Opinion

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‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, finding the perfect gifts and holiday cheer. As holiday shoppers are rushing through the mall this month, they will most likely hear a seasonal greeting from a retail employee.

However, two simple phrases, “Happy holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” have sparked massive debate in recent years.

It’s two words. Boycotting a store because the company chose to say “Happy holidays” or yelling at a retail employee for wishing a “Merry Christmas” is quite ridiculous and honestly unnecessary.

Companies must choose one or the other. By saying “Merry Christmas,” companies are ostracized for being insensitive to other religious affiliations. By wishing a customer “Happy holidays” instead, criticism arises for following a liberal agenda.

As of 2010, 3 out of 4 Americans claim Christianity as their belief system. While this is a majority, this excludes almost 25 percent of possible customers ready to spend big bucks for presents.

The American Family Association, an organization who promotes fundamentalist Christian ideals, fights big-name retailers who switch to the politically correct term, and encourages their readers to boycott companies and demand “Merry Christmas.”

For other companies, saying “Happy holidays” is not only being politically correct—it opens the possibility to make a larger profit by trying to appeal to every belief system.

Here’s the truth though: Many Americans don’t care.

In 2013, a study by the Pew Research Center found 8 out of 10 non-Christians celebrate Christmas in the United States. It’s a safe bet that companies aren’t taking a large risk by saying “Merry Christmas” if the Christmas shopping crowd is so large.

Yet, despite the vast majority celebrating Christmas this year, so much emphasis is put on the issue.

In another study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly half of Americans don’t have a preference for which seasonal greeting they receive.

Approximately 42 percent said they preferred “Merry Christmas” while the remaining 12 percent prefer “Happy Holidays.”

The whole concept of Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and every other holiday celebration in between is about love, tradition and spending time with family.

Focusing on such a simplistic issue draws attention away from the real meaning of the season for many cultures.

Don’t be an Ebenezer Scrooge and bring bah-humbug to the joy of the holidays by focusing on such a petty issue.

Tear open the presents, indulge in vast amounts of food and enjoy time with family and friends.

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When The Arbiter asked 50 undergraduate students if they felt they were able to take on all the responsibilities of being an adult, 39 said they did not feel fully prepared. Knowing how to perform the basic duties of being an adult such as managing finances, insurance plans and student loans is crucial knowledge to have when heading into
adulthood.

Once students graduate  high school, they should be prepared for adult life.

High schools often fail to properly teach students skills that are necessary to have as an
independent adult.

If these skills are not taught during high school,  the last step before expected independence, students should be taught these skills during college to better prepare them for the real world.

Repurposing UF classes to focus on teaching the basic principles of adulthood would be more effective in helping students in the real world.

“Maybe they (universities) expect you to know already or don’t consider it school-worthy,” said Andrew Stone, junior psychology major. “If you look at how many kids buy with credit cards and don’t know how to use a credit card, or how many kids buy houses and have no idea how a mortgage works, you can see that there is some important knowledge missing there.”

Of the 50 students mentioned previously, 48 of them stated that they would prefer UF courses that taught the basics of being an adult instead of the current curriculum.

UF courses focus on topics ranging from storytelling to invention and discovery.

“If you’re going to have a university foundations class, I think it should be more applicable,” Stone said. “It’s pretty obvious that with everybody who takes those classes that there is no content to them. We could use that space to teach more practical things like basic finances, balancing checkbooks or even cooking.”

The mission for the Foundational Studies Program is to “engage our Boise State University community in a cutting-edge, evidence-based liberal arts education relevant to our continually changing and diverse world.”

According to a four-year study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, 71 percent of students graduating in 2012 had student loan debt, with the average debt amount being $24,000.

If students are graduating with thousands of dollars in debt, students need to be equipped with the skills to handle their finances.

“Doing taxes is more relevant to my world than storytelling,” said Beth Alderink, senior speech pathology major. “There should be a personal finance class where I can learn what a 401k is and how to set a budget.”

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Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

Smith2424. Incorrect. Alligator3. Incorrect.

Whatever your password is, sharing it might strengthen your relationship.

By sharing your password you are creating a more trusting environment with your significant other. This ultimately leads to a stronger, happier relationship.

A recent study done by The Pew Research Center showed that individuals were more comfortable sharing passwords with significant others than they had been before.

In a survey of 2,000 individuals in committed relationships, 67 percent said they shared passwords to online accounts such as Netflix or Amazon with their partners.

However, only 27 percent of couples will go so far as to have a joint email account.

My personal experience  shows that sharing your password will strengthen your relationship and this mentality and practice is growing; after all if you want to spend the rest of your life with someone in marriage, shouldn’t you be able to trust them with your Gmail account password?

My boyfriend and I share passwords for the Netflix account to our individual Facebook pages. Since we’ve swapped email passwords, there are no more secrets.

He can see all of my Victoria Secret coupon emails and I can check any of the 30 forwarded emails his dad sends him a day. Our relationship isn’t made up of checks and balances but, if one of us were ever curious about the other, the answer would only be a few clicks away.

Sharing passwords has also made managing our mutual accounts more convenient.

Everything from the water bill to the Internet is managed online; if he needs to check when something is due, he can sign in and check and vice versa.

However, there are a few reasons not to share a password.

One reason could be that the relationship is too new. If you still have emails from your ex-partner in your inbox, the temptation to see how your last relationship worked could be too much for a new girlfriend or boyfriend. Also, do you really want someone you’ve only been seeing for a short time to have access to all your accounts, especially if they involve money?

Another reason not to share is because you are entitled to your own privacy. If you pay your own bills you have earned a right to have a life of your own. You shouldn’t feel obligated to share your password with anyone, even if you are dating them. That said, if someone denies sharing a password, don’t assume it is because they are hiding something.

Lastly, if your significant other is constantly trying to check up on you, maybe you should keep your password to yourself until trust can be built. A relationship can’t survive without trust and sharing a password with someone is the ultimate sign of trust.

While no one should ever feel obligated to share passwords, the benefits range from easier finance access to stronger trust. Despite some negative sides to sharing passwords the strength built in relationships is worth it.

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Lindee Neumeier
Sophomore
Social Work

It has been ingrained into your brain and you may have never even considered why you say it. You memorized this recitation soon after you enrolled in public school, given that you started your education here in the United States. Know what it is? It’s the Pledge of Allegiance.

From a young age, you are told to stand up, put your right hand over your heart and recite the Pledge. It isn’t until later middle school or early high school when you start to really want to know why the Pledge is recited in school and what the words really mean.

First, we have: “I pledge allegiance,” which simply means that you are declaring that you are loyal to something, be it a person, place (country), or idea. Next: “to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands,” this pertains to our country and everything it stands for. Then, we have: “one Nation, under God, indivisible,” which implies that our indivisible nation is religious. And lastly: “with liberty, and justice for all,” which means that we all have freedoms and that we are fair to all of our citizens. Overall, this seems like a good thing to teach our children at a young age.

However, there are five words which seem to be contradictory.

“One Nation, under God, indivisible” is a discerning (sic) phrase to me and any other American that identifies with being non-religious. This is because to be “under God,” and to be “indivisible” don’t add up in our “one Nation.” Our current Pledge states that our one nation, our whole country, is “under God,”which isn’t true. If it isn’t true, why do we state this in our Pledge today?

Ken Lynn, an active Air Force member and Freedom From Religion Foundation member, explains that during the Red Scare of the 1950s, the whole nation was panicked about the spread of communism, which in its definition is implied to be anti-religious as well as anti-freedom.

The citizens of the United States as well as Congress decided that they had to make a large scale declaration of our nation being against communism. So, in 1954, Congress voted to add the words “under God” in our Pledge. However, 60 years have gone by, and America is becoming less religiously affiliated.

In 2012, Pew Research claimed that, “The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion also has grown in recent years; indeed, about one-fifth of the public overall – and a third of adults under age 30 – are religiously unaffiliated as of 2012”.

If this is the case, then why do we declare that our nation is religious as a whole? We need to correct our current pledge for it to be true. You can help do this by writing to your school districts, state legislature or even Congress. We need to right this wrong for future generations of Americans.

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Clay Schoessler

America prides itself in giving every person the opportunity to receive a quality post-secondary education. But is this really true? In this country, most students struggle to afford a college education. What changes can be made to our system? As American citizens and tax payers, we hold the power to tell the government what to do and when to do it. Well America, now is the time for post-secondary reform.

Having little money growing up made me think more consciously. By my freshman year in high school, I knew that my best chance to get a good quality education was by earning scholarships. Four years later, I had my college tuition paid for with several scholarships. However, most students are not this fortunate.  Every year, hundreds of students are driven into debt by the outrageous cost of attending a post-secondary institution.

Only a few years ago, a middle class family could afford college savings. Sadly, I know few people who are able to do this today.

According to the College Savings Foundation, 63 percent of parents count on their kids to carry the debt they acquire in college. These students in turn rely on help from the government, which then puts more burden on the taxpayer.

With outrageous government spending and a failing monetary system, it’s no wonder that our educational system has fallen through the cracks.

According to the U.S. National Debt Clock, fewer people are in the workforce today than in 2000. Each year the number of people and families on welfare increases.

According to USA Today, the average student debt in 2000 was $17,000 compared to a whopping $30,000 today. These facts paint a very bleak picture for a once great nation based on the principles of self-sovereignty and democracy.

The solution to the problem of student debt cannot be addressed from any one smaller perspective. The issue is multi-faceted and can only be successfully tackled by looking at the whole of our nation and asking the question of what do we, the people of this country, want for our children and our future? We need to invest in ourselves.

European countries invest in their future by paying for the student’s college through taxes.

Raising taxes is an ugly situation and nobody likes them. They are tricky and Americans already feel like they’re paying through the nose in them, but as a young adult of the lower class income bracket, I am able to realize that this is a possible solution.

I think we should institute a tax law to help pay for the cost of attendance at a post-secondary institution. It’s hard enough to afford anything right now, but bear with me.

In my opinion, the opportunity to have an affordable and quality education should be the right of every citizen in our country.

We need to exercise our ability and our responsibility to seeing that our nation’s priorities are sustainable for the future of our people and our country.

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“No, because I think shopping is evil and that it is black magic and that’s why they call it Black Friday and it should be stopped.”

– Daniel Joseph Ryan, sophomore, health science studies

“Yes I do, because they can get way more business that way.”

– Cody Tilley, freshman, mechanical engineering

“No, I don’t like that … I always think of the saying, ‘On Thanksgiving, you’re so thankful and then on Friday, you go and trample people to go get something.’”

– Samantha Cheney, junior, marketing and finance

“It just seems kind of ridiculous. I mean, Thanksgiving is all about family time and it seems like Black Friday has kind of taken over that.”

– Wil Balch, sophomore, mechanical engineering

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While many will be sitting down for a turkey dinner next Thursday, Kali Ireland, third key holder at Icing Jewelry in the mall, will be working.

She’ll be skipping pumpkin pie to face the masses of shoppers looking for early Black Friday sales.

“I don’t understand why we have to open on Thanksgiving. I think it’s a little bit ridiculous because they keep making it earlier and earlier every year,” Ireland said.

All the hype for a day of shopping now overshadows the day to be thankful; consumers need to stop participating in early Black Friday shopping or  it will only get worse every year. Not only are shoppers missing out on family time, there is a huge strain on retail employees.

This year is the first time many stores in the mall will be opening for Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving. Large department stores have been leading the trend in recent years: Stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl’s released Black Friday advertisements in the beginning of November this year.

“Thanksgiving is time to be with family and not go out and fight people off to get really awesome deals,” Ireland said.

Not only do employees have to cut family time, they will have to work extra hours. It is exhausting for workers who already have to deal with the stress of  angry, aggressive Black Friday shoppers.

“It’s tough right now … because we’re not fully staffed. There’s only four of us working at the store, so we all have to work double shifts and a couple of us have to work triple shifts,” Ireland said.

Despite the toll on retail employees, consumers continue to participate in the retail festivities.

Although junior biology major Kristen Chamberlin won’t be shopping on Thanksgiving, she believes shoppers should have the option.

“I think (stores) should be open. I feel like people, if they want to go out and shop, they should have the opportunity,” Chamberlin said.

People shopping on Thanksgiving indirectly support unnecessary consumerism.

Others protest the concept. Facebook pages such as “Boycott Shopping on Thanksgiving” try to persuade the public to let retail employees enjoy the holiday.

“I think everybody should have Thanksgiving off at least to eat with their family,” said Caitlin Fovenyessy, junior kinesiology major. “I know Black Friday is like a big tradition for a lot of people…but on Thanksgiving Day, (stores) shouldn’t be open.”

Ultimately, consumers are the driving force behind the cultural phenomenon. While they’re getting great deals, retail workers are ultimately the ones paying the price.

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On Nov. 4, Idaho failed to elect change. Midterm elections proved Idaho is stuck in its Republican ways when the people of this state reelected 72 year-old Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter, for a third term, instead of Democratic candidate A.J. Balukoff.

Tweets and Facebook posts cried snippets of outrage and disappointment. Sentiments are still echoed throughout campus. Some students felt Balukoff had a strong chance of winning, a rarity in one of the reddest states in the country.

Benedetta Torsi, senior Spanish major, said she could not vote because she is not a U.S. citizen, but she is upset with the outcome of last week’s elections.

“It’s very frustrating because I didn’t have an active part in voting and the results are even more frustrating,” Torsi said. “I don’t like Republicans. I was excited to see change.”

Idaho will never change short of a political apocalypse. Idaho’s neighbors to the west may be blue, but their ways will not cross the border.

Otter took 54 percent of the votes while Balukoff took 39 percent. Boise State Public Radio reported Ada County was Balukoff’s biggest supporter with 51.4 percent of the votes—almost 11,000 more votes than Otter.

Despite these victories and Balukoff’s popularity in Ada County, political science professor Scott Yeanor said Balukoff never stood a chance.

According to Yeanor, while the governor race was reportedly close, that was actually never the case.

“Democrats are irrelevant in Idaho. And they’ll continue to be irrelevant,” Yeanor said. “They have almost no power in the Legislature and, absent a great scandal, the Republicans will win state-wide office. The superintendent of schools election shows that. The Republicans ran a stiff in that election and won.”

For Yeanor, the political conversation that should be taking place is if one-party rule is a good thing for a state. Idaho has had Republican governor control for a long time and Republican legislature control even longer. Yeanor said, generally speaking, long term one-party rule can become more like a collection of interests instead of a party of ideas. When that happens, every once in a while having an electoral defeat can be rejuvenating for the party, where normal partnership and relationships are broken up.

“It’s a question whether one-party rule, even democratically accountable one-party rule, is good in the long term,” Yeanor said. “A lot of interests end up growing around a party that holds an office that holds and it becomes less true to itself over time and so I think all Idaho citizens should be concerned
about that.”

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Adiya Jaffari

Adiya Jaffari, senior pre-med health-science major

“I think I’m a bit disappointed that more people who wanted change didn’t vote. It’s interesting to think about because I know a lot of people didn’t vote for Otter. I think the younger generation is more liberal, but there is less voter turnout in that group. They’re upset with the government. You don’t get to complain if you don’t vote.”

Everett Smith

Everett Smith, junior fine arts major

“I’m happy the fire bond bill passed and I look forward to the construction of new emergency buildings. I wish more of the youth were involved in the political process.”

Orion Vogel

Orion Vogel, sophomore molecular biology major

“I know that Otter won reelection and that’s probably terrible. I don’t support Republicans and Democrats; generally I’m a pretty independent person.”

Christiana Svetkovich

Christiana Svetkovich, senior psychology major

“Iffy, because I think a lot of people aren’t as informed as they could be. I think my biggest problem was probably the education leader this term because she did plagiarize and she did get caught doing some other things she probably shouldn’t have been doing that are not liable and that concerns me. Even though she is Republican, I get that, but she shouldn’t have been doing those things. When you ask questions like did you know this happened no one knows, they’re like, ‘no I just voted for R,’ so that bothers me in the very fact that voters are not very informed.”

Jennifer Stohler

Jennifer Stohler, senior theatre arts and graphic design major

“One of my biggest issues is not only do I agree with (Svetkovich) that people should be more informed instead of just choosing a letter next to a candidate’s name, I also feel some people just don’t go out and vote which also affects the election. People need to go out and vote, do the research and pick a candidate that fits.”

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In the days following the 2014 midterm elections, social media was awash with hostile reactions toward the right-wing swing that occurred.

Many negative reactions, faithfully captured in the Twittersphere and elsewhere, blamed the outcome on the “lazy dinguses” who failed to turn up to vote.

Without emphasizing my own political views, I would like to say that I can understand why my politically active peers had impassioned reactions on social media. After all, these elections effected decisions that affect us all.

I am wary, however, of those who choose to enter the blame game by accusing non-voters of a moral failing­—aka, vote shaming.

The post-election shaming that occurred on various social media platforms is unconstructive and potentially counterproductive to whatever party you identify with and whatever political cause you support.

The fact is this: a measly 13 percent of Americans in the 18-29 year old age group voted in the 2014 midterm elections, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Insult leads to injury, however. On the one hand, the vote shaming  that occurred after midterms 2014 may further disenfranchise timid collegians out of fear of being yelled at or chased by an army of rabid donkeys. On the other hand, vote shaming may send ambivalent would-be voters into the arms of other political parties in the hopes that they are just less angry people.

“Millennials are the largest and most racially diverse generation in the country’s history, making theirs the vote to get,” according to an article in the International Business Times.

Even though they remain a key target demographic for the Democratic party, Millennials still don’t consistently show up to the polls: why?

Well, that I don’t know; innumerable theories have sought to explain the poor voter turnout over the years. Perhaps political campaigns do not target Millennials enough; perhaps Millennials do not know where or how to register; maybe they just do not care enough.

Boise State political science professor Jaclyn Ketter alluded to a possible “why not” in an interview with the Boise Weekly: “Young people have been turned off because of a lot of negativity and the lack of getting things done.”

Negativity might have a surprisingly lot to do with the poor voter turnout.

One possible explanation for this occurrence can be found in the field of psychology. Specifically, the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change created by Prochaska and DiClemente (1983) which has been extensively supported by subsequent research points to self-efficacy as a key component of behavior change.

That is to say, lasting change comes from within. In order for young voters to turn up at the polls, they must come to believe on their own terms that the outcome of the election is meaningful
for them as individuals.

While there may be no cut and dry solution to the task of enfranchising America’s youth, a discourse of negativity that bullies non-voters or blames them for the nation’s political problems is definitely not the
answer.

At best, it reignites the blame game that already permeates the nation’s political discourse from the ground up. At worst, it discourages hesitant would-be voters from voting in the future.

If there is an answer, it lies in increased positive discourse, not shaming.

Even though the Twittersphere is an unlikely place to find an answer to this age-old dilemma, it still succeeds in elucidating the irony of the vote shaming phenomenon:

Alex Blagg

@alexblagg

Hurry, you only have a matter of minuets left to change someones entire political worldview witha facebook status update

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Jordan Smothermon
IT management
Junior

As a student in the College of Business and Economics, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to work with NASA. Space Broncos is a collaborative program with Boise State and NASA to foster education and interest in science and technology, but it’s not limited to science or engineering majors.

 

Space and astronomy have always fascinated me, so when I heard about the opportunity for all majors to take part in putting together a Space Broncos event, I applied immediately to become a part of Team Swanson. As a team, we spent the spring semester organizing a multidisciplinary Space Symposium featuring a downlink interview with astronaut Steve Swanson while he was aboard the International Space Station. I had the privilege to work with NASA, motivated students, generous faculty, and members of the community in helping to put together this event. Along the way, we learned a great deal about event coordination, social media marketing, and community activism.

 

I got to represent Space Broncos at Boise’s first annual Hackfort, a partner with Treefort promoting innovation in technology for the Boise area. It taught me how much community involvement in any endeavor, especially education, leaves an impact. With that in mind, I proceeded with preparing for the symposium with a goal of getting the Boise area, especially students, excited about science and technology.

 

Many k-12 students asked questions about astronomy and NASA’s space programs on our social media pages, and many attended the Space Symposium to learn about all kinds of research currently conducted by NASA and Boise State students and faculty.

 

I also had the chance this summer to support some very bright middle schoolers in the Zero Robotics competition. Over several weeks, they had programmed robots to run a simulation on the Space Station, hosted by Steve Swanson.
It’s a thrill to work with so many amazing people for such an amazing goal. I’m happy to announce that this year, Space Broncos will become a club open to all students who are interested. A signup sheet will be available Wednesday Night as Steve shares his experiences with us. I have absolutely loved sharing my excitement for science, space, and technology with the community, and I hope you will be excited enough to join us this Wednesday!

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“Yes, I would vote for a 3rd party candidate because the main two aren’t always perfect and sometimes the third party candidate is the candidate that shares the same beliefs as me.” – Brant Havro, junior business and marketing major.

“I would vote for a third party if what they believe is what I believe.” – Tyler Gilbert, freshman mechanical engineering major.

“I would absolutely, especially in Idaho. If their ideals match up with what I believe I would 100% support them.” – Travis Gunn, junior business major.

“No, because in my opinion it would be a waste of a vote since they don’t have enough funding and don’t have a good chance of winning.” – Alma Romero, sophomore radiology major.

“Yes, because I don’t think the two parties don’t always work and it shows that those two parties are not always perfect which in this case I would vote for the third party.” – Marcus Lodman, freshman computer science major. 

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Courtesy Mike Sheneman, MCT Campus

Despite what seemed like a bustling voter center on campus, voter turnout in Idaho was at a low last Tuesday with a 20 percent voter turnout rate. While this doesn’t come as a shocker, it does confirm the already growing issue that students and Idaho residents don’t care about local politics and issues.

“You can’t make people read stuff they are not interested in and we’re all still interested consumers of whatever we’re interested in whether it’s products at the store or news,” said Bill Manny, local news editor for the Idaho Statesman.

Manny feels that local news outlets need to do a better job marketing themselves to students and touching on topics that students will find interesting. Although this may be partly true, students hold individual blame for not taking the time to be interested in politics.

As students of a university, it only makes sense that we would be jumping at every opportunity to understand a larger part of the complex networks of information that will allow us to become better voters.

Megan Fromm, assistant professor of communication, feels that although students have multiple influences battling for their time, keeping up with the news is worth the struggle.

“You do have to pick your priorities, for students who don’t live here who send absentee ballots somewhere else, I still think it’s important to understand what’s going on in the state if only because of education policies, budget and learning who’s in the governor’s mansion,” Fromm said.

Despite the logic of Fromm’s statement, Manny has found through experience that most students won’t be interested in local news and big picture current events until they are much older.

“What we’ve learned over years is until you are out of school, have a job, are paying taxes, have kids in schools, buy a house, and start paying property tax that’s when they get most interested in traditional old fashion news,” Manny said.

Manny’s experience presents a problem in students’ thought process. Local elections and news play a large hand in the economics of students’ lives.

“It will directly affect students. It will affect how much tuition they pay, it will affect work study, it will affect the degree programs that are offered,” Fromm said. “I mean it really does trickle down to students.”

This considered, it is important that individual students takes into account how important reading local news and actively participating in it can be.

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Opal Witherspoon

This last Thursday night (Oct. 16), I went to the wonderful Boise Idaho Film Festival where they showed a lineup of short films and a wonderful movie called “Chip and Bernie’s Zomance.” I must say, I was deeply saddened to read the review that your newspaper published online about the film. I felt that the review was uncalled for and insulting to a funny film that the audience was laughing at when the actors first got on screen.

Mr. Murena was kind enough to do a Q&A with the audience and then he also gave out DVDs to the audience. He was a most pleasant man and there was a little boy in the audience that absolutely loved his film and past work. I saw Mr. Murena take a photo with the child and talk about old movies with him before and after the film for a long time. You should have seen that dear little boy’s smiling face.

The film was most enjoyable and it never once made fun of homosexuality or having a disability. The film embraced both of those subjects, making a main character a hero who was both homosexual and having a disability. I feel the reviewer did not understand filmmaking at all; if he was a fan of Abbott and Costello, he could see the brilliance behind this film. The physical comedy, one-liners and storyline was the best in that days’ lineup.

I have to say that I will not be reading your articles again after a shameless attack on such a wonderful film. Will it win an Academy Award? No, but it won my heart and the rest of the audience besides your writer of that cruel article.

I am ashamed to be a loyal fan of your website when you give zero care to the work that is shown in our state. Mr. Murena mentioned how sweet the people of Boise are and I hope he does not read your review after how much he enjoyed our town. I hope my words do not come across as too harsh, but I could not hold my tongue after reading the review.

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“Honestly, I have no idea yet. It’s probably gonna be a telletubby.” – Renee Perez, freshman engineering major.

“I’m dressing up as StarLord because he’s a super chill guy. I’m actually going to make his mask.” – Jake Dudley, junior accounting major.

“Flint Lockwood from ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.’ Because, why not?” – Benjamin Broderick, junior anthropology major.

“A cow with a gag that says ‘Got free speech?’ to make a mockery of the ag gag bill that was passed.” – Lauren Bramwell, senior communication and political science major.

“A nurse because scrubs are super comfortable.” – Baylee Proctor, senior music education and flute performance major.

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It is irrefutable that most hobbyists have a niche in the Boise scene. The differing communities within the interests of Boise are impressive and range from the model train enthusiasts in Old Boise to the Boise Ukulele Group.

In fact, almost every passion is accounted for except for film, as Boise’s attempts at film festivals fall flat, fade away or contain little to no artistic content.

Film festivals are an important part in building the culture of a city, similar to music festivals. Unknown directors and film aficionados with an eye for visual masterpiece create a symbiotic relationship that allows for the hosting city’s economy to grow while being infused with more film culture.

According to The University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, The Sundance Film Festival brought $269.8 million to Utah’s economy during 2014 and supports 1,434 jobs currently. That alone is enough economic incentive to cheer for more film festivals in Boise. In addition,  according to Filmmaker Magazine, the average filmmaker will receive a median of $12,825 per film at a B-ranked film festival (which is what we can assume a Boise film festival will start out as). There isn’t anything but good things that could come of this kind of indulgence in visual art.

Currently, there are only two non-touring film festival in Boise, Idaho: The Treefort Film Festival (which isn’t really a film festival exclusively), and The Idaho Horror Film Festival, which had its inaugural three days Oct. 16-18 at The Flicks and The Egyptian Theatre.

The horror film festival was more of a string of loosely related films at the same locations under the umbrella term of horror. Most, if not all, of the films shown during the three-day span were shown between a half an hour and 45 minutes after their announced showing time, if they showed at all.

The short “The Body”  stopped two minutes into its only play-through due to technical errors and was never aired again during the festival.

The festival also premiered only one movie, which was written about in our last issue, rebuking the main purpose of a film festival: to show unknown films and introduce views to new work and new names.

To put it simply, the growing pains of The Idaho Horror Film Festival will be immense if it wants to become a respected part of Boise’s art scene or a “real” film festival by national standards.

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Carter Allison, freshman English major

“I enjoy it as a holiday but I don’t think Columbus is all people really need him to be. Everyone says he discovered America, but he didn’t. He was like the second person. He did a bunch of bad things to people.”

Jessika Solleder, freshman political science major

“I feel like it’s kind of a tragedy how it’s been taught to children, how Columbus is kind of revered as someone who should be well-respected when really he was an immoral person.”

Darby Kenyon, sophomore environmental science major

“I think some people really think Columbus Day is important and other people just blow it off. It’s weird because Native Americans view Columbus Day as that whole expedition coming into their land and taking over everything. So coming from that sense it’s hard to respect Columbus Day.”

Matt Bruender, junior computer science major

“I don’t really feel anything about it. I mean, it is a holiday, guy turned out to be kind of a jerk but in some aspects we do have to have to pay our respects to him; he did come here and do all that business and if it wasn’t for that none of this would have ever happened. I’m pretty neutral about it. I think it’s one of those holidays that people have just in the back of their minds and no one really celebrates that much.”

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In 1492, the transatlantic slave trade was born. We celebrated the founder of this lucrative business on Monday, Oct. 13.

Wait­, what?

“It appears to me that the people are ingenious and would be good servants,” Christopher Columbus noted on Oct. 11, 1492.

Monday was Columbus Day, a day for honoring Columbus and his accomplishment of “discovering” America, but I definitely didn’t learn about the transatlantic slave trade in grade school.

Columbus Day should not be celebrated and if we do continue to celebrate it, the name should be changed.

A lot of horrible things happened when Columbus came to America. There was rape, mutilation, sex slavery, genocide and war.

Why I really hate Columbus Day, why I think we shouldn’t celebrate it, is because before returning to Spain, Columbus abducted 500 people and took them back to his homeland. Three hundred people survived the trip and transatlantic slave trade was born.

Americans celebrate this holiday without knowing the whole story. We’ve all celebrated, observed and recognized Columbus Day, but we don’t celebrate the slavery part of it.

We shouldn’t celebrate the discoveries of a slave trader and mass murderer.

America decided to honor Columbus with his own federal holiday in the 1930s. Columbus is regarded as an American hero, lumped into the same category as Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Men who advocated for change, for prosperity and the value of American life share the same honor as the founder of the transatlantic slave trade.

Slowly, individuals and larger entities are combating the celebration of Columbus Day. For example, the city of Seattle celebrates Indigenous People’s Day and it’s about time the rest of the nation follows suit.

Steven Leekity, freshman computer science and electrical engineering major and president of Boise State’s Intertribal Native Council, is hoping that will be the case. On Oct. 13, the Intertribal Native Council erected a teepee on the Quad and passed out information about the less positive aspects of Columbus Day.

“I went to a public school when I was a little kid. They just told us that Columbus found this place and that he discovered America but they didn’t know what he did to start it,” Leekity said. “In a way he did start (America) but it caused a lot of domino effect, a lot of negativity going down to the indigenous people.”

“Students need to remember that Columbus came here and started a war of negative things,” Leekity said. “The main thing is that Columbus started a chain that we still see today.”

Leekity hopes that his club will be able to spread a sense of Native American culture and community. Columbus Day doesn’t do them any favors.

Leekity suggested that Indigenous People’s Day is a more fitting name for the holiday.

“It’s to remember that we, Native Americans, are still here today,” Leekity said.

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Arbiter Graphic

“Yes, there’s potential. For younger kids, if it’s not like Grand Theft Auto where you are out stealing stuff—if the focus is helping people, little tykes might be encouraged to get involved in their communities. But realistically, not a lot.”

– Jason Jennings, junior, psychology major

“Yes, they can teach life lessons and morals, like responsibility.”

– Adriana Ridley, sophomore, radiology major

“I think they can teach life lessons, depending on how the game is designed, like how to interact with people.”

– Haley Hixon, freshman, biology major

“I mean, I guess it could—I’m not positive. I feel people like create characters that aren’t necessarily who they are or what they look like. It’s like trying to be someone else and focusing on appearance and stereotypes.”

– Anna Popma, junior, health science major

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With the release of “The Sims 4” this past September, Maxis, the game’s developing company, offers students an opportunity to rip apart their lives without actually causing permanent harm. 

Most students, at one point or another, want to stay up late, avoid work or host a party every day. The Sims lets gamers watch their avatars crumple under the pressure of their unwise life choices, spurring more thoughtful choices in the
physical world.

Success is nice when it matters

Sims don’t have to go to college, which takes quite a big weight off their pixelated shoulders.  When working a Sim job, it’s relatively easy to get promoted: One simply has to brush their teeth before going to work, gain a boost in their confidence emotional state and decide to “schmooze with [their] boss.”  They don’t even have to pay for the toothpaste.

Success comes easily in the Sims.  In some cases, it’s too easy.  Seeing one’s Sim fly into the limelight of success without having to spend more than a few hours honing their painting skills can be cool, but it doesn’t have the same value as actual, time-consuming success.  Sometimes it’s worth the added effort for real-life achievement.

Sims have to sleep too

Unfortunately, students playing the game will begin to see that the Sims have as many problems juggling their bodily needs as those playing the game.  Spending a lot of time focusing on easy promotions can send a Sim into panic, jumping between the bathtub and the fridge, trying to dismiss their “grungy” and “ravenous” traits.

Students like to stay up late.  In most occasions, they enjoy staying up too late, sending them into a downward spiral of exhaustion.  Sims go through the same problems.  The upside is that players don’t actually feel the slow petering of their energy level or capacity of their bladder—that is, until they watch their Sims pass out at work, lose their job or lose their cool in public without a toilet.

In the end, staying up writing six novels isn’t worth the problems that arise further down the path of ignoring one’s bodily functions and needs.

Muti-tasking is an absolute must, and students will realize that daily, habitual endeavors, like eating square meals and getting adequate sleep,  are rather useful in the long run, inside and outside of the game.

Getting to know people is hard

The Sims 4 offers introverted players the unique opportunity to meet, fall in love with, propose to and elope with a prospective romantic interest in, say, one sitting.  It’s pretty easy to select every romantic interaction choice and build up the friendship and romance meters in an afternoon and evening, which amounts to 10 or so minutes in real time.

The real downside to this is the fact that one’s lover can turn out to be an evil, mischievous, child-hating criminal.  In a flurry of “flirt” and “compliment appearance” selections, one will forget to actually get to know their partner and get married with a Sim whose personality window comes up as unknown.  Students choosing this quick path may find a renewed appreciation for the dating process.  They might also give up on it entirely.  The Sims can do that.

In the end, The Sims is really a good way to do away with the impulsive desires that people might face in life, especially in terms of hygienic upkeep and romantic endeavors.  Players just need to be careful that they don’t stay up too late with their graphical friends.

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Torrenting might seem like an initially black and white issue to most, but information on pirating still varies heavily and is a complex issue that students need to look at more closely, as it often houses potential positive effects from a global standpoint.

Pirating’s economic impact

Several different estimates for the economic impact of pirating have been made, including a $250 billion estimate made in the new proposal for Stop Online Piracy Act and a $58 billion estimate made by the Institute for Policy Innovation.

However, many economists question the validity of these claims because they fail to take into account whether or not consumers who torrented products would have the money to buy said products.

Instead, the bigger picture should be analyzed.  Torrenting shouldn’t become accepted as something that everyone should do, but students should instead take a look at the flow of information that accompanies pirating.

According to the Business Software Alliance, the countries that have the highest rate of software downloaded illegally are  countries with lower GDP per capita:  Nigeria(83 percent), Libya (90 percent) and Zimbabwe(92 percent), compared to higher GDP per capita countries like  United States(19 percent), Canada(27 percent) and Australia (23 percent).

This is saying that people who can afford to not torrent will often take the legal avenue and buy the product.

Affording mainstream media

Following this train of thought Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, makes the argument in an interview that those who pirate aren’t people who can buy the product. He explains that piracy isn’t really theft because a copy isn’t being stolen. So the question becomes: should we be stopping that flow of free copies of media products?

If the majority of piracy is coming from areas where the software cannot be afforded—meaning the persons in question wouldn’t buy the software even if it was available to them—then the only thing happening is the spread of free information.

The flow of information

Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media talks about this in a Forbes article.

“In my experience at O’Reilly, the losses due to piracy are far outweighed by the benefits of the free flow of information, which makes the world richer, and develops new markets for legitimate content,” O’Reilly said.   

“Most of the people who are downloading unauthorized copies of O’Reilly books would never have paid us for them anyway; meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of others are buying content from us, many of them in countries that we were never able to do business with when our products were not available in digital form.”

What O’Reilly is saying is that not only has piracy given new information to people who wouldn’t have been able to access the information freely, it has also created pockets of areas where the market sector can gain revenue because free media online created fans in areas of the world that otherwise wouldn’t have known that those products existed.

Free advertisement

In a video, short story, novel and graphic novel author Neil Gaiman made for Open Rights Group, he explained he felt that torrenting played a huge role in free advertisement. Gaiman makes the comparison that many people borrow, lend and find about his work in ways that don’t give him revenue, but after they are introduced to him and become fans, they buy his work.

“No one who would have bought your book is not buying it because they can find it for free. What you’re actually doing is advertising, is reaching more people and is raising awareness,” Gaiman said.

This isn’t to say that students should download BitTorrent and have a crack at pirating for themselves. The idea is to keep an open mind about how torrenting affects us globally, and acknowledge  that although torrenting may be a negative from a legal standpoint in the United States, it can have a positive outcome on the market globally.

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Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

I was interested to read Sean Bunce’s recent article on crosswalk safety in The Arbiter (Vol. 27 [9]).  As a cyclist myself, I would like to put the counter argument: that motorists simply don’t know how to deal with cyclists on the road even when they are obeying all the rules. 

Many motorists see cyclists as inconvenient obstacles that shouldn’t be there—like children playing in the road.  With this mentality they fail to give cyclists the respect and legal right-of-ways they are due, and this is not a new problem.  A student back in 2002 talking to The Arbiter called bicycles “a daily annoyance and an occasional hazard,” which goes some way in revealing the emotional bias of some motorists (not to mention the irrational motivation of the backers of BSU’s policy 9010). 

The people who feel threatened by bikes on a college campus are exactly the sort who go home in their over-sized trucks and are a “daily annoyance and an occasional hazard” to innocent folks like me on the roads.

My bike is not a recreational vehicle but my main form of transit: it’s how I commute to/from work and get my son to/from his day care.  I have frequently had to stop suddenly for a car going through a stop sign and failing to yield to me the right-of-way on the cross-street.  I’ve even had to pull up short on University Drive when a pedestrian crossing at a crosswalk but against the light walked right in front of me.  It seems cyclists are in danger from motorists and pedestrians!

One particular concern which I pointed out to the university almost a year ago (and about which nothing has yet been done) is the amount of west-bound traffic (especially cyclists) on Cesar Chavez Lane, which parallels the Greenbelt south of the river on campus.  Cesar Chavez is a one-way road, with traffic only allowed to travel eastbound.  There is potentially a BIG problem as they come to the junction with the Friendship Bridge, where cyclists heading south across the bridge cross Cesar Chavez Lane.  There is a stop sign for (eastbound) traffic on the road, but of course none for westbound traffic because there is not meant to be any westbound traffic.  For this reason, westbound cyclists/motorists routinely do not stop at the junction, even though southbound cyclists have the right of way there.  The potential disaster lies in the inevitability that a southbound cyclist will check for traffic to his/her right, see none, and sail through the junction while an illegal westbound vehicle, not seeing a stop sign, will also sail into the junction and right into the southbound cyclist.  Speed will almost certainly make the collision worse, as the road here is fairly flat and southbound cyclists, having just come across the bridge, are actually traveling downhill.  I have seen many cyclists violating the one-way system here (even though the two-way Greenbelt is just a few feet away) plus several cars and even a few university vehicles.

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Most students are tight-lipped and cautious about what they say after the term animal testing is used in conversation. Generally the consensus is that animal testing is okay in research which will help cure human illness and unacceptable for consumer or industrial product testing—as long as the animals aren’t hurt while doing so.

“If it’s not harmful it will be fine,” said Shannon Westergard, a student caught off guard while walking to the library. “If I wouldn’t want it done to myself, I wouldn’t want it done on animals.”

Boise State is currently conducting animal testing and discussing plans for a new vivarium. With this happening in their own backyard, many students seem to lack knowledge about the subject altogether; this needs to change.

“I think we should do some of it, just depends what it’s for,” said Mathew Chance, freshman criminal justice major. “If it’s something that will kill them (animals) then no. If its something that’s helping us and not harmful to them then yeah we should (do animal testing).”

The California Biomedical Research Association states that nearly all medical breakthroughs in the last 100 years come from research using animals. Examples they use are the discovery of insulin, which was discovered by removing the pancreases from dogs and the polio vaccine, which was first tested on animals reducing the global occurrence of the disease from 350,000 cases in 1988 to 223 cases in 2012.

These breakthroughs aren’t without a cost. Although animals are treated with anesthetic and other sedatives, Humane Society International paints a different picture that many never see.

According to their website, animals used in experiments undergo force-feeding, forced inhalation, food and water deprivation, prolonged periods of physical restraint and they’re subjected to burns and other wounds to study the healing process. Pain is also inflicted to study its effects and remedies. When animals are killed, it’s by carbon dioxide asphyxiation, neck-breaking, decapitation or other means.

Robert Schulkey, English major at Boise State, feels this may be a necessary evil.

“I’m not happy about it, but I realize it saves lives,” he said.

Before students have a knee jerk reaction about sensitive issues such as animal testing, they need gather more information about the topic.

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Arbiter Graphic
“It brings the campus and the university together,” sophomore Communications major Clayton Carpenter. It’s a much bigger game because it brings everyone together.”

“It’s great because there is a lot of spirit going around campus,” sophomore Graphic Design major Sarah Holleron said.

“It’s awesome because the student population comes together and reflects on Boise State’s past and what the future is going to hold,” junior Communications major Tyler Rawsa said.”

“Homecoming is a great way for the community and the campus to bond together,” Maria Guave said.

” It mean absolutely nothing to me,” senior Construction Management major Geoff Decker said.”

“A week long of celebrating Boise State,” sophomore Construction Management major Kaylee Beck said.

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The flags dotting walkways and buildings on campus this week mean more to some students than others.  For those in the know, the posters plastering walls and promotional banners highlight Homecoming Week, the upcoming game, and its emphasis on community.  But for others, they are just decorations that don’t mean much in the grand scheme of their day-to-day endeavors.

Junior sociology major Collin Blair is considering attending the game on Saturday.  He plans to buy a t-shirt and participate in some of the closer, more convenient Homecoming Week activities and games but doesn’t feel obligated to delve into everything possible.

“It’s fun and exciting and supposed to get people involved,” Blair said.  “But there are also those that aren’t quite as excited as others.  The activities tend to cater to the already involved students.”

Homecoming activities focus on students that are already pumped and hyped for the upcoming game and football season, as well as welcoming freshmen to campus and fostering a sense of community within those living on campus

Based on data gathered in 2013 by US News, Boise State had over 20,000 students enrolled, with 94 percent of those students living off campus.  Students that commute for classes, park in one of the general lots or Brady Garage and spend most of their time on campus in class rarely venture past the Quad or Communication Building.

These students are often left out of Homecoming’s community focus.

Senior history major Deb Jackson doesn’t see much appeal in the upcoming Homecoming events.

“I didn’t know it was Homecoming Week until I saw the flags around the Business Building and thought, ‘Oh, OK.’”

Jackson participated in Homecoming activities as a freshman living on campus and because the events were at her fingertips. She now lives off campus and commutes to school mainly for classes and work engagements.

Most of the Homecoming events and advertisements are centered at the SUB, far out of these students’ paths.  The advertising of these events is based around on-campus housing and the SUB, making it that much more difficult for commuting students to stay in the loop.

“Some events should be hosted closer to the ILC,” Jackson said.  “Events are centralized by location, not by population.”

A strengthened focus, at least on advertising, in this more trafficked area would certainly help reign in interested students.  But it is difficult to get students excited about a community that they don’t necessarily want to be a part of in the first place.

“Homecoming becomes a bro-fest of bro-ness and football and flags,” said Jackson. “It isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It’s just very narrow-minded in its approach.”

Homecoming events may aim to foster a sense of community and involvement within student attendees, but it ultimately does an excellent job of excluding those without a particular set of interests or campus placement.

“College is about getting involved in one way or another,” Blair said, after suggesting that Homecoming planners poll a variety of students about their interests in activities.

By expanding the targeted audience for Homecoming, those putting activities together could easily reign in multitudes of participants.  But in the end, it comes down to the fact that Homecoming festivities are focused toward individuals that already know they want to be involved.