Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, January 20, 2006

Rodgers' departure answers many fans' prayers

Chris Rodgers' recent departure from the men's basketball team has not only satisfied many dedicated fans' gripes but has also solidified the fact that Lute Olson still can coach. With our subpar start to the 2005-06 season, an action such as this could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Sure, Chris Rodgers is a great basketball player, but is he a team player, or does he have the team's best interest at heart? The answer to those questions is an emphatic "no" - the evidence being an eviction notice posted on his locker at McKale.

I attended the UA for four years and all four years I was there, I never heard anything good about this guy. All I read was about how he would go to the Student Recreation Center and be a ball hog in normal pickup games and talk trash to fellow students. He will have plenty of time to play at the Rec Center now. I have watched every game the Wildcats have played this season and I don't think a game has gone by without Rodgers pumping his chest and drawing attention to himself after making a good play. He is expected to make a 3-point shot when he is wide open or steal a few passes, but does it mean he should flex to the crowd and say "look at me"? This is not and was never Olson's policy as far as playing goes. Olson, when listened to, turns players into NBA prospects. A lot of people say he is over the hill and can't coach anymore. I think the action taken against Rodgers is a wake-up call to the rest of the team and potential recruits that they better respect Lute and respect his gym at all times. The formula seems pretty simple: You are a great talent if you get recruited to play at the UA; work hard and listen to coaches and you could be playing for millions someday. I just wish all the players had that attitude. Hopefully 'Zona can turn this season in a different direction and maybe this will help get the wheels in motion.

Seth Garrett
Regional development alumnus

Sharon's actions in Israel not admirable

I would like to pose a few questions to Rebecca Patterson concerning her wildly erroneous claims about relations between Lebanon and Israel in yesterday's mailbag. First, have you ever been to Lebanon? Second, have you ever even spoken to a Lebanese citizen? Based on the assertions presented in yesterday's column, my presumption would be "no" on both questions. Well, I am Lebanese, and I have been there. I have seen firsthand the destruction of Lebanese property and life at the hands of the Israeli army. Israel is responsible for invading Lebanon and for killing, torturing and imprisoning thousands of Lebanese citizens in the south of the country. I have seen firsthand the internment camps where Lebanese citizens were wrongfully held. I do not know of a single Lebanese citizen who holds any feelings but anger toward Israel and empathy toward the cause of the Palestinians. Patterson is basing her opinions on religious ideology rather than fact and documentation. In the future, Patterson may want to base her research on something more substantial and honest. A newspaper would be a good start. Even better, try talking to someone who's been there.

Bethany Slim
junior majoring in political science and journalism

Letter on Sharon's history misrepresentative

With the slightest effort, one can easily find out just what kind of man Ariel Sharon was and is. As a young man in the early 1950s, Sharon was a member of the Haganah, the underground military of Israel before it was an official country. Leading Unit 101, a unit dedicated to the violent terrorizing of the Arab populace, Sharon systematically killed men, women and children. Sharon didn't just give the orders - he did these things himself. He went on to base his whole career on destroying lives. This is not a conspiracy theory; it is fact. Israel itself found Sharon responsible for civilian massacre during the '80s in an investigation led by its own official Kahan commission. So where does terrorism get you? Now Israel gets more foreign aid from the U.S. then any other country - more money then we allocate to feed our poor or educate our children - and a dying warmonger gets a vigil from some very well-meaning but misinformed people.  

Omar Garbareno

Captivity causes serious harm to elephants

The controversy over keeping elephants in zoos has become a heated debate and for good reason. It is common for elephants in zoos to suffer from degenerative joint problems, lameness and chronic foot infections from standing for long periods on concrete or unnatural surfaces.

Constant and wide-ranging movement over varied substrates such as hills, dirt and grasses is essential for their good health. Last year, recognizing that they did not have the space necessary to provide for elephants' physical and psychological needs, the Detroit and San Francisco zoos closed their elephant exhibits and sent their elephants to sanctuaries. More and more people are questioning the ethics of keeping Earth's largest land mammals in spaces that are essentially their demise. We hope that for the sake of these majestic animals more zoos will send their elephants to sanctuaries where they can begin to heal their captivity-induced afflictions.

Kristie Phelps
Program coordinator,
In Defense of Animals

Crucial fact regarding elephants miscommunicated

While I was happy to see some of the facts printed in "Law students push for elephant haven" by Nicole Santa Cruz yesterday, I was quite bothered when I read what was communicated regarding the ownership of these elephants. The Reid Park Zoo has no ultimate say in regards to what happens to Connie and Shaba, as Susan Basford implies. They are owned by the City of Tucson, not the zoo, and therefore the Tucson City Council and the people of Tucson will decide their fate by making the compassionate choice of moving them to The Elephant Sanctuary or opting for their inevitably premature death if kept at the zoo. Statistically it has been proven that other animals' life spans roughly double in captivity. Elephants, on the other hand, consistently die 20 to 30 years sooner than they would in the wild. This can be easily prevented, and is not worth the price of an admission ticket. Elephants do not adapt in captivity and develop a myriad of heath issues just like Fico stressed, and leading elephant experts, such as Joyce Poole, would agree with her on this.

Basford also said, "We try to create an intimate experience for our guests and to encourage them to care about exotic animals and places and to develop a conservation ethic; that's really what we're here to do. Seeing elephants is a big part of that." That is absurd. Zoos do not aid in developing a conservation ethic; millions more are spent on keeping animals pent up in miniscule habitats instead of being given to the actual conservation effort. With elephants, we are currently destroying their habitat faster then ever before, and Asian elephants are even endangered. Conservation is carried out by habitat protection and anti-poaching measures. If these two things are not focused on and given the immense funding they lack, elephants will not survive regardless of how many we put on display for the public's enjoyment.

Santa Cruz was right in saying the zoo will not likely change its stance any time soon. To the zoo, Connie and Shaba are strictly financial assets. Zoo officials are turning their back to every statistic and study conducted that refutes their claims, forever hailing the support of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, an organization that requires a mere 1,800-square-foot outdoor living space for an elephant, the earth's largest land mammal. I do not think I have to be Joyce Poole to see that this is ridiculous and inadequate. I know it is nice to see elephants close up, but it is time that these girls are retired before it is too late for them. Progressive zoos have donated their elephants to sanctuaries willingly, and the Reid Park Zoo has the blinders on regarding the facts that are staring them in the face. Eight million dollars is not going to fall out of the sky and the zoo's efforts to raise this money have been futile. Additionally, I don't want to continue to watch the other animals at our zoo suffer due to finances being completely diverted to something that is not even necessary. I urge you all to write the city council, as I have, in support of what these people are doing to help these elephants and your pockets as taxpayers.

Colleen Dugan
computer science senior

Amendment banning gay marriage deplorable

I have been trying to figure out why Arizona needs the "Protect Marriage Arizona" amendment. The amendment adds two points to the constitution: First, the word "marriage" is to be legally reserved for a man and a woman. Secondly, no similar term is allowed to be created or recognized within the state for any other type of partnership.

As far as I can tell, this will just allow those following religious lifestyle standards to continue enjoying their tax discounts and benefit packages. It's like marriage is a Bible discount and this law just keeps the club exclusive.

In my opinion, the amendment is selfish and absurd. People don't want to pay to spread their benefits to domestic partners? Is this just money-grubbing conservative politics? It is the religious institution trying to preserve its moral constrictions on society? In my opinion, it's both, and it's unfortunate.

Josh White
mathematics senior