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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, February 4, 2004
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Voters can vote in any primary they choose

While I agree with Brett Berry that the closed primary system in Arizona is less than ideal, I think he goes too far in describing independent voters as "discriminated against for their political beliefs."

Registering a party affiliation for the purposes of voting is not equivalent to joining the party. Joining a state party generally involves a financial contribution. Registering to vote in a party's primary is simply a matter of checking a box on a form. This affiliation can be changed as often as one likes, so long as it is done sufficiently in advance of election day (about one month, I believe.) An independent voter, therefore, is free to vote in whichever primary he or she feels appropriate. He or she just has to plan ahead a little bit.

Personally, I've had three different registered affiliations since I've lived here. It's not hard.

Brian Hawkins
neuroscience graduate student

Tuition hike won't have tangible results

It's that time of the year again. Spring is coming, plants are sprouting and tuition is being increased. As is becoming the annual spring tradition, President Pete Likins is proposing another ridiculous hike in every student's educational costs. Now, I don't really have a problem with raising the cost of the UA. The problem I have is that I know that the proceeds will not go toward bettering my education. Likins won't hire more faculty or buy new classroom equipment. He will spend it on making the buildings look more modern or for a new parking garage (that we will have to pay even more to actually park in). Likins is more concerned with campus buildings' appearances than with the education that should be taking place within them. What do we have to show for the $1,000 increase last year? Budget cuts in nearly every area, several minors being trashed, the terminations of many professors and entire departments being condescendingly told, "OK, run along to another university, now." All the while, Likins is talking of "Focused Excellence" (a euphemism for, "If Your Department Doesn't Bring In Enough Money, Then Peace Out") and spouting delusions of grandeur that the UA will be the Harvard of the West. No one here wants it to be Harvard. How many people came to the UA in search of an Ivy League degree? Maybe the people who actually believe what Likins spews at them. But the other 99 percent remember one undeniable fact: This is a state school. And a state school will never be "focused" or "excellent." Let's not kid ourselves. The tuition hike proceeds will be allocated just as worthlessly as last year's.

Matt Sawatzki
communication senior

Dean is deliberate target of media attack

In America, presidents and candidates are assassinated in the media. But in the candidacy of Howard Dean, we have the first instance of an assassination by the media.

Gaffe-prone, angry, unstable, screaming Dean is unsuited to be president say the TV, the newspapers, the radio. But is that reality, or just the version the media has fashioned to assassinate Dean?

The independent Center for Media and Public Affairs studied the candidates' press coverage and found that Dean received negative coverage twice as often as other candidates. And this was before the post-Iowa speech labeled "I have a scream" by media wags.

The coverage of this non-event was so egregious and lacking in context that many journalists and news outlets have since issued quiet apologies. But the damage is done.

Why would the media be so unrelentingly hostile toward Dean? Why would it engage in character assassination and propaganda of the lowest sort by portraying superficial appearances as deep character flaws?

Dean alone has repeatedly called for rolling back ownership concentration of the media and breaking up giant media conglomerates, openly declaring that a lack of diversity in the media is incompatible with democracy. Is there really any wonder why the media has decided to kill his candidacy?

Millions of your fellow citizens are not fools; we've seen past the media's slander. Dean is a good and honest man who led his state skillfully for over a decade. He is electable if you vote for him.

Michael Bryan

Europe opposes link between Iraq, terror

In his Jan. 28 commentary, Aaron Okin brings to our attention two very interesting and overlooked political realities: historical and enduring European prejudice against Muslims and international neglect of the still unresolved Cyprus problem. What is confusing, and what leaves Mr. Okin looking confused, is that these realities are construed as a viable pretext for criticizing France, Germany and the U.S. political left. Okin argues that the French and German governments and people should be taken to task for their opposition to the U.S. execution of its war on terrorism. It is the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that has led to the most conflict between Europeans and Americans, not the so-called war on terrorism.

To read the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq as a legitimate part of the war on terror is a position contested almost everywhere outside this country, and, for that matter, by almost everyone in Turkey. Despite the token assistance and political cover that conservative European governments have provided to the coalition, popular opposition to the war and occupation was high everywhere in Europe, including the United Kingdom, and it polled at close to 90 percent in Turkey. Also worth mentioning is that, although France and Germany are singled out for criticism, they are hardly the only countries with storied and unfortunate traditions of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment. Mr. Okin conveniently omits discussion of such matters in coalition partner states like Poland, Denmark and Italy. If the U.S. political left is ignorant of such problems, then I thank Mr. Okin for bringing them to our attention.

He would be wise to pursue his interests in a just political solution to the Cyprus problem and countering the prejudices facing Turkey in its bid for European Union accession. To use such serious conflicts as a pretext for criticizing France, Germany and the U.S. left is naive and unhelpful.

Jim Bowman
rhetoric program graduate student

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