Column: Dorau the [Sports] Explorer

Press conferences are a delightful combination of eccentric behavior, frustrating clichés and fluctuating emotions that make sports journalism so appealing to guys like me.

Some days it may not seem like it, but there really is something special to speaking with a coach or player right after they’ve engaged in an on-field battle. That’s why I’m frustrated by the actions of a writer who badgered University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun this past weekend.

The reporter, apparently trying to make a name for himself, repeatedly questioned Calhoun on his annual salary of 1.6 million dollars. That sum makes him the highest paid employee in the state. Calhoun, instead of having to explain why his team only put up 64 points against a sub-par University of South Florida, found himself having to justify his paycheck in front of the assembled press corps.

I’m not suggesting that 1.6 million isn’t an absurd salary for someone to coach college basketball players, but this overzealous do-gooder needs to learn that there are appropriate times and channels for that line of questioning. There’s a reason I’m the Sports Editor here at The Recorder. I don’t have the mental strength to follow political, economical, and social intricacies. I’m far too aloof to recognize perceived injustices. I wrote just last week about the negativity in the sports world, a place that is supposed to be an escape for our society.

Coach Calhoun doesn’t have to justify his salary, neither do the second and third highest paid state employees UConn football coach Randy Edsall and women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma. They generate tremendous amounts of revenue, and have more or less built programs. The vast majority of the athletes they coach will not be turning pro in their respective sports. These coaches, just like the coaches here at CCSU, are motivating the athletes to do their best in every aspect of their lives. The impact of such mentors cannot be measured in a paycheck.

When I sit in on a press conference after a tough loss and see Coach Howie Dickenman wring his hands from start to finish, I know there’s no greater motivator for those kids in the locker room than this coach sitting in front of us. When Coach Jeff McInerney asks the reporters after the game if we mind that he sits down, it’s tough not to laugh. He’s only been executing a meticulously detailed game plan, meeting potential recruits, and managing over 50 kids between the ages of 18 and 22 for the last six hours.

Not once during the past year have I wondered what any CCSU coach makes in a season, and frankly, I don’t care to know. I know we’re in a recession, depression or whatever nickname they’ve come up with for it this week. Making a high-profile coach take a pay cut is not going to fix America’s economic troubles any time soon. That’s fixing a gaping wound with a single band-aid.

Calhoun may be a state employee, but he built a program from the ground up that not only makes millions for UConn, but think of the economic stimulus each Huskies game at the XL Center brings to the surrounding businesses in an otherwise dreary Hartford.

The writer, whose illustrious accomplishments include writing for High Times Magazine, has a “manifesto” on his Web site, which more or less endorses vandalism. Mentioning his name or home page would just garner him publicity I don’t feel like handing out. In the ensuing article, the writer floats the notion that a pay cut from Calhoun could help sustain programs at the University, providing scholarships and equipment for other sports.

Here at CCSU, the Ice Hockey Club is in dire straits, being financially abandoned by the SGA. Never in my wildest dreams would I ask a Central coach or faculty member to take a pay cut in order to fund that program or any other on campus. I hope aspiring journalists would have the common sense to do the same instead of playing hero to hippies.

EDITORIAL: The Fairness Doctrine

Talk radio has been significantly dominated by conservative voices in recent years, and with Democrats now in power of Congress and the Oval Office, talks of reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine have been floating around Capitol Hill.

The Fairness Doctrine was a policy implemented by the FCC in 1949 in order to ensure that radio hosts presented both sides of controversial issues of public importance. In 1987, the FCC abolished the doctrine, which has since prompted discussion about instituting Congressional legislation of the same nature.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Fairness Doctrine, and its potential violation of First Amendment rights. Opponents of the doctrine claim that setting restrictions on material that is discussed on radio shows is an infringement on free speech. In a 1969 Supreme Court case, Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, the court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine stating that since there is only a limited radio spectrum, the material of speakers could be regulated in order to maintain and uphold openness.

Many prominent democrats such as John Kerry, Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, have expressed support for the reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine, but recently Barack Obama stated publicly that he was against reinstating the policy and we support him.

There is a general consensus among top conservatives that the Fairness Doctrine is an attempt by Democrats to regulate their views on the airwaves. Rush Limbaugh, host of the most-listened-to radio show in the country, has been publicly outspoken about his fear and discontent that congress may attempt to put policies in place to regulate content on the radio.

According to the standards of the free market, and the way in which material on the airwaves should, in fact compete for listeners, the Fairness Doctrine is an infringement on the First Amendment. Essentially, the Fairness Doctrine would be the Title IX of the radio in guaranteeing certain amounts of time or space to opposing views, regardless of quality or listenership.

When a radio show gets a large amount of listeners, then they will stay on the air since the demand for that show is high. It just so happens that conservative talk shows generally get more listeners, and therefore are entitled to continue what they are doing in order to bring in ratings. This involves spreading their opinions. If a law were imposed to guarantee airtime to alternative views, this would not serve the viewers who have clearly expressed a preference for conservative talking heads.

Just because liberals’ views are our there and can be given adequate time on the air doesn’t mean it should. What the government would be doing if they reinstalled the Fairness Doctrine is endorsing a side so that liberalism would rival radio’s conservatives. Frankly, liberal media doesn’t need the help and shouldn’t receive extra attention to spite its conservative counterparts.

Another side of the controversy is providing listeners with adequate and fair reporting on important issues. In journalism, Americans have come to value and strive for objectivity, but some have lost sight of its meaning. At times, it had represented a mathematical formula or prercentage determined in order to give fair share to different, opposing sides.

In actuality, a journalist knows when to give each side their space, but is smart enough to know accurate reporting transcends space and time. Whether it is a talking head on a radio show or a print journalist, people who consume this media are owed the truth and should be able to see through the mandated veil of balance.

The radio should not be treated differently than any other facet of the media. As stated in the First Amendment, Congress has no right to abridge freedom of speech, or of the press. Mandating that hosts discuss all sides of controversial issues is demanding that their opinions must be downplayed in the name of fairness. Reinstating the Fairness Doctrine would wrongly allow the government to regulate broadcasted content, and this would be a gross violation of the First Amendment that is essential to maintaining the open discussion that is relevant to the needs of its citizens.

 

-The Recorder’s Editorial Board

University Should Implement a New System to Reach Students

My part-time job at the computer lab provides several things that average students may not be privy to: free printing, for example, or dominion over a vast array of computers, for another.

But one of the things I am most cognizant of and most excited to be witness to is the amalgam of personalities and ideas that come in.

I get to hear what they are talking about, and as a person of (wholly transparent) authority, I am often the first person they go to when they have a CCSU-related question. After one and a half semesters of listening, I am certain of one fact: Central students don’t have a clue as to what is going on with this university.

And more importantly, I really don’t think it’s their fault.

Central has a very curious system set up called “Today@CCSU”. In theory, it is very tech-forward. It is parable, archivable, and can even have a limited export function. In your Central Pipeline account you can register for things you think you might be interested in and have them appear on that page.

You can also just go to today@ccsu, found at http://today. ccsu.edu, and search via interest. The reality of this is that the limitation, while seemingly willing to jive with some interesting tech, fails at several key points. The limited exportability onto a knowable interface means that these cool, interesting speakers and events get thrown on a page that students check twice a year for class registration.

The Today@ CCSU interface is confusing to a newcomer, and is ultimately too awkward to use intuitively. Even worse, actual need-to-know information is very often lost in transmission; I stopped counting how many times people asked about parking bans during snow storms, early dismissals – little details that are supposed to be sent through email. And I don’t doubt they are – but they are sent to places that students do not check, and CCSU’s exhaustive notification system becomes tantamount to yelling in the wind.

It’s time for a revamp. My suggestion is not even really that complicated; it’s a shift in paradigm to accept new technology.

First, you need to reevaluate the Today@CCSU calendar system (keep the calendar, sure, whatever, that’s not important). Increase its operability to be downloaded as a general RSS feed so that you can publish it as a calendar on… the CCSU facebook account!

Yes, we have a group, but you can only do so much with a group. A full-fledged account would allow us so much more in the way of disseminating information. An RSS-ed calendar would be great for taking that weird Today@CCSU interface and putting it somewhere popular and knowable. In fact, the next step is to drop Today@CCSU all together. Actually, I misspoke. Not the whole thing, just the “Today”.

Creating a Twitter account, “@CCSU”, does two important things: one, it allows Central (heh) Pipeline (heh heh) to post all information regarding incoming events. It also allows itself to be ported to the CCSU Facebook account, as well as providing a 100 percent free text-messaging system to all students – you don’t even need a formal Twitter account to follow someone via almost any mobile device.

Suddenly, Central will find itself with a very simple method of information dissemination. Students would be connected the way they want to be connected, not the way CCSU imagines it. The school could become a little bit more solid, and with a little bit less of that “commuter school” reputation. It is absolutely possible, and immediately implement-able, all at the cost of, perhaps, a student intern to manage the system.

I think I might know someone perfect for the job.

 

-Alex Jarvis, Special to The Recorder

One Shot Too Many

Political cartoons have been a unique part of American history. Last week, a cartoonist for the New York Post walked a tight rope that has drawn national attention.

Sean Delonas illustrated two current events together, one being the chimpanzee attack in Stamford, Conn. and the other, the recently- approved economic stimulus package.

As you may have seen, a picture tells a thousand words. The cartoon shows two police officers with their weapons drawn and a recently shotdead monkey, with one cop commenting, “They’ll have to find someone else to write our next stimulus bill.”

What would possess a person to have that published? This picture draws a fine line between racism and a political ploy. During an economic crisis like the one this country is facing today combined with an unfortunate wild animal attack could there be a real message behind this illustration.

The newspaper has stood by the columnist entirely. They even went as far as calling out the outspoken African-American activist Al Sharpton who was outraged by this cartoon. The fact that Mr. Obama is part African- American and is the President of this country spells out public backlash – all they had to do was compare him to a monkey and mention his stimulus package.

This controversy has raised new questions of racism in our world. The media is a very powerful tool and when people say or draw whatever they want it can be dangerous. People are going to have their own opinions and interpretations, but linking the President of the United States to his ethnic background in a derogatory way is indeed one shot too many, even if it wasn’t intentional. A dark cloud will certainly loom over the head of this cartoonist because of his lack of judgment and inability to relate to current events in an appropriate way.

His defense was that Congress is on a wild spending spree, and it has become an animal that has gone out of control. It does relate exactly to the mauling by a chimpanzee in Connecticut, but that doesn’t make it justified. In a nation that has overcome the extremes of segregation and Jim Crow laws, no one in their right mind should draw the comparisons in such a manner that was done last Wednesday.

Obviously the right decision wasn’t made and the public has been critical in a lot of ways. The satirical approach to political cartons has been deeply diminished over time. There have been wide debates on this issue and the involvement of race relations in itself is a risk.

The repercussions of this drawing are yet to be seen. Whatever they are, they can’t change the damage already done. This cartoon has offended a wide variety of people on many different levels. Hopefully this will be a lesson learned in moving forward.

Whether you’re a freelance writer, cartoonist, a professional or citizen journalist, always think about the content of the words and pictures intended for publication. The challenges and problems facing this country are real.

There’s no need for cartoonists to put in their two cents in a way that is sure to spark outrage.

 

-Dan Dinunzio, Special to The Recorder

Professor Called Police After Student Presentation

For CCSU student John Wahlberg, a class presentation on campus violence turned into a confrontation with the campus police due to a complaint by the professor.

On October 3, 2008, Wahlberg and two other classmates prepared to give an oral presentation for a Communication 140 class that was required to discuss a “relevant issue in the media”. Wahlberg and his group chose to discuss school violence due to recent events such as the Virginia Tech shootings that occurred in 2007.

Shortly after his professor, Paula Anderson, filed a complaint with the CCSU Police against her student. During the presentation Wahlberg made the point that if students were permitted to conceal carry guns on campus, the violence could have been stopped earlier in many of these cases. He also touched on the controversial idea of free gun zones on college campuses.

That night at work, Wahlberg received a message stating that the campus police “requested his presence”. Upon entering the police station, the officers began to list off firearms that were registered under his name, and questioned him about where he kept them.

They told Wahlberg that they had received a complaint from his professor that his presentation was making students feel “scared and uncomfortable”.

“I was a bit nervous when I walked into the police station,” Wahlberg said, “but I felt a general sense of disbelief once the officer actually began to list the firearms registered in my name. I was never worried however, because as a law-abiding gun owner, I have a thorough understanding of state gun laws as well as unwavering safety practices.”

Professor Anderson refused to comment directly on the situation and deferred further comment.

“It is also my responsibility as a teacher to protect the well being of our students, and the campus community at all times,” she wrote in a statement submitted to The Recorder. “As such, when deemed necessary because of any perceived risks, I seek guidance and consultation from the Chair of my Department, the Dean and any relevant University officials.”

Wahlberg believes that her complaint was filed without good reason.

“I don’t think that Professor Anderson was justified in calling the CCSU police over a clearly nonthreatening matter. Although the topic of discussion may have made a few individuals uncomfortable, there was no need to label me as a threat,” Wahlberg said in response. “The actions of Professor Anderson made me so uncomfortable, that I didn’t attend several classes. The only appropriate action taken by the Professor was to excuse my absences.”

The university police were unavailable for comment.

“If you can’t talk about the Second Amendment, what happened to the First Amendment?” asked Sara Adler, president of the Riflery and Marksmanship club on campus. “After all, a university campus is a place for the free and open exchange of ideas.”

 

-Shauna Simeone, Asst. Opinion Editor

NOTE: With the exception of commenters who can provide a valid CCSU email address, we are no longer accepting comments on this story. 

Center for Student Success to Revamp Advising

Students’ potential for success is now the focus of a new center that will redesign advising in place and will be overseen by a committee of faculty and administrators to spearhead its creation.

The Center for Student Success, which is in the early stages of initiation by President Jack Miller and Provost Carl Lovitt, will combine with the current advising center to form a system in which freshmen and transfers will be able to speak to an advisor who can direct them to the right path for majors and courses.

“What they’re proposing is that every new student go there,” said Dr. Candace Barrington, of the English department and leading coordinator of the new advising center and a member of the ad-hoc committee of the Faculty Senate to oversee it.

What the university has found is that many students have said that they are unhappy with the current advising system because they have to go from one place to another to receive information on signing up for courses and majors.

Some faculty members are frustrated with the plans to create a new advising system because they wish they had greater input and the process had more open discussion.

“We don’t know what the problem is, [however,] we know that students aren’t happy with advising,” said Dr. David Spector, professor of biology and member of the Faculty Senate.

Other members of the faculty feel that there is not enough information at the moment to make a full decision on how they feel about the formation of the advising center.

“We’re gratified that the President is showing notice to advising,” said Elizabeth Hicks, associate director of the Advising Center.

The ad hoc committee formed to oversee the formation of the student success center will include nine current faculty members and a director position that will give one faculty member a new position as their full-time job.

“When students are well in their major, they will be transferred from the master advisor to a professional advisor familiar with academic programs and career planning in that chosen major,” Miller wrote in an email sent to all CCSU students.

The e-mail also discussed how the center will help students with disabilities, students looking to declare a major and provide transfer students with adequate orientation.

The center, slated to be installed for the Fall 2009 semester, doesn’t have an exact location specified yet.

“I think the March 10 Board of Trustees meeting will have to have some movement,” said Miller at the Feb. 18 Student Government Association meeting.

The center will have advisors who can answer student questions whenever they need with increased hours and more available advising. President Miller said 15 or 16 employees will work in the center.

“If I could have it my way,” Barrington said, “this committee will remain alive for a long time.”

 

-Matthew Kiernan, News Editor: ccsurecorder.news@gmail.com

CCSU Author Presents Book on Postsocialist Romania

The inspiration for Kideckel’s book stems from an active role in cultural anthropological research in Eastern Europe for 30 years, focusing specifically on communism and its impacts on society.

Kideckel spent time in Romania in the Jui Valley and Fagaras region, comparing both the employed and unemployed workers, researching  the effects that the Postsocialist era has had upon people as individuals and within family units.

Throughout his time in Romania, Kideckel interacted with the societies, taking time to involve himself in the roles of the people of the Jui Valley and Fagaras region. He went to the extremes of working amongst those in the coal mines and the factories, whilst also socializing amongst the communities, playing backgammon, simply to see life from the point of view of those affected by post socialism.

Kideckel made many observations, not least that the workers, who had been the backbone of the socialist era, were suffering greatly during the Postsocialist era.

In researching for his book he interviewed many people from the Jui Valley and Fagaras, asking how they felt living in a Postsocialist environment.

“People found it very difficult to articulate how the felt, they simply felt stressed,” said Kideckel. He said that in 1997 there were 52,000 employed miners, yet by 1999 – following drastic layoffs – there were only 18,000 employed workers. A total of 34,000 jobs were lost in the mines. With no other jobs available the communities began to change.

Kideckel observed that the symbolic change was that the workers, formerly the backbone of the country were now, in the Postsocialist era, viewed as the “others” and considered outcasts.

Also explored in his book are ideas that heart disease increased, the divorce rate rose significantly as did family abandonment and rape and sexual abuse, all as a result of changes following a socialist era.

While pursuing research for his book, Kideckel also produced a documentary, which defines the life, social and political circumstances of the Jui Valley miners – “Days of the Miners: Life and Death of a Working Class Culture”.

Adam Golaski from the English department will next be presenting at Central Authors Presents, with his latest book, “Worse Than Myself ”.

 

-Colette Gallacher, Copy Editor

College Demand Increases Despite Recession

While many businesses are losing customers thanks to the recession, Central Connecticut State University is seeing a spike in potential students.

“We’ve seen a 14 percent increase in undergraduate applications compared to this time last year,” said Lawrence Hall, director of recruitment and admissions at CCSU. “Some schools created waitlists for the first time this year due to the high demand.”

The surge in undergraduate applications continues a three-year upward trend, according to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. In the fall of 2008, there were 6,061 full-time undergraduate applications compared to 5,668 in 2007. In the fall of 2006, there were 5,313 undergraduate full-time applicants.

Hall attributed the rise in undergraduate applications partly to the slowing economy and CCSU’s low cost of attendance, as cashstrapped families are looking for a decent education without the high price tag.

CCSU’s undergraduate tuition for the 2008 to 2009 academic year is $7,042, making CCSU the least costly university within the Connecticut State University system. In addition, more than half of the full-time undergraduate students who applied for need-based aid had their need satisfied.

CCSU’s affordable cost is what drove prospective freshman Jordan Bouchard to apply for admission.

“My first choice was always Plymouth State University,” said the Meriden, Conn. resident, “but they only wanted to give me $7,000 in financial aid when it costs almost $20, 000 to go there, not including room and board.”

When Bouchard’s parents couldn’t foot the bill, he was forced to work for a year in order to save money.

CCSU is just one of several Connecticut universities seeing a jump in demand. According to the State of Connecticut Department of Higher Education, Fall 2008 enrollment at state sponsored colleges and universities rose 3.5 percent or 3,884 students, thanks to the recession.

“Clearly, we’re experiencing great demand for college,” wrote Michael P. Meotti, Commissioner of Higher Education in Connecticut, in a press release. “As in past tough economic times, people are turning to college to improve their prospects.”

Regardless of the cause of the increase in applications, education officials can all agree that the demand for higher education is becoming a financial burden for the state and universities.

“I know first-hand from visits to campuses across the state that colleges are doing their best to meet surging demand, particularly our community colleges where enrollment growth is outstripping all other sectors,” stated the Commissioner.

“As for everyone, the challenge before us is the uncertain economy. On one hand, economic downturns tend to benefit higher education as more people seek retraining. On the other hand, financial pressures strain our capacity to serve more students and keep costs down,” Meotti wrote.

However, school officials are quick to add that the recession isn’t the only reason for the growth in applications. Hall also credited the boost to CCSU’s budding reputation, aggressive marketing campaign and academic offerings.

In 2007, the Princeton Review named CCSU one of the “best northeastern colleges” and the university continues to receive positive limelight. He also pointed to the method in which the Office of Recruitment and Admissions uses social networking sites, such as Facebook, to market the university. Recruitment officials are also targeting high school underclassmen as actively as they pursue high school seniors.

“When high school freshmen are ready to graduate, they have a lot of information about Central,” said Hall.

 

-Terence Stewart, Special to The Recorder

Diversity A Constant Work in Progress

Diversity and issues of prejudice still remain prevalent at Central Connecticut State University, despite the July publication of a recommendation report by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity.

The commission, formed in direct response to two controversial publications by The Recorder, identified the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community on campus as the most marginalized group due to lack of counseling and support programs and prejudice by other students.

“We still need to make some changes in how we take care of students,” said Dr. Antonio Garcia- Lozada, university ombudsperson. “I believe [GLBT students] still feel isolated and disconnected here.” The One-In-Ten Committee, formed by members of the PRIDE club to work more closely with administration, published a goals andmission statement in September.

The list of goals includea floor specifically for GLBT students that include gender- neutral bathrooms.

“The past couple of years, we have really been fighting for a lot of things,” said Melissa Cordner, president of PRIDE. “We need a place to go and just be ourselves.”

“Lack of coordination has resulted in a series of activities and responses that are not sustainable and have no real way of impacting a longer term solution,” the Blue Ribbon Commission’s report stated. In an effort to coordinate a higher-profile activity, CCSU is discussing the prospect of a Lavender Graduation, a commencement reception specifically honoring GLBT graduates.

“Any constituent group that has an identity and wants to celebrate it is great,” said Dr. Laura Tordenti, Vice- President of Student Affairs. “They have worked really hard for this.” The issue of diversity on campus runs deeper than the GLBT community, however.

The Blue Ribbon Report also identified African- American and Latino isolation on campus, and recommended the Provost review allocation of all faculty assignments to ensure equity in race, ethnicity, and gender. The Commission also suggested that CCSU look for opportunities of community outreach to help extend the university to diverse surrounding areas, such as New Britain and Hartford.

About 6 percent of Central’s 9,700 undergraduates are Latino. In Diversity A Constant Work in Progress the surrounding city of New Britain, 27 percent of its 71,500 residents are Hispanic.

“This University needs to create a stronger connection with the outside community,” said Garcia- Lozada, “but I don’t think President Miller asked me to do this because I am Latino.”

In addition to bigotry from the student body, many students have faced discrimination from faculty as well.

One-In-Ten’s goal statement expressed the need for a GLBT Center, set to open soon, because the Counseling and Wellness Center does not have adequate information on sexuality and coming out. Cordner said the addition of the GLBT Center is a huge victory for PRIDE, who has been pushing for its creation for several years.

“To have that taken off our shoulders is huge,” she said. “We can actually just be students again.”

Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Moises Salinas, with cooperation from Garcia-Lozada, has created nine specific task forces to assess diversity and acceptance of different groups on campus. They are to publish their findings at the end of the spring semester.

Although Central has made some improvement toward acceptance and diversity, both Garcia- Lozada and Tordenti admit there is still a long way to go in order to be seen as a truly diversified campus.

“I’m not sure when we will know we have arrived,” said Tordenti. “It is something we need to continually work on.”

 

 

 

TONYA MALiNOwSKi Staff writer

Ned Lamont Discusses Financial Threats, War

In a discussion surrounding President Barack Obama’s first 30 days in office and ties between war and looming threats an economic depression, Ned Lamont examined these issue on a local scale.

Last Wednesday, Lamont, a lecturer at CCSU and a businessman who unsuccessfully ran against Joseph Lieberman for the U.S. Senate seat in 2006, spoke to a large crowd packed inside Marcus White Hall’s living room.

“We don’t want police and teachers laidoff,” said Lamont. Lamont expressed the importance of how people are being affected, especially those needed to maintain a structured society.

He also cautioned against a slippery slope, in which spending or cutting funds should be approached carefully and added that he was disappointed in Governor Jodi Rell’s announced budget plan. Lamont spoke about how Connecticut was once classified as a very wealthy state.

Although, the state may be suffering less than others, Lamont pointed out that there is a lack of new jobs. When asked why it is important for CCSU students to be aware of Obama’s administration, budget changes and their education, Lamont said that it will come back to CCSU students.

“It’s about how the budget will impact your tuition, how it will impact if your professor would be there or not next year,” he said. “It is important to know what is going on with the Obama administration,” said

Erika Dawson, 34, who is a CCSU senior and political science and social work major. As a proud Obama supporter, she feels the need to be aware of changes in the country and how it impacts her. Laid-off from work approximately two years ago, Dawson returned to school in hope of a better future.

“It’s hard – real hard,” added Dawson who is a mother of a 10- and 3-year-old. Dawson talked about cutbacks she has had to make in groceries and other expenses.

“You have to think twice before getting in that car and where you are going,” said Dawson. Lamont also discussed the foreign policy issue that President Obama has inherited and the hope to reduce violence in Iraq, while balancing America’s financial problems.

As an example of this hope, Lamont pointed out the peaceful election in which Iraqis voted for provincial councils and that they are taking part in the transformation. Lamont shared that Obama is sending 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, but raised the question of how to approach the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. He volunteered his opinion that Obama’s intentions are to protect Kabul and keep al Qaeda out.

“Obama is ready, committed to take on war,” said Lamont. “It will be his war, Obama’s war.

 

– Ariana Valentin,  Asst. News