SMU Students Speak Out On Bin Laden’s Death

May 2, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Shana Ray

With a 24-hour period to let the shocking news of Osama Bin Laden’s death resonate with the SMU student body, various opinions arise.

Freshman Parminder Deo was behind his computer when he first got the news.

“I felt an immediate sense of relief and happiness for the innocent families who will finally receive some sense of closure,” Deo said.

Deo also said he understood that our battle with terrorism was not over, but showed no signs of nervousness.

“It’s America and we can handle it, when we set our minds to something we do it,” Deo said.

The death of Bin Laden marks a historic time. Many people are elated with the news and some seem to take a different approach to the situation.

Senior Darren Baucham who was not fond of the idea of rejoicing over someone’s death.

“I would be more comfortable if they arrested him and had a trial, that is more justifiable than murder,” said Baucham. “Regardless of what he did it is not our right to judge.”

Baucham felt it was not just for the life of another person to be taken away and it certainly is wrong to celebrate.

“I value life more than anything,” he said.

Freshman Chris Chung agreed with Baucham on disapproving of the idea of celebrating death.

“I don’t think death is the best solution for anything, Bin Laden killed thousands of people, but he has family too,” Chung said.

He was definitely not sad and even glad that another terrorist threat is gone and unable to do anymore harm. He believes the U.S will handle any difficulties relating to an aftermath but there is a need for greater security.

Sophomore Erica Murphy, however, reveals that she was shocked and in complete disbelief.

“America had to do what was best for our country, however, I don’t feel like we can kill him and terrorism is all over,” Murphy said.

Whether you believe the killing of Bin Laden was justified, or you are strongly against America’s decision, we cannot ignore the future implications this has for our country. We are definitly headed on an unknown journey and the end did not come with the killing of one man. We have a much bigger battle ahead of us, and whether we want to or not America has to be ready.

Shana Ray is a communications student at Southern Methodist University.

Locals Gather at Former President Bush’s Home to Celebrate Bin Laden’s Death

May 1, 2011 by · 134 Comments 

By Daily Mustang Staff

SMU students and other Dallasites held posters Sunday night in front of former President George W. Bush’s home in Dallas thanking him for his dedication to the country after news of Osama bin Laden’s death hit the news.

The home on Daria Place in Preston Hollow, about a mile north of SMU, was a meeting place for Bush fans and those celebrating the death of man who the U.S. government holds responsible for the worst terrorist act on American soil.

Visitors waved American flags and held signs like one that read “President Obama forgot to say…’Thank You President Bush!’” Others began to chant “U.S.A.” and some even brought red and blue balloons to hang on the gate of the residence.

Dallasites celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden in front of the residence of former President George W. Bush Sunday night. (PHOTO BY STUART PALLEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

In an e-mail statement released by the office of President George W. Bush he said:

“Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”

Check the Daily Mustang for updates and follow us on Twitter.

The Daily Update: Thursday, April 14

April 14, 2011 by · Comments Off 

President Obama plans to cut the national debt by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. An air traffic controller fell asleep on the job in Reno, Nevada. And a Yale University student is dead after an accident in the chemistry lab’s machine shop. Find out all this and more on today’s Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Thursday, April 14 from on Vimeo.

The Daily Update: Tuesday, March 29

March 29, 2011 by · Comments Off 

President Obama explains why he feels U.S. involvement in Libya is necessary. At least 120 people are dead after an ammunition factory exploded in Yemen, and religious leaders in Washington are going on a hunger strike. Here on the hilltop, candidates for SMU Student Senate will debate tonight at five p.m. All this and more on today’s Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Tuesday, March 29 from on Vimeo.

The Daily Update: Thursday, March 24

March 24, 2011 by · Comments Off 

The disaster in Japan is already having an affect on car factories in the U.S., one of Hollywood’s most legendary stars is dead and the Mustangs take on the Santa Clara Broncos Friday as SMU hosts the Final Four this weekend. All this and more on today’s Daily Update.

The Daily Update: Thursday, March 24 from on Vimeo.

New Education Budget Cuts Mean Less For Low-Income College Students

March 9, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Kimmy Ryan

Proposed Budget Cuts from on Vimeo.

President Obama is proposing to cut 100 billion dollars in Pell Grants and other federal education programs.

Pell Grants help more than nine million low-income students each year. With a large increase in recipients in the past few years, the Pell Grant Program faces a $20 billion funding shortfall.

The proposed cuts means fewer students will receive the grants, but those who are eligible will receive the maximum award of $5,500 per school year. Students will no longer be able to receive two grants in one year, both a summer school and school year grant. Savings from these cuts would be $60 billion in ten years.

Graduate and professional school students will also face changes. The graduate student debt burden will increase due to changes in loan subsidies. These cuts will save the federal goverment $29 billion in ten years.

Students will be greatly affected by these budget cuts: college tuitions are rising across the United States and need-based grants are being cut.

Overlooked and Forgotten: Human Rights in Iran

March 8, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Anne McCaslin Parker

“Human rights is not a left wing or a right wing,” said Mora Namdar in the Future of Democracy and Human Rights in Iran program on Sunday afternoon.

Mora, a graduate from SMU and former president of the Human Rights Club, was the moderator for a panel discussion that took place in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

Speakers Dr. Ali Reza Nourizadeh, Aliakbar Mousavi Khoeini and Oscar Guevara Morales spoke passionately to students on how they feel about the situation in Iran.

“The old generation is the issue of Iran,” said Dr. Ali Reza Nourizadeh. “The young generation wants to bring changes but doesn’t want to destroy what they have.”

He started by saying how amazed he is at how fast President Obama dealt with the crisis in Egypt a few weeks ago, but has yet to deal with the brutal government in Iran.

“Iran needs international support, the United States has the power to change this,” Nourizadeh said. “Egypts prisons are nothing compared Iran’s, the [U.S.] President who is known as the champion of human rights is closing his eyes to people being killed on the streets.”

Dr. Nourizadeh explained to students that the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believes that by torturing and raping prisoners he is doing the “duty of God.” His soldiers read Qur’an verses while beating them and when they are finished, they think they have done their job well, and holy.

“This is a situation where you are dealing with a holy man who believes he is above 75 million other people,” Nourizadeh said. “You are a subject of him and they look at you as an animal. You are only looked at as a human being if you are willing to fight or give up your life for the regime.”

Aliakbar Mousavi Khoeni believes, “human rights should be the priority for the international community.” He is involved in communication and technology and is working on the freedom of internet in Iran.

“Thirty to 40 percent of Iranians do not have access to the correct information; the government does not ever have the wish of the people,” Khoeni said. “Thousands of journalists to woman rights activists are in prison.”

He told students his goal is to have a United Nations representative visit Iran in the next few weeks to find out what is really going on behind the prison cells. It is his hope that the mistreatment will be reported to the International Code Council.

The third speaker, Oscar Guevara Morales, believes that change is going to have to start in the younger generation.

“[They] have more access to information, they don’t conform to the mainstream media and they always seem to go the extra mile to find out more,” Morales said.

Through social media, he says people are finding ways to break sensorship in repressive societies and are able to organize revolts in no time.

“Citizen journalism is something that has recently been taking place,” Morales said. “Young people are taking courageous roles to produce what is really going on by risking their lives.”

Morales told students that everyone in Iran is so brainwashed and misinformed. He believes that it is going to take a catalyst, one single huge event or story that is painstaking, to actually make people move.

“It is hard for people to protest because they are driven by fear,” Morales said. “I want to see people taking this pro-regime and commend it, break it down and counter everything that they produce.”

Beyond the Bubble: Positive Changes Made in DISD Cafeterias

October 20, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Beyond the Bubble

By Stephanie Collins

The cafeteria was busy during a recent lunch hour at Anne Frank Elementary School in North Dallas. Students filled the room and sat at off-white tables before cups of grapes and chicken sandwiches.

Here, sliced peaches are looked upon as dessert and students have fun dipping carrot sticks into ranch dressing.

“It’s great,” said 8-year-old Eileen of her lunch. She, along with dozens of other students, had lined up just minutes before to receive a pre-portioned, healthy lunch from the school cafeteria.

The Dallas Independent School District is revamping cafeteria food in all of its schools in an effort to increase nutrition among students and decrease childhood obesity.

The change, which was initiated this fall, comes on the heels of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which began in February to combat childhood obesity in the United States.

Childhood obesity, which is referred to by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “an epidemic,” has more than tripled over the past 30 years. Today, 19.6 percent of children between 6 and 11 are obese, according to the CDC.

Locally, the change comes not a moment too soon: a recent study by the CDC shows that 28.7 percent of all Texans are obese.

According to certified nutritionist and third generation owner of Plaza Health Foods in Highland Park, Max Fuqua, serving healthier foods at lunch can have a significant impact on childhood obesity rates in schools.

Obama’s “Let’s Move” organization declared September 2010 the first official childhood obesity awareness month. According to the organization’s website, many children consume at least half of their daily calories at school, making cafeteria food especially important.

A typical lunch at Anne Frank, according to Cafeteria Manager Helen Jackson, now consists of un-breaded chicken patties, a slice of lettuce and tomato and a mixed fruit salad.

Whole grains have also been added to the school’s menu, according to Assistant Principal Gigi Crowder, as well as the inclusion of more fruits and vegetables. Sandwiches are made on whole wheat bread and other entrees are served with a whole wheat roll.

Vegetables are presented in ways that are fun and attractive while maintaining nutritional value. These include creamed spinach, carrot sticks served with ranch dressing and the newly added favorite: sweet potato fries.

Most students enjoy the new healthier food served in the cafeteria. According to Crowder, the sliced peaches are a favorite.

“I had to remind them to eat their sandwiches first,” said Crowder, who noticed students neglecting their main course out of eagerness to eat the sliced peaches before anything else.

Although some students in the cafeteria noted that servings of fruit and vegetables were not as desirable as pizza, and some neglected their fruit cups altogether, most students and teachers take advantage of the healthier options daily.

“I had lunch there today,” Crowder said. “It’s always delicious.”

In addition to the pre-portioned meals, students also have the option of purchasing a packaged salad at lunch with ingredients such as chopped ham and cheese, according to Crowder.

Besides the new food, Jackson said where DISD has really excelled this year has been through portion control.

“We wouldn’t give them a whole cup of potatoes, for example,” Jackson said. “They just get a good sized portion.”

While portion size is important, “it is dependent on what you are eating,” said Fuqua.

It is beneficial to control portions of fats, carbohydrates and sugars, but fruits and vegetables can be eaten “as often as you want and as much as you want.”

Fuqua says the most valuable thing that students can take away from the changes in DISD cafeterias is the educational impact it will have.

“Hopefully it will teach them healthy eating habits at other meals they don’t have at school,” Fuqua said.

The problem for many DISD students, however, is that the meals they are not having at school might be infrequent or unhealthy for economic reasons; some students come from low-income homes where nutritious meals are not always served and busy, working parents often rely on fast food.

“A lot of this is put in terms of economic status, but the fact is that healthy food is not all that much more expensive than unhealthy food,” Fuqua said. “Fruits and vegetables are the cheapest things at the market.”

This knowledge, combined with the educational value of eating healthier meals at school, could lead children to make healthier choices at meals in general, officials say. DISD cafeterias provide 46,000 breakfasts and 10,000 after school snacks daily for children who might not have access to these foods outside of school, according to the school district’s website.

To find out more information about childhood obesity and Obama’s organization, visit their site.

David Gergen Sits Down With The Daily Mustang

September 14, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

SMU Daily Mustang Managing Editor Aida Ahmed got a chance to speak with David Gergen, a senior political analyst for CNN and the moderator for the first Tate Lecture of the year. Gergen spoke with Ahmed about President Obama’s approval rating, the ground zero mosque and the upcoming midterm elections. Check out the video below to hear the full interview.

Daily Mustang Exclusive: David Gergen from on Vimeo.

Video and Editing by Andy Garcia

Politics Blog: Ground Zero Mosque

September 8, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Kyle Spencer

The “Ground Zero Mosque” has stirred controversy all summer and is one of the most divisive issues in our country right now. While people debate on whether or not it’s a good idea to build a Muslim Cultural Center near Ground Zero, I have a more pressing question I’d liked answered: What does it mean to be American?

I remember in 2008 when Barrack Obama was elected President of the United States and the hope that many Americans shared. Barrack Obama represented something that was bigger then himself. Only half a century before was our own president not aloud to drink from the same water fountain as his Vice President, Joe Biden. We had done the unthinkable as a nation. We had elected the first African-American to, debatably, the highest position in the world.

Which brings me back to my question, what does it truly mean to be American? In Obama’s case it was being raised by a white mother and black father in the 60’s. It was being a nonreligious man who was able to covert to Christianity. It was being from a lower middle-class, biracial family and graduating from Harvard. It’s being the first black president. It is the personification of the American dream.

So why is it we can look at this man and see the hope for American, but are so steadfast on stopping the building of a Mosque?

Has America once again become trapped by our past prejudices? We have come so far in the spectrum of tolerance and understanding only to once again be set back by stereotypes and propaganda. Haven’t we seen this before? The Communism scare, the Black “savage” and now Muslims. If we are truly Americans then we must adhere to what this country has stood for and will always stand for, freedom and liberty.

The reason why America is so great is because our inherent differences don’t keep us from the right to liberty. A gay man can live openly without fear of retribution. A woman can speak her mind without fear of public stoning. A group of Muslims can build a worship center in Downtown New York without fear than his fellow citizen will enact revenge.

What does it mean to be American? Is it denying a religious right to worship where they see fit, or is it denying a few plane hijackers and their followers the comfort of knowing that they compromised our core principles?

What kind of American are you?

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