The Peace Garden Moderate

Matters of today from the perspective of a University of North Dakota student.


Nosegear Problems and Airbus

Some analysts are beginning to worry about the Airbus A320. After the dramatic emergency landing at LAX yesterday, involving a jetBlue A320 that had its nose gear twisted to the side, there is no doubt the FAA and NTSB will be looking into what went wrong.

Aviation expert and 737 pilot John Nance brought the issue up in the morning's Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

"The FAA and others are going to have to take a hard look at this," Nance said. "I'm worried. Three times is too many."

Airbus, maker of the A320, could not be immediately reached last night for comment about Nance's claim.

Nance said a similar incident happened in 1999 on an America West plane and then again last year on a United jet.

This may eventually lead to an Airworthiness Directive from the FAA, in which all A320 operators would be forced to fix the problem if and when it is found.


Say Goodbye to the Three-penny Opera

For those of you who spend a lot of time browsing the Internet, you'll be happy to know that the popular alternative browser called Opera is now completely free. Beforehand, you could pay for the premium version or download a free ad-based version. Now the ads and fees are gone, however premium support is still available.

Check it out here.

Fighting Sioux

In today's issue of UND's The Dakota Student, the below-the-fold front page story was "Students Speak Out." For anyone following the news, the recent NCAA action that bans colleges from having Native American nicknames has effected UND. While the school's President, Charles Kupchella, has sent an appeal to the organization, many on the campus are still divided over the issue.

From the story:
UND's association with the Sioux name is an important part of the argument for those who oppose the Sioux logo. To many, UND has helped take away the identity of some of the tribes and generalize the Native American people.
I don't understand this argument. How does it take away anything? At the very least, it should help spread awareness of who the Sioux are and where they come from. At every Sioux football game in the Alerus Center, a short video plays describing the Sioux tribes as "courageous" and "overcoming diversity." Isn't this how you would want to be recognized?

First, the name of the tribe was not derived from their own people. The word "Sioux" comes from the Ojibwe word meaning "snake in the grass." The two nations were known to war against each other.

Second, what is today referred to as the Sioux nation are actually seven separate bands of Indian tribes. By using the name "Sioux," the university is grouping Native Americans into one category and ignoring the individual bands and tribes.

This doesn't make any sense either. When UND uses the Sioux nickname, it isn't looking to be the official historian of Native Americans in the upper midwest. UND never claimed to be only trying to represent one tribe. Instead, it uses the Sioux moniker to encompass all the tribes in the region because all the tribes in the region have a history of standing up against challenges and overcoming odds.
Other students, however, don't consider the logo issue as important as other issues. Kyle Hill of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa said, "I think the logo is a very insignificant thing to think about nationally and internationally considering the situation."

Francine White of the Three Affiliated Tribes agreed, saying the university and tribes should be putting more emphasis on increased Native American and minority enrollment and prevention of student drop-out of both native and non-native students.

Bingo! Let's stop worrying about petty issues and start worrying about what a university is really about: education.

The story goes on to address other issues regarding the name and logo. Among them are racism in general on campus. While I've seen none of this in my short tenure here, there's no doubt in my mind that it exists. Worrying about a logo and nickname will never address the issue of racism. People have prejudice because it was implanted into them. Addressing that can be done in a much more effective and direct manner than changing a logo.

By the way, at last Saturday's Potato Bowl football game against the Western Washington Vikings (gasp! a generalization of Scandinavian people), I saw a father and his two young sons hold up a large sign reading "We [heart] the Sioux!" Clearly they are generalizing racists.


Northwest in Bankruptcy, ND in Trouble?

As most now know, Northwest Airlines recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. While the airline has pledged to maintain the highest levels of safety and service, the move leaves many to wonder what will happen to the North Dakota market as Northwest restructures and cuts back on route frequency. Will some cities be dropped completely?

Most analysts think that smaller cities in Minnesota and North Dakota are safe. This is mainly because Northwest enjoys little if any competition in these markets. An AP piece recently ran in the Devils Lake Journal:
Northwest Airlines plans to become a leaner airline, flying fewer planes as it restructures under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But airline watchers and public officials in the region don't expect any major realignment of Northwest's schedules in the near term, including routes flown by Northwest's Mesaba and Pinnacle regional partners.
So that's the word for now. As an out-of-state UND student, it's nice to know I'll still be able to get home from Grand Forks!

Who's Winning in Germany?

With polling basically completed, Sunday's German election is over. Now the only problem is figuring out who the winner is. Deutsche Welle reports parties are scrambling to come up with new coalitions, after a very marginal Merkel victory.
Angela Merkel, the Christian Democratic challenger, said that voters had clearly given her the responsibility of forming a government.
The only problem is Schroeder's SDP party hasn't admitted defeat.

SPD leader Franz M√ľntefering meanwhile said that his party would not be willing to participate in a coalition without Chancellor Gerhard Schr√∂der remaining in office.

"We're clearly the strongest party, and that's why it's our responsibility" to conduct coalition negotiations, he said, adding that the SPD would be willing to talk to everyone except the Left Party.
Keep your eyes on the Peace Garden Moderate for more news from domestic sources.