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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly”

    It’s a good week for the Libertarian Party

    Former Alaska senator Mike Gravel officially joined the Libertarian Party yesterday, affirming that the Democratic Party elite is out of touch with the average American and declaring that his opposition to militarism and American imperialism were more closely aligned with Libertarian ideals than Democratic ones.

    The biggest black mark on Gravel’s policy record is his support of the FairTax plan that would replace all taxes with a national retail sales tax – which is regressive on income, so it’s one of the least intelligent tax systems ever devised, but I’m sure the ability to punish the poor for being poor makes a few Libertarians feel warm and fuzzy inside.

    On the flip side, he favors legalized gambling, is pro-choice, and is friendly toward immigration. Gravel doesn’t say this in public, so I’ll say it for him: He’s more libertarian than Rep. Ron Paul. (Which one is more nuts, on the other hand, is a matter of some debate.) With any luck, he might usurp Paul’s status as the Libertarian Party’s favored candidate, and Libertarians who feel disenfranchised by some of Paul’s reactionary views will have another option available.

    In the Democratic primaries where he competed, Gravel never received more than 1 percent of the vote; he even fell behind several candidates who had already dropped out, so it’s unlikely that this move will engender strong support for Libertarian ideals. But at the very least, his party shift makes people like me wax nostalgic for the small volume of insanity he brought to this election season’s early Democratic debates.

    Taylor Kessinger is a junior majoring in math, philosophy and physics.


    It’s a bad week for bats and the vampires who love them

    The New York Times reported yesterday that an astounding 90 percent of bats in several caves monitored across New York state have died since this last winter. A mysterious ailment that leaves bats emaciated and marked with a white fungus has biologists and local farmers alike concerned, as the bat population is credited with keeping the insect population under control.

    Though it’s tempting to write the issue off as unimportant to everyone but Bartok in “”Anastasia,”” the dearth of bats could pose an economic problem, with farmers worried that the increased number of insects will result in hefty losses to their crops in the coming year. As the recent bumblebee extinction scare and the growing bat death toll remind us, we’re still tied inextricably and completely to the natural world around us – and we’re only just beginning to find out the disasters in store when that balance is disrupted.

    Sarah Devlin is a sophomore majoring in English and political science.


    It’s an ugly week for the state of Maine

    The governor of Maine signed a bill Monday banning the sale of novelty lighters that could appeal to children. This legislation was brought after a great deal of reasoned discourse and thoughtful consideration … oh wait, never mind. The impetus for such a ban instead came from the inanity of 6-year-old Shane St. Pierre, who burned his face when he flicked the switch on a lighter that resembled a baseball bat. (Darwin Award, anyone?) The parents called the state fire marshall’s office and “”were surprised to learn that Maine had no law banning so-called novelty lighters.”” Well, here’s another surprise for these parents: Prior to Maine, a grand total of zero states had any restrictions on lighters. In every other state in this union, and every other family in the state of Maine, parents are perfectly capable of taking care of their own children and children are able to pass through their pyromaniac phase without having to cry to the state legislature for help. Only in a country where legislators have proposed bans on serving obese people in restaurants could there be such an outrageous expectation. Have no fear, though: Before long, all the nation’s children will be 100 percent safe from absolutely everything. Thank goodness I was young when it was still fun to be a kid.

    Evan Lisull is a sophmore majoring in economics and political science.

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