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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Monday Morning Quarterbacking

    Here come the cuts…

    UA President Robert Shelton’s “”possible short-term fiscal challenges”” became a reality Friday, when the Arizona Board of Regents voted to cut the UA’s budget by $11 million as part of a wider set of budget cuts to all three of Arizona’s public universities. That means difficulties are in store for professors, since most of the UA’s budget goes toward paying faculty salaries. As Shelton told the Arizona Daily Star Friday, the UA “”can’t say there won’t be layoffs.”” Worse, the biggest budget cuts are likely yet to come, when the Legislature approves a budget this fall. Besides being unpleasant, faculty firings have hugely negative second order effects on the university as a whole, especially when it comes to problems like class size and availability that end up passed on to students. As the budget continues to dwindle, we hope the UA will do all it can – including aggressively looking for private endowments and sponsorships – to keep our faculty from dwindling, too.

    The Justice Department’s torture calculus

    Someone at the U.S. Justice Department’s been watching a little too much “”24.”” According to The New York Times, the Justice Department told Congress late last week that it’s all right for American intelligence agents to use interrogation methods that violate international law (read: “”torture””), if “”an act is undertaken to prevent a threatened terrorist attack”” – just like the awesome no-nonsense stuff Jack Bauer does to save fictional American lives on TV! Critics of the still-mostly-secret interrogation rules argue that giving agents latitude on the boundaries of torture is dangerous because it could put U.S. troops at risk and encourage nasty interrogation retaliations. They’re right, but keeping the door closed to future atrocities isn’t the only problem with the Bauer doctrine. Playing hypothetical games of “”would you torture if?”” are misleading and useless – especially when we shouldn’t be torturing anyone at all.

    Putting Chernobyl to rest

    Two decades after the devastating Chernobyl nuclear incident, a new shelter is being built to seal off the toxic remains of the plant. Still harmful after more than 20 years, the original shelter built to contain the ruins has been in danger of collapse and leaking radiation into the surrounding area. The new “”sarcophagus”” will be large enough to fit the Statue of Liberty inside and will be constructed completely of steel. The Chernobyl incident occurred in 1986, before the majority of UA students were born or old enough to remember the disaster, but still serves as a reminder of the power – and danger – of nuclear energy, and the consequences at hand when our energy sources spiral beyond our control. As we search for new forms of energy to replace the systems we currently rely upon, nuclear power is an intriguing option with myriad global benefits. At the same time, Chernobyl is a reminder of the need for caution and responsibility toward the planet and its inhabitants as technology marches forward. In a new century, with world leaders preoccupied with sustainability and environment-friendly energy, the “”burial”” of Chernobyl could serve as a symbol of global hubris finally put to rest – or of a world destined to repeat the same mistakes.

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