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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Chatter: March 5

Suck it up, Senate

The U.S. Senate has been criticized heavily of late for allowing partisanship and bitterness between factions to prevent important decisions from being made. Many in the country argue that, while senators are busy bantering about personal opinions and there is increasing animosity between parties, important issues are left unresolved. Most Republicans and Democrats, however, were finally able to see eye−to−eye on one recent controversy that has been causing contention within the body … Following the proposal last week of a bill that would provide a month-long extension of expired institutions — most notably unemployment benefits. While the Senate sought future legislation, Sen. Jim Bunning, R−Ky., single-handedly blocked the spending bill for several days before finally acquiescing last night under heavy pressure from both parties, who eventually convinced him to comply. The bill will allot $10 billion toward measures, such as unemployment relief and health insurance subsidies, as well as allowing construction workers to resume work on federal highway construction projects. Bunning’s unwillingness to vote for the bill caused a slew of problems for unemployed people dependent on federal aid.

As a result of Bunning’s actions, some 2,000 Department of Transportation employees were forced into unpaid furloughs, and jobless Americans saw their unemployment checks and health insurance come to a halt on Monday. Although the bill has now been passed, senators worry that the delay may still cause holdups for people seeking unemployment checks. Disagreement over diverging principles is an inevitable and necessary function of the way that the Senate is structured. However, a position in a government office should not be used as a forum for protest against issues that an individual senator finds problematic. Bunning’s protest was a misuse of his power. Senators — whose job is to look out for the best interest of the country — should put personal grievances aside and work together to mend the faltering economy. While vast numbers of jobless Americans’ needs were put on hold on Monday and most of Tuesday, Bunning continued to fight a battle that he knew he would eventually lose. The fact that Bunning was chastised not only by Democrats but also members of his own party is indicative of how senseless his actions were. It is the responsibility of anyone elected to a government position to put his or her own bias aside and make decisions that will help the greater good. Jim Bunning wrongly tried to make a point based on his own opinions about the deficit instead of trying to help those who are unemployed and rely on the government for help.

— “”US Senate not a forum to push personal gripes,”” 

The Tufts Daily editorial board, March 3

Aid to Chile should not be so chilly

The news coverage of the earthquake in Chile has not been nearly as big as the one in Haiti, Yet, the United States has once again been summoned for help. Once again, we have been called upon by a nation in need of our previous acts of humanity in cases of disaster. And despite our financial situation, we must once again stand up and come to the aid of those in need. According to Chile’s government, as of Tuesday, there are 763 casualties as a result of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake. While the number of deaths might not be nearly as high as that of Haiti’s disaster, aid must still reach the western South American nation. If foreign forces deny Chile the dedication that went into Haiti, they would only be denying the value of human life and would seemingly take a simple number as the main decision-maker … While there is a great discrepancy between higher and lower classes in the nation, under great scrutiny, we should help as we have others time and time again. The case is simply that a failure to exude any sort of sympathy, fiscal or material based, would make the United States seem to focus on numbers rather than human life. This responsibility does not only fall on our shoulders as nations such as Canada and the United Kingdom, both of whom have or will spend millions of dollars of their Olympic Games’ preparations, could also take it upon themselves to help. To argue the case that many others are in need of help would only be denying aid to all of the countries in need. International help is needed, and even a country such as Chile, one in relatively good financial standing, must be supported in times of natural disaster.

— “”Aid necessary in Chile,””  The Rutgers Daily Targum editorial board, March 2

More than one kind of diversity

When prospective students peruse college applications, they are confronted with a litany of questions. They’re asked to list their extracurricular activities, awards, family military service, ethnicity, race and sometimes religious beliefs. All of these questions are used by admissions officers to help create a class of students that is both qualified and diverse. But applications have never asked about sexuality. That should soon change.

The University of Pennsylvania has begun to reach out to gay admitted students by identifying those who have indicated that gay issues are important to them through their application (for example, personal essays). For years, universities have had black students contact black admits, engineering majors contact engineering admits and Honors students contact Honors admits. These contacts help make a big, scary campus seem more safe and welcoming. At Penn, gay students may contact gay admits to create a similar effect. While this is an admirable step in the right direction, it doesn’t go far enough.

LGBT Americans are the last to receive equal rights under the law. They still are not allowed to marry in 44 states, even though most politicians would agree separate is not equal. They still cannot serve openly in the military. And they lack a true leading voice for their movement. While these are national issues that no question on a college application can solve, the lack of a question regarding sexual orientation symbolizes how that portion of the population is viewed … Just as having a diverse student body in terms of race and gender benefits the university by bringing a wide variety of perspectives together, LGBT students bring a different set of questions, judgments and life experiences to the classroom and having a significant population of them helps improve the education of all students.

Now more than ever, administrators strive to provide a campus that is inclusive and diverse. While some may carp on preferential treatment for one group over another, true equality is not achieved without acceptance. And acceptance cannot be achieved without adequate representation. The university has an opportunity to mold a campus and a generation of Americans that is not only diverse on paper but truly accepting of the people around them, including gay students. And a simple question on an application is a good place to start.

— “”Applying diversity,””  The University of Maryland Diamondback editorial board, March 1

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