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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Monday Morning Quarterbacking

    The Wildcat comments on the weekend’s news

    Tap-happy telecoms still on the line

    Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to drop immunity provisions for telecommunications companies from a bill updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, laws defining and limiting the scope of government eavesdropping on American citizens. The change might sound like a trivial snore, but it’s an important issue. There’s clear evidence that telecommunications companies were complicit in widespread, voluntary surveillance of the communications of American citizens – and giving them immunity from lawsuits or investigations would ensure that the full scope of their illegal activity would remain unknown. Dropping the immunity provision is an important step in keeping the companies accountable – so it’s too bad President Bush is likely to veto the bill when it finally emerges from Congress’ maw.

    New technology revives stem cell debate

    The ethics of embryonic stem cell research comprise a unique hang-up for American science. Because stem cells – flexible biological blocks that can grow to become any type of cell in the human body – are most easily extracted from cloned or discarded human embryos, research into the promising medical techniques involving stem cells has always been conflated with the polarized debate over abortion. But thanks to new technology developed in Japan, scientists may be able to sidestep the ethical debate over stem cells altogether. Saturday, Ian Wilmut, the British researcher most famous for cloning Dolly the sheep in 1997, said he’ll abandon stem cells from human embryos in favor of a method that creates stem cells from adult skin cells. American research has been hobbled by the difficult discussion of stem cell ethics. Hopefully, technological alternatives will finally eliminate it.

    Arizona’s budget blues continue

    The state’s budget deficit just keeps getting bigger. Friday, updated estimates showed another $200 million shortfall in Arizona’s coffers, thanks to a sluggish Arizona economy and extra citizens applying for state programs. Meanwhile, a deadline is looming – Arizona is constitutionally required to balance the bleeding budget by June. There are a few options to put Arizona back in black, but none too pleasant. The state could suspend $600 million in tax cuts from last year, but the idea is opposed by both the legislature and the governor. Alternatively, the state could tap into Arizona’s “”rainy-day fund,”” which contains about $700 million in emergency cash for budget crises. No matter what, it looks like Arizona’s financial woes won’t be easing up any time soon – and that’s bad news for public universities.

    Don’t say the T-word!

    Friday, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its last report on the dangers of global warming – the conclusion of its Nobel Peace Prize-winning effort to provide a foundation for global climate treaty talks. At a Saturday forum sponsored by a coalition of environmental groups, Democratic presidential hopefuls offered a glimpse of their own hopes for an environment-friendly future. Hillary Clinton wants a cap-and-trade emissions scheme and tighter fuel economy standards. John Edwards wants a $13 billion alternative-energy fund, in addition to an emissions-credit system. And the optimistic Dennis Kucinich hopes the U.S. will finally sign the Kyoto Protocol. Unfortunately, no one’s talking about the best solution: a simple, efficient carbon tax. It’s time to break the political tax taboo and seriously consider the easy and elegant idea of carbon taxing.

    OPINIONS BOARD: Editorials are determined by the Wildcat Opinions Board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Sarah Keeler and Connor Mendenhall.

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