GOP convention creates mixed emotions between convention guest

Photo by: Ellis Cross, News Editor for the Griffon News
[caption id="attachment_10956" align="alignright" width="240"]Photo by: Ellis Cross, News Editor for the Griffon News Delegates and guest on the Republican National Convention floor. Photo by. Ellis Cross, News Editor for the Griffon News[/caption]   Republican National Convention began this morning with excitement since yesterdays events were canceled due to the tropical storms.
Ellis Cross, News Editor for the Griffon News is in Tampa, Florida this week covering the Republican National Convention. He spent much of today shooting photos, videos, and speaking to numerous guest about the the Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Cross said  the room is filled with supporters for Mitt Romney, but he has also heard chanting from others for a different candidate. Cross said there are hundreds who were chanting for Ron Paul but they are very outnumbered. He said the convention staff is keeping delegates separated from each other. "Those supporting Ron Paul sometimes leave their seats to go chant together," Cross said. " It is pathetic now but promises to be more of a problem later if they are allowed to over shout the speakers." The RNC’s theme for the theme for the evening is “We built this”. The slogan “We built this” comes from the Romney campaign, and is meant for small business owners. “Many speakers have put this in their speech,” Cross said. “But even more are saying the phrase “We can do better.” Cross said the convention hall is absolutely electrified with dancing, talking, hugging, and just good fellowship among like minded people. He said all of which have one thing in common and that is to nominate their parties candidate for President and Vice President and where the party stands on certain issues. “Everyone in this room, hall, and  parking lot are here to elect Mitt Romney,” Cross said. Day one of the convention will soon come to a close in Tampa, Florida. For more coverage of the National Republican Convention from Ellis Cross follow his blog at or keep checking on the Griffon News for daily stories on the coverage.

Republican National Convention hits a speed bump

The Republican National Convention is off to a good start with a few minor obstacles. News Editor Ellis Cross has just arrived in Tampa, Fla., where the RNC is to be held. He said that activities start for him today at noon. Cross stated in his blog that yesterday at 7:38 p.m. eastern, the Chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus emailed delegates and other “Interested Parties” informing them that the convention will “convene on Monday August 27 and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 28. He said the email stated that the RNC’s first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the RNC and citizens of the Tampa Bay area. “The RNC is working closely with state, local and federal officials, as well as the Secret Service, to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and preserve Florida’s emergency management resources,” Cross said. “They are expecting participants to experience difficulties due to sustained wind and rain.” Cross said that the events Sunday, August 26, are still on schedule and will proceed.  He said that the welcome event hosted by the Tampa Bay Host Committee at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., is going as planned. The site states that the convention staff is working around the clock to find alternate housing for delegates in storm-impacted areas. “Those plans for replacement housing are expected tomorrow morning Sunday the 26,” Cross said. The convention and coverage from Cross will start tomorrow and will continue throughout the convention cycle. He said that he loves every minute of the experience. “The weather is great so far but Monday's RNC has been cancelled as a precaution due to Hurricane Isaac,” Cross said. For more information on updates from Cross’ coverage of the RNC, please follow his blog at or There will be an update from Cross on Monday, Aug. 27. Click Here for coverage from Cross from the NRC

News editor goes to National Republican Convention

[caption id="attachment_10833" align="alignleft" width="158"] Ellis Cross, news editor for the Griffon News and Delegate for the Republican National Convention[/caption] One Missouri Western student will have the opportunity to travel to Tampa, Fla. on August 27 to be part of this year’s Republican National Convention. Ellis Cross, news editor for the Griffon News was elected as alternate delegate by the Missouri Republican State Caucus along with fellow members of the state. Cross said that students need to pay attention to this election because America is at a crossroads. He said the next election will determine if we will have larger government in our lives or if we will begin to get at the debt that comes with it under control. “Students must register to vote and educate themselves on the issues and where each candidate stands,” Cross said. “Then they must vote their own conscience.” The Republican National Convention occurs every four years when a presidential election occurs in our country. This year the likely nominees are presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Cross said that they will be selecting the Republican candidate for president by vote of the delegation. He said they will also be voting on the articles of the Republican Party. “Those are the rules of how the party operates,” Cross said. “There will be many speakers and candidates to talk to and experience.” Cross said he will be blogging at and will be sending videos to the Griffon News website. He said that most of the blogs he will be writing will be about what he’s experiencing and what is happening in Tampa during the Republican National Convention. “My blogs will be loaded with opinion and even some facts,” Cross said. For full coverage on Cross' trip to the Republican National Convention, keep up to date on the Griffon News website at and through Cross’ blog at          

Eggs and Issues

After speaking at the Eggs and Issues event held Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. in Fulkerson Center, retired U.S. diplomat William Armbruster said, “As I looked out on the crowd I saw the minefield.” He was referring to his presentation, “The Middle East- Then and Now,” where he saw members of the Muslim mosque, United States military, veterans, Christian clergy and other guests in the audience who may have had their own opinion. He executed his speech, keeping close to the facts. He knows those facts from serving America in Middle-Eastern U.S. Embassies for over 25 years. For a time, Armbruster was a hostage of Saddam Hussein and could not leave Baghdad. When he was allowed to leave, it was in haste as the embassy group fled to Turkey for refuge. At the time, Armbruster was taking care of his infant daughter alone. He had to send her ahead with another diplomatic family and follow in a 19-hour car ride to Turkey. “We [the U.S.] are in it for the long haul,” Armbruster said. He explained that peace would come eventually. “Changes result in protest in the Middle East; there will be balance between these tribes and countries but history isn’t written yet.” He said that technology has been a great avenue of change, but not necessarily the technology that members of the audience may have expected. The introduction of the Internet, as well as social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have improved communications, but those changes started with satellite television, which brought news from other countries. The introduction of the fax machine was equally important, according to Armbruster. The cell phone also came to areas that didn’t have landline phones yet. Audience member Rony Aboujawde asked a question about the representation of minority groups in the Middle East. He was referring to Christian populations. “Not all Muslims are radicals, the same as not all Christians are non-radical,” Aboujawde said. Armbruster agreed and explained that Middle Eastern leadership groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, recognize the voices of minority groups and are working out a way that all voices will have some degree of power in the future. “It’s not a forgone conclusion that the majority will suppress the minority,” Armbruster said. Armbruster told a story of spoiling thanksgiving turkeys during a time when there was no electricity at the embassy. They buried them, only to have them emerge from the ground in the hot sun, to be buried again. Western student Nicholas Brothers, who wants to be a Middle East specialist someday, referred to the story. “I learned today that I may need to bring a shovel,” Brothers said. Brothers also mentioned the diversity of the nearly record crowd of over 160 attendees to the Eggs and Issues presentation. Armbruster concluded saying “There are voices on all sides that seek peace. Also, there are voices who are best served by continuance of things as they are.”

Speaker talks about experiences in Kosovo

Feelings of euphoria may be what many students who study abroad experience when their opportunities to interact in a different culture arrive. However, after Missouri Western international student Saranda Halili landed in the United States, she quickly became frustrated that most of the Americans she met were unable to pinpoint Kosovo, her native land, on a map. "When I came, I expected Americans to know where Kosovo is since the United States fought a war for us," Halili said. "I was so disappointed!" On Oct. 19 in Blum 219, as part of MWSU's International Lecture Series, Halili spoke to approximately 40 students and community members and outlined Kosovo's history and political issues, making an identification of its geographic location one of her first priorities. An international migration and ethnic relations major at Sweden's Malmo University, Halili began by saying that she and her family fled to Sweden during the tumultuous disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1992. She suggested that the widespread discrimination against Albanians, one of six ethnic groups in Kosovo and the one to which Halili belongs, played a major factor in the decision to leave as well. Although she calls Sweden her home now, Halili has a strong desire to return to Kosovo and use her degree to rectify some of its political problems. "Even though the war is over, there is a lot of tension and conflict in Kosovo," Halili said. "Hopefully, I will go back one day and try to solve it. There is hope." Western student Barry Hersh knows Halili personally and attended the presentation in support of her. He thought her devotion to Kosovo was evident in her speech. "I've had a couple classes with her, and she's very passionate about peace-building in Kosovo," Hersh said. Halili, who came to Western through a foreign exchange program with Malmo University, was asked about the significance of Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 . She said that the people of Kosovo are very grateful to the United States for its hand in their long-awaited liberation, sometimes even viewing Americans as heroes. "It meant so much," Halili said, in reference to the declaration. "That's what they fought for. But now, they're very skeptical because the situation isn't improving." For Kosovo to endure its hardships, Halili believes there's still a need for an international presence and a global awareness. "Our government isn't strong enough," Halili said." There are a lot of issues with corruption. Until we can solve these issues, we need the international community." Contrastingly, Halili doesn't appear to have any needs. When asked about her adjustment as an international student, she said that there haven't been any struggles, because she has friends that have made her feel very welcome. Western counselor Steve Potter introduced Halili and spoke about the importance of the International Lecture Series,  which is sponsored by Western's office of global engagement. "It's really about globalization," Potter said. "It makes us aware of different cultures and ideas. It's important to understand each other. I think if we do, good things will happen."