a-decade chance to pass a promotional exam and earn the coveted rank of lieutenant. He made flashcards, participated in a study group, took practice tests, and even paid more than $1000 for someone to record his textbooks onto audio tapes.

Ricci’s hard work finally paid off…or so he thought. He finished sixth out of 77, and with fifteen vacancies available for promotions, he figured he had finally made the grade – and the rank of lieutenant. Unfortunately for Ricci, the top fifteen scorers on the test consisted of fourteen whites and one Hispanic – no blacks. In response to the dearth of African Americans in the top fifteen, the city of New Haven decided not to offer any promotions, according to the New Haven Independent.

“It’s something that shakes what you believe in. Because you believe if you work hard, you’re rewarded for that, and that’s not necessarily the case,”” said Matthew Marcarelli, whose grade of 93% made him the top scorer on the exam. “Every day I go to work I’ve got to pin this lieutenant’s badge on me, it reminds me I got screwed out of a captain’s badge because of the color of my skin. That gets to you,” he told ABC News on April 10.

Despite the fact that New Haven paid $100,000 of the taxpayers’ money to a testing company to create a test that would not disadvantage any particular group, the city concluded that, since none of the black participants scored within the top fifteen, the test must have been racially biased.

“To have the city throw [the test] out because you’re white or because you’re not African American is insulting,” said Ricci.

Fast forward to the present day, where Ricci and nineteen other local firefighters, calling themselves the “New Haven 20,” have brought their racial discrimination lawsuit all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The case Ricci v. DeStephano is scheduled for argument on April 22, with a decision anticipated by the end of June.

This will be the first time in decades that the Supreme Court has examined the use of race as a factor in hiring or other job-related practices, and the first chance for the Roberts Court to verbalize its position on racial issues in regards to civil servants. The verdict could greatly alter the role of race in the American workplace.

The AP article reduced the dispute to a single, broad question: “Do minorities and women still need legal protection from discrimination, or do the monumental civil rights laws that created a more equal nation now cause more harm than good?”

Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, the fifteen most qualified firefighters for promotion in New Haven, Connecticut, could all be non-blacks? The Supreme Court will be asking itself this question for the next few months – and their decision will undoubtedly have an impact on race relations in America.

One thing is certain: “The fire isn’t going to discriminate against a person whether he’s black, white, or Hispanic” said firefighter Ben Vargas. “It’s going to treat that person the same way.”

Perhaps one day the New Haven Fire Department will learn from the fires it fights and judge its employees, as Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “[not] by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Principle, not politics should guide President Collins

Andrew Lacy
UNL Broadcasting Major


In coming months, the Board of Regents is expected to take up the issue of whether to expand embryonic stem cell research at UNL. This debate carries major ramifications ethically and medically.

Stem cells are cells that can be found in all living organisms. They are undifferentiated, that is, they are not blood cells, muscle cells, or any other types of cells. They carry the ability to reproduce numerous times while remaining undifferentiated. When placed under certain conditions, these cells can differentiate themselves and potentially be used to replace damaged cells to cure a wide range of illnesses.

Stem cells have been wildly successful so far, but not the stem cells you’re thinking of. You see, while the most commonly discussed stem cells are those found in embryos, they can also be found in any adult human. It is the adult stem cells that have proven to carry great potential without any ethical concerns.

So far, adult stem cells have shown great promise in treating, among other illnesses, brain cancer, skin cancer, various types of leukemia, breast cancer, type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord damage, sickle cell anemia, and liver cirrhosis. Embryonic stem cells have produced nothing.

When the issue goes before the Board of Regents, ASUN President Megan Collins will represent UNL students in the debate. Unfortunately, President Collins seems to be favoring political expediency over science and principle.
Collins herself has expressed an intention to oppose expansion of embryonic research, and we applaud her for that position. However, she has discouraged ASUN from voting on a resolution that would express the same opinion. Collins is apparently concerned that the Senate would vote down such a resolution, forcing her to go against her own senate.

The resolution is likely to be put forward despite Collins’s objections, and we hope President Collins will do the right thing by supporting the resolution. There’s no doubt she would be in the unenviable position of going against her own senate, but standing on principle is seldom easy and much more important than being popular. We only hope President Collins has the courage to do the right thing.

April 3, 2009

Weekly Summary: Week Ten

Protests against Proposition 8 resort to violence
It seems that those in opposition to proposition 8 are resorting to violence and harassment. That doesn't seem like the sort of thing you would want to do if you want people to accept you.

"Please sir, I want some more."
Many Republicans have opposed President Obama's economic plans, and now it seems some Democrats are also.

Condoms can't protect your spirit
Sexual activity is increasing, as well as sexual disease and unintended pregnancy. If you try to correlate them, you get called old fashioned. I just call it science.

200 Million Christians denied human rights
At UNL, students occasionally gather to protest "war", but they ignore the very real plight of the persecuted Church.

Weekly Puzzlers
This weeks puzzles provided by Nathan Davis. Last week's solutions available here.



Last week, thanks to a tip from a reader, we finally tracked down the "man" (a bandana clad hippy) who has been destroying our newspapers and possibly stealing our stands. We are still in discussion with our lawyer over what potential action we can take, but for now please be patient with us if the stands are empty: Some people hate other opinions so much they will resort to theft and destruction of property to silence it.

As always, thanks for reading!

Weekly Puzzler

This weeks puzzle was provided by Nathan Davis, a UNL Mechanical Engineer.



Crossword:

Across:
1 Equitable
5 Recipe abbr.
8 Concocted
12 Skillful
13 One ____ time (2 wds.)
14 Heed
15 Inform
16 Sport with webbed rackets
18 Enlarge
20 Parking timer
23 Hair dye
26 People raiser
30 Bathing place
31 Song
32 Whichever
33 Ecuador's neighbor
34 State further
35 Most in want
37 Malicious looks
40 Desert stops
41 Rouse again
45 Literary exposition
47 Dubuque's state
51 Hornet's kin
52 Bowling target
53 Iditarod vehicle
54 Makes a choice
55 Have breakfast
56 Golfers' pegs

Down:
1 Lard
2 Pres. Lincoln
3 Unwell
4 Alleviate
5 Powder mineral
6 Big Dipper component
7 Walk nervously
8 Bullwinkle, for one
9 No-shows
10 French preposition
11 Storm center
17 Pep rally sound
19 2nd amendment lobby
20 Iron or lead
21 Escape
22 Most sore
24 Hospital worker
25 Borders on
27 Light brown
28 Single
29 Seeded bread
33 Keyboard artist
36 Gentle animal
38 Harvests
39 Posed
42 Rub dry
43 China's continent
44 Clark ____ (Superman)
45 Pair
46 Eminem's milieu
48 Bullfight cheer
49 Pint-sized
50 Paid notices

Puzzle Solutions!

Solutions from last week's puzzles are shown here:




200 Million Christians Denied Human Rights

Stephen Harris
Journalism Major at Multnomah



Joseph Hovsepian found his father nearly two weeks after he disappeared; he had been stabbed in the chest 26 times. Haik Hovsepian, a prominent Christian leader in Iran during the early 1990s, was martyred after advocating for the release of a Christian convert sentenced to die for his faith.

The Hovsepians faced many troubles for their faith and evangelistic zeal. At the time of his father’s murder, Mr. Hovsepian’s military commanders stationed him in the worst locations, only allowing him a few hours sleep each night. “It was like an exile,” he said. He said the military also threatened his sister’s academic career and his brother’s life.

Christians worldwide face unprecedented mistreatment: 200 million suffer some form of oppression for their faith, according to the World Evangelical Alliance.

In a report given to the Geneva Convention in 2002, the World Evangelical Alliance wrote that Christians are the victims of progressive levels of malevolence, ranging from discrimination to persecution, and represent the world’s largest group denied human rights simply because of its beliefs.

“The gates of hell will not prevail, but there are gates of hell,” Karen Fancher, Multnomah University dean of students, said. Dean Fancher’s doctoral studies focus on equipping the church in war-torn Sudan.

Twenty-one years of civil war between the Muslim North and the Christian South have wreaked havoc on the Sudanese people. Two million people have died, and four million have been displaced.

Once, as Dean Fancher was preparing to fly home from a visit to Sudan, she talked to a commander from the army in the South. She asked him whether he favored the proposed splitting of the country in 2011, which would give the South independence and protection.

Dean Fancher said: “He said, ‘It would be easier for us if we seceded and became our own country, and we would be free to worship God in our [own] way, but we would never reach the Muslims in the North. How would they ever know Jesus?’”

“God clearly uses persecution to advance his church,” Rick Elzinga, a pastor from Beaverton, Ore., said. He said Christians in persecuted countries such as North Korea provide the church in the West with healthy models of spirituality. “The church there is a model of what it is to take up the cross of Christ.”

Mark (who asked that his last name be omitted), an Iranian Christian who came to the United States shortly after his country’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, said more people in Iran came to salvation after they were cut off from Christian witness than before the revolution.

As a child in pre-revolution Iran, Mark was once handed a Christian tract from a blond Western man. Mark ran home to inform his mother, who told him to throw it away and wash his hands. “Because there was freedom, people were not excited to hear about Christianity,” he said.

Now things have changed. Before the revolution, only about 300 Christians were from Muslim backgrounds, but today there are at least 70,000, according to Iranian Christians International.

Dean Fancher said that glamorizing persecution is a dangerous proposition. She said, “Persecution can be devastating to the church, and we see that historically. There can be unique places with unique individuals who would rather die than deny Christ and who do it with love and passion. I don’t think that’s the norm, though. Persecution isn’t a formula [for church growth].”

Mufdi (whose name has been changed to protect his identity), an Egyptian man with a broadcast ministry in the United States, said that his native land is rife with persecution. Although Egypt’s constitution technically ensures religious freedom, in practice discriminatory laws based on Islamic teachings keep Christians from enjoying that liberty, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2008 Religious Freedom Report.

This document reports that one of the country’s lower courts issued a ruling, now under appeal, that Muslims are not allowed to change their faith. Mufdi said Egyptian authorities often leave Christians vulnerable to harassment from Muslim extremists and even attempt to shift the blame from the Islamic offenders to the Christian victims.

Pastor Elzinga said, “We [Americans] live in an abnormal time when we can live our Christian lives and not experience much if any persecution, but that’s quickly changing.” He said that American Christians should prepare for persecution by learning from and praying for the persecuted church.

However, during a prayer session for the persecuted church at Multnomah’s 2008 missions conference, he found only one student present. He decided to take action by forming a prayer group at Multnomah with his son, Andrew, during the fall of 2008. Andrew, now a freshman at Multnomah, leads the ministry. In addition to weekly prayer meetings, the group also holds monthly gatherings in which guest speakers present overviews of persecution in countries such as Egypt, Iraq and North Korea.

Dean Fancher said, “We don’t want to glorify the persecuted church, but those men and women that we see faithfully serving Jesus in very difficult circumstances should be our teachers. I want to be that faithful even if I’m not being persecuted. [We should ask] God to prepare us to be more fully surrendered to him today, in freedom.”

Condoms can't protect your spirit

Andrew Lacy
UNL Broadcasting Major



While flying to Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, the Pope insisted the way to confront HIV and AIDS is through sexual monogamy. He referred to AIDS as “a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."

Not surprisingly, secularists have a problem with this. To them, abstinence and monogamy are outdated and unrealistic. Indeed, one only has to look as far as our own Daily Nebraskan to read defenses of casual sex and condemnations of ASUN candidates who agree with the Pope's position. As a Lutheran, I view the Pope as nothing more than another politician, but for secular liberals to attack him for stating what should be obvious is absurd to me.

Apparently, we can only tell people not to engage in self-gratification if it falls in line with liberal ideology. “Don't watch Fox News. Don't listen to Rush Limbaugh. Don't read the Student Newspaper.” These are all considered reasonable positions, but when Christians encourage their sons and daughters not to engage in risky behavior that can cause major emotional and spiritual scars, it's overly simplistic and irrational.

Upon closer inspection, it's very clear which position is more simplistic and not thought out. On one side, we have a culture that tells you, “If it feels good, do it.” On the other side, we have knee-jerk radicals who believe a condom provides no protection for the soul. On one side, we have those who promote behavior that can ruin lives (news flash: sexual promiscuity and poverty often go hand-in-hand). On the other side, we have people who realize that, excepting tainted blood transfusions, no one has ever contracted AIDS while abstaining and only one person has ever gotten pregnant without having sex, and that required divine intervention 2,000 years ago.

Condoms can fail, but abstinence works every time it's tried.

“Please sir, I want some more.”

Benjamin Kantack
UNL Political Science and Spanish Major



As banks, insurance providers, and automakers continue to petition the government for funding to defibrillate their catatonic companies, the average American is becoming disenfranchised with the handling of the financial crisis. Recent Gallup polls show that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (the man tasked with the bailout, stimulus, and other spending projects) has a mediocre 42% approval rating, while the percentage of Americans with a positive impression of Obama’s budget proposal has dropped to 39%.

According to CNBC on February 26th, the President included a request for $250 billion in additional bailout funds in the budget he submitted to Congress. The request “would support asset purchases of $750 billion via government stabilization programs,” according to the administration, which affirmed that “Additional action is likely to be necessary to stabilize the financial system and thereby facilitate economic growth.”

What is surprising about this $250 billion request, however, is the fact that no one – not even the President himself – knows what it will be used for. Instead of specifically allocating funds to troubled companies or organizations, the request was a “placeholder,” as yet not assigned to any particular recipients, according to Reuters on March 26. As both a fiscal conservative and a guy whose mom gets suspicious when he asks for $20 and doesn’t say what for, I find it more than a little disconcerting that the president expects to have to shell out more cash, but doesn’t know specifically why or to whom.

The Republicans, the party of penny-pinchers, stood up (as expected) to the inclusion of such an arbitrary, haphazard ballpark figure in the proposed 2010 budget. But the opposition to the $250 billion placeholder includes several influential Democratic congressmen. Each congressional chamber has a Budget Committee to review the President’s suggestions.

In the Senate, the chairmanship of said committee falls to Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, who told NPR that he eliminated the $250 billion because “[T]here is no plan as to how to use the money and no assertion by the administration that they’re even certain it would be needed.” Conrad added, “[W]e simply can’t budget money for things that are theoretical.”

Conrad’s counterpart in the House, Democratic Congressman John Spratt of South Carolina, called on the President to justify the request. On March 29, Rep. Spratt told CNN’s John King on State of the Union that “If it’s needed, we will be there to support it. But let’s not create a presumption it is needed and see if we can’t make the most of what’s in circulation already.”

Two other Democrats – Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada – spoke out against the prodigality, according to a March 24 article by David Lightman. Nelson stated “I don’t think there’s enough support for any additional rescue plans at this point.” Reid argued that further funding could be provided when the need arises, saying “If it’s an emergency we can do it.”

Some might consider the refusal of these Democrats to back the president’s wanton allocation of funds nothing more than bending to the will of their constituents. However, there is a glimmer of hope that these congressmen may have begun to recognize how inefficient and unsuccessful the federal government has proven itself at administering bailout monies in this time of crisis. Perhaps the Obama administration will be less eager to pour out more taxpayer dollars whenever a failed company approaches with an empty bowl and a pitiable, Twist-esque expression, pleading “Please sir, I want some more.”

Protests against Proposition 8 resort to violence

Tobias Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineering Major



In California, homosexual protesters against the recently passed proposition 8 are resorting to violence to argue their view.

A group of 10-20 Christians had been gathered on a street corner in San Francisco's "Castro" district, quietly praying and singing, when a group of men began yelling and shouting profanities, warning the Christians to leave the district. The group of Christians were backed into a corner, had hot coffee poured on some of them, were hit on the head, and some Christians were pushed to the ground and kicked. The mob-like crowd which was violently harassing the Christians started taking pictures, shouting "We know where you live" and "We're going to kill you," and continuously blowing shrieking whistles directly in their ears. Police officers in raid gear had to be called to get the Christians safely out, with the mob of homosexuals following for several blocks, still shouting and screaming.

In another related event, a little old lady showed up to a homosexual protest holding a simple cross, as a simple counter-protest to the larger group. Within seconds the mob had torn the cross from her hands, broken it apart on the ground, surrounded her, and began shouting and pushing at her. In this case a News Agency was there, and it did not appear that the Police were called.

While it might be nice to believe that this was an isolated event, the truth is that most of the homosexual community in California has resorted to these violent and under-handed tactics. Searching news sources online for terms such as "california church vandalism" pulled up immediate hits for recent events related to violence protesting proposition 8.

Online responses to this violence vary, one particular response worth noting is the "Those Christians had it coming" attitude. This argument essentially says the Christians should have known they would be assaulted, so it was their fault. This same argument was, fairly recently, used to argue that it was a woman's fault she was sexually assaulted if she went out at night, since "She should have known better." Of course, this argument does not stand up to reason, both in the case of a woman being assaulted at night, and in the case of Christians being assaulted in San Francisco, and was thrown out of courts fairly quickly.

In 1998 when Eric Rudolph bombed two abortion clinics and claimed it was a Christian thing to do, Christians and the pro-life community as a whole spoke out immediately and very publicly against the use of violence in any way. Trust of the Christian and pro-life community was maintained because of this outcry against violence from that community. The Eric Rudolphs are not considered part of that community because of their response. However, no similar immediate public response has been made from the homosexual community, so it is unsure what the response of the Country will be to a people who allow their community to commit acts of violence without repercussion.

March 10, 2009

Weekly Summary: Week Nine

Thanks, Coburn!
Senator and physician is standing up against Obama's policies, saying he is willing to go to jail over it. We applaud his courage!

Post-election thoughts from Andrew Lacy
We got beat pretty bad during the ASUN elections, but we aren't giving up, that is for sure.

The Phantom Earmark
It seems Obama got embarrassed about an earmark he had put in the bill, and found someone else to sponsor it so he wouldn't look bad.

Less Money, More Movies?
In a strange turn of events, in the midst of a government made recession, movie theatre attendance is at a record high.

Lessons in Communism
One man doesn't like the continued strides toward socialism.

News Clips (outside link)
We just started something new: Now, news clips are hosted on a different blog, so you can read strange bits of news as we update throughout the week! Check it out!

Thanks for reading!

Thanks, Coburn!

Tobias Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineering Major
Editor for the Student Newspaper


Mr. Barack Obama has been speaking of revoking the clause, which essentially allowed doctors to not perform abortions if they thought it was morally wrong. If Obama revokes this clause, licensed doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and nurses across the states would be forced to abort babies or risk being jailed.

Tom Coburn, the Republican Senator from Oklahom and an OB/GYN physician, told CNS news reporters that he would rather go to jail than take part in such a despicable act.
Coburn said that many doctors, himself included, are strongly opposed to being required to perform surgical abortions, and many doctors would be willing to go to jail before they did such a thing.

While Obama and his cronies have not decided on the issue, I would like to personally thank Mr. Coburn for his preemptive action, and encourage all doctors and members of Congress, Senators, etc., to take a stand with Coburn and the rest of doctors.

Write to your congress today!

Post-election thoughts from Andrew Lacy

Andrew Lacy
UNL Broadcasting Major



Fifteen percent. That's how much of the vote Nick Goodwin and I drew in this year's ASUN election. Where I'm from, we call that a good old-fashioned beatdown. Let me start by thanking the 471 people who voted for me and congratulating Megan Collins, Brian Coburn and Amanda Crook on their win.

While I wasn't really expecting to win, I certainly wasn't expecting the margin to be so large, and I thought I could at least beat Mellgren and Ledford. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. There is still some good to come out of this from my perspective. First off, more than 3,000 students voted. That's significantly more than I expected and marks the highest turnout in at least a decade. Second, the health and wellness referendum failed by four votes. L.J. McElravy can get mad about my opposition all he wants, but that doesn't change the fact that those three projects should not be lumped together as a package deal.

The most common question I've had so far is how do you feel? Frankly, I'm just glad to be done with all this nonsense. If I had won, I would have had much less time to spend at the Lutheran Chapel. Besides, I have much more fun standing on the outside throwing rocks at the establishment.

So where do we go from here? Personally, I'm not going anywhere. I'll be right here, keeping a close eye on the new senate and calling them out if and when they screw up. You have not heard the last from me. In fact, the Student Newspaper is in the process of expanding, and we hope to have a sister publication at Hastings College before the end of the school year. As for the rest of my party, I will not be running again next year, but some of them might and I'll be working behind the scenes to help them any way I can.

I encourage all of you to continue to pay attention to what ASUN does in the future rather than only when there's an election. They are here to serve us students and on occasion they need to be reminded of that. Don't let them just coast by without any scrutiny.

We sure won't.

The Phantom Earmark

Benjamin Kantack
UNL Political Science and Spanish Major


When weeks of debate finally drew to a close as the economic stimulus bill cleared Congress, President Obama proudly announced that it passed without a single earmark.

Congress’s next item of business claimed no such distinction.

The “omnibus spending bill,” which distributes monies allocated by Congress since the last budget, is suffocating under a grand total of about 9,000 earmarks. The omnibus also strikes a personal note with the President: his name is listed as a sponsor for one particular earmark worth $7.7 million, according to an article by Congressional Quarterly. Said earmark, which would increase funding to two tribal vocational facilities, was cosponsored by then-Senator Obama and 36 other Congress members last April.

But $7.7 million is a drop in the bucket – comprising less than .1% of the total omnibus earmark price of $9 billion – and members of the President’s staff are attached to greater amounts of pork spending: among other examples, Vice President Joe Biden is listed in $94.9 million worth of earmarks, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have run up pork tabs of $227.4 million and $108 million respectively.

But what shocks more than these impressive figures is that the President and the Senate Appropriations Committee are trying to cover up the earmark. A February 26 article in the Washington Post reported that the President’s name will be erased from the sponsor list before it comes to a vote. Why? According to a White House spokesman, then-Senator Obama’s request for spending on the two vocational schools – one in New Mexico, the other in North Dakota – was never intended to become an earmark. The letter petitioning for the funds was signed by 37 senators in April of 2008, and was attached to the omnibus just recently.

So what makes the President’s request an earmark now, but not back when he signed it? The Appropriations Committee says that the defining feature which makes the item an earmark is the fact that it mentions the two schools by name. Yet when the facility was funded in the past, the program which administered the money distributed it to the same two schools. The original request and the “earmark” are identical in every way except for what they are called.

Even more confounding, the President still supports the omnibus. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told the Wall Street Journal that the President would sign the bill once Congress approved it, despite the earmark. Clearly, President Obama still supports the vocational school spending enough to enact the law, but not enough to have his name attached to it as a cosponsor. Does it bode well for America when a president is too ashamed to cosponsor a spending item that he himself signs into law?

TIME Magazine stated on February 26 that President Obama “runs a real credibility risk when he makes exceptions to his own rules.” From an administration that promised ethical conduct and transparency, the cover-up of $7.7 million is a slap in the face to the American people. This writer does not ask that the President remove the earmark entirely – simply that he own up to his actions and not hide them out of shame.

Less Money, More Movies?

Benjamin Kayser
Omaha area writer


With the failing economy, people are starting to cut down on spending. Some are starting to do more cooking at home, while others are shopping at second hand stores. But whether you're rich or poor, there's one thing that a lot of people are still doing: going to the movies. That's right. We already have a record high for the first two months of the year. Compared to 2007, these two months have increased 35.3%. That's a 400 million dollar difference. So let me pose a question. Even though huge sequels like X-men, Terminator and Transformers will be coming out this year, will the failing economy decrease box office sales? I would say no. Why? Well, the first reason is that when people fall under tough financial and emotional situations, they like to forget their problems and be entertained. This happened in the great depression.

When "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" came out during the great depression in 1937 it grossed 180 million dollars. Two years later, "Gone with the Wind" broke all records with nearly 200 million dollars. The bottom line is that the lack of money in the home does not alter the entertainment industry. Another interesting factor is that three of the top 5 grossing movies of 2009 so far are comedies. It doesn't surprise me that people would rather laugh than cry when in a difficult situation. Eight dollars for two hours of pleasure is pretty cheap. The sad thing in all of this is that when people rely on entertainment to get through hard times, they rob themselves of joy in the Lord. Romans 14:17 says, "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." I'm not at all saying that watching movies robs you of joy. I am saying that when you rely on movies to get you through tough times, you will be worse off than you were before.

Lessons in Communism

Or,
A lesson to be learned from Nikita Khrushchev, the former communist leader of the Soviet Union


Michael Folkerts
UNL Agricultural Economics


The word socialist is being used by a lot of people to describe some of our President’s policies and ideological thinking. Comparing Obama’s policies to socialism may be frightening to some as it should be, while others may just brush it off as crazy talk. Some may not care because Bush Is Out, and you’re ready to try something new, a change to our political system. This writer is far from an expert on socialism, but wants to point out that there are tens and maybe even hundreds of different forms of socialism/nationalism and, in his opinion, not all forms are harmful to the prosperity of a democratic and capitalist state when implemented in the same system. For example, nationalizing public services and resources such as taxing the people for highways/roads, and public education can be argued as beneficial.

However, these recent governmental bailouts of our banks and car industries, Obama’s plan of nationalizing/socializing health care, and the “stimulus” packages in which the governments hand is becoming immensely larger has this writer worried a great deal. For if history is an accurate predictor, it predicts that small bits of socialism lead to large bits, and that large bits of socialism leads to communism.

If you don’t believe this prediction, maybe the words of an actual communist leader will change your mind. In 1959, President Eisenhower invited Nikita Khrushchev (Soviet Union’s communist leader) to the United States to learn about agriculture practices. The Secretary of Agricultural Ezra Thaft Benson was assigned to be his escort. During a conversation, Khrushchev told Benson that his grandchildren would live under communism. Benson boldly responded that he would do everything within his power to prevent that from becoming so. Khrushchev than replied “You Americans are so gullible, no, you won’t accept communism outright, but we will keep feeding you small doses of socialism. Until you finally wake up, and find you already have communism. We won’t have to fight you. We‘ll slowly weaken your economy, until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands.”

I understand that many people are still on a sugar high from drinking the Obama Kool-Aid. But when will America wake up? I’m not implying Obama is going to be the downfall or redeemer of America, but how many bailouts are necessary? Are all Americans’ entitled to free health care? Are all Americans entitled to own their own home? How much power should the government have? And how much socialism is too much before it is communistic? All I ask is that as Americans, we will remember our country’s history, and the world’s history. As George Santayana said, “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.”

March 5, 2009

Stalling for a week.

Hello astute readers!

Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts made it impossible to publish this week (you liberals can stop cheering now) so our next issue will come out next week, Tuesday morning!

For now, try out our new news feed, just rolled out today:

http://SN-News-Clips.blogspot.com/

The present site is updated once a week (mostly), while this is a short news-feed, update throughout the day with our short single paragraph (usually) news clips. Check it out!

February 26, 2009

Weekly Summary: Week Eight

Letter from the Editor
Morality and law, the public would like the Christian religion to stay out of both, but this always has negative results.

News Clips, February 24
Compiled by Tobias Davis

Reaching across the aisle with empty hands
Benjamin Kantack

Taxpayers revolt against spendulus
Andrew Lacy

Internet Failure tied to DNS software
Tobias Davis

Can America afford another FDR?
Austin Hatfield

Gun laws tied to stimulus bill?
Nathan Davis

News Clips: February 24

WND.com - Scott Easterling, a U.S. soldier on active duty in Iraq, has called President Obama an "impostor", stating that "As an active duty officer in the United States Army, I have grave concerns about the constitutional eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to hold the office of the president of the United States." The statement was publicized by California attorney Orly Taitz who had advised Easterling to obtain additional legal counsel before making any statements regarding the commander-in-chief, but Easterling insisted on moving forward. His contention is that, as an active member of the U.S. military, he is required to follow orders from a sitting president, and he needs -- on pain of court-martial -- to know that Obama is eligible. Taitz said that, although many other legal cases have been filed, courts several times have ruled that they do not have standing to issue their challenge.

CNA - In a story sounding similar to one portrayed in the movie Hotel Rwanda, the UN is once again ignoring the pleas of it's African countries. This time the massacre is just over 900 people: In the northeastern Deomcratic Republic of Congo, troops of the guerilla group LRA have massacred over 900 people in the last two months. No attention has been given to the situation from Europe, America, or the United Nations. The LRA is a Ugandan group mainly composed of child soldiers kidnapped and forced into service. The group is active in Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. A recent failed military operation against the guerilla group has been responed to by the LRA with violence against civilians, sacking and destroying entire villages and killing entire families.

TSD - Devin P. Brown, Jeffrey and Lydia Morrison, Richard Brewer, Jim and Steve Waid, Michael Schulze, Jessica Lee, Gary and Troy Green, and Zachary Hastings all have one thing in common: They are all under arrest following meth lab busts. In six independent investigations across the U.S., police officers found and arrested at least eleven people who were manufacturing meth. The total amount each group had the capability to produce several pounds each. Not surprisingly, several of the arrested had previously been charged with criminal conduct. 1 2 3 4 5


Compiled by Tobias Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineer

Letter from the Editor

Why is anyone surprised when events occur such as a fifteen year old shooting a neighborhood man "for fun", or an eleven year old killing his dad's girlfriend?

In every public school across the nation, all morals and ethics are taught as entirely relative and situational: Can you really say that Josef Fritzl, the man who imprisoned and raped his own daughter for 24 years, was absolutely wrong? Where does morality come from? Does it only come from the human mind? If so, can anything truly be absolutely wrong?

If you deny the existence of any divinely authorized morality, the only thing remaining is humanly authorized morality which is the voice of the people. But the voice of the people allow cannibalism. The voice of the people allowed Nazi-ism to flourish. In ancient Rome, the voice of the people cheered for sports where people were eaten alive by lions. The voice of the people tends to be the voice of the mob and the voice of madness.

I'll take the Christians Biblical morality any time, thanks.

-----Tobias Davis
UNL Mech. Eng. Major
Editor and Manager for the Student Newspaper
code.walrus@gmail.com

Internet failure tied to DNS software


Tobias Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineer Major


On February 23, Monday night around 9:30 pm, while browsing the Internet, multiple users in the Lincoln area experienced severe slowdown of major name web-sites: Yahoo!, Google, and Blogger were entirely inaccessible, and, of over eighty bookmarked main-stream news sites, the only two that managed to display took several minutes to load basic text. All advertising images would not display, the only good thing about this problem, and since search functions are outsourced on many sites, searching was practically impossible across the entire web.

After some research, the temporary failure of the Internet was found to be more widespread than the local city area. The cause of this Internet failure has been traced to a specialized Denial of Service (DoS) attack called DNS amplification.

In a normal DoS attack, a black-hat hacker floods a server with requests for data, this overloads the server and slows it down so much that other users cannot retrieve data. Most servers are able to handle DoS attacks, however, the DNS amplification attack is a more recent development.

The DNS server is, in a practical way, the phone book of the Internet. When you type in "google.com", that address is turned into an IP address analogous to a phone number. The DNS amplification attack makes a request for the entire "phone book" list to get sent to another server. This book is a very large list, and the transfer rate can eat up over 5 GB per second of bandwidth.

Information does not indicate that the DNS attack which slowed down the Lincoln area Internet service was from a Lincoln server. In fact, information on this issue is typically hard to acquire, since information on the failure of a DNS server against such an attack is held pretty tightly due to business investor concerns.

While DNS amplification attacks can be stopped with newly updated DNS server software, the new software requires more administration to run and has not been highly utilized. Since the software bug has not been fixed on many DNS servers, and the technique is becoming more widely used, you can expect significant delays in Internet browsing to occur more frequently.

Gun laws tied into stimulus bill?

Nathan Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineer Major


While attention has been focused on the recently passed stimulus bill H.R. 1, another bill, S. 22, has already passed the senate and is waiting for a vote from the house. The so-called “Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009” is a composition of over 150 pieces of legislation which never passed congress on their own merit. In January Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid packaged all of the bills into 1248 whole pages, twice the length of the stimulus bill, and forced it through the Senate with a vote of 73-21. 21 out of 41 Republican Senators voted against the bill, including Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), and 19 voted for the bill. 52 out of 54 Democrat Senators voted for the bill, including Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), and none voted against the bill. A vote from the house is expected sometime this week before being signed by president Barack Obama.

While the bill looks like simply a land conservation effort, it has unneeded consequences for gun-owners. S. 22 would greatly expand the amount of land controlled by the National Park Service (NPS). NPS land is currently under a strict gun ban applying to persons who carry a concealed firearm with a permit. Non-permit holders and open carry are not explicitly addressed.

If passed, the bill would authorize the federal government to purchase land next to national parks and trails. It would also federalize the Washington-Rochambeau Trail, an approximately 600 mile trail from Rhode Island to Virginia. Both the adjacent land and the trail, which passes through sections of major highways and through cities like Boston and Philadelphia, would fall under the NPS and the gun ban. In other words, someone innocently driving down the highway next to the trail would be subject to the NPS gun ban.

Also, the bill would allow for the National Landscape Conservation System to place millions of acres of new land under one new umbrella agency. Much of this land is currently under the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service, which allow for hunting and recreational shooting, but it is unclear what regulations this new umbrella agency would set forth.

The Democrat leadership has ensured that the measure cannot be amended or altered in any way. That means that if it passes the House, it goes right to President Obama’s desk, where it will be signed into law.

This bill comes on the verge of another more overt anti-gun bill, H.R. 45, which explicitly increases regulation of gun licensing. This bill won't be finalized for a while since it has only recently been introduced and referred to the committee.

With the new administration dominated by an anti-gun Democrat majority, gun-owners have been “up in arms.” According to a press release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), data from FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) shows that background checks for the sale of firearms had increased 42% in November, 24% in December, and 28.8% in January compared to respective months the previous year. NSSF president Steve Sanetti said in response to the surge in gun sales, “Americans are clearly concerned about their ability to be able to purchase these products in an uncertain future." And rightly so.

Can America Afford Another‭ ‬FDR‭?


Austin Hatfield
UNL Business Administration and Political Science Major


I know what you’re thinking right now. ‭ “‬Can’t afford another FDR‭?‬ ‭ ‬I thought everyone loved FDR‭!” ‬My high school history book showered him with praise. ‭ ‬The media claims Obama is the next FDR,‭ ‬isn’t that good‭?‬ ‭ ‬Didn’t he get us out of the depression‭?”‬ ‭ ‬This sort of complacency is a great danger to the minds of a democratic people‭; ‬that is why I offer an opinion of FDR based on facts.

‏One of the greatest myths that has been fed to the American people is the idea that FDR ended The Great Depression,‭ ‬but there was only one true end,‭ ‬World War II. ‭ ‬Even with the Tennessee Valley Authority and other interior improvement groups‭ (‬which did great things for our country’s infrastructure‭)‬,‭ ‬the unemployment rate never went below‭ ‬20%‭ ‬and the second phase of the New Deal actually increased unemployment‭ (‬source:‭ ‬The Heritage Foundation‭)‬.

‏The greatest threat to a democratic people is a government that uses hard times as an excuse to exercise greater control over its people. ‭ ‬This is exactly what FDR did:‭ ‬all of his socialist programs did nothing to stop the Depression and may very well be the reason for its continuance. ‭ ‬They greatly increased government’s control over its people,‭ ‬creating a sense of need among the public that lingers to this day:‭ “‬The government will solve all your problems if you let them‭!”

‏The average length of a recession in the United States in the last century has been‭ ‬10-15‭ ‬months,‭ ‬yet FDR managed to make it last‭ ‬8‭ ‬years.‭ ‬ Instead of letting the depression run its course while lowering taxes,‭ ‬FDR gave us a wonderful assortment of social programs that encourage inactivity and government dependence,‭ ‬all promoted by fear.

‏What does Obama have to offer us in these trying times‭?‬ ‭ ‬Change you can believe in or politics as usual‭?‬ ‭ ‬Obama has been very clear on how he plans to manage the next‭ ‬4‭ ‬years of his presidency. ‭ ‬After zero Republicans voted for the‭ “‬stimulus‭” ‬bill in the house and a couple of the more wishy-washy‭ “‬Republicans‭” ‬in the Senate supported it,‭ ‬the most expensive act of legislation in U.S.‭ ‬history passed‭; ‬a‭ ‬$787‭ ‬billion dollar monster that makes the New Deal look like a cheap dinner. ‭ ‬The bill is overwhelmingly spending with a depressingly low amount of tax cuts‭ ‬-‭ ‬cuts that Obama promised throughout his campaign.

‏The bill includes expensive Frisbee golf courses,‭ ‬more money for the worthless Amtrak system that wastes billions each year,‭ ‬and even a new‭ “‬eco-friendly‭” ‬club house for a Lincoln golf course. ‭ ‬Plans similar to Obama’s have been tried before in many different countries,‭ ‬and they have never been very successful. ‭ ‬They simply encourage the public to think that the government is‭ “‬doing something‭” ‬about the problem. ‭ ‬The construction projects this plan will‭ create are just about the only benefit to be seen. ‭ ‬Unfortunately,‭ ‬these projects create work,‭ ‬not long lasting jobs. ‭ ‬We need long term solutions,‭ ‬but how can we get them‭?

‏The only way to solve the current economic troubles is actually quite simple:‭ ‬TAX CUTS‭!‬ ‭ ‬According to The Heritage Foundation,‭ ‬the‭ ‬2003‭ ‬tax cuts increased GDP by‭ ‬2.4%‭ ‬and created‭ ‬307,000‭ ‬jobs in just six economic quarters. ‭ ‬We need to encourage consumers to consume and spenders to spend instead of scaring buyers into stuffing their money in their mattresses. ‭ ‬I was amazed to see a supposed‭ “‬economic expert‭” ‬on CNN telling people to save their money and not spend. ‭ ‬What do you think would happen if everyone took her advice‭?‬ ‭ ‬Selling and buying is the key to capitalism’s survival,‭ ‬and the survival of our nation. ‭ ‬Tax cuts are the best way to encourage families and individuals to spend their cash. ‭ ‬Instead Obama has chosen to bury us in debt that our great-grandchildren will be paying off. ‭ ‬This bill is the greatest financial gamble of our nation’s history‭ – ‬and it seems that,‭ ‬once again,‭ ‬history has been ignored.

Reaching Across the Aisle with Empty Hands


Benjamin Kantack
UNL Political Science and Spanish Major



Bipartisanship.

It was a rallying cry for Senator Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. But slightly more than a month after Inauguration Day, according to Brookings Institution scholar Stephen Hess, “He has learned one big, first lesson for a new president: we are not in a post-partisan world in Washington.”

The stimulus plan passed without a single Republican vote in the House and the blessing of only three Republican senators – who are, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune on February 22, “generally considered the most liberal in their party.” The new cabinet, which ideally would have included an unprecedented three members from the opposing party, derailed when Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire withdrew from his commerce secretary post. And Republican congresspersons have decried the President’s actions constantly through many news outlets.

Yet, according to a February 23 ABC News poll, 73% of the country believes that the new President has been “trying to compromise with Republican leaders in Congress,” while only 34% believes Republicans have been trying to compromise with him. It would seem that the blame for President Obama’s failed bipartisan rhetoric falls squarely on the shoulder of congressional Republicans. Is this blame deserved, or is it misplaced?

Let’s examine Senator Gregg’s appointment as commerce secretary. Since Gregg left the post of his own will – not because of any scandal – many assumed he was simply unwilling to work with political rivals. But Gregg’s move only came after the President had taken the Commerce Department’s most important duty – the 2010 census – out of Gregg’s jurisdiction, as per the Union-Tribune. This sent a message that, while the President is willing to put Republicans in his cabinet in a spirit of “unity,” he isn’t willing to trust them with actually doing the jobs they are given.

More publicly, though, the stimulus package has been an egregious example of failed bipartisanship. According to the Boston Globe on February 18, President Obama visited Republican senators and representatives, courting supporters for his party’s legislation – but only three senators and zero representatives supported the stimulus. Many blamed the bitterness of the GOP at their dismal election results. But while the Democrats courted Republicans votes, they “never consulted them in drafting the economic stimulus package,” the New York Times reported on January 27. Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reed wanted bipartisanship when it came down to voting for a Democrat-forged stimulus, but rejected it when it was offered in the formation process.

Not everyone is fooled by such empty gestures. Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama stated that “The House Democrats have failed at bipartisanship, I think that’s clear.” And Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told CNN unequivocally that “If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country’s screwed.”

Let this evidence not be construed to indicate that the President and congressional Democrats ought to reach out more to Republicans; in fact, many experts agree that bipartisanship, in the words of Claremont McKenna College political science professor Dr. Jack Pitney, “has about as much of a future as squirrel-flavored ice cream.”

President Obama and his party are fully entitled to spend the political capital they earned in the 2008 election. But it will be nothing short of hypocrisy if they continue to claim the mantle of bipartisanship while offering only a cheap imitation of it. Yes, Democrats have reached across the aisle, but they have had nothing of substance to offer Republicans, and deserve no praise for said efforts until they extend something other than an empty hand.

Taxpayers revolt against spendulus


Andrew Lacy
UNL Broadcasting Major



CNBC host Rick Santelli began a backlash against the White House last week as he spoke from the floor of the Chicago board of trade about the outrage of taxpayers who are being forced to pay for irresponsible and unsuccessful businesses and individuals.

Americans are responding to Santelli’s call for a‭ “‬Chicago Tea Party‭” ‬in a big way by organizing Feb.‭ ‬27‭ ‬protests in cities across the country.‭ ‬More protests are being organized for ensuing weeks including one in Omaha currently in the works.

If taxpayers are able to sustain their anger at the exorbitant spending being put forth by President Obama and his friends in Congress,‭ ‬we could be seeing the beginning of a populist movement toward fiscal responsibility.‭

It’s too soon to tell how much support such a movement would garner,‭ ‬but it could potentially revive conservatism in a way we haven’t seen since the tax protests of the‭ ‬1970s,‭ ‬which helped fuel the Reagan Revolution.

This is the outcry of those who‭ “‬have skin in the game‭” ‬to borrow a line from the President,‭ ‬and they are furious.‭ ‬They see the prescience of Ronald Reagan’s statement that‭ “‬the most frightening words in the English language are‭ ‘‬I’m from the government and I’m here to help.‭’”

Anyone interested in joining one of the protests can find times and locations for events across the country,‭ ‬including the TBD event in Omaha,‭ ‬at‭ this link.

February 19, 2009

Weekly Summary: Week Seven

Santorum speaks about threat of radical Islam
Andrew Lacy

Editorial of a UNL Professor
John Scherbenske

"Science" should not be taken on faith
William Collen

Take this job and shove it
Benjamin Kantack

ASUN resorts to intellectual prostitution
Francis Mader

Letter from the Editor

Tobias Davis

News Clips: February 18

Compiled by Tobias Davis

Thanks for reading!

Corrections: A few people have commented that the article by John Scherbenske may appear to be by a professor -- it is not. John is a former UNL student. Also, for the ASUN article: While the cost of the student fees increase is now available in the FAQ section, the point of the article still stands.

News Clips: February 18

WND.com - In another evidence of reduction of freedom of speech, Oakland California police arrested Reverend Walter Hoye II for quietly picketing at an abortion clinic. Video evidence submitted by Rev. Hoye clearly shows he is quietly standing outside the abortion clinic, holding a sign which read "Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help you." Security guards are visibly harassing Rev. Hoye by following him as he walked back and forth, and by covering his sign with prepared blank posters. The abortion clinic director, Jackie Barbic, testified in court that Rev. Hoye had physically intimidated her until she had to defend herself, shouting "Stay away from me! Back down!" Video evidence submitted to court clearly demonstrates that no such thing happened, yet Rev. Hoye was convicted of "unlawful approach."

NYTimes.com - Despite his campaign platform to end and withdraw from the ongoing war, Obama recently approved 17,000 additional troops for Afghanistan. The troops will be spread out over the spring and summer, totaling nearly 50 percent more troops. In a careful misdirected statement, NY Times quotes Obama as saying that "the fact that we are going to responsibly draw down our forces in Iraq allows us the flexibility to increase our presence in Afghanistan.” While Obama ran a specific campaign against the Iraq war, anti-war activists are disappointed that he is not withdrawing from Afghanistan.

LATimes.com - Sacremento homosexuals are working to overturn the recently passed Proposition 8, which clarifies marriages as between a man and woman. Proposition 8 was approved by voters, and passed by a 600,000 vote margin, passing in 42 out of California's 58 counties. While California is barely able to pay it's state workers, and has recently laid off around 20,000 employees, many in California are arguing that there are more important things needing discussion at the moment than a majority passed bill.

HumanEvents.com - In a long article by James Delingpole, a writer for the group Human Events, he articulates the danger of limiting freedom of speech against radical Islamic groups. In the article, Delingpole details the work of Dutch Parliament member Geert Wilder in the short movie Fitna, which parallels horrific terrorist attacks with verses from the Koran. Mr. Wilder's video has been a source of outrage from the Moslem community at large, and has resulted in his recent denial of entry into Britain. In Britain, only a few weeks ago, a nurse was nearly fired for offering to pray for one of her patients.

TimesOnline.com - One of India's biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist groups has announced a new drink, called "gau jal" or "cow water", made of cow urine. Hindus revere cows, and it is illegal to kill them in most of India. The drink is sponsored by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and may be launched by the end of the year. The RSS group has also used violent means of promoting it's agenda, including killing 67 Christians last year. According to Times Online, the RSS and it's offshoots began promoting cow urine as a cure for cancer back in 2001. India's national Hindu religion is seen as the main cause for it's food shortages, among other internal difficulties.

WND.com - A twelve year old girl, identified only as "Lia", took first place in a speech contest when she argued for the rights of the unborn, even though one judge was offended enough to quit. During the contest preliminaries Lia was "strongly encouraged" to pick a different subject, and was even later threatened with disqualification if she spoke on abortion. "Why do we think that just because a fetus can't talk or do what we do, it isn't a human being yet?" She asks in the video. "Some babies are born after only five months. Is this baby not human?"

AZCentral.com - It seems the anti-drunken-driving devices being installed in cars don't always help much after all. In Suffolk County, New York, police arrested a Marvin Rice after he crashed a rented vehicle while intoxicated. Mr. Rice had a previous DWI and agreed to have the breath testing equipment installed. The fact that a driver will find ways to circumvent the breath tester, by altering the equipment or finding a new vehicle, has been one argument against the devices from the beginning.

USAToday.com - In another brilliant act of bureaucratic, lobbyist guided legislation, a new federal law which aims to protect children from lead in toys has practically killed the entire sales of off-road vehicles built for young riders. Lead is used in many parts of motorcycles and ATVs for strengthening the metal, among other reasons. According to USA Today, Paul Vitrano, general counsel for the Motorcycle Counsel Industry, said the industry "estimates the retail value retail market value for all off-road cycles and ATVs is $14.5 billion a year, including sales, service, parts, accessories and payroll." With the economic recession already hitting noticeably, especially at the coasts, additional bureaucratic legislation like this is likely to cause even greater damage.

WasingtonTimes.com - After Arizona rancher roger Barnett attempted to defend his land from illegal immigrant trespassers in 2004, the falsely named Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) brought a $32 million lawsuit for "civil rights violations and the infliction of emotional distress." Now, a federal jury ruled that Mr. Barnett did not violate the illegal immigrants civil rights, and tossed charges of "false imprisonment, battery and conspiracy." The jury still awarded $78,000 to the illegal immigrants for "actual and punitive damages", whatever that may mean.

Letter from the Editor

Greetings from the Editor!

This past week seemed to be filled with all sorts of crazy news. Most of it seemed to be centered around the passing of the “stimulus” bill, but other important issues were often not discussed.

Things like the significantly large increase of federal land for the Wild Game and Parks.
Things like the lead protection bill, only recently passed, which will practically shut down many thrift stores, and has already crippled the children's ATV sales on the coasts.
Things like Obama sending a very large number (17,000) of troops in to Afghanistan, while continuing to tell everyone he will end the war.

Things like the ASUN spending your student fees to try to convince you to increase your student fees.

What a busy week!

And did anyone notice Facebook's policy change? If you didn't, you are not taking your privacy very seriously, and I would encourage you to read up on what happened. As of Wednesday, Facebook had to revert their policy back to it's original because of the public outcry.

Also, the good ol' European Union seems to be having it's own troubles, if their bailout scheme is any indication: European Banks are apparently needing a $25 Trillion bailout. The main-stream media has been pretty actively trying to cover the significance of it, so you may have to dig through some archives before you can find that recent bit of news.

Anyway, thanks for continuing to read this small-fry paper, and we hope you have a great week!

-----Tobias Davis
Editor and Manager
UNL Mechanical Engineering Major

ASUN resorts to intellectual prostitution

Francis Mader
UNL Business Major


Committee fails to mention nearly‭ ‬20%‭ ‬student fee increase while‭ “‬educating‭” ‬student body
While encouraging students to support better wellness facilities,‭ ‬the ASUN Campus Wellness Ad Hoc Committee has neglected the substantial increase in fees for the proposed new Rec center,‭ ‬health center,‭ ‬and weight room extension.‭ ‬The three part referendum is on the ballot March‭ ‬4th.

‎Currently non-academic student fees rest for a brief moment at‭ ‬$405‭ ‬per student per semester,‭ ‬according to the ASUN website.‭ ‬With an estimated‭ ‬$80‭ ‬increase for these projects,‭ ‬with two of them costing‭ ‬$18‭ ‬million apiece,‭ ‬student fees could be estimated to be over‭ ‬$500‭ ‬per student per semester next year.‭ ‬Accompanying this projected increase is the‭ ‬$12‭ ‬increase for the readership program,‭ ‬the increased printing support for the Daily Nebraskan,‭ ‬and the general‭ ‬$12,000‭ ‬gift to the Dailyer Nebraskan.‭

In the committee’s efforts to educate the students,‭ ‬part of ASUN’s‭ ‬$440,000‭ ‬budget has been put to work producing posters and presentation materials promoting‭ “‬better health‭” ‬and‭ “‬better fitness‭”‬.‭ ‬Nowhere on these printings will you find a price tag,‭ ‬but only smiling people and pretty pictures.‭ ‬Even on the homepage of the website,‭ ‬the‭ ‬$80‭ ‬student/semester fee can only be found at the end of the Powerpoint and in the link to the senate bill.‭ ‬The bias is especially shown with the various booths that have poster-boards boldly proclaiming‭ “‬YES‭” ‬next to the information about new buildings.‭

Not only is there a lack of transparency in the‭ “‬educating‭” ‬part of the increased fees,‭ ‬but there also exists a lack in the personnel of the committee.‭ ‬Besides the president of ASUN in a relationship with the chairman of this Ad Hoc Committee,‭ ‬the principles of the members seem to be loose with proposals with the student’s money.

If there might be an opportunity to support a noble cause such as health,‭ ‬ASUN rushes to investigate.‭ ‬After starting the committee and appointing people,‭ ‬the committee gets busy and proceeds to take a trip to Missouri to look at other Recreational Centers,‭ ‬has firms evaluate the buildings,‭ ‬and organizes their findings after analyzing some relevant statistics.‭ ‬Concerned that they won’t make a big enough difference with a few necessary changes,‭ ‬the committee beefs up their resolution,‭ ‬attaching each project to the other in order to make it big enough to succeed.

However,‭ ‬while getting deep into this process,‭ ‬the members lose sight of the real problems and‭ ‬practical solutions while their imaginary harms continue to grow in their minds.‭ ‬They have become prostitutes of the intellectual kind,‭ ‬working for their own causes believing that they are doing a service to the general welfare.‭ ‬Diversity becomes their rally point,‭ ‬justifying their own impractical ideas for their researched then exaggerated problems.

This is the state of ASUN.‭ ‬A handful of interested students become campaign happy after wielding student fee dollars.‭ ‬There is no pressing need for a new health center.‭ ‬Nor is spending millions of dollars the only solution to our wellness needs.

Take this Job and Shove It

Benjamin Kantack
UNL Political Science and Spanish Major


With cabinet appointees dropping to scandal like sheaves of corn to a harvester, President Obama attempted to name New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg the new Secretary of Commerce. Gregg would have been the third Republican nominated to a cabinet position in the Obama Administration and another symbol of bipartisanship – or at least that the President was not completely ignoring conservatives. But on February 12, according to a Fox.com article, Gregg withdrew his name from consideration for the position, making himself the second man within a month to receive a nod for Commerce Secretary and decline the offer.

What caused Gregg to pull out? As far as scandals go, the senator was clean as ivory snow: the only disgrace even near him is an allegation against one of his former staffers, according to the Associated Press, and Gregg is neither a suspect nor a target in the investigation. Nor did he have anything to fear about getting replaced in the Senate by a Democrat: New Hampshire governor John Lynch had pledged to appoint a Republican for the vacant seat, to encourage Gregg to accept the cabinet post. President Obama suggested in an article by MSNBC that Gregg had declined the position because he was too comfortable with his place in the senate – but the same article declared that Gregg does not plan to run for reelection in 2010; why, then, would he refuse the biggest federal opportunity of his lifetime and allow his political career to fade away in two years?

According to CNN.com, Senator Gregg rejected the proposition on the grounds that he disagreed with the President's policies on the stimulus package and his plans to exert greater control over the 2010 census. And while this may seem like a trivial matter to relinquish a cabinet post over, the census has, as Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times writes, "huge implications social and political."

Conducting the decennial census is one of the Department of Commerce's most important duties: the results allow lawmakers to redraw the boundaries of congressional districts and decide where government spending will be allocated. If the Obama-Pelosi-Reed trifecta could seize control of the Department of Commerce's duties, they could manipulate data and approve or disapprove redistricting plans in order to effectively disenfranchise whole regions of conservative voters and redefine the power structure in Washington.

The Boston Globe reported on February 13 that President Obama had announced his plans to make the census results subject to the White House instead of the Secretary of Commerce after interest groups expressed concern that Gregg had voted against increased census spending during the Clinton administration. Obviously the left disagrees with Gregg's fiscal conservatism, but using it as an excuse to take away his most important responsibility as Commerce Secretary does not seem very respectful – or bipartisan.

[Edit: Missing text]

Judd Gregg didn’t decline the post for reasons of scandal or strategy, or even for his own political convenience. He recognized that he would only be a token conservative in the new cabinet, whose alleged power had been reduced to a mere illusion – and, wisely understanding the ulterior partisan motives of the new "bipartisan" administration, effectively told President Obama to "take this job and shove it."

‎“‏Science‭” ‬Should Not Be Taken on Faith

William Collen
Omaha area writer


In a recent editorial published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‭ (“‬U.S.‭ ‬moves ahead only if science does‭”‬,‭ ‬January‭ ‬25,‭ ‬2009‭) ‬the author,‭ ‬Cynthia Tucker,‭ ‬bemoans American’s supposed‭ “‬contempt for science‭”‬.‭ ‬She cites the supposedly alarming statistic that only‭ ‬40‭ ‬percent of Americans accept Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution,‭ ‬a percentage she claims is‭ “‬just ahead of Turkey‭”‬.‭ ‬She condemns George W.‭ ‬Bush’s‭ “‬narrow-mindedness‭” ‬towards the subject of embryonic stem-cell research,‭ ‬which‭ “‬impeded scientific efforts‭” ‬to cure such diseases as juvenile diabetes.‭ ‬And of course,‭ ‬she lauds President Barack Obama’s intent to‭ “‬restore science to its rightful place‭”‬.‭ ‬She says:‭ “‬Among other changes,‭ ‬Obama is expected to reverse Bush’s stance on expanding stem-cell research.‭ ‬Like so much else about this new beginning,‭ ‬Obama’s embrace of science is a cause for hope.‭”

It seems as though Ms.‭ ‬Tucker considers science as an end in its own right,‭ ‬while deriding faith as‭ “‬antediluvian religious dogma‭”‬,‭ ‬and implying that people of faith are‭ “‬flat-earthers‭” ‬who don’t believe in‭ “‬facts,‭ ‬data,‭ ‬evidence‭”‬.‭ ‬But isn’t even the scientific method based on faith‭? ‬How could any scientific inquiry take place if a rational,‭ ‬logical,‭ ‬orderly universe were not presupposed‭? ‬In fact,‭ ‬since everything anyone believes is filtered through their presuppositions,‭ ‬how can we believe anything without faith in some assumed,‭ ‬implicit standard by which all input is judged‭?

A blind respect for science as an end unto itself is just as damaging as a rejection of the logical,‭ ‬rational approach to understanding that the scientific method represents.‭ ‬Far from being a‭ “‬rejection of reason that rivals the dark ages‭”‬,‭ ‬as Ms.‭ ‬Tucker claims,‭ ‬the current faith-based stand of so many Americans is an acknowledgement of the fact that as finite,‭ ‬fallible creatures,‭ ‬humans cannot know anything without taking some things on faith.‭ ‬Ms.‭ ‬Tucker’s adulation of‭ “‬science‭” ‬is laughable.‭ ‬But the American public’s rejection of embryonic stem-cell research‭ (‬a principled call to a higher standard‭) ‬and opposition of evolutionary theory‭ (‬a demand for readily verifiable proof instead of conjecture and guesswork‭) ‬is not.