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FROM THE EDITOR: Shining a light in dark places

FROM THE EDITOR: Shining a light in dark places

By ANDREW PAXTON

This semester, Aztec Press has embarked on several in-depth investigative reporting adventures in an attempt to take you, the reader, to places you may have never been or to help you see things differently than you did before.

From the VIP rooms of well-known adult establishments to the struggle adjunct faculty members endure just to teach, this paper has endeavored to challenge the way our readers look at the world around them.

Why, you may ask? Because it’s our job.

It is our responsibility as journalists to hold up a mirror to society and ask, “Is this what we want? Is this who we are?”

The British publisher Lord Northcliffe once said, “News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is just advertising.”

Yes, we publicize events taking place on campus or around the Old Pueblo, and catch you up on sports action from Pima Community College’s many talented teams. But when we have the chance to scratch below the surface, we relish the opportunity to dig deep.

So rarely do people get to go beyond the inch-deep, headline driven, 140-character limit of today’s modern “news” that it almost seems counter-intuitive to look closer and truly understand the world we live in.

In an age when people post “too long, didn’t read” before criticizing a story, is there any hope of someone taking time to digest and appreciate a 2,000 word article, no matter how well-researched and delivered?

Our belief is a resounding “Yes.”

That’s why we will continue to print hard-hitting pieces that might make a few people uncomfortable. With complacency comes a stagnation of ideas, and we seek to be a forum for the bold, to challenge the status quo.

Before the semester’s end, the paper will feature more such stories, including an upcoming piece on gay marriage and a look into the difficulties and opportunities encountered by older students and students from other countries.

Writing these in-depth stories is no easy task, requiring student-journalists to invest hours of research, interviews, writing and editing while also balancing other classes, work, family and personal lives.

And why?

All for you, dear reader. To ensure your paper offers unique, original reporting that deals with issues that impact all of us.

Anything less would be a dereliction of our duty as journalists.

Enjoy the issue.

 

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Halloween best holiday of year

Halloween best holiday of year

BY TANISHA KNUTZEN

Every year, the holiday season has a sneaky way of showing up before we’re ready and leaving before we’ve fully accepted its presence.

Although most people get all jolly and excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas, I find myself feeling like a little kid on Halloween.

Now, I’m not saying that Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t wonderful holidays. I just don’t believe they carry the same excitement and adventure that Halloween does.

Halloween may not bring a fancy meal and nice wine around a china-set dinner table but it does bring a year’s supply of candy, creative costumes and the ability to be anything your candy-infested heart wants.

If that’s not something to get excited about, you might want to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Who knows, maybe you’re dressing as Ice Cube this year.

Not only does the 31st of October bring out walking banana suits and superheroes stuffing their faces with chocolate but it seems to really bring out the friendly and social sides of people.

I’ve always found it easier to approach a Ninja Turtle at a bar, rather than an ordinary guy in a bro shirt at the same bar. There’s just something special about being around people who have all showed up in ridiculous costumes to celebrate a mutual weirdness together.

Although I am very fond of this awesome holiday, I know that many people cannot express the same like because of personal feelings or even religious beliefs.

We all have our own opinions but I believe that if we can brush away the negative image that comes with Halloween, we can fully enjoy a night dedicated to having a good time.

Dressing up is only a mere portion of the excitement that Halloween conveys. The candy, drinks, friendly strangers and overall atmosphere spark the true excitement. When these pieces can all be tied together, we really are in for a treat.

I have always been and probably always will be an over-sized child with an imagination that loves to run wild.

I truly live for this kind of day because I know that I can do the mummy walk beside a guy dressed in a banana suit and he won’t judge me for believing that I am Ironman.

We might even take shots together and become Facebook friends. It’s Halloween and anything can happen.

Knutzen has always been a big fan of Halloween and considers it the greatest day of the year.

Pg06-Opinion-Tanisha Knutzen

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Ebola fears spread faster than virus

Ebola fears spread faster than virus

BY ANDREW PAXTON

Every time you watch the evening news or scroll through social media, it seems someone is talking about Ebola.

The deadly super-disease is sweeping across the globe, killing everyone who gets in its way and can’t be stopped.

Well, that’s if you believe the constant hype and fear mongering being pushed by the media and Washington.

Truth is, Ebola is hard to contract. Unlike airborne viruses, such as the flu, Ebola can only be transferred through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the disease.

Most deaths have occurred in poor African counties lacking modern medical facilities, access to proper sanitation or adequate numbers of doctors.

Patients with Ebola are only contagious when they display symptoms, which include weakness, fever, vomiting and bleeding from some rather nasty places.

Unless you travel to West Africa or come into direct contact with the blood, sweat or saliva of someone with symptoms, you’re basically safe.

Then why the non-stop barrage of Ebola reporting? Is the media exploiting our natural fear of the unknown?

Web searches and social media postings on the virus have spiked since Oct. 1, when Eric Duncan became the first person diagnosed with the disease on American soil, according to Huffington Post.

The reaction is eerily reminiscent of American’s initial response to AIDS. Three decades ago people were afraid to shake hands with, or use a bathroom after, someone they knew or suspected might have the disease.

Finally we learned that although the disease is very serious, it can be managed and treated, once we understood it.

Now, with the 24-hour news cycle providing endless speculation and companies feeding off our concerns to sell products, we must withstand the endless bombardment of Ebola “coverage” while other issues go unnoticed.

Around the same time as this outbreak was gaining steam, activists around the world staged the largest climate protest in history.

More than 500,000 marchers demanded an end to policies that will result in the end of society as we know it if left unchecked.

The protests garnered little more than a day’s news coverage before being dropped in favor of more updates on an obscure disease that most likely will not affect a single person reading these words.

With that type of failure to deliver information that actually impacts our lives, those who prey on our worries will continue to profit long after this latest distraction has passed.

Paxton is a not afraid of Ebola, sharks, clowns, chestnuts or Justin Bieber. Just don’t try to make him eat his vegetables.

Pg06-Opinion-Andrew Paxton

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Pima financial aid a true horror story

Pima financial aid a true horror story

BY ALEX FRUECHTENICHT

Students like myself are in need of aid. Financial aid to be exact, as I can’t pay for my schooling out of my own pocket.

 Thankfully all Pima Community College campuses have financial aid advisors who can help students like you and me.

 Wrong.

 Many students, myself included, have several things they’d like to say to the Financial Aid department.

 I’ve heard choice words that describe their experiences with FA, such as “uninformed”, “useless” and a “waste of time”. While I agree with these comments, I like to personally use the word “lie.”

 Every time I have gone to any of Pima’s FA locations over the past four semesters, I walked away feeling like I wasn’t given all of the information I needed. More often than not, I felt deceived.

 The most recent offense was this semester, when I requested more financial aid to cover tuition and pay back my family for books.

 I submitted the form before the semester started. I asked two advisors if the form was filled out correctly and both assured me that it was. FA told me it would be processed in two to three days.

 A week later, it still wasn’t showing up on MyPima. I was told not to worry.

After five weeks, I went to the MyPima FA chat to see if they could give me an answer instead of trying to brush me aside. The agent told me it usually takes five weeks.

When I asked about the status of my aid, the agent told me I had filled out the wrong form. Though I only asked for more aid this semester, I was given a form for the entire year.

 After pulling my hair out, I sent off the correct form for processing. Now, I won’t receive the extra aid until November.

 Despite my frustration, I was happy with my chat experience. I may not have gotten the answer I hoped for, but at least I got the truth.

 Now don’t get me wrong, the face-to-face advisors are polite and seem like they want to help. But when it comes to money for school, would you rather be lied to with a smile or told the hard truth?

 I don’t imagine they are consciously telling me false information. However, the fact remains that I am still being told lies.

Don’t fret my fellow students, for there is a silver lining. Chatting with an online agent has been an overall better experience and the only way I’ve received information that bears fruit.

The FA department should take notes on how the chat rooms help students. It should also give advisors time to learn the right answers.

Doing so would make the experience better for all students who reach out for the truth.

We not only want, but need, accurate information in order to keep attending classes.

Fruechtenicht is a student who is still seeking the truth in what feels like a world of lies.

Pg06-Alex Fruechtenicht

 

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FROM THE EDITOR: Aztec Press wins state, national awards

FROM THE EDITOR: Aztec Press wins state, national awards

By ANDREW PAXTON

As editor-in-chief of Pima Community College’s student newspaper, I have many duties beyond writing stories, taking photographs and showing new reporters and editors the ropes.

One of my responsibilities every spring is to submit our previous year’s work to various college and professional media organizations to be scrutinized, judged and recognized.

Even though I hate to toot my own horn, I would like to share the results with you because I am extremely proud of the passion and effort shown by our staff.

This year, Aztec Press has again earned awards from professional and college groups, extending a streak of success that dates to 2009.

On Sept. 21, our paper was awarded second place in the “Journalistic Achievement/Community Service” category in the Arizona Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The prize honors our coverage of Pima news, arts and sports, as well as Tucson events important to college students.

The second-place showing was an improvement from last year, when we finished third. It highlights our ongoing dedication to serving as a vital voice and source of information for our readers.

Our faculty assistant/technology guru/all-around superstar Larry Gaurano also earned two more individual awards for photography and layout excellence. His awards remind us how fortunate we are to have him around, even when he’s lovingly mocking us.

It’s important to note that we were matched against similarly-sized professional newspapers from across Arizona. Beating out many respected papers with paid staffs from a state full of quality journalists is certainly a feather in our cap.

I am also pleased to report that our paper is a national finalist for a Pinnacle Award, presented by the College Media Association. Aztec Press has been nominated as one of three “Best Newspapers” for two-year, less-than-weekly publications.

In this competition, we were judged against college publications from across the country.

Our position as a finalist means we are guaranteed at least a third-place finish when the results are announced at the CMA’s national conference next month in Philadelphia.

All of these awards are a testament to the sacrifice our staff and advisers make to ensure a high-quality product that provides information and entertainment.

Although we don’t put in the long hours just to earn a certificate or plaque, the recognition from others is always appreciated.

Thank you for your support, and enjoy your award-winning paper.

Toot toot.

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Tucson, U.S. need the A-10

Tucson, U.S. need the A-10

By MICHAEL ANDERSON

We’ve all seen them in the sky: pairs of fighter planes orbiting Tucson’s airspace. They are A-10 Thunderbolts, also known as “Warthogs.”

They will be gone soon if some in the military have their way. The Pentagon is trying to retire the A-10 and replace it with the ultra-modern F-35 Lightning.

Retirement a bad idea

That would be a terrible mistake with potentially dire consequences, not only for us in Southern Arizona but for our ground troops deployed throughout the world.

The 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base contains a large percentage of the country’s A-10 forces, and most of the plane’s pilots train in Tucson.

The A-10 was introduced in 1977 as a ground-attack aircraft to support troops in combat. Its primary weapon is a seven-barreled, 30mm rotary cannon that can fire almost 4,000 rounds per minute. It can also carry a wide array of bombs and missiles.

It has two primary jobs: to kill tanks and to provide air support for troops on the ground.

Providing accurate, close air support requires an aircraft to go low and slow, which makes it vulnerable to attack by enemy anti-aircraft units.

Plane does its job well

To protect it from enemy fire, the A-10’s cockpit and vital control systems are encased in a “titanium bathtub” that can withstand direct hits from 57mm artillery.

The plane also has two engines and many redundant systems to make it hard to shoot down. It is probably the most durable combat aircraft in the world.

The A-10 is also incredibly good at its job.It wreaked unimaginable havoc on Saddam Hussein’s armored units in 1991 during the first Gulf War, and saved countless American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan during the War on Terror. The Taliban is terrified of it.

“It’s a game-changer” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell has said. “It’s ugly, it’s loud, but when it comes in and you hear that ‘bvvrr’, it just makes a difference.”

Economic impact on Tucson

Production of the A-10 ceased in 1984, and the fleet is getting old.

This has led many in the Pentagon to advocate for its retirement. Its combat role would be filled by the F-35 Lightning, a multi-purpose aircraft.

Plans were made to cut funding for the A-10s after 2014. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee allocated $338 million in July to fund the program through 2015.

This might only be a temporary reprieve. The A-10 program is still very much in jeopardy of being dismantled.

If the A-10 fleet is retired, the primary function of Davis-Monthan would be eliminated. That would make the base an easy target in the next round of Pentagon base closures.

Davis-Monthan generates about $1.1 billion in economic impact in the Tucson-area, according to a 2013 report issued by the base. It employs about 10,000 people, including almost 3,000 civilians, making it Tucson’s third largest employer.

The loss of the A-10 program would have a severe impact on Tucson’s economy. The loss of Davis-Monthan altogether could be devastating.

F-35 can’t fill same role

That might not be a good enough reason for our military to keep the Warthog around, but its importance to our ground troops should be.

The high-tech F-35 program is hyper-expensive, costing more than $400 billion to date. The eventual cost will be roughly $185 million per plane.

The F-35 has also been plagued by technical problems. An engine fire in June prevented its international debut at the prestigious Farnborough Air Show in July.

Even after all the issues are eventually solved, the notion of the F-35 filling the A-10’s close support role remains laughable.

The A-10 is effective because of its ability to go low and slow enough to tell friend from foe, and to linger over the battlefield for periods of time.

The F-35 can’t go slow enough to identify friendly units, will not be durable enough to withstand anti-aircraft fire and will not have the loitering capability of the Hogs.

History repeats itself

It would be easier to believe the F-35 backers if our military didn’t have a long history of trying to prematurely retire effective weapons and tactics. One prominent example is the .45 caliber pistol.

During the Spanish American War of 1898, the U.S. Army determined that its .38 caliber pistols lacked adequate stopping power to deal with determined opponents. This led to design of the .45 ACP round and the 1911 Colt .45 pistol, versions of which were used until the 1980s.

That weapon was then replaced by a 9mm sidearm. The 9mm round is basically the same as the .38. Almost immediately after invading Iraq in 2003, our troops realized that the 9mm lacked sufficient stopping power and tried to get their hands on .45s.

If only someone had figured that out 100 years before. Oh, that’s right, they did.

The Pentagon has a rich tradition of such mistakes. Retiring the A-10 is one mistake that neither our city nor our armed forces can afford.

060326-f-2907c-102

Aztec Press photo illustration by Nick Meyers

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Cabaret ad doesn’t offend me

Cabaret ad doesn’t offend me

We see or hear references about sex more and more these days, whether it’s on TV or in print or in the lyrics of a song.

Recent issues of the Aztec Press have included an ad for Eden Adult Cabaret, looking for women 18 years and older who are seeking work.

The ad features a young woman from the side who is wearing a cowboy outfit with ass-less chaps. I don’t see a problem with the ad, or the fact that it runs in a newspaper whose audience is geared toward people ages 18 to 28.

Everyone has the right to post ads in any which way they please, and people always say that sex appeal sells.

I don’t think the ad degrades women in any way.

Women can work at whatever job they choose. You don’t see people forcing young girls off the streets to become strippers. Those women have made a personal choice.

Many of them use their income from dancing to make enough money to support their families or pay their rent or put themselves through college.

Don’t get me wrong, I do see the other side of this topic.

Maybe it wasn’t the right spot for that kind of ad or maybe we shouldn’t target younger women

Maybe it can be taken as a degrading picture or offensive in some way.

But we have to remember how far women have come to speak for themselves.

If women are unhappy in a situation or choose not to do something, they have the ability to stop or quit.

No one is holding them at gunpoint, saying they have to grow up to be strippers.

A job is a job at this point in the economy. If it’s paying your bills, what is so wrong with it?

These women aren’t doing anything more than dancing for a few dollars. It isn’t a brothel.

Next time you are tempted to judge someone’s job, remember that they have to survive on some sort of income.

Whether it’s being a female dancer or picking up trashcans, they need money to pay the bills.

Maese believes that women can stand up for themselves and make their own choices in life.

Pg06-Jamie Maese

Jamie Maese

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Ad shows poor taste

Ad shows poor taste

The Sept. 4-17 issue of Aztec Press is packed with articles about probation, the Higher Learning Commission’s upcoming evaluation and the role sexual harassment and abuse played in PCC’s accreditation problems.

The largest single advertisement, on page 12, is salacious solicitation from an “adult cabaret” (read strip club).

Did anyone at the Aztec Press consider the impact of such a sleazy suggestion in a campus publication to our student body (pun intended)?

If Pima wants to move ahead as a respected institution of higher learning, it must certainly reject the notion that it is appropriate for students to be recruited as strippers in college publications.

It is extremely unlikely that a bright, educated future for young women will begin with selling their bodies.

Sandra Fisher

Social Service student

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Movie prices too high

Movie prices too high

By Alex Fruechtenicht

Going to the movie theater nowadays is really expensive, there’s no denying that. Times have changed and with that, so has the cost of a movie ticket.

If you want to see a movie at Park Place Mall on a Friday night, it’s going to cost you $12.75 per ticket. If you go with a significant other, it’ll cost more than $25. That’s before you even head to the auditorium.

The concession stand can jump your expenses even higher, with a large drink costing nearly $6. I’d suggest you avoid it by bringing in your own snacks and drinks, but movie theaters don’t allow patrons to bring in anything they can get at the concession stand.

Of course, many people sneak in outside snacks or bottled drinks via backpack or purse. Let’s face it, with the high prices driving most of us away, we’ve all done that at some point.

After doing some research, I found out that most theaters only get around 10 to 25 percent of profit from a normal movie ticket. The remaining 75 to 90 percent goes to movie studios, the actors, etc.

Movie theaters really get their profit from the concession stand, selling overpriced soda and boxes of candy.

Now, I understand theaters have to make a profit. But why should it be at the concession stand? Why not have more arcade machines or something that could provide entertainment before going into the auditorium?

I’m not just bashing on the theaters, though movies themselves expect too much of a return. When one movie does exceptionally well at the box office, other film studios expect their movies to do just as well.

It’s not all bad however. Theaters like Century 20 at Park Place Mall have discount days for students and seniors. Seeing a movie on Tuesday will only cost you a very fair $5.25 per ticket.

Since it’s all I can afford, I am only able to go to the movies once or twice a month.

If theaters offered the Tuesday discount day every weekday before 7 p.m., I think people, myself included, would be willing to go more often.

Fruechtenicht is a film buff who watches movies new, old or in-between and talks about them on his YouTube show, “Coffee Table Zeroes.”

Pg06-Alex Fruechtenicht

Alex Fruechtenicht

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Give Kanye more credit

Give Kanye more credit

By BETO HOYOS

Modern pop culture has its favorite celebrity targets. One of the most popular targets in the last decade has to be Kanye West.

West is a package of abilities.

Musically, he’s all four Beatles wrapped up in one person, controversy and all.

Artistically, he’s a modern day Michelangelo but paints his pictures with words.

When it comes to fashion design, he’s a modern day version of Hubert de Givenchy.

Some say West painted a target on himself in 2005 with the infamous “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” comment during a telethon for Hurricane Katrina.

People were unaware that West put on a benefit concert shortly after. The media chose not to focus on that.

There’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness. We’re all products of our environment and Yeezy is no different. To make it out of south-side Chicago, you must be a little arrogant and believe in yourself. No one else will.

I’ll admit the whole Taylor Swift thing at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards was kind of rude. West was just being passionate about a song (“Single Ladies”) he helped produce. After that, he unfortunately became the quintessential villain of music.

Let’s not forget he did say, “first of all Taylor, I’m gon’ let you finish.”

It was MTV that went to break and didn’t let Swift continue.

Lately West has been taking his rants to the corporate level. I was fortunate to attend the Yeezus tour last year where he delivered an 18-minute rant on corporations like Nike, Disney and Apple.

Despite the controversy, you can look deep and see that Yeezy is actually on a crusade against poverty, hunger and poor education.

In 2005, West and his mother Donda West co-founded the Kanye West Foundation. His mother is now deceased and the foundation is known as the Donda West Foundation.

The charity provides access to music equipment and allows underprivileged youths to express themselves through music and to continue their education.

A few years ago, the music production program “Loop Dreams” emerged from the foundation. The program has helped battle the dropout rate in high schools around the country. In the lyrics of West himself, “They got the dropout keeping kids in the school.”

West also supports charities such as the Common Ground Foundation, LIFEbeat, MusiCares and The Art of Elysium.

Hoyos has been a fan of Kanye West since the College Dropout album and thinks West is not only one of the greatest rappers of all time but one of the greatest artists of his generation. 

Pg06-Beto Hoyos

Beto Hoyo

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Guest Commentary: Report unwanted attention

Guest Commentary: Report unwanted attention

By DIANNE FRANKLIN

In response to the guest commentary “Harassment different for males,” published in the Sept. 18 edition of the Aztec Press, Pima Community College administration would like to provide important information that will assist our students, employees and visitors.

PCC is committed to creating and maintaining an educational and work environment free of any type of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation.

The college’s anti-discrimination and non-harassment policy establishes the expectations of behavior for everyone within the college community by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking), age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation and gender identity.

All employees and students should feel safe and respected in their educational and work environment.

The college is committed to preventing sexual harassment and to addressing allegations of any policy violations without delay.

Sexual harassment is never OK and needs to be dealt with both promptly and effectively.

Therefore, all students and employees are encouraged to immediately report any concerns of possible discrimination or harassment, so that the college can take timely and appropriate action to address and remedy the issues.

There are multiple ways within the college to file your complaints, submit questions or share concerns. These resources include:

• Karrie Mitchell, Title IX coordinator (206-4973) at Title9@pima.edu,

• Dianne Franklin, EEO director (206-4539) at #EEOALL@pima.edu,

• Office of Dispute Resolution (206-4686) at resolution@pima.edu,

• Via a confidential hotline (1-800-503-8072) at complianceandethicshotline.ethicspoint.com.

Franklin is PCC’s Director for Equal Employment Opportunity,  Affirmaitive Action and ADA compliance.

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FROM THE EDITOR: America rushes into another war

FROM THE EDITOR: America rushes into another war

By ANDREW PAXTON

On Sept. 10, President Barack Obama told the nation he was taking us into another war. With America getting ready to end combat operations in Afghanistan, our Noble Peace Prize-winning commander-in-chief will soon be dropping bombs in Syria. And Iraq. Again.

Again with the military conflict that will undoubtably result in more civilian suffering, death and destruction. We talk about an air war as a “limited conflict.” I imagine it doesn’t feel limited to the women and children who sleep with the sounds of explosions in the background.

We are told this war is necessary, to defeat a ruthless enemy that has decapitated American journalists and British aid workers. But few stop to ask where this enemy came from, who has funded and aided them and why they exist in the first place.

These questions aren’t being asked because no one wants to hear the answers. But the truth is, America and its allies are largely responsible for the enemy they are now desperately trying to stop.

A report commissioned by the State Department and subsequently published by Wikileaks shows our government knows the Islamic State (or ISIS, or ISIL, or whatever you want to call them) has been funded by private donors from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and other supposed allies.

Experts have also been saying for years that our military violence across the Middle East, Asia and Africa would only breed more extremists against us. From our drone war in Pakistan to the destabilization of Libya to the multiple Iraq wars, America has been creating enemies around the world.

Of course, the Islamic State must be stopped from murdering innocent people. However, dropping bombs and hoping a ragtag group of local forces can defeat more than 30,000 fighters is a pipe dream. The Iraqi Army, funded by billions of U.S. dollars, already failed to stop them.

The international community should be cutting off the flow of weapons to the region, rather than pumping in more instruments of death. We should realize that killing every radical is impossible, and instead start working towards meaningful, diplomatic solutions that address the causes of violence.

The industrial-military complex has ensured that another war will be waged. The media should be ashamed of itself for once again failing to ask the right questions, and hold those that created this problem responsible for their actions.

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MY TUCSON: Learning from difficult times

MY TUCSON: Learning from difficult times

BY MARIANA CEJA

Every time I think of Tucson I have mixed feelings, but more than anything I have mixed feelings about the University of Arizona.

I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. My family and I moved to the United States on the day I turned 14.

It was very difficult for me to adapt to a new country with a different culture, odd food and a new language. I remember having to ask for interpretation from students to use the restroom.

I was placed in English as a Second Language classes in high school, and had to learn the ABCs and kindergarten songs such as “Head and Shoulder, Knees and Toes.” It was pretty embarrassing and degrading.

After that, I decided to do my best in learning the language so that I would never be embarrassed again. I went from ESL classes to regular English classes to AP English and literature.

I graduated in the top 25 of my high school class. Of the 500 people in my class, 40 of us went on to a university.

UA provided a full scholarship that paid for tuition and books for my four years of education. The scholarship also included a laptop, a printer and an iPod. I was set.

Two years later, I became depressed and my life went downhill from there. I failed two whole semesters and was disqualified from the UA. I began attending Pima Community College, and hid the truth from my parents.

I finally had to tell my parents after a year of lying about my academic situation. They were surprisingly understanding and told me they would support me in everything I do.

It took counselors and medicine, plus love and support from family and friends, to get out of that hole I was in. It hasn’t been easy but I am pulling myself up little by little.

As my thirst for improvement and success continues, I have taken most of the writing classes offered at Pima and am now taking the journalism classes.

I am doing so much better, and am now in training for my dream job as a Spanish interpreter for Cyracom. I will move to Flagstaff next semester to finish my education and graduate, finally.

Even when my experience in Tucson has been bittersweet, I have met wonderful people. I’ve also learned a lot about life, what independence is all about and how to overcome obstacles.

After this adversity, I feel ready to face anything. Thank you Tucson for all of the learning and the good times.

Web-Mariana

 

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Community colleges offer many advantages

Community colleges offer many advantages

By TAYLOR JONES

 Community college is not what it used to be. With so many advantages financially and almost all of the same experiences, it is hard to justify starting off at a university.

Students who want to graduate from a university can knock out their general courses at a community college, with a lower work load.

 In my own experience, going straight from high school to the University of Arizona was an extreme and overwhelming change.

If I had attended a community college for two years, I would have been better prepared for the amount of work and stress that was coming my way.

When applying for a university, the college expects you to pick your major before coming to school. I felt pressured and very unsure of exactly what I wanted to do.

At a community college, your interests are more important and exploration is a big part of the process.

Of course there are perks to being at a university, such as big football games, Greek life and a larger curriculum to choose from.

However, community college offer many perks that a university does not. The smaller class sizes provide a more personal feeling. You are closer to your classmates and your instructors.

At a university, it is very common to never exchange one word with a professor for the entire semester. I’d rather know my professors so maybe they can help me decide what it is I want to do in life.

In both cases, you must take prerequisites classes. Why not take them at half the cost and focus on what you really want to do?

After I chose my major at UA, I not only had to take those generic classes but also required classes that had nothing to do with my major. That would be OK if you knew exactly what you wanted to do, but for most of us, that isn’t the case.

Financial aid is given to those in need both at a community college and a university, so that’s not a factor.

It is important to research your options before you make a decision for your future.

I would never take back my early experience at UA but I am now more aware of the benefits of community college.

I’ve had great experiences at both types of schools and am an advocate of each, depending on the incoming student. For many students, though, I would recommend the community college option.

Jones has attended both the University of Arizona and several community colleges throughout the state in order to knock credits out.

Taylor

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Stop blaming victims

Stop blaming victims

BY KATIE STEWART

When unfortunate events happen, society tends to blame the victim.

The public can be insensitive and quick to condemn the vulnerable. No matter what vulgar or vicious act a perpetrator commits, it is somehow always the victim’s fault.

On Aug. 31, an unknown hacker posted stolen celebrity photos on the website 4chan. The postings included nude photos of Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton and countless others.

After the hacked photos were widely publicized, the celebrities were bombarded with uninvited scrutiny.

Then came the inevitable backlash, and the victims were blamed and shamed for their indecency. Never mind that the private images were never intended for public consumption.

The true fault lies with the person who had the audacity to hack into the celebrities’ personal lives.

Another incident started on Feb. 15, when former Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice was arrested and charged with assault toward his then-fiancée Janay Palmer.

A video posted by the celebrity news website TMZ showed Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of an elevator. Rice lost his job after a second video surfaced from inside the elevator that showed Rice throwing the knock-out punch.

Fox News “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade mocked the incident, saying “I think the message is, take the stairs.”

His so-called joke once again blamed the victim by providing a “solution” instead of putting the blame where it belongs, with the perpetrator.

Other examples of placing blame: telling a rape victim that she should have worn more decent clothing, or telling an abused spouse that she shouldn’t have made her husband mad.

People should be allowed to do what they want to their own bodies without the fear of having someone taking advantage of it. And blaming the victim for an abusive relationship is just ridiculous.

We must stop being insensitive to victims and quit looking the other way with perpetrators. Instead, let’s teach people how to be decent and not to take advantage of others.

Stewart, 23, wants the continuous shaming of blameless victims to stop and wishes society would start blaming the perpetrators.

Pg06-Katie Stewart

 

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