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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    British invasion?

    The story: This week, Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, accused the United Kingdom – which used to rule the African nation as a colony – of drawing up plans to invade his country and depose Mugabe, accused of egregious human rights violations and responsible for the massive slide of Zimbabwe’s economy.

    The response: This is one of Mugabe’s savviest political moves yet. By distracting media attention away from the record levels of inflation (the currency is still trading at over one million Zimbabwean dollars for the weakened U.S. dollar) and government-mandated attacks on opposition leaders, Mugabe will be able to hold on to power for a little longer than he otherwise would have. While the scenario is almost certainly Mugabe’s brainchild, it should be reiterated that an invasion of Zimbabwe would be an entirely counterproductive measure. Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, is an intensely anti-colonial state and still holds a heavy grudge against its former British colonial masters. An invasion would most likely lead to a renaissance of these ideas, and the Zimbabwean people would rally around Mugabe. The better approach would combine equal doses of assertive action from the Organization of African States and patience from the West. Like all despots, Mugabe will collapse, even if the only successful resistance comes from the Grim Reaper.

    However, the rest of world can use Mugabe’s posturing as a lesson to learn from. Mugabe’s rhetoric varies little from current rhetoric concerning Iran, or past rhetoric that denounced Iraq’s “”WMDs”” and al-Qaida. A foreign threat, real or perceived, is the single greatest threat to domestic liberties, and both Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and Bush’s United States provide examples of this. The only difference is that Zimbabwe is further down the road to serfdom.

    -Evan Lisull is a sophomore majoring in economics and political science.

    Feminazis strike again

    The story: Economist Caitlin Knowles recently found that women in cafés wait, on average, 20 seconds longer than men to receive their coffee. Although women are more likely to order more complicated drinks, they still have a longer wait than men who order the same drink.

    The response: Thank heavens someone is finally bringing to light the misogynistic practices of coffee shops everywhere – this 20-second delay is all that stands between our oppressed reality and our egalitarian dreams. Not.

    If there is a consistent, significant discrepancy between male and female wait times in cafés, I’ve certainly never noticed it – and I drink a lot of coffee. A couple-minute wait is almost imperceptible, especially when you know from the beginning that you’re going to have to wait a little while to get your iced grande triple upside-down soy caramel macchiato. Who cares, or even notices, if that wait is plus or minus 20 seconds?

    Quite frankly, crap like this study is why people don’t take feminism seriously. To focus research efforts on such a non-issue is to imply that women have nothing else to complain about and to reinforce the stereotype that those cranky feminists will bitch about any and everything. (See also: Sydney, Australia’s suggestion that mall Santas not utter their famous “”ho ho hos,”” lest uppity women get their granny panties in a knot about it.)

    Delayed coffee beverages do not constitute oppression. Thanks to people like Knowles wasting everyone’s time fighting frivolities, attention drawn to actual problems facing women – like rape, wage inequality and insufficient attention to female medical needs – can be more easily dismissed as white noise. And otherwise potential supporters might then be keen to dismiss the “”feminist agenda”” altogether, because hey, it’s just a bunch of chicks whining about not getting their coffee fast enough, right?

    -Alyson Hill is a senior majoring in classics, German studies and history.

    Google’s wireless ambitions

    The story: Over the weekend, a Google spokesman hinted of company intentions to bid $4.6 billion in January to purchase the recently deregulated 700 mHz frequency spectrum. The coveted spectrum, currently supporting television channels 52 through 69, will most likely be used by Google as a broadband network.

    The response: The imminent auction of the 700 mHz spectrum marks an important landmark in American telecommunications. With AT&T and Verizon both set to flex their fiber-optic muscles to gobble up the new frequencies, many analysts are calling the auction the last major opportunity for a third wireless provider to enter the market. Google seems an unlikely contender. However, a successful bid to acquire all or part of the spectrum would signal a major victory for consumers.

    While the Internet mogul has neither the experience nor the capital to jump into the mobile networks industry, no company is better suited to building the innovative partnerships a third wireless provider would require. Google has long been a staunch advocate of Internet freedom, campaigning against taxes on Internet use and broadband monopolies, and continues to do so in this auction. Google has led a coalition of major content providers, including eBay and Yahoo, in a lobbying effort to reform current restrictions that promote monopoly control of broadband. The FCC has embraced one of the measures, a requirement that the winning bidder must open the network to give consumers the freedom to use any device or applications that works on those frequencies. That means that rather than having to buy a Samsung phone with a T-Mobile phone plan, or having to sign the next five years of your telecom life away just to drool on an iPhone, electronic consumers will have more choice both in what devices they buy and what service providers they choose. Internet users will see unprecedencted convergences between cell phones and Internet services in the year to come, and increased competition will lead to lower prices. I’m feeling lucky.

    -Matt Rolland is a junior majoring in economics and international studies.

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