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NEWS
Punk rock meets politics in the heart of Middle America
There was a time when punk rock was synonymous with anti-social behavior: Smashed guitars, trashed hotel rooms, behavior that would be offensive even on today's reality TV shows. A punk rock icon whose stage name was Sid Vicious allegedly killed his girlfriend in a ratty New York hotel, then died of a heroin overdose.



Today, punk rockers are talking politics in Des Moines, Iowa, which is about as deep in Middle America as you can get, as the state's Jan. 19 Democratic presidential caucuses approach.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Introducing the first-ever American Latino action hero
Back in the 1980s, Rider McDowell wrote a novel that featured a tough undercover cop named Willy Diaz who used his wits instead of violence to fight evil and corruption in New York City. St. Martin's Press published "The Mercy Man" in 1987, and the thriller sold well.

Awesome 'Apprentice' boosts NBC in 'Idol' times
It's about time. "Survivor" alluded to it. "The Mole" and "The Bachelor" were loosely based upon it. But no show before "The Apprentice" has so openly addressed the competitive, business-driven aspect of human nature in such a transparent manner.

OPINIONS
Spirit's success boosts U.S. space program but we need humans for real exploration
Following a year of tragedy and disappointment, the success of the Spirit robotic spacecraft on Mars is a crucial confidence-builder for the U.S. space program. For most of society, this isn't enough. We want to go. Manned space exploration satisfies a basic human drive to engage in exploration in a way no other activity does in today's world.

SPECIAL REPORTS
Student athletes gravitate toward similar degrees
When the football season begins each fall, Arizona State University's media guide proudly touts that year's athletes. On glossy paper, with color photos, the athletes are heralded for their accomplishments on and off the field. It's easy to find players' sizes, weights, heights, how many touchdowns they scored last season -- even their favorite movies.

University relies more on temporary, non-tenured faculty
The work and pay just don't match up. When Karen Connor went from a teaching assistant to a faculty associate at Arizona State University this fall, she was pleased: She was no longer at the bottom rung of the academic ladder. But then she looked at the pay difference and realized she would be earning exactly $11.50 more a week.

Student fees contribute to rising tuition costs
The cost of attending Arizona State University is likely to jump 25 percent over the next three years. Less than a year after the largest tuition increase in more than seven decades, university officials are considering raising tuition again. At the same time, students may face a plethora of new fees for everything from the student union and recreation center to the student health center and college programs.

The eye of Ra and the Mexican Flag
It's November and too warm to feel like winter. Christmas lights blink and flash along the middle-class Tempe neighborhood. Plastic reindeer prance on brownish-gray rock lawns. At the end of the almost deserted street, intense green lights outline a one-story home.

WEB EXTRA
On the Web: Space invaders and plastic crates
I've written about NASA's Web site in this space before, and I've compared Martha Stewart to Mothra. So writing an article based loosely upon outer space seems to be a fitting tribute to the recent landing on Mars.

SPORTS
Dennis Green breathes new life into Cardinals
It was much of the same thing - a new coach being introduced to the Arizona media, with many of the same old promises. But there was a strange buzz after Friday's press conference in Tempe in which the Cardinals introduced their sixth head coach since pitching their red tent in the Valley 15 years ago.

Hoops: Devils stumble into Pac-10 play
After an appalling blowout loss to Arizona, the Sun Devils tried to right the wrong as the Northern California teams traveled to Tempe. While one of the results was expected, the other proved that the Sun Devils still have a long way to go before anyone even utters the words "March Madness" around campus.

Opinion: Observations of a winter break gone by
While many ASU students head across the country to be home for the holidays, so of us that live here the entire year are have little traveling to do. Here is one sports fan's thoughts of everything that has happened over the break: For Phoenix Suns' fans (including yours truly): many of us are still scratching our heads over the recent trade of Stephon Marbury.

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