Pay it Forward [Event]

I heard about Pay it Forward in class from another student who was encouraging students on campus to “Pay it Forward” for an advocacy project.  She had set up posters in coffee shops around campus, suggesting that students buy a coffee for someone in line behind them.  I didn’t give it much thought until again reading about the project in The Breeze, which told a story of someone who bought coffee for someone in line behind them and set off a chain reaction.  I decided to give it a try and next time I was in Starbucks in Carrier, I told the cashier I was giving her an extra two dollars to buy a random person in line a coffee.  I have no idea who it went to or if it had any effect.  Who doesn’t like free coffee though.

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Farmer’s Market [Event]

I went to the Harrisonburg farmer’s market for a class advocacy project.  I got there around noon and some of the venders started packing up 10 min after I got there.  I didn’t see the team from our class, but I did sport a JMU t-shirt with a friend and we toured all of the stands.  Ended up buying relish and using it for grilling out later that day, and for camping later that weekend.  I saw only one other JMU t-shirt while I was there.

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Madison Cup Final Debate [Event]

The final debate was separated from the rest and held at Wilson Hall.  The following teams made it into the final debate: JMU, Alaska, and American for the Pro and Claremont, Cornell, and Vermont for the Con.  The public speaking ability was much better at this debate, which was to be expected since it was supposed to be the best teams.

Cornell’s speaking skills were not as good as the rest; they would speak to fast, making it hard to understand one specific point they were trying to make.  It sounding like they were trying to get as much material as possible in, regardless of how it came out sounding.  They needed to slow down, distinguish one point and emphasize it.

Alaska was probably most passionate and definitely craziest of all.  The guy from Alaska would just storm off on a tirade and refused to answer questions from any of the other teams.  It was interesting seeing him on the opposite side of the table from the last debate.

Get more information on the debate at the JMU Debate website

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2011 James Madison Cup [Event]

The JMU Debate Team hosted the 11th Annual Madison Cup on April 14th.  The topic throughout the day was granting illegal immigrants amnesty.  There were multiple different debates during the day, divided into different rooms in Taylor.  Each debate had 3 teams competing against 3 other teams.  This preliminary debate was Richmond, Towson, and Claremont for the Pro and VCU, CSU Chico, and Alaska for the Con.  All contenders were well versed in the topic, but known of the schools in this debate were good at public speaking; they all sounded painfully awkward.

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JMU Debate vs WVU [Event]


The JMU debate team took on WVU for the first debate of the semester.  The two teams were debating over giving amnesty to current illegal immigrants.  Overall WVU did a better job of speaking to the audience, they sounded more human.  They also used specific numbers and called JMU out on their unspecific informaiton.  JMU also used a lot of hypothetical situations.  Both teams opened with a definition from Webster’s which is both boring, cliche, and irrelevent.

WVU also said they have no direct alternative to a amnesty, which didn’t sound good.  JMU didn’t do a good job of discrediting the opposing team, they just called them racist.  Granting amnesty would cost taxpayers $35 billion which definitely caught the attention of the audience.  JMU was unspecific on what granting amnesty would actually mean.

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US Role in Bahrain

Bahraini government quells protests in the capital, Manama

The US is reviewing its assets in Bahrain following the rising protests in the country.  The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is located in a port in Bahrain’s capital, Manama.  The Naval base there holds 30,000 sailors, thousands of dependents, and about 30 warships.  Bahrain is a tiny country of islands in the Persian Gulf; the biggest island being only 11 mi wide.  Despite this the US military has managed to cram itself into the corner, with ships, planes, and patriot missiles.  The base plays a critical role in providing support to all operations in the Middle East.

US Naval instalation at Bahrain

 The US government currently pays the Bahraini a little over $6 million for renting the land space, along with providing military aid.  This practice has come under recent scrutiny following protests in Bahrain over the authoritarian government.  To make matters worse, the Bahraini royal family has called in troops from Saudi Arabia to quell the uprisings.  Prior to the last parliamentary elections, the al-Khalifi family, those in power, arrested 23 political opponents.  They have kept tight control over the current internal political pressure.

Source: the Council on Foreign Affairs

The Naval Base can be found on Google Earth at: 26°14’10″N 50°34’59″E

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US Hiker Not Returning for Trial in Iran

Three US hikers captured crossing into Iran

The US hiker that got lost and accidently wondered into Iran, was detained, and recently released will not be returning for the trial.  Sarah Shourd was with two other hikers when they drifted from Kurdistan into Iran.  Shourd was held for 14 months before being released; she leaft behind her fiance Shane Bauer and friend Josh Fattal, both being held in Tehran on espionage charges.

Shourd is claiming that she has been diagnosed with PTSD and therefore could not hand a trip back to Iran.  Her lawyer has sent this in writing to the court in Tehran.  The source of Shourd’s $500,000 bail posted through the nearby nation of Oman has remained undisclosed.  It is unknown what will come of Bauer and Fattal if found guilty.

Source: AP News

AP News Reports

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