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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The watery, bloodshot eyes. The sore throats. The inability to stay awake in class. There seem to be some sure signs that Gainesville is developing a very big problem lately. But it has nothing to do with those impossibly cheap drink specials at Gator City. The culprit? Evil, evil pollen. So if you're popping that Benadryl and trying to make it to the weekend through a bleary-eyed haze, we know the feeling. Go inside, take a deep, air-conditioned breath, and get ready for this week's edition of…

A you-don't-always-get-what-you-pay-for DART goes to UF's new hire state Sen. Mike Haridopolos, along with the majority of the state Senate, for voting 33-4 for a constitutional amendment that would do away with the Board of Governors and essentially turn it into an advisory panel. Though the amendment still has to make it on the November ballot and win the approval of Florida voters, it sure is a smack in the face to university leaders, who believe that stripping the board of most of its power will leave schools open to the whims of politically motivated decision makers. So much for trying to get a superstar state senator in your back pocket.

Continuing with the calculating and duplicitous nature of politicians, we throw a wait-weren't-you-the-one-who-was-supposed-to-be-ready-to-pick-up-that-phone-at-3 a.m. DART to Sen. Hillary Clinton for claiming her blatant exaggeration about her 1996 trip to Bosnia was due to a lack of sleep. When it was revealed that Clinton's tale of landing among sniper fire and running with her head down to get to the American base was completely fabricated, she claimed she "misspoke" and is human like everyone else. We don't think it proves she's human, but it does prove that she's getting really good at at least one part of politics: lying.

But Clinton's gaffe starts to look a little better when you consider our current second-in-command's comments. The actually-your-job-title-means-you-really-should-care-what-the-American-people-think-since-you-work-for-them DART goes to someone who really earns his first name, Vice President Dick Cheney. When told in an interview with ABC News that recent polls show about two-thirds of Americans say the war in Iraq is not worth it, Cheney replied, "So?" We didn't think he could possibly aggravate the situation even more, but along with insisting the U.S. is not facing a recession, Cheney continues to infuriate us with his complete disregard for reality.

A well-it's-about-freaking-time LAUREL goes to the Florida Senate for voting to approve the use of a variety of factors - and not just student scores from the FCAT - to determine a high school's annual performance grade.

If approved by the House, the new grades would reflect a high school's graduation rate, the performance of a school's students in advanced courses and readiness for college determined by SAT and ACT scores. Since those things matter much more than a single FCAT score when it comes to determining what makes a good high school, we're happy they've scored at least one vote for common sense.

Finally, a we're-glad-your-part-of-The-Gator-Nation LAUREL goes to UF graduate research professor John Griggs Thompson, who won the 2008 Abel Prize for Mathematics this week, the most prestigious award in mathematics. Though we have no idea what the contributions to group theory mean, a congratulations is still in order. Thompson will split the $1.2 million award - which is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize - with his unfortunately named colleague Jacques Tits of the College de France.

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