Mailbag

Homecoming float-judging system unfair

A new and more fair float-judging system should be drafted before next Homecoming. It is unfair that Theta Tau (the engineering fraternity) is allowed to be judged in the same category as the other floats. Having their float judged against the other fraternities and campus clubs is like allowing the U of A men’s basketball team to participate in a middle school basketball tournament. Next year’s Homecoming chairs should work to find an alternative method or system to make the float competition more fair.

James Deeds
fine arts freshman

FGM no grounds for moral relativism

Even the title of Vanessa Valenzuela’s column “”Collision of Cultures”” minimizes, if not dismisses, the atrocity of female genital mutilation, or FGM, as merely a matter of cultural difference. These dismissive implications continue throughout her article and culminate in an explicit refusal to pass judgment on the act itself because to do so would ostensibly be an act of cultural insensitivity when she writes, “”The question of whether or not this practice is wrong is a polarizing topic. It pits culture against culture and is a subject that touches at the very heart of moral relativism.”” The fact is that while FGM is, indeed, a cultural practice, it is not at all akin to a cultural practice such as male circumcision. The male equivalent to FGM would be an amputation of most of the penis up to removal of the whole penis, its soft tissue roots and part of the scrotal skin. Put simply, some cultural practices don’t hurt people; FGM does. Not only is it damaging, it is largely involuntary. Valenzuela dignifies the act as a “”rite of passage,”” but it is a rite typically imposed on girls too young to resist or to even understand what is happening to them – in short, to rationally consent.

Moreover, the article indicates that FGM is often used to control a woman’s sexuality for the sake of controlling promiscuity in marriage, which reduces women to both animal and property status. These factors of inhumane damage, victimization and reduction to something below human undeniably make FGM a violation of human rights. It is imperative to differentiate between cultural practices that merely seem foreign to us and such violations of human rights, which should be recognized and condemned as such. Therefore, even had it been Valenzuela’s intent to reveal the facts about FGM and trust her readers to discern that FGM is an atrocity that should not be tolerated here and will hopefully be eradicated in other countries as well, the insidious relativism of her language is still deplorable.

Sarah Hynes
senior majoring in computer science and creative writing

No good reason for tuition hike

Tuition is high enough. Tuition has never failed to increase, but I have always failed to see the difference it has made in campus. I still fight tooth and nail for a meager class schedule every semester. The number of professors in the political science department is laughable, and the enrollment is quite sizeable. So what are the tuition hikes paying for, crack parties? How are tuition hikes helping me? If the tuition is going to increase then the university should be obligated to produce some results or lower tuition to its previous levels.

Alex Hoogasian
political science senior

New control of Congress brings great hope

Just last week, we were asked to vote for candidates and issues that we supported and believed would lead this country in the right direction. The night of Nov. 7 was a night of great hope for this country, as a record

number of citizens showed up to vote in a midterm election. This election was about the citizens of our great country doing their patriotic duty to vote for change in our great society. People were voting not only for change but a return to responsive government that listens to the people of this country and that does the peoples’ work. I have heard some today say, “”There go your taxes”” or “”Democrats are going to spend!”” But I disagree. Yes, the leaders of the Democratic Party in the House and Senate lean to the liberal side of the Democratic Party. However, I emplore you to look at the Democratic candidates who were elected and tell me that they are liberal! Just look at Sen.-elect Bob Casey, he is pro-life and fights heavily for restraints on spending. Look at several of the Midwest representatives who were elected; they are fiscal conservatives who have social views that are less then liberal.

This is the shape of the new Democratic Party and I could not be happier! This is exactly were I stand on the issues, and I am looking forward to working with the party these next years to help build up the platform. With the election of this new Democratic House and Democratic Senate, we will see a return to divided government. This will drive compromise and balance to return to Washington and produce legislation that will make the 110th Congress one for the history books.

Look for the 110th Congress to do things like raise the minimum wage, expand prescription drug benefits and pass immigration reform. These things will define our country and will lead us into the future with great prosperity and hope, regardless of party affiliation. For those of you who voted, I thank you for doing your part as an American to voice your options. Whether or not your candidates or views won, I am willing to reach out to all of you to find a way to propel this country into the future on the correct path through compromise and compassion. God bless you all.

Carl A. Thompson
business management senior

Professor presents alternate explanation for 9/11 events

(University of Minnesota Duluth) professor Jim Fetzer gave an astounding presentation on Sept. 11 in Tucson. He helped found Scholars for 9/11 Truth. I urge people to look at their Web site, www.st911.org.

This is only part of his analysis.

1. George Bush says, “”Wow, a really bad pilot hit the first tower”” when there was no television coverage of the impact.

2. Jet fuel-based fire can only top out at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit when fed pure oxygen. The black billowing smoke shows the fire in the towers not being fed pure oxygen. Underwriter laboratories estimates that the fire was burning around 500 degrees Fahrenheit with a few pockets of around 1,400 degrees.

3. The melting point of steel is about 2,800 degrees, and 1,000 degrees is too low. Huge difference.

4. Underwriter laboratories certified the steel used in the twin towers to withstand 2,000-degree temperatures for up to six hours before the steel would significantly weaken.

5. The jet fuel burned off in the huge fireballs. He likens this to throwing a cup of gasoline into a fire and trying to only get part of it to burn.

6. The South Tower, hit second, would fall first after an hour.

7. The North Tower, hit first, would fall after an hour and 30 minutes.

8. In 1975, there was a huge fire in the North Tower that consumed 65 percent of the 11th floor and burned at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours, including the core, and did not damage the steel.

9. No steel structure in history has ever collapsed due to fire, and according to their research, not on 9/11 either.

10. Frank D. Martini, project manager of the Twin Towers, stated in an interview before dying in the collapse that the impact of an aircraft on the towers would be like sticking a pencil through mosquito netting.

11. These buildings were designed to withstand aircraft impacts, specifically that of a 707, which is comparable to the 767s used.

12. Bombs went off in the basement, as shown on the Richter scales, before the towers collapsed. There are videos and the testimony of William Rodriguez that collaborate this story.

John Bierman
electrical and computer engineering freshman