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Commentary

6 The Rattler

09-16-09

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STAFF EDITORIAL

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Mexican drug war dims celebration El Grito, the commemoration of Mexico’s War of Independence, takes place on Sept.16 and is celebrated at dawn by Mexicans worldwide. However, the irony is that 199 years after beginning the fight for independence and gaining it, Mexico seems to be losing grasp on its cities because of the conflict between drug cartels and the government. Many parts of the country, like Chihuahua and Tamaulipas, are not safe anymore. In Juarez, gunmen broke into a drug rehabilitation clinic, lined up 17 patients and executed them. Authorities believe that the reason was to kill drug smugglers who no longer want to work with drug cartels and are hiding in these clinics. This places a serious threat to the security of the population throughout Mexico. This situation has escalated so much that authorities are no longer targeting

minor drug consumers in order to gear their resources and attention to the major drug lords. Even though this seems like a necessary evil, it leaves a large percentage of the population exposed to potential drug addictions. Young adults and even children who begin to mingle with drugs can grow to be part of these drug cartels or gangs, trying to find the safety, respect, authority and family that they might not have had otherwise. Gangs, however, do not have that sort of camaraderie; they instigate their members to steal, threaten and kill, as well as harvest a lot of hate and rage. If someone wants to quit one of the gangs, it is very difficult for them to completely disconnect without being persecuted by current members, who were their “family” at one point. Why are all of these drug cartels, drug

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Standards The Rattler upholds the Mission Statements of St. Mary’s University. The publication follows the Canons of Responsible Journalism, the Associated Press Stylebook and the Student Publication Policy. The Rattler is a member of the Associate Collegiate Press, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Contact Us The Rattler St. Mary’s University One Camino Santa Maria Box 83 San Antonio, TX 78228 210-436-3401 / 210-431-4307 (fax) rattlernews@stmarytx.edu

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By Laura O’Bar Staff Writer Local news recognized the official opening of Founders Hall only a month ago, marking the completion of an expansion project that has been receiving a broad range of reviews among students here on campus. The new hall has the capacity to house 276 first-year students, making it a smart addition to the growing campus. Accompanying the establishment of this fall’s “Access St. Mary’s” program, it is easy to justify the addition as not only a way to accommodate the incoming students, but to alleviate already prevalent overcrowding problems. However, the positive feedback is rivaled by disgruntled upperclassmen, leaving some wondering if the money could have been better spent. Some believe the building was used as a bargaining chip to bring in more prospective students, and the upperclassmen’s interests were largely ignored. Founders Hall is not extravagant, it’s just new. It has one elevator, wide hallways and tile flooring that appears more sanitary than the carpet other students have seen in the other residence halls. There are no chandeliers, room service or granite sinks. Still, should the efforts have been directed toward improvements for returning students? Statistics consistently show a positive correlation between first-year students residing on campus and college success. Though it is obvious that trying to increase the number of freshmen on campus is a worthy cause, returning students cannot help but question differences between Founders and what they themselves are being offered. In 2000, Leies Hall was built in the Outback—the newest residence hall addition after Founders. The other campus residence halls date from the early 90s back to 1953. Because of the difference in ages, it is easy to see why there is a variation in living conditions. It is possible that with lower cost materials and less focus on detail in a new upperclassmen hall, there might have been more money for improvements to some of the campus’ older halls. Crucial first-year programming was only made slightly more convenient by the use of Founders Hall, considering several freshmen are still housed in other halls. The same activities could have been executed from usual freshmen housing—Dougherty, Marian, Lourdes and other existing halls. An additional upperclassmen building would have meant more options for all students and the opportunity to enjoy the newer facilities as returning students.

lords and gangs inflicting so much harm to Mexico and its people? Money can only take them so far, and the constant clash with government authorities must not leave them with a lot of time to enjoy any of the luxuries or splurges that they are able to obtain. What these groups must desire, then, is the power that comes with controlling some of the most addicting and sought-after substances in the world. The power that these drugs have over users is what gives these suppliers leverage and control over Mexico. Let’s hope that celebrating El Grito and the country’s freedom can mark the beginning of a new battle for independence—one that ends the control that drug lords, drug cartels and gangs have over Mexico. Feliz 16 de Septiembre, ¡viva Mexico!

Senior reflects on opportunities of starting final year By Chris Medina Staff Writer I feel old. Ok, so I’m exaggerating. But if you were about to complete your last year in college the same three words might play in your mind too. I should feel really lucky though: so far, no gray hairs or wrinkles have popped up. I do feel old, but I feel fulfilled. All I have to do is think about my last three years here. As I try to reimagine my past adventures in “Chris Medina! The St. Mary’s Chronicles” (a possible name for a series of books if I ever to decide to novelize my experiences), I simply have to say: “Damn, I changed.” Living not so close to home, going to places I never imagined I would visit, meeting new people, making new friends -- all of these experiences helped shape the way I am today. And I’ve lived other experiences too, ones that helped me change inside: growing in faith, overcoming internal struggles and believing in myself. Thinking about the good experiences I’ve had, I’m glad to have chosen St. Mary’s as the place to study and to find myself. Now, even as a senior, I’m still studying. Still finding myself. With this year comes my toughest classes, graduate school searches and the GRE exam. Plus trying not to get gray hairs or wrinkles. This year also means hanging out with friends, making new ones and being open to new experiences. In the past, I preferred to plan ahead. Not this year. I want every day to be a surprise. I want to cherish each moment at this school -the teas at Java City, the masses every Sunday morning or simply walking to class. Yeah, I prefer the simple life. Really, all I truly desire is for my last year to be incredible. To my fellow seniors, congratulate yourselves because you’ve made it this far. To the ones who are barely beginning their own chronicles at St. Mary’s, good luck and love every single moment here. Let’s have an amazing year together. www.stmurattlernews.com

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Commentary

09-16-09

The Rattler 7

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OPPOSING VIEWS As President Obama addressed Congress and the country, millions of Americans tuned to hear what he had to say about:

Public Health Care New Health Care Bill will provide coverage for those who could not afford it otherwise.

President Obama’s proposition would cause longer waiting time and lower quality of health care already provided. By Chris Childree Staff Writer

President Obama proposes that creation of a government-run health insurance program would allow competition with “forprofit” insurance companies to lower rates, and result in universal coverage. However, questions about the program’s impact arise: What will it cost American tax payers?  Will it catalyze the end of private insurance? What were the results of similar plans? These questions must be answered before a decision.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, President Obama’s proposed plan will cost $1.6 trillion. The president says the plan will not increase the skyrocketing budget deficit but would result in a $6 billion surplus because it includes tax adjustments to Medicare. But how much reliability can be given to the same administration that miscalculated the 10 year deficit by $2 trillion? The CBO estimates that the plan would add $239 billion to the deficit.  Along with that, tax hikes during a recession is not sensible.  The White House says the plan will increase competition and keep insurance companies “honest,” while giving people the choice to remain on their current plan. Why would people remain on their current plans if the ability register with the government’s plan is less costly? Health care insurance companies are currently making net profits of three percent, slightly above

the median for all companies. As rates are By Jennifer Jones pushed down, profits will dwindle. EventuStaff Writer ally profits and the industry will shrink to nothing, leaving millions unemployed and Even if you don’t like the idea of national the government a sole provider. health care, everyone must agree that our Government-run health care has proven current health care system doesn’t work. a failure worldwide. People suffer through Our health care system is over twice as the rationing of care, shortages of doctors expensive as most industrialized nationsand excessive waiting periods. For examwith shorter life expectancies, higher infant ple, according to a 2007 poll, mortality rate and lower Americans living in Canada, immunization rates. who experienced both plans, In other countries, having www.stmurattlernews.com favored the American system health care is seen as a over the Canadian system basic human right, where by a clear majority, citing the as in the U.S. it is seen as Share your view and long waiting periods and the something that must be vote on our online poll. lower quality of care. earned. In the U.S., if you According to the White don’t make enough money House, 46 million Americans then the government gives are uninsured.  Though an you welfare for basic needs, unfortunate statistic, it isn’t a valid reason but those basic needs do not include to rush through legislation increasingly your health. bankrupting the nation, and likely leading The U.S. leaves 46 million people to a rationing of care and long waiting pecompletely uninsured and millions more riods. We need to focus on lowering costs with insufficient insurance coverage. without destroying the quality of a system National health care is the answer for those that 86 percent of Americans describe as millions of people. This will ensure that good or excellent.  In order to lower costs, everyone, no matter their income, gets the lower the demand. Many proposals could basic human right of having good health accomplish this without the risk of an overcare. For those who can afford their health haul, these include: a fat tax, tort reform or care and don’t want to change their current more doctors.  plan, they don’t have to. They can keep the Presently, President Obama’s plan same insurance. is unreasonable due to potentially National health care will also fix the harmful effects.   high cost of health care in the U.S. It is

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estimated that if there is one primary health care, the U.S. will save $350 billion a yearwithout making Americans pay more than they already do for health care. The U.S. is the only developed country with a health care system not based on providing the best health care, but instead is driven by profits and big business. When there are people in the U.S. who can’t undergo the surgery they need to live because they cannot afford it, then there is something seriously wrong with the country that claims to be the land of opportunity. For those who may argue that no person going into the emergency room can be refused medical attention under law, they should think about the people who want to go see a doctor for preventative medical care but can’t. Some people can’t afford to be checked routinely by a doctor until it reaches the point where they have to go to an emergency room. If they had greater access to a doctor then medical problems could have been prevented, and tax payers’ money would not have been spent. Our current health care system doesn’t look after that patient who can’t afford health insurance but a national health care plan will have their interests at heart. It will save money and ensure everyone has the right to health care.

Kennedy’s legacy lingers in Congress, health reform By Kenneth Howell Staff Writer I would take you to Congress, if I could, and ask if you could find the missing piece in the chaotic actions of our government. A longstanding figure of the Senate is gone, leaving behind a legendary career of both achievement and controversy. Nicknamed the ‘Lion of the Senate,’ he roars no more. Edward “Ted“ Kennedy died of brain cancer on Aug. 25. His death further dimmed the bright light the Kennedy family first shined in the middle of the 20th century. The tragic luck of his famous family claimed both former president John F. Kennedy and former presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy at the hands of assassins, leaving Ted Kennedy with all their hope and promise on his shoulders. Kennedy’s presidential hopes were severely set back following an infamous incident on Chappaquiddick Island, Mass. One late night

Kennedy and his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, found themselves lost in an unfamiliar area. Kennedy accidentally drove off of a bridge but then managed to escape from his car. After attempting to rescue Kopechne, he wandered away from the car and left her. That moment of confused thinking would prove life changing for Kennedy. Kopechne died and the press erupted with news on the event. The negative press permanently damaged his reputation. Left to battle on in the Senate, Kennedy became a powerful progressive voice capable of hammering out deals with Republicans. Kennedy held the idea of universal health care to be his ultimate hope. The election of President Obama brought that hope into full view. Ted Kennedy did not live to see that hope realized. To call the current back-and-forth war of words about health care between Democrats and Republicans a “debate” is giving it

“For all my years in public life, I have believed that America must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. There is no end to that journey. We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make.” - Ted Kennedy too much credit. However, as this process continues, Kennedy’s shadow hangs over it. The last breath of hope the Kennedy brothers brought America left with him, but the dream of universal health care remains alive for us. It is in our hands to tend to that dream or leave it to wither away.

His Positions Abortion Pro-choice advocate; voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues Longtime advocate of LGBT rights; voted in support of same-sex marriage. Iraq war Strong critic of invasion; proposed legislation opposing troop surge. Minimum wage Advocate of raising minimum wage; helped pass Fair Minimum Act of 2007.


Commentary

8 The Rattler

09-16-09

www.stmurattlernews.com

Honduran Destitution

By Lorna Cruz Commentary Editor

Cartoon by Miguel-Eduardo Fuentes

Restrictions on Obama’s speech are controversial By Jessica Carrillo Staff Writer In some schools across Texas, Obama’s speech for the children of America was banned entirely. I feel that the children and their parents should have had a defined choice in such matters. If the parents of a child did not wish to have their kids listen to the president’s speech why not honor what a few parents actually requested and allow their kids continue their school work and skip the speech? Such cases occur at schools all the time. For example, school plays are presented and if the child does not wish to see the play, they do not go. Parents restrict their children from going to

parties or events that they believe are bad for the kids, so why not this time? But the choice to have some children skip the speech doesn’t mean it is right to ban an entire school and students whose parents may have wanted them to listen. All Americans should share the common goal of desiring what is best for U.S. citizens, but we have to wonder what the real issue is. Some people believe Obama is trying to turn U.S. into a socialist nation, or raise a new army of Nazis, but you cannot keep all of the U.S. from watching the president speak- even if you do not agree with what he is saying. Doing so would inhibit other people’s rights. We are not all political science majors and not everyone studies politics in their free time,

“We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that, you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.” - an excerpt from President Obama’s speech but we do know that there is something amiss in our country. Whether the problem lies in our current president or if the real problem is simply just an issue of partisanship is something we have yet to agree on.

Ban on burqas in France sends out wrong message By Dania Pulido Staff Writer France’s recent movement toward the banning of the burqa and the niqab is being interpreted as an attack on religious freedom and stimulation to racial segregation. Although the intention of these French Communist parties is to ban the burqa because it degrades women and their dignity, these parties are forgetting that their political theory should not be applied to public places that belong to the state. To these officials, the burqa represents servitude and a violation of women’s rights. By denying women their own right to wear burqas, the French officials are ironically degrading these

women as well as their religious freedoms and personal beliefs. In a country like France, Muslim women are not forced to wear these burqas and are certainly not expected to. These garments no longer represent the submission to a husband; they are worn as a symbol of respect, religion, culture and personal belief. Although certain French officials claim that banning burqas is not an issue of religion, they are suspected of using their political power to ban further Muslim influence from seeping through the country. By trying to “control” Islamic influence and culture, French officials are sending the wrong message to its citizens: the message of racial segregation. In actuality, the “burqa”

is not even the correct term for the garment these officials have banned. They are niqabs. The term “burqa” is associated with Afghanistan, which only further spreads negative ideals about the Muslim religion and culture. There is no way they can place a ban on burqas without incorporating the issue of religion. By stripping these women of their beliefs and rituals, they are simultaneously degrading them in hopes of preventing such actions. It basically comes down to France’s discomfort with religious organization. Because French political theory is also based on the right to form private associations, there should be no reason as to why Muslim women should be banned from expressing their

beliefs in public space. These French officials should re-evaluate their reasons for banning such a significant symbol to a large population of their country. If they keep claiming burqas have nothing to do with Islam, then they are continuing to contradict themselves. If not from the Muslim religion and culture, where are they getting the idea that burqas are degrading to women?

Bur•qa [boor-kuh]:

noun. a loose, enveloping garment that covers the face and body and is worn in public by certain Muslim women.

There is no war. The military did not take over. What happened in Honduras on June 28 has raised many questions, one being whether or not Manuel Zelaya was removed from his position as president in a legal way. Regardless, one of the new questions is if the international community is doing the right thing by isolating the country and trying to put pressure on it. Even though I agree with most countries of the world in condemning the way that Zelaya was overthrown, I don’t agree with the measures that some of them are taking against the Honduran population. The U.S. has stopped issuing non-immigrant visas, terminated all non-humanitarian aid and will not recognize the outcome of scheduled elections in November. All of these actions directly affect Hondurans who had absolutely no say in what happened on June 28. My question is, how will this help the process of getting Honduras back on a democratic path? Honduras’ scheduled elections can be the first step towards recovery from this political disaster. After watching my country and its people slowly become torn in half by demagogy, it is clear that this is not only a political matter, but also a social one. Months after the destitution took place, Zelayasupporters are still attacking peaceful demonstrations, defacing city walls with graffiti and causing turmoil. I have friends who attended these demonstrations and had to scatter away when Zelaya-supporters came their way and tried to harass the people present. Many countries asked for this problem to be resolved internally but are now enforcing isolation and pressure strategies. With such uncertainty about who is corrupt in Honduras and who is not, I think that an unbiased (if at all possible) outside view would be beneficial for the country. The countries that are concerned with our situation can do a great deal by helping ensure fair, efficient and legal elections. What Honduras needs right now is for politicians and the rest of the world to keep its best interest in mind and not commit themselves to a certain side, but rather do what is necessary in order for this to be a new beginning of a stronger country with a stable government that respects the country and its people.

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www.stmurattlernews.com By Laura O’Bar Go to our web site and view this story or others like it. Also check out other exclusive content that...