How the GOP War on Women Abuses the Bill of Rights

By: Lindsay Cogdill
The news has been on fire lately with the GOP’s war on women.  I know many people view that phrase as derisive and even an exaggeration, but I think it truly is a war. Throughout history, religion has been used to limit women’s rights, and I believe that is what is happening in our own government, with people trying to claim that women’s choices for their own healthcare should not have to be covered by insurance.
“Freedom of religion” is the reasoning currently being used by Republicans to say that contraception should not have to be covered by insurance plans if a person works for a religiously affiliated workplace, such as a school or hospital.  The problem with this idea is that every individual employed at a Catholic school or Baptist hospital is not a Christian.  Maybe they just want to be a teacher or doctor or student at a religious university, because they appreciate the career opportunities there.
However, America was not founded to be a Christian country. It was founded to be a secular government that happened to have a lot of Christians involved. Which is not a problem, in my opinion, because I think our Founding Fathers did a fantastic job of creating the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That being said, I think many politicians and citizens today attempt to use the Bill of Rights in a way that it was not intended to be used.
I encourage our politicians and my fellow citizens to take a look at the actual wording of the First Amendment to the Constitution. It states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  (You can find the full text of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at There you have it, people:  “No law respecting an establishment of religion” does not mean “let’s make laws that protect establishments of religion.”  It means the laws should not be based on the rules of any establishment of religion.  The first amendment, in my opinion, seems obviously intended to protect individuals from being forced either not to exercise their religious practices or from being forced to exercise the religious practices of a certain religious establishment because the law says so.
Now, many people would point out here that our country maintains many laws on the basis of Christian morality. That is true, obviously; laws about marriage and family are the foremost examples. However, there is a difference between making a law loosely based on morals that many people in the government (and, by extension, voters) hold as a result of their religion, and a law enacted specifically to allow certain religious institutions to be exempt from the law of the land. And that is what the church is seeking to do in this instance – they are seeking to be allowed an exemption from the law, which says that health insurance plans must cover contraception for women, because some religious establishments do not morally agree with the use of contraception.
This is a part of a larger issue in our country’s government, to be sure.  Religion is frequently used as the basis for many legal arguments, and that practice should be stopped. However, this instance is more insidious in my opinion because it so flagrantly disregards the Bill of Rights, twisting the words of our founders to suit a religious agenda. I believe it is the responsibility of ordinary citizens like us to hold our politicians accountable for these things – speak out against politicians using the Constitution unethically!  Millions of women are doing so already, through petitions with Planned Parenthood, AAUW, and other progressive political organizations.
The only way to stop this war on women is for women ourselves to stand up and tell politicians that they are misusing our laws to limit our rights, and not allow them to do so.

Editorial Stance

This edition’s editorial stance is on the February decision of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners to make English the “official language” of Frederick County. This means that all “official activities” will be conducted in English. Frederick is the first county to make English its official language in Maryland, a state that does not designate English as the official language. Some see this decision as a symbolic necessity, while others criticize its potentially discriminatory effects.

The editorial board is opposed to the decision to make English the county’s official language. Depending on how it is used, this decision might exclude certain members of the community from the discourse. If English is already the dominant language in a community, a law like this that has the potential to be discriminatory is not needed.

Catherine Collins, editor-in-chief
Stacey Axler, news editor
Vesper Arnett, lifestyle editor
Maegan Green, sports editor
Josie Wawrzyniak, advertising manager
Katrina Castner, web editor

From the Editor: Fundamentals

By the time this edition comes out, the elections for next year’s editorial board of The Blue and Grey will have happened. In the next few weeks, the transition of responsibilities from the current staff to the new one will start happening.
We at the newspaper have recently been talking a lot about recruitment ideas, such as contests, appealing to various departments, and even musical performances. I think that the enthusiasm and dedication of the writers and editors currently lined up for next year will pay off, and the newspaper will continue to improve and become a voice for the community at Hood.
Something that I think is very important, however, is being aware of the fundamentals of writing for and editing a newspaper. Having so few people sometimes results in lapses when it comes to the basics of reporting and writing. We tend to focus a lot of energy on brainstorming story ideas and trying to recruit new people, which is certainly necessary, but I’ve noticed that the fundamentals have been getting left behind in all the activity.
While I was writing for and editing the news section, I made plenty of very basic mistakes and some bizarre decisions.  Part of it is learning from our mistakes, but it’s important for our staff not to lose sight of fundamental writing skills, the rules of writing news stories and AP style, what makes a good photograph, the importance of interviewing someone in person, etc.
With a small staff and the conveniences of technology, sometimes the desire to simply get something done supersedes the need to carefully edit and think about what we’re producing. I think that if we can balance our goal of becoming more of a student representation with a concern for high-quality writing, reporting, and editing, the future of our publication will be very bright.

Catherine Collins

Student Art Gallery Opening Well Attended

By: Stacey Axler

The Hodson Gallery in the Tatem Arts Center became packed last week with students and faculty supporting three artists from the senior art exhibitions.

The artwork for this portion of the senior art exhibit include “Laced Up,” by senior Arpie A. Avanessi, “Eschatology,” by senior Shannon Sullivan, and “Love Story,” by Lindsay Washington.

In attendance at the gallery opening, Hood President Ron Volpe said, “I am very impressed by the dedication…talent, and imagination of these Hood students.  The artwork is very well executed.  Everyone is here to support these students.”

The gallery opening ran from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and included a discussion with the three students artists about the artwork presented.

Avanessi presented a collection of clay and mixed media sculptures “Laced-Up.” Each piece resembles varying corsets, which identifies with modern femininity and gender constructs.

Sullivan implemented bright colors to create varying themes in her collection of pastel and ink compositions.

In particular, her composition titled “Duck and Cover” features currentU.S.president Barack Obama crouching under a desk similar to Cold War precautions.

“I wanted the piece to represent the past and current fears that people face,” said Sullivan.

“Duck and Cover” resonated highly with President Volpe, who said, “This piece brings back memories of hiding under my school desk when we had the drills. “

Washington presented “Love Story,” a series of photos that tell the story of two people falling in love.

The exhibit will run until April 1, after which other senior art collections will be featured in the gallery.

“I really enjoyed the art exhibit.  All of the artwork is really creative and interesting,” said Hood junior Nilsa Gonzalez.

For more information about this and other exhibits at the Hodson Gallery, contact Ryan Browning, gallery curator, at

Three student artists will display original works of art March 23 through April 1 in the Hodson Gallery in the Tatem Arts Center at Hood College.

The opening reception for the senior exhibitions and gallery talks by the artists will be March 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The gallery is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Blackbox Theater Reopens

By: Stacey Axler

Recently, the Avalon Performing Arts Studio located in the Tatem Arts Center which has been closed since last October, re-opened and now can be utilized.

The Avalon Performing Arts Studio is a blackbox theatre utilized by Hood College Theatre (HCT), Hood College Improv Troupe (HCT), and Hood College Student Musical Theatre (HCSMT).  The venue closed after a mold abatement process occurred in the venue.

“I’m happy that HCT now has the possibility to use Avalon.  The abrupt closing of the black box cause some interesting complications in staging different shows, like “Waiting for Godot” last fall,” said head of the theatre program at Hood Joe Brady.

Since the closing of Avalon, the various theatre programs needed to restage several productions.  “Waiting for Godot” premiered in theBroadbeckMusic Hall, after Avalon closed in the middle to that rehearsal process.

Similarly, since the close of Avalon, the theatre department in conjunction with Hood College facilities began to remodel Price Auditorium to use that defunct performance space as a venue for shows and rehearsals.

“I’ve begun to really like Price Auditorium as a performance space.  Both HCT and facilities has been a big help in revamping that space after over 10 years of being under-utilized,” said Brady.

Currently, the theatre program is staging two productions of Samuel Beckett plays in the Price Auditorium: “That Time” and Krapp’s Last Tape.”  The productions will premiere on April 19.

Currently, the theatre program has the option of utilizing both performance spaces for future shows.

“I feel that Avalon will become more of an experimental venue, one where we can do theater in the round, while Price will become our typical proscenium stage.  But it’s great to have the option of both venues,” said Brady.

Hood Alumna’s Documentary Screened at Hood

By: Stacey Axler

Over 50 student and faculty members arrived to the Hodson Auditorium last Tuesday to support a Hood alumna’s film “Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women’s National Air Derby.”

The event ran from 7p.m. to 9 p.m. and included a screening of the film and a discussion with former Hood student Heather Taylor, who wrote, directed, and produced the film.

“This film is an accomplishment because it is restoring scenarios that the public lost to history.  I hope that the film shares my enthusiasm and passion for the subject matter with the audience members,” said Taylor.

“Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women’s National Air Derby” was completed in 2010.  The movie follows the experiences and friendships of 20 female pilots on their nine-day journey across the country from California to Ohio.

Taylor spent more than 10 years working on the plot and the filming of “Breaking Through the Clouds.” The film features an in-depth look into the lives of female pilots who broke gender stereotypes for the era in which they lived, but remain overlooked by modern society.

The presentation was co-sponsored by Hood’s departments of English and history, the office of multicultural affairs, and the communication arts and women’s studies programs

“I came to see the film because my father and I are really interested in aviation.  I hoped to see more facts about female aviators.  I wanted to hear about the unsung heroes of aviation and the people who made a real difference in society,” said Hood senior Courtney Ward.

“Breaking Through The Clouds” features archival film from the derby, as well as interviews with such legendary female pilots as Elinor Smith Sullivan, Patty Wagstaff and Julie Clark. Others interviewed for the documentary include aviation historians and friends and family members of the participants.

The website, features more information about the documentary and the subject of the first women’s national air derby.

Taylor’s film received numerous accolades since the 2010 premiere inFrederickduring the Women’s Air Race Classic. Awards include the Combs Gates Award from the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the David Ponce Award as best documentary of the festival at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, the Utopian Vision Award from the Utopia Film Festival, and Best Documentary DMV at the REEL Independent Film Extravaganza.

After the film, Taylor discussed her experiences as an independent filmmaker to the audiences and took questions from the attendees.

Senior Lindsay Cogdill said, “I enjoyed her film and presentation very much, it gave an interesting perspective into females involved with aviation, and the struggles of an independent filmmaker.”

Many students and faculty in attendance came to see a former Hood student discuss her experiences after college.

“I was delighted to be able to arrange Heather’s visit to campus. It is so rewarding to see a former student succeed, and to be able to invite her to speak to a class and share her experiences with current students. It is also wonderful that she was able to share a tangible example of her work with the Hood community,” said  professor Donna Bertazzoni, Taylor’s former academic advisor and professor of journalism.

The event overall was very well-received by all who attended.

“Hood students have the drive and the ability to succeed at anything they put their mind to, and Heather is an outstanding example of that. She spent many years researching the stories of the women, tracking down their relatives and friends, and finding archival film of the event. The culmination of her persistence is this award-winning documentary. It’s gratifying to know that as her former teacher and adviser, I played a small role in helping shape her into the successful woman she is today,” Bertazonni said.

Frederick Speed Cameras Surprise Many

By: Josie Wawrzyniak

By the time you read this you may already be one of the unwary motorists who have been caught by one of the new speed cameras operating in the City of Frederick. Whether you are one of these unfortunate drivers or soon to be one, the fact is that these cameras are being installed throughout the city.

Installation of the speed cameras or the “automated speed monitoring program” as the system is known officially, began in May 2011. There are currently eight cameras in operation.

The cameras work by measuring a vehicle’s speed. They record the vehicle’s image when the vehicle exceeds a defined speed threshold. The date, time, location of the violation, vehicle speed and images of the vehicle’s license plate are recorded and mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle with a civil citation for the violation.

A sign is posted before each camera to alert drivers to its presence and to give drivers a chance to slow down. The signs measure about 18 inches high by 24 inches wide and are not especially noticeable. They are not orange, or yellow or red but have dark text on a light background. They look like many other road signs.

For the first 30 days following the installation of a camera, registered drivers of vehicles who exceed the posted speed limit by 12 miles per hour will receive warning notices in the mail. The second violation or one occurring after the first 30 days of camera operation will result in a citation. Each violation carries a maximum $40 fine.

A typical citation issued under the same circumstances by a police officer would be $140 and would assign two points to the violator’s license. Photo citations are not reported to insurance companies and no points are assessed to the violator’s driver’s license. Under Maryland law, photo camera images can only be used to issue a citation if a vehicle exceeds the posted speed limit by 12 mph or more.

Frederick speed camera locations (source: Southbound in the 1700, block of Opossumtown Pike, Westbound in the 7400 block of Hayward Road, Eastbound in the 7300 block of Hayward Road, Westbound in the 1300 block of Butterfly Lane, Southbound in the 1600 block of North Market Street, Northbound in the 1400 block of North East Street, Southbound in the 1400 block of North East Street, and Southbound Motter Ave. at N. Frederick Elementary School.

The City of Frederick may soon have up to 20 cameras.  The camera systems are mobile and can be moved to other locations at any time.

Awkward Advice from Stacey and Cassie

Dear Awkward Advice,

                I went to see Hunger Games at the midnight premiere! What an awesome movie! Team Peeniss, whoooo! Anyway, while watching the movie, I realized that I would not last long in the Games. I have absolutely no survival skills. Do you have any tips, so that I can be prepared given the inevitable eventuality thatAmericawill be split into districts and the youth of those districts will be pitted against each other in annual brutal gladiatorial battles to death for the entertainment of the ruling powers and wealthy minority? Just wondering. Btw, I totes love Awkward Advice! Team Cassie and Stacey!


Should Have Tried Harder in PE

Dear Should Have,

This is a question that we’ve seen a lot since the hype about Hunger Games started. So, we decided to do some research and watch the movie. Upon cursory examination, we’ve discovered the key to surviving the Hunger Games. They’re nothing new; people have been employing them for years in middle schools and high schools all over the world. Step 1: Wear cool clothes. When Katniss and Peeta ride in on their chariots in those crazy cool duds, you knew they were at least 10 times cooler than everyone else in the arena. Step 2: Become friends with the athletic people. Just like in high school, the jocks were the douchebags. Oops, I meant to say cool kids. So, whether you’re in school or in Panem fighting for your life, stick with them and you’ll stay alive, at least for awhile. 3. Kiss boys. Peeta and Katniss were in pretty rough shape until she had a brainwave to give him a little smooch. Then she was sent medicine that saved Peeta’s life. What we can glean from this is that the most important way to survive in Panem is to just go around making out with a bunch of guys. Hopefully you’ll take these survival tactics under consideration. May the odds be ever in your favor.



Coming up at the MET, An Adaption of Antigone

By: Josie Wawrzyniak

The Maryland Ensemble Theatre (MET) is presenting an adaptation of Sophocles’ play, “Antigone”. In this classic Greek tragedy, Antigone is pitted against King Creon and the laws of Thebes. Her two brothers led opposing sides in Thebes’ civil war and died fighting each other. Creon orders the rebel brother’s body not to be sanctified by holy rites and to lie unburied on the battlefield. Antigone’s defense of her brother’s honor leads to fatal consequences.

“Antigone” was written around 422 B.C. by the Greek playwright Sophocles. It was the third of his Theban plays, the other two being Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. The former is the story of Antigone’s father, King Oedipus, who is infamous for unknowingly killing his father and marrying his mother. These plays are written in the classic Greek style. Each begins with a prologue, and a chorus performs in the background as the observers and citizens of Thebes.

This new adaptation of “Antigone” is written by Reiner Prochaska, a member of the Maryland Ensemble Theatre. His adaptation does not simply retell the original story but deconstructs the themes of honor, integrity, righteousness, grief, and individual versus communal rights.

Prochaska is a familiar performer on the MET stage. He most recently portrayed the character of Reverend Mike in Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them. He has adapted other classic plays for the MET, including The Canterbury Tales, produced in Spring 2010.

The MET’s official press release describes the play: “As this ancient play is retold, the audience is soon taken forward in time to other stories with the same themes, proving how “Antigone”’s moral compass and her defiance of unjust laws have lived on for centuries. The members of the chorus play numerous parts throughout these episodes; although their names may change, their common roles as nurturers, patriarchs, or idealists remain constant throughout the production.

“Prochaska explains why these scene changes are so crucial to this production: ‘Most adaptations seem to stay in the same time and place. My adaptation differs in that sense because I wanted to explore the themes of the story not only in a contemporary context but also in a historical context. One episode is set in 1618 in Germany, one in 1862 in Maryland, and one in 1923 in Southern Ireland. We hope to convey that this story has taken place throughout history and all over the world.’”

“Antigone” is directed by the MET’s associate Artistic Director, Julie Herber. The play’s talented cast features Devin Gaither, Ashley Hall, Joe Jalette, Karen Paone, Reiner Prochaska, Bill Stitely and Vanessa Strickland.

“Antigone” will be performed every Thursday through Sunday (except on Easter, April 8 ) at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre (31 W. Patrick St.) from March 22 to April 15. Showtime is 8 p.m. except on Sundays when shows are at 7 p.m. There is a single Sunday matinee on April 1 at 2 p.m. This performance will be followed by a “talk back” with the writer, the director, members of the cast and a special guest, Linda Pappas Funsch, a Middle East scholar from Frederick Community College. Ticket prices range from $15 to $24. Visit for additional information.


John Carter, An Unimpressive Disney Adaption

By: Jarred Braxton

The novel that provided the source material and inspiration for “Star Wars” and “Avatar” has finally come to the big screen in “John Carter.”

Based on the classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the film stars Taylor Kitsch (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) as the title character, a disillusioned former Confederate soldier who has lost his concept of humanity and is trying to find his way in the world.

As he is searching for gold in a remote area of the Arizona territories, he is inexplicably whisked away to a strange world where he can jump for great distances, there are green people with four arms and tusks called Tharks, giant white apes with four legs, desert as far as the eye can see and vehicles that can fly.

After a while, Carter finds himself in the middle of a war between two great civilizations orchestrated by ethereal beings called Therns, led by Matai Shang, played by veteran movie villain Mark Strong (“Sherlock Holmes,” “Green Lantern”).

The Therns have set the two of the main Martian cultures, Zodanga and Helium, against each other, and Carter finds himself smack in the middle of their feud.

To make matters more complicated, Carter is bedazzled by the beautiful Princess Dejah Thoris of Helium, played by Lynn Collins (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), who can end the conflict if she weds the Zodangan prince Sab Than, played by Dominic West (“Arthur Christmas”).

If Carter is to be the hero Dejah is hoping for, he must leave whatever tragedies he suffered in the Civil War on Earth, accept his fate on Mars, and lead whatever forces he can to foil the Therns’ plot to cause war between the Zodangans and Heliumites.

Academy Award-winning director Andrew Stanton (“WALL-E,” “Finding Nemo”) took on a very expensive challenge in “John Carter,” but he didn’t exactly live up to expectations as the film overall was practically ho-hum.

Appreciation should be given to the great amount of detail going into the visual effects. The aliens and the flying ships were very sharply depicted on the screen.

As for the overall story and execution of “John Carter,” it is safe to say that more could have been done with this movie.

This story has been the inspiration and structure of countless science fiction stories and some of those films, such as “Star Wars,” and “Avatar,” took great liberties and risks and transcended the level of where sci-fi films can go.

The problem with John Carter is that it lacks originality. It’s ironic because in its time it was a completely original concept for a book to take its entire plot and have it set on the planet Mars, or Barsoom as it is called, but the movie is completely underdone in the terms of writing and overall direction.

Stanton struck gold with directing animated features for Disney, but it looks like he completely struck out with “John Carter.”

Kitsch’s performance as the title character was average at best. He doesn’t exactly give his role any type of distinguishing flavor.

The same could be said for Collins and Strong. In fact, none of the characters were particularly memorable, no matter if they were human or alien.

“John Carter” is visually decent but it lacks any substance that makes it unique. Its overall problem is that it leaves something to be desired.