December 2008

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Wal-Mart becomes a killzone for Black Friday

A tragic incident occurred during Black Friday at the “Ruler of the World” powerhouse known as Wal-mart. A 34-year-old x-mas season was trampled to death by blood-thirsty shoppers hungry for their 40 inch flat screen TV and all the other big, heavy, cubed-metal boxes built for distraction. The crowd camped outside Wal-mart in Valley Stream, N.Y. awaiting the sliding doors to Wal-mart’s low, low prices. It was 4:55 and Black Friday began in 5 minutes. There was no police on site at this Wal-mart in Valley Stream and the crowd got anxious. They pounded their fist on the doors demanding entry. The workers kindly told them to step back so they can open the doors. Well, 5 minutes was just too long to wait so the mob volunteered to open the store themselves. They smashed through the doors and trampled the brave employees who tried to stop the angry mob. Employees were injured and one died, all for a 50 percent off sale. This is a tragedy of ignorance that could have been preventable if the shoppers realized that stampeding over people causes death. But, who cares when you can get 40 percent off from that iPod nano digital player you’ve been staring at for the past two months, right?  May I stress the severity of consumerism in American culture once again? Only in a capitalistic society is where you would find reports of death from purchasing retail. Wal-mart didn’t expect their friendly customers to be killers. What’s even more baffling are the comments that were overheard from the crowd when Wal-mart announced it was closing because of the reported death. “I’ve been on line since yesterday morning,” one customer said.  Maybe a reported death could account for Wal-mart closing early and people would understand regardless of that day being Black Friday. But, sadly no. Wal-mart had a job to do. They had to save American families by feeding them rotten produce, instant meals, and meaningless “technical toys” that you stare at for hours. Money had to be made and they re-opened the store at 1pm. The sad thing is the new customers who came in at 1pm were totally unaware of why there was no sliding door when entering the building, why there was shattered glass on the floor and in the midst of all that there was still, your friendly Wal-mart greeter. For the people who were at the Wal-mart, they need some serious self-reflection. A shopping cart filled with crap should not equal someone’s life. I remember on a South Park episode a fatal incident occurred in the parking lot of their mall. Instead of closing down the mall they closed down the parking lot and kept the mall open. The crazy thing about South Park is that the show plays jokes on American society and to think that an incident like that happened here in America is bizarre. Hmm, all I can say is American PEOPLE, we got to do better because we are under this mentality of “God must forbid those who will not allow thou to shop.”


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Meal plans vs. groceries

With financial times being as they are, just about everything under the sun is going up in price. From gas to groceries, many people are experiencing the low-supply, high-demand economy first hand. However, the choices that A&T students have to make regarding food are becoming more and more difficult. How does this financial situation affect students here at A&T? How does having a meal plan compare to buying groceries? It may be slightly cheaper to buy groceries over a semester, but to have different options to eat from seems to be the better deal after all. With a meal plan, you are guaranteed a certain number of meals per week. There are 3,091 students with traditional meal plans (A, B, C, and Declining Balance) and 339 students with the Commuter plan. All freshmen and students living on-campus are required to have a meal plan and if they do not sign up for one, then Meal plan A is applied to their account based on their housing. Angela Peterson, the Director of Auxiliary Services, said that students do not usually struggle with whether to get a meal plan or not, but mainly which one to choose. “It is a little bit of the student’s preference in choosing a meal plan based on having secure meals. It depends on their class schedule and time spent on campus to determine which meal plan they choose. The Flex dollars are another factor in it; how many they get and the flexibility to use them in different places. Meal plan A id the most popular, followed by plan B.”  Demetria Burton is the Meal Plan Coordinator in Auxiliary Services, and believes that there are certain qualities about the café that cannot be replaced. “There is nothing to worry about when you come to the café. You can eat as much as you want and there are many choices. You can eat a full-course meal and it is more convenient.”Peterson added, “You can socialize with your friends and meet new people there. We have special events such as Fried Chicken Friday and Wing Night and theme nights like Carnival night and 70’s night.”Most students who live off-campus do not have meal plans. They buy their groceries from stores such as Food Lion and Wal-Mart. On-campus students are more likely to have meal plans and all freshmen living on campus are required to have meal plan A to make sure that they have a dependable source of food. Cortney Key is a freshman liberal studies major who lives on campus in Morrow Hall. She has meal plan A, but it is only because she is required to. She said that she usually shops at Walmart for fruits and vegetables or goes to a friend’s house to eat outside of the café. “I probably would not have a meal plan if I were not required to. I only eat in the café for breakfast and lunch.” Most meal plans come with flex dollars, which allow students to dine in the places on campus, such as Pizza Hut and Chick-Fil-A. Although there are perks that come with having a meal plan, most off-campus students still do not prefer having one.Dana Underdue, a senior business management major, lives off-campus in Statesman Court and does not currently have a meal plan. She usually shops once a week at either Wal-Mart or Food Lion, and spends about $60 a week on groceries. “Mostly, I buy breakfast foods like eggs and bacon, milk, pizzas and salads. I sometimes get meats, canned vegetables and other stuff like fish, shrimp, and chicken.”Underdue spends about $60 a week, which comes up to $960 for 16 weeks of the semester. Meal plan A (19-meals/week) comes up to 3 meals a day and costs $1,150.50 per semester. Although there is almost a $200 difference, $50 in flex dollars and a guaranteed 3 balanced meals a day should be taken into consideration. Underdue does not usually eat 3 meals a day, which maybe the reason why her grocery bill is cheaper. Even if you save that money, you still will have to go back to the store in a week or two to get more groceries. In fact, you will be going to the store more often if you mostly get snacks and do not prepare full-course meals, like what is available in the café’.Another off-campus student without a meal plan is Alexis Alexander, a junior elementary education major. She said that she only shops for groceries at Wal-Mart and has not had a meal plan since freshman year. “I shop at Wal-Mart once a week for frozen foods and milk. I spend about $30 a week.”After your freshman year, it is optional to have a meal plan, and some students look forward to not depending on the café as their primary source of food. There is a good amount of students who eat there on a regular basis. They even have an off-campus meal plans to cater to those students. The reason for this is that most dormitories do not have full kitchens that are accessible to all of the students, and the only thing that they are allowed to have to prepare food with is a microwave.


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Does anyone know why they really love A&T?

I was talking to a close friend the other day, and our conversation shifted to why I loved A&T.That’s easy, I thought to myself. I said that I loved A&T because of the people, the experience, you know, the usual stuff.He laughed. I got kind of mad, then I asked him why he laughed. He said that every answer I gave him were the same answers that someone at ANY university would have given.I thought about it, and I realized that he was right. No two universities are the same, and the experience that people have there cannot be rivaled by anyone elses.You are never going to find the same person in two places, so of course the love of the people is something that everyone can relate to, and isn’t unique to A&T.Then it dawned on me that I just may not really know why I love A&T. Think about it. We all can quickly say what we hate about being at “The T,” about how we hate the price of textbooks, how horrible the athletic teams are, and just how little school pride we have. Some people would even say that the University has checked itself into rehab in an effort to restore it’s glory.But when someone asks us why we love A&T, we all have the same few answers: Homecoming, the experience, the atmosphere.No one ever says that they love A&T because of the academic rigor (that means stimulating classes for those of you that don’t know the word rigor), because honestly, how many of us had classes that were more challenging in high school?No one ever says they love A&T because the  wonderful customer service, and honestly, that in itself is a joke. How many times have you had to come outside of your professional nature to get something corrected? And how many rude secretaries have you had to put back in their place? Is it our fault that people don’t know how to do their jobs?No one ever says that they love A&T because of their management of peoples money. One word can vouch for this: audit.And I can’t even think of the last time, or anytime for that matter, that I have heard someone say that they love A&T because of how great the administration treats the students.Students spend more time in Dowdy, Murphy, and the various department chairpersons offices than they do in class, because some administrator is always screwing up.So when you really get to thinking about it, why do you love A&T? Why?After my friend had basically defused my standard answers, I took a minute to think, and I realized why I loved “The T.”It isn’t just the experience that makes me love A&T, nor is it Homecoming, AggieFest, and the many people that have made this great university a home for me. It isn’t the legacy of the A&T Four, Ronald McNair, Jesse Jackson Sr. & Jr., or the thousands of other alumni we fail to recognize that make me love A&T.I love A&T because no matter where I may end up after graduation, no matter what job I may find myself in, no matter what life may through my way, I will be able to deal with it because I have experienced, and will continue to experience, every challenge life has to offer.I have been through more crap at this university than I have ever experienced in my LIFE. Period. So at every turn of my life, I will be able to reference it to an A&T experience, and come up with an amazing solution.When we weren’t allowed to eat at the same lunch counter as our white colleagues, we organized sit-ins. Did A&T students not play one of the largest parts in the Presidental elections here in Greensboro?And I love A&T because no matter what we may be going through individually, when times are truly hard, and people are struggling, we can all pull together to serve the greater good. Refund check uprising anyone? Or the amount of support we all gave the football team when they won their first game? Or the time Miss A&T was first runner-up for Miss MEAC and we still acted as though she had won? Does anyone else remember suprisng Miss A&T at the airport with balloons and flowers when she had won Miss HBCU? Our band is going to the Honda Battle of the Bands for the first time EVER. What else could have done that but love for A&T?I love A&T because it has given me a platform to reinvent myself as a person, break out of my old shell and define who I am in this world. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of the things I do here at a predominently white institution, and that’s the truth.You won’t find a black male in charge of one of the campus’ biggest media outlets, serving as a top staffer in another, and representing the University on a statewide, and sometimes national level, in many places.You also won’t find a group of black people that are so diverse amongst themselves, nor will you find the struggles of A&T anywhere but A&T.I love A&T because of its flaws, its perfections, and its challenges. I love A&T because I was able to put on the front page of the newspaper one of the most controversial topics in black society, and NOT have to worry about something crazy happening afterwards.I love A&T because unlike so many HBCUs in the country, our students do have a voice.I love A&T because even when we have lost every game, there is always going to be that one alumni and that one student who will go anyway, because they are proud to be an Aggie, and that makes me want to go.I love A&T because it, just like me, is able to make a mistake, fix it, and come back better than ever before. I love A&T because I’m an Aggie, and all of the things that make my experience here unique remind me of it each day. That’s why I love A&T, and I hope that my friend is reading this, because now I ask him, and you one thing:WHY DO YOU LOVE A&T?


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Detainees leads to U.N. warning

BAGHDAD (AP) — The United Nations expressed concern Tuesday about overcrowding and “grave human rights violations” of detainees in Iraqi custody — in one case, 123 men crammed into a single cell.The warning comes as the U.S. prepares to turn over control to the Iraqis of thousands of security detainees in its custody under a new security pact that would end the U.S. mission here by 2012. The pact, approved last week by Iraq’s parliament, calls for American forces to transfer all detainees believed to be a major threat and to release the rest “in a safe and orderly manner.”But as overall violence declines in the country, the U.N.’s 13th report on the human rights situation in Iraq casts doubt on whether the Iraqis will be ready to take custody of more detainees properly.There is no secret that the (Iraqi) prisons are overcrowded and frankly not in very good condition,” U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said at a news conference where the report was released.He cited one recent example of a detention facility in which 123 detainees were crammed into a 540-square-foot cell — about the size of a studio apartment. “That’s obviously something that cannot be sustained,” he said.Reports of mistreatment and torture of detainees also continue and need more thorough investigation, he said, adding that none has been prosecuted.


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Black coaches dying in college football

There are 119 Football Bowl Subdivision programs in America, of those 119 men who are the head coaches of those programs only three of them are African-Americans following the resignation of Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State this past Saturday. The season started with six black coaches but that number has been cut in half after the firings of Ron Prince at Kansas State and Tyrone Willingham at Washington in the middle of the season. The three remaining men are Randy Shannon at Miami, Turner Gill at Buffalo, and Kevin Sumlin of Houston and make up less than 1% of all head coaches in the Bowl Subdivision. 70 % of these rosters are complied of players of color.     The lack of black coaches in college football is really easy to understand but no one will come out it say it so I will. The reason there are not more African-American coaches is because college presidents, A.D.s, and those important boosters do not think that a black man is smart enough or has the leadership skills to be a head coach. The perception is that blacks are great athletes and have a ton of natural athletic ability but that we are not great thinkers and would be outsmarted by any white coach, which is really sad when you consider that a African-American has just been recently elected to the highest office in the country. Keith Floyd the Black Coaches and Administrators  Executive Director said on the situation “it is rewarding to live in this country and see the direction its citizens are headed; but we still must deal with some areas of social injustice that remain a blight on an otherwise promising future of change.” Add in the fact 92.5 % of FBS university presidents, 87.5% of FBS athletic directors and 100 % of FBS conference commissioners are white according to Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com and black coaches are looking at a stacked deck to work through.     The SEC is probably the most tradition rich football conference in America and its schools are located in the old Confederate where race is still an issue sometimes. You don’t have to be a history major to know what happen in those southern states to blacks during the 1950s and 60s and the majority of the most talented players in college football come out of the southern states like Alabama and Mississippi. That is what made the hiring of Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State so significant. If you turn on the TV every Saturday you will see a man by the name of Nick Saban the head coach of Alabama. He is a very intense coach and has no problem cussing his players out, white or black. Now replace Saban with Croom and see if that same kind of action would go unnoticed or be considered just a part of being a head coach. The presidents and the supporters of the school do not want to deal with that problem if it were to happen. I talked about the great talent that comes out of these southern states and many of those players come from single parent homes usually single moms.What better way to help the young men who have the talent to play then to have some who they can feel can comfortable with it and also provide them with a father figure.  You look at a powerhouse program like USC with Ken Norton Jr. and Florida with Charlie Strong, programs that feature African-Americans in prominent coaching positions that help recruit young minority players because those players feel comfortable with them. Ken Norton Jr. helped star linebacker Rey Maualuga through the death of his father this past year by giving him someone to talk and still provide a father figure in his life. See, it’s the small things like that show that blacks are capable of being head coaches, the little things are just as an important as X’s and O’s. However, until the colleges and universities give black coaches a chance at that leve,l we may never how good they could possibly be.


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Don’t hog the computer

It never fails that if I have something important to finish or print out when I’m in a hurry that someone is on a computer doing what? Messing around on Facebook or MySpace. It’s an addiction that so many of us have succumb to and I will admit to the fact that I to have fallen victim to that habit as well. However, being that I’ve been in this situation so many times, I check my Facebook account briefly while in a computer lab or I’ll just wait until I’m back in my room.  Observation will get you to high and far places in the future—so use it! If you see that the library (or any other lab for that matter) is already packed and you know that a large majority of the people there are preparing for finals, why occupy time on a computer surfing Facebook or MySpace or any other site that will be there later and is not detrimental to your grades? True, there are more computers at the library than there used to be and yes, there is the opportunity of checking out laptops, but think about your last visit there. How many times have you walked past a computer that had a sign over the screen indicating that it wasn’t working or tried to log on to your account only to have someone beside you whisper, “That one doesn’t work”?  There are numerous computer labs on campus, however, very few are open late at night when more people have a chance to get together with their group members or are out of class long enough to sit down at a computer and work. Taking a work break to check your messages or read a funny note is all well and good.But when your sole purpose for using the library’s computer is to surrender to your Facebook or MySpace addiction that just can’t wait until later—try using common courtesy and let someone else use it instead.


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The Blotter

AssaultDec. 1, 5:00 p.m.Off Campus A male student reported that he was assaulted by another male student off campus. The Greensboro Police Department was previously contacted. They investigated the incident and later arrested the suspect male student. He was transported to jail, processed and given a secured bond. There were minor injuries reported. BurglaryDec. 1, 2:50 p.m.Cooper Hall      A male student reported that someone entered his room and removed a flat screen television. Estimated total loss is $500. There were no signs of forced entry. There are no witnesses and suspects at this time. Burglary Dec. 1, 10:10 p.m.Aggie Suites F      A male student reported that someone entered his room and removed several textbooks. The estimated total loss is $350. There were no signs of forced entry, and there are no witnesses or suspects at this time. Burglary Nov. 30, 8:40 p.m.Cooper Hall      A male student reported person(s) unknown removed his laptop computer and a Nintendo game from his room. The total estimated value of the stolen property is $820. There were no signs of forced entry. The case remains open. Vandalism Nov. 29, 10:25 p.m. Haley Hall     A RHO discovered that person(s) unknown had kicked the lower glass front door window, cracking it. Total estimated value of damage to the window is $150. – Compiled by Tiffany Adams


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India intel indicated attacks

MUMBAI, INDIA (AP) — India picked up intelligence in recent months that Pakistan-based terrorists were plotting attacks against Mumbai targets, an official said Tuesday, as the government demanded that Islamabad hand over suspected terrorists believed living in Pakistan.A list of about 20 people — including India’s most-wanted man — was submitted to Pakistan’s high commissioner to India on Monday night, said India’s foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee.India has already demanded Pakistan take “strong action” against those responsible for the attacks, and the U.S. has pressured Islamabad to cooperate in the investigation. America’s chief diplomat, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, will visit India on Wednesday.The Indian government faces widespread accusations of security and intelligence failures after suspected Muslim militants carried out a three-day attack across India’s financial capital, killing 172 people and wounding 239.Also Tuesday, Israelis began burying the six Jews killed in one of those attacks, the assault on a Jewish center run by the ultra-Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch movement.Several thousand ultra-Orthodox mourners gathered in Jerusalem for the first funeral, that of Leibish Teitelbaum, an American who lived in Jerusalem.Four Israelis and a Mexican Jewish woman were also killed. A memorial ceremony was scheduled for later Wednesday for the 29-year-old rabbi who ran the Jewish center, Gavriel Holtzberg, and his 28-year-old wife, Rivkah.Indian officials continued to interrogate the only surviving attacker, who reportedly told police that he and the other nine gunmen had trained for months in camps in Pakistan operated by the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.India’s foreign intelligence agency received information as recently as September that Pakistan-based terrorists were plotting attacks against Mumbai targets, according to a government intelligence official familiar with the matter.The information was then relayed to domestic security authorities, said the official, who was not authorized to talk publicly about the details and spoke on condition of anonymity. But it’s unclear whether the government acted on the intelligence.The famous Taj Mahal hotel, scene of much of the bloodshed, had tightened security with metal detectors and other measures in the weeks before the attacks, after being warned of a possible threat.But the precautions “could not have stopped what took place,” Ratan Tata, chairman of the company that owns the hotel, told CNN. “They (the gunmen) didn’t come through that entrance. They came from somewhere in the back.”A day after soldiers finishing removed the last bodies from the hotel, where the standoff finally ended Saturday morning, wood boards covered its marble latticework and seafront entrance as plain-clothes police searched for evidence.The building was the last to be cleared, following the five-star Oberoi hotel, the Jewish center, and other sites struck in this city of 18 million.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has promised to strengthen maritime and air security and look into creating a new federal investigative agency, met Tuesday with top security aides to review any government lapses.Among those sought by India is fugitive Dawood Ibrahim — a powerful gangster, the alleged mastermind of 1993 Mumbai bombings, and India’s most-wanted man.Also included is Masood Azhar, a terror suspect freed from an Indian prison in exchange for the release of hostages aboard an Indian Airlines aircraft hijacked on Christmas Day 1999.In the past, Pakistan has denied harboring the men. However, Pakistan said it would consider India’s request and respond after receiving the list.”We must try to dampen down the discourse of conflict and work toward regional peace,” said Pakistani Information Minister Sherry Rehman.While the cross-border rhetoric between Pakistan and India has increased since the attacks, both countries — by their often-bellicose standards — carefully refrained from making statements that could quickly lead to a buildup of troops along their already militarized frontier.Mukherjee appeared to tone things down further Tuesday, telling reporters that “nobody is talking about military action,” according to the Press Trust of India news agency. Mukherjee, responding to questions on what actions India would take, said only “time will show.”India had summoned Pakistan’s high commissioner late Monday, telling him India “expects that strong action would be taken against those elements,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash.In Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi pledged full cooperation.


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Getting over your exam anxiety

Do you cringe at the thought of sitting down, missing the best episode of the Hills to read Chemistry? Do you have the attention span of a goldfish when it comes to test taking? Well today all of these problems will be taken care of with tips on handling Finals Week.Finals week consists of tons of studying, stressful nights, and lots of praying, but are you preparing and handling stress properly?  Everyone knows the most popular saying of treating college like a full time job, but the truth is after becoming involved on campus and managing your time it’s pretty hard to keep up with studying for every class, every day.Chandra Caple, guidance counselor in Counseling Services, explained that many students struggle with the fact that they study but don’t perform well on their tests.”Time management is very important when it comes to effective studying,” said Caple.  Caple suggested that students set up a schedule that will allow them to stick to their normal schedule but also add in studying at a good time with no distractions.Studying will be pointless if you aren’t absorbing everything that you read. Study guides should be taken seriously, go through the whole guide thoroughly. “Make sure you read the material and take notes for everything that will be on your final,” said Caple.Senior Marcus Gladden shared some of his techniques that he uses during the finals week to ensure good grades. “I go to a study room in my residence hall, Aggie Village, and study late at night when most people are sleep so I am free from distractions,” said Gladden. These tactics have always worked well for Gladden, who has always passed his finals with great grades.Freshmen Jasmine Wesby is already putting together a plan for how she prepares to study since it will be her first time experiencing finals week.”We have a couple of study groups set up in my classes, so I will definitely be going,  also I will take one class day by day and spend time studying for it,” said Wesby. Wesby is hoping for a good turnout on her exams with at least attaining a decent GPA.  According to Caple, if you devise your study wisely then there will be no problems when the test comes. “Divide up your material according to the amount of time up until the test,” said Caple.Caple also gave basic reminders such as eating properly and getting rest, and making sure you are alert when you study.  Students should always study for application, not just memorization. Be able to recognize concepts under any format on the test.Now trying to manage all of these new strategies may be very stressful, and there are many ways you can relieve stress.  Author Laurie Slothower created a pamphlet on how to identify and reduce stress.  Some of the main advices of the pamphlet include:•   When people or situations cause stress, close your eyes and picture yourself in a peaceful place.•  Cutting back on caffeine also helps, because it can actually worsen stress. •   Exercise is always a great stress buster.• Spend some quiet time alone, it helps.• Mediate, it always reduces stress.•  Deep breathing and stretching are also good ways to help reduce stress.A&T’s own office of Counseling Services offers help to students during the finals time for stress management. The counselors will help you develop a time management plan if you don’t know where to start. They will even help you evaluate your studying habits and identify any problems. Lastly, they offer survival kits.”Our survival kits include tips on how to survive finals and we also include some snacks along with the kit,” said Caple.Finally, you need tips on how to simply take the test. All of your studying and stress management will, but some simple test taking strategies will make the process of taking the actual exam a lot more alleviating.  • If the test is multiple choices, remember to always choose the best choice. That’s how many multiple choice tests trick you, there are many possible answers but only one best answer. • With essays, always consider the detail in your answer. Essays open up the possibility of many correct answers, but you must show detail in order to back up and support your answer.• Always take your time. Most finals allow up to two hours for you to complete the test. Do not rush through it; you are not racing your fellow classmates, you are trying to the best grade you can!Hopefully these tips will help out another fellow student, and if you follow at least five of the tips listed you are guaranteed to pass your finals and conquer the monster!


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Ford CEO will work for $1 government loans

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. will tell Congress that it plans to return to a pretax profit or break even in 2011 when its CEO appears before two legislative committees this week.Also, CEO Alan Mulally said he’ll work for $1 per year if the automaker has to take any government loan money.The plans Ford submitted to Congress on Tuesday also say the company will cancel all management employees’ 2009 bonuses and will not pay any merit increases for its North American salaried employees next year.The company also said it will sell its five corporate aircraft.The CEOs of all three Detroit automakers were harshly criticized during congressional hearings last month for flying to Washington in separate corporate jets while seeking loan money.Mulally said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that Ford will emphasize its cost cutting efforts with the United Auto Workers union and will give much more detail to Congress than it did when lawmakers grilled the automakers’ CEOs last month.He said Ford will seek $9 billion in government loans but may not need them.The Dearborn-based company has said it has enough cash to make it through next year without assistance.As part of the plan submitted to Congress, Ford said it does not anticipate a liquidity crisis in 2009, “barring a bankruptcy by one of its domestic competitors or a more severe economic downturn that would further cripple automotive sales.”The loan would provide a safeguard against worsening conditions, the company said.Ford said it will accelerate plans to roll out plug-in electric vehicles as part of its plan.The vehicles will come out starting in 2010 and include the Transit Connect small van and a car the size of the Ford Focus compact.Ford also said it will accelerate plans for hybrid gas-electric vehicles.The CEOs of the Detroit Three are scheduled to appear before congressional committees Thursday and Friday to seek a total of $25 billion in government loans.Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. have said they are perilously low on cash and need the government loans to survive the recession and the worst auto sales environment in 25 years.Ford’s plans to achieve profitability or break even by 2011 are based on industrywide sales estimates of 12.5 million units in 2009, 14.5 million in 2010 and 15.5 million in 2011. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate dropped to 10.6 million vehicles in October.Ford’s plan calls for an investment of up to $14 billion to improve fuel efficiency over the next seven years. Ford reiterated its intention to offload Volvo. Since 2007, Ford has sold its Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover lines. It also sold most of its stake in Madza.


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Actress Taraji P. Henson talks about new movie and life in Hollywood

Taraji P. Henson, an A&T alumna, is best known for playing Yvette in “Baby Boy.” She is now co-starring with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in the “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which opens Christmas Day. Button is born in his 80s and begins to age backward. She plays Queenie, who is the mother of the title character. She discussed the movie and her career thus far in a teleconference interview.  Q: What is your experience when it comes to preparing for the role of Queenie, who is essentially the mother figure to Benjamin Button in the movie?A: I had to research the decades of the character’s life and the different events and moods that happened in her life. I also had to research aging patterns and how people age. The motherly stuff came natural because I am a mother myself.  Q: How did you feel about this role when you read for it?A: The movie had a great concept and I thought that it was tailor-made for me. I didn’t think I would get at first because I thought that they wanted a big name. They actually wanted me for the role originally, but I still had to audition.Q: How was it working with such A-list actors as Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett?     A: It was a dream-come true. I saw myself here years ago as an A-list actors acting alongside other A-list actors. It was an honor to be in such great company. Q: What was the biggest challenge in making the movie?A: The prosthetics were tough to deal with. Having to sit in the chair while they put all of the makeup and stuff on was strenuous, but I just sat there without a break until they finished. I think if I had got up, I would not have come back.Q:What do you think about Tyler Perry’s usage of majority-black casts in his movies?A: We need him in Hollywood because a lot of people would not be working if it were not for him.  Q:You have played a variety of roles so far in your career. How do you go about choosing roles or what roles you want to audition for?A: I don’t judge the characters that I play. I like to find the “why” in them. I like to find out why they are the way that they are. I definitely see a side of me in every character. I continue to pull from life experiences, but there is definitely there is acting involved. I lost my father before filming the movie, so that taught me that death is inevitable. Live your life and don’t worry about it.  Q:: What are the new projects that you are working on?A: Yes, I am starring in “Not Evenly Broken” with Morris Chestnut, which is an adaptation on the novel by T.D. Jakes.  I’m also starring in “Hurricane Season.”


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AIDS education is still needed

World AIDS Day always falls on the 1st of December. It is a day when people all around the world join together and bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. This year marked the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is a serious condition that weakens the body’s immune system and leaves it unable to fight off even the mildest illnesses such as the common cold. It is also the last stage in a progression of diseases that result from viral infections from the Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or HIV. These are very serious conditions that enter the body simply because there is no cure for either AIDS or HIV, neither is there a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. I feel that many people may have heard of the AIDS virus, but fail to desire education on just how serious the condition actually is.  This disease is most common in African Americans, and that is an extremely serious issue. The contraction of this disease that is most prevalent occurs when someone has a partner that fails to share that they have been diagnosed as HIV positive, or worse, AIDS. There are many preventative measures that can be taken, but I will only share a few, in hopes that at least one reaches at least one person: Don’t engage in sexual relations with prostitutes; Avoid having multiple/anonymous partners; Exercise extreme caution with all sexual activity; Exercise caution with procedures such as piercing and tattoos, or any other needles. Shocking statistics should raise concern and the desire to learn more about this disease, because anyone can very well contract it, and pass it on. Infections in women are increasing, cases of children in the United States are decreasing, and on a global scale, 85% of transmission is heterosexual. This should shed light on how serious both HIV and AIDS are. ANYONE can contract these diseases. Yes…even you. The best way, I recommend, for you to stay clear of contracting either AIDS or HIV is to be tested. Companies even manufacture home tests now.  There is no way that anyone, if asked of your status, should reply with “I don’t know.” The purpose of World AIDS Day is to educate and shed light, to make the unaware, aware, and to make the skeptical, certain and definite. The main focus of World AIDS Day accompanying education is prevention. You must first be educated about this disease, and last, you must know ways of preventing it from happening to you and those close to you.