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Monthly Archives: October 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012 there will be about 39,510 deaths from breast cancer. That is about half the population of Livermore. In recognition of that, many organizations are moving to publicize how women can be their very own first line of defense in the fight against breast cancer.

Below is a brief explanation of how to perform a breast self-exam. Much of the information was compiled from the website breastcancer.org.

First stand in front of a mirror. Put your hands on your hips and stand up straight.

One should check that breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color.

Any swelling or visible distortions should be noted.

The following changes will warrant a visit to the doctor:

Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin

  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
  • Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
  • Fluid coming from the nipples whether it be milky, bloody, watery or yellow

Next, raise your arms. Look at your breasts and look for the changes mentioned above.

Now lay down.  Breastcancer.org states “Feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.”

Check your entire breast using this method. Do top to bottom and side to side. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side i.e. from the collarbone to the top of the stomach, then the base of the arm or armpit to the cleavage fold.

“Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts,” states the website.

Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting, preferably while they’re wet.  As described above, cover the entire breast.

For more information on breast cancer self-checks, symptoms and treatments visit breast cancer.org

American Cancer Society Guidelines for Nutritional and Adopt physically active lifestyle
Physical Cancer Prevention

1.Balance calorie intake  with physical activity.

2. Adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate vigorous physical activities.

3. Limit intake of processed and red meats.

4. Eat five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.

5. Women should drink no more than one alcoholic drink per day.

For more information on breast cancer self-checks, symptoms and treatments, visit breastcancer.org.

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At least 40 teachers at Las Positas College believe that a president “requires respect” and hard-working student journalists do not.

On Oct. 12, we at the Express published an article entitled “President Walthers on his way out.” Since its publication, the article has become the subject of a campus-wide controversy mostly because it uncovered a controversy brewing among school officials.

In response, we received the letter published above. Not only do we strongly disagree with the majority of its points — we feel it represents a lack of true understanding about the role of the student press and of journalism in general.

We understand that “not all faculty agree with the article.” That is a fair, yet expected point to raise.

But, the problem is that there is nothing for faculty to disagree with the article about. Our reporting on this issue was sourced from statements made at public meetings and from an interview with President Kevin Walthers himself.

In no way was the articled fabricated or embellished. In the above letter’s first paragraph, reference is made to “varying degrees of accuracy” contained in the article. No examples of inaccuracy are presented.

To make this charge is not only wrong, it is dangerous. To accuse journalists of inaccuracy is to call into question their competence, their character and their integrity.

Reporters who worked on this story not only conducted themselves professionally but also with great care to put forth the most accurate version of events possible. That included allowing president Walthers the opportunity to comment on the allegations made by the Academic Senate — an opportunity which he did not take full advantage of.

If taken at face value, the letter would lead one to believe that we at the Express have done something malicious. Perhaps it is implied that we have purposefully distorted events to paint a public figure in a bad light. Or maybe it’s being suggested that we have hindered the college’s ability to hire another president.

Which brings us to the most upsetting portion of the letter — the idea that a president “requires respect in order to be successful.”

Woodward and Bernstein did not let Richard Nixon slide because it was disrespectful to publish stories which painted him in a bad light. Bill Clinton’s sex life was the subject of television news every day during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Fox News Channel personalities regularly refer to President Obama as “the worst president of all time.”

Title does not and should not shield a public figure from criticism. It’s not what the American media is about and it is not what the Express is about.

Freedom of the press is one of our country’s core liberties. Our founders thought enough of it to include in the very first amendment to the constitution. The challenging and questioning of authority figures is at the heart of this freedom.

Sometimes the truth is hard and cold. But it must still be told.

To not report on such a serious matter would do the entire campus a tremendous disservice. The students, faculty and staff of this school deserve to know any information that affects the campus so comprehensively.

Holding public figures to account is what allows our democracy to thrive. It is what the students at the Express are learning to do with increasing proficiency.

At the same time, in the letter we are admonished for not performing our jobs in a “balanced and respectful way” and that this is “essential if the integrity of the press is to be preserved.”

The article was balanced — President Walthers was allowed to comment. Balance in journalism is often, incorrectly, assumed to mean a story has equal amounts of positive and negative quotes. In the article, the Academic Senate had their say as did President Walthers. That is a balanced story.

Finally, we are asked to “figure out how to use (our) voice and what (our) legacy will be.”

We do not believe it is our job to paint the school in the best possible light.

That job belongs to the school’s leaders — its president, its administration and its teachers. Our job is to report on how well those factions carry out that task.

We hope our legacy in regards to this article is this — we covered a difficult topic, an important topic, and we covered it accurately.

We did not shy away from impending criticism.

We didn’t fudge the truth or become complicit in deceiving our readers.

As student journalists, we should hope that our lasting legacy is that we continue to hold ourselves up to these highest of standards.

If 40 teachers disagree with us, we completely respect their constitutional right to free speech.

As long as they remember, the freedom of the press is contained in the same constitutional amendment that guarantees them the right to that speech.

This is a letter to the Editors and Staff of The Express. Please share with all of those students who contribute to the publication. If you would like to include this in The Express Newspaper, we request that it be included in its entirety.

Respect and responsibility

Last Friday The Express wrote a news article regarding President Walthers facing criticism from various factions on campus and his announcement that he will be seeking a job elsewhere. The news article discusses some of the conflicts experienced this past year with varying degrees of accuracy; it should be noted that not all faculty agree with the article.

We are facing obstacles that are unprecedented in our district and conflicts have arisen that have left us frustrated and demoralized but we are continuing to think through ways of making the seemingly impossible possible.

The president of a college is our advocate during district meetings regarding resource allocation, our representative in the greater community and provides the leadership to ensure consistency in the student experience.

The person in this role carries a lot of responsibility and requires respect in order to be successful. It is a journalistic duty to report on issues and conflicts. To do this takes courage. To do it in a balanced and respectful way is challenging, but essential if the integrity of the press is to be preserved.

How an article is written can undermine the work of any future president, of any college leader (faculty and classified too) and may deter future candidates from wanting to work at our school.

Let it be noted that while five presidents have come and gone at Las Positas in the last 9 years, faculty are constant and faculty are the institutional memory of this college.

As Las Positas faculty, we strive to communicate our concerns on any topic in a respectful, constructive manner, and we hope that this tone sets an example for our students and community.

We support free speech and commend you on covering some very important issues facing our campus this year, such as how LPC layoffs have created transfer problems and highlighting our specialized 1440 degrees that offer a fast track for students to four year colleges.

As a newspaper that is read by many on our campus and in our surrounding community, you have a unique opportunity to highlight the obstacles students face and the efforts to continue to improve our students’ experiences in a way that compliments the values of Las Positas College.

These are issues that our students and community need to be aware of and what a powerful way to get the information out there. We need to constructively work through conflict and consider what impact our actions will have. Our time and resources are valuable, rare and powerful. When focused, what power they unleash – both positive and negative – is up to us.

We have a choice about what our legacy will be. As a newspaper that is read by many on our campus and in our surrounding community, you have a unique responsibility to figure out how to use that voice and what your legacy will be.

Sincerely the following faculty,

Kristine Woods, Colin Schatz, Debbie Fields, David Everett, Craig Kutil, Barbara Zingg, Terry Johnson, Richard Grow, Ashley McHale, Bill Paskewitz, Angella VenJohn, Bob D’Elena, Joel Gagnon, Heike Gecox, Teresa Henson, Keith Level, LaVaughn Hart, Moh Daoud, Adeliza Flores, Gerry Gire, Scott Miner, Mike Ansell, Jane McCoy, Mark Tarte, Christina H. Lee, Jim Gioa, Brian Owyoung, Greg Daubenmire, Randy Taylor, Barbara Morrissey, Cindy Keune, Ruchira Majumdar, John Gonder, Jason Morris, Eric Harpell, Thomas Orf, Lisa Weaver, Rajeev Chopra, Elizabeth Abril, Gilberto Victoria.

What’s the most embarrass- ing song on your playlist?
Nothing’s embarrassing, but I’ve got the “Rugrats” theme song.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Be yourself.” Simple as that.

What is the weirdest food you’ve ever tried?
Caviar, I love it! Its really weird but I like it.

What is your biggest fear?
Demons. I’m scared of the dark and sleep with my com- puter on.

How long would you survive in a zombie apocalypse?
I would be the first one down. I would be the dumb one going “huh” then dead.

Describe your most embarrass- ing moment in life.
Was at an A’s game with my dad and I got so embarrassed about him cheering that I slapped him.

Who would you play in a movie?
That high maintenance good- looking girl that no one likes then at the end of the movie they real- ize she’s cool.

Who’s one famous person dead or alive you would punch in the face?
Donald Trump. He annoys me … I love his building, though.

Who is your celebrity crush?
Mila Kunis. She’s sexy.

If you could do one thing, anything you wanted with no repercussions, what would it be?
I would steal money from every bank and give it to everyone. Then through some sort of magic the banks would get their money back.

Travis Danner
Opinions/Managing Editor

Every year around this time, friends huddle together, pop in DVDs and try to scare the bejesus out of each other.

As Halloween approaches, people watch more and more horror movies. For every “Night of the Living Dead” or “The Shining” that everyone has seen, there are many scary movies which go under-the-radar.

These are a few forgotten masterpieces of the genre, each with a different take on the things-that-go-bump-in-the-night. So check these out and have your popcorn, beverages of choice and vomit bags nearby. You might also want a friend’s arm close, to clutch  when things get too scary.

Black Christmas (1973)

Before there was a Nightmare on Elm Street, before Friday the 13th, before even the immortal Halloween, there was this underseen gem from director Bob Clark. The same Bob Clark who filmed 1983’s “A Christmas Story.”

The plot of this film is the complete opposite of little Ralphie’s quest to obtain a Red Ryder BB-gun.

It’s Christmas time at a sorority house and someone is making disturbing prank calls. At first the girls think it’s a joke, until they begin disappearing one-by-one.

The holiday season is supposed to be a joyful time. This film plays with that expectation, instead presenting the bright lights and snowfall in the most oppressive, frightening manner possible.

While not overly violent, it’s still suspenseful, frightening and for my money, the scariest movie of all time.

Inside (2007)

This French film is not for the faint of heart. You may think I’m kidding. I’m not.

Expecting mother Sarah is involved in a car crash which claims the life of her husband. One night, while still recovering from the accident and very close to giving birth, a strange woman appears at the door and is hellbent on getting Sarah’s child. By any means necessary.

Despite its minimalist plot, this movie wrings all the blood, gore and suspense out of its premise as possible. It’s mean, unrelenting and nasty. For horror geeks, it’s heaven. For everyone else, it’s h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

Suspiria (1977)

This one features the most intense opening sequence in horror history, a pulse-pounding soundtrack and unforgettable imagery.

An Italian film, it definitely sports that country’s operatic sense of staging, colors and melodrama but one must be sure of their tolerance for on-screen violence before watching this.

Let the Right One In (2008)

Vampires are definitely ‘in’ right now, but they don’t sparkle in this film.

Set in the snow-covered country of Sweden, Oskar is a bullied middle school student who meets Eli, a girl his age who nevertheless seems much, much older. She also has the bad habit of luring strangers into the forest and drinking their blood.

While this film is violent, it’s also a very sweet, romantic film about outcasts who form a very unlikely bond.
For people who like their bloody movies with a little sugar, this film is the ideal choice.

Cabin Fever (2002)

Five friends go to an isolated
cabin the woods to engage in drinking, drugging and fornication. Things go wrong. Sounds familiar, right?

Except this film is anything but your run-of-the-mill teens in danger movie.

The group contracts a highly contagious strain of the flesh-eating virus and one-by-one they all begin to see their flesh wither away from their bodies. Paranoia spreads and things begin to go from bad to really bad to worse to oh-my-god-that-is-disgusting.

While this sounds typical, it also has a deliriously off-kilter sense of humor that honestly works best as a comedy that just happens to feature extensive bodily damage. You’ll cringe, you may puke but you’ll be laughing hysterically the entire time.

Martin Gallegos
Staff Writer

Look inside my soul and you can find gold and maybe get rich.  Look inside of your soul and you can find doubt, it never exists.

Sounds like words from a poetry slam right?  Well it’s not.  These words were spoken by a young man who grew up in Compton.  Kendrick Lamar has brought that creativity back to rap that has been missing for so long.

The west coast hasn’t made this big of an impact in the rap game since Dr. Dre’s “2001.” Lamar’s major-label debut album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” has brought the west coast back.  It is more of a short novel than an album, which makes it so great.

Lamar keeps it real.  He is a west coast rapper, but his style is not just confined to the west side.  This is something that all hip-hop heads will love.  His style is a refreshing change from listening to 2 Chainz rap about making it rain in a strip club or Drake’s narcissism.

These days, most rappers only worry about having three or four top 40 hits on an otherwise lackluster album.  Lamar is more focused on telling a story, and his ability to do this would make even the greatest storytellers like Nas and Ice Cube proud.  Throughout the album there are skits depicting struggles that Kendrick was faced with growing up in Compton.

Lamar plays K Dot, a teenager who borrows his mother’s mini van to ride around with his friends.  They soon encounter the good and evil that “The Hub City” has to offer.

The Compton rapper is not alone in this 15 track journey.  Dr. Dre, who has been criticized for getting a little soft with recent pop-like songs such as “I Need a Doctor,” goes back to his Death Row Records roots in “Compton” and “The Recipe”.

Legendary rapper MC Eiht brings his usual gangsta-rap flow to “m.A.A.d city.”  The beat will have you head bopping as you hear Lamar and MC Eiht rap about the killings going on left and right in the mad city of Compton.

Top Dawg, Interscope and Aftermath Records labelmate Jay Rock is featured on my favorite track, “Money Trees.”  This track is a throwback to the era of west coast dominance in the rap game back in the 1990s with many catchy lines that will stay in your head for days.

Even the aforementioned Drake gets in on Kendrick’s love story about his girl Sherane in “Poetic Justice.”  This sample of Janet Jackson’s “Anytime Anyplace” will be very popular in bedrooms all over the country.

The final track features Mary J. Blige in “Now or Never.”  The upbeat flow in this feel-good track serves as a perfect ending to show that the “good kid” Kendrick Lamar was able to survive the “m.A.A.d city” and his hard work is finally paying off.

There will never be another Tupac or Notorious B.I.G.  Jay-Z and Nas are all-time greats at the end of their careers.  We are witnessing the beginning of another rap legend with Kendrick Lamar.

He is a throwback to what made rap so special back in the day.  His diverse flow is rarely seen in the new era of MC’s.

With greatness comes higher expectations.  This is the album of the year so far and certainly has me expecting nothing but greatness from Kendrick Lamar from here on out.  However, as Kanye West showed us after his 2004 album “College Dropout,” some rappers tend to get complacent after they’ve made it.

Let’s hope Kendrick Lamar is better than  that.

Joshua Basrai
A&E Editor

The Las Positas Theatre 5 class showcased their last public showing of ‘Looking Glass Land’ on Oct 19 and 20 to a large crowd of children, LPC faculty, LPC administrators, students and family members of the cast.

“It was packed,” said Janet Brehe Johnson, director and instructor at LPC. “I mean people were standing.”

The play captivated the minds and hearts of children, and unleashed the inner-child for all adult viewers. The show itself is made for children, but hilarity ensued for all ages. Despite having some miscues, absences and technical difficulties on the Oct. 20 show, the group persevered and put on a show for everyone. Even with the technical difficulties the show was a success.

Before they performed on Saturday, the cast and members of the production experienced several scares. Their sound guy didn’t show up, they dealt with static and their camera man didn’t show up. Luckily, despite having these problems, they persevered and put on a comical, laugh-out-loud performance.

“The performance on Saturday was not our best. We had such technical difficulties,” Johnson said.

Despite all the technical difficulties on the Saturday showing, the members of the cast executed really well. Quirky voices, musical instruments, choreography and line execution made the audience forget entirely about the technical difficulties.

The play, which is essentially a sequel to “Alice in Wonderland,” begins with Alice playing a game of chess. She goes down a looking glass mirror to a land where everything is filled with chess pieces and everything is backwards

Children throughout the audience were cackling with laughter. At one point, a child left his seat and hugged a cast member. Ultimately, the theatre class’s goal is to keep the children in mind before every production.

Despite obviously being for children, adults in the audience still rejoiced. With word-play, jokes only adults can understand and a quirky rap, the production did an overall good job at unleashing the inner-child in older audience members.

“The best thing about doing this show is seeing the response from the kids we perform for. They honestly make it worth the while,” said Sarah Kellner, who plays Alice.

“Regardless if we dropped lines or had awkward pauses they are our biggest fans. I seriously had a little girl come up to me and say ‘Alice!! I’ve seen all your movies! This was the best!’ they actually think the cast is the characters. So I make sure to keep that in mind and really play to the children.”

All of the costumes were designed by their actors, and they all had a unique style. Humpty Dumpty stole the show with one of the most creative costumes and immediately became an audience-favorite.

The show concludes with a sort of a cliffhanger. You don’t truly know if it was a dream, a true story or a figment of imagination.

Is the looking glass real? Was it all a dream? How did Alice get back? This befuddles most of the adult members in the audience, but kids generally overlook the cliffhanger. This is another area where the play proved that it could be for all ages.

After the performance ended, children ran to the stage as if it were the end of a Justin Bieber concert, something that these actors will always treasure.

With their public showings ending, the class will spend the remainder of their performances on the road visiting several Tri-Valley elementary schools.