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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The Wildcat columnists go beyond the headlines to tackle the latest political issues

    Madrassah mudslinging headline
    Not long after Sen. Hillary Clinton declared she would be seeking the presidency in 2008, rumors circulated that the Clinton camp had leaked a story about Sen. Barack Obama attending a radical Islamic school in Indonesia. Is this kind of below-the-belt mudslinging par for the presidential course? Or is it too much twwoo soon in the election cycle?

    Here we go. Nearly two years away from the next presidential election and only days after formally announcing Hillary’s candidacy, the Clinton campaign has already resorted to the kind of negative campaigning that was confined to only the last few months of the Bush-Kerry contest. The “”accusation”” that Sen. Barack Obama spent four years of his youth in an Islamic school represents a ham-handed attempt to win Islamophobes over to the Clinton camp, and hopefully Democratic voters won’t fall for it. Sen. Obama could be attacked on a number of points (for instance, his utter lack of substantive experience), but going after him for having attended an Islamic school is entirely uncalled for.

    -David Francis is a pre-business sophomore.

    After Sept. 11, a name like Barack Hussein Obama is probably as popular as Alfred Hitler would be in late 1940s Germany. Armed with the information that Obama also attended a madrassah in Indonesia has intensified the smear campaign. It’s unfortunate that already the campaign has focused on his Islamic education – but hardly unpredictable. From John F. Kennedy to Mitt Romney, a candidate’s religion is fair game. Perhaps if Barack wasn’t so new to the national political scene he would know that. Maybe his opponents will focus more on his inexperience than the religious school his parents sent him to.

    -Kara Karlson is a journalism senior.

    Thank you for (not) smoking
    In another move to limit the impact of second-hand smoke, the town of Bangor, Me. has outlawed smoking in cars if the car has passengers younger than 18. With Arizona recently passing a smoking ban last November, is this the next logical step? Or does this latest ban represent nothing more than legislative overreaching?

    One immediately wonders why the ban applies only to cars and not to all private property where one might find children; this ban has no teeth compared to the obvious, stronger alternative. Also, the Bangor city council claims to be interested in the welfare of the child, but notice that no one there has expressed interest in a ban on feeding candy and junk food to children, for example – and a ban on that would go much further toward keeping kids healthy. These considerations expose this piece of legislature as nothing but a cheap, feeble way for moralists to stroke their egos at the expense of the minority.

    -Taylor Kessinger is a sophomore majoring in physics, math and philosophy.

    At first glance, Bangor’s smoking ban smacks of paternalistic infringement on individual liberty – another attempt by a an overeager city council to use local ordinances to dictate the ethical behavior of private citizens. But this law is different, because it seems less interested in policing “”self-regarding”” behavior and more interested in protecting children from what could be child abuse. A multitude of studies, one by the Harvard School of Public Health, suggest that not only are children at serious risks from second-hand smoke, but sitting with adults in vehicles constitutes a “”significant source of that exposure.”” So let’s save the good fight against overreaching government for when our actions aren’t restricting the rights of children.

    -Stan Molever is a philosophy senior.

    Smack that
    The California state Legislature is practically a breeding ground for strange ideas, but one legislator made waves by proposing to outlaw something rather strange: spanking. Child advocates have said the law is necessary, but Gov. Schwarzenegger, citing his own upbringing, seemed to dismiss the idea. Should states begin to outlaw spanking? Or is this just another strange idea from the land of Hollywood?

    This law should be passed. The proposed legislation states that “”any striking, any corporal punishment, smacking, hitting, punching, of a child,”” will be punishable. This is aimed at preventing and stopping abuse. Even if no abuse is occurring, I do not support the physical punishment of any child under three. Children at that age barely grasp the idea of what is right and wrong. Hitting other people has never been an effective way of conflict resolution and spanking teaches that it is. Passing this law will encourage parents to practice alternative and superior methods of discipline that can never be mistaken as physical abuse.

    -Lila Burgos is an international studies junior.

    Californians already oppose this bill. No wonder-legislators have too much free time if they are debating spanking. First, abusing one’s child-using excessive, violent force-is already illegal. A disciplinary smack on a kid’s butt does not fall in that category. Second, enforcement would equal police raids, to arrest parents for chastising their children. If courts sentence single parents with jail time, this would likely harm their child’s wellbeing far more than a spanking. Finally, supporters claim spanking is human rights violation. What’s next? Kids sent to timeout receive a public hearing by an impartial tribunal?

    -Allison Dumka is a political science senior.

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