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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Monday morning quarterbacking: The Wildcat comments on the weekend’s news

    Et tu, Brute?

    In the halcyon days of ancient Rome, it used to be that political opponents would express their dissent at the end of a dagger. Political vitriol probably hasn’t changed much since then, except that the rapier has apparently been replaced with the press release. Yesterday, The New York Times published the results of a wide-ranging interview with Matthew Dowd, a former senior aide to President Bush’s re-election campaign who now thinks the president is “”secluded and bubbled in.”” Of course, charges that Bush is isolated and out of touch have long been talking points for Democrats, but the fact that a former senior aide is making the same charges speaks volumes about this lame duck administration. Bush should consider a change of course – and fast – before he finds himself consigned to irrelevance.

    The tortoise and the harried plan

    It’s practically a pastime to bemoan the lack of big-city attractions here in Tucson, but the City Council has gone a little overboard in trying to compensate. Friday, the Council unveiled a $130 million plan to erect an enormous arena shaped like a desert tortoise. That sounds laughable enough, especially when the current Tucson Convention Center already runs at an overall loss, but Council members haven’t thought to answer an even more fundamental question: Who will play in the arena anyway? TCC already hosts Disney ice shows and Icecats home games, but it’s doubtful that the new arena will be able to fill its highly touted hospitality suites, box seats and club seats with eager 5-year-olds or inebriated college hockey fans. Revitalizing downtown Tucson is a noble goal, but the City Council has (again) put all its eggs in the wrong basket.

    Productivity: up in smoke

    In the latest indication that smoking is a drag on productivity, a new Swedish study has found that smokers take an additional eight days of sick leave a year than nonsmokers. Given the number of health concerns associated with smoking, that shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it also opens the way for innovation. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that some employers have formed “”wellness plans”” to pay employees to exercise, to lose weight and, in some instances, to quit smoking. The benefits are clear: increased worker productivity (and, hopefully, increased wages) and decreased health care costs for employees. Employers should seek to expand their wellness plans, and employers should realize that they now have an additional incentive to quit lighting up -old, hard cash.

    Join the fold

    In the latest statement of the obvious, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is set to conclude that poorer countries are more vulnerable to the effects of global warming than richer countries. Simply put, wealthier nations have the resources to combat flooding and drought even while they’re skimping on helping the poorer nations cope with these natural disasters. It might seem counterintuitive, but the answer is for the United States to take the lead in joining (and persuading poorer nations to join) the Kyoto Protocol, the international climate change initiative. Poorer countries have historically argued that Kyoto will unfairly hinder their burgeoning economies, but if the latest IPCC report is any indication, global warming will deal them a severe blow anyway. Far better, we think, to sustain short-term losses in the interest of the planet’s long-term vitality.

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