Letters to the Editor

U.N. support in Iraq has to be on clear terms

This comment is in response to President George W. Bush’s address at the annual conference of the United Nations General Assembly, which gathered leaders from all over the world.

While the Bush administration is asking the United Nations for assistance in Iraq after arrogantly refusing to comply with their decisions regarding the U.S. invasion in that country and going against the recommendations of many foreign representatives, other members are more concerned about gathering funds for more compelling reasons. For instance, restructuring Iraq will take decades and will require billions of dollars. After all, a democracy does not get implemented overnight. The other side of the story is that U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan and other leaders are committed to eradicating worldwide hunger, which keeps increasing over time. It is estimated that 24,000 die from undernourishment-related diseases each year, and little can be done due to lack of funds from underdeveloped countries where the problem is more apparent. Now more expenses will come up, as the United Nations is being asked to take part of the responsibility in Iraq, although they strongly attempted to avoid the war. After undermining international participation and ignoring the United Nations’ decisions, arguing that “nations of goodwill should help Iraq” may not only be ineffective, but also rather hypocritical.

Whether funds should go to Iraq’s restoration or hunger eradication is up to the United Nations to decide. Bush should think about the consequences before making a mess and asking for help without a bit of prudence.

Najla Maluf is a junior majoring in political science.

Greek’s do not have more prejudices

I have been reading the letters about Greek society for the last week. I feel that it is becoming a war between Greeks and non-Greeks. I want to take the opportunity to voice a few things. I am not involved in any Greek organization, however, a large portion of my friends are. Greek fraternities and sororities are just like any other group on campus. They are a group of people with similar ideals and interest who enjoy the company of each other. I don’t hear anyone talking badly about the people involved in band, sports teams or even professional societies.

Greek organizations aren’t any different; so why are they being singled out?

I’m sure the people writing editorials or publicly speaking out against the Greek community are guiltier of utilizing the skewed selection process than they are accusing others of exercising.

The difference is that I could guarantee that the Greek communities would be much more willing to accept a non-Greek into their circle of friends than most of the self-righteous students who are accusing these groups of superficial biases.

I would suggest getting to know the smart, funny, personable people who are involved in Greek organizations before you judge them on standards that you yourself don’t uphold.

Rebecca Deinlein is a junior majoring in marketing.

Tax rates need to be restructured to be fair

The presidential election is just around the corner, and the economy will be one of the main issues discussed. Of course, with discussion of the economy comes discussion of taxes. The left believes that the wealthy should be taxed very highly. They call this “paying their fair share.” Why should their fair share be so much more than everyone else’s fair share?

The left has always been wrong on taxes. In this country, we strive to be as successful as we can be. With success comes the opportunity to make more money. Why else do the majority of Americans work long days and spend time away from their families? Making a bigger paycheck is the reward for all of their hard work.

Now, the left seems to think that if you have been successful at your occupation and make a larger amount of money, you should have more taxes taken from you.

Not only that, but if there is a tax cut, you shouldn’t get one because you make too much money.

This system is backward. The government is pretty much saying “please try your hardest and be as successful as you can, because when you get paid more, we will, too.” The people who pay the most in taxes are getting robbed.

I believe most Americans think everyone should pay their fair share of taxes and that is not happening. The current system is an unfair system. The government needs to stop punishing people for being successful.

Jason Hash is a junior majoring in political science.

Atkin’s diet does lead to long term effects

The writer of this letter, Robert Bowers, obviously missed the point of the Sept. 25 editorial about the potential dangers of the Atkins diet. That item was clearly titled “Atkins diet not worth the long term risks.” Yet Mr. Bowers attempts to counter the findings of the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency by saying that Atkins has worked well for his wife and for himself ever since the two started on the diet a mere six weeks ago. Another argument Mr. Bowers makes for Atkins is that “the Atkins diet is close to what everyone’s ancestors ate up until a few thousand years ago.” I will grant that that statement is true – I’m no student of anthropology – but take a moment and think about it: What was the life expectancy of those ancestors? If it was such a great diet, why would people change their eating habits? Today people are living longer, healthier lives because we now know that a well-balanced diet of proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates will provide us with the vitamins and minerals our bodies require to give our bodies energy, fight off disease and increase longevity.

One other point: Mr. Bowers says that the sugar industry “gets rich off of wrecking people’s lives.” I agree that like tobacco companies, big sugar is out to make a buck at the expense of Americans’ health (and the environment) … not very nice. However, it is also our responsibility as consumers to avoid products that we know are harmful, such as cigarettes and large quantities of refined sugar.

If you want to keep your weight in check and live a better life, exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet. Better yet, go vegan.

Angela Infante is majoring in professional and technical writing.

Telemarketers part of the economy, free speech
Re: “Stop calling me, already” Sept. 29

The typical situation: You work all day, come home, relax, get ready to sit down for dinner and the phone rings. It’s another “annoying” telemarketer. Why is it that telemarketers get such a bad wrap? When I read “Stop Calling Me, Already” (Sept. 29), I was completely blown away about how people badmouth telemarketers. They speak of them as though they are somehow evil. So what if they call you at your house? People don’t try to compile a national Do Not Solicit list for the commercials that interrupt their television show each night or for the magazines that have an ad for, as Sebastian would say, “some product or service I don’t even want in the first place.” People look at telemarketers as just another annoying phone call that they are trying to put a stop to, but doesn’t anyone think about the millions of people that are going to be out of jobs because of this national list? Telemarketers are just people trying to make a living. Be they a single parent or a struggling college student, they need to make money in order to obtain what they need in life. People complain about the number of phone calls they get each day, but what they fail to realize is that telemarketers do not call random people. They get phone lists from marketing partners. If you are getting phone calls from telemarketers, you have at some point made a purchase or joined something where, in the terms and conditions, it states that you agree to have your information shared and that these affiliated companies may contact you. The only one to blame for these “unwanted” calls is you.

Cristen Rensel is a mass communications major.

You stated that “Free speech is not someone wanting to sell me a washing machine. It is, however, free speech if a non-profit organization calls me at home to bring to my attention a petition.”

The constitution makes no such distinction. Why is it more constitutional for someone to call seeking support for his pet political issue, candidate, or charity than it is for him to call in an effort to make a living?

Despite the fact that I had placed my number on the list, I must agree with the judge. A restriction based upon the content of the message is unconstitutional.

There may remain an opportunity to ban unsolicited calls, in general, as a form of trespass.

The 10th Amendment should require this to be implemented through state rather than federal law, though we’ve certainly seen the “commerce clause” stretched before.

Tyson Richmond is a junior majoring in physics.

Legal actions against telemarketers available

With the quick pace of current events, even the article in Monday’s Oracle was outdated before afternoon class. Monday FCC chairman Michael K. Powell stated, “Beginning Wednesday, the FCC will enforce its Do-Not-Call rules against telemarketers that have obtained the Do-Not-Call list from the FTC.” This bypasses the current stay that was preventing the FTC from enforcing its own rules and provides protection to the 50 million intended households.

One of the problems mentioned was repeated calling by a few well-known entities. These companies rely on the fact that few people may be aware of their rights or their ability to enforce them in court by suing for statutory damages. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (47 USC 227) has many stipulations protecting the consumer. Whenever a telemarketing call is received at a residence, one should specifically state, “You are to place me on your company’s DNC list and you are to send me a copy of your policy regarding the maintenance of that (DNC) list.” This request is to be followed for 10 years and covers not only the call center placing the call, but also the entity or person to whom the call is made. The TCPA specifically provides a private right of action if you receive two calls in violation of the law in any 12-month period; wherein one is then owed, by statute, $500 per violation. There are often multiple violations in each call.

The TCPA also prohibits other actions, such as unsolicited “junk” faxes or initiating a commercial call using a prerecorded voice with prior express permission. The national DNC list allows a company with whom you already do business to call until you specifically tell them to stop. You may, however, terminate a telemarketing relationship with a company (such as Time Warner or AT&T) and still maintain that business relationship, though they may, of course, call in regard to account issues.

I believe that the majority of people support this law.The actions of these telemarketers are an affront to that collective opinion. For more information, check out www.donotcall.com .

Michael Blitch is a senior in information management.

Intramural sports need more funding than classes

With intramurals, anyone can be a star. Bookworms turn into defensive coordinators by donning a dingy bandana, and that heavy-set girl with the brand-new knee-high socks can be a hero. The school’s alive with the frenzy of intramural sports. Week after week, teams of all shapes and sizes make their stance on the fields. And it seems no one is immune. Even that guy who thinks Michael Jackson played goalie for the New England Giants gives up his nights of “Trading Spaces” to be part of the intramural action.

Why all the hubbub? It’s one team trash-talking the opposition; the players looking for every minor infraction to call the other team on; teams yelling at the refs with their new black-and-white striped jerseys who are still learning how to use a whistle and the nuances of intramural sports, such as the rules.

So why do we love our intramural sports? Is it because we’re bored? When is USF going to learn that you can pump billions and billions into research and you will probably never have a good school in the eyes of the public? The only way USF will ever be recognized is if we step up our football team. I guarantee you will meet people outside of Tampa who think USF is the University of San Francisco. As long as the USF Bulls are playing against Herb’s College of Liberal Arts, no one is going to care how much money is spent on regenerating stem cells, even if it’s important.

The need is evident here – just look at the intramurals. Is FSU a better school? God no, but they have a notable football team. We can only piggyback on the Sami Al-Arian publicity for so long, and then we have to find another way to get national recognition.

In a recent issue of US News, there’s a double-page advertisement boasting USF’s engineering program. Again, that’s awesome, but who cares?

If we took the money from the engineering department’s fund for Engineering Building No. 19 and put it into developing a reputable football team, then the school would benefit. As long as USF students are wearing Gators and Seminole T-shirts (a crime punishable by death at some institutions), no one is ever going to take us seriously.

Once you have a football team that everyone gets excited about, everything else will follow.

James Meredith is a sophomore medical student.