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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Editorial: Pass/Fail

    Chavez’ Bull-ivarian alternative

    While Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was meeting with Naomi Campbell yesterday – the latest in a string of celebrity glitterati to endorse the Latin American leader’s imperial presidency – Venezuelan troops were using tear gas and water cannons to disperse a crowd of tens of thousands of student protesters opposing Chavez’ latest grab for power. Changes to the Venezuelan constitution proposed by Chavez, and now under review by rubber-stamp “”communal councils”” composed of Chavez’ supporters, would extend the president’s term in power, give him broad discretion to appropriate property, businesses and land, and allow the president to indefinitely detain citizens during declared emergencies. Chavez’ overblown “”21st-century socialism”” isn’t just a dumb idea – it’s an unsustainable one. As soon as the prosperity provided by high prices on Venezuelan oil disappears, Chavez’ populist pandering will be revealed as a subsidy-ridden sham. For now, Chavez’ autocratic experiment gets a Fail.

    He was America (but so can’t you!)

    College students nationwide are rallying around satirist Stephen Colbert’s eccentric quest to speak truthiness to power. After announcing his intention to seek the presidency in his home state of South Carolina, Colbert’s Facebook group strained the popular service’s Web servers and became the quickest-growing group in the history of the network. Meanwhile, a telephone survey conducted by political pollsters Rasmussen Reports found last week that Colbert would garner 13 percent of the vote in a national contest pitting him against Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. But despite the massive popular momentum behind his campaign, Colbert may not be able to run at all. Yesterday, the executive council of the South Carolina Democratic Party voted 13-3 to reject Colbert’s nomination and bar him from the ballot, citing rules requiring candidates to be both viable and nationally recognized. Faced with the ruling, Colbert’s campaign may come to a screeching halt – although, hopefully, that screech will sound like the scream of an all-American eagle. But for ending the campaign of the one candidate who enthralled our apathetic generation, standing in the way of the democratic process and denying Americans a delicious taste-splosion of nacho cheese flavor, the South Carolina Democratic Party has earned a Fail.

    Trucking trickery

    When NAFTA went into effect in 1994, the international trade agreement should have allowed goods to start freely flowing across international borders carried on planes, trains and, most important, automobiles. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, truck traffic accounts for a full three-quarters of freight value in the United States – a crucial component of a smoothly running economy. The “”free trade”” agreement, however, has never really been free – for years, Mexican trucks have been banned from carrying cargo into the United States, forced instead to transfer their freight to American carriers at the border. For over a decade, xenophobes and American truckers afraid of foreign competition have managed to cheat the rules by arguing that Mexican trucks are unsafe. But their argument appears to be nothing more than a big load of basura. According to The Associated Press, there are about 1,300 Mexican trucking companies exempt from the ban, and their safety record is actually slightly better than that of U.S. truckers. We ought to open our borders and abolish the ban on Mexican trucks – an inefficient idea that deserves a Fail.

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