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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The Wildcat columnists go beyond the headlines to tackle the latest political issues

    The college race game

    After voters passed a referendum requiring race-blind policies in public institutions, the University of Michigan announced that it was doing away with its affirmative action admissions policies. Supporters hailed the demise of “”reverse discrimination,”” while critics pointed out that African-American and Hispanic students would be hurt the most. What is the future of affirmative action?

    The whole debate on the merits and demerits of race-based affirmative action is missing the forest for the trees. At one time, there was a strong correlation between race and socioeconomic wellbeing. There still is. However, the purpose of affirmative action is to help those on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder receive a college education and continue to keep alive the idea of the American meritocracy. Thus, affirmative action should not be based upon race, but rather, one’s standard of living. The University of Michigan’s race-blind admissions policy is just fine, but it should still take into account an applicant’s economic background.

    Matt Stone is a senior majoring in international studies and economics.

    Do this exercise: Which race is good at math? Which race is good in basketball? Which race does great yard work?ÿIf your first answers to each were not racial stereotypes, then you should be an admissions counselor.ÿFor the rest of us, racial bias is alive and active, whether we like it or not. And socioeconomic factors do not carry the baggage that race and gender do.ÿIt was not, after all, socioeconomic status that prevented Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall from being admitted to many law schools or Rosa Parks from sitting at the front of the bus. In the interest of justice, universities should keep affirmative action.

    Sam Feldman is a political science senior.

    Dollars and sense

    The New York Times reported on Sunday that the Pentagon has been collecting Americans’ financial records for counterterrorism purposes. The finding was met with outrage among civil libertarians, but Vice President Cheney said there was nothing new about the policy. Should U.S. spy agencies be barred from collecting financial dirt on American citizens? Or is this a common-sense approach to fighting terrorism?

    The Pentagon’s latest effort to obtain the personal financial records of several hundreds of Americans seems quite troubling.ÿThough the vice president is quick to inform us that such measures are legal, his reassurances do nothing to prove that such measures are ethical. The fact that the military is conducting these actions without judicial supervision seems to forego the system of checks and balances designed to ensure the proper use of authority in our government.ÿThe degree of power delegated to the military is truly terrifying and borders on allowing the hands of the executive branch to control not only the entire government, but also our daily lives.ÿIt’s high time that we sever a few of Caesar’s limbs.

    Jared Pflum is a religious studies senior.

    The term “”domestic spying”” has been bandied about with some frequency, but it isn’t really appropriate here. The Pentagon and the CIA ask banks for records, but the banks aren’t required to comply. That’s not exactly the kind of high-tech espionage campaign rabid civil libertarians have made it out to be. Besides, there’s nothing inherently wrong with checking the financial records of suspected terrorists, especially when Islamic fundamentalists have consistently proven their ability to funnel money through sham charities and radical madrassahs. Congress would be right to legislate some checks and balances, but the Bill of Rights is alive and well.

    Damion LeeNatali is a senior majoring in political science and history.

    Democratic disarray

    With President Bush announcing that more than 20,000 troops will be “”surged”” into Iraq, Democrats haven’t been able to provide a consistent response. Some suggest that the Dems should block funding for further operations; others are content with a nonbinding resolution to condemn the effort. What should the Democrats do?

    The war in Iraq has been a war of extremes: Either walk out with the job unfinished or send over 20,000 more troops. Support for the war is fading but the answer is not to cut and run, nor is it to continue to pour in resources indefinitely. Bush has presented no real structured plan along with the surge. Blocking funding altogether would be a mistake; there are men and women fighting in Iraq who deserve the support to get the job done and back home safely. Instead, Democrats need to tighten the reigns and provide strict guidelines in granting the funding.

    Chelsea Jo Simpson is a journalism senior.

    Democrats should sit back and watch the Republicans eat themselves. According to the latest AP-Ipsos poll, 70 percent of Americans oppose the Bush “”surge.”” And still this issue is framed as “”Democrats are fractured.”” We know that Bush decides for himself whether to follow the laws he signs, so legislation is pointless. Instead, Democrats should use control of Congress to force vulnerable Republicans to support Bush. Democrats can’t stop our messianic president, but nonbinding votes can change the storyline by fracturing the Republicans. Eventually the rational Republicans will split from the dead-enders who disagree with 70 percent of the American people.

    Shane Ham is a first-year law student.

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