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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Monday Morning Quarterbacking

    The Wildcat comments on the weekend’s news

    Breeding violence on the border

    Good news for border hawks: data from the Department of Homeland Security show that the clampdown on immigrants along theU.S.-Mexico border has helped curb the flow of migrants into the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, a report to be released this week by DHS shows a 20 percent drop in apprehensions of illegal border crossers on last year, and a total of less than a million immigrants caught this year – the first time the total has dipped under the million mark since 2003. The bad news? Officials report more and more border violence – “”including gunfights between rival smuggling gangs, gangs hijacking each others’ customers en route to U.S. destinations and the rape or assault of migrants.”” Stamping out amateur immigration has done little more than expand the market for professional smugglers – heavily armed paramilitary groups, usually with ties to criminal cartels. And the routine traffic in humans has made traffic in drugs easier as well. As migrant apprehensions have decreased over the past three years, marijuana seizures – a proxy for drug supply – have steadily increased to 1.7 million pounds this year. Strengthening border security may slow immigration, but it has criminal consequences.

    Cars, corn and crime

    You may be proud of your all-hemp organic biodiesel hybrid, but according to one international official, alternative fuels aren’t as friendly as we think. Jean Ziegler, a United Nations official bestowed with the dandy title of “”special rapporteur on the right to food”” claimed Saturday that the strategy of converting foods like corn and sugar into clean, renewable fuel is a “”crime against humanity.”” With typical bureaucratic panache, he then proposed a five-year global ban on growing food for use as fuel. Many biofuels, especially home-grown American corn ethanol, are sham solutions to the serious problem of climate change that do more harm than good – both to the environment and to the taxpayer. And it’s true that the trend of biofuel production has played a part in rising prices of staple foods in the third world. “”Tortilla riots”” broke out in Mexico earlier this year over the cost of corn flour, and the price of wheat hit a record high last month. But though this price trend is certainly troublesome for poor nations, it’s part of a larger price surge in all commodities – not just agricultural staples. Funky fuels have plenty of flaws, but comparing them to war and genocide does little more than belittle some of the most heinous events in history.

    Fakin’ it

    The disastrous response of the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was widely condemned as an inefficient and inept response to a major catastrophe. Now, as FEMA responds to the wildfires raging across southern California, the federal agency is trying to do more than rebuild charred homes: it’s rebuilding its public image. Of course, there’s no better way to spin positive stories than a carefully planned press conference – especially when there are no members of the press involved. Last week, FEMA Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson held a Washington press conference, ostensibly to answer questions about FEMA’s response in California. The catch? Instead of inviting actual reporters, FEMA employees dressed as reporters, sat in the audience, and lobbed softball questions like “”Are you happy with FEMA’s response so far?”” After the phony forum, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff chastised the “”stunt,”” and the White House said FEMA “”will not do it again.”” We hope so – the emergency agency should be responding in the field, not putting on plays for public attention.

    OPINIONS BOARD: Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Sarah Keeler, Connor Mendenhall and Jeremiah Simmons.

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