Becoming green together

“Green. It’s more than our school color. It’s our school spirit.” Posters around campus boast this ideological motto. And while Portland State is a very sustainable campus, especially compared to other Oregon colleges, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

War zone scholar

Not many Americans are brave enough to follow the troops to Iraq, but Oxford graduate Ian Klaus felt obligated to give his time in making Iraq a stable, successful country. In January 2005, he traveled to the democratic Kurdish region of northern Iraq to teach English and American history at a university. Although there is always inherent danger in being in a war zone, Klaus and his students felt comfortable enough to talk about everything from American history, to pop culture, to politics.


The fourth annual Wordstock Festival kicked off last night with the Superstar Poetry Slam Competition at the Baghdad Theatre. Don’t worry if you missed it, you still have ample time to enjoy the festivities of this truly remarkable literary event. Saturday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov. 9 feature the centerpiece of the festival, the Wordstock Book Fair at the Oregon Convention Center. Come one day or attend both for only $5 each. Tickets are sold at the door. Events will begin at 10 a.m. and finish at 6 p.m. If you plan to stay all day, there will be food available to purchase or you can brown bag it.

Vote like your life depends on it

Only 37 percent of Oregonians had turned in their ballots as of Oct. 30, reports The overall number of voters is down by 17 percent from previous years. I applaud everyone who has already submitted his or her ballot and urge procrastinators to make turning in their ballot one the their priorities of the day. It’s too late to mail in your ballot, so make sure that you drop it off at your county’s election office or library.

Get ready. Set. Write.

Do you always say that you’ll write a novel someday? Are you lacking the self-motivation to get started? Have you never finished because you’re missing the much-needed deadline pressure? Well, roll up your sleeves and start typing. Nov. 1 marks the beginning of the 10-year anniversary of National Novel Writing Month, also known (confusingly) as NaNoWriMo.

Yes to public schools, no on Measure 62

Most of you probably remember your public high school days. Those were the times when the teachers didn’t have enough textbooks to give to all students, and the books they did have were outdated and nearly unreadable. Computer labs were always full with students hanging around waiting for their turn. Funding for programs such as music and physical education was constantly being reduced or cut altogether.

Yes on Measure 57, No on Measure 61

More than one in every 100 American adults is incarcerated in the United States. This is much higher than any other country in the world. Out of the 50 states, Oregon has the fastest growing prison population. Oregon spends more money on prisons than on higher education.

Lion, tigers and bears, oh my!

A Lion Among Men, volume three in the Wicked Years series, is Gregory Maguire’s latest return to his fictional playground of Oz. As in previous novels, he continues to use this metaphor-rich land to draw out parallels to our current social and political situation. Wicked was Gregory Maguire’s first book to borrow Frank L. Baum’s wonderful world of Oz, transforming its seemingly simple universe into a complex mirror of our own country. Wicked’s evocative questions about good and evil have inspired the Tony winning Broadway play of the same name.

Leave teaching to teachers

¿Hablas español? Parlez-vous fran퀌_ais? ?????????? Although I agree that there should be one language that unites all people residing in the United States, preferably English since that’s the majority of the population’s native language, Measure 58 is not the answer.

Are we making the same mistakes as our Puritan ancestors?

American history has never been so engaging as in Sarah Vowell’s whimsical account of the Puritans’ arrival to Massachusetts in her latest book, The Wordy Shipmates. Having a partially Native American ancestry, Vowell has a unique perspective on history that is more well-rounded than the founding fathers’ and the other rich, white male historians that followed.

Conquering the little guy

“Same Friendly Attitude, Way More Muscle.” J.P.Morgan Chase’s slogan is boldly plastered across the homepage of Washington Mutual’s Web site. But what does it really mean? Basically, Chase’s marketers recognize that banking customers are scared. Larger banks often gobble small banks up, but when the government seizes financial giants like WaMu, people begin to panic about their money. They begin to picture the last few rounds of the Monopoly board game where the last few players must fork over their fortunes to one triumphant winner.