November 8, 2012

The Weekly Blab

Volume 7, Issue 12—November 6, 2012

As Goes SPSU, So Goes America

I was at the mock presidential debate at SPSU on Monday, and it was a mighty fine event.  The student theatre was nicely decorated by with red, white, and blue balloons and miniature flags (thanks to Liz Lehner, a political science student), and about 150 people were in the audience.  Ably prepared by Tom Rotnem, Carl Snook, and other Political Science faculty, three poly sci students represented Team Obama (Teyanna Henry, Origen Monsanto, Patrick Sumner), three represented Team Romney (Tyler Maran, Erin McGehee, Frederick Roddy), three students provided questions (Tsvetelina Chahova, Jerry Floyd, Shanneiqua Goodlow), and student Meredith Shaddix was the very efficient moderator.

The questions were excellent, covering social policy, economic policy, and foreign policy.  Each team was called on, in turn, and had to answer questions within two minutes.  A one-minute rebuttal for each team followed.  Meredith was ruthless about making sure that the allotted time wasn’t exceeded—she was willing to cut the team off in mid-sentence if need be.  Her proud father was sitting right in front of me.  From the reaction of the audience, it was clear that they would have liked to see her do that in the real presidential debates!   Questions ranged from how the candidates would handle the upcoming fiscal cliff to their positions on abortion and to what specifically they would cut in the budget to reduce the federal deficit.  The students had the very difficult job of answering the questions according to what the real candidates would have said, rather than giving their own opinions.  They each did an excellent job.

After the prepared questions, the audience was invited to ask the teams anything that hadn’t yet been covered, and it was then time for the two-minute closing remarks, which sounded amazingly authentic.  The audience then voted, and when the votes were tabulated, Team Obama was the winner with 69% of the ballots cast.

Obviously, America was impressed by the job our students did, because less than 36 hours later, the nation voted the same way, reelecting the president.  Not only that, but the U.S. Senate now has 20 female senators, the same percentage as female students at SPSU.  Now I can’t prove that the SPSU mock debate results were the critical element in the election outcomes, but surely no one believes that this could be a coincidence.  Congratulations to Tom, Carl, the students, and everyone else from SIS who helped with the debate.  Dinner’s on me at the Cheesecake Factory!

What, November Already?

It’s hard to believe that November is already here—it seems that the semester just started.  With election day now over, I’m glad we won’t have to hear more political campaigns, at least for a little while.  Of course, ten seconds after the results were announced, the networks started talking about whether Paul Ryan was now the Republican frontrunner for 2016.  And 10 seconds after the end of Halloween, the Christmas ads began appearing on TV.  Sheesh…what happened to Thanksgiving?  Best comment on the end of the election?  See the Non Sequitur strip below:

Soccer Results

SPSU has done a bit better than beloved Chelsea this week, advancing to the Southern States Athletic Conference semifinals with a 3-0 win over Belhaven University (Jackson, MS) on Saturday.  Next up is a toughie—the University of Mobile (AL).

Chelsea, also on Saturday, could only squeeze out a 1-1 tie with Swansea City.  Since Manchester United won their game, that dropped Chelsea into second place, one point behind.  Chelsea did better in Wednesday’s European Championship League game, with a dramatic 3-2 win in stoppage time against Shaktar Donetsk (Ukraine).

Degree Updates

SPSU is on a bit of a roll degree-wise lately.  This coming Tuesday, our M.S. in Civil Engineering full proposal will be decided upon by the Board of Regents, so it’s a short road trip for Thomas Currin and me to Atlanta to be there when it happens.  Yesterday, we also heard that the prospectuses for our Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering Technology degrees were approved, so its on to preparing full proposals.

Support Our Military Students

Next week is Military Appreciation Week at SPSU and if you want events, we got ‘em.  The Opening Ceremony is on Monday, November 12 at noon, and will feature a presentation by Bob Kerr, a WWII Pearl Harbor Veteran.  There will also be a student affairs booth in the J-building lobby from 4:30-6:00 PM, and a presentation by General Larry Taylor in the Student Center Ballroom at 7:00 PM followed by a reception.

Tuesday, November 13’s events include a flag ceremony from 12:00 – 12:30 PM at the sycamore grove.  It is also Military Appreciation Basketball Night at the gymnasium, starting with a tailgate/cookout at 4:30 PM, a color guard ceremony, and of course, two basketball games.

On Wednesday, November 14, there are two presentations.  The first, from 8:00 – 9:00 AM in J-130, is by George “Jay” Veith, entitled “Code Name Bright Light”, about efforts to rescue POWs during the Vietnam War.  At 12:00 – 1:00 PM in the Student Center Ballroom, he will be speaking on “Black April”, about the collapse of South Vietnam in 1973.  He will be signing copies of his book, which will be available for purchase.  A light lunch will be provided.

The Closing Ceremony will be on Thursday, November 15, from 12:00 – 1:30 PM in the Student Center ballroom, with awards being presented and featuring a panel moderated by our own Dan Branham.

It’s a great lineup of events, so please attend when you can and encourage your students to attend as well.

Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Proving once again how the BLAB is nothing but timely, last week’s trivia contest had questions all having to do with presidents.  There were lots of entries, and the fastest finger went to Jonathan Lartigue, who becomes the first person ever to win the contest three times in the same semester.  Jonathan therefore enters the BLAB’s Hall of Champions and wins an extra-special prize.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. Only president to be elected to four terms.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  2. Music they play when the president enters a room.  Hail to the Chief
  3. Who becomes president if BOTH the president and vice president can’t serve.  Speaker of the House of Representatives
  4. Only president to serve two terms, but not consecutively  Grover Cleveland
  5. First woman president of a republic (also the first to be ousted from office by a coup).  Isabel Peron (Argentina).

This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s trivia challenge is dedicated to all of you whose candidate for some office lost the election—all questions have something to do with the words “cry” or “tears”.  As usual, the first with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO zszafran@spsu.edu, since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. Someone who complains all the time.
  2. English new-wave band, their albums include “The Hurting” and “Songs from the Big Chair”.
  3. Movie from 1992 about the IRA kidnaping a British soldier, it starred Stephen Rea, Forest Whitaker, and Jaye Davidson.
  4. Rolling Stones song beginning “It is the evening of the day/I sit and watch the children play.”
  5. Japanese Manga comic about an assassin who cries each time he kills.
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