Military Performance in Colombian Consolidation

first_imgBy Dialogo August 27, 2010 In 2007, the Armed Forces General Command designated the subregion of the Montes de María made up of El Carmen de Bolívar, María la Baja, San Juan Nepomuceno, San Jacinto, Zambrano, Córdoba, El Guamo, Ovejas, and Coloso, among other municipalities in the departments of Bolívar and Sucre, as one of the strategic areas to be consolidated. Consolidation would be achieved by the military defeat of Squads 35 and 37 of the narco-terrorist organization (NTO) the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the JAIME BATEMAN CAYÓN Squad of the NTO the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the NTO the People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP). The Command assigned the National Army’s Decisive Action Joint Force (FUCAD) and units of the National Navy to this task, including the 1st Marine Brigade and the Caribbean Regional Intelligence Unit. By May 2008, a 90% decrease in the armed structures of FARC Squads 35 and 37, a 95% reduction in the armed structure of the ELN, and the total demobilization of the ERP were achieved. This took place specifically in the area of North and South Aguacateras and North and South Aromeras, sectors of the FARC’s strategic rearguard. The consolidation came to an end in May 2008 with FUCAD’s departure from the jurisdiction. The National Navy continued the military effort from that time forward, achieving one year later the total neutralization of the armed structures of FARC Squads 35 and 37, as well as of the ELN’s JAIME BATEMAN CAYON Squad. The neutralization of the armed structures of the FARC and the ELN left their militias leaderless, isolated, and without resources, incapable of carrying out coordinated actions, from the military or political point of view, and without the capacity to carry out criminal intelligence or mass organizing work among the inhabitants of the various communities. Once the threat to the civilian population was eliminated, the fundamental objective established by President Álvaro Uribe in his Democratic Security Policy was fulfilled: “The recovery of state control over the greater part of the national territory, particularly that territory affected by the activity of illegal armed groups and drug traffickers.” As a direct consequence of the action of government forces, the subregion of the Montes de María became one of the first areas of the country free from the threat of illegal armed groups. Citizens’ rights and liberties were protected, and they returned to the path of economic and social development without fear. In accordance with the Democratic Security Consolidation Policy (PCSD), “our [Colombia’s] task now is to consolidate that control, something that demands, in addition to the presence of government forces, the arrival of the state in all its forms, through its various entities and agencies. It is a matter of guaranteeing the return of institutionality.” In the economic arena, this consolidation produced steep growth in the leading agricultural sector, such as a significant increase in avocado production. “So far this season in the region as a whole, there have been 10.5 billion pesos in sales,” the president of the regional Avocado Producers Association, Senen Arrieta, told the daily El Universal. As far as the region’s governability is concerned, the different agencies that guarantee the rule of law, like the agencies that administer justice, the investigative agencies of the attorney-general’s office (Technical Investigative Corps), and the monitoring agencies, such as the inspector-general’s office, carried out their functions without pressures of any kind from groups operating outside the law. The remaining terrorist threat in the Montes de María area, consisting of diminished, isolated militia cells without resources, became the focus of military operations in the region. These clandestine militia organizations dress in civilian clothes and use handguns that they hide among their clothes, seeking to confuse the authorities and mingling with the civilian population. This complicates the decision to consider them enemy combatants, since international law lacks clear definitions. Article 1 of the Hague Convention refers to militias and volunteer corps that fulfill four conditions: 1.- To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; 2.- To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance; 3.- To carry arms openly; and 4.- To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. Of these four conditions, it is clear that the militias of the narco-terrorist organizations that engage in criminal activity in Colombia do not wear distinctive emblems that identify them as such, do not carry arms openly or wear military uniforms, and have insistently refused to adopt and respect the laws and customs of war. For this reason, they rely permanently on trying to mingle with the population, carrying out attacks against civilians they consider close to government forces, and using antipersonnel mines, as well as not carrying out continuous combat operations, which makes it difficult to determine whether military or police operations should be conducted in order to dismantle these structures. In 2009, an attempt was made to resolve this question with the issuance of the Operational Law Manual, which established that in regions like the Montes de María, where the armed threat has been defeated but military operations are still underway, these operations should be aimed at maintaining security and should be conducted in accordance with human-rights principles. With the purpose of preserving human rights, the aim is to detain and imprison the militia members by strengthening military intelligence, infiltrating their structures, and doing interinstitutional work to enable the participation of investigative agencies that can help to identify, individualize, bring legal charges against, and apprehend the terrorists. Now that government forces have territorial control, the different state agencies administer justice and can pursue investigations without any coercion. What, then, will be the operational role of a battalion commander in preventing the resurgence of threats in the consolidation phase? As established in the PCSD, “police efforts and, in certain cases, military efforts will be made selectively in order to guarantee the preservation of these conditions.” The chief effort will be made by the National Police, and the supporting effort will be the responsibility of the armed forces, which will exercise proportionate force.last_img read more

Minnesota tactics helped reveal Salmonella source

first_img Smith told the Star Tribune that aside from “Team Diarrhea” and speedy investigators, other factors helped Minnesota officials quickly zero on an outbreak suspect: Toward the end of June, officials from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) first became aware that several patients who had eaten at the same restaurant were sickened by the Salmonella strain blamed for the national outbreak, according to the Star Tribune’s report today. Kirk Smith, supervisor of the MDH Foodborne Disease Unit, told the paper that he called on a specialized MDH group nicknamed “Team Diarrhea” to conduct case-control studies. Team Diarrhea is made up of graduate students from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, the Star Tribune reported. See also: Jul 24 CDC Salmonella update Centralization of investigation activities at the state level rather than county or local levels Meanwhile, the CDC said today that the outbreak has increased to 1,284 patients from 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, who were sickened by the relatively rare Salmonella enterica Saintpaul strain. The latest reported onset date is Jul 6. At least 239 patients were hospitalized, and officials said two deaths were possibly linked to the outbreak. By Jul 3, Ben Miller, trace-back coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, had completed an investigation that identified suppliers, distributors, and farms that were the source of the jalapenos served at the restaurant where the Minnesota patients had eaten, according to the Star Tribune. Jul 24, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – New details emerged today about breaks in the Salmonella investigation that led to the identification of the outbreak strain in a jalapeno pepper, as the number of cases in the nationwide outbreak rose to 1,284. Willingness to pursue the trace-back trail beyond state borders The availability of a sophisticated laboratory The CDC said investigators have focused on three large clusters, one of which appears to be in Minnesota, according to reports today from the Associated Press (AP) and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In the AP report, David Acheson, MD, the FDA’s associate commissioner for foods, declined to call Minnesota’s findings the “key cluster,” but said the data helped federal officials narrow the investigation. Federal officials have not ruled out tomatoes as a possible source of some of the illnesses, particularly those that occurred earlier in the outbreak, which continues and has now gone on for more than 2 months. However, in mid July they started to look more closely at other possible sources, including hot peppers, and on Jul 21—based on finding the positive sample—they advised consumers to avoid eating raw jalapeno peppers and products that contain them. In past updates, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said the emergence of case clusters—groups of patients who had the same food exposure—led its investigators to place jalapeno peppers on a list of produce items that might have played a role in the outbreak. Then on Jul 21, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that case-cluster findings led to the discovery of a jalapeno sample from a McAllen, Tex., distributor that matched the outbreak strain. In other developments, Congress has scheduled at least two hearings to explore produce contamination issues and learn more about the difficulties federal officials have encountered during the outbreak investigation. Smith told the AP, “This is not like a sprig of parsley on the edge of your plate. This was sprinkled directly on almost every entrée.” He said many of the restaurant patrons who were interviewed didn’t notice the jalapenos, but did mention tomatoes. “Recall, that’s what makes it tricky. That’s why I wonder about all those initial cases [in other states],” he said. An MDH epidemiologist used credit card receipts from the unnamed restaurant to determine what the people who didn’t get sick had eaten and analyzed the ingredients the restaurant used, according to the AP report. The investigation found that the manager had already switched tomato suppliers based on the FDA’s Salmonella advisory, which shifted suspicion to a garnish made of diced jalapenos and red peppers, the AP report said. On Jul 30 at 1:30 pm EST the House Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture will explore the legal and technical capacities to do full trace-backs on fresh produce. The next day at 10 am the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on lessons learned from the Salmonella outbreak and its consequences for public health. Both hearings will be available on live Web videocasts.last_img read more

Greed at center of train storage issue

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Why would Iowa Pacific Holdings put antiquated rail cars in the Adirondack Park? It’s simple: Greed. They can store roughly 1,760 cars every 20 miles. Companies pay $4 a day per car. That’s $2,569,600 per year for every 20 miles. At that price, Iowa Pacific will let them sit and rot. They’re in no hurry to move them.When they first acquired the line, Iowa Pacific Holdings said it wanted to sell the “railings” from the National Lead mine in Tahawus. However, Plan B was much more profitable.The headwaters of the Hudson River run parallel to the rail spur. The river then flows east to North Hudson at Exit 29 of the Northway. You may remember the governor bragging of creating a new facility there. But like the city of Hoosick Falls, North Hudson may require additional precautions for its drinking water.While balancing the need for jobs and maintaining the pristine beauty of the Adirondacks, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency face their biggest challenge — Wall Street ethics in the Adirondacks. The railroad baron faces Sheriff Cuomo in Frontier Town. It’s high noon.George HebertCohoesMore from The Daily Gazette:Albany County warns of COVID increaseEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Graya brothers drop hammer on swanky new Brisbane home

first_imgThis house at 23 Mahara St, Bardon, is the latest creation by Graya Construction. Pic supplied. The wine cellar at 23 Mahara St, Bardon. Picture supplied by Graya Construction.The property has been listed for sale by negotiation through Ben Wakely and Jason Cherrett of Urban Property Agents Paddington.It will be open for its first inspection on Saturday, October 14 at 11.15am. This house at 23 Mahara St, Bardon, is the latest offering from Graya Construction. Picture supplied.THE Brisbane brothers behind the homes of local stars including Broncos’ skipper Darius Boyd, Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper and Channel 9’s Alison Ariotti have just put the hammer down on their latest creation. Located in Bardon, the pair’s newest project ‘Mahara’ is a five-bedroom, three-bathroom high end home designed by architect Tim Stewart on . The indoor/outdoor living space at 23 Mahara St, Bardon. Picture supplied by Graya Construction. Qld leads demand for solar power Hamptons style home a hit Designer’s apartment for sale center_img Brothers Rob and Andrew Gray from Graya Construction. Picture supplied by Graya Construction.Graya Construction brothers Rob and Andrew Gray are known for their ability to transform hoarder hovels and steep blocks of land into dream homes.The experienced property flippers bought the site at 23 Mahara Street for $940,000 in September 2016 and set about replacing the old house with a new masterpiece.“We’ve been buying and selling in the Paddington/Bardon area for a few years now and the location of this site really stood out for us,” Rob Gray said. “It’s in one of the nicest pockets in Bardon.” GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investorless than 1 hour agoThe kitchen at 23 Mahara St, Bardon. Picture supplied by Graya Construction.The house has been constructed using the brothers’ signature quality materials, including concrete, timber, glass and Cemental silver brickwork.Details such as black interior doors with bespoke oak timber knobs, black ceiling fans. feature pendant lights and voids are strong but subtle design concepts.“We just wanted a large, luxury family home,” Mr Gray said, knowing that Rainworth State School was just down the road.But he said the brothers don’t want to be branded by a particular style.“I think a lot of people fall into the trap of having a particular style,” Mr Gray said.“We want to portray ourselves as using different architects and designers and always want to be ahead of the times.”last_img read more

Ian Bassett: Abortion reformers need to explain why it should not be a crime

first_imgNZ Herald 28 June 2018Family First Comment: And this is the key question…“The Minister of Justice Andrew Little has stated that the Government wants the abortion law to be treated “as a health issue”. Various recent media articles repeat the theme that “abortion should be taken out of the Crimes Act”, without attempting to address the critical question for society, which is if and when and why the taking of human life should be permitted…. Is that protection to be swept away in the present context without any reasoned debate?”Excellent question. www.ChooseLife.nzDavid Cormack in his article, “Why Simon Bridges is wrong about changing abortion law”, refers to Prime Minister Jacinda Arden as saying she wants abortion taken out of the Crimes Act.Cormack’s article fails to provide coherent reasons why abortion should be taken out of the Crimes Act, other than it “… causes people to lie to get an abortion”. reason s182 of the Crimes Act provides that killing an unborn child is a serious crime and why s183 provides that procuring an abortion is also a crime is that both offences involve the taking of human life. That is why both offences are in the Crimes Act in the first place.S187A of the Crimes Act provides however that procuring an abortion (s183) can be lawful in certain medical circumstances if the pregnancy is less than 20 weeks and in for stricter medical circumstances if the pregnancy is more than 20 weeks. Two medical consultants are necessary to certify whether such medical circumstances exist before an abortion can be rendered lawful.The Minister of Justice Andrew Little has stated that the Government wants the abortion law to be treated “as a health issue”. Various recent media articles repeat the theme that “abortion should be taken out of the Crimes Act”, without attempting to address the critical question for society, which is if and when and why the taking of human life should be permitted.The English common law, on which New Zealand law is based, has for nearly 1000 years protected human life in all its forms, with only limited exceptions such as for self-defence. In 1977 an exception was made in New Zealand to permit abortions if certified by two medical consultants. Is that protection to be swept away in the present context without any reasoned debate?Parliamentary sovereignty means that Parliament can legislate if it chooses to remove the statutory protections of human life in a particular context.Lord Hoffman in the England’s highest court, the House of Lords, in 2000 in R v Secretary of State Ex parte Simms famously stated however: “…the principle of legality means that Parliament must squarely confront what it is doing and accept the political cost. Fundamental rights cannot be overridden by general or ambiguous words. This is because there is too great a risk that the full implications of their unqualified meaning may have passed unnoticed in the democratic process”.There needs to be a reasoned debate about Prime Minister Arden’s proposal, failing which the gravity of the proposed law change may pass unnoticed in the democratic process.Proponents of the proposed law change ought to provide coherent reasons and justify why they say the statutory protections of human life should be removed in this context. up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Love of God, love of neighbour

first_img Tweet FaithLifestyleLocalNews Love of God, love of neighbour by: – October 22, 2011 Sharing is caring! 206 Views   no discussions Sharecenter_img Image via: gracegravy.blogspot.comLove of God and love of neighbour are commandments established in our minds as a summary of Christian life. Jesus articulated it on the occasion when he was challenged by the Pharisees and Sadducees. The nature of the challenge tells us something of the significance of the summary.Rabbis counted roughly 613 distinct commandments in the law, 248 positive and 365 negative. What the challenge to Jesus amounted to was: “Let’s see how good you are. Which of these 6oo odd commandments is the most important.” That’s the background to Jesus’ choice, and it underlines not only the overriding importance of these two commandments (and not others), but also (what Jesus calls) their “resemblance.”Both commandments speak of the priority of love. Love, of course, is a slipepry word, capable of meaning whatever one wants. We must give the notion some clarity and body. To love is to surrender oneself to, to put one’s complete trust in, to choose to please. In loving God were are to love like this, and with all our hearts, minds, and souls. One way of coming afresh at this priority is to ask oneself from the other end, so to speak, what is it that I surrender myself to with my all, and then ask: is this the God that Jesus was speaking of?Once we get the God matter settled, we are free to love our neighbour, again with our all. That is the point of the “resemblance.” Our neighbor doesn’t get leftovers.If I love God, I must also love like God, and that is why I love my neigbhor. The New Testament underlines this connection as inseparable. The first letter of St. John tells us, “If anyone says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 Jn 4:20-21).” Note also the order in which St. John puts the matter. It is in loving my visible neighbour that I love the invisible God. Why is this? It is because the neighbour is made “in the image of God.” St. Matthew underlines this further in his Last Judgment scene (chapter 25), where the neighbour in need turns out to be in fact the Lord incognito. “Whatever you did to the least of these…you did to me.”Jesus also did something further by elevating the love of neighbour in the way he did. For the Israelites of the Old Testament as for people of his day generally, love of neighbour meant love of one’s kin, not love of the stranger. This is why when he was asked “and who is my neighbour?” Jesus responded with a parable that began “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” Note – just “a certain man.” Nothing is said of his nationality, culture, height, age, or occupation. Just “a certain man,” that is, “any” man. In other words, Everyman.What love of neighbour here also implies is that I must love the neighbour I make myself a neighbour to. In other words, love of neighbour is not simply contingent upon geography – the person “next to me.” It involves a choice, a reaching out on my part, an active orientation – to love. It’s something the Samaritan chose to do.Love of neighbour thus has, on the one hand, a practical, concrete aspect. As St. James wrote: “If a brother or sister is in need of clothes or food, and one of you says ‘Go in peace; keep yourself warm and well fed,’ without attending to their material needs, what good is that?” (James: 2: 15). And secondly, a more total aspect in terms of how I look at and relate to the other. The best word for this outlook, I think, is respect. It’s a disposition that has nothing to do with particulars of the person, or whether or not I like them. What matters is how I see them, and just what I see when I do.By: Father Henry Charles PhD Share Sharelast_img read more

Hot Head Burritos opens in Batesville tomorrow

first_imgBatesville, IN—Hot Head Burritos is proud to announce a grand opening event for it’s newest restaurant on Tuesday, June 2 at 10:30 am in Batesville.  This location at 1029 State Road 229 in Batesville will be the third Hot Head Burrito location to open in the state of Indiana.  The location will seat 40-50 people.  “We are thrilled to be opening on June 2nd, and are offering the people of Batesville a new dining option!”  Says Jeff Yohler, co-owner and operator for the Batesville location. “The flavorful menu offerings are sure to leave the customer with an experience to remember!” This location is currently hiring for staff members.  To apply for a job, click here and click “Batesville” on the drop down link.last_img read more

Warnock shown the door by QPR

first_imgAfter a happy start, Fernandes lost faith in Warnock.“Neil has acted with honesty, professionalism and integrity throughout his time at the club, and I would personally like to thank him for his significant contribution to QPR over the last 22 months.“I genuinely wish him all the very best for the future and he will always be welcome back at Loftus Road.”Vice-chairman Amit Bhatia added: “It is with a very heavy heart that we make this announcement.“I played a key role in bringing Neil to Loftus Road and consider him to be a close personal friend and a great professional.“I would like to place on the record my thanks to him for transforming us from a Championship club to a Premier League club. We have gained enormously from Neil’s wisdom, experience and leadership.“He has always performed his managerial duties to the very highest of standards. I wish Neil every success going forward and he will always be welcome at QPR.“I now look forward to the future and the rest of the season as we work towards stabilising our position in the Premier League.”Warnock, who suffered relegation from the top flight with Notts County and Sheffield United, was desperate for another crack at Premier League management before retiring.But poor results weakened his position ahead of the all-important transfer window and gave the board misgivings about allowing him to spend more cash this month.“Obviously I’m very disappointed, but having achieved so much, I leave the club with a great sense of pride,” said Warnock.“I have enjoyed my time here more than anywhere else and the QPR fans have been brilliant with me – they deserve success.“My biggest regret is that the takeover didn’t happen earlier, because that would have given me the opportunity to bring in the targets I’d pinpointed all last summer and probably given us a better chance to succeed in the Premier League.”He added: “The board at QPR are hugely ambitious and I wish them every success for the future.“I’ve been involved in the game a long time and I will be spending the immediate future with my family and friends before deciding my next career move.”Feature: The final hoursFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook Neil Warnock has been sacked as QPR manager. A replacement is likely to be installed before next weekend’s match against Newcastle, with former Fulham and Manchester City boss Mark Hughes the frontrunner for the job.Warnock, who took over in March 2010 and led Rangers to promotion last season, has been shown the door after a run of nine matches without a win.AdChoices广告His assistant Mick Jones and first-team coach Keith Curle have also left Rangers, who are currently fourth from bottom of the Premier League.“This decision has been made in the best interests of the club and I can assure everyone that this is not a decision that was made lightly,” QPR chairman Tony Fernandes said in a statement.“Sadly, our recent run of poor form has seen us slip alarmingly down the table and the board felt it was the right time to make a change.last_img read more

April’s Madness almost here

first_imgThe term “March Madness” has been around for decades. For those of you who have been living under a rock your entire lives and haven’t heard the phrase, it relates to the men’s (and women’s) NCAA college basketball tournament, where millions of money-hungry Americans clutch that invaluable paper bracket while cursing out the backup point guard from Southern Methodist Community College for missing that layup to beat Southeast Oklahoma State in overtime. After the first weekend, however, most people’s brackets have been put through the household paper shredder when your national champion lost to a No. 15 seed by thirty. But, hey, they played tough, right?March Madness can also be related to a college student’s midterm exams, which usually fall right before spring break. Instead of thinking about getting their tan on, students are forced to get their study on, which is a far cry from drinking a piña colada in paradise.Despite basketball, March Madness in Wisconsin can also accurately portray the weather and the emergence of spring. After months of snow, ice and chilling wind, the snow has started to melt, the ice has evaporated and the wind begins to get a little warmer. However, as the old saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather in Wisconsin, wait five minutes.”Now, as March comes to its conclusion, I begin to ponder these two things: Is it still going to snow? And, more importantly, I can’t remember the last time I played a round of golf. Playing golf in the crisp morning air is one of the best recreational and healthiest activities around. For most golfers, the season ended in early November, which means those new Titleist clubs with the super flex shafts have been collecting dust in the basement for more than four months. Every time it seems like you can rush out and practice chipping in the front yard, the Wisconsin weather gods quickly dump three feet of snow and ice in your yard, telling you that it’s time to go back to your studies because it’s not time to lace up those leather golf shoes just yet.Sure, there are other sporting events to pass the time. The Wisconsin softball team overcame a six-run deficit in the bottom of the sixth inning to shock Loyola Tuesday, and the women’s basketball team advanced to the WNIT Final Four for the first time in seven years. But since you can’t steal second base like Sam Polito, and Rae Lin D’Alie can break your ankles with a sly crossover, you’re forced to watch from the sidelines. With golf, you can go out there and play like Tiger Woods and win a major championship. But for most of us, scoring a Jean Van de Velde-like triple bogey is about the best you can hope for.Along with the golfers, the winter is just as harsh on the caddies. For most caddies, myself included, caddying is the major means of income over the year. Without golf, we slowly watch our bank accounts whittle away while our debts increase. I don’t know about the caddies living the dream in the Evans Scholar house, but I have (in order of importance) Wisconsin football tickets, poker losses and, oh yeah, tuition fees to pay for. You might say, ‘Well Benjamin, why don’t you get another job over the winter to pay your bills?’ My response can be simply put as, “If you take my finite mathematics exam, I’ll be happy to search for employment opportunities to pay the bills.”Over the winter months, diehard golfers try to maintain focus on work and business, but often find themselves daydreaming about just how much fun this season is going to be compared to last. It’s a fact, and it’s the true meaning of March Madness.Why do we do it, putting ourselves through the madness over a simple game? The simple conclusion is that golf is the ultimate sport for all ages and sexes (the debate on whether golf is a sport or not will be left for another time). Golf is the type of game that takes very little skill, but good weather to thoroughly enjoy. With April comes that glimmer of hope that the crummy weather should be gone for good and that golf season can begin. It’s just a matter of time until the links are crowded once again, and that lovely beverage cart girl makes her way around to quench my Gatorade thirst for another year. Name one other sport that has all that. After five months of miserable weather, April Madness can finally erupt, as golfers can no longer be contained inside as they dive deep into their closets, looking for their plaid pants and polo shirts. As for me, I think it’s almost that time to strap on the caddie vest for another year, because, lets be honest, I really need the money.Spring is in the air, folks. Let the April Madness — the real month of insanity — finally begin.Benjamin is a senior majoring in Journalism and Bracketology, although he’s choosing to take advantage of the weather and hit the links instead of the Final Four. If you want to book a tee time or share your favorite golf course, email him at read more

Badgers carry momentum to Chicago

first_imgIn what is a very young season, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team has played in a way best compared to a passage from Ben Barry in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: “They’ve been up, they’ve been down, they’ve been here, they’ve been there, they’ve been a frickin’ one team circus.”While Matthew McConaughey probably knows little about Wisconsin soccer, the quote he yells to Kate Hudson fits the Badgers season like no other line could.The Badgers started the season with a remarkable victory on the road at Memphis, scoring four goals in the final 14 minutes to top the Tigers by a single goal. They then proceeded to go 0-2-1 in their next three games, including a 3-1 loss to Florida International in front of a vocal McClimon Complex crowd in their home opener. But that weekend wasn’t over, and Wisconsin rallied its spirits to a 1-1 draw against No. 13 Georgetown.And all of this in just five games. Time is on the side of the Badgers. With plenty of season remaining, a strong showing this weekend at the Illinois-Chicago Soccer Classic would do wonders in jumpstarting their momentum.Wisconsin will start the weekend Friday night with a matchup against the Western Illinois Leatherbacks – a team coming off a 3-0 drubbing to No. 20 Marquette. The Leathernecks (2-3) own victories over DePaul and Valparaiso, however, and will be no pushover for the Badgers.Western Illinois is no stranger to Wisconsin, as Friday’s match is its fifth meeting with the Badgers in seven years. The past four bouts between these two teams have all ended with 1-0 scores, with the Badgers triumphing in three of the four affairs.Their shared history is one thing head coach John Trask indicates as a reason for their Friday game to be a battle.“Western Illinois is a well-coached team, with Doc [Eric] Johnson and his staff,” Trask said. “We’ve had some great battles with them over the last couple years. We expect they are going to come out firing and play well above whatever their record may be.”Regardless of how well the Leathernecks play, the Badgers are more concerned with how they will perform. After the disappointing home-opening loss to FIU, Trask elected to use a four-back defensive strategy, and it worked against the nationally-ranked Hoyas.Wisconsin took control with an early goal and relinquished just one in its double overtime effort. The Badgers now plan to use that showing against the Hoyas as momentum heading into the weekend and toward the impending Big Ten schedule.“Our game against Georgetown – obviously it wasn’t a win – but in a large sense, it was a success for us,” freshman goalkeeper Chase Rau said. “It made us realize the true potential we have as a team.”A win Friday will keep the momentum going into Sunday’s game against IUPUI. Their official name – Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis – may seem lengthy, but their season likely has felt even longer.Thus far, the Jaguars are just 2-5 and are eager to add to their win column. With a newly-defined Badger defense gaining speed, the Sunday match may be a defensive battle.Last weekend, IUPUI shut out Northern Kentucky 1-0 behind seven saves from freshman goaltender Eduardo Cortes. Cortes was later named Defensive Player of the Week for the Summit League. If Cortes is on his game, the sometimes-stagnant Badger offense may meet its match.However, Cortes himself may meet his own match standing in the opposite goal. In his first semester on campus, Rau has seized the starting goalie position and run away with it. Although the victories have not been turning his way, Rau is right on pace with his coach’s expectations.“He’s been pretty solid for us,” Trask noted. “We think a lot of the issues have been in front of him.”With an additional defender on the field, the Badgers’ defense should be in its most bolstered state this weekend, making things easier on the young goalie. It should also help draw attention away from a group that has already surrendered 11 goals.Although two opponents linger on the weekend schedule, Wisconsin is focusing on the things it needs to do to get ready for its conference schedule, which begins next Friday against Penn State. The short list includes staying motivated and playing solid defense.“We’re definitely going in more worried about ourselves [than our opponents],” sophomore defender AJ Cochran said. “We are going to play the game that we know how to play, play with confidence and hopefully things will just fall into place from there.”Without a headliner opponent like Georgetown in the UIC tournament, the Badgers’ confidence is on the rise. For players, returning to Madison with any more losses seems out of the question.“I definitely think the expectation is to go 2-0,” Cochran said. “We’re going to go into both games well-prepared and well- coached. … If we don’t come out 2-0, it will probably be a little bit of a disappointment.”last_img read more