Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, December 7, 2005
The silent issue of sobriety
Used by the British to combat loneliness and malaria in the tropics, alcohol is simultaneously man's best friend and his greatest bane.
At the UA, it is hopelessly ingrained in the college mentality. Alcohol abuse is quickly becoming our issue of the year - an issue more celebrated than shunned. In fact, the per capita consumption of alcohol at the UA is enough to fuel the Coors Light train three times over.
Enforcement is pursued, but in order to avoid a pandemic, we must largely police ourselves. Sure, parties are busted, driving under the influence citations are given, and drunken escapades ensue in Police Beat, but greater problems of consumption remain a silent issue. Alcohol destroys productivity, relationships and futures.
Messages of moderation are rarely given. Self-control is thrown to the wind and sobriety is largely frowned upon. After all, who wants to be the champion of temperance?
But we can do better. So next time you pick up a Jaeger bomb or kamikaze shot, ponder the irreparable harm done to mind and body.
Here's to a less inebriated and more progressive new year.
Alan Eder is a senior majoring in political science and Spanish. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Blog growth out of control
I'd like to nominate the explosion of blogs and the relative growth of their nebulous homeland, the blogosphere, as the issue of the semester. This is mostly because they creep me out, but also because the other columnists already have the real issues eloquently covered.
Personal blogs - or weblogs, to the uninitiated (a group that now consists of one of your great uncles and the Amish community) - are the technological equivalent of writing a note to a friend and then tacking it up on a wall in the student union, or whispering a secret into a megaphone.
These little corners of the Internet, packed with photos and awkward poetry, epitomize the importance - or lack thereof - that we place on privacy. Whatever happened to keeping a diary? Or writing a letter to someone you actually know? Or, oh, I don't know, occasionally thinking something and letting it remain unexpressed?
The blog phenomenon is just one manifestation of our nationwide coquetry with overexposure. Our untoned stomachs hang out from our shirts, while our reality shows have made a cult of the banal. And we're recording the whole thing on Myspace.com. It's getting tiring. Let's reclaim the joys of leaving some things to the imagination.
Lori Foley is a senior majoring in French and English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A swiftly tilting Court
Of the many important issues that have come up this semester, none will have as far-reaching implications for the people of the U.S. as the reshaping of the U.S. Supreme Court.
With the death of William Rehnquist and the not-yet-completed retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, the question is not will the court be affected, but how?
From the Roberts hearings to the Harriet Miers debacle and now to the consideration of Samuel Alito, this semester has provided the people with an intimate view of the Supreme Court that they have not had in almost 10 years.
Alexander Hamilton said in the Federalist No. 78 that the judiciary would be "The least dangerous branch of government."
The events of the past semester have pleased conservatives who hope the new justices will sympathize with their ideological perspective, while liberals have been left hoping simply that Hamilton's foresight was correct.
As the debate about the appropriate role of a judge in our society continues to rage in our newspapers, our discourse and our classrooms, we should feel fortunate to be witness to the dawn of a new chapter in the history of American jurisprudence.
Michael Huston is a sophomore majoring in political science and philosophy. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Class availability not solved
Despite students rating it as their top priority in a spring 2005 survey, despite it being a major focus of the new presidential search and despite the fact that it is the single biggest deterrent of future students, class availability continues to be as big a problem as ever.
Instead of having university-wide decisions, we have departments battling with each other to have to shoulder the least amount of burden as possible. And with this year's freshman class the biggest ever, it's only getting worse.
Instead of building large lecture halls to have bigger sections, instead of adding more adjuncts, instead of shuffling course requirements, we have nothing. We have WebReg Permissions, a welcome tool for departments, but a tool that will only be used to keep students out of classes, without giving other students an answer.
Where are the clever solutions, like finding open seats when students drop the first day, or predicting which classes will lose a third of the class after the first test? Maybe next semester, with the appointment of a new president, will bring some real solutions.
Ryan Johnson is a senior majoring in economics and international studies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apathy: What is that?
Throughout this semester, issues have risen and fallen, disputes have waxed and waned, but one problem has floated to the surface: student apathy.
We go to a Division I school of more than 35,000 undergraduates, not to mention the strong showing of graduate students, and they refuse to engage themselves. Whether it's the low turnout rate to important votes, like the Student Recreation Center fee extension, or the appalling student attendance at the presidential search, students refuse to immerse themselves in incredible school opportunities.
Where else in your life will you be able to interact with future doctors, future accountants and future lawyers all in the same place? The UA community is vast and diverse, with functions involving artists' showings, the Arizona Board of Regents and intriguing student theater productions, but all of these opportunities to expand people's minds only have a straggled-in student here and there.
After 3 1/2 years, I have realized that these events have enriched my life, and will do so for others as well. So move away from your apathetic roots and enjoy the environment that has been given to you, it will do nothing less than make it better.
Mike Morefield is a political science senior. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Three cheers for lying!
Karl Rove, Scott Libby, slow Hurricane Katrina response, high gas prices, William Bennett, GITMO, hurricanes galore, popped collars, hypocritical vegetarians, the UA men's basketball team losing to an unranked team. So many choices, only one first place. Drum roll please. And the issue of the semester goes to:
The slew of secret CIA prisons spanning Eastern Europe. Thanks guys, for once again showing us that the U.S. and human rights are about as compatible as eggnog and beer pong.
That's right, folks. The CIA's hidden torture facilities have taken first place in the biannual "issue of the semester" contest. Unearthed a few weeks ago, the newly discovered prisons have taken the world by storm, managing to successfully worsen already bad relations with our colleagues across the pond and to once again expose the hypocrisy that is the U.S. freedom agenda.
If we have any desire to return to days when foreigners viewed America as a respectable, trusted nation, to the days when America was synonymous with awe and wow, such blatant hypocrisy must cease immediately.
For helping America stay the course down a flushing toilet, the U.S.-run, allegedly nonexistent torture camps earned the right to be the issue of the semester.
Scott Patterson is an international studies senior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IPod, uPod, we all scream for Apple
Hurricanes. Floods. Yes, natural disasters have dominated the news these past few months. But the eeriest and most prevalent item this semester came coupled with culturally symbolic white headphones.
Apple's iPod and the subsequent iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano gave Americans (especially college students) one more reason to go into credit card debt, capping off arguably the largest trend of the year. Besides providing people a "1984"-like urgency to own its newfound color casing, the iPod has claimed the top spot of music technology, making other MP3 players appear obsolete (or, at least, quite unfashionable).
Doted on more than 3-day-old infants, iPods are more visible on campus than even the now-faded popped collar trend. As an anti-iPod agent, I fail to see the need for the identification through the multi-faceted device.
But, wait! Now Apple brings us the iPod that features full-length video capabilities (150 hours), starting at $299. Here comes the great financial debacle: to purchase the improved iPod that can hold 15,000 songs and 25,000 photos or to pay January rent? Keeping all social implications in mind, I'll succumb to the overarching peer pressure. Does anyone have an extra couch?
Katie Paulson is a junior majoring in English and political science. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Newsflash: people steal!
It is no great secret that the most frequently committed crime on campus is property theft. It seems every other week sees another frustrated plea from the University of Arizona Police Department to just "be smart and stay alert" on campus.
But for some reason, we still don't seem to be getting it. Judging from any random issue of Police Beat, their audience isn't paying enough attention: Our campus is practically a shopping mall for bikes and laptops.
Walk through the UA Main Library at any given time, early afternoon or early morning, and odds are good that you'll see a backpack or laptop sitting utterly unattended. How many times do we have to hear "it only takes a moment" before we believe it?
Of course, some people take all possible precautions, locking their bikes with two U-Locks, a few cables and wrapping the whole thing in barbed wire before each class begins. And somehow, our Bermuda Triangle of bicycles still manages to relieve these most cautious of riders of their means of transportation.
So, for those of you who are on your second or third bike, or down one laptop and a book bag, whether through negligence or simple bad luck, take heart. This is the time of your life, right?
Ella Peterson is a creative writing junior. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bernsen ballyhoo
It is impossible to overstate the seriousness of sexual harassment allegations made against ASUA President Cade Bernsen last week. Bernsen stands accused of asking female co-workers for sexual favors and making sexually lewd remarks to female co-workers. To top it off, Bernsen missed the Arizona Board of Regents meeting last week, presumably because he was crying over the "conspiracy" against him.
Whether or not he is proven guilty, the job done by Bernsen and Associated Students of the University of Arizona this semester is probably the worst I have ever seen in my entire time at the UA. Under Bernsen's weak leadership, ASUA senators have already spent most of their operating budget for the whole year, much of it for senators to fly to Denver for a leadership conference. Where's the leadership, though?
ASUA supervised a rigged election in which students voted overwhelmingly for recreation center improvements. Cooler heads should have postponed the election until proper information could be disseminated to students. Under Bernsen's guise, a war has been started between ASUA and the Graduate and Professional Student Council; Bernsen has done nothing but exacerbate the situation with his crassness. The only question that remains is, if Bernsen is impeached, is this the worst semester in the history of student government at the UA?
Dan Post is a senior majoring in ecology and anthropology. He can be reached at email@example.com.
I know this much to be true
Whether or not something is an important issue is extremely subjective. Everyone has their own unshakable beliefs about what matters and what doesn't. This leads to unsolvable disagreements that only create bitterness and turn man against his fellow man. Therefore, I will not in this space make any claims as to what the most important issue of the semester was, despite the fact that this is what I am getting paid to do. Rather, I will now list the only six things that I am certain are true:
Tim Rattay is the worst quarterback the NFL has ever seen. Despite what anyone says, "Rubber Soul" is better than "Revolver." I think, therefore I am. The chow mein from the Panda Express in the Student Union Memorial Center is fantastic, but the chow mein from the one in the Park Student Union is somehow not as good.
The coolest thing I've ever seen is a fight between a bear and a moose on the Discovery Channel in which, after sizing each other up, the bear promptly takes down the moose, rips it to shreds and then feeds it to its children. I don't like mushrooms.
David Schultz is a senior majoring in political science and philosophy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace on earth (or at least the Middle East)
Israeli-Palestinian peace: It's almost an oxymoron. But the past four months have seen a dramatic shift in its favor.
It took the delicate steering of "The Bulldozer," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - once considered the hawk's hawk - and some political backbone from other members of Israel's "right-wing" Likud party, but after the death of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat in November 2004, a summertime settler withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and most recently, Sharon's withdrawal from Likud itself, the Israeli political tectonic plates aren't just shifting, they're churning.
When it comes to Middle Eastern politics, it would be premature and utterly naïve to predict anything before it actually happens. Nothing is clear in such a quagmire of ethnic hostilities, Western interests and deep-seated historical rivalries. But it appears that Israel and Palestine are finally getting their respective houses straightened out.
The new year offers an Israeli election with two friends and former rivals, Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres, statesmen if such a thing ever existed, joined together in a new middle-of-the-road party - a party consciously aimed at a final Israel-Palestine status agreement.
Let's bring in the new year with a toast to visionary leadership in a region too often blinded by irrational hatred.
Matt Stone is a senior majoring in international studies and economics. He can be reached at email@example.com.