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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    No egg rolls for Olympians

    The story: Doubts over the safety of Chinese food products have prompted the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to take measures to mitigate the potential health threat to American athletes. During the 2008 games, the 600-plus U.S. Olympians will eat only specially prepared meals made largely from foods shipped from the United States or other pre-selected imported goods.

    The response: Granted, Olympians and the USOC have legitimate reasons to harbor health fears given China’s dismal food safety record. Just last week, the Japanese government reported that Chinese-made, insecticide-tainted dumplings sickened more than 175 people. The USOC’s own decision to exclusively feed American athletes during the summer games was a product of intensive scouting in China which revealed a market of meats pumped full of steroids and illegal veterinary drugs.

    The U.S. Olympic Committee’s response is representative of the response of many nations to take extraordinary and pricey measures to ensure the health of their Olympians in light of Beijing’s less-than-stellar environmental and economic climate. Britain, Germany, Sweden and other European nations have all prepared for special training facilities in Japan to moderate athlete exposure to air, water and food-borne toxins. USOC’s decision to ship tons of food products to Beijing especially for the Olympians takes that level of precaution to new heights. The special treatment granted to first-world Olympians not only seems unnecessarily alarmist, but it also undermines the very spirit of the Olympics – sports as a means to bridge cultural divides through, as in the words of the International Olympic Committee, “”friendship, solidarity and fair play.””

    -Christina Jelly is a senior majoring in biochemistry and philosophy.

    Conservative Chaos

    The story: John McCain’s recent comeback, along with Mitt Romney’s dropout from the Republican presidential race, has left many conservatives unsure about their support for the remaining Republican frontrunners.

    The response: To paraphrase Gwen Stefani, this party is bananas. The movement has historically consisted of three major wings: moral conservatives, fiscal conservatives and military conservatives. Since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, these three main factions have lined up dutifully behind the establishment candidate, political discipline that has yielded a 28-year reign – Bill Clinton’s presidency, after all, was largely defined by the Republican legislature that had him by the balls (pun intended). President Bush, however, has all but ended that peace with his inability to control spending and his lack of a clear successor.

    This has resulted in a barely controlled chaos in the nominating process. The Moral Majority has grown weary of sitting at the back of the conservative bus and has forced its way forward behind Mike Huckabee. The hawks mock him and instead support the senator from Arizona, even though their usual border warrior allies decry “”Juan McCain.”” Fiscal conservatives grudgingly supported Romney and Giuliani, but after these candidates dropped out they have been left writing checks for a party with candidates they can barely stand. Each faction looks at the other across the room, and realizes that they have far less in common than they thought.

    Even though the media has coronated McCain as the nominee, Republicans in Kansas and Louisiana didn’t seem to get the memo. Neither did attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference, who voted for Romney in their straw poll after he dropped out. Neither has Ann Coulter, who has vowed to campaign for the oft-maligned Hillary Clinton if McCain is the nominee.

    Every wing is striving for control of this newly fractured party, and the lack of consensus leads to political paralysis among Republican voters – turnout is vastly lower than at the Democratic contests. When everyone tries to drive the movement, nobody drives the movement. The straight talk express appears to be a trip straight into the political wilderness.

    -Evan Lisull is a sophomore majoring in economics and political science.

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