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Letters to the Editor 6/27

Accomplishments need to be weighed

Thank you for printing the opinion held by Timothy Hobbs of President George W. Bush in Monday’s paper. His views are not uncommon for those who have their heads so deeply embedded into the president’s rear end that they can almost see Bill O’Reilly. It was a perfect example of someone pretending to fight for one side of a two-headed monster when all they’re really doing is defending the status quo, and it was funny.

Mr. Hobbs claims, “President Bush has done an outstanding job so far,” and then lists a few of his “accomplishments.” I would like to address a couple of them and then shed some light on what I believe to be the real issue.

Accomplishment No. 1: tax cut.

I have to admit that I did receive an extra refund check from the federal government thanks to President George W. Bush. And yes, it did feel like free money. But at least I did the right thing and used it to stimulate the economy (of the Copper Top Pub.)

But did Mr. Hobbs know that 43 percent of that tax cut went to the wealthiest one percent? I’m no math major, but that doesn’t seem to add up. The wealthiest one percent employ accountants and lawyers to hide their bloated stew pots from the IRS, they don’t need the help of the President of the United States.

In fact, since 1979, the richest one percent have had their wages increase by 157 percent while the bottom 20 percent are making $100 less annually (adjusted for inflation).

Accomplishment No. 2: Rejecting the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming. This was a smart move, according to Mr. Hobbs, because it “would have cut U.S. GDP by three percent a year along with Americans standard of living.”

Now, I don’t know what all those fancy initials mean, but what I do know is this: the “American standard of living” won’t mean a whole hell of a lot when toxins produced by major corporations (protected by President G.W. Bush and deregulation) continue to pollute the environment, destroy the ozone layer, cause ocean levels to continue to rise and catapult us into the next ice age. If you think Waterworld was a bad movie, wait until we’re living it.

The hole in the ozone layer is 10.5 million square miles and growing. The Kyoto Protocol wouldn’t have reversed the damage already done, but it would have at least applied the brakes a little.

The other option is investing in future beachfront property in Kansas and stocking up on Coppertone’s new line of SPF 8,000,000.

Mr. Hobbs also compares the Bush presidency thus far to the Clinton presidency, in hopes of elevating the stature of G. “Dub.” That really made me think, and I realized that I’ve never heard anyone say nice things about President George W. Bush without speaking poorly of President Clinton.

Why is it that supporters of the current president can’t defend him without attacking the former? As if to say, “We suck, but they sucked worse.” They want you to think that there are these major differences between the two, so you can pick a side and be counted as one of them.

But the truth is that whether you choose Republican or Democrat, your vote ends up in the pocket of some rich, white guy whose only responsibility is maintaining status quo. We choose between the people they’ve allowed us to choose from.

That’s why the 2000 presidential campaign was so close. Nobody could tell the difference between Gore and Bush.

Fortunately, people are beginning to realize that Republicans and Democrats are flip sides of the same coin, and what we need is a new currency.

Stephen C. Bedell is a sophomore.

Disgust reaches all levels

This is in response to J.L. Rasmussen’s disgust with Parking and Transportation Services. Bravo.

I read his letter to the editor on the same day I received a letter from Parking and Transportation Services telling me that the appeals officer would not throw out a ticket that had been placed on my car last Monday in the pouring rain, when I drove to class rather than waiting in the rain for a shuttle. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I read a faculty member’s comments on this out-of-control department. It feels good to know that students are not the only people who find serious problems with the fact that there are dozens of Parking and Transportation Services employees camping out on the perimeters of lots, waiting for someone to park in the wrong spot.

This department is the most apparent waste of student funds on this campus. We do not need Parking and Transportation Services because they don’t do anything. I have never seen an employee picking up trash on the lots. I have never seen an employee patching the roads on campus. I have never seen an attendant in the booth at the Crescent Hill Parking Garage.

I have, on the other hand, seen them sitting around in their carts not doing any work. I have seen them congregating under shady trees or in the fine arts parking lot chatting with each other. I have seen them driving shuttles that in no way run at intervals that coordinate with class times. I have seen them standing around and joking with each other in the Parking Services office rather than helping customers.

And they say that this is a necessary expense for our university. I think not.

Darlene Horne is a senior majoring in theater.

Prisoners of campus food service

It is strangely appropriate that our new food service provider also supplies our prison inmates with meals. College students and prison inmates have one thing in common as far as food is concerned – we are both captive audiences.

Aramark’s business practices should not surprise us. Not only do they serve such small portions that prison guards have thousands of hungry, irritable inmates on their hands, but they also owe $110,000 to the state for various infractions. Aramark is in business to make a profit – for corporations that large, food is always secondary. Granting monopolies to food service providers strikes me as a very inefficient, selfish practice. We’ve endured Marriott’s garbage for long enough to know that in the absence of competition, monopolies do not encourage quality. So much for free enterprise.

Above all, such monopolies fly in the face of what universities are supposed to accomplish – outreach to the community. Within a mile radius of USF, there are dozens of great affordable restaurants that pay close attention to the food and customers they serve.

Monopolies also crush diversity, another idea USF is committed to. Submarine sandwiches pale in comparison to the wide variety of foods available nearby. With a largely foreign student body and savvy locals, one would think that Middle Eastern, Indian, African and Latin foods would be a huge hit, but such foods are much too nuanced for clumsy corporations.

Why not open a food court to invite local businesses, outside of Aramark’s domain? Why not have a weekday “food fair” at the Sessums mall to allow locals to promote themselves (not Domino’s pizza)?

In fact, why bother with Aramark at all? The end result of local food service would be wealth for local businessmen and savings for students.

But the dye has already been cast, and student and staff alike are now a captive audience to a new food service provider – one we know all too well.

Andrew Huse is a member of the Library staff.