Women’s distance medley relay squad makes nationals

The Dartmouth men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled across the Northeast over the weekend to compete in several meets before the start of the spring season. While the weekend served as a final breath of stale indoor air for the majority of Dartmouth’s competitors, four speedy athletes used the weekend to qualify for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships next weekend in Nampa, Idaho.

The quartet of Alexi Pappas ’12, Megan Krumpoch ’14, Chrissy Supino ’12 and Abbey D’Agostino ’14 qualified for the women’s distance medley relay with a school-record time of 11:00.62 at the appropriately-named Columbia Last Chance Meet held at The Armory Track and Field Center in New York City.

The relay team finished second to national powerhouse University of Florida in the distance medley relay. Florida posted a time of 10:58.77.

The distance medley relay consists of four legs the 1,200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters and 1,600 meters.

Dartmouth is seeded seventh heading into nationals, with the top eight finishers garnering All-American honors. The University of Washington leads all qualifiers with a time of 10:55.01.

“We know we belong in the top group,” D’Agostino, the team’s anchor, said. “People tend to allow the pressure of nationals to interfere with their confidence, so we just need to stay relaxed and be competitive. I think we have a legitimate chance of being All-American.”

In addition to running the 1,600-meter leg of the distance medley relay, D’Agostino will also compete in the 3,000-meter run at nationals. The distance medley will be held Friday night, with the 3,000-meter final scheduled for Saturday night. Several other anchor legs will complete the double.

“I’ve had experience with doubling before, so as long as I get adequate rest and take care of my legs on Friday night, I should feel ready to race by Saturday,” D’Agostino said.

The other storyline heading into last weekend was that of John Bleday ’14, who hoped to break the four-minute barrier in the men’s mile at the Columbia Last Chance Meet.

Heading into the weekend, Bleday felt confident in his ability to break the mark following his win in the 3,000 meters at the Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships on Feb. 25.

Unfortunately, Bleday will have to wait a bit longer for his next chance to break four, as he ran to a disappointing 33rd place finish at The Armory, finishing in 4:12.67.

“I was just mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted,” says Bleday. “I’m looking forward to resting up, getting ready for spring and then competing with the best runners in the country at outdoor nationals.”

Four runners broke the four-minute barrier, including Joe Stilin of Princeton University and race-winner Kyle Merber of Columbia University. Bleday out-kicked Stilin to win at Heps the week before.

Other noteworthy performances by Big Green competitors at The Armory included a record-breaking performance by Connor Reilly ’13 in the 60-meter dash.

Reilly ran 6.83 seconds to finish second behind Michael LeBlanc of Canada (6.63 seconds). Reilly’s performance bested his own school record by one-hundredth of second, set at last year’s indoor Heps meet.

“It was nice to be able to come off an injury and run a decent time,” Reilly said.

Looking forward to the spring outdoor season, Reilly will focus his training on slightly longer races, namely the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, as the 60 meters is not run outdoors.

A small contingent of men traveled to compete at the IC4A championships at Boston University on Saturday and Sunday. The women’s team sent a group to the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships.

At the IC4As, Luke Decker ’15 led the way for the Big Green, finishing fifth in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:27.38.

“The 1,000-meter race really plays to my own personal strength,” Decker said. “It’s longer than an 800, so it requires endurance that most 800 runners don’t have, and it’s shorter than a mile, so it requires top speed that most milers don’t have.”

Decker called his race in the finals his “best performance all season.”

“Things didn’t go exactly as I’d hoped,” Decker said. “I got boxed in during the fourth lap, so I just kicked as hard as I could in the final lap and managed to finish fifth. I was really happy that I stuck my nose in there and ran hard until the end.”

Ethan Shaw ’12 raced in the 5,000-meter run, and finished the race in eighth place with a time of 14:16.51, fading over the final mile after passing the 3,200-meter mark in 8:58.

Dom Filiano ’14 also competed for Dartmouth in the shot put, finishing in 13th place with a throw of 53’1.5″.

Across town at the ECACs, Emmaline Berg ’13 led the Big Green with a fifth-place finish in the shot put, throwing a personal best of 45’5.75″.

“I was really excited to get out there and throw my best,” Berg said. “We’ve trained to make ourselves peak at this point in the season, so I’m pretty pleased with my result.”

In the weight throw, Cathy Liebowitz ’15 and Christina Alexander ’11 placed 11th and 36th with throws of 54’3.75″ and 48’6.25″, respectively.

Other competitors for the Big Green included Bridget End ’14, who finished 10th overall in the 3,000-meter run in a personal best time of 9:50.54.

D’Agostino and the distance medley team will compete one last time at nationals this weekend, while the rest of the team rests up before traveling to Raleigh, N.C. and Myrtle Beach, S.C. for its annual spring training trip.

Baseball struggles in season-opening series against LSU

Ennis Coble '13 went 2-for-10 at the plate in Dartmouth's series vs. LSU. Coble ranked third in the Ivy League with a .361 average in 2011.

The Dartmouth baseball team opened its season on the road last weekend with a competitive three-game set against Southeastern Conference powerhouse Louisiana State University at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. The No. 11 Tigers (10-2) had an advantage thanks to their previous game experience this season, and although the Big Green (0-3) dropped all three contests, the squad fought to keep the games close until the late innings.

Before the games started, Dartmouth coach Bob Whalen made sure to remind his players that the team does not get to start with a handicap because of a lack of scholarships or outdoor playing time, and that when all is said and done, the game is the same.

The series opened Friday night, and the Big Green did not appear intimidated by its power conference foe, taking a 4-3 lead by the bottom of the sixth inning. Dartmouth was led by a barrage of 10 hits, including five doubles off of LSU pitcher Kevin Gausman, who has been predicted as a potential first-round draft pick in this year’s Major League Baseball draft. Dustin Selzer ’14, Ennis Coble ’13, David Turnbull ’12 and Jake Carlson ’12 all had a pair of hits for the team.

Whalen said he was pleased with the team’s performance, noting that “we played aggressively with no intimidation.”

However, the team wasn’t able to keep the Tiger’s offense down as LSU broke open the game with four runs in the bottom of the sixth off of reliever Louis Concato ’14. The Dartmouth bats suddenly fell silent, and the Tigers added one more run in the seventh to bring the game to its final score of 8-4.

The second game was not as close. Dartmouth kept the game competitive through five innings, trailing just 4-1, but the Tigers exploded for eight runs in the sixth en route to a 16-3 rout. Dartmouth starting pitcher Mitch Horacek ’14 made it through the first three innings unscathed before being touched for four runs in the fourth. Matt Robinson ’15 provided one of the few bright spots for the Big Green at the plate, going two-for-three with a pair of singles and two runs scored in his first collegiate game.

The third game, a Sunday matinee, was the most exciting of the series, as LSU won in walk-off fashion. After falling into a three-run hole to start the game, the Big Green mounted a steady comeback, scoring in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to take a 4-3 lead. In the fifth, a trio of freshmen Nick Lombardi ’15, Thomas Roulis ’15 and Robinson combined with Jeff Keller ’14 to plate a pair of runs and chase the LSU starting pitcher from the game.

Mike Dodakian ’14 pitched a scoreless fifth before giving way to Thomas Olson ’15, who would finish the game on the mound for the Big Green. Olson pitched well in his debut for the team, throwing over 60 percent of his pitches for strikes, but surrendered an unlucky run in the seventh after the Tigers used a bloop double and a hard groundball up the middle to tie the game at four. The game remained knotted until the bottom of the ninth, when the harsh sun a factor all day prevented center fielder Carlson from catching a fly ball that allowed the winning run to score from first.

Whalen noted that he has been focused on preparing the team “as best you can for the things that they are most likely to see in a real game.” However, practicing in Leverone Field House mostly prevented the team from having realistic practice fielding fly balls, something that hurt the Big Green over the weekend.

First baseman Dustin Selzer described the excitement that goes along with playing a quality non-conference team early in the season, especially a national powerhouse.

“It was great to be able to challenge ourselves in such a great environment,” he said.

Whalen said that starting the season against such a strong team helped the Big Green by showing the team which areas need the most improvement.

“When you play really good teams, when you make mistakes, you pay for them quickly,” he said. “It’s much easier for the players to see areas that need to be addressed.”

While he said it would have been nice for the team to pull out a victory in Baton Rouge, Whalen noted that the early-season trip was also about evaluating the team and giving players up and down the roster opportunities to prove themselves.

“The team knows that we don’t try and stretch players on these trips,” Whalen said. “Everybody is going to get some opportunities.”

The team now takes a break for Winter term exams, with its next game coming on March 15, when it travels west to take on Sacramento State University in a five-game set.

Sleigh Bells finds success in ‘Treats’

Sleigh Bells, the Brooklyn duo comprised of musician and producer Derek Miller and singer-songwriter Alexis Krauss, hits hard yet again in their new album “Reign of Terror,” which was released on Feb. 21. “Reign of Terror” is the second effort from Sleigh Bells a band inspired by the intensely in-your-face artist that signed them, M.I.A. following up on their 2010 album “Treats.”

The band performed at the College for Friday Night Rock in 2009 when they were still under the radar, creating a campus craze around the song “Crown on the Ground.” Since then, Sleigh Bells has achieved fame and popularity, not just at Dartmouth but all over. Their recent Feb. 18 performance on “Saturday Night Live” signifies that they are worth everyone’s attention, so if you don’t know them by now, you better listen in.

“Treats” was written mostly by Miller, but this time around on “Reign of Terror,” Miller and Krauss collaborated on most of the album’s tracks. The songs on “Reign of Terror” have more of a pop influence than those on “Treats,” an influence that was definitely because of Krauss. Both albums are great in their own ways, but “Reign of Terror” shows the evolution of Sleigh Bells’ sound and the direction in which they are heading.

Their music is not sweet, chewy and soft like the title of their first album implies but is actually sour, crunchy and raw. You could listen to Sleigh Bells’ music now as they are creating innovative beats that speak to our generation mixing past 1980s pop/rock and present electro/noise influences but you can still listen to them years from now, as they are potentially the sound of the future.

Following the same format as “Treats” in terms of the number of tracks, there are 11 intriguing, loud and high-energy creations on “Reign of Terror.” The opening track, “True Shred Guitar,” begins with Krauss getting the crowd ready and amped during a live show. The song then shifts to Krauss shouting commands with explosive drumbeats and heavy guitar riffs, matching the energy of the lead single from the album “Treats,” “Tell ‘Em,” and makes listeners feel like they want to live on the edge.

“True Shed Guitar” is the perfect introduction to the rest of the album, as the following track, “Born to Lose,” is one of my favorites because of Krauss’ echo-harmonies with herself against the rhythm. The rhythm sounds like it is shooting bullets at Krauss as she attempts to incorporate a melody on the track. Genius.

The tracks that caught my attention right off the bat on “Reign of Terror” were “End of the Line” and “Leader of the Pack,” both of which reference the tragic death of Miller’s father in a motorcycle accident. “End of the Line” is filled with mourning and a sort of delightful sadness that truly makes it a standout on the album. It is as if Krauss is singing the chorus directly into listeners’ ears: “You know it didn’t have to be this way, you know it didn’t have to be. But it’s the end of the line, so goodbye.”

The first single on the album, “Comeback Kid,” is a catchy track containing a “keep your head up” message that most people can relate to. Everyone loves to root for the underdog, and nothing satisfies me more than a great comeback, which Sleigh Bells plays off well as they are underdogs themselves.

My ears can somehow handle and appreciate both the “drum-gunned” beats and Krauss’ extra soft, airy vocals, especially on the brilliant 1980s-influenced “Road to Hell” and the dragged out, trance-like “You Lost Me.” In comparison to most of the album, which pulses with life, the last two tracks on “Reign of Terror” “Never Say Die” and “D.O.A.” sound more like Krauss’ jumbled cosmic dream of which listeners get to be a part. The feeling of their new album resembles how I felt about “Treats” as a whole, having no defined structure. I have a feeling that there will be more musical treats from this delicious duo coming our way.

Environmentalist Bass presents from his book on the Arctic

Environmental activist and author Rick Bass read exceprts from his book

Accomplished environmental author and activist Rick Bass read an excerpt from his book “Caribou Rising” in a Tuesday lecture in Haldeman Hall to emphasize the importance of communication about the environment and climate change. The aim of the lecture was to express the “power of the written word and the relationship of the written word to environmental activism,” according to environmental studies professor Ross Virginia, who presented an introduction to Bass’ reading.

Bass, who has authored over 20 acclaimed books, identifies better than anyone with writing and its relevance to activism, Virginia said.

“Through his writing, [Bass] has become involved in the preservation movement for wilderness in the western states,” Virginia said. “He’s become very deeply engaged with the problems of the ways in which we fragment landscapes.”

Bass successfully combines his knowledge of writing and environmentalism with a passion for storytelling, according to Virginia.

“He is a expert storyteller who moves from writing to activism and back with an uncommon energy and great skill,” Virginia said in an email to The Dartmouth.

Bass began his lecture by acknowledging his unusual career as an environmentalist interested in geology and hunting, which he said are “strike one and strike two” for most environmentalists, he said. This unique perspective helped Bass when he stood up against George W. Bush’s administration desires to increase drilling in order to preserve the environment, Bass said.

During the lecture, Bass read an excerpt from his 2004 book, which discusses the time Bass spent in a small village in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The excerpt focused on Bass’ time and discussions with one member of the village in particular, a hunter named Jimi who was responsible for providing much of the food for the small Arctic village. Jimi was an example of a person whose livelihood that of a committed hunter had been shaped entirely by his Arctic village’s community and culture, Bass said. The excerpt demonstrated how the Arctic wildlife has remained “unbroken through time,” Bass said.

Bass’ work was particularly effective because “Caribou Rising” captures “what it is like to move in that landscape with people who rely on it for subsistence,” Virginia said.

The lecture, titled “Rick Bass, Nature Writer and Activist,” was sponsored by the Institute of Arctic Studies at the Dickey Center for International Understanding and was part of a lecture series called “Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Dialogues on Polar Science and Society.” The presentation’s subject matter corresponded with the Arctic theme of this series of lectures, Virginia said in an email to The Dartmouth.

Vox Clamantis

To the Editor:

A recent editorial in The Dartmouth (“Verbum Ultimum: Making Health a Priority,” March 2) distorted Dartmouth’s commitment to the physical and mental well-being of our student body. Let me be clear: Our students’ health both mental and physical is a top priority. Our commitment to students’ well-being is evidenced in a number of ways, one of which is the dedication of resources to Dick’s House. We are taking a number of important steps related to student health care.

Specifically, we are in the process of adding two mental health counselors, an additional psychiatrist and new athletic training staff. We have launched a search for a new director of student wellness and health promotions. As your Friday news story indicated (“College seeks second alcohol coordinator,” March 2), the search is underway for an additional Alcohol and Other Drug Education Program coordinator. We recently increased the number of sexual assault prevention coordinators from one to two.

We have also established the Committee on Student Health, composed of senior administrators from across campus. The committee is charged with recommending to the provost and to me a long-term strategy for an innovative approach to student health care delivery that is cost effective, provides high quality services, increases student access to services and is based on an integrated approach to wellness. This committee will consult with students broadly as part of its charge.

We look forward to working with students on an issue of great importance to many within the Dartmouth community.

Charlotte JohnsonDean of the College

Kim: A Concerning Departure

Like many, I am devastated to see Advisor to Asian-American Students Nora Yasumura resign (“Yasumura resigns advising post,” March 6). A critical mentor in the Dartmouth community, Nora Yasumura was the advisor to the Pan-Asian Community, the Inter-Community Council, the Diversity Peer Program, First Generation Network and many other student groups. What devastates me even more is the troubling trend of advocates for students leaving the College after years of dedicated work that has gone unacknowledged by the institution. Last spring, we witnessed a string of minority women resignations, but what we left out of the debate was their common vision of making this campus a better place by being compassionate allies and mentors to students.

We talk about the need for advising, counseling and other resources for mental health needs in any community. How can we create a healthy community if the people who care the most the student advocates are unable to have autonomy and a voice in this monolithic institution?

Without these advisors, Dartmouth will continue to approach diversity at shallow levels. Simply hiring someone to a nominal position will not solve our problems and neither will forming more committees. It will be an attitude that only reads as appeasement and as an insult to the actual needs of students and communities. Until the College approaches the plurality of students in a meaningful way, this school will remain isolating for many a cold and even threatening place. Until we form meaningful community on campus, students will seek refuge in unhealthy and anti-intellectual practices that are counterproductive to a cohesive community. If hazing brings us a perverse form of community, then why aren’t we supporting alternative paths to togetherness?

As an advisor, Nora empowered students with her vision of equity at Dartmouth. Encouraging a gentle but firm insistence on change, she would advise us: “Start with a feather, then knock, then hammer; don’t break down the door when they’re ready to let you in.” When we were inclined to be confrontational, Nora told us to “approach people where they’re at.”

It’s the leadership within the Office of Pluralism and Leadership that proactively helps to make this school a better place. When students felt uneasy, jaded, disaffected or just plain angry, Nora, in her calming voice of softly powerful leadership, would channel students to think larger than ourselves, to become compassionate allies, to understand our interconnected experiences, to see power dynamics in a privileged institution and to lead in a solidarity of difference. Without this leadership, I worry OPAL will be reduced to a source of counseling for the trauma students experience here. Without an understanding of our interwoven problems, our community will segment itself even further to the point where we barely hang together by shallow and superficial threads.

We’re told that the world’s problems are our problems, but what kinds of leaders are we fostering as an institution? Are we becoming conscious, critical, reflective and multi-faceted leaders? Are we making the world worse? Leaders who make this campus better can make society better, but it’s discouraging and draining to see the lack of institutional support for proactive students, faculty and staff. As students, we need mentors who will guide us, encourage us to be leaders and advocate for us at all levels. If the College cares about creating leaders, then it needs to support the people, programs and organizations that shape them.

**Janet Kim ’13 is an OPAL intern.*

Pedde: The Buffett Rule and Welfare

During his State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama proposed a “Buffett Rule,” which would impose a minimum average tax rate of 30 percent on all income above $1 million per year. However, this rule was conspicuously absent from the president’s budget proposal last week. This was for a good reason: Regardless of the ethical theories to which you personally subscribe, the Buffett Rule is a terrible idea.

Before proceeding any further, keep in mind two points. First, as I have previously argued, the claim that a significant proportion of high-income individuals pay a lower average federal tax rate than typical middle-income individuals is largely a statistical illusion created by data that ignore corporate taxes (“Buffett’s Taxes”, Feb. 1). Second, the Buffett Rule would raise very little revenue: The non-partisan Tax Foundation estimates that it would raise $40 billion per year. For comparison, total federal tax revenues during the 2011 fiscal year were $2.3 trillion, and the budget deficit was $1.3 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

While the top federal marginal tax rates on labor and interest income are currently higher than 30 percent, the top federal statutory income tax rate on capital gains and dividends is only 15 percent. As a result, the Buffet Rule would cause a significant increase in the marginal tax rate on investment income from equities but not on labor income or investment income from debt. Thus, the Buffett Rule would only worsen the preference given to debt over equity by the federal tax system. Many people have complained about highly leveraged financial institutions and about private equity firms that load up other firms with debt; the Buffett Rule would only exacerbate these two problems.

Now, the economy is a complex, interwoven system. As a result, a tax change will have many indirect effects other than simply raising revenue. One branch of normative economics that studies these issues is known as “welfare economics.” Welfare economics essentially combines our economic knowledge with utilitarian or Rawlsian ethical assumptions in order to produce policy recommendations.

Let’s be clear about what these ethical assumptions actually mean. A utilitarian or a Rawlsian does not believe that a high-income individual has any inherent right to keep any portion of their income; if it were not for the incentive effects of taxation, the top marginal income tax rate for all income should be 100 percent. Obviously, given these ethical assumptions, typical left-of-center economic policy prescriptions the government should redistribute income to poorer individuals, for instance arise naturally from the field of welfare economics.

Now, believe it or not, the baseline result from standard welfare economics is that the marginal tax rate on investment income should be asymptotically zero. Over the last two decades, further research has added many “ifs” and “buts” to that specific conclusion. But the more general conclusion that investment income should be taxed at a lower rate than labor income has held up quite well.

Most other developed countries have heeded this conclusion. As a result, the United States currently has the fourth highest marginal tax rate on dividend income among all countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. According to the Tax Foundation, if the Buffet Rule were implemented in the United States, that would raise the real marginal tax rate on dividends (i.e., inclusive of corporate taxes and adjusted for inflation) from 52 percent to 61.2 percent. This would be the highest marginal tax rate on dividends among all countries in the OECD.

Now, if you agree with the Democrats’ plans to increase federal government spending over the coming years, then we obviously need to raise federal tax revenues. But the right way to do so would involve eliminating deductions from the income tax code and implementing a national sales tax. For comparison, these changes would move the U.S. tax system in the direction of the Nordic countries’ tax systems.

In short, the Buffett Rule is simply not in keeping with standard welfare economics. Put differently, even if you believe that high-income individuals have no inherent right to keep any portion of their incomes, and even if you believe that federal spending and thus taxes need to increase significantly, the Buffett Rule is a terrible idea that deserves a place in the dustbin of history.

Blair: Homeward Bound

The rags-to-riches story holds a central place in American culture. Such stories are often dominated by the following archetype: Poor parents or grandparents scrap together a living, trying to hold everything together just enough for their children or grandchildren to get a shot at a “better life” a college degree and a materially prosperous, comfortably bourgeois existence. Of course, we must admire and revere the hard work and sacrifices our parents and grandparents made to give many of us the chance to attend an elite college like Dartmouth. But nothing comes without tradeoffs in this world, and it is worth asking whether the dominant American model of social mobility is a good one or, at least, a good one for everyone.

A definite trend in the 20th and 21st centuries with numerous exceptions is the link between geographical and social mobility. Our parents worked to give us a better life, but in moving up the ladder of success, many also moved “horizontally,” away from their working-class or agricultural hometowns. They go away for college and never come back home, preferring to move instead to New York or Boston or some other metropolis of trade and economic opportunity.

This seems like an innocuous fact to us, but its implications are tremendous and often negative. One result is a brain drain from rural and working-class areas. When all the best and brightest of our poorer areas move away from home, the community from which they came loses out on all the talent, value and intellectual energy these elite students could have applied to the problems of their hometown had they returned.

This leads to a second, related fact: The best and the brightest, instead of returning home, all gather together in relatively enclosed enclaves of privilege. The effects of this are twofold. Charles Murray’s recent book “Coming Apart” outlines how the increasing economic and cultural gap between the working class and the educated elite has devastated those working-class communities in a way that could be ameliorated if the two groups interacted more, or even lived together.

Secondly, the incestuous internal culture of the educated elite has often succeeded in encouraging immaturity in the elites, especially among men. As educated elites don’t return home but instead go to various cities to work and live together, they try to take college life with them, perpetuating a life of carefree partying a dorm in the heart of the city. The author Kay Hymowitz put it thusly: “Not so long ago, the average mid-20-something had achieved most of adulthood’s milestones high school degree, financial independence, marriage and children. These days, he lingers happily in a new hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance … With them, adulthood looks as though it’s receding.”

There are other effects of these cultural trends. The poet-philosopher Wendell Berry notes that the voyage away from home has always been a central archetype of human literature and life. The man or woman coming of age needs to leave home to have adventures and experiences, escape the authority of his or her parents and acquire an education of sorts. Yet, until relatively recently, the voyage almost always ended in a return home and a reintegration into responsible life. By cutting off this “return” phase, our culture makes impossible the rapprochement between the parent and the now grown-up child.

This undoubtedly has an impact on our generation’s maturity level, but the effects of this trend don’t stop there. Because children so rarely return home these days, the issue of elderly and dying parents becomes deeply acute. What do you do when you live half a country away from your aging parents? In the past, you would take them into your house to live with you when their strength or mental awareness faded, repaying the debt for their raising you in their home before your strength and mental awareness developed. Today, because of the distances between us and our families, that is much harder to do. Instead, we see the proliferation of nursing homes, which, whatever their benefits, are no substitute for a home.

Instead of talking only about moving on from our parents’ and grandparents’ lives to a “better life,” we should consider stretching our cultural scripts so that they talk also about moving back and making, to improve a phrase, our hometown troubles our troubles.