May 2011 Brownell-Talbot Vol. IV, Issue 2
From Omaha to Intel
By Dale Chong
Some students spend their summer days relaxing, hanging out with friends,
taking vacations, or going away for summer camp. Senior Emily Chen, however,
decided to stay in Nebraska and research neurology. Chen’s passion for science and
commitment drove her to great ends, placing her in both a regional and national
competition. Here, she discusses the backgrounds and future plans of her in-depth
Dale Chong: What provoked you to do a research project on neuroscience?
Emily Chen: I was always interested in science, but I never knew exactly what field
I want to go into. High school science classes always exposed me to different fields.
I went to an exhibit at the SAC museum in 2009, and there I learned about the brain.
I saw different brain models and how neurons transfer signals and also got to partici-
pate in hands-on activities that were available.
The most impacting thing to me was President Ronald Reagan’s letter to the
public discussing his Alzheimer’s. It made me want to learn more about Alzheimer’s,
and it’s also a profound subject right now. Although there have been decades of in-
tense research devoted to Alzheimer’s, there is still a mystery behind this devastating
Dale: How did you go about your research?
Emily: I applied for a ten-week summer program at UNMC for high school students Emily Chen: Intel and Siemens Finalist photo courtesy of Arnold Clark
in the neuroscience department. Through that program, I was a scientific intern under
After shadowing my mentor and learning techniques for the first few weeks,
in the next month I started my own individual project, and that was how I ended my
first summer of research. I returned to the program the next summer and advanced
the same project. By that point, I was on my own, designing my experiment plan, and Omaha Film Festival
that’s where I finished. By Alex Wilson
Dale: What was one of the largest struggles throughout your project?
Emily: The main challenge was that my mentor left in the last month during the sec- Shane Black attended the Omaha Film Festival this
ond summer of my research. That was a crucial point because that was when I was
week as a special panel guest. Some other attendees were Ted
finishing the analysis of my data and finalizing research papers. It was the point when
I was submitting to Siemens and Intel, and I had never written any research papers Griffin (screenwriter for “Oceans 11”) and Mauro Fiore (cin-
before. ematographer for “Avatar”). I had a chance to watch one of the
Writing research papers is completely different from typical English papers, panels and catch a quick word with Black afterward.
so that was a whole new skill itself. I knew that my mentor wanted me to continue the
During Shane Black’s panel, the subject of “Iron Man
project, so I worked by myself (along with help from my professor), and in the end I
finished my research. 3” inevitably came up, specifically how he is approaching the
Dale: Do you plan on continuing your research at all? film. Black jokingly said the biggest hint he can give is that Iron
Emily: Yes, and I’m actually going back this summer and testing my same experi- Man is going to do a series of things that are controlled by the
ments on mice.
studio and not him. He went on to say that he is just starting to
Dale: What about a new project?
Emily: I’m not sure yet, but I really want to expand on my research with stem cells. read the comic books in depth and beginning to get a real feel
Dale: Has this project given you a better idea about what field of science you’d for the story, but he did confirm he would be writing the film.
like to be in? Black then talked about comic books in general and
Emily: Definitely, because going into the first summer in the Neurology department,
said he really doesn’t like them now because everyone has ei-
I knew only basics of the field, like neurons and the central nervous system. I had
no idea of what all it could encompass, and I’ve found it to be very fascinating. I’m ther huge muscles or huge chests. Black cited Neil Gaiman as
planning on majoring in biology with neuroscience in college. a writer that he felt could produce a good comic book (refer-
Dale: What was the most memorable moment of going to the two competitions? ring to Sandman) but he also talked about Gaiman’s impressive
Emily: One was regional and one national, and for both, I’d have to say that some
writing style in his novels such as American Gods. But he said
of the most memorable moments were just hanging out with all the other kids there,
talking to all these super-smart geniuses from other states and explaining what it was that nobody can come close to the talent out of Japan when it
like here in Nebraska. It was also really nice to know that they are interested in the comes to graphic novels.
same thing as me. After the panel I had a chance to talk with Black and he
Of course, meeting the President was pretty awesome, too!
told me that he really enjoys manga. Black mentioned Death
Dale: Do you have any words of wisdom for other students who would like to
start a research project? Note and Gantz as some of his favorites and said that he is plan-
Emily: Don’t be afraid to start early and pursue a field that you are interested in, even ning on directing a live-action Death Note movie in the near
if you don’t know much about it. Then, take the initiative and seek out a mentor if future.
you have a research idea. Take all the opportunities you can and work closely with
the lab, mentors, graduate students and other research scientists. Just communicating To learn more about the Omaha Film Festival, check out their
with them is really eye-opening and fun. website: http://www.omahafilmfestival.org
2 Boys’ Golf
Girls’ Tennis By Josh Cohen
The boys golf season is under way,
By Briana Simusa with players practicing their swings and preparing
The girls’ tennis team is off with a…. well for their first match against Bellevue East on April
grunt, with the entire team putting in hours of 6th. They will be playing at Tregaron Golf Course.
practice in preparation for their upcoming match- Members of the roster include seniors Alex Totusek
es. . The team has also grown since last year. With and Bret Perry, juniors Chris Ames, Jonny Trinh, Saif
the addition of four freshmen and one sophomore, Shah, and Geoff Kuhn, sophomores Jon Oberdorf,
they are off to a great start: Christina Fossum, Em- Dustin Waggoner, and Evan Bloemer, and freshmen
Tyler Ehresman, David Rich, and David Bakos.
ily Bergquist, Emma Hussain, Michaela Higgins,
All golfers are working hard in practice each
and Sarah Harrison. The team welcomes back and every day at Miracle Hills Golf Course, where
more Varsity members: Seniors Tory Wilson, So- they work on short game, hit on the driving range,
nya Schindler, Meredith Brockman, Katie Gurtis, or play holes. All of this practice happens under the
Giselle Correa, Emily Chen; juniors Talia Simon, watchful eyes of Coaches Dave Brown and Karen
Britt Fossum, Sammi Bray, and Dale Chong; Christenson. These coaches are very experienced
and sophomore Alison Brockman. Junior Varsity with golf and they provide extraordinary instruction
members, including the new members, include for the blooming golfers. Last season’s state runner-
Linda Liu and Briana Simusa. up, Alex Totusek, is a leader on the team. Besides im-
proving his own game, he also makes a solid effort to
So far, the team has had mixed success,
help out the underclassmen. Alex was quoted saying,
losing their first match of the year to Elkhorn “Golf is a lot of fun. The team is great and everyone
South. However, their luck has turned around: gets along. This could shape out to be one of the bet-
number two doubles team of Talia Simon and Freshman Michaela Higgins during a match
ter teams we have had which would be pretty cool.”
against Elkhorn South. She is a new addition
Alison Brockman advanced to the semifinals of Golf is not the most heralded sport at Brownell
to the team.
the Ralston invitational tournament, with Sammi Talbot, but the players are trying to turn that around by
Bray and Britt Fossum competing as number one competing hard, and trying their best. Another team
and two singles respectively. Finally, on April leader, Chris Ames, has quite the zeal for golfing. He
10th, the team won their first home match against was quoted saying, “I love to play golf. That’s my
arena, and you can characterize golf however you
want, but I have a lot of passion for getting that ball
There are matches coming up, and home in the hole and playing with the team.”
matches are held at Omaha Country Club on On another note, Miracle Hills is a fine course
North 72nd street. to play on, and the regulars there often comment on
the great behavior of the boys golf team. Besides
practicing with the team, many players elect to golf
Math and Quizbowl at other courses on their own time. This shows the
immense commitment of these golfers.
The math team has had a very successful run this year The whole team was surely busy watching
so far under the guidance of Mrs. Anderson. With very and playing golf last weekend, as it was the Masters
strong seniors, juniors, and sophomores along with eager, Tournament at Augusta. A scrappy underdog named
bloodthirsty new freshman, the team has done extremely Charl Schwartzel was the surprise winner. The South
well at recent competitions. The most recent math com- African practiced intensely and it paid off, as he won
petition was a Math Olympiad way out in beautiful $1,440,000 dollars for his efforts. Besides the mon-
Missouri and included just seniors, juniors, and sopho- ey, he also received the coveted green jacket that is
mores. After a long morning of driving on a coach bus Sophomore Jonathan Oberdorf, presented to the winner. He was on the verge of tears
along with teams from Central High School and Omaha while playing at Miracle Hills Golf while he received the jacket from previous winner
North, the team arrived on campus and went immediately Course. Photo by Alex Wilson. Phil Mickelson during the legendary jacket ceremo-
to take a dizzying two hour test. As small schools were ny.
in their own division, they were announced first. Several The boys golf team members are sure to look
of the dozen mathletes from BT that day placed in the to Schwartzel as an example of how to play the game.
top ten of each of their grades. Overall, the seniors won Who knows, maybe one of our own boys golfers may
their grade for the third year in a row and the sopho- be the next Masters champion!
mores have started their 3-year run with a first place this
year. The juniors also were outstanding and overall were
second in their grade. As a school, Brownell was the top Soccer
finisher for the small school division. We look forward to By Alex Coakley
a fast-paced math quiz bowl competition in April.
Howdy, this is Alex Coakley reporting on
This year’s quiz bowl team traveled to little
Cedar Bluffs in our new conference to participate in the the soccer triumvirate of Roncalli, Concordia, and
conference quiz bowl competition and wow, did they Brownell-Talbot. I know soccer for the art form that
dominate! The varsity team won their division with an it is.
undefeated streak and little competition. The two junior The triumvirate began its season on a sour
varsity teams placed second and third, each winning note. This is evident if you take a look at our not too
three games and losing one. You remember that one hot season record of 1 – 6. This can be partially attrib-
English teacher that always bugged you about details uted to our low numbers; the opposing team always
like proper grammar and syntax? One of the most upset- has fresh warm bodies to throw on the field. There’s
ting loses was the junior varsity team forgetting to pay
no time for us to rest! Even though the trio that we
attention to details in the third round, losing by only five
points. The decisive question was “Whose assassination comprise is small, we have what the other teams seem
sparked World War I in 1914?” and the team answered to lack: we have gusto. When the going gets tough,
with Franz Ferdinand. However, they did not get the Sophomore Denise Dantzler in action we get going, and when we get knocked down, we,
question right because the answer must include a title. on the soccer field. Photgraph by Char- (eventually and inevitably), get back up.
Therefore, only the answer Archduke Franz Ferdinand lotte Conner. With this fighting disposition, I believe that
would have been accepted and the team therefore lost by the soccer team that represents your school will suc-
the five points that this question would have earned them. ceed. I look forward to a successful soccer season. I
Congratulations to an amazing finish for all three quiz hope that you do too. I expect to see you guys in the
The “Friday” Phenomenon
What if Rebecca Black were the new face of pop music?
By Molly Helm
On March 18 Molly Burkley looked up at me while working on a
history assignment and asked, “Moll, what day is it?”
A smile spread across my face immediately. “It’ssssss FRIDAY FRIDAY!
GOTTA GET DOWN ON FRIDAY!” I sang to her in my most obnoxious
and nasally singing voice.
She rolled her eyes and told me to shut up, along with everyone
else that was in the commons at that time.
Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” has become an Internet sensation over-
night, and for all the wrong reasons. The song is unbelievably annoying,
but also extremely catchy, and it stays in your head for hours.
Black is a 13-year-old middle school student from Anaheim Hills,
CA. That is about as much as I know about her, other than the fact that she
thinks she is “not the best singer, but not the worst either, but definitely
with talent.” So, her mom paid Ark Music Factory, a small record com-
pany in California, to write and produce a song for her.
The song, unfortunately, turned out to be horrible. And so was the
singing. And so was the video. There is hardly anything decent to say
about the whole “Friday” thing other than it is educational (“Yesterday
was Thursday, Today is Friday…”), and Black has no doubt made tons of
money off of the whole craze, so good for her.
The video opens with a calendar flipping through the days of the
week, and Black singing “ooohhh yeah yeahhhh” in her nasally voice.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…. FINALLY it’s Friday! Black
wakes up, gets ‘fresh,’ goes downstairs, gets her bowl, has some cereal
and goes outside to wait for the bus at the bus stop.
This is when things start to get fishy. Clearly, Black is supposed to
get on the bus and go to school, but instead she stands with a fake smile Rebecca Black, the infamous “youtube” phenomenon
Photo from her music video “Friday.”
on her face and contemplates whether or not to sit in the front seat or back
seat of the convertible that her middle schooler friend is driving. Hate to writers of the song, not Black. If your issue is that you can’t stand her me-
break it to you, Rebecca, but there is only one seat available… and those chanical voice then look up the “unplugged” version of the song (no prom-
kids do NOT look old enough to drive. Chorus time! “It’s Friday, Friday, ises that it will make you like the song any more, but at least she doesn’t
gotta get down on Friday!” I am no Justin Bieber super fan, but this tune sound like a robot). And if you really just can’t stand Rebecca Black, then
sounds very similar to his song “Baby,” just with worse lyrics. ignore her. Stop talking about her, and stop singing her song.
Fast forward through 10 or 15 seconds of sheer horror, and Black is I must admit that I will probably purchase her song on “itunes.”
back in the convertible “kickin’ in the backseat,” and surrounded by more It’s horrible, yes, but what is better than driving around on a Friday night,
of her twelve-year-old friends, with their Forever 21 dresses and braces- going to a real party and singing Rebecca Black at the top of your lungs?
filled mouths. Nothing.
A moment of summer
After another chorus comes the bridge. This is the best part of the
song by far. After Black let’s us know that “yesterday was Thursday, today
it is Friday,” she tells us that “we, we, we so excited.” Rebecca Black is
one smart cookie. I had no idea that Sunday comes after Saturday. What By Jennifer Coccia
comes next just confuses me. It’s a man, sitting in a car, rapping about Despite a surprising through his 27-song set of playful,
Rebecca Black and passing school buses. I’m not sure where this guy is onslaught of snowfall, Kenny upbeat and very “coastal” songs.
headed, but if it’s to the same place that Black is at, I am seriously worried. Chesney did not leave benind his He not only entertained the crowd
He’s too old to being hanging out with 13-year-olds. well-known summertime atmo- with the wide variety of songs he
The screen flashes back to Black walking into a party and singing sphere and trademark sunny sound played with the five other members
on a stage in front of a bunch of kids. The three minutes and 48 seconds of at his concert on Saturday, March in his band, but he showed what a
hell end with Black singing, “I don’t want this weekend to end!” When I 26. The only unfortunate part of stong performer he is when he de-
first watched this video on “youtube,” it had two-million views, and today this concert was the unfortunate cided to pick up a guitar as well.
it has 42-million views. By the time people are reading this article, I’m weather outside, as the event went Through the many different lights
sure it will have gone up even more tens of millions of views. of smoothly and without a hitch, a and screens Chesney and his open-
One part of me is happy for her because she is famous, which is thoroughly enjoyable event by one ers really out-shone and made the
awesome, and I’m sure she’s made money off of all of this (she is on the of my favorite artists. One of Ken- concert very worth while.
itunes top 100, by the way); but another part of me feels so incredibly ny’s openers was Uncle Kracker,
Verbatim is an online student
bad for her. This song is horrible. Terrible. Vomit worthy. I am sure she is who is famous for his singles
aware of its auto-tuned awfulness, and if she didn’t know how bad it was “Follow Me,” “Smile” and “Drift newspaper published quarterly
when she first heard it, then the millions of comments that accompany the Away.” at Brownell-Talbot School
song on “youtube” sure have told her. People are being MEAN. Really, While Chesney was sing- 400 North Happy Hollow Bou-
really mean. Like this one, from swixrocker, “She sounds terrible. Every- ing, Uncle Kracker decided to levard
time she says Friday, I want to stab myself,” and this one, “she’s so ugly show up at Millard South’s Prom,
Omaha, Nebraska 68132
she should wear a bag over her head every Friday!” said by jjkitch95. Wh- also being held in the Qwest Cen-
hat?! ter, where he sang a few songs for (402) 556-3772
First of all, if anything makes you want to stab yourself, you should them. The other opener was Billy firstname.lastname@example.org
probably get some help. That’s not okay. Currington who played a few email@example.com
Second, she’s not hideous, and really… who is good looking at 13 songs like “Don’t” and “Must Be Editor-in Chief: Britt Fossum
years of age?! I know I wasn’t. Doing Something Right,” from his We welcome your comments.
I think all this Rebecca Black stuff has gotten out of hand. I agree later albums and “Enjoy Yourself” Please send them to the e-mail ad-
with the fact that this song is bad. It’s really bad, actually. But if you hate from his newest album. dresses above, or bring them
Black so much then why are you adding to her views on “youtube,” and Chesney came out say- to the journalism office.
why are you tweeting about her all the time, and why are you giving her so ing he missed being on tour last Editorial staff reserves the right
much attention!! year and missed Omaha. He kept to deny offensive and/or unsigned
If your main problem with the song is the lyrics, then blame the the crowd on their feet all night letters.
Second-to-last Potter still awes
By Ally Washka
Back in November of 2010, we were all constantly checking our calendars, anxiously awaiting the event of the year. Of course, I am talking
about my fellow “Potterheads,” and myself. For the fanatics all around the globe, we have been waiting to see the last installment of the Harry Potter
film franchise since July of 2007. Any fan is always going to be painfully critical of the Potter films, but even I have to admit it—Deathly Hallows was
the best movie yet!
On Nov. 18, 2010, theaters all across America were filled to the point of bursting with robes, Hogwarts ties, crazy wigs, and all-around lunatics.
The best thing about seeing a Potter film at midnight is definitely the atmosphere. One can quite literally feel the
excitement in the air, as the theater lights dim, and every- one’s mouths open wide and let out a scream of excite-
ment as they all hear that all-too-familiar music.
After watching the movie, I was extremely im-
accented the dramatic themes, as well as the lighter mo-
Review pressed. The music in the film was amazing and really
ments. The actors were fantastic, and I have almost noth-
ing negative to say about the movie, except for the fact that there were a few scenes left out. The main plot of the
movie was to show Harry, Ron, and Hermione going off on their own to find Horcruxes, or pieces of Lord Voldemort’s soul placed in objects.
If anything, the movie did seem rather rushed. Although they did have a lot to fit into the first half of a pair of movies, I think that the director
could have made it flow a little more smoothly. All in all, however, the movie was uniquely different from any of the others in the series, and I would
definitely recommend it.
photo courtesy of mysynonym.com
Celebrating the Arts
By Austin Taylor
The Brownell-Talbot Literary Magazine, The Ivy and the Ashlar, has been a tradition throughout most of Brownell-Talbot’s history. For those
of you who don’t know what the Lit Mag is, it is a compilation of student-submitted stories, poems or any type of visual or literary art. Students and
teachers can submit anytime before one of the three deadlines, the last of which is in February.
To submit, one must email or bring in a copy of their work to the Journalism room.
This year junior Grace Bartels is the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and senior Paul Harding is the managing editor. The Lit Mag is selective
though, so if you want to submit something make sure it is your best work!
Once the final deadline has past, students who make up the literary magazine staff read each submission and evaluate it. Three readers judge
each piece and then the three scores are averaged, and those pieces earning the highest averages make it into the magazine.
Mrs. Marjorie Waterman, who advises the publication, said, “We have had so many quality submissions this year thaat it’s been hard for the
staff to limit the choices that finally make it in to the magazine.”
Waterman went on to say, “This the magazine is a great way to display the quality of our students’ creativity. Work from all grade levels from
pre-school through 12th grade is included in the magazine. Not only do students get the chance to have their work published, but the community can
see evidence of the quality work that happens at Brownell-Talbot.”
Everyone in the school will receive his or her copy of the Lit Mag in May.
Bartels said, “It is considered an honor if your work is published so good luck to all who submitted!”
The Bagel Bin:
An Omaha Food Institution
By Christina Fossum
You bite into its chewy, yet crispy dough, steam swirling around
your face, and warmth filling up your mind. You glance around the room
and notice a man, your eyes meet and instantly you know that he too is
sharing the deep satisfaction of a bagel.
What might be this miraculous haven of bagels? The one - and only
- Bagel Bin.
In 1977, Joel and Susan Brezack moved from New York to Omaha.
They decided to open up a kosher bakery, to become the only kosher bak-
ery in Omaha. Being the only New York style bagel factory in Omaha as
well, The Bagel Bin exploded with success and to this day has extremely
loyal customers. The brilliant combination of flavors and textures really
lend their hands to a unique bagel-consuming experience.
Bagels not really your thing? Does the thought of a crunchy, chewy,
boiled ring of dough simply not appeal to
you in the same way that Joel and Susan
had hoped? Fear not,
only offers various fla-
Review for the Bagel Bin not
vors of bagels but also
many kinds of breads along with other baked
goods--as well as hot sandwiches, soups,and macaroni and cheese. In my
personal opinion, even if you do lie in the minority of anti-bagel, one short
trip to the Bagel Bin will have you hooked for a lifetime.
Even after a devastating fire in 2010, the Bagel Bin marches on,
having reopened last year. These bagel-less weeks struck horror in many
Nebraskans and reinstated the fact of the importance of bagels. And if
you’re going to eat a bagel, it may as well be one of the Bagel Bin’s spec-
tacular New York bagels in almost any flavor you can imagine.
Next time a manic Monday or worn-out Wednesday tears you
down, don’t think twice about finding comfort and solace in Omaha’s own The Bagel Bin, located at 120th and Pacific street, is very popular for
bagels and other baked goods. photos by Christina Fossum
Local tattoo artist
Koenig realizes early dream
By Alex Wilson
Dave Koenig would describe his art as a fusion between urban graffiti, antique tattoos and Japanese culture. Koenig said growing
up he was a “dorky kid” who was into comic books and loved to draw them, but just his own. He wanted to make his own stories and his
own character instead of the ones people create for him.
He always knew he wanted to be an artist and gave himself his first tattoo at the age of 14. That tattoo was a bird on his arm, and the
idea behind it was that his mom was an Apache Indian, and Koenig thought that because of that fact, the tattoo was a tribute to his and his
mother’s heritage, and she would accept the tattoo with open arms. He said sadly, he was mistaken.
Koenig started doing graffiti in San Diego in the late 90’s. A man named Karma tutored him in the art of graffiti. The name that
Koenig adopted in his Graffiti life was “Dup,” but as he has gotten older, Koenig has dropped the name as he feels it does not forward his
professional career. Koenig stills loves the art of graffiti and says that when he uses canvases he can get closer to his graffiti roots, but be-
cause of the fact that a tattoo artist can lose his license for being arrested for graffiti, he has stopped in favor of his career.
Koenig first attempted to become a tattoo artist when he was 19, but the whole event didn’t pan out so he chose to go back to school.
When he was finished, he received an offer to start working for Liquid Courage and has been working there ever since. His 10-year an-
niversary is actually coming up. Liquid Courage has also opened a second location called Sailors Grave that is strictly a walk-in shop and
does not take appointments.
Tattoos have become less about rebelling and sticking it to society and have become more of an art form in Koenig’s opinion. He
also feels that modern artists take life and their art too seriously, but he also feels that taking art seriously has its place. Koenig feels there
must be a balance between humor and the seriousness of life.
If you want to learn more about Dave Koenig, you can visit him and the rest of the Liquid Courage crew at liquidcourageomaha.
com. You can also catch their art show on May 6 at 13th and Jones Street in the old Post Office building. On May 14 they are having an
old-fashioned carnival block party at the same location. You can also look Koenig up at davekoenigart.com.
Left to Right: Overthrown Tunisia
President Ben Ali, struggling Yemen
leader President Saleh, disillusioned
fashion king Col. Gaddafi of Libya,
and former Egyptian “President”
Mubarak celebrating their authorita-
photo from funnypictures.com
Middle East crisis reveals ambiguous US foreign policy
By Bret Perry
Since the beginning of 2011, the amount of unrest in Middle Eastern countries has left Western governments in a state of confusion and shock.
The number of autocratic regimes flopping sent foreign affairs correspondents scurrying to their blogs and increased the amount of activity on Twit-
ter. Morocco, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Oman, Bahrain and Syria are encountering an unusually high amount of
unrest while Tunisia and Egypt have already succumbed to regime change. Libya has plunged into a Civil War that has
entangled the West.
It’s no surprise that some of these leaders are los-
1.5 tons of gold bars (25% of the country’s gold reserves)
Opinion ing a grip. If you’re like President Ben Ali of Tunisia and steal
or like President Mubarak of Egypt and rule for 44 years under
“Emergency” Law, the population is bound to become unhappy. Maybe a population gets frustrated when their leader
(Col. Gadaffi) tries camping in a tent in Donald Trump’s backyard and wears a hideous toga with luxurious sunglasses that are worse than Lil Wayne’s.
Dictatorship seems to enable a ludicrous fashion sense.
The U. S. strategy reaction to the Middle East has been confusing. When allies in the War on Terror—such as Bahrain— respond to unrest with
brute force and let foreign militaries occupy their country, the U. S. looks the other way. However, when foes like Libya try to quell the opposition
groups, the U. S. smashes a hammer at them for a “humanitarian mission.” President Obama’s administration does not have a firm or clear stance on
the developments in the Middle East. The United States needs to develop a solid strategy in response to the upheaval.
It is essential that the Obama Administration carefully consider the national interests of the United States when responding to these develop-
ments. Was the U. S. pushed towards leading involvement in Libya by her European friends? Is a growing opposition to ally Yemen, which is a haven
for al-Qaeda, a threat to US national security? Although the Obama Administration should be concerned with the human rights of the protesters, sig-
nificant involvement should only occur if it is in the best interests of the US.
Japan earthquake recovery continues
Combination of earthquake, tsunami, nuclear plant devastate country
By Britt Fossum
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake 45 miles east of the coast of Japan with a magnitude of nearly nine hit the country, causing a massive tsunami,
and resulting in disaster: cities shook, towns were washed into the sea, and for a few days, the entire country nearly shut down. The death toll has now
This crisis literally shifted the earth on its axis by nearly ten inches, but figuratively it has shifted the world’s events in an already tumultuous
spring. Already shaken by protests and revolutions in the Middle East, the world may not have been completely ready to handle the issues raised by
what has been described as one of the five worst earthquakes documented, and the ensuing destruction and nuclear disasters will continue as a global
The earthquake itself did not cause much of the devastation: the city nearest the quake was Sendai. Most cities nearly escaped the problem of
collapsed buildings. What truly caused widespread panic and destruction was the tsunami, where entire towns where washed into the sea, and bodies
were still missing among the wreckage weeks later. Even protective seawalls, built by the government and involving the investment of billions of dol-
lars, did little to protect, as the waves merely washed over the tops and collapsed the walls. Over 300,000 refugees from the northern Tohoku region of
Japan are still displaced from their homes: at the time of the earthquake, the country was still struck by winter storms. The country had to join together
to support those who lost the most, which the majority of citizens did admirably—schools donated gyms, people did without electricity and donated
survival items, and people did not take advantage of the disorganization. International efforts, though somewhat more limited than for other disasters,
have also made a difference, with over 33 different organizations offering help.
Although Japan may rebuild successfully, and the disaster may be resolved, it will only be a partial victory as one issue will remain. The earth-
quake shook not only buildings but power plants, causing a nuclear disaster second only to the Chernobyl disaster in the 1980s. And although countries
are willing to give aid for immediate relief, the real issue is whether such relief efforts can be sustained for the length of time required to resolve a
nuclear issue. The area surrounding the Fukushima plant will still be radioactive decades from now, long after the villages have been rebuilt.
Hopefully Japan will be able to recover both from the devastating loss of life and from the shocking tragedies. Recovery may be difficult though,
due to the continuing tectonic tumult. In a recent update, another earthquake of magnitude 7 hit Japan again on April 11, and there continues to be a
relatively low participation from international aid groups, especially compared to other natural disasters.