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A spirit that is not afraid


The State Press

Sex Sells, So Let It Do Its Job

People have sex.It doesn't matter what your beliefs, practices or daily routines consist of, individuals engage in intercourse.It is part of human nature.Now, some people like to spice it up with outside objects from the bedroom.In Alabama, some people see this is a crime.

The State Press

Texting Girl Stumbles, Fingers Begin to Point

Last week, 15-year-old Alexa Longuiera took an unexpected plunge down an open manhole while walking the streets of Staten Island.The kicker is that text messaging distracted her from the ever-closer danger.The second kicker is that there were no warning signs or barricades to prevent such an accident.A thorough sanitizing and several minor injuries later, Longuiera and her mishap received much attention.The story has been linked into articles and used as a segue to the dangers of texting while driving and the debate on whether legislation should be put into action to crack down.The story also stirred up debates on who is at fault.

The Auburn Plainsman

Athlete's Sentence Too Lenient

This past weekend, I lost faith in America's judicial system.Professional football player Donte Stallworth walked out of a Miami, jail after only serving 24 days of his 30-day sentence.He was in jail because he killed a person while driving intoxicated on the early morning of March 14.The police called it a DUI and second-degree manslaughter.Twenty-four days in jail.Is this some sort of cruel joke?He now gets to go back home, probably to a multi-million dollar house, with two years of house arrest and eight years of probation, while the family of the man he killed will never see their loved one again.I was appalled when I heard this about this decision.Living in the Metro Atlanta area for the better part of the last decade, I have been updated almost daily on former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's dog fighting, trial, imprisonment and release.Vick received 23 months in federal prison for his actions and has now been on house arrest since May and has probation to look forward to after that.I fail to see how these two cases were sentenced.It seems to me that they are backward, that Vick should have gotten the lighter sentence and Stallworth the more severe of the two.Both Stallworth and Vick have been suspended indefinitely by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell because of their wrongdoings.I guess I missed the day in elementary school when we learned that dogs were more important than human beings.I love dogs, I have one back home and my roommate has one in our apartment.My family recently had to put a dog to sleep, and that was a sad event, but nowhere near as sad as if it were a relative.I would much rather have my mom call and tell me that the dog has died than to tell me my grandpa passed away.I can't say that it was money and fame that got Stallworth the lenient sentence, because Vick had more money, was the best quarterback to ever come out of Virginia Tech and the greatest thing to happen to the Falcons since the "Dirty Bird."The drunken driving makes me even angrier.I'm a laid back person, but drunken driving makes me go insane.

The Auburn Plainsman

Food Ads Sickening, Not Appetizing

It's apparently been happening for a while, but I've only recently begun to care: fast food commercials are sick.I think I'm choosing now as the time to form an opinion about these, because they are, perhaps, worse than they have ever been.Of course we've got the sexual ones with celebrities and other women scantily clad and chomping down seductively on a huge burger, but we've also got ads now demanding us to "unthink."I'm talking about KFC's new ad for its $5 grilled chicken box.I suppose what KFC is trying to say is "Watch out world, because we're doing things a whole new way, so forget what you knew!"Regardless, I don't want to be told to unthink anything, and the first time I saw the ad I was completely confused by the term, for the concept of unthinking just doesn't make sense when paired with chicken.Unthink chicken ... Huh?But perhaps the worst one is the advertisement for Hardee's biscuit holes, or as they so fondly call them: B-holes.The commercial shows a Hardee's representative telling people on the street to try the plate on the left containing doughnut holes, which are deemed A-holes, and the Hardee's plate on the right, which holds B-holes, or biscuit holes.Of course all the participants chose the B-holes, the Hardee's biscuit holes.One man even so embarrassingly says, "I guess I'm just a B-hole kind of guy." Now, you can read into this what you choose, but when I think B-hole, I don't think of a yummy sugar-coated biscuit middle.

The Auburn Plainsman

Resignation Raises Questions

Things aren't always as they seem.This saying most accurately depicts Auburn and how things are run at this University.E-mails are sent to students that are meant to smooth over rather precarious situations.Most recently the sudden resignation of Dean of Students Johnny Green has piqued the interest of myself and others.Why would Green submit a resignation only three years into his term?

The Auburn Plainsman

Large Drink, Small Portion

"Would you like to value size that?"I often get asked this question at fast food restaurants, and most often my answer is "Sure, why not?"But in recent weeks I've experienced a phenomenon that makes me question spending the extra 49 cents for a large drink and side.

The Auburn Plainsman

Web Site Pinpoints Local Sex Offenders

You'd like to know if you were living next door to a registered sex offender, wouldn't you?We know we would.A recent update to the Lee County Sheriff Office's Web site enhances residents' awareness of sex offenders in the area.The site allows users to conduct a search for registered sex offenders living in their neighborhood, as well as the option of subscribing for e-mails alerts about sex offenders who plan to locate to the area.While our editorial board acknowledged both sides of the issue, we believe this to be an invaluable tool for residents of Lee County.Some may argue the features of the site are too intrusive, as they provides users with the names and addresses of registered sex offenders in the county, but this is information we think any family would want at its disposal.Imagine you're starting a family and have found the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood to begin raising your children.For their well-being, you would want to know if you were planning to become the neighbor of a person who had previously committed some form of sexual abuse.Even if this information wouldn't keep a family from moving into a certain home or a certain neighborhood, we still see merit in the site providing this information.Simply knowing where these people reside we feel is something any caring parent should be concerned about, and if the site increases a family's awareness of the neighborhood and tightens the parents' concern for where their children go, it's a good thing.We don't believe offenders found on the site should be so blatantly singled out to the point it's the equivalent of a Wild West "Wanted" sign or being shunned in the stocks in the town square, but we do applaud the awareness and heightened safety the Web site provides to families of Lee County.That said, for our editorial board's contrasting view, read below.

The Auburn Plainsman

Pizza Less Fun, More Annoying

You know you're on a slippery slope when your constants are letting you down, and lately, my main man, pizza, has been frustrating me -- maybe not pizza itself, but the world of pizza, if such a thing exists.First, let me focus this cynical column toward this phenomenon I've witnessed each time I somehow decide to dine at Little Caesar's.The wonder that is the Hot-N-Ready Pizza is no secret.

The Auburn Plainsman

Life-long Sentencing Unfair for Sex Offenders?

While we acknowledge the utility of a Web site that allows users to locate nearby sex offenders in their county, we question if this added public scrutiny is fair to those one-time offenders.The same is true for having to re-register as a sex offender after moving.By no means do we view sexual offenses as insignificant crimes -- quite the opposite, actually.However, the lifelong stigma of being labeled a sex offender is too severe if we're not 100 percent sure that person is worthy of carrying that label with them for the rest of their life.We discussed scenarios where an over-18 partner is convicted of sexual abuse after having sex with their boyfriend or girlfriend who is not of age.There could have been consent at the time, but if that person comes back with charges of rape, there's no way to disprove such accusations, and just like that, someone is forever labeled a sex offender.Is this fair?We believe that, rather than having set guidelines that apply to each situation, a case-by-case method of determining whether sexual abuse actually occurred would be more just than the current method.Obviously this process would be more time consuming and more costly. But again, when someone is dealing with the everlasting dishonor of being known as a sex offender, the "Ah, but we're going to have to do more work!" excuse loses the minute amount of worth it had in the first place.Maybe a change should be implemented that would eliminate the tainted status after so many years of a clean record.While there should be no leniency for repeat offenders, we think it's unfair to require the constant registration for a one-time sex offender after they have already served their time. One-time convicts of other crimes aren't forced to publicly introduce themselves as a criminal after serving their time. They're certainly not listed with name and address on the sheriff's Web site, either.Again, with revision to the system, lifting of the label could be something that is dependent on the severity of the crime, as well.Why is it that only sex offenders are persistently highlighted for their crimes?We don't believe in revision of the system simply for justice, but for safety as well.If the reason for providing citizens with the names and locations of local sex offenders is to heighten their awareness and to protect them, then why not alert them about the proximity of previous convicts of other crimes?

The Auburn Plainsman

Distractions Bog Down Media

I know I am not alone in complaining about this, but by God it feels like it sometimes. I am plagued with the seemingly incurable disease of distractibility.Anyone who knows me can second this without batting an eyelash.

The Auburn Plainsman

High School Exit Exam Unnecessary

Alabama's Board of Education is considering doing away with the high school graduation exam, a change that would be implemented beginning with the 2011 school year.If we were members of the Board, we'd vote to scrap the test.For those out-of-staters who may not have taken a high school graduation exam, it's a standardized test spanning five subjects with the goal of evaluating students' grasp of fundamental content and their readiness for graduation.The test is first administered during students' sophomore year, with several opportunities to re-take the sections if they fail.But how many students drop out discouraged before getting a chance to retake, having failed the test the first time?We feel that the AHSGE doesn't necessarily equip students with a stronger education and that it also presents unfair situations.Many of us recall a week when material was crammed in preparation of the test.We think regular course work would serve as a better learning experience than temporarily memorizing this specific information.Also, it makes no sense that a student can pass all of his or her classes, completing all required course work, but still be denied a diploma because he or she couldn't complete a section of the exit exam.Granted, it's probably a rare scenario that a student passes all courses, yet can't complete the graduation exam, but some students do not test well.Add a weakness in a particular subject and the nerves of knowing your immediate future hinges on this test and you have a situation that could end disastrously for a hard-working student.Looking at the situation from a more objective standpoint, many states do not require an exit exam and rank much higher in academic achievement than Alabama.New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut rank in the top six of "educational effectiveness," according to the U.S.

The Auburn Plainsman

Saying Goodbye is Hard

My roommate of three years is becoming a grown up. By that I mean she's taken a job offer five and a half hours away from Auburn and nine hours from her parents house.

Alabama Alum Remembers 'War Eagle' Airplane

Editor, The Auburn PlainsmanWhile I was in Auburn this past weekend for daughter Katherine Gay Zito's MBA extravaganza, I spoke to the Plainsman's own Kim concerning an item of historical interest, and perhaps, of interest to your readers.Some years ago, Hollywood made an adventure picture about a mythical nuclear submarine named the "Crimson Tide." The good people in Tuscaloosa made much of this bit of fiction!In July 1944, myself and my crew were assigned to a brand new B-17 Flying Fortress, No.

The Auburn Plainsman

Thank You Social Media

Social media has now taken a step in the right direction to become a more credible and informative tool.Sadly this step is at the cost of people's lives and freedom.In the last week the whole world has seen the few glimpses being spread about the riots in Iran over the recent disputed election process.As a journalist I hold a strong belief in the ability to share knowledge with the public.

The Auburn Plainsman

Communication is The Key

We have all been told that communication can make or break a relationship right? Ask any couple and they will tell you that a relationship without communication can quickly go to relation sh... you get it.Let's step outside the realm of dating relationships and into our relationships with friends and peers.

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