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Editorial: What you may have missed while away

Jan. 20, 2010

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Claire Taylor | Lariat Staff

Google refuses to play by China's rules

Google has been strictly reviewing its relations with China in response to suspicions that intruders were breaking into the private Gmail accounts of Chinese human-rights activists, among other reported attacks, according to the Official Google Blog. The attacks were not solely made at Google, though. The company's investigation found that at least 20 other major companies had also come under attack. Google announced last month that it will no longer participate with Chinese censorship of Google.cn and may even withdraw from the country entirely. Google's most recent official announcement, made on Jan. 12, stated that the company was in the "process of notifying those companies [that were also attacked], and... working with the relevant U.S. authorities." Google is right to challenge China's fear of democracy and openness. While there may exist policies in China not fully understood by many United States citizens, it's about time a powerful company used its status to promote change where change must prevail. The company has been respectfully open about its intentions in official press releases. Google is counterbalancing China's rigid and frightening emphasis on censorship with honesty and veracity. In the last paragraph of the most recent press release, the company explains, "The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences."

O'Brien versus Leno "show" down

With NBC's announcement that it will be making changes to its late-night broadcasting schedule, many viewers are taking sides in support of either Conan O'Brien or Jay Leno. The company announced that Leno's last regular prime-time show will appear Feb. 11. The company's plan is to move "The Tonight Show" with Conan O'Brien from the 11:35 time slot he received in June to 12:05 a.m. NBC executives have claimed there was no breach in O'Brien's contract. However, according to the New York Times, Fox Entertainment has expressed interest in having a late-night show starring O'Brien, if he were to find a way out of his current NBC contract. A line in the sand has certainly been drawn. The battleground is the Internet and many bitter O'Brien-backers have made weapons of their Twitter feeds and Facebook statuses or profile pictures. The New York Times reported on Jan. 12 that O'Brien stated he will no longer host "The Tonight Show" if it is to show at 12:05 a.m. NBC seems to be loving the attention and soaking up all the publicity it can get from this time-slot trouble.

Texas Tech fires head football coach

The first blow came on Dec. 21 when Texas Tech made the announcement that its head football coach, Mike Leach, was suspended indefinitely, specifically from coaching in the Alamo Bowl against Michigan State, and that the school's defensive coordinator, Ruffin McNeil, would take over until otherwise notified. The second blow occurred a mere two days later, on Dec. 23, when Leach was fired from coaching based on the investigation into reports that he mistreated sophomore wide receiver Adam James, a player who was not practicing as a result of a concussion. The widely reported claim from James' parents is that Leach locked James in a dark closet on a couple occasions with everything removed so the sophomore would be unable to sit. According to ESPN, Texas Tech officials said Leach's actions­--­­­ such as not signing a letter which included guidelines for handling players, refusing to present an official statement of apology and his callous reaction to the school's investigation-- forced their hand in firing him. In a Dec. 24 post-firing interview, Leach said James was an overly proud and lazy player and that the accusations against himself were simply a result of the player's lack of playing time. Furthermore, Leach stated, about the incident in question, that he simply instructed the injured player to be taken "out of the light" and that there was never a lock involved. Leach's former players have spoken out on both sides. Because of the complicated legality of this issue, many facts have yet to be revealed. Texas Tech has had poor relations with Leach for a while and this was its way of tying up loose ends. Firing Leach was an easy out. Instead of waiting to make the decision until all the details had been uncovered, Texas Tech sought a clean break. The university is ignoring all that this coach has done in the last year, simply because he refuses to dance when the administration says dance.

Palin joins Fox News team

In case America didn't get enough Sarah Palin in the last election, Fox News viewers now have the opportunity to get a healthy dose of her from time to time. On Jan. 11, Fox News announced that Palin signed a multi-year contract with the conservative news station as a political commentator and contributor to political and business programs. This announcement followed quickly behind Palin's November release of her memoirs, "Going Rogue," which has topped best-seller lists across the nation. On Jan. 12, Palin made her debut on the openly conservative "O'Riley Factor." She discussed topics ranging from President Barack Obama's falling approval rate in the polls to criticisms of Speaker of the House Nanci Pelosi, calling her out of touch, to Palin's "common sense conservative solutions" which she feels she represents. While Palin provided her commentaries, InTouch Weekly magazine was preparing this week's edition, which features Palin holding son Trig and her daughter Bristol holding son Tripp. Palin reportedly grossed $100,000 for the cover, which is only $25,000 shy of her salary as Alaskan governor. The question now is: Has Palin's celebrity overtaken her credibility as a politician? The answer is yes. Palin has become a commercialized celebrity associated with Alaska, a large brood of children, hunting and guns. It is only after all these things are remembered does one recall that she was once John McCain's running mate. Palin needs to decide if she is going to bask in the celebrity spotlight or return to her original status as a conservative politician.

Arenas calls gun threat "joke"

Gilbert Arenas, a Washington Wizards professional basketball player, pleaded guilty to one count of carrying a gun without a license in Washington, D.C. Arenas was charged as a result of an incident on Dec. 21, 2009, when Arenas, lacking license, carried four guns into the Verizon Center, the Wizards' basketball arena. He brought the weapons in a backpack as a "joke" between Arenas and another player. Arenas said the two men we threatening each other in jest and the guns were just another "joke" in the ongoing banter. However, the NBA, once privy to the players' "joke," did not find it very humorous. Arenas was banned from play indefinitely after Verizon Center security guards found the guns in a suitcase belonging to Arenas. On Dec. 24, He surrendered the guns to officials who also did not find the "joke" funny. Arenas pleaded guilty after striking a deal with prosecutors to ensure that only the minimum sentence of six months in prison be sought as opposed to the maximum of five years. Arenas abused his position as a role model and representative of the NBA. Arenas has since been deservingly dropped as a spokesman for Adidas, and the Wizards are questioning whether they will void the remaining portion of his six-year, $111 million dollar contract. Arenas was completely out of line to even think that a gun threat resembled a joke or anything of the kind. While he did willingly surrender the guns and admit to displaying poor judgment, the damage was done. He should have acted more responsibly and considered the influence he has as a public figure.