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The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Archive for November, 2007

Almost There – Free the West Memphis Three

Posted by iusbvision on November 16, 2007

Damien Echols. Jason Baldwin. Jessie Misskelley. These are hardly household names. You probably never heard of them – a shame, really, considering that they are the main protagonists in one of America’s most astonishing cases of blundered police work and shoddy judicial prosecution.

They are known as The West Memphis Three, a group of young men who were arrested as teenagers in the murders of three 8-year-old boys in the spring of 1993. According to the prosecution, the three boys were murdered and subsequently mutilated – one of them had the skin around his genitals completely and precisely removed – in a drainage ditch in the now infamous Robin Hood Hills neighborhood of West Memphis, Arkansas.

In a dramatic display reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials, the three teenagers were accused and tried for the murders without a single piece of material evidence, in a trial featuring tales of satanic rituals and occultism. Fabricated testimony after fabricated testimony, the three teens were convicted simply because they wore black clothing and listened to heavy metal. The prosecution’s main argument rests on the confession made by Jessie Misskelley himself, who has an IQ of 72 and is borderline mentally impaired.

Jessie sat for 12 hours of interrogation at the West Memphis Police Department without his legal guardians and without representation, without food or water, and under constant pressure by the cops. He finally caved in and provided a disconnected — and clearly coerced — account of the murders, implicating himself, Damien and Jason as perpetrators. Jessie and Jason were sentenced to life in prison. Damien, the supposed ringleader, was sentenced to death by lethal injection. It is noteworthy that Jessie was tried separately from Damien and Jason, and at the time the prosecutor’s office considered Jessie’s testimony in the case against the other two accused to be absolutely paramount for a conviction. Yet, even after being offered a plea bargain, Jessie refused to testify against his two friends. He refused to lie, even to save himself.

The documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and the follow-up film Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, both produced by HBO, depict with painful and exhaustive exactitude the events that lead to the conviction of Damien, Jason, and Jessie. One cannot watch them without a sense of complete and utter disgust and hopelessness.
How could this happen in 20th century America? How could the judicial system fail in such a blatant and horrifying manner? But the most compelling revelation is that under the right circumstances, it could happen to anyone. This was a very combustible, volatile combination of satanic panic, public hysteria, and slapdash police work that concluded with the conviction of three teenagers whose only ‘sin’ was a penchant for dressing in black and their taste in music.

The extraordinary mobilization this case has created in all sectors of society — from artists, lawyers, to politicians and forensic experts – attests to the significance and the injustice brought forth by the ruling, and just how far-reaching the scope of the case really is. An insurmountable amount of money and resources have been utilized to clear the West Memphis Three from the killings. Donations have poured in from all corners of the globe; local WM3 chapters have organized concerts and other fundraising events; and lawyers have worked tirelessly (some pro bono). And after more than 15 years of angst, anger, and sometimes bleak resignation after every appeal for a retrial was defeated in the Arkansas Supreme Court, their efforts seemed to have finally paid off.

After conducting exhaustive DNA tests in dozens of pieces of evidence, the concluding results shows no link whatsoever to any of the accused, but rather single out the father of one of the slaughtered boys and possibly implicates him in the murders. For all of us who have shared the fear, the inconformity and the indignation that have desolated Damien, Jason, and Jessie, this comes as extraordinary news. We also mourn for the three innocent boys whose lives were so brutally interrupted, who are now vindicated as true justice will finally put the real perpetrators behind bars.

But the scars remain and can never be fully healed. The three young men who have paid dearly for a crime they did not commit have been subjected to 15 years of hell in the Arkansas Corrections System. Damien has confessed that he has been raped several times while in prison – a practice sometimes reserved to inmates who commit crimes against children. But through it all, he remained optimistic. He has written a book called Almost Home: My Life Story Vol. I which chronicles his time spent imprisoned while waiting for an absolution that sometimes seemed so far away. Jason spends most of his time reading books from various authors, as has Jessie. Always waiting, always hoping, always faithful. It appears impossible to fathom the exhilaration they will feel when they are finally set free. Justice, albeit belated, seems finally achievable. And not a minute too soon.

“Remember, Red: hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”
– Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption

The fight for justice in the WM3 case had reached a pivotal point. The new DNA evidence is definitely an astounding accomplishment, but the struggle is far from over. For more information on the case, please watch Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, both available in DVD and VHS at your local video store. Also, please visit http://www.wm3.org for updated news, media files, court documents, and the a comprehensive coverage of the case.

Ed Lima

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Indoctrinate U

Posted by iusbvision on November 16, 2007

Imagine mandatory meetings with a dorm RA to probe you with questions like “when did you discover your sexual identity?”, “when did you discover your racial identity?”, what races would you date?” and “do you believes homosexuals have a right to marry?”

What if they told you that the term “racist” applies to “all white people living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality?” What if they told you that “those in denial use the term reverse racism to refer to hostile behavior by people of color toward whites, and to affirmative action policies, which allegedly give ‘preferential treatment’ to people of color over whites” and then they told you that anyone who ever claims reverse racism is themselves a racist?

What if you resisted the indoctrination or answered the questions with “none of your business” and you were then put on a list of students whose attitudes were best to worst and those who were on worst were recommended for more “treatment?” The list would then be circulated throughout the resident affairs system.

This and a great deal more is what University of Delaware students have been subjected to for the last four years. According to U. of D. student Bill Rivers, the program started with floor meetings with the RA where you are told “the way you think about the world is racist and wrong, and the way we think is right.” Group sessions lead by trained RA’s lead the students though “exercises” to show how being white means you are a racist and an oppressor.

Fortunately, students, parents and two professors from U. of D. contacted FIRE – the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (thefire.org). FIRE conducted an investigation for months and then sent a letter to U. of D. President Pat Harker demanding that the program be dismantled. http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/8555.html?PHPSESSID=277564af9610503438c900970b9dcb8b

In response, Dr. Michael Gilbert, the Vice President of Student Life wrote FIRE denying that there was any indoctrination program, and that the residence education program was voluntary and was only meant as encouragement. Unfortunately for Dr. Gilbert, FIRE had already collected hundreds of pages of documentation on the program proving otherwise.
Here are some examples from the resident curricula:

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors will participate in monthly community meetings that are designed to provide knowledge about contemporary global issues and prompt action. For example, students will evaluate their consumption patterns in an attempt to reduce it apartment by apartment. Furthermore, students will be asked in the floor meeting setting to choose a project for change.

At Dickinson in the spring, “Each student would be asked to make a commitment to reduce their [ecological] footprint by at least 20% before the next one on one meeting.” At the Christiana Towers complex, among the Junior Learning Outcomes are that “Each student will act on the internal belief that societal problems are everyone’s responsibility.” (Sources: Sendy E. Guerrier, “Dickinson Complex Curriculum”; Dena Kniess, “Christiana Towers Complex Curriculum.”)

It is vitally important that the environment is one which does not allow students to passively miss what is occurring. Students should be confronted with this information at every turn and understand the interconnectedness of everything that is presented to them. This is one of the benefits inherent in working in the residence hall environment, the numerous points of contact. The environment is rich with opportunities to let students know what we consider important and leave a mental footprint on their consciousness. (Emphasis added.) (Source: Sendy E. Guerrier and Licinia B. Kaliher, “Rodney Complex Curriculum.”)

All students are expected to be at community meetings. As this is the primary educational delivery strategy, follow up will be expected by the RA/HD for those residents who do not attend a community meeting. (Source: 2007-2008 curricula for the individual residence complexes)

Each room door in the complex will have a door decoration that has a representation of the interlocking circles of the triple bottom line. (Source: 2007-2008 curricula for the individual residence complexes)

As a means to take action, students will become engaged in the Adopt-a-Rainforest project. (Source: 2007-2008 curricula for the individual residence complexes)

In late October, students will take action by advocating for a social group that is oppressed…this sequence is capped with the second one on one between the RA and the student in which the student will recognize his/her negative stereotypes and learn how to challenge them. (Source: 2007-2008 curricula for the individual residence complexes)

In the second floor meeting in late March, students will take action by advocating for a sustainable world. (Source: 2007-2008 curricula for the individual residence complexes)

The RA’s would send out emails such as the following:

Every semester we are required to hold a 1-on-1 session. This gives us, the RA’s, a chance to know how everyone’s doing and where everyone stands on certain issues or topics. Not to scare anyone or anything, but these are MANDATORY!!

I just wanted to remind you all that floor meetings ARE mandatory. While I am a very understanding person, there is NO WAY that HALF of you weren’t able to make it last night. Also, NONE of you e-mailed me about prior commitments. While I hate to do this, I’m going to have to set some ground rules…

Fire responded to Vice President Gilbert’s letter stating that it “is a brazen misrepresentation of Delaware’s program. The university’s use of the word “encourage” is highly misleading given the lengths—far beyond ‘encouragement’—to which the university goes to ensure that all students in its residence halls participate in the educational program. For example, after an investigation revealed that—in the university’s own words—males demonstrated ‘a higher degree of resistance to educational efforts,’ the Rodney complex chose to hire ‘strong male RAs.’ Each such RA ‘combats male residents’ concepts of traditional male identity,’ in order to ‘ensure the delivery of the curriculum at the same level as in the female floors.’ (Emphases added.)”

FIRE also pointed out that “The entire curriculum is rife with the language of ‘students will,’ ‘students must,’ ‘each student will’.” Since linking to the residence curricula U. of D. has removed the documents from their web server.
According to Dr. Linda Gottfredson, a professor at U. of Delaware, students who did not show up were tracked down and told to go to the meetings. “They asked the students intimate questions that I would get fired for asking a student. They demanded that students publicly state their beliefs and give reasons for them and those who were ‘wrong’ were pressured to tow the ideological line. One such exercise put students who thought gay marriage was a right on one side of the room and those who opposed it on the other side.”

When Dr. Gottfredson starting asking questions about the program the university told her that it was merely research. Dr. Gottfredson stated, “If its research they need to go through human subjects review boards, then the University stated that they only needed to do that if they published the materials which is absolutely false.”

Says Dr. Gottfredson, “The things that were happening on our campus were to teach students that the American society is a massively oppressive society and many of the floor exercises were designed to do that and that whites in particular are the oppressors and white students and males [who] were also singled out have to understand how oppressive they are. So it is indoctrination into an ‘us verses them’, an oppressor verses victim” and “when [genuine] debate would break out the RA would shut it down.”

“This program was lauded by several professional organizations. American College Personal Association and the National Association of Student Personal Administrators, whose web sites seem to be full of this sort of approach to the ‘treatment’ of students in college and residence halls in particular” Dr. Gottfredson said.

Friday, the University of Delaware announced that it is terminating the residential education program, but Dr. Gottfredson still has concerns. “The RA’s have been intensively trained to administer this type of ‘treatment’ and they have a huge infrastructure to administer this ‘treatment’. That is hundreds of RA’s and dozens of their supervisors who have been trained to think in these ways so it is going to take a lot of effort and monitoring to end this program.”

The student who ranked “the worst” and told the RA “none of your business” when they started asking the personal questions was a female immigrant from Russia. Oh the irony.

Chuck Norton

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Music Piracy Costs Fellow IU Students Thousands

Posted by iusbvision on November 16, 2007

If students have not had a chance to check their IUSB account e-mails lately they may be surprised to find that the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jeff Jones and Vice Chancellor of Information Technologies Dr. Pat C. Ames sent out an e-mail to all students notifying them of lawsuits by music companies on the illegal use of peer to peer network file sharing services being used on college campuses.

Nineteen of our own Indiana University students have settled suits at $3000 to $4000 for the illegal use of programs such as Limewire and BitTorrent. It is important to note that there are many alternatives that can be used even though these two are the most popular currently in the market. I found this as a good opportunity to let everyone know and understand how these peer to peer clients work and just how privacy doesn’t really exist with your internet activities.

File sharing (or peer to peer) applications such as Limewire and BitTorrent are not very complicated. The applications directly connect to what are known as “seeding” computers, or “host” computers. A torrent file is downloaded to the user’s computer as a re-director to all of the seeders who hold the desired file. Bits and pieces of the file are then downloaded from all of the various seeders and are assembled once the file arrives at its destination, the client.

There is one common denominator here, all of the seeds are being polled for data by only one client, in this case it would be the person running Limewire or BitTorrent. The reason this is important to you, is that it is very easy to trace the route of information downloaded all the way down to the exact machine it was put on as well as the machines it is downloaded from. All computer network cards posses what is known as a MAC address, if you have not heard of one it is an important thing to know. MAC addresses are different than a simple IP address in that they are flashed directly to the network hardware of the computer and it is not easily modified or changed.

If one were to “sniff” network activity and capture the MAC address of certain types of illegal activity, they could file a suit against the owners of that network to release the user who was logged or registered to the computer at the time of its use. They can then target those users with suits, and they are doing just that.

There is no true anonymity when it comes to networking; previously internet service providers (ISPs) protected the internet activities of their clients because of privacy concerns. This is becoming less and less feasible by the day as the music, movie and software industry invest millions to stop the rampant piracy of their products. Also, do not forget, networking history in the realm of computers and data is rarely deleted as well. Surf wisely.

Craig Chamberlin

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Taking The Lead on Campus

Posted by iusbvision on November 16, 2007

Many students every year come to a visit day at IU South Bend before they started attending classes. These visit days involve prospective students having a chance to talk with admissions office personnel, receiving information about the campus, hearing guest speakers and most importantly taking a tour of campus. These events are vital in the recruitment process of bringing new students to our campus and now you can help.

The Office of Admissions is currently seeking students who have a passion about IU South Bend and would like to help in these campus visit days. The primary responsibility is leading the tours. Guides take groups of 10-15 students on 45 minute tours of campus that highlights each building and the new housing. Tour guides are provided training, an IU t-shirt and free lunch.

So if you enjoy meeting new people and talking about your university, call the Office of Admissions and get involved. You can reach Mike Renfrow at 574-520-4839 for more details. To see upcoming visit days visit http://www.iusb.edu/~admissio/visit.shtml.

Article Contributed by:
Mike Renfrow

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IUSB Titans 2007-2008 Campaign Now Underway

Posted by iusbvision on November 16, 2007

The IUSB Titans men’s and women’s basketball programs are underway for the 2007-2008 season.
There is a new man calling the plays for the men’s basketball program. Head Coach Dennis Parks takes over for Micah Shrewsberry after leading the Niles High School team to two divisional championships. Shrewsberry resigned in April in order to take the position of Coordinator of Basketball Operations at Butler University. Coach Parks takes over a Titan team that went 11-18 last year.

Head women’s basketball coach Steve Bruce returns for his second year this season. The Lady Titans are looking to rebound from an 8-22 season last year.

Both teams will need players to step up and fill roles left by productive seniors who graduated last year. The women’s team will need to replace the 9.1 points and 3.9 rebounds and steals per game provided by two-team all-CCAC honorable mention award winner, Stacy Spurgeon. Bruce will probably look to senior Jennifer VanderZanden to take up the slack. Last year Jennifer made the first team all-CCAC team for the second straight year.

The men’s team will need to replace all-CCAC first teamers Hubert Gentry and Jeremy Herring. Gentry and Herring were responsible for over 25 points and 11 boards per game. Keep your eye on senior, Dewey Brown who won honorable mention honors in the CCAC while scoring 13.4 points per game last year.

This season will be challenging for the Titans as they only have three upperclassmen, one senior and two juniors. The Lady Titans roster is bit more top heavy with nine upperclassmen including five seniors.

Jarrod Brigham

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