Archive for February, 2004

Roller hockey look to impress at Regionals, reach Nationals

Friday, February 27th, 2004 | Renee Hires

Student Life reporter Renee Hires sat down with sophomore goalie David Garland to hear what roller hockey is like, how far the University club team has already come in the regular season, the outlook for Regionals, and the prospect of playing at Nationals.

Student Life: As your team enters the post-season ranked third in your region, behind UMSL and SLU, and 17th in the nation, what goals would you still like to fulfill?

David Garland: We’ve already exceeded our goals for this season. We didn’t make too many lofty goals at the beginning of the season because it would have been laughable if we had been sitting here last year saying we want to go 10-5-3 in the regular season, pick up a nice seed for Regionals, and have Nationals looming over us. We would have laughed. The whole idea was just to make it to Regionals, and we pretty much assured that before the first semester even ended. Still, we want to go to Nationals, to Anaheim. That’s the bottom line. We think we’ll be competitive out there and win some games, but we don’t have our sights on a National championship.

SL: Why would you have laughed at the thought of Regionals last year?

DG: Last season was just a dreadful year because no one knew what the hell was going on. The seniors didn’t leave anyone in the reigns. I was a freshman, and all I knew was they were decent before but had left nothing. [Junior] Nick Salzman and I took over the team. We needed a lot of changes so I got the coach, my dad, [Randy Garland]. Also, we picked up some great transfers in the off-season. We started reorganizing a team slowly with our sights on this year. I can’t believe we went from that to 17th in the country out of hundreds of teams. We’ve completely turned everything around. We came in as a huge underdog this year and just upset everyone.

SL: Was there a definitive turning point for the team?

DG: Yes. Last summer, the guys that were here played in the Men’s League at the All-American Sports Complex in South County. We wanted to play in a men’s league where we would get killed because it would get us ready for the games in the regular season. We played a really high level of competition without many players, and we just got obliterated during the regular season like we thought we would. We went into the playoffs as the last seed, beat everyone, and won the championship. That was our turning point because we came together and beat the crap out of everyone. We just marched though and won it while all these other teams were shocked that it happened. That started our momentum for winning.

SL: Apparently, the club team has come a long way since first playing pick-up games on top of a parking garage in 1994.

DG: Not only has the team [here] changed, but the league has gotten ridiculously better. The league has grown exponentially over the years. This year was a big turning year for us though as far as becoming extremely competitive in a really good league. Basically anyone in the bottom of the league we pretty much obliterated, like Kansas State, who we beat 11-1. There is a ten-goal mercy rule in our league, so if you beat someone by 10 it’s over. K. State was the first team that we ever mercied, so that was fun.

SL: When and where does the team practice?

DG: Every Wednesday we scrimmage against Mizzou, a Division I team. They drive an hour and a half to practice against us. Guys will also go to pick-up sessions, and there’s a park you can skate around in behind Target. There’s just randomly a roller hockey rink outside that no one knows about. If it was my choice I’d try to skate 7 days a week, but with such busy schedules it’s hard to fit it in. People also work out on their own. They know if they are not well conditioned they are not going to play, because we have a full roster. We make cuts at the beginning of the year, and we still have a lot of strong players that don’t play.

SL: Is roller hockey very similar to ice hockey?

DG: It’s played just like ice hockey, except it’s four-on-four and there’s no off-sides and no icing. It’s fast and fun, with less equipment, so we get hurt more. There’s a different style to the game, too. It’s sort of a cross between hockey and basketball because it’s a lot more about possession. A lot of people have misconceptions about roller hockey, though. They think it’s very unorganized, and they had this terrible roller hockey on ESPN 2 on television a few years ago. It was they worst thing ever. They had ramps and stuff. I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

SL: What makes roller hockey interesting or exciting?

DG: The overall skill and the high scoring are two things that I like. You’ll see a really good game as far as speed, passing skill, moves, and goaltending-stuff like that. Then also you get to see a lot more scoring than in ice hockey. 7-6, 6-5 scores are not uncommon. In ice hockey if you take two penalties you’re down 5 on 3, where in roller hockey you’re down 4 on 2. It is very easy to score on a power play. That’s an automatic goal.

SL: Since you’ve played both ice hockey and roller hockey, which do you think is more difficult?

DG: Roller hockey, for me, is a lot harder than ice hockey. In ice hockey you can slide around, but in roller hockey you’re stuck. Especially playing goalie you can’t slide. You have to step or dive. I think roller hockey separates the skill from the grinding of ice hockey. There’s a lot more stick handling, moves, and more flashy stuff in roller hockey. That puck flies like it’s nobody’s business. It’s lighter than an ice hockey puck, so it can get up to ridiculous speeds. It’s hard to control, so only the best ice hockey players normally become good at roller hockey.

SL: Is roller hockey as physical as ice hockey?

DG: A lot of people try to argue that roller hockey is less physical because there is not full checking, but I would actually argue that it is more physical. You’re not wearing shoulder pads, so you’ll just get destroyed if you get hit, which is kind of fun to watch. Technically, there is no hitting, but that’s like saying there is nothing physical in soccer. In the corners it’s just ridiculous, and people are hitting each other with sticks.

SL: How does your season work since roller hockey is not a NCAA varsity sport?

DG: We play in Div. II of the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association, which is basically the governing body over the whole country. It is more or less the NCAA of roller hockey. Some teams will have full scholarship athletes, and some teams fundraise all their money. We’re in the middle. As a [University] club sport we get some money from the Sports Club Federation. You play three or four games in a weekend. All the games are in St. Louis about every other weekend or so. We play an 18-game regular season against 12 other schools in the Great Plains League, and then the top 8 teams make Regionals, which are like the playoffs. Then there are Nationals in Anaheim in April. The top 16 teams in the country go to Nationals, and we should be able to go. Regionals just help to solidify your place for Nationals. Some teams are kind of on the brink, and you don’t know how many teams will be taken out of each region. Last year the top 4 went, and the division is even better than it was last year.

SL: Regionals will be held at the Mattison Square Gardens Tri-Plex in St. Peters, Missouri this weekend. What does your schedule look like?

DG: We do not have one easy game. Every single team in the top 8 could beat any other team really. Saturday we play St. Charles [Community College] at 1:00 p.m. and Southeast Missouri State at 4:00 p.m. If we win both our games Saturday we’re pretty much assured to go to Nationals, but then we face UMSL at 9:00 a.m. Sunday. If we win, we’ll compete in the semifinals at 11:00 am, and then the championship game will be at 2:00 p.m. Sunday.

SL: You have already lost once to UMSL, who finished the regular season 17-0-1. Can you skate with them Sunday?

DG: It will be a very difficult game, but someone needs to beat them. We could if we play a perfect game. Pretty much every single team they’ve played they’ve blown out pretty bad, but we actually stuck with them. We did not even play one of our better games, and the final score was 5-2, which isn’t bad when they’ve beaten teams 13-4. But I really want to knock off UMSL. I don’t want them going undefeated into Nationals. Someone can beat them. It will just be a question of if we can do it.

SL: What will be your greatest weapon against your opponents this weekend?

DG: We have a never-give-up attitude that’s helped us come back from so many games, and I would have to say heart is our strength over all. We’re solid everywhere but we’re not a team that is going to blow you out with offense. We also give up a lot of shots, so we have to make the best of our opportunities, which is something we have been doing. Any time we get a shot we usually score.

SL: Are you excited to be competing in St. Louis as usual?

DG: Yes. K. State travels a long time. We only travel 20 minutes, and we complain about it, too. I like how it still kind of gives us a home court advantage, though. We get a lot of guys from fraternities because we have 6 or 7 fraternities represented on the team. So we get those people out, some family-girlfriends. We would like to get a good turnout this weekend, since it’s the last chance to see us play in St. Louis. It’s just not a well-known sport, but when people see it they like it and want to come back.

Both Bears squads keep tourney hopes alive

Friday, February 27th, 2004 | Justin Davidson
Bernell Dorrough

The men’s and women’s basketball teams will play their final games of the 2003-2004 basketball season this Saturday. The 23rd-ranked men’s team (19-5, 11-2 in University Athletic Association [UAA] play) and 11th-ranked women’s team (20-4, 10-3 in UAA play) will travel to the University of Chicago with hopes of closing out the season strongly.

Both teams are in second place in the UAA, but with wins against the Maroons this upcoming Saturday, their hopes for UAA titles and NCAA berths are kept alive. On the women’s side, a loss by the New York University Judges (11-2 UAA), who beat the Bears last weekend 100-89, will tie the Bears for the number one slot and earn them their seventh straight UAA title and a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. Likewise, the same holds true for the men-with a loss from the University of Rochester Yellowjackets (11-1 UAA) against Carnegie Mellon this weekend, the Bears can tie and continue their season into the NCAA tourney, as well as achieving their fourth straight 20-win season, their ninth under Coach Edwards’ direction.

Before the Bears can look to the tournament, however, they must first set their sights on this weekend. The men’s Maroons, who are 11-5 and 7-6 UAA, are a formidable opponent. Though the Bears won their first encounter with the Maroons on Jan. 10, 70-52, at home at the Field House, the Maroons are 9-2 at home at the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center and prove to stand a test to the Bears, who are 9-3 on the road. The women’s Maroons, who are 10-14 and 5-8 UAA, are 5-5 at home while the Bears have a solid road record of 10-2.

The Bears will look to their team leaders for support and guidance coming into the final game of the season. On the men’s side, the two departing seniors, Ryan Deboer and Barry Bryant, who were honored last weekend on Senior Day are having solid seasons. Bryant leads the team in points on the season with 344 and is averaging 14.3 points per game. Deboer, on the other hand, is leading the team in field goal percentage, total rebounds, and steals. Contributing is point guard sophomore Scott Stone, who is having a huge year, leading the team in assists, minutes played, and free-throw percentage.

Senior Lesley Hawley, on the women’s team, leads the team in points, steals, minutes, and three-point percentage. Center sophomore, Kelly Manning, who is leading the charge in rebounds, blocks, and free-throw percentage, hopes to add what she can to the Bears’ effort this weekend. The Maroons’ Scott Fisher and Korry Schwanz, the team’s respective point leaders, hope to put a dent in the Bears’ goals of reaching the NCAA tournament come March.

Following the game this Saturday, the 28th of February, the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Division III Selection Show will take place on Sunday, Feb. 29, in which the rounds and seeds will be determined for the NCAA tournament. Pending a Bears win and losses by the respective UAA leaders, the Bears will go on to play in the first round of competition on Wednesday, March 4. The location and time of the round have yet to be determined. The tournament will continue until March 20.

Gay frat looks to extend west of Mississippi River

Friday, February 27th, 2004 | Sarah Baicker

Students at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville welcomed the addition of a new fraternity this past fall. The fraternity, Delta Lambda Phi, is in many ways just like every other Greek organization at SIUE, with its members focused on philanthropy, kinship and academics.

There is, however, one defining difference between Delta Lambda Phi and the eight other fraternities at SIUE: all seven current members and its three pledges are gay.

While Washington University does not house a chapter of the fraternity and plans are not in the works to form one, joining Delta Lambda Phi might still be an option for interested students. The colony at SIUE offers membership to any college student in the St. Louis vicinity-a practice that Director of Greek Life Karin Johnes cited as rare.

“I think it’s great that they have this opportunity,” said Johnes. “It’s great for students there…most fraternities don’t make membership open to students at other institutions.”

Although membership to Delta Lambda Phi is open to heterosexual men, the nationwide interest in the fraternity has remained primarily homosexual since its foundation in 1986.

With 19 chapters and eight colonies across the country, Delta Lambda Phi is the first and largest gay fraternity in the United States. The colony at SIUE, however, is the only one based in or around Missouri and Illinois.

Despite the large numbers of students eligible for membership, it has been difficult for the fraternity to recruit pledges. Interest in Delta Lambda Phi thus far, members say, is nothing to brag about, even though actions are being taken to respect the privacy of members that have not yet come out to friends or family. In order to reach full chapter status, the SIUE colony needs at least 12 members, which is a goal it has not yet accomplished.

Members blame some of the lack of interest on stereotyping. They believe that there are incorrect and negative associations attached to the idea of a homosexual fraternity that Delta Lambda Phi is having trouble overcoming.

“There are people out there who think we sit around, drink beer and have sex with each other,” said one fraternity member to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In addition, even among those students interested in the fraternity, there are incorrect ideas about having to be out and open about their sexualities. Members said that it takes a great deal of courage to be associated with the fraternity.

Many students and faculty members at Washington University believe there is not a strong desire for a gay fraternity here because the current Greek system is very inclusive. According to Johnes, anti-gay sentiment on campus “has not been a problem [she has] ever even remotely picked up on.” Johnes said that the University’s fraternities provide atmospheres comfortable for many students, regardless of sexual orientation.

Greek life and sexuality, however, remain hot topics of discussion. Spectrum Alliance is planning a discussion on the intersections of Greek life and homosexuality scheduled for Wednesday, March 17. Xopher Pollard, president of Spectrum Alliance, declined to comment on the issue at this time, wanting to speak with the group further before releasing a statement.

Bush supports curb on same-sex marriage

Friday, February 27th, 2004 | Kelly Donahue with KRT wire reports

President Bush urged Congress on Tuesday to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, adding new fuel to the emotional election-year debate over gay weddings.

Declaring that “the voice of the people must be heard,” Bush said changing the Constitution was the only sure way to defeat state court rulings and local government actions that had expanded the definition of marriage to include gay couples.

His announcement set the stage for a divisive and protracted battle in Congress and in state legislatures across the country. It inflamed passions on both sides of an issue that touches deeply held views about personal liberty, equality under law and traditional moral values.

Chris Jensen, a sophomore at Washington University, expressed personal outrage over President Bush’s recent push to pass such an amendment through Congress.

“The 14th Amendment was passed so that everyone would be guaranteed equal rights,” said Jensen. “I don’t understand how George Bush could want to pass an amendment that not only completely violates the 14th Amendment but also codifies discrimination.”

Gay-rights advocates accused Bush of trying to exploit unease over homosexuality for political gain at the risk of encouraging animosity toward gays. Social conservatives, a key element of the Republican base, hailed his decision as a victory for traditional families.

Bush, who initially resisted altering the Constitution as the issue gained prominence over the past year, said recent court rulings and the growing number of gay marriages left him no choice.

“After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence, and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization,” said President Bush. “If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America.”

Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina, the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, accused Bush of trying to divert attention from other, more pressing problems. Both said they personally opposed gay marriage, but thought the issue should be left to state legislatures.

Kerry’s home state took center stage in the national debate over gay marriage in November, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state’s constitution gives same-sex couples the right to marry. More recently, local officials in San Francisco and Sandoval County, New Mexico, started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples without a court order or permission from state authorities.

“All Americans should be concerned when a president who is in political trouble tries to tamper with the Constitution of the United States at the start of his re-election campaign,” said Kerry. “This president can’t talk about jobs. He can’t talk about health care. He can’t talk about a foreign policy which has driven away allies and weakened the United States, so he is looking for a wedge issue to divide the American people.”

James Davis, a professor of political science at the University, feels that the President’s statements are not simply a diversionary tactic.

“I think he’s primarily trying to reach out to social conservatives,” said Davis. “By doing that, he may also be diverting attention [from other issues], but I think his main rationale is in trying to solidify his [voting] base to keep them from straying. They’re unhappy with the size of the deficit and the apparent expansion of government. They think that he is not being a real conservative. By supporting this amendment, he’s saying, ‘Yes, I am.'”

Although Bush didn’t offer specific language for a constitutional amendment, White House aides said he favored a proposal by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-CO, which declares that “marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.”

But some conservatives view the proposal as an affront to states’ rights and personal freedom. Even Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a gay daughter, has questioned the need for a constitutional amendment.

“People should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It’s really no one else’s business,” Cheney said at a vice presidential candidates’ debate during the 2000 campaign. “I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that’s appropriate. I don’t think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area.”

Cheney has said since that he would support Bush’s decision.

Top Republicans in Congress signaled that they are in no hurry to take up the proposed amendment, even though Bush urged swift action.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-TX, suggested that lawmakers might try to deal with the issue with a new federal law, not a constitutional amendment.

“We are looking at other ways of doing it, knowing that it would be very difficult to pass a constitutional amendment,” DeLay said. Rep. David Dreier of California, another member of the House Republican leadership, came out against the proposed amendment, calling it unnecessary.

Changing the Constitution isn’t easy. The amendment would have to win approval in both the House of Representatives and the Senate by a two-thirds majority before being ratified by at least 38 of the 50 states. As worded, Musgrave’s amendment on gay marriage would set a seven-year deadline for ratification.

Although polls show that Americans overwhelmingly oppose gay marriage, they are far less enthusiastic about changing the Constitution to ban it. A nationwide poll released Tuesday by the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey found that only 41 percent of Americans support a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

Bush left open the possibility that states could approve civil unions and other forms of domestic partnership that carry some of the same legal rights as marriage, but other states wouldn’t have to recognize them. He said the constitutional amendment should “fully protect marriage, while leaving state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.”

Action to be taken against Direct Connect users

Friday, February 27th, 2004 | Liz Neukirch

Any Washington University student who used Direct Connect (DC) before it was shut down will receive either a warning letter or referral to the Judicial Administrator (JA), according to Matthew Arthur, director of ResTech.

As a result of the University’s DC investigation, the I.P. addresses of students who used the program were obtained, said Arthur in a meeting with the Student Union Senate Wednesday night. This identification does not include, however, how many files a student shared or downloaded. Arthur declined to comment on whether they have the I.P. addresses of every student who ever used the program.

Noting that every student signed an InRoom Data Connection Registration Agreement with ResTech before connecting to the University server, Arthur said first-time offenders and their respective Residential College Directors will be sent an email or letter from ResTech next week, explaining they have “strong reason to believe” that student has illegally downloaded materials on his or her computer. The student will have 48 hours to respond to the message, stating that he or she has gotten rid of the illegal files and will not share or illegally download copyrighted materials again.

“If they send me a written notice back, the student judicial code tells me that the student has deleted the music,” Arthur said. “I am not going to check their machine-but the honor code tells me that it’s been done and if it comes up again, then there will be consequences with the Judicial Administrator.”

In a letter to University network users yesterday, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Jan Weller reminded students that “the use of file-sharing programs to access, acquire, and use copyrighted materials without permission is both inappropriate and illegal,” noting that violations of the University’s Computer Use Policy may be punishable under the University Judicial Code.

While the letter from ResTech will not go on a student’s permanent record, second-time offenders will be referred to the JA. If action is taken, the resulting charges will be recorded in that student’s permanent record.

“I think that the warning letters will get a mixed response-relief from some and worry from others,” said sophomore David Ader, speaker of the Senate. “I feel that students, for the most part, will take them seriously, but what I really hope comes out of this is discussion about the issue. We’re already trying to plan some kind of forum to help get the information that we heard tonight out to interested students.”

Any student who receives a letter or referral has the right to contest the charges against them, Arthur said. He encourages students to do so if the files they were sharing or downloading are not unauthorized copyrighted materials.

Although ResTech itself is not responsible for disciplining students, Arthur noted that students’ connections will be turned off in cases of “repeated violations.” While he does not know what will happen to the student or students who started DC, he said an individual who creates such a hub is technically responsible for everything its users do with the program.

“From my perspective as network manager…we want to make sure our bandwidth isn’t taken up by lots of independent users and that we aren’t held liable [for students’ copyright infringements],” Arthur said.

The University started managing bandwidth when students began using Napster several years ago because they were using up more and more of the available bandwidth “with no end in sight,” Arthur explained. File sharing hubs in the past were similar to the Napster program, with all the available files on one machine, so that the bandwidth of a student running such a program would be significantly higher than that of any other student.

“[This year’s DC] did something I wasn’t aware it could do,” Arthur said of the program’s cataloguing of students’ files and enabling them to connect to one another’s computers directly.

Because of this direct peer-to-peer file sharing, no student’s bandwidth became high enough to cause suspicion, and ResTech was unaware of the problem. (They say that they now know what DC packets look like and will be able to detect them should a similar program arise.) Arthur said the article written by Riverfront Times staff writer Ben Westhoff is what led them to investigate. Although Westhoff denies that his story was the main reason for the University’s shutdown of DC, Arthur said the web address included in the article is what ultimately enabled them to figure out what was happening.

“At that point-when it’s shoved in our faces-we are responsible for looking into it,” he said.

In response to the Residential Computer Consultants (RCCs) working for ResLife who took part in the illegal file-sharing, Arthur said that, while he “should have known about it,” they will be disciplined in the same manner as other students. ResTech also intends to re-establish trust with its RCCs.

“This is tough for anybody…students [thought] ResTech [knew] and that it’s all right,” he said. “Technology is never going to beat this. This last round of DC has proven that. What we’ve decided is that we need to educate and communicate firsthand. Students [also] need to educate [themselves] on copyright rules.”

In her email, Weller encouraged students to review the University’s Judicial Code, Computer Use Policy, and InRoom Data Connection agreement.

Ader commented that while he believes there will be more scrutiny of file-sharing in the future, students will always find a way around the rules.

“The challenge is getting people to realize the consequences of breaking the rules, or perhaps molding the rules to fit what’s actually happening. It’s a lot like underage drinking-people simply don’t think that they will get caught. They don’t regularly see the consequences of similar actions so they become distanced from the problem,” he said.

At the end of Wednesday’s meeting, senators remarked that several universities have entered into contracts with Napster and other file-sharing services. Will the University ever offer such a program to its students?

Arthur said there are currently no plans to enter into such an agreement. Noting that cable was not available to students until they went to the administration in 1996, however, he added that a file-sharing program may be made available in the future if students really want it.

Nader casts shadow over Dems

Friday, February 27th, 2004 | Alex Skog
Bernell Dorrough

Despite receiving criticism for being a “spoiler” of Al Gore’s presidential race in 2000, Ralph Nader has announced that he will once again run for office in the 2004 elections. The decision, made official by Nader himself on NBC News’ Sunday edition of “Meet the Press,” does not come as a total surprise to either the Democrats or Republicans. Nevertheless, Nader’s announcement has caused a great deal of disappointment and frustration amongst top Democratic party circles.

Many political experts are predicting a very close election in 2004. Because of the possibility that this fall’s election may be decided by a relative handful of votes, as in the 2000 presidential race, leading Democrats have branded Nader with the nickname the “spoiler.” Nader denounces this tag, calling it contemptuous and unwarranted.

Gary Miller, a political science professor at Washington University, expresses similar beliefs about Nader’s potential impact on the 2004 elections.

“The Nader votes in Florida made the difference for Bush in 2000,” said Miller. “It is certainly possible that they will have the same effect in 2004.”

In the case of another close race, Nader’s presence could affect the outcome, even if he only receives half of the 2.7% of the national vote he received in the last election. Although some top Democrats believe Nader’s decision to run might indirectly result in a re-election victory for President Bush, few believe Nader will receive as many votes as he did in 2000.

Senior Kelly Mesa, president of the University’s College Republicans, does not think that Nader’s presence in the race will have any noticeable impact on the election results.

“Since [the 2000 race] was so close, people will be very careful when they’re going through the voting process,” said Mesa. “They will take their vote seriously, knowing that their individual vote really will make a difference.”

Nader has decided not to seek the Green Party’s nomination and will instead run as an Independent candidate. According to University Professor of Political Science James Davis, this could have a negative effect on Nader’s election results.

“Nader will probably receive fewer votes than last election because he lacks the Green Party’s backing and Democrats are uniting against him,” said Davis.

On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Nader stated that he fails to see why Democrats are denouncing his decision to run.

“There are conservatives who are furious with Bush over the deficit, over corporate subsidies, over corporate pornography directed toward children, over the Patriot Act, over many other issues,” said Nader. “There are liberal Republicans who see their party taken away from them…They may be looking for an Independent candidacy. There are a hundred million non-voters that no one has figured out how to bring back into the electoral system, which I want to try to do.”

Davis disagrees with Nader’s assumptions about disillusioned Republicans.

“He will get some independent votes because he is an independent candidate,” said Davis. “I agree that some Republicans are upset with the Bush administration, but they will be upset enough to stay home, not vote for Ralph Nader.”

Some political analysts feel that Nader will be taking more votes from the Democratic candidate than from President Bush.

Miller predicted that the more moderate of the prospective Democratic candidates would suffer most from Nader’s decision to run.

“My guess would be that John Kerry would be more affected than John Edwards,” said Miller. “I am just not sure how well Kerry will fair in the long run. I think his support might grow weak with time, allowing Nader to take more votes from him.”

Despite the controversy surrounding his decision, 70-year-old Nader promised on “Meet the Press” that he will be active on the campaign trail and stick to his policy of denouncing Washington for being “a corporate-occupied territory” and admonishing the abundance of “‘For Sale’ sign[s] on almost every door of agencies and departments where these corporations dominate and they put their appointments in high office.”

The exact effect Nader’s presence as an Independent candidate will have on this fall’s election results is debatable, but Nader has established himself as a viable alternative to the traditional party candidates. His multiple candidacies prove that American democracy is open to minority political views and not completely controlled by a two-party political machine.

Editorial Cartoon

Friday, February 27th, 2004 | Brian Sotak
Bernell Dorrough

DC++ unfairly attacked

Friday, February 27th, 2004 | Jeff Stepp

On February 11, the River Front Times published an article written by Ben Westhoff, describing the campus-wide file-sharing program Direct Connect as a bastion of “illegal” file-sharing. This article is yet another misguided and misinformed attempt to bash file-sharers, not to mention the entire university and its students. Westhoff presents a weak case, overlooking important facts about file-sharing, and repeating common misconceptions.

There is one redeeming quality to the article. His choice of ResTech director Matt Arthur as a source. Arthur is directly involved with the campus network, is in control over decisions regarding file sharing, and is well-spoken and knowledgeable. However, his other main source is an unnamed conglomeration of people, labeled “Hal.” This source adds no factual information, isn’t even directly quoted.

Fair and balanced. We’ve heard it before, but until Fox News tainted (read: utterly distorted) the phrase, journalism was supposed to be just that. However, Westhoff presents his argument one-sidedly, choosing not to include any counterarguments or sources to balance his views.

He says, “Of course, downloading with DC++ is just as illegal as downloading with Kazaa.” First of all, downloading files with DC++ is not inherently illegal, and the illegality of file-sharing in general is also in question. A federal appeals court recently ruled that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (the RIAA’s legal shield) was not written for, and cannot be used to implicate file-sharers and file-sharing. Realize that the DMCA is the only legislation on which the RIAA bases its legal claims. And if the court says that it doesn’t cover file-sharing, then file-sharing is not illegal.

That doesn’t cover the ethical and moral aspects of sharing “ripped” material, you say. Well, consider the “moral” aspects of how the RIAA shares its wealth. According to Steve Albini, who produced Nirvana’s “In Utero” album, the one-year net royalty for any band with four artists and a $250,000 advance is about negative $14,000. That’s right. The band actually owes money. Why? Because the record company figures royalties AFTER all expenses are subtracted from the artist’s advance. And this is how much money a band “makes” after selling 250,000 records. The record company’s cut? $710,000. The artists could have worked at 7-11 for six months and made more total income than they did with the label in a year.

Perhaps Westhoff’s most blatant journalistic blunder is his overindulgence in speculation. I quote: “Where do these pirated products come from? No one seems quite sure, although some speculate that students in the film department who receive advance copies of movies and TV shows might be responsible. Other possible culprits are among the university’s large crop of foreign students, who go home to countries where copyright controls are less stringent than those in the United States.” According to the author, who makes no attempt to disguise his opinion, film students and foreign students are the most likely originators and distributors of the material on DC++. As a film student myself, this is terrifically offensive, and the Department of Film and Media Studies should demand a retraction. I am not a foreign student, so I cannot speak authoritatively on their behalf, but I am assuming that they would also be offended at the accusation. And calling us “culprits?” We have committed no crime, have been convicted of no charge and have been sentenced to no penalty.

It is our responsibility as students and consumers to stand up to gross generalizations like these and larger restrictive forces such as the RIAA. I believe that we should reopen DC++ and show the industry and the world that they cannot, should not and will not push us around. People can disagree about file-sharing, but they should at least make the effort to respect the other side of the argument. Ben Westhoff may just be one writer, but we should not sit idly by and let him unabashedly denigrate our students and, more importantly, our school.

Coulter’s ethics questionable

Friday, February 27th, 2004 | Shawn Redden

I remember being stunned when I heard that Ann Coulter was part of this spring’s Assembly Series. I don’t know what sort of vetting process the university uses before accepting speakers, and I don’t know how much money they gave her, but surely, I thought, they could do better!

But I’ve reconsidered. Coulter is perfect! Kudos to the College Republicans for bringing her! Everyone should see her next Wednesday.

Ann Coulter’s vociferous advocacy of white male supremacy and her ignorance of the wider world demonstrate quite clearly why she’s needed now: reading book reviews from other continents, one sees how Treason and Slander enable the rest of the planet to better see the hysterical mindset Coulter represents in American political discourse, including that of the President and his clique of neo-cons.

The invective of Trent Lott is no longer fit for public consumption. Hate needs new packaging, and that’s what Ann Coulter offers. She is the right-wing’s most important shock troop in the propaganda war because she is, in her own words, “emboldened by [her] looks to say things Republican men wouldn’t.”

People have established entire websites that show how virtually every one of her citations is inaccurate. Much like the premeditated aggression against Iraq, her lies are easily documented by any 12-year-old with a modem.

But this misses the point. Coulter continues to attract massive public attention and remains a best-seller because of – not despite – her blatant disregard for factual accuracy. That’s what propaganda is all about.

Her absurd aphorisms are marked, almost universally, with bitter racism and a resentful sexism unmatched in public discourse.

Her feeling towards Middle-Easterners is well documented. In the aftermath of 9/11, Coulter wrote that, “we should invade [Arab countries] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

She says that Congress should pass a law demanding “that all aliens from Arabic countries leave [America],” adding that “we should require passports to fly domestically. Passports can be forged, but they can also be checked with the home country in case of any suspicious-looking swarthy males.”

But Arabs aren’t the only target of her assaults. Coulter also advocates poll taxes and literacy tests, as well as repeal of the Emancipation Proclamation. The absurdity of these suggestions does not camouflage their history or intended meaning.

Coulter says that women “should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote.”

She’s told a disabled Vietnam vet that “people like you caused us to lose that war.”

Her assertion that “the presumption of innocence only means you don’t go right to jail” betrays the absence of hyperbole in her lament that her friends “never appreciate the benefits of local fascism.”

The attack-dog mentality Coulter exhibits towards those who see the world more humanely than she serves two functions: first, it puts her opponents on the defensive, forced to rebut her charges.

But more importantly, Coulter’s rhetoric turns politics into spectacle, redirecting us away from the truly consequential. Coulter ‘wins’ when she slanders, because her interest is not in factual accuracy. Her intent is to divert attention from the politics of the right-wing. She slanders critics as those who side ‘with the terrorists’ or those who ‘hate America’ in order to change the subject.

If one has the audacity to question the benevolent motives of the Bush regime or the American government, she will slander you. That, and not to reason why, is her job.

So if you ask her on Wednesday about what’s going on in Haiti, where the United States government has funded and armed death squads to overthrow the same democratically elected president the CIA overthrew under Bush I, she will slander you.

If you ask her about how many of the same elements active in Haiti – the CIA and a misnamed State Department program called the National Endowment for Democracy – are also providing aid to Venezuelan rebels in their attempt to overthrow that country’s democratically elected leader, she will slander you.

That’s because Ann Coulter’s role in the propaganda war has no relationship to the truth. Her role is to justify American domination of the entire world – the reason we’re in Haiti and Venezuela – and attack anyone who thinks otherwise.

She’s told us as much in her own words: “God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.'”

‘Protecting’ the institution of marriage

Friday, February 27th, 2004 | Craig Pirner

Tuesday, President Bush assumed his “President” face (you know the one) to announce his endorsement of a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Protecting marriage is just that important, the President, er, ‘reasoned.’

Not surprisingly, the TV pundits had a heyday. Dr. James Dobson, founder of the conservative group Focus on the Family, was interviewed by Aaron Brown on CNN’s “Newsnight.” Dobson’s comments are a classic case of double-speak:

Dobson: What [gay marriage] means is that the definition of marriage will mean everything. And when it means everything, it means nothing.

Brown: Are you more accepting of the idea of civil unions, something that provides the same legal guarantees of marriage, but under a different word?

Dobson: No, that’s what we call quasi-marriage….I’ve already mentioned that the so-called rights issue can be dealt with. But just don’t call it marriage.

Let’s, finally, be clear: most of the advocates of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage-including the amendment’s author, conservative kook Rep. Marilyn Musgrave-would just as happily ban gays altogether. Their way of dealing with that pesky “so-called rights issue” is the constitutional sanctioning of discrimination. Bush has officially joined their camp.

Despite Dobson’s admonishment to treat all people “compassionately,” his organization’s website is laden with the classic claims against gays: homosexuality is fake, a result of confusion; gays are actively recruiting young boys in schools into a lifestyle of sex, drugs and cosmology; gays are having rampant oral sex with multiple partners in the restroom just off Main Street, USA. My favorite section is the “bookstore,” which includes titles like A Parents’ Guide to Preventing Homosexuality and Dark Obsession: The Tragedy and Threat of the Homosexual Lifestyle. The Family Research Council, another Bush favorite, claims that gays are disease-laden. I even learned about the perilous “Gay Bowel Syndrome” (I’ve assume it’s closely related to “Bush Bowel Syndrome,” which involves a large pole of some sort). If that’s not enough compassion for you, be sure to purchase your ticket to “Love Won Out,” Dobson’s “dynamic one-day conference addressing, understanding, and preventing homosexuality.” It’s sad that you’ll be exploring such dark issues in sunny Pensacola, Fla.

As it turns out, Bush, Dobson and Musgrave are about as compassionate as Jerry Falwell. Their rhetoric-insidiously disguised in the form of books, conferences and “compassionate conservatism”-makes it pretty clear that they believe “God hates fags,” too. The thing is, their proposed Constitutional amendment will do far more harm than any hateful sign Jerry Falwell waves at the next gay funeral.

Since Constitutional war has been declared, I’d love to ask the Bush administration and their allies a few questions.

Bush surely feels the Founding Fathers are on his side. If I could, I’d ask James Madison if he thought his marriage was threatened when Thomas Jefferson slept with slaves.

I’d like to ask FCC chairman Michael Powell if he thinks there should be a Constitutional amendment banning boobs-gay men just might go for that one!

I’d like to ask CIA director George Tenet if he’s enjoying being out of media spotlight for a few days, since his boss apparently thinks that protecting marriage is more important than obtaining intelligence that actually prevents terrorist attacks (or does Bush just think it’s more likely to win him votes now that polls show Kerry and Edwards beating him?).

I’d like to ask Lynne Cheney if she bought A Parents’ Guide to Preventing Homosexuality after she learned her daughter was a lesbian. Or, did Dr. Dobson give her a complimentary copy?

Now that we’ve had a few gay weddings in San Francisco, I’d like to ask Laura Bush if she feels her marriage with George is threatened by all of those couples outside City Hall. If she does, how does she protect herself when Lynne Cheney’s daughter and her partner come over for dinner? Will her love for George be stronger after she knows the Constitution bans such blasphemy?

If you cannot tell, I’m a bit confused why Bush, Dobson, Musgrave and all of the representatives who have endorsed her amendment think that the remote marriage of two men or two women threatens their spiritual well-being. I’m even more befuddled how a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage will make them feel any more blessed.

I do know that passage of the marriage amendment would make them feel vindicated, because constitutional banning of gay marriage is about as close to banning gays as they’ll get. And thank God for that.