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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Monday Morning Quarterbacking

    ‘Green’ is the new ‘6-year graduation rate’

    UA President Robert Shelton deserves credit for resisting an obsessive focus on rankings, which often encourage universities to focus on math before merit. This year, despite the UA’s relatively solid position, he called U.S. News and World Report’s yearly list of top colleges “”a beauty contest for well-to-do private schools.”” He’s right. The rankings give inordinate preference to questionably relevant statistics like percentage of alumni donors and subjective measures like public reputation. But now, there’s a new, equally irrelevant criterion in town: eco-awareness. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Princeton Review, publisher of annual lists of ratings for prospective students, is planning on rolling out “”green ratings”” for U.S. universities this year, based upon responses to a questionnaire filled out by college administrators. Green is good, but distilling environmental acumen into a single figure is just as shortsighted as the rest of the rankings game.

    Recording industry tries a surge of its own

    Students using campus computer networks for more than merely writing essays ought to start taking extra care not to drift into the dread waters of Internet piracy: Over the past week, the number of copyright infringement notices sent to universities around the United States has increased more than 20 times, according to Threat Level, a blog published by Wired magazine. The motive for the spike in notices remains unclear, and the Recording Industry Association of America has denied making any change in the volume of delivered notices, despite reports of college information technology offices around the country swamped by incoming requests to catch copyright offenders on the trade group’s behalf. Perhaps they’re taking a cue from the Bush administration. After all, last year’s troop surge quelled conflict in Iraq, didn’t it? Not exactly. The effects of both last year’s troop surge and ramped-up copyright enforcement are dubious at best – and both indicate that the U.S. and the RIAA are fighting similarly futile and pointless wars.

    Health care in America: Still sick

    Most of the discussion of Americans’ health care woes focuses on the 48 million citizens who are uninsured, but as The New York Times reported yesterday, the troubles for the insured are getting worse as well. As premiums increase and workers are expected to cover an ever-growing share of their insurance plans, many people are forced to choose between a doctor’s visit and a tank of gas. Since 2000, the amount of disposable income spent on health care has risen from 14 percent to 16 percent, surpassing both food and housing in 2007. Since the 2001 recession, the cost of an annual health care premium for the average employee has nearly doubled, but it has failed to increase the small number of people who feel adequately prepared to meet their future health care needs. The rise in costs and decreasing consumer faith in health insurance are yet more evidence that something significant needs to change in the health care industry – a market sector marred both by private inefficiency and government intervention. Whatever the changes, it’s essential that government and industry prevent the cost of living decently from spiraling beyond most Americans’ grasp.

    Cleveland rocks!

    It’s nice to know that in a world of man-made hardship and uncertainty, almost nothing can match the biblically destructive power of natural disasters. Global warming-related incidents aside, earthquakes remain one of the least predictable and most destructive phenomena in the world. Illinois is doing its best to reduce that uncertainty after a moderately powerful 5.2 magnitude earthquake shook the Midwest as far as Cleveland last week, causing minor damage. Although the Midwest might seem like an odd place for earthquake paranoia, Illinois, Minnesota and surrounding states have been affected by fairly intense earthquakes in the past 200 years, especially in Minnesota, where a fault runs right through the majority of the state. It’s comforting, in an absurd way, that no matter how screwy things get in government, the economy and abroad, they can always get worse – the Midwest could get rocked by an earthquake that splits the whole country in two! Perhaps President George W. Bush might consider titling his memoirs “”At Least There Wasn’t a Huge Earthquake During My Administration!””

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