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Letters to the Editor

Oracle should focus on news, not ‘jousting’
Re: “Hey UCF, stop the trash talk” April 20

The staff of The Oracle should be embarrassed after printing Mark Lennox’s “commentary” on the fact that UCF’s fans and bi-weekly newspaper are insulting USF and its athletic programs. Is this where the paper is heading? From competing with the best college newspapers in the country to jousting with a group of students who can’t separate themselves as journalists before being fans of the home team? What did Mr. Lennox think this would accomplish?

Creating a rivalry between USF and UCF should be built from competition, not sparring between young journalists. Great coaches like Eddie Cardieri and UCF’s Jay Bergman along with the hard work of student athletes should be the focus of a rivalry.

Your paper doesn’t need to justify UCF’s student newspaper and it certainly doesn’t need to enter into a spitting competition with a paper that doesn’t have the reputation or history of tradition as The Oracle. Mr. Lennox has a right to support USF’s athletics and show pride in the school itself, however it doesn’t belong on the pages of the newspaper. The Oracle may be the student newspaper for USF, but it is above all a newspaper. Leave the grandstanding to the Sports Information Department. In fact, the focus should be on actual news. On Monday, USF’s football team lost its offensive coordinator and the story was four paragraphs long. Why were there no quotes from former offensive coordinator Mike Hobbie, or at least a “could not be reached for comment” line? I think a great coach like Hobbie deserved a few more column inches than the story received.

Jarrett Guthrie is a former staff writer and opinion editor of The Oracle.

‘Trash talk’ rightly criticized by Oracle
Re: “Hey UCF, stop the trash talk” April 20

Mark Lennox’s article is what many students here at USF have been feeling but have perhaps never been able to vocalize.

I, for one, am sick of the garbage talk I hear from two ex-girlfriends I have at UCF. USF is entering the Big East next year; we need to get out and start supporting our teams. If you don’t like football, we have basketball, baseball, tennis, volleyball and many more that all compete at a very high level on the national arena. Perhaps we could get over the proverbial hump if we had a resurgence of some “old school” school spirit.

James Collins is a senior majoring in music education.

Baker Act highlights lack of freedom
Re: “State has every right to put flags in classrooms,” April 19

The Carey Baker Freedom Flag Act calls for the American Flag to be hung in every classroom in every public institution in Florida. After looking over it four or five times, I realized the article is quite interesting. Well, America today is not what it once was. America today does not stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but instead it stands for crushed dreams, war and belligerence towards others.

Let us start with the facts as stated in the Act itself. Considering only grades K-12, this is taken directly from House of Representatives staff analysis: “Assuming a flag costs in the middle of the average range set forth above $17.50, and assuming that none of these classrooms currently contain flags, the cost to furnish flags to comply with the bill’s requirements (not including the flag holder or labor) would be approximately $2,729,930.”

The analysis then mentions that it would cost an additional $90,000 (roughly) to furnish the same within all public collegiate institutions. That is quite a bit of taxpayer money being wasted here. Since the money being used to run the government as well as pay for the flags comes from taxpayers, it should be entirely up to the taxpayers to decide if they want flags up or not. It is not up to the government. The government is a representation of the people and paying an excess of $3 million for flags to be raised in Florida classrooms is not what the majority of people want.

Much of the tuition payments come from scholarships (Bright Futures is largely funded through the Florida Lottery), loans or the student’s pockets and not through the government.

However, the bill does not require the city or county government to pay for the flags. The money comes straight from the consumer. American society is continuously being told what to think and how to behave. We are brainwashed from the moment we start school by being told to memorize the Pledge of Allegiance. We are forced to pledge our allegiance to a flag.

Students across the United States are questioned for not standing or repeating the Pledge of Allegiance; I know because I was one of them. Are we going to let this insanity continue with flags in every institute’s classroom?

Finally, I would like to reiterate that this is not the government’s issue, but the people’s issue.

Matthew Mason is a freshmanmajoring in biology.

Column went against basic libertarian values
Re: “State has every right to put flags in classrooms,” April 19

I was surprised to see Adam Fowler’s comment Tuesday on the Carey Baker Freedom Act, requiring a 2′ x 3′ flag in every classroom in the state of Florida, for all grades K thru 20. Fowler, a self-proclaimed libertarian, is an outspoken critic of government waste. In previous columns he has argued against federal funding for PBS, FEMA hurricane relief, and U.N. AIDS education.

Imagine my surprise when Mr. Fowler argued that the state of Florida has “every right” to spend funds on something as superfluous as flags for every classroom in the state. But what is most shocking is his moral, contrary to the nature of participatory democracy, that if you don’t like it, “Learn to live with it.”

In a March column outlining his principles, Mr. Fowler concludes that, according to libertarian doctrine, “The bottom line is basically this: If it doesn’t have to do with the violation of a person’s rights to life, liberty or property by another person, then government should butt out.”

I have a hard time understanding how his recent position on the flags can possibly be reconciled with this principle. Conservatives such as Tom DeLay and George W. Bush have recently attacked the democratic process by supporting their own ideologies (and those of their contributors) over the free exchange of ideas. If you disagree with Bush, you’re un-American. If you don’t like the conservative reforms of America, or of the state of Florida, then “tough cookies,” as Fowler so articulately states.

Consistency is important. I respect those (even of differing viewpoints) who take a principled and consistent stand on a given matter.

Those for whom principles are negotiable, such as Mr. Fowler, there always comes a time when one must stop arguing a consistent view, and to reject those same principles, in favor of party-line ideology.

Thomas J. Brommage Jr. is a graduate student in philosophy.