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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Issue of the Year

    From the war in Iraq to Britney’s oh-so-public meltdown to another stunning homecoming football victory, this year’s headlines have veered from comedy to tragedy and back again. So we asked our Wildcat columnists: What was the biggest issue of the year?

    The night of Nov. 2, 2006, my friends and I anxiously awaited the results of the midterm elections. By the next morning, the Democratic wins of these elections had revitalized hope that the system still worked and that voices demanding change had been heard. The end of the bloody monstrosity that has become Iraq seemed more plausible than it had been days before. Although the reality that change would be arduous immediately crushed that sensation of idealistic hope I experienced, I was willing to suspend my disbelief and just ride with excitement of “”We won!”” Such a victory led to the de-virginizing of the term “”Madame Speaker of the House,”” and history was made.

    – Lila Burgos is an international studies junior.

    If the importance of news is judged by the personal interests of the media elites, one story towered above all others: the stunning revelation that Don Imus is a butthole. We all have experienced that cringe of embarrassment upon realizing that something we once thought was so cool was actually witless and juvenile, like Weird Al Yankovic or “”Pulp Fiction.”” But because we have neither access to cable news channels nor enough spare time for orgies of self-flagellation, it’s not important news when it happens to us. The Imus story was reason No. 4,936 to be glad you’re not Tim Russert.

    – Shane Ham is a first-year law student.

    From pouting over the movie “”300″” to the capture, detention and release of 15 British sailors, Iran has done all it can to ensure it is constantly in the headlines. We need to be mindful of Iran’s frequent baiting. How the United States reacts to a country that promises the annihilation of Israel, jails its women for exposing their ankles, and refuses to halt its nuclear programs will determine not only a measure of security for the world, but also how our country is viewed in the future. If a massive army fighting with ancient weapons seems frightening, imagine Xerxes with a nuclear arsenal.

    – Kara Karlson is a journalism senior.

    I’ve never been accused of caring that much about the environment. I mean, I’ll recycle my beer cans, but I’m generally of the opinion that hippies chained to trees need to get a day job. Still, I cheered when the Supreme Court opened a can of whoop-ass on the Bush administration in Massachusetts v. EPA, ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency is authorized to, well, protect the environment. I’m not convinced the EPA can do much – I’m pretty sure those penguins in “”Happy Feet”” had it all wrong – but at least the Court restored some measure of sanity to the global warming debate. Supreme Court justices: This (recycled) Bud is for you!

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

    Though this semester bore witness to plenty of issues, the one that probably held the most significance was Nancy Pelosi’s booty call to Syrian dictator (er, president) Bashar Al-Assad. In a time when international tensions are reaching a breaking point, and our primary hope for world peace resting in an American president whose sex appeal is as ridiculously low as his approval ratings, it comes as quite a relief to know that we can count on our Speaker of the House to step up and swing. Thank you, Mrs. Pelosi, for making sure that even if President Bush’s unsexiness is a hindrance to world peace, your fine self is taking care of business. The American people owe you a debt of gratitude.

    – Stan Molever is a philosophy senior.

    In the last few weeks, the Virginia Tech shooting has been talked about, written about, evaluated and rehashed. The event was by far the most important of the year. But the greatest issue is not the realization that something like this can happen, but that we may, at some point, stop talking about it. Maybe the pain will numb or we will refuse to talk about it because it’s too severe of a reality and too complex of a solution. But when we stop talking, we start forgetting. And we owe it to the families and to ourselves as members of a community of education to fight for change and to refuse to forget.

    – Chelsea Jo Simpson is a journalism sophomore.

    It’s surprisingly easy to neglect the Iraq war. After all, we supposedly won it four years ago. But it’s still the elephant in the room; no matter what other issues you might care about, whatever else you might like to see our country focus on, everything comes back to the fact that we’re spending massive resources and manpower on a war that can’t be won. It’s time to give up the pathetic delusion that one last push will bring us a glorious victory. The truth is that we can either lose the war now or lose it 10 years down the road. My vote is for now.

    – Justyn Dillingham is the copy chief for the Arizona Daily Wildcat and is a junior majoring in political science and history.

    Since I came to the UA in 2003, tuition has jumped by almost 31 percent. This year was no different, and once again, the regents voted to increase tuition by 5 percent for in-state students and 8 percent for nonresidents. Our state Legislature needs to realize that it is putting more and more of a burden on students each year. They need to take responsibility and make education a priority in Arizona. The UA is becoming a prestigious institution, but it is still a state school. The residents of this state should be able to afford to attend.

    – Joyanna Jones is a journalism senior.

    For me, the issue of the year was something that seemed to garner less coverage than it should have. The Washington Post’s revelations about the Army’s treatment of its injured vets and the conditions at Walter Reed were really shocking to me. I was surprised that the story vanished from the news so quickly; I think the Walter Reed story is important because the way we treat our veterans says a lot about our national conscience and our nation’s priorities. Although investigations are still ongoing, our soldiers are still suffering from less-than-ideal treatment. They won’t be able to forget that, so we shouldn’t forget it, either.

    – Lillie Kilburn is a psychology sophomore.

    Cambridge University biologist and religion critic Richard Dawkins’ recent appearance on “”The O’Reilly Factor”” perfectly encapsulated everything wrong with our country. O’Reilly’s tired, trite arguments, which included “”Hitler and Stalin were atheists; ergo, atheism is bad,”” were met with British class by Dawkins’ lofty, ivory-tower standard replies. But in a mere four minutes, O’Reilly successfully demonstrated the outright ignorance of many on his side of the fence, and Dawkins failed to overcome the one serious obstacle to the left in upcoming years: their abject failure to speak the language of their opponents. If this is an indicator of things to come, then get ready for another four years of ineffectual, uninteresting political debates.

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

    In January, Marine Pvt. Ronnie Tallman was granted conscientious objector status from the U.S. military after declaring that he was becoming a Navajo medicine man and could no longer harm other beings. After release, he vowed to return to his reservation to serve the sick. As Albert Einstein noted, “”The pioneers of a warless world are the youth who refuse military service.”” Tallman, the only marine to be granted conscientious objector status in the past year, is one such pioneer. And in the midst of a cruel and senseless war, his decision to help others instead of fight was truly the story of the year.

    – Jared Pflum is a religious studies senior.

    When I first came to the UA, our football team didn’t just lose every game; they got slaughtered at every game. But the program has truly turned around thanks to Mike Stoops, and this year was proof. Our team had a respectable record of six wins and six losses. Furthermore they only lost out to a bowl game by one game, even though that loss was at the hands of Arizona State University. So for finally turning the football team around, the players and coach Stoops get my vote for story of the year. Here’s to a bowl game next year!

    – Jessica Wertz is a senior majoring in psychology and family studies and human development.

    Let’s face it: Irrespective of all that happened this year, the weather trumps everything else. Tucson is known for its temperate and downright beautiful autumns, winters and springs, but this year, we were fortunate to even get a little snow. Our glorious spring didn’t really end until last week, which is far later than normal. Chalk it up to global warming – thank you, Mr. President! – but the weather just doesn’t get any better than in the Old Pueblo. With graduation approaching, Tucson’s refreshing climate will always hold a dear place in my heart, right next to Frog & Firkin.

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

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