Re-enactors straddle Civil War past, present in mock battles
Nov04

Re-enactors straddle Civil War past, present in mock battles

By Joshua Thiering First Hand Account One would be surprised by the thoughts that run through the mind when lying on the ground playing dead after succumbing for the second time during a Civil War re-enactment. A young recruit to the Confederates was one casualty who just happened to conveniently run into Union soldiers in front of a bleacher full of modern onlookers. I was the young recruit participating in the Battle of Ogletree Bay in Copperas Cove, Texas. While dying, this private wasn’t thinking about home and country, his lady, or who would look after his sister. He was thinking, “Why did I die with my face staring at the sun? I wish they had sunscreen back then. The next time I die, I will be more careful.” Like Lazarus, I died twice. The second time was much more convincing. Though the enemies were aiming above and away from the Confederates (for safety), a rogue Union “bullet,” powered by destiny, struck my chest, causing a violent effect. The redeeming thing about re-enactments is that participants die at their own discretion, and nobody want s to be the first to die. This spat of necrophobia led to 15 minutes of fighting without a single casualty. “It must have taken the soldiers about 15 minutes to perfect their aim,” Noelle Renfro, a spectator, said. The smoke from the rifle and cannon fire put a fog over the hard-fought territory of Ogletree Gap, a city park in Copperas Cove. The smell of sweat and gunpowder assaulted soldiers’ nostrils. As I was loading the rifle, cannon fire startled me. I poured half of the gunpowder down the barrel of the gun and the other half down the collar of my shirt. The blackened collar now served as a badge of rattled nerves. In order to load a Civil War era rifle, infantrymen have to pull a pouch of gun powder out of their back holster, tear a hole in the top, pour it down the barrel, and put a small cap over the pin while half cocked. Many of the men use their teeth to tear the powder pouch. Following their example, as a baby-faced private I earnestly bit a little too hard into my packet, getting a mouthful of gunpowder, which tasted like dirt. Once dead, I watched as Union soldiers walked past after the retreating Confederates. I began to entertain thoughts of last-second heroics. I could just climb to my feet daringly and fire shots with my pistol at the backs of the enemies as if I wasn’t really dead. I could even yell, “Die you bluecoat scum. I was...

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Pause for thought: Decision 2008
Oct21

Pause for thought: Decision 2008

By Joshua Thiering Big questions loom as we barrel down the homestretch of 2008. Big questions like: What should I major in? Who should I vote for? Should I get a hair cut? Well, don’t fret my little fretting freshman. I’ve got some answers for you. But they aren’t about silly things  the “main stream media” covers like majors and presidential elections. Instead, like Santa, or the three wisemen (if your feeling preachy), I come bearing gifts to those who care about their hair. These gifts are in the form of a point counter point of the ever important issue of hair cuts. Pro: Hey you, get a haircut. Your head looks like a mangy cat. Call the vet! Haircuts make it look healthy, and you’ll get less dandruff — a win-win situation for everyone. The Bird’s Nest is not just the stadium where the Olympics were held. It’s your head! Shave it, you haggard, kinky-haired Chia Pet. A hair stylist should hijack your hair.  Your hair is an abomination. It ruins your witness. Think about God.  Think biblically. Your mother tells your grandmother it’s time to get the shears.  We will cheer if you shear! “Your hair looks like a bush,” said senior Andrew Dickerson, who is a reliable source of unreliable sources. Cut your hair.  It isn’t famous. It’s infamous. You look like Saddam Hussein when they pulled him out of his hole. You were seen on campus and thought to be Bigfoot. Con: No, don’t shear thy righteous bangs. Thou long, flowing mane doth glow in the sun’s golden rays. Doth the shaved lion roar as loud? Nay, my friend. Your hair is a liberation; let us drink from its cup. The barbers are the truly barbarous. Maybe your hair has gone hay-wire. What is wrong with that? The armed services shave the heads of enlistees to maintain uniformity. They want you to be part of the mass. Be bold. Celebrate your differences. Grow it long and strong. Paint with all the colors of the wind. Or, better yet, think biblically. Delilah is waiting around ever corner, waiting to sap your strength. Take a walk on the wild side. Business in front, party in the back, isn’t merely the mullet. It’s the Missouri Compromise. You look like a mop head, but mops clean things. So what if you look like you stuck your fingers in a light socket? It’s only a testament to your electric personality. Oliver Herford once said, “A hair in the head is worth two in the brush.” Grow it long before it all falls out. Conclusion: As you can tell, by column...

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Couple tag-teams in Chapel
Oct21

Couple tag-teams in Chapel

By Joshua Thiering Students’ attentions were wrangled and corralled when Candice Meyers, a Christian country singer and former Miss Kansas, and her husband, Rope, a world champion steer wrestler, spoke to students recently during chapel services. Candice Meyers sang and interjected personal words of wisdom to the students. Her first song was dedicated to the “World Changers.” “Have a little faith. You can move a mountain,” she sang. Rope Meyers, whose father was also a world champion steer wrestler, spoke about his history of roping when he was a young adult. He also jokingly dispensed a little marriage advice saying, “When you get married, you find that you lose half of your vocabulary, because your wife has the other half.” Using the illustration of Jesus as a river flowing forth, he emphasized that Christians should have a bottomless faith. “God needs you at a place where you are not ankle deep … you need to move to that place where there is no bottom, where you cannot stand.” With a name like Rope, one could say Meyers was destined to become a cowboy. He said, “It is on my birth certificate: Rope Meyers. My sister’s name is Tie and brother’s name is Cash. They named us that way because you rope the calf, you tie the calf, and you win the cash.” He added, “My dad was a world champion steer wrestler when I grew up. So I wanted to do the same thing. Every little kid wants to play cowboys and Indians. I just got to do it with a real horse.” Where Meyers draws inspiration from his father, Candice Meyers finds inspiration from her favorite country music artist, Martina McBride, and her heroes from her hometown who have walked with God successfully for a long time. “I look at them, and they are 40 years married, their children are raised and grown and they are just as passionate about God as they ever were,” Candice said. Senior history education major Amanda Jane Foss said of the hour—long performance, “I liked that she explained the meaning of her songs, and the significance that they had in her own life.” She also enjoyed listening to Rope’s talk. Foss said, “I really liked that Rope talked about it being a long journey, of just walking day by day, moment by moment with Jesus—that you might walk a thousand steps and only be ankle deep, and keep going and walk another thousand steps until you get to that place where Christ is in control of every aspect of your life.” Other students were a bit more critical. “I thought she wasn’t...

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Vote ‘Obama’ for change, reform
Oct21

Vote ‘Obama’ for change, reform

Ashli Lawson Voting gives hope to ideas becoming reality and is a great privilege we have in the United States. On November 4, I will be casting my ballot for Barack Obama for president of the United States. With Barack Obama as president, much-needed reform will be possible. Health care can become more available and affordable for families and businesses, alternative energy research will be encouraged and a war that never should have been started will be ceased. With an Obama-Biden ticket, change is possible. Health care has been the main concern for millions of U.S. families as premiums and co-pays have risen, choice of doctors has narrowed and people are turned away for pre-existing conditions. Under the Obama-Biden plan, heath care will be more affordable and more accessible. For children, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) will ensure every child has coverage from the time of birth. After age 21, a more effectively regulated health care system will instill competition between providers and mandatory access to service to allow families and employers to afford and receive coverage. Funding from this program will come when the Bush tax cuts on households making over $250,000 per year expire and a more progressive tax rate takes effect. A decrease in foreign oil dependence will not reverse the effects of current greenhouse gases. However, it will reduce the economic strain and push towards alternative energy. The Obama-Biden ticket supports government incentives for advanced car purchases and provides short-term relief for Americans at the pump. Obama will urge Congress to implement a profits tax on excessive oil companies and plug loopholes in the energy industry to prevent over-speculation in the field at the consumer’s expense. The war in Iraq began as the result of an attack on American soil. The Bush administration rushed into this war over intelligence reports that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and assertions that Saddam Hussein collaborated with al-Qaida terrorists. The 9/11 Commission report proved both false, but the war continued. The Bush administration then made it their mission to capture Suddam Hussein and make a defensive war into an offensive operation to bring democracy to Iraq. A war that was prematurely entered to protect Americans from terrorists soon became an imperialist mission to alter a political system. As North Korea’s Kim Jong Il was, and still is, testing missiles that could potentially reach the U.S., terrorism is not declining, and America’s economy is unstable, the current administration continues to supply more troops to the Middle East and exponentially allocate tax payer’s dollars to this mission. The United Nations does not back this mission, and America is...

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Plunging economy: What students, parents should know about America’s deepening financial crisis

Jordan Gustin Over the course of a month, the implosion of Wall Street shocked the world and has prompted many to search for the cause. The discovery of denial, greed and rampant corruption is unsettling. The great irony is that clues of the collapse have been around all along. So how could the signs be overlooked, and does it foreshadow the fate of America? A recession is a decline in economic activity (such as a drop in house purchases or a decline of the stock market) for six consecutive months. “There is an almost-certain 99.9 percent chance we are headed for a recession,” finance professor Dr. Larry Woodward said. Woodward offers his advice. “The problem isn’t caused by over-regulation or under-regulation, and we don’t need government to regulate more or regulate less; we need a thoughtful government.” As for whether or not America is headed for another Great Depression, Woodward thinks the only way to follow that path of disaster is if deficit spending continues. How does all this affect college students? Dr. Paul Stock, finance, accounting, and economics chairperson, said, “This crisis might affect college graduates looking for a job in the financial sector. If there is a recession, businesses will be looking to cut costs, and the first place they will cut are the number of employees. Unemployment will go up.” Stock believes that the crisis will impact students’ parents more than the students themselves. He said that parents who are retired “might lose some money in their retirement accounts, and those who are looking to retire in the next three to five years might have to wait. Unfortunately, if there is a recession, there is a good chance many of them will be laid off.” The origins of the financial crisis can be traced back to an act passed by Congress in 1977 called the Community Reinvestment Act. It has essentially forced businesses to sustain a minimum percentage of low-income mortgages every year or risk being fined. These mortgages eventually became the highest amount of loans in any income category. Lenders misled many potential homeowners into higher loans. Just about anyone, regardless of the ability to afford them, was able to take out a home loan. The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) received preferential treatment from Congress in 1991, giving them an advantage over competitors in that they were not subject to many of the taxes and standards other companies were. This allowed Fannie and Freddie to use their reputable appearance to sell risky low-income mortgages to gullible investors as low-risk investments. The Federal Reserve’s takeover...

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