Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monmouth Track Dominance Continues

By Dan Nolan
College Sports Information

MONMOUTH, Ill. – The Monmouth College men and women chalked up their 12th and 10th Midwest Conference indoor track championships, respectively, in dominating fashion at the meet held in Grinnell, Iowa.

The Fighting Scots had a combined 17 first place finishes for the men and women and set four school records. The women outdistanced the field by more than 120 points while the men were 89 points ahead of the pack. Roger Haynes was named the MWC’s men’s and women’s Coach of the Year and six Monmouth athletes were named the meet’s Outstanding Performers. Seniors Saidu Sesay (track), Peyton Lumzy (field) and Michael Blodgett (field) were the men’s winners while Mary Kate Beyer (track), Jae Moore (track) and Allison Devor (field) were the women’s representatives.

Beyer claimed two individual titles and a relay crown in her final indoor conference meet. The senior broke her own school record to win the 5,000-meters in 17:44.07. She led a Scots’ 1-2 finish in the 3,000, running a 10:19.17 to finish 13 seconds ahead of Rachel Bowden. Beyer also ran a leg on the winning distance medley relay. Marlee Lane, Kenzie Payton and Brittney Frazier joined Beyer to break the tape in 12:51.15.

Bowden was the bridesmaid three times in the championships. In addition to a second in the 3K, the sophomore took second in the 800 run with a school record time of 2:18.70. She clocked a personal-best in the mile, but was two-tenths off the pace to place second. Aron Jackson and Alyssa Edwards helped Bowden with points in the 800, finishing sixth and eighth. Edwards also picked up a seventh-place finish in the mile.

The Scots women dominated the throws where Devor led the charge. Monmouth filled the podium in the weight throw when Devor threw a school record and improved her provisional throw with a winning mark of 56’4-1/2”. Raven Robinson unleashed a personal best to take second, just ahead of Amanda Streeter. The trio nearly duplicated the feat in the shot put. Devor won with a throw of 43’7-1/4”, two feet ahead of runner up Streeter. Robinson took fourth.

Moore picked up two wins. The senior sprinted to a win in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.50. Kimarri Campbell placed third and Alexa Allen was fifth in the 55 dash. Moore ran the leadoff leg of the winning 4x400 relay on the final day. Moore, Morgan Leffel, Whitney Didier and Kaci Lierman clocked a 4:05.48 for the win.

Didier and Morgan Ryan were 1-2 in the pole vault where Leffel placed sixth. Didier cleared 11’7-3/4” for the title. Mackinsey Marquith, Bailey Jackson and Leffel took solid points in the long jump, finishing 2-3-4. Marquith improved her provisional mark with a jump of 18’0-1/4”.

Jackson turned in a personal-best to place second in the triple jump, just ahead of Marquith. Leffel finished fifth. Four high jumpers including Chelsea Widdop and Emily Tysma tied for second after clearing 4’11-1/2”. Widdop was awarded second and Tysma was fifth.

The women took advantage of their depth to bunch points in the running events. Moore and Allen were 2-3 in the 200 dash and Payton scored in sixth. In the 55-meter hurdles, Allen ran an improved provisional and personal-best time of 8.35 to take second and Ryan was fifth. Lierman and Didier each ran career-bests in the 400 meters. Lierman finished second, less than three seconds out of first. Didier took fourth and Leffel was sixth.

The sprint medley relay team turned in a school record. Payton, Leffel, Lierman and Didier clocked a 4:18.47 and finished third.

Sesay was the big winner for the men, claiming one relay and two individual titles. The senior’s career-best 6.51 in the 55 dash made him the champion by more 12-hundredths. Kainte Green sprinted to a third-place finish in the race.

Monmouth’s men nearly claimed the entire podium in the 200 where Sesay ran a 22.43 to earn his second crown. Green was just nine-hundredths back to place second and Logan Hohl was fourth.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

SPRING BREAK ADVISORY

By Jacob Willis

Spring is in the air and College students across the country have one thing in mind: Spring Break! In less than two weeks campus dorms will be closing and students will be free to do as they please for over a week. Whether it is finding a beach on the coast, hitting the slopes, or even just taking a load off at home. Spring Break is a time for students to take a vacation from the stress of school and let loose. However, it is no secret that the freedom of spring break can lead to some dangerous situations. Here are just a few tips to keep you safe and feeling good this spring break.

Workouts: If you are not already doing it START! You want to be looking your best before you hit the beach or the sun, so the more time spent in the gym the better.

Save Big Money!: Its always better to have more than enough rather than not enough when heading on vacation.

*TIP- Students going on spring break should look to save about $500-$1000 to bring along. Don’t forget you have to save for food, drinks, alcohol, night clubs, etc. for every day you are on spring break. Most night clubs and bars will have a special deal for the week so make sure you do your research to save the most of your money.

Pack Wisely: just because it is spring break does not always mean the weather will feel like it. From experience last year, Panama City Beach can still be pretty brisk at the beginning of March. Temperatures may only touch 70 degrees on some days, which is not necessarily a no shoes, no shirt, no problem type day. Make sure you throw in a long sleeve T-shirt and maybe a couple hoodies just in case the weather is not the best.

Contact Person/ I.C.E: Make sure whoever you are traveling with including yourself, informs someone of your daily itinerary so someone knows where and what your are doing at all times. Check in with your contact daily and let him or her know if your travel plans change.

Watch your cash: Do not carry large amounts of cash with you. Anything can happen at any given point, and it could really put a damper on the trip to loose all of your cash at one time. Try and keep whatever you will not need of your cash locked up or hidden back at the hotel. This includes credit cards, debit cards, and any other forms of cash.

Alcohol: Know the law: Inform yourself and others of the drinking laws within the state you are traveling before you go. Find out beforehand what will happen if you violate these laws. In most cases forms of identification and A LOT of cash will be needed, so be smart. Otherwise, your trip may be ending earlier than planned.

Ride the bus: Drunk driving is nothing to play with while on break. Police will be using this time period to catch as many people as possible who fall into this category. Find out what public transportation is available around you. In most places they will offer public transportation for free. While out at night it is smart to put the number of a taxi service in your wallet of purse.

Protect your friends: If you see a friend that is non-responsive, make sure to lay them on their side to prevent choking on spit or vomit. Don’t take a risk, call someone immediately. Better safe than sorry.
Make a plan: Figure out how much alcohol you will be consuming at the beginning of the day. Make sure you incorporate a bottle of water into your plan after at least every 3 drinks. Also make it a plan to watch your drink. Stalkers are lurking everywhere on spring break, looking for that perfect opportunity when you set your drink down.

Safe sex: If you choose to have sex over break use protection every time. Condoms are easy to stash in a wallet or purse and will do the deed to prevent pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.Keep Sex Sober: Having sex under the influence can bring up some potential risk you would rather not deal with. Even if you think there is consent, having sex under the influence can be considered sexual assault in some cases.

Choose Wisely: It is very easy to make friends on spring break. But be sure to really get to know the person before trusting them. It is hard to tell where someone has been let alone who they have been with just by talking to them.

These tips could be life savers while on your stress free vacations, so make note. Be smart, be safe, and most importantly be responsible this spring break.

Friday, February 4, 2011

THE BATTLE FOR EGYPT

An Interview with Professor Petra Y. Kuppinger

Petra Kuppinger is an Associate Processor in the Department of Sociology/Anthropology at Monmouth College. Since coming to Monmouth in 2000, Kuppinger has published eight professional articles. Most of her work stems from dissertation research in Cairo, Egypt, where she spent years doing fieldwork. In 2009 she presented a related paper about female leadership in Muslim communities at Oxford University. She is now on sabbatical in Stuttgart, Germany conducting research in German Islam, which she hopes to turn into a book.

Professor Kuppinger was interviewed by the Warren County Newswire and Monmouth College Courier via email on
February 3.

Courier: Were you surprised by the anti-Mubarak demonstrations, or could you see them coming?

Before the uprising happened in Tunisia earlier in January few, including myself, would have foreseen the current events in Cairo. When the protesters in Tunis were successful and ousted their dictator in a matter of days, it was clear that people in other Arab countries and here in particular the vast ranks of the younger generation were watching these events very carefully. They took and compared notes. At that point it became increasingly clear that Tunisia could become a model.

Courier: What do you think of the response by the Obama administration?

The Obama administration (and here I would also include the major European leaders, since I am in Europe at present) were too slow and hesitant to take clear sides with the peaceful demonstrators in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities. Of course, the situation is tricky as US and European administrations had been backing Mubarak and his regime for three decades. They had been pleased to have a staunch ally in him who reliable took their side in various Middle Easter and global conflicts, and in the “War on Terrorism.” That Mubarak did this often at the expense of his people and certainly as the expense of democracy did not so much concern Western governments. Thus the situation was difficult for Obama, Sarkozy, Merkel and others as they had to find the appropriate moment to drop their former ally and switch sides. They soon realized they had to switch sides as otherwise years of lecturing the Arab World about democracy would sound even more hypocritical than it had always sounded to the Arab masses.

In addition Western leaders were/are struggling with irrational fears of all things Islamic which is one reason why they supported Mubarak, Ben Ali and Co. for so long, as these dictators promised to keep the “Islamist” threat in check. How many of this was a useful hype remains to been explored in the future. As Western leaders debated when and how to drop Mubarak their most urgent concern was/is: what role with Islamic forces and here in particular the Muslim Brotherhood play in the future of Egypt. This fear, I think, led them to hold on to Mubarak and disregard the people of Egypt for much too long.

Courier: What kind of government is likely to evolve from this movement? Do you see any legitimate leaders emerging from the demonstrations?

The people in the streets of Egypt and in particular the core of courageous demonstrators who hold their positions on Cairo’s central Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) are a broad cross-section of the population. It is a grass root movement in the truest sense of the word. They fight FOR Egypt and they fight FOR a better future. How exactly this will unfold is yet unclear. All these people know is that they have been treated like immature children for decades and they will no longer put up with this political system. They have seen their political leadership and economic elites amass huge fortunes and keep an utterly corrupt system in place for decades.

Mohammed Al-Baradei or Ayman Nour (local liberal opposition leader) could take positions of interim leadership until a reasonable political system has been established and the constitution changed accordingly. Details will have to be negotiated along the way. I think one of the amazing features of this protest is that it is a project in the making. No political group has set up a scheme or master plan for these events. It is the people, and here very much the electronically linked younger generation who are driving this movement. There are no ideological slogans or banners.

Courier: What are the chances that the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood could form a government that would be acceptable to the people?

The role of the Muslim Brotherhood is interesting and at the same time secondary in these protests. The Brotherhood was as surprised as anybody else by the recent events. That’s why it took them so long to issue statements and get onboard. The Brotherhood has in the meantime joined the protest, not as a leading force, but as participants. If one is familiar with the Egyptian political scenery, it is interesting to note that demonstrator do not use Islamic symbols or slogans to claim ownership of the events for Islamic groups (note that all demonstrators wear westerns style clothes, they wave Egyptian national flags, nobody carries Islamic banners like the old Brotherhood slogan “Islam is the solution”).
In the Western hype about Islamists the Muslim Brotherhood who denounced violence a long time ago has been demonized for too long. While militant Islamist groups exist, they are increasingly marginal. The Brotherhood is certainly not one of them. Over the past two decades, in particular, the Brotherhood has turned into a political force not unlike various European Christian Democratic parties. The Brotherhood is also thoroughly pro-capitalists (as it includes numerous wealthy business people) which in part explains its initial hesitance to support the protest as they also fear the anger of Egypt’s disenfranchised masses.
The Brotherhood could be a likely partner in a larger political coalition of parties. They are the only larger organized opposition group (even though they were/are illegal). If the Brotherhood plays a role similar to the AKP, the current ruling party in Turkey of Prime Minister Erdo─čan, they could play a rather positive role in the struggle to fight corruption and make Egypt into a more democratic country.

Courier: What are the chances that a new government might produce Iran style Islamic rulers?

Egypt is not Iran and 2011 is not 1979. When Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran in 1979 he triggered hopes for similar regime changes in many Muslim countries. Islamist political movements mushroomed in the 1980s. As the movements (see for example in Turkey, but also the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt) watched the situation unfold, they realized fairly quickly that the Iranian model did not produce the type of society they had hoped for, or even wished to live in. One after the other these movements corrected their agendas and designed new ways and models. They ushered in a period of “Post-Islamism” in particular in the Middle East and among European Muslims. The term “Post-Islamism” (termed and elaborated in particular by the sociologist Asef Bayat) denotes new/revised movements with drastically reworked agendas. These groups, parties and movement search to develop ways to produce a democratic system that includes Islamic groups and agendas. Again Turkey is the best example – and indeed is carefully watched in the Arab world for that matter. Egyptians today can see the example of Iran and Turkey and there can be little doubt that Turkey is the more attractive and successful one for the masses in the street.

Courier: What is your reaction to the pro-Mubarak forces that attacked demonstrators yesterday? The Western press has described them as "goon squads" hired and paid by Mubarak. Do you agree?

There can be no doubt that the Pro-Mubarak demonstrators are predominantly paid thugs and plain clothes police men. They are brought to Tahrir Square to push the demonstrators of the square. It is not surprising that they came in on Wednesday after Mubarak announced, what he and his political buddies thought was a great compromise, that he would not run again for the elections in September. This announcement added insult to injury for the demonstrators and once more testifies to just how far removed from the masses the Egyptian leadership is. Mubarak and his buddies seemed to have seriously thought that this announcement would send the millions home happily, and their own predicament would be over. As this, of course, did not happen they took out their time-honored tool box of violent repression to deal with their opponents. So they brought in their thugs. Since then the regime has shown its ugly and repressive face once more in full.

In the meanwhile numerous journalists (Arab and Western alike) have been beaten and their cameras taken away. Numerous international TV crews who all have office in the building close to the Egyptian TV had to leave that building as the thugs were attacking in particular the office of Al-Arabiya, one of the well-respected Arab Gulf networks. The German public TV crew, for example, reported that they had to move to a nearby hotel (not a bad deal, a five star high rise hotel with an excellent view onto the square). The very latest report (Thursday early afternoon, Cairo time), however said that bookings in these local hotels would not be renewed. This is one more sign that the government is involved here. Who else could tell an international hotel chain (in this case the Hilton Hotels) how to handle their bookings?

Personal Note
I am in total awe at the courage and dedication of the Egyptian people. They have my utmost respect. I wish them success and hope they establish the kind of democratic system they wish for and deserve!

THE AGONY OF RAISING TAXES

By
Britta Nichols

On January 12, the Illinois House passed a massive income-tax increase to help the state dig out of a $13 billion deficit. The question now is whether the tax hike will help or hurt the Illinois economy. According to Ken McMillan, Professor of Political Economy and Commerce at Monmouth College, the state faced a dilemma. “There was a major crisis in the state of Illinois, and the state had two options: to reduce spending or to increase taxes.” In the short term, most state officials say Illinois had no choice but to increase taxes which will allow the State to decrease some outstanding debt and pay this year’s bills. But will the tax increase hurt the state economy in the long run?

In addition to an increase in individual income-tax rates from 3% to 5%, there was a corresponding corporate tax rate increase from 4.8% to 7%. McMillan, a former State Senator, says it’s the corporate tax hike that will hurt the state in the long run. “Illinois’ corporate tax is the highest in the country. As of now, Illinois is a much less attractive place to live in.” Companies look at the facts and see that corporate income taxes are now higher than surrounding states; so many companies may choose to go elsewhere.

To many college students, the tax hike may not seem relevant, but when reality sets in after college, graduates will see the effect of the income tax on their paychecks . Less money in a paycheck means less money spent on extra activities that could boost the troubled economy in this country, and especially Illinois. And if Illinois corporations decide to leave the state, it will mean fewer jobs for college graduates to fill.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

TOP OF THE HEAP FOR SCOTS TRACK

By Dan Nolan
Just days after the Monmouth College track team was ranked among the nation’s best by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the Scots men and women are rated in the nation’s top four when it comes to dual meet competition.

The USTFCCCA compared teams based on a dual meet setting and the Monmouth women garnered 118.31 points. That’s enough to be third in the dual meet rankings, just 12 points out of the top spot. Monmouth’s men scored 128.72 points to rank fourth, less than 11 points out of second. The top four men’s teams are all in Monmouth’s region.

The USTFCCCA uses a formula based on Division II automatic qualifying standards. An athlete’s top performance for the season is calculated into points for head-to-head team competition. The virtual meet is then scored as a regular meet to determine each team’s dual meet power ranking.