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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, February 25, 2005
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Presidents Day has political history

OK, I'll play surrogate Campus Detective to the question posed by Mr. Cook's letter yesterday about the travesty that is our having to attend class on Presidents Day. I write both out of a desire to inform and a desire to inspire people to do a little research of their own before they go taking the easy route of blaming every little thing on President Likins.

The history of Presidents Day in Arizona, and particularly the university system, is a muddy and politically charged issue. It is easy to track why the K-12 schools do not have it off. According to the UA Library's Web site, public schools in Tucson have gotten off the end of the week of George Washington's Birthday to celebrate both the Rodeo and Washington's Birthday since 1925 instead of having Presidents Day off. The issue of Presidents Day for the universities, however, is wrapped up in the continuing prejudice and bitter feelings surrounding impeached Governor Evan Mecham's infamous 1986 decision to eliminate Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday. Despite varying opinions on the reasons behind this fiasco, what is clear from news sources and my talks with alumni is that when Arizona agreed to start celebrating MLK Day again in 1992, the University of Arizona made it a holiday. Presidents Day and Rodeo Days, which students had previously gotten off, were cancelled to avoid increasing the number of holidays in the year.

One thing that is certain, however, is that President Likins had nothing to do with this, since Presidents Day was already not a holiday by the time he became president in July of 1997. If you would like to know more, I highly recommend you do some research of your own online. Just Google a few of the names from this letter and you should have plenty of information. Or try asking an alumni who was around in the early '90s. Also, try reading the www.snopes.com article on Presidents Day. The issue is far more multi-faceted and complex than I can possibly relate here.

John Bruce
computer science senior

Shisa owner 'Smiley' contradicts himself

As a zealous student of Middle Eastern culture and of Middle Eastern descent myself, curiosity led me into Smiley's Ultimate Hookah Lounge on the corner of Third Avenue and Ninth Street. Accompanied by some out-of-town visitors, we ordered shisha and enjoyed its soothing flavor and tranquil atmosphere of the place. Since I recently returned from the Middle East and having been through the shisha experience several times, I was highly impressed by Smiley's innovative way of placing the coal on glass as opposed to the aluminum foil typically employed by shisha users worldwide. Before leaving the lounge I approached the man behind the counter to compliment him on the idea. He informed me of his patent on the invention and assured me that if anyone, anywhere were to "steal" the idea, he would find out about it. "How could you be so sure?" I probed. He explained that his family has been in the shisha business since 1442 (as the T-shirts hanging on the walls of the lounge state) and that they are deeply rooted in a prominent area of Cairo. This sparked my fascination of the region, and I began to ask him questions pertaining to the shisha culture of the area. He was very short with me, which I attributed to the business of that rainy Friday night. So I left it alone and before leaving asked for his name. "Smiley" he responded. Surely his name could not be Smiley, for he had just told me of his Egyptian background. He insisted that it was. "OK, Smiley, what's your last name?" thinking certainly this would reveal his Arabic heritage. "Ibraham" (Eye-bra-ham, he pronounced). "Oh, you mean, 'Eb-ra-heym.'" I said, attempting to show that he could be comfortable pronouncing his last name properly, for I understand that there is no "I" (eye) sound in Arabic. He immediately snapped at me and lashed out with embarrassing claims and demanded that, "I leave (my) politics at the door." Politics? I thought this place was about cultural awareness.

I am surprised that in his interview for Monday's article he made no claims of his family having a monopoly on the shisha business throughout the Middle East. Why is that, Roger? Did you reach some cultural awareness yourself?

Michal Adam
undeclared senior

Transcript fee unfair

I take issue with the $6 fee the university charges for transcripts. Six dollars for a sheet of watermarked paper, run through a printer and sealed in an envelope is excessive and unnecessary.

Applying for scholarships, fellowships and graduate or professional programs is an important part of being a student and the processing fees associated with these applications are high enough without the university exacting what amounts to a tariff on each. I have no problem with user-based fees - provided that these fees are fair. I refuse to believe the transcript fee is.

Ashwin Bijanki
Near Eastern studies graduate student

Old people failed to get into basketball season

This past weekend was a great way to end the season for UA basketball. It started off kind of close but we then pulled away. Every day I read about how the students want more student sections and that we cannot because the alumni donate and have ways of getting their seats. I feel that the alumni are a waste of space! All they do all game is sit there and clap every once in a while. Our basketball team works around our spirit and how much we get into the games. The tradition is that you sit down after the visitors make their first points. Well I say screw tradition! This past week we had a 14-point lead that was lost within minutes. Once the other team scores the alumni just sit down and since they make up most of the crowd we lose all spirit! It wasn't until the score was 23-21 that they finally decided to cheer! This has happened multiple times and I wish there was a way to change that! If they are going to take up our space then at least they can cheer and get into the game!

Kenny Dahill
pre-business freshman

No need for anti-Smock pies; he isn't worth it

In response to Ms. Middleman's throwing of a pie at Jed Smock "to publicly humiliate him," a few words:

1) You do not need to publicly humiliate him. He does it himself every time he opens his mouth. Tacit disapproval accomplishes more than volatile reaction. Ignore him.

2) Throwing a pie at him only makes him feel as if he is being abused for speaking what he believes is the truth. Don't make him a martyr, even if it's just in his own head. He is not worth it.

3) Pie costs money, dear. Is it worth wasting your money on this clown? It is also a waste of delicious fruit compote.

4) If Smock is malnourished, he will eat the pie and feel rejuvenated.

5) Evolutionarily speaking, Smock is correct that a woman is only worth her vagina, if said vagina leads to functioning ovaries. You've got to give him that. A man is only worth his dick (or testes, rather) too.

Sure, Smock should be removed from campus for his slander. But is it really worth our time to crusade for such things? Women and homosexuals who know that their lives hold value shouldn't feel the least bit maligned by such nonsense. Dave Low
UA alumnus

Smock deserved face of pie

Mr. Smock, our resident evangelist, got a pie in the face earlier this week. While I feel that this was not very helpful, it did not surprise me. What did surprise me was what Mr. Smock said afterwards: "They crucified Jesus, remember?"

Yes, the Romans did. However, the difference here is that they crucified Jesus for spreading a message of love while students heckle Mr. Smock because of his message of hate. Mr. Smock hates many people: gays (aka perverts), independent women, abortionists, liberals, Arabs, Jews. If hate proceeds from fear, one must ask why Mr. Smock is so afraid. My understanding is that when one reaches a personal relationship with Jesus, one realizes that there is nothing to fear; it is the faith in one's safety in the arms of the infinite that allows the practice of "turning the other cheek" and actively loving one's neighbor.

The problem for Mr. Smock is that he wants to push upon us a religion that gives us more to hate and fear. In times as turbulent as these, that is the last thing we need. Let us take the advice of the Wildcat editors and just ignore the man and hope that he goes away because, sadly, the longer he is around the more likely it is he will find somebody frightened enough to listen in earnest.

And abetting the formation of one more Jed Smock will be a pie in our faces.

Ian MacDonald
creative writing graduate student

Letter confuses gay history

I find it sad when someone has the gall to take well-known facts, even biblical history, and misconstrue them to make his extremely conservative point. Rob Monteleone's letter in Wednesday's paper is the perfect example of that. I don't mind that he doesn't agree with homosexuality, but we're talking about equal rights, not personal beliefs.

For one, God did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality. Those cities were destroyed for their overall immorality, including many other sins not tied to homosexuality. Also, the AIDS epidemic may have been discovered first among gay men, but today it affects so many different people. How can you actually say that research to cure this disease is actually a waste of time? Someday, it might affect someone close to you, and I'm sure you'll be happy they did all the research that they have.

Society has not been dragged down by the gay population. We've all had an equal share in that. I can respect anyone's beliefs. But those personal beliefs should not be the basis for discrimination in the U.S. Constitution.

Philip Clelland
political science senior

Gays want equal privileges

I am responding to Mr. Monteleone's letter that began with an assertion that gay marriage would result in the same divorce rate as heterosexual marriage, but quickly jumped into a long rant of anti-gay viewpoints.

No one is saying gays are above divorce; they just want to stop being blamed for every problem facing heterosexual marriages and families. Gays simply want the same legal rights and privileges that you get, Mr. Monteleone, when you get married, reproduce and teach your children how to use religion to justify hating a group of people. But this is about rights as Americans, not religion, right?

You also made it clear that gays have ruined the sanctity of America's rest areas. Personally, I think we have the state departments of transportation to thank for this, having distributed funds to allow for such nice rest areas to be built (you should see the ones in Oklahoma, they are breathtaking). Don't they know how tempted gays get in those places? Evil temptresses. They just make it so convenient with all the running water, vending machines, and toilets. It's like going to the Ritz. Who wouldn't get it on in there?

As for Sodom and Gomorrah, it's your right to believe whatever you want when it comes to religion. However, insinuating that you are right, and everyone else is sinful, is not your decision to make, it is just annoying. The Bible also says it is a sin to wear clothing made of two types of material (Leviticus 19:19). Did you check the tags on your clothes today?

Lastly, you say gays are bringing society down. I'm sure someone said the same of black people during the civil rights movement. I'm sure that person, like you, had no real factual evidence to support that either.

Dan Tragesser
UA alumnus



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