Give Peace A Chance

Compiled by Seth Ciancio


52 years ago, the front page of The Community Free Wake, the predecessor to The Front Page, was covered in articles and images about the shooting at Kent State University. This is a transcription of that page.


VOLUME 1, NO. 20       Those Who Are About To Die, We Salute Thee. TUESDAY, MAY 12, 1970


GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

Kent State University students go to aid of wounded youth as a confrontation between students and Ohio National Guard troops erupted violently and left four students dead.


REQUIEM 


On May 4, during a demonstration at Kent University four college students were shot to death by the National Guard of their own country…National Guard troups[sic] who are sworn to defend the constitutional rights those four students were exercising. 

What is America coming to? What, when people such as the Guard, some of whom might have even had children in that crowd— are killing their own student population? What can it mean, when those who are appointed to protect life are playing “god” and taking it? 

Some people have gone so far an to say that those four students got “what they deserved.” wonder how different those reactions would be if one of those four students bad been their son or daughter or neighbor next door. Which reminds me of an old “hitting people phrase about where it hurts” -its a shame that Americans are so apathetic and lack so much in human compassion that they won’t even stop for a brief instant and just think about why four students died. 

They died at the time of their lives when they were just beginning to realize their potential. the plan for a future. They died at the time of their lives when they really enjoyed living and being alive. And yet, when all of that was happening to each or them as individuals, they took time to look at the world around them and take notice 01 what was happening there. ney, instead ai selfishly saying “what a shame” then going about their business, decided Ibey wanted to do something to instigate change.

 Those four students died living and defending an America they could see for the future. They died every bit as patriotic as every GI that has ever died on any foreign battlefield. 

Let’s see to it that those students did not die in vein[sic], let’s continue to light for that dream or a new tomorrow, that’s what they would have wanted. R.I.P. – Another face in the crowd.


War Crisis Day


The sun was just beginning to burn its way through the early mornings haze as the first real signs of activity started in the court yead[sic] between the buildings. 

The Planning Committee for the May 6 War Crisis Day, appeared on the scene, setting up tables, chairs and a public address system on the west side of the east building. Inside, last minute “button-holing” was taking place, as a student organized marshall corps was making last minute adjustments and donning red arm bands.

 Slowly, at first, people began to make their way to the grassy area. filling the center section first and then, as more people in larger groups arrived, spilling over into the two side areas. Some preferred standing or kneeling on the sidewalks, and did so, carefully leaving space open for free flow of traffic between the buildings. 

At about 10:15. Phil Elliot, moderator for War Crisis Day discussions, announced that the speakers who were coming in from Boulder would be a little late. He urged students and the faculty members present to round up their friends, make themselves comfortable on the lawn, and feel free to take advantage of free coffee and donuts.

 The atmosphere, though at first was one of guarded curiosity, was of a friendly affair, completely lacking in any feeling of hostility, bul certainly not lacking in serious contemplation. 

After about ten minutes Phil returned to the speaker’s table and announced the first speaker, Neil Sale. 

And so the official speech making began. John Hillson, the assistant editor of the C.U. DAILY, received a warm welcome and roused interest in the crowd. Dr. Roger Paget, after giving some interesting background information on Vietnam was interogated[sic] on his action beliefs by a member of the crowd.

The last official speaker of the day was Richard Gebhardt. He delivered his speech with the finesse of an expert. One remark overheard in the crowd was: “If you have a whole series of speakers and don’t tell the audience anything about them, they can always pick out someone who has worked for or with a Kennedy.” Probably the statement is right, for Mr. Gebhardt worked with Bobby Kennedy — his speech had that same thrilling. rhythmic explosion of sound and emotion so typical of the Kennedy magic. 

Of course while some students were Sitting in a quiet respectful manner, listening to experts and politicians tell their story — other things were happening. Inside the guileing[sic] the student center was not quite as full as usual, but then that could have been attributed to the fact that classes were canceled for two hours. A conversation heard in the halls consisted mostly of a man (about 40ish) repeatedly telling a woman that the students “Don’t know what’s going on.” 

That statement brings out the most important point possible in regard to May 6 at CCD. The students-themselves, by calling in speakers to give information and facts instead of only opinions, were the first to admit that they didn’t know everything about what’s going on. (For that matter, does anyone, really?) The next best question to answer is What brought it about? Why did 15 to 20 students gather together four well- informed speakers and run-off stencils and bring together about 150 students (in a transient type of group?) Perhaps the best answer to that question is answered by the answer to another question: What did it accomplish? 

The answer sounds like this: If with all the talk and questioning, one person, just ONE, did some honest thinking for himself, it was worth it all. Because that’s what its all about; about people who become involved, no matter what side they’re on; people who think (or themselves and stand up for what they believe to be right; about people who see apathy for what it is — a sickness which spreading in epidemic proportions across America — and must controlled and cured before it kills us.


(poem) A Face In The Crowd


It’s a dark and pleasently warm night. The sun just set and the sky is like a huge skyrocket, burst and fading in a canopy of gold and pink over the mountains. A small breeze just blew in an open window and restled a couple of un-read papers on the desk, calling my attention to the headlines proclaiming in two inch print that the president is sending troops to Cambodia and four students have been shot to death in Ohio. 

It’s a sadly ominous feeling that dwells in my mind as I sit here writing this tonight. A feeling, a helpless feeling that my time is drawing near. 

When I think about it, I guess I’m ready to accept death and if I have been chosen to die by cause of this absord parlour game we call war, it won’t be in some God-forsaken Asian country, it’ll be in my own backyard. I’ll die for my beliefs, my strong beliefs in the war against war. 

If I could but turn the clock back to that afternoon at Kent University. I would eagerly trade my life for those four students who never asked to lose theirs. IS PEACE REALLY A FOUR-LETTER WORD? 

– A Face In The Crowd


By Mary Lou Kelker


The sun shone bright and warm on the steps of the State Capital Building. A busy hum could be felt rather than heard. A small crowd of people were milling around waiting for the first signt of peace marchers. The day was Saturday, May 2, the march was the first in a week of protests and tragedies.

There was almost a holiday atmosphere, and I heard someone say “It’s a great day to be outdoors, even for no purpose at all.”

A group of middle aged, middle class people, who had originally planned to march, but decided they were too old to fit in with the younger group, stood basking in the sun.

One of the group came over and started rapping with me. “I’ve been called a Communist for many years, now because of the views I hold”, he told me, “but I have still have these”. He pulled out his Army Reserve card and American Legion membership card. “I’ve given many years to this country, and I love it, but I can’t sit back and watch it go to ruin.”

Someone in the crowd shouted, “Here they come!” There were nearly 100 men, women and children marching across the lawn shouting “Bring the troops home now!”

“I couldn’t help feeling a certain pride in those who dared defy the “establishment,” and an equal pride in a country which would permit them this action.

This feeling was dimmed, however, by the reports of an incident which occured when a man from the sidelines began manhandling one of the marchers. Suddenly every police officer in charge of guarding the supposedly “vicious mob of subversives” disappeared with the exception of one bike-bound bigot who suddenly lost his senses of sight and humanity. A young girl ran up to him, begging him to stop the hassle before it turned into a serious incident for which the marcher would be solely blamed. Even when the officer deigned to turn and look, he simply sat and watched.

When the crowd was seated, the speakers took over. THe sound equipment was sadly inadequate, and unfortunately, so were the majority of the speakers. The Cambodian invasion was spent in dredging up old, albeit valid, gripes about everything else including sideswipes at various factions of the peace movement itself.

I had the feeling that the point of the march had only partially hit the mark. By the time this issue is distributed, two more marches will have taken place. It is my sincere hope that they will be a fitting tribute to the students at Kent University, six at last count, who gave their lives tragically for a cause that seems hopeless.

The Twisted History of the Twisted Apple.

We are no strangers to the new flavor fad. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a day where we don’t see some form of new flavored Oreo, ice cream, or coffee creamer. soda companies are the kings of this, with the constant expansion of their flavor lines to see what stays and what goes. Some flavors are good, but some are nothing to write home about, until today.

In 2012, the Pepsi company decided to roll out a new flavor, which was described as “Classic Mtn Dew with green apple attitude.” So proud and excited was the Pepsi company about this new flavor that they decided to create a poll titled “Dub the Dew.” The poll was created with the intent of reaching out to the internet and its consumer base to gather options and have the public vote on the most popular choices to name this upcoming flavor. What the Pepsi company received was not expected.

The promotion was met with a hearty amount of criticism and mockery from various internet communities, such as Reddit; however, some internet groups were proactive in their trolling. The community of 4Chan took it upon itself to attack the poll in force, after only a few days choices such as “Hitler did nothing wrong,” Gushing Grannies” and “Diabeetus” topped the poll, gathering thousands of votes for the shocking choices. To add insult to injury, hackers also attacked the site to add a banner that read “Mtn Dew salutes the Israeli Mossad for demolishing 3 towers on 9/11!” Thus adding to the car wreck of the promotion.

Like all scandals associated with a large company they buried it, so much so that they sat on the flavor itself for ten years until they felt that it was time to roll it out, that time is now. This time, however, there will be no polls, no public opinion, or feedback whatsoever. Instead, they kept quiet about it and rebranded it “Twisted Apple,” but those of us who do remember the train wreck that was “Hitler didn’t do anything wrong” will only smile and shake our heads, allowing some companies to quietly learn from their mistakes. 

Welcome to the Final Warning

I don’t think anyone living in Colorado would have expected the events that happened the day before New Year 2021. No one knew the destruction that was coming to the communities on the Front Range that can’t seem to catch a break anymore. They definitely did not expect that three months later the same tragic events could happen again. But this time fire rescue teams were prepared. And as many residents of Boulder relived the trauma that they were still swimming through, we all watched the news waiting to see how many more homes would be lost and waiting for the rolling evacuation orders. 

The NCAR fire was less devastating but still as important as the Marshall Fire. As residents of Colorado, we have become used to fire season being in the summer with some of the largest fires in the history of Colorado happening this past summer. According to the website of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, four out of the five largest wildfires in the history of the state have occurred in the three years between 2018 and 2020. Now it seems as though winter is just as much of a danger. Watching the news in the last few months since the Marshall Fire, it seems like any warm, windy day is a day with a new fire. Few are as catastrophic as December 30, 2021. On that day over 1,000 homes were lost with a total of over 6,000 acres burned. The NCAR fire burned around 200 acres and luckily no homes or structures. I think it’s a wake-up call that we all need to take very seriously. 

Though I am overjoyed to see how much the state of Colorado has come together to help the victims of the fire, I am also a bit saddened by what actions are not being taken. At no point in the conversations about what caused the fires, or how first responders could have done more to save homes and communities, has anyone ever said, “But what about how we prevent this in the future?” Or “How did we get here?” By this, I mean no one is talking about how Colorado is sadly not the only place in the world where dry conditions are sparking fires at levels previously unseen in the last few years. In 2020, we saw Australia deal with a mega-fire that burned approximately 60 million to 84 million acres of land. Places such as Alaska have also been hit hard by fires in recent years. According to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, there were a total of 389 fires in 2021. These fires burned 254,500 acres of land. To put that into perspective, the Cameron Peak fire here in Colorado burned 208,913 acres and is the current largest wildfire in the state’s history. 

I put current in italics because I don’t need to be a psychic to see what the future holds for Colorado in the coming years. With hotter summers and less precipitation, it’s not hard to see what’s coming. If we as a state now, collectively, hold our breaths on windy days in the winter, what can we expect for the summer? I don’t think I need to dance around the term “global warming,” considering the information that has been put forth. And what the solution is to the current problems facing our state, our country, our world, I don’t have the answers to that. But I think that it’s getting more and more difficult to ignore the literal smoke signals that mother nature is laying in our path. 

Exploring Uncharted. (From a Person Who’s Never Played The Game).

Is this movie the next major film franchise to blow up or just a one-trick pony headed out to pasture? That’s a question one has to ask themselves based on the box office numbers for the new action movie, released in theaters on the eighteenth of February this year, starring Tom Holland and Mark Walhberg. 

This film follows Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) and Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Walhberg) as they trek across the globe in search of the treasure left behind by Ferdinand Magellian. Along the way, they run into others searching for the treasure and discover that trust is hard where treasure is involved. 

So, what do I think as someone that wanted to see the film without even knowing it was based on a popular Playstation game. Honestly, I thought that overall the movie was entertaining. There were plenty of laugh-filled moments, offset by twists and turns full of backstabbers and double-crossings. I can’t say that the plot was all that unpredictable. Though, if you ask me, there are few movies made these days that truly are.  

If I was going to try and paint a picture for someone that is considering seeing the movie I would say it is a bit like the grown-up version of The Goonies. Though some of the reviews that I read before going to view the film compared Uncharted to the National Treasure films, I was not able to see that comparison in action. (There’s no Nic Cage wanting to steal the Declaration of Independence).

So, I enjoyed the film as someone who had not played the games. But how would a fan of the games rate the movie? I took a friend along who had played them in the past to help give some insight into how the film stood up against its Playstation original. According to him, it is a good movie, but if you are looking at it like it’s going to be exactly like the games, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. The main movie characters don’t even look like their counterparts in the games and the plots are noticeably different. Though he was much more excited about a certain cameo than I was because of his knowledge of the games. 

As far as I’m concerned, there are few film adaptations that stick to the originals anymore, whether it be a remake, a book, or in this case, a video game. The film industry is happy to cast the current big names, like Tom Holland, despite their similarities to the characters they are brought in to portray. Overall, I’d recommend seeing the movie. Though if you do, and you like history, be warned the ending will sting a bit. For that reason, I only give it four out of five treasure maps. And with that, I will leave you to chart your way to the nearest movie theater and enjoy Uncharted on the big screen. 

Book banning in America

Last month, the Tennessee board of education decided to pull the book ‘Maus’ from their eighth grade curriculum, citing concerns about the violence, nudity, and strong language that the book contains. The board promised to replace the book with another, more age-appropriate book about The Holocaust, but the decision still sparked much discussion online and within academic circles. Many people are concerned that this decision represents a ‘white washing’ of history, and that students ought to know about the horrors of the past, while others worry that the book is too extreme for young kids. Given the controversy, it would seem valuable to examine how FRCC treats controversial books, as well as examine how students and staff feel about the issue. 

Marcus Elmore, a librarian at FRCC Westminster said that, 

“academic libraries, including FRCC, generally do not respond to challenges to materials, except insofar as the challenge is rooted in issues of academic inquiry.  We might, for instance, consider removing a book from the collection because it represents outdated or superseded scholarship” he said.

Marcus also said, “All decisions about the library collection are made by librarians, in consultation with teaching faculty, and are guided by relevant statements issued by professional organizations”

He also cited the libraries official position on the Support of Intellectual freedom, which reads: “The FRCC library adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom outlined in the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights”, the Association of American Colleges’ and the American Association of University Professors’ “1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure”, and the Association of College & Research Libraries’ “Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” and “Standards for Libraries in Higher Education.”

Marcus also provided me with links to the standards that FRCC libraries follow, those being the American Library Associations “Library Bill of Rights”, the American Association of University Professors’ “1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure”, as well as the Association of College & Research Libraries’ “Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries” and “Standards for Libraries in Higher Education”.

Books that have or are banned in the U.S.

The library does also have a formal process for dealing with academic challenges that are made to library materials. Any student or staff member can challenge materials in the collection, after which the library director will convene a committee to review the case. The decision to remove the material is ultimately left up to the library director.

Marcus also provided his personal opinion on the subject, saying “I, personally, find the removal of materials like Maus a travesty, an insult to the library professionals who develop collections for student and public use, and a dangerous provocation.” He said,  “Given that the folks pushing this agenda do not see eye to eye with me and my colleagues on issues of intellectual freedom, I doubt there can be much in the way of reasoned discussion, but I hope that parents, students, and the general public will voice support for individuals’ right to read as they see fit.”

I also talked to Victoria West-Paul, the library director. She told me that “We are not going to ban books just because someone finds a book like Maus offensive.” She provided a quote from the American Library Association’s code of ethics:

“In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.”

She told me that she even keeps a copy of the ethics code in her wallet. It seems, then, rather unsurprisingly perhaps, that the library is rather unified against the removal of books from curricula, and certainly will not be removing controversial books from the library any time soon.

I wanted to get the perspective of students on this issue, so I spoke to Amelia Palmer, a student at FRCC Westminster, who said, “I think it is very Ray Bradbury esque, it is reminiscent of nazi book burnings which is horiffically ironic considering it’s the kind of shit the banned book is warning us about!”

Another student, who preferred not to be named, told me, “[schools] should not go around traumatizing five year olds, but kids shouldn’t be shielded from this either, because it happened” she she said, “I could see how, since it’s illustrated, it might not be good for kids” … “but since [the students] are teens, I still think it’s age appropriate” … ”I think that it’s very important to learn about things like the Holocaust more than ever, since there’s been some scary neo-nazi stuff popping up lately”

It seems as though much of the student and faculty at FRCC takes issue with the removal of Maus from the curriculum in Tennessee, and that nothing similar will be happening at FRCC any time soon. While some of the people I spoke to share concerns about whether or not the book is age appropriate, ultimately they all believe that challenging material that might make some students uncomfortable is an important part of teaching kids history.

Hollywood’s Return to Noir

Light and shadow, good and evil. Two polar opposites by nature, destined to be apart. But in the world of noir, they are one and the same. 

Currently, The Batman is playing in theaters and thousands are rushing to see the Dark Knight deliver justice to Gotham’s seedy underworld of organized crime. Leaning forward, as Batman emerges from the inky blackness of shadow into the deep glow of the fluorescent lights, with only the rain to accompany the slow footsteps of vengeance. Films about the dark knight have always varied in color and style. From the emergence of Tim Burton’s dark interpretation to Joel Schumacher’s neon-inspired jokey reimaging, only to beget Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. We have seen many different types of Batman, but we have never truly gotten to see him as the world’s greatest detective. A crime fighter that will track his prey through the shadows evaluating every clue, every thread that makes up a tapestry of mystery.

Writer/Director Matt Reeves introduces Batman to his greatest ally and tool. Noir Cinema.  

 The style of film noir started in Germany where the iconic low-key, black-and-white filming was being used in European cinema. It was the French critic Nino Frank who first coined the phrase “Film Noir,” which translates to “black” or “dark film” although initially dubbed “melodramas,” this style of film was embraced by Hollywood during the Great Depression and on into post-World War II. 

This is due to the attitudes and existentialist mindset of America in the wake of two major world-altering events, the emergence of McCarthyism and the growing threat of atomic warfare. This led Hollywood to embrace the idea of the Anti-Hero. With cynical protagonists filled with disillusionment and pessimism, launched into environments filled with fear, violence, and a sense of claustrophobia of the hard world. Combined with the use of awkward angles and using shadows to hide actors, the film style was immediately made an American cinematic legacy.

Noir started as crime and gangster films, then spread into erotic, science fiction, end even horror, not being bound by genre, but by its own style of storytelling. Classic images of noir included rain-soaked streets in the early morning hours; street lamps with shimmering halos; flashing neon signs on seedy taverns, diners, and apartment buildings; and endless streams of cigarette smoke wafting in and out of shadows. Such images would lose their indelibility with realistic lighting or color cinematography. 

The inherent subjectivity of Expressionism is also evident in film noir’s use of narration and flashbacks. An omniscient, metaphor-spouting narrator (often the central character, a world-weary private eye) frequently clarifies a characteristically labyrinthine noir plot or offers a subjective, jaded point of view. 

In other films—such as Wells’s Citizen Kane and Wilder’s Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard, the denouement (often the death or downfall of the central character) is revealed in the opening scenes; flashbacks then tell of the circumstances that led to the tragic conclusion. Tension and suspense are increased by the use of all-knowing narrators and flashbacks, in that the audience is always aware of impending doom.

 The heroes of noir generally share certain qualities, such as moral ambiguity, a fatalistic outlook, and alienation from society. They also exhibit an existential acceptance of random, arbitrary occurrences as being the determining factors in life. Although the “hard-boiled detective” is the stereotypical noir hero, the central male characters in film noir range from drifters to college professors. The ethics that these characters espouse are often born more of personal code than true concern for their fellow man.

 For example, Humphrey Bogart (the actor perhaps most associated with the genre) as private eye Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon is emotionally indifferent to the murder of his partner and avenges his death primarily because “when one of your organization gets killed, it’s bad business to let the killer get away with it.”

 Such compassionless pragmatism is found in the noblest, as well as the most tarnished, of noir heroes. The weakest of such characters exhibit an abundance of tragic flaws, often including an uncontrollable lust for duplicitous women. 

Noir women are often characterized as “femme Fatales,” or “spider women;” in the words of one critic, they are “comfortable in the world of cheap dives, shadowy doorways, and mysterious settings.” Well aware of their sexual attractiveness, they cunningly and ruthlessly manipulate their male counterparts to gain power or wealth.

The success of this film style is not resistant to the development of technology and time. Many movies have adopted and improved the style through time. Movies such as Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” made waves as a noir set in color, breaking the literal color bar but telling an in-depth story of corruption and brutality. 

LOS ANGELES – JUNE 20: The movie “Chinatown”, directed by Roman Polanski and written by Robert Towne. Seen here, Jack Nicholson as J.J. ‘Jake’ Gittes and Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Cross Mulwray. Initial theatrical release June 20, 1974. Screen capture. Paramount Pictures. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Later in 1982, Ridley Scott’s science-fiction drama Blade Runner (1982) revisited the use of set design to enhance the mood, an idea that can be traced back to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

 Richard Tuggle’s Tightrope (1984) features film noir’s theme of disillusionment in a police officer who discovers he is as much an outsider as the criminal he is pursuing. 

Perhaps the best contemporary examples of the genre are Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential (1997), a bleak story of corrupt cops, and Joel and Ethan Coen’s The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), a similarly dark story inspired by the crime novels of James M. Cain. Both films are presented in classic film noir style, the latter in black-and-white. Later examples include Sin City (2005) and Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2010) and even Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

Even today, we can see the use of this classic form with the writer/director Guillermo del Toro being nominated for an Oscar for his classic noir styled film Nightmare Alley, and the newly released The Batman, a movie written and filmed to emphasize the Dark Knight as the world’s best detective, in a dark bleak Gotham City. With only the sultry and lethal Catwoman to understand him.

 Despite the setting, no matter what the time, film noir is an American art form, and just like America, it draws all to its shores.  

Don’t Kick Out Russian Students-Invite Them to Stay.

Last week, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) proposed a new type of sanction: kicking Russian students out of American universities. “I think closing their embassy in the United States, kicking every Russian student out of the United States⁠—those should all be on the table,” he told a group of panelists on CNN. The United States is host to approximately 5,000 Russian students, including at FRCC Westminster. The comment has been widely criticized by many people across the political spectrum as heartless, or ineffective. But what’s so bad about the idea, and what could we do instead?

“I think closing their embassy in the United States, kicking every Russian student out of the United States⁠—those should all be on the table,”

So, what exactly is wrong with Swalwell’s proposal? It is true that American universities and educational institutions are a great asset to the country. Many of the greatest schools in the world are in the United States, and people come from all over the world to study here. So why not use that leverage against Russia? First, it’s probably just immoral on its face. The Russian students studying here had nothing to do with the invasion, and they have no leverage over Putin and his cronies. This is an issue with all sanctions- the economic devastation they cause is targeted disproportionately at average people, while oligarchs and dictators remain mostly unaffected. The hope is that, at some point, pressure from average people gets so high that the people at the top are forced to change course. There is disagreement on how effective economic sanctions are, but what’s certain is that this would not work. As mentioned earlier, there are only about 5,000 Russian students in the United States, nowhere near enough to apply any meaningful pressure to the Kremlin. So not only would they be devastating to those people studying in our country, it would be very unlikely to work.

There is also the issue of finances. International students pay far more than U.S. citizens for their education, effectively subsidizing our Universities. Here at FRCC, international students can expect to pay well over 2.5x more than resident students, and that’s before COF and other state subsidies that international students don’t qualify for. That means that by kicking out international students, we’d effectively be shortchanging U.S. universities millions of dollars, and American citizens would have to pick up the bill one way or another. Given that the policy is unlikely to even work, and would cost Americans millions, why would we ever do it?

Given the response that Swalwell got from his idea, we probably will not be doing it, but what can we do instead? I’ll answer that question with another question: If someone comes to the United States to get their education here, is there really any reason they shouldn’t be allowed to stay? After all, every Russian who goes to work back home is going to be working on SU-57s, Tu-243s, and other Russian military hardware. Why? When they could be working on F-35s, or a new generation of American MANPADS? Highly capable & intelligent people are an asset- not a burden, and instead of kicking Russian students out of the country, we should be inviting them to stay. 

Why stop there, though? Why limit ourselves to only welcoming Russian students from American universities? Any Russian who got a degree in any university should be allowed to come to the United States. Frankly, that’s even better. They get educated at the expense of the Russian government, leave, and then contribute to our technological advancement. Why even stop with just Russians? China is beginning to catch up to the United States in technological achievement, but technology doesn’t come from nowhere. It comes from smart, educated people researching, and making breakthroughs in laboratories. So, why not offer the smart, educated people in Chinese laboratories a ticket to the new world? 

The United States is, for the most part, a nation of immigrants. One of the only countries in the world whose nationality is not defined by race, religion, or even language- but instead a common set of values and beliefs. An immigrant who moves to Norway will be hard-pressed to ever be able to call themselves Norwegian- but an immigrant who moves to the United States? I’m not sure about you, but I’d almost be offended if they don’t call themselves an American. That’s one thing that sets us apart from the rest of the world – anyone can be an American, and there are plenty of people in line. We just need to let them in.

The American Bread Line

By Seth Ciancio

The Soviet Union was infamous for its bread lines. But whether or not you realize it, the United States has breadlines too, and every time you’re stuck in traffic, you’re in one.

With most products and services, if there’s too much demand (the amount of a product or service that people want) relative to the supply (the amount that’s available), then the price goes up. The higher price drives people to buy less, reducing demand, until it meets the supply. But in the USSR, prices were set by the government, who set prices of essential goods as low as possible to avoid popular discontent. That might sound like a good thing, after all, who doesn’t want low prices? But the artificially low price meant that demand wasn’t controlled for, so people bought more of these essential goods than they needed, and had little reason to use them efficiently, resulting in shortages across the country. The Soviets didn’t want to risk sparking popular discontent by raising prices, but they still had to control demand somehow, so they came up with a novel solution to control demand: lines.

You might not realize it, but the same thing happens in the United States. Not for bread, but for highways. Most of our roads are what we call: “free at the point of use.” That means that, while tax revenue is collected to pay for the highways, drivers don’t pay when they actually use the road, and they don’t pay more based on when, or how much, they use the road. Essentially, the financial cost to use a highway is the same no matter the demand, leaving only one limiter on demand: congestion. 

Despite functioning differently, and having a different name, this has the exact same economic effect as the artificially low bread prices of the USSR. Because our interstate highways are free to use, people use them more than they need to, and they have no incentive to use them efficiently, causing a shortage of road capacity. Ultimately, just as artificially low prices created bread lines up and down the city streets of Kyiv, artificially low prices create “bread lines” up and down the interstate highways of the United States.

Just as artificially low prices created bread lines up and down the city streets of Kyiv, artificially low prices create “bread lines” up and down the interstate highways of the United States.

There are only two ways that have been proposed to eliminate these “bread lines” on our highways. Some people suggest that we should just increase supply: spend hundreds of billions of dollars to build our highways bigger and bigger, until eventually everyone is driving on them, and there’s enough room for all of them. Or, as I suggest, we could charge people market rate to use the highway. The more people who want to use the highway, the more it costs to use it. Just like with any other product, the higher price would push people away. Either they will use another mode of transportation to get where they’re going, take their trip at a different time when there are not as many people using the road, or they might decide that they don’t want to make that trip at all. The price continues to rise until there’s enough highway to go around. This policy, charging market rate to use the freeway, is called “congestion pricing,” and no matter the road, a market-rate ‘congestion price’ would reduce traffic enough to eliminate congestion.

Why can’t we just meet the demand with more supply? The biggest issue is that demand is a lot higher than you think. Congestion – the American “bread line” – does reduce demand, it’s just a really inefficient way of doing it. So even though it might seem like just adding one lane would solve the issue, the reduced congestion is like a shorter bread line, it just attracts more people. So if we want to eliminate congestion by meeting demand, then we have to build a lot of highways. That’s not to mention the long-term problem issues regarding the new car-oriented developments that will spring up to take advantage of the freeway space. The end result of the ‘meet demand’ philosophy is an all-consuming highway that endlessly takes up more and more space, produces more and more pollution, and costs more and more money, all for the empty promise that, maybe one day, the lines will disappear.

The end result of the ‘meet demand’ philosophy is an all-consuming highway that endlessly takes up more and more space, produces more and more pollution, and costs more and more money, all for the empty promise that, maybe one day, the lines will disappear.

It also doesn’t help that, while highways are static and unchanging, demand for highways is flexible. If we want to build our way out of the issue, then we have to build highways wide enough for rush hour traffic, and just accept that they’re going to be mostly empty for the rest of the day. However, if we change prices based on demand, then people will do what they can to avoid the rush-hour congestion charges. Students will schedule their classes for different times; workers will come in early, or if they have a flexible schedule they’ll come in late, and people running errands will reschedule. It could be as simple as eating breakfast after getting off the highway instead of before, in order to “get ahead” of the rush hour charges. However, they do it, flattening the daily demand curve allows us to move the same number of people with fewer roads.

What’s so bad about bread lines, anyways? While it is true that lines do work to reduce demand, it’s useful to keep in mind that not all uses of a good or service are equally valuable. If there’s a limited amount of highway capacity, and there is, it ought to be allocated to the most valuable trips, not just to the people who happen to get in line first. For example, a guy who’s using the highway to go to work probably ought to have priority over someone else who’s just taking a joyride. It would be impossible, and inadvisable, for the government to try and figure out exactly what every driver is doing and then weigh the value of all those uses against each other. So instead, we just ask drivers how much they themselves value it, by asking how much they’re willing to pay for it. Whoever’s willing to pay the most probably values the trip the most, so it makes sense for them to have priority. After all, if you’re not willing to pay two dollars to use the highway, was that trip ever really that important to you? 

If you’re not willing to pay two dollars to use the highway, was that trip ever really that important to you? 

Beyond greater efficiency, lines have a real cost. It’s not as obvious as a big toll sign, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. Expert opinions vary, but some estimate that the U.S. economy loses as much as 179 billion dollars annually to congestion. You might not feel the hours of your life that are wasted away behind the wheel, or know the exact dollar cost of the meeting that you missed. If you don’t know them directly, you might not feel the impact of the hundreds of people who are killed a year in traffic accidents on Colorado highways, or the thousands more that are injured, but that cost is still real, and the fact that you don’t feel or notice it is the exact reason we need congestion pricing. If you pay to use the highway, you feel that cost. You feel it more than you feel the (much bigger) costs that you’re paying right now, and you (and everyone else) can actually take that into account when making decisions about how to get around, and how to live your life.

Can we actually make it happen? So the Soviet government set bread prices too low, artificially increasing demand, and creating bread lines. Why though, would an authoritarian, unelected government care one bit about the cost of essential goods? Look no further than Kazakhstan. Late last year, their government raised the ‘price cap’ for fuel, because the prices were so artificially low, that they had massive lines at gas stations and widespread shortages of fuel. While the price hike would have gone some way to alleviate the shortage, the people of Kazakhstan did not see it that way. All they saw was the price of fuel go up, and they, literally, rioted. If not for Russian intervention, they likely would’ve overthrown the government. 

Luckily, democratic countries don’t usually have this issue. Politicians tend to get voted out of office long before the people throw the government. Still, it’s evident that the people tend to greatly prefer lines over higher prices, regardless of overall economic efficiency. The problem, really, is that the benefits are spread out. Voters don’t see the widespread economic benefits afforded by lower traffic, and they don’t feel the economic burden that congestion puts on the economy. They don’t see the prioritization of valuable trips, and the economic benefits that brings. They might not even associate the lower levels of congestion with the new policy. What we can guarantee, though, is that voters will notice the big sign on the freeway entrance that reads: “$0.12/mi,” and they’ll certainly notice the new bill they get in their mailbox every week. Ultimately, the problem with “free at the point of use” service is an economic one – the costs are too hidden and too dispersed for people to take them into account when making their decisions. The problem with congestion pricing, then, is the opposite: the costs are so much more obvious, and so much more pointed, that voters would never support it, even if it is more economically efficient.

Great British Baking Show Review

Written by Rhiana Bilderaya

Photo by Andy Tucker

If you’re in need of a wholesome reality cooking show to watch, look no further than Netflix’s Great British Baking Show. You can either start from the beginning, or start with the most recent season, which was filmed last year during the COVID pandemic.

All of the bakers had to quarantine before participating, and they couldn’t see their families during filming unless it was over video or on the phone. Despite that, all of the bakers have great attitudes. They are funny and kind to one another and will often stop what they’re doing to help someone else out. In the context of a competition, this comes across as especially touching. You get the sense that they’re genuinely happy for one another when someone gets “Star Baker” (the award given to the best baker of the week) and sad when someone gets sent home.

As far as the baked creations go, because all of the participants live in the U.K., there are some desserts and dishes you probably won’t have heard of if you grew up in America. Each week has a different theme, like “Bread Week,” with three different challenges/recipes for the judges to try. The first challenge is a “Signature” dish, where bakers can practice their recipe for the judges. The next challenge is the “Technical” challenge, where bakers have a vague recipe for a sign unseen dish that they haven’t gotten to practice. The third dish is an elaborate “Showstopper,” where the contestants should wow the judges with a dish that looks and tastes amazing. The contestants are able to practice their showstopper challenges, but it often goes much differently during the competition. There are also a lot of new words to keep track of, like “stodgy,” which is a word the judges use when they think a bread is too thick or heavy.

Now that I’ve watched more than just the most recent season, I can see that the talent varies a lot from season to season. Everyone on the show is an experienced home baker, but in the non-COVID seasons, the participants seem to come up with more complex and intricate dishes to show the judges. It’s possible that in the most recent pandemic season, there were fewer people willing to leave their families.

There’s no shortage of humor, with two hosts who are actors/comedians in the U.K. Matt Lucas, the newest host, has been on Dr. Who and Bridesmaids, among other works. Noel Fielding is a comedian who’s been on IT Crowd and The Mighty Boosh. They talk to the bakers during filming, sometimes distracting them, which is amusing to viewers and probably less to the competition participants. Viewers also get to know the bakers over the course of the show, with snippets of their lives shown.

With a few more months to go until widespread vaccination, there’s still plenty of time to watch a new show. Who knows, it may even inspire you to make a new dish like scones or pasties.

Among Us Review – 8/10

Written by Lori May

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard of Among Us, a multiplayer title featuring intrepid space explorers that has positively exploded on Steam. Originally available as a mobile app, Among Us successfully made the transition onto Steam in November of 2016, living in relative obscurity until a few months ago. In our pandemic-fueled world of social distancing and relative isolation, interactive, inexpensive, massively social titles like Among Us have gained in popularity with remarkable speed. Blending both Co-Op dynamics with a Survival theme, Among Us challenges players to escape the vacuum of space as a team of crewmates – or as an Imposter, a separate faction that is determined to murder everyone and prevent their ability to maintain the spaceship and seek salvation.

Up to 10 players can join a lobby, where each is assigned a color. Provided your desired hue is available, each character can be customized by color, outfit, and accessory, or even pet company – and inexpensive, bonus cosmetic DLC options are offered to enhance your options. The ability to choose your color has led to countless memes discussing the types of players – the chaotic aspect of Cyan, the know-it-all aspect of Black, the determined effectiveness of Light Green. Regardless of your appearance, each player is randomly assigned to a role: Crewmate versus Imposter. The game allows for configuration, up to three Imposters per 10 slots, but the outcome is the same regardless of ratio: Opposing sides are either working together to repair their ship, or working towards murdering everyone who isn’t an Imposter.

When a body is discovered, the game transitions into the next phase, where the players discuss what happened. The in-game chat is full of arguments and debates, accusations and vehement denials, pitting players against each other because no one can be trusted. Successful Imposters kill in secret, or are convincing enough in chat that even if someone is a witness they can discredit them, possibly even turning suspicion around on the person gunning for them. The voting round follows, and if someone gets the majority vote they are expelled out into space. An important thing to remember is that each player has a vote – so Imposters can work together or sacrifice each other. Crewmates win by surviving and successfully repairing the ship, or by identifying and disposing of the Imposters. 

Thanks to Discord, Among Us can be augmented by playing rounds with everyone on voice chat. This lends an entirely different dynamic, because players must be convincing via voice communication rather than simply relying on text. The discussion feels far more chaotic and volatile, and fast-paced; sometimes, it is easier to discourage accusations when you are an Imposter, and sometimes you can’t get a word in edgewise to defend yourself. With Among Us 2 already being in development, players are using Discord to give feedback for the Devs, contributing to the ongoing conversation for improvements and changes. Cross-platform play between the PC and the mobile versions contributes more versatility if you’re trying to convince friends to pick up the game – especially because the mobile version is free – but the $4.99 U.S.D. price tag on Steam is very reasonable, given the replay value and current hype surrounding the title. 
Other us-versus-them titles have enjoyed periods of popularity, games like Town of Salem and Throne of Lies, both of which have far more extensive mechanics and complicated gameplay, but Among Us is a simplified, fast-paced, easy-to-learn alternative that has a plethora of players to challenge given the current popularity. A Top Seller on Steam for a reason, with seasonal updates and very few persistent bugs and issues, Among Us is an affordable, incredibly addictive way to interact with your friends remotely, without needing masks, or go find new friends (or enemies) on the vast, untamed world of the Internet.