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Letters to the Editor 2/5

Different cultures enrich America

In response to Ms. Brenda Martens’ letter Thursday, “Immigrants should adapt to culture,” I believe each new person who makes the decision to live in the United States will change and enrich our culture. Our culture has never been static and we are better because of this. Although English may be the primary language, there is much to be gained from hearing others speak their language. It is a joy to know people with multiple linguistic ability. All religions are equal. No one is better and though some will advocate their particular faith, this is not what our nation is based on.

There is much to learn from those who come from other cultures. I do care how you did things at home. I do not mind one bit if you do not agree with all policies in the United States. The reason this is a great country is that all feel free to express opinions. While some who were born here express bigoted feelings of xenophobia or intolerance, please realize that these expressions are not shared by all of us in the United States.

In fact, the oft-quoted patriotic statement, “Our country right or wrong? When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right” was made by Carl Schurz, a German-born immigrant who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1869 with respect for all religions, linguistic preference, and nation of origin.

Kathleen de la Pena McCook is a professor in the school of Library and Information Science.


Solar power should be used in Florida

Solar power is a costly investment at first, but in the long run it will be safer for the environment and will cost considerably less than electricity does. Although you say only 33 percent of all homes use electricity, are you forgetting about all the businesses and other places that use it? It’s a considerable amount.

According to Florida Power, some solar energy is incorporated into their power grid, but most of it comes from non-renewable forms (oil).

The solution is not to have every single individual home have solar panels, generators, converters and batteries, but have large scale regional solar cells that will transport the energy through power lines, just as normal electricity does, and as backups, use oil and natural gas.

Florida is the Sunshine State, and we do get a lot of it. A really innovative initiative would be to place small solar cells on top of all utility poles, which receive much sunlight and stand above most trees.

These solar cells can feed directly into the power lines via a small converter, or have energy fed to a redistribution/conversion site.

Whatever the workings, there needs to be a solution, and soon. The world’s oil, domestically forged or internationally conquered, won’t last forever. A gradual conversion to solar power should be welcomed, rather than ridiculed.

Shall we harness the great force in the sky that both gives life and takes it away, or face the fate of the dinosaurs by using up all their remains?

Anthony Schmidt is a sophomore majoring in anthropology.


Club sports important to university

“Get real, this is a big university,” Jon Mishner wrote in his letter to the editor. Get real? So, to him that means that The Oracle should not cover stories about the club sports here at USF? I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, this paper was about all of USF — not just his concerns. He may not want to read about women’s rugby, but I know a good number of the population of female students here that have done nothing but live women’s rugby for the past couple of months.

And every day there are more and more people who realize there are other, more fulfilling things to do here than taking classes and going to frat parties. There is a huge majority here at USF that takes part in club sports — rugby, lacrosse, water polo, sailing, ice hockey, ultimate frisbee and more. When Mishner said that printing the rugby fan’s letter was “a waste of ink” he upset more than her and her teammates. He upset the core of his university. Instead of complaining that the paper is wasting ink — which is exactly what his letter did, by the way — he should be thankful that his university has so much to offer. I challenge him to save our time now, and stop putting down what is an important part of many students’ lives here at USF. We play for our university because we want to. We are the students that bleed green and gold.

And by the way, thanks for bringing attention to the water polo teams here at USF. I’m sure they appreciate the publicity.

Tiffany Valentin is an honors student and president of the women’s rugby club.

America should give HIV help to Africa

This past weekend, seven astronauts lost their lives. The families of these astronauts must be going through difficult times, as many people are now parentless and spouseless. The future will never be the same for the relatives and friends of these seven people. Their sadness will be permanent, as will be their memories of the event.

What is even sadder to me, is that each day, over 1,000 people under 18 are dying in Africa. They are dying unjustly, due primarily to malnutrition and HIV infection. They are dying because there is not enough food to feed their bodies. Yet, somehow, as Americans, we have enough food to be able to eat out constantly, and usually, throw the leftovers away. Our priorities have become individual based, rather than humanitarian based. Our emotions are being controlled by the media. If the media wants to make us happy, it can. If it wants to make us miserable, it does.

Why do we feel tremendous remorse for seven people and overlook Africa? Is it due to skin color, economics, arrogance, or ignorance? If we provide nutrition to 100 people in Africa, it is not successful if we forget about 500. If we can provide foreign aid in the amount of $5 billion a year to Israel (with a population of roughly 6 million), why can we not redirect that money to Africa (with a population of close to 750 million)? Israel is the largest recipient of foreign aid in the world, yet it is one of the smallest occupied lands in the world.

College is a time for enhanced thought process. Let us not be among those who forget about those less privileged, as one day we too will be forgotten.

Mulham Shbeib is a USF alumnus.