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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pass/Fail

    From the moon to McKale

    The announcement that Apollo 8 commander Frank Borman, a longtime Tucson resident and leader of the first team of American astronauts to circle the moon, has been selected to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony and should stand out as a distinguished choice amid the parade of mid-level bureaucrats, corporate vice presidents and TV aerobics instructors who have graced the podiums of graduations past. Although the students interviewed by the Daily Wildcat were a touch tepid about the choice – one claimed astronauts were too “”magical”” and wondered why the UA couldn’t book Sen. John McCain since “”he’s from Arizona”” (hint: he’s running for president) – we think Borman is an outstanding selection, who deserves recognition for his pioneering efforts in space exploration. His scheduled speech has earned a Pass.

    Quick – delete your goat porn!

    Frequent fliers have resigned themselves to occasional searches in today’s security-conscious travel climate. In fact, sometimes it’s kind of fun to find a surprise note from the Transportation Security Administration tucked inside your neatly folded undies. But a recent federal court case is redefining the rules on searching personal belongings, and proving to be an uncomfortable invasion of privacy for those who travel with laptop computers. Last month, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in U.S. v. Arnold that border patrol agents can conduct suspicionless, unrestricted searches of digital devices entering the United States – a decision that could put loads of privileged, personal and embarrassing information at risk for perusal by pesky agents of the state. The latest invasion of privacy in the name of security merits a Fail.

    Bucks from Bush for food aid

    Neither the present nor the future look hopeful for the legacy of George W. Bush. The latest opinion polls put the President’s job approval rating at a historic low of 28 percent. And speaking of history, in a recent informal poll of 109 historians, 107 rated the Bush presidency a “”failure.”” But although the President everyone loves to hate might not be able to redeem himself in the eyes of the public, it’s worth noting the occasional times when he’s done a bit of good. One of those times was yesterday, when Bush called for $770 million in food aid donations from the U.S. to help relieve a wave of world food crises. Of course, there’s loads more the U.S. could do to keep people from starving across the globe, like eliminating the huge farm subsidies that distort food markets and harm the poor. But for urgent action to help fix a looming humanitarian disaster, Bush’s bonus aid gets a Pass.

    Five more years! Five more years!

    Pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and cook up a heaping helping of freedom fries – it’s been five whole years since the U.S. declared “”mission accomplished”” in Iraq! Sure, it was a while ago, but we’re sure you remember that quick little war: After putting the ol’ shock-and-awe on Saddam and his Baathist buddies, the U.S. military ended “”major combat operations in Iraq”” after a mere 42 days, with limited American casualties and the bargain-basement price of less than $50 billion, leaving a safer, more prosperous nation behind. Just kidding! As of today, the ongoing Iraq war has lasted 1,869 days, resulted in 4,064 American deaths and will ultimately cost well over $1 trillion. The U.S. State Department’s annual report on global terrorism, released last week, found that in Iraq “”13,600 noncombatants were killed in 2007; suicide bombings in the country rose by 50 percent; suicide car bombings were up 40 percent and suicide bombings outside of vehicles climbed 90 percent over 2006.”” Happy anniversary, everyone! Our accomplished mission in Iraq deserves an accomplished Fail.

    Gas taxes and job creation just a lot of hot air

    Consumer spending has slowed down dramatically in 2008, as prices rose on staples from gasoline to milk to eggs. The sluggish economy has shown slowing in spending and wage growth while inflation remains elevated, an economic downturn far worse than the recession of 2001. Meanwhile, our presidential candidates seem to be attending the crackhead school of economics. A harebrained, lackluster stimulus package will finally reach citizens’ mailboxes this month, but like most scattershot stimulus packages it’s little more than a band-aid. It’s a good thing that politicians are hard at work coming up with long-term solutions, right? Well, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain’s deeply stupid proposed “”gas holiday”” sounds sexy to voters, but will only allow the nation’s gasoline binge to continue unabated, until the inevitable hangover sets in. As the election drags on and the economy sputters to a halt, candidates are continuing to make empty promises in a hypothetical campaign dreamland without consequences. Sooner or later, the recession is going to provide a serious wake-up call for American citizens. For playing along until it’s no longer possible to feign ignorance, our current crop of presidential candidates deserve a serious Fail.

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