U.S. Rep. Cole sees 20112 presidential election as a referendum on Obama

By: Logan Pierce, Editor-in-Chief

On March 13, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole met with members of the Student Senate to field questions relating to the political season and government policy.

Cole talked about the President’s tax plan. “People will be waiting on the election,” Cole said, “The winner will determine the course for this country.”

No one wants to make any sweeping changes in Washington, until after the election, resulting in what is known as a “lame duck” Congress.

“The lame duck session is sort of like the Mayan calendar,” Cole said, “Everything’s coming to a head in 2012.” The Bush tax cuts are among the policies ending this year.

Slashing spending across the board

The reduction of spending has been a focus of Congress in recent years. Their goal was to cut $2.2 trillion in spending by the end of 2011. Having succeeded in cutting only $1 trillion, the remaining amount will be cut from all departments.

“If you care about the military, these cuts will be enormous,” Cole said. Between cuts this year and last year, the military will have sustained $1 trillion in reduced spending. These cuts are an attempt to reduce the impact of the stimulus package passed in 2009.

Political Predictions

Cole talked about the political season, with Obama being the de facto Democratic nomination, and the Republicans deciding between Romney, Gingrich or Santorum.

“It’s going to be a very close presidential election,” Cole said, “People forget that it was also close last time with 46 percent of the vote going to McCain.” As it is with most elections, it all comes down to the swing states.

The presidential election is not the only hotly contested race. “The Senate’s going to be close,” Cole said, “Control will be split 51/49 percent either way.” Cole felt more confident about the Republicans retaining control of the House. “It’s unlikely the House will shift control,” Cole said.

In this presidential election, Cole acknowledges an edge for the incumbent. “I would make President Obama the favorite,” Cole said, “The election will be close, but favor Obama.”

Cole emphasized what was at stake this year. “This is probably the most important election in America since 1980,” Cole said,” I really think it will be that important.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole addresses RSC students in an open forum format. Photo by Logan Pierce

Questions from the Senate
Following these remarks, Cole took questions from the Student Senate and guests.
Maryann Scroggins, student senator, asked, “Who would you like to see be the Republican nominee?” “All the guys who didn’t run,” Cole said, eliciting laughter from the crowd, “I didn’t endorse anyone, but Romney has the edge.”

Win or lose, the outcome of the 2012 election will be a referendum on Obama. “If America thinks the president has done a good job, he’ll get reelected,” Cole said.

One question Cole answered pertained to Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony, with students wanting to know if Washington planned to step in.

Cole said that America is doing things to help, but can always do more. Broadening the topic to foreign aid in general, Cole discussed U.S. relations with the Middle East. “We give money to places like Egypt and Israel to prevent war,” Cole said. As high as gas prices are now, unrest in the Middle East will only continue to drive the price up.

Not holding Obama’s energy policies in high esteem, Cole cites that the administration is hostile toward oil and natural gas production. “When you’ve got energy secretary Chu saying ‘higher gas prices are a good thing,’ the opposition remembers comments like that,” Cole said.

When asked which of today’s issues will have the biggest impact on future generations, Cole replied excessive long-term spending. “We’re going to spend you guys into bankruptcy unless we come to grips with this.” The Student Senate meets Tuesdays at 2 p.m. in SC 123.

By 15th Street News Posted in News Tagged Bush tax cuts, Egypt, energy secretary Chu, Gingrich, Israel, Joseph Kony, lame duck, Mayan calendar, McCain, , President Obama, , Santorum, stimulus package, , , Tom Cole

Netiquette gives email boundaries

By:Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor

Etiquette is hardly a foreign word in society. While many think it has gone to the wayside, it is still very much present, only transformed to fit the times. Since the 1960s, manners have become more relaxed, and are based on treating everyone with kindness and respect. Eating with elbows on the table still warrants a warning from mom, and wearing white after Labor Day is still a ghastly idea.  There is etiquette for online, as well. Small rules determine whether or not you get a response, and make things more efficient. Some rules for online etiquette are

  • Always put something in the subject line, if you want the message read and responded to in a timely manner.
  • DON’T SEND A MESSAGE IN ALL CAPS. This is just as bad as yelling at someone in person.
  • Don’t send one-word responses.
  • Watch your words. Be succinct to avoid time consuming explanations later.
  • There is no such thing as privacy online. Don’t send a message with sensitive information in it.

Thank you notes are case dependent. If one receives a large gift, a handwritten note is required. For small gifts or favors, thank you notes can be sent online.

Manners are the epitome of a respectful society, and have been since the French courts invented etiquette to make courts run more smoothly. They will never completely die out, but will always adapt with the times, and new forms of it will be introduced as new forms of contact are invented.

Kony 2012 ignites armchair activism

By: Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor
Activism has always been a part of human nature. Whether righting a wrong, helping someone or raising money for a worthwhile cause, there is always something for those who want to be involved. By definition, “activism” is the intentional effort to promote, impede or direct change, and comes in many forms ranging from letters written to Congress members to rallies and marches. Then, there is the trend of “bandwagon activism” or being apart of something simply because it’s big and cool, and “armchair activism,” or being a part of a cause strictly through technological means. 
One recent example is the “Kony 2012” campaign, to make Joseph Kony, a name already infamous in many parts of the world, well-known in order to raise awareness to the cause. The surge of interest was a result of a 30 minute YouTube video released by the non-profit organization Invisible Children on the problem in Uganda. Joseph Kony began his reign of terror in Uganda in 1986, which resulted in the enslavement of over 66,000 children, who became sex slaves or soldiers in the Lords Resistance Army, and the displacement of over 2 million people. In 2005, he was indicted on charges of war crimes by the International Crimes Council, but has evaded capture. From the United States, in 2008 President Bush signed a directive to provide assistance to Uganda, in 2010 President Obama signed a bill that made it American policy to capture or kill Kony, and in 2011, Obama signed another measure that deployed 100 special forces to the area.

Burroughs breed movie timed badly

By: Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor
Based on the century old “Barsoom” series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, “John Carter” is Disney’s first entry into the 2012 blockbuster season. The book series inspired the Star Wars films and James Cameron’s “Avatar,” and many others in the science fiction genre. The movie follows Capt. John Carter, who has been mining for gold in the Arizona mountains. After he is transported to Barsoom, which is the alien race’s name for Mars, he becomes embroiled in a centuries old war between the races of that planet. His first encounter is with the Tharks, a four-armed green-skinned race inhabiting the planet, a race reminiscent of Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars saga. He later encounters the race the Red Martians, who mistake him for a member of the White Martian race, the Therns, who were the messengers of their Goddess. The main antagonist of the movie, has been pursuing Dejah Thoris, a runaway princess. Sab Than has waged a war on the planet, and has agreed to spare Helium, if he is able to marry Dejah and unite their two cities. John Carter arrives in the midst of this war, and his superhuman abilities, such as increased strength and the ability to leap great distances, caused by the lesser gravity of Mars, makes him a valuable asset to the side he chooses.
The movie was made on a budget exceeding $200 million, and with relative unknown Taylor Kitsch in the lead role, was a gamble for Disney in the already saturated space travel genre of movies. Although this movie inspired many of the past centuries greatest space movies, it is rather unremarkable in this time where we’ve already seen the other side of the universe, and superheroes with far greater abilities now walk the big screen. The movie follows the source material fairly closely, but again, this is hardly a new area in which to venture. Whereas John Carter of the books is immortal, the character’s time on the big screen may be fairly limited. It is already considered a flop, with a domestic opening weekend haul of barely $30 million, but has seen far more love in the foreign box office, and that may save the trilogy being planned by the creators of this film. It was a fairly premature entry for Disney, and would have maybe seen a bigger box office opening in the summer season.

By 15th Street News Posted in Entertainment Tagged blockbuster, john carter, martians, movies, space, , taylor kitsch, tharks

Waste not, want not, because time is nonrefundable

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

Time comes and it goes, there never seems to be enough of it when it is really needed.

On March 8, Philip Troutman, student success academic advisor, presented the “Time Managementworkshop.

Troutman laid out seven steps to help students, staff, and faculty successfully manage their time. It’s not always easy to prioritize needs and wants, but it is not impossible either.

“Taking advantage of one opportunity over another is called opportunity cost,” Troutman said.

Step one – Set priorities and decide what is important. For example, knowing that a paper is due tomorrow but choose instead to play the new “Skyrim” game, results in an F on the paper that didn’t get done.

Step two – Set goals to match priorities. Clarifying intent and purpose helps to ensure follow-through on set priorities. If a person’s priority was spending time with family, setting a goal of a family vacation would show the intent and purpose of the goal.

Step three – Create an action plan. In order to accomplish goals and maintain priorities, planning goes a long way toward making a clear cut path to achieving those goal. Make a list of actions to do daily, weekly, and monthly to ensure productivity.

Step four – Take action. Do what is on the task calendar, check the calendar at the beginning of the day, check the calendar that night, and the next day. Check it, check it, and check it. Create a trend for everyday tasks so that they become a reoccurring action.

Step five – Conquer procrastination. There are many reasons why it is possible to give up on tasks, laziness, not wanting to fail, not wanting to succeed, not having clear priorities or goals. Don’t give up on priorities, goals, and tasks.

Step six – Adjust priorities, goals, and tasks as needed to continue being successful. Evaluate the successes and failures to see what needs or doesn’t need to be changed.

Step seven – Believe in yourself. Stay positive, and keep focused. Being able to maintain the right level of discipline and action keeps productivity high.

Time management is about more than just being able to create a schedule and be task orientated. It is about setting up a way to enable personal achievement and a way to stay focused on future goals.

By 15th Street News Posted in News Tagged Plan of action, Priorities, Scheduling, Task oriented, Task oriented, Time management

21st Century Activism needs basis in fact not fiction

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

Activism has always been an important part of American culture. Whether it was the forefathers standing up to Great Britain, African Americans standing up in protest of segregation and prejudice, or even now the 99 percent standing up to the one percent of Wall Street.

In this way, activism holds a special place in the hearts of Americans, as it gives them the opportunity to show their frustration over the direction their lives have been pushed.

However, how does one determine if a cause is just or an ill-considered manipulation? Many have the right to be angry at the way Wall Street has abused their financial power, yet standing up to the problem Wall Street represents causes an even more substantial problem.

What happens if the 99 percent wins the battle and financial reform takes place? People who rely on Wall Street and financial institutions for everything from housing to retirement funds to savings accounts would be affected.

Just thinking about the amount of hard-working individuals who would lose their jobs is staggering. Action without thought is careless. Does something need to be fixed? Yes, but does it need to be fixed blindly? Probably not.

Occupy Wall Street seems to have been a fad, signs of dissent have all but faded from the public eye as interest and exposure have dwindled to tiny droplets falling from a shutoff valve.

The public has moved on to a new target and a new problem that began decades ago in Uganda. The name of the movement makes it seem like people want a rival of a hotdog or the Coney Island boardwalk.

Kony 2012 is a movement started March 8, to stop the forced military servitude of children in the Lord’s Resistance Army that is based primarily out of Uganda.

Should this newest activism issue be dealt with? Yes, but the question underlining all of these actions are why now and not before? These two issues have been around for many decades and now people seem to be dancing like puppets.

The answer of course is the outbreak of social media and the greater ability for people to propagandize issues, giving more hands the ability to stir the social beehive into irrational directions.

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial Tagged Dissent, Kony, Occupy, Propaganda, , Wall Street

From the sandbox to the web, Minecraft sweeps across the world

By: Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

In the video game industry, a game’s graphics and difficulty are what set it apart. For Minecraft, it is the simplistic sophistication of both the graphics and the free building concept that allows players to build a world from their imagination.

In May of 2009, Swedish creator Markus “Notch” Persson released the alpha version of Minecraft. The game is set so that players can create a world of their own using the resources of their environment. There are woods, animals, snow-capped mountains and caverns; there really is no limit to one’s creativity in Minecraft.

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In December 2010, Minecraft was released in its beta form, opening to a wider range of players in different countries. The full game was released last November at MineCon 2011.

The game mechanics are simple. Players collect resources, and then assemble them on a crafting table to create new items such as shovels, swords, bows and arrows.

Players can get lost in the simple rhythm of building; a player could start by constructing a simple fence and end with an entire city.

The game allows a person to free themself from the confines of conventional thinking, and lets them ask the question, “what can I do to make my mark on this world?” and “what can I create that might better help me make something else?”

The seemingly instantaneous rise of Minecraft’s popularity is astonishing. It offers players the same feeling one would get playing with a set of Legos, for a fraction of the cost. The game’s retail price is $25 and the amount of time spent on creative design is unlimited and very much worth it.

By 15th Street News Posted in Entertainment Tagged Building, construction, Lego’s, Minecraft

Oklahoma uses the Internet to create a hiring frenzy

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

In a time when people are looking for employment and job security, the state is opening an avenue to bring employers and job seekers together at the state level.

This year Governor Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce launched an agenda entitled “A More Prosperous Oklahoma.” From this agenda initiative comes the launching of OKJobMatch.com.

OKJobMatch.com gives job seekers the ability to create a profile, resume, and look at job openings available throughout Oklahoma.

The 2012 Agenda press release states, “The Commerce Department is working to make OKJobMatch.com part of a larger portal where information and access to these workforce services can be provided in an efficient and effective way.”

For Oklahomans, this means employers are seeking professional help in recruiting new employees.

Creating an account is easy; enter in the basic email information, personal information such as name, address, phone number, social security number (optional), and hit ok. After which the screen asks the user to create a resume. Simply fill in the blank and it does the rest, even going so far as to fill in the job description portion of resume.

Filling out the education and skills page asks user for their schools and certificates information and for a list of languages and skills (if any) that they have learned.

Once this is complete there is page with the option to write a career summary to include places of graduation, certificates, skills, languages. There is an automated box that supplies the information that the user has entered throughout the process, giving the user the ability to keep it simple and to the point without superfluous or non-relevant information.

The next page allows the user to select whether or not they wish to add additional information such as specific job qualifications, and skills, after which the user inputs their preferences for salary, location, and work hours throughout the week.

Upon completion, the user can view their resume in full, as it will be presented to employers.

When the resume is finished and polished, users can begin their job search by clicking the View Jobs button below their resume, giving users the chance to see which employers are looking for qualifications that have been listed in the resume.

So for people in need of employment visit the site to determine see what’s available. For more information call Career Services Coordinator, Connie Myrick, at 405-733-7488 or send an email to cmyrick@rose.edu.

By 15th Street News Posted in News Tagged Employment, Governor Mary Fallin, OkJobMatch, Oklahoma Department of Commerce,

Stereotype snubbed at personhood protest

Chelsea Ratterman, Assistant Editor

It seems that this election cycle has brought a number of social issues to the forefront. One that has been heavily debated is the issue of “personhood” and the ramifications of such bills within government. Is it an overreach of the state or federal government to determine when life begins? Or is it simply the moral responsibility of these elected officials to determine such, for the good of the unborn child?
On Feb. 28, the “Stop the Personhood Act March” was held at the Oklahoma State Capitol on the North Plaza. The march was in reaction to two measures that were currently circulating in the Oklahoma legislature.
Senate Bill 1433, or the “Personhood Bill” would determine that life begins at conception. This could present many problems in terms of birth control, in-vitro fertilizations, and the ever-controversial availability of abortion. After passing the Senate with a vote of 34-8, the bill still awaits action from the House.
The second measure that circulated in the halls of Congress is House Joint Resolution 1067. This resolution also determines that life begins at conception and, had it passed, would have been presented to the Oklahoma public for a vote. HJR 1067 was tabled this year, after a refusal from Rep Gary Banz, R-Midwest City, who said the House Rules Committee would not hear the measure.
The text of this bill is more extreme than SB 1433. The more controversial text of the measure includes prohibiting birth control that would kill a person, person being applied to “every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.”
It would also affect in-vitro and assisted reproduction services, because, according to the bill, once an egg has been fertilized, it is a human being. Thus, should an embryo not survive in the lab, the doctor or lab tech could be held on charges.
The march was organized through Facebook, and had approximately 1300 people RSVP as attending. A theme was chosen, “Back to the 50s,” and women were asked to wear aprons and a pair of shoes they could lose, to represent the “barefoot and pregnant ideal of the radical right.”
The event began at noon, and featured many speakers, as well as an open mike session for attendees to come and voice their reason for opposing the measures.
One notable speaker was Dr. Eli Rashef, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist. The bill would affect him by making him responsible for any embryos that do not survive in the IVF process (according to statistics provided by Dr. Rashef, only 30 percent of embryos survive).
In his speech to the crowd, he offered his feelings on the laws. “Personhood laws make me think twice about offering IVF for fear of criminal prosecution,” he said. When asked later why he, as a doctor, opposes this, he said, “one of the greatest dreams in life is having children and to think you can snuff it out with a stroke of a pen, because you think you are protecting life, is asinine.”

Another notable speaker was Bruce Prescott, a minister and executive director for Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists. He was there speaking out against the bill, and cited biblical history to the crowd.

He cites the modern Catholic law of personhood beginning at fertilization as “prompted by the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to contraception and family planning as well as by a concern to protect the sanctity of human life in the face of advances in modern science and technology.” He compared this to the Protestant views on the matter and said they view these as a matter of personal conscience as opposed to being determined by ecclesiastical or government decree.

One of his closing remarks on the governments attempted involvement in this area drew strong cheers from the crowd. “[The government] is infringing upon one of the most basic and inalienable human rights, the right of fully conscious and sentient persons to make vital decisions regarding their own life.”

After the scheduled speakers ended, an open mike session was held. Many attendees lined up to voice their own concerns and their reasons why they oppose these measures. Many women were mothers through IVF, and others simply passionate for the cause. Tiffany Phillips expressed the deep-seated fear that most women in attendance feel in the face of these bills. “It scares me to death that today, in 2012, we are still debating whether or not we can use contraceptives. I thought that debate was long over, but for some reason, this year, it is suddenly on the table again,” she said.

By 15th Street News Posted in Multimedia, News Tagged aprons, Baptist, bill, doctor, march, minister, personhood, right, rights, shoes, women

Rumbling both above and below

By: Logan Pierce, editor-in-chief

A new and revised program is planned for geoscience majors starting in the Fall 2012 semester.

Dr. Wayne Jones, dean of engineering and science, has worked closely with the new geosciences curriculum. “This program has great potential for our students and for this region of the country,” Jones said, “Between exploring Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas resources and monitoring its atmospheric conditions, there’s potential for our students to have great careers out there.”

A bold, new program

Steve Carano, geosciences coordinator, is excited for the chance to be working on a curriculum that will transfer to four-year institutes like OU. “These courses have never been taught here before. I wanted to make sure it would be accepted by OU,” Carano said, “Students who finish their degree here at Rose, take Calculus III and IV plus take the two meteorology labs offered at OU should walk in as a junior.”

The geosciences degree has two options. Students work toward an associates degree in geosciences, with an emphasis in either atmospheric or earth sciences. This degree is science and math-based, with strict requirements. Prerequisites include Calculus and Analytic Geometry I and II and C++ Programming. The atmospheric option is a 64-hour course. The earth sciences option requires five additional hours, because of the required Chemistry II class.

Documenting data

Carano also plans to utilize G.I.S. (Geographic Information Systems) as a tool to document weather patterns and other scientific data.

This software can also be used for more than recording weather. “G.I.S. teaches you how to visually display data,” Carano said, “Emergency managers could show the location of all registered safe rooms and shelters. It’s good for city planners, law enforcement or any business that needs to display data visually.”

Jones said that the G.I.S. program’s initial implementation would be with geosciences, but that eventually its more general applications could be taught to business majors or other students.

Capstones for success

The geosciences degree includes a capstone course as a requirement. Students can choose to write a research paper or work as an intern in their chosen field. Unique options are available for both atmospheric and earth sciences capstone projects. The atmospheric science option capstone involves participating in the planned Rose State Storm Intercept Team.

While Carano acknowledged that storm chasing could be one of the “selling points” of the program, he discouraged students from taking the course just to chase storms. “Don’t get into this degree program just to chase storms,”Carano said, “That’s like buying a 747 just for the peanuts.”

Carano has written a grant that includes a fully loaded science van and other features he hopes will be incorporated into the geosciences program.

OU’s school of meteorology program is, in my opinion, the best in the world, and they want to take our students. That’s a big deal.” Carano said, “And it’s not about me. It’s about every faculty member who teaches on this campus. If RSC didn’t produce good students and good instructors, then OU wouldn’t take them.”

By 15th Street News Posted in Raider Life Tagged atmospheric sciences, Dr. Wayne Jones, earth sciences, G.I.S., geosciences, meteorology, OU, Steve Carano