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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Is it just us, or are these nascent summer days disappearing more quickly than Hillary Clinton's chances of being the Democratic nominee for president?

We at the Department of Darts and Laurels can't believe Memorial Day weekend is already upon us. Soon we'll be at the half-way mark of Summer A, and before you know it, we'll be gearing up for tailgating and another Gator football National Championship chase. So sit back, relax and soak in some of that scorching summer sun as we present you with the latest edition of …

Darts & Laurels

To start off with, we chuck a here's-one-more-reason-we-love-to-hate-corporate-media-mastodons DART to Clear Channel Communications, whose billboard advertising arm - Clear Channel Outdoor - has taken it upon itself to remove some trees from our backyard so we can more clearly see the bombardment of corporate advertising we just can't get enough of.

In yet another example of Big Business taking a screw-the-environment-and-your-community-values attitude, Clear Channel had four oak trees cut down along Northwest 13th Street because the trees had the temerity to obstruct one of the media empire's billboards.

Never mind that the city of Gainesville invested thousands of dollars to install and maintain each tree as part of a city beautification program.

We expect this sort of behavior from the corporate goon squad, but we can't imagine why the Florida Department of Transportation and the courts would allow this to happen. Shame on them for caving to the fat cats.

Up next, we toss a we-appreciate-the-thought-but-perhaps-there's-a-better-way-to-improve-your-invaluable-service DART to Regional Transit System for delaying the unveiling of the Global Positioning Systems that will be installed in 50 RTS buses, allowing students to track those buses on the Internet.

While we applaud innovation in attempts to better serve the student body, perhaps there are better alternatives to spending a small fortune on high-tech gizmos. Like, say, purchasing more buses, hiring more drivers or adding more routes.

It is a rarity, indeed, for these pages to be filled with anything short of contempt for the usually tone-deaf and self-serving members of UF's Student Government, so it's with great pleasure that we present a kudos-for-patting-someone-other-than-yourselves-on-the-back LAUREL to the Student Senate for voting unanimously to appropriate $80,000 for the construction of a veterans memorial on campus.

Although you would have to be smoking something pretty strong to think the war in Iraq is anything less than an unmitigated catastrophe, that doesn't mean we don't owe a great debt of gratitude to our brothers and sisters in uniform. They deserve to be honored at every opportunity. And it's nice to see the Student Senate extol them in such a lasting way.

Finally, we award an at-least-someone-in-this-theocratic-leaning-state-gets-it LAUREL to the Miami-Dade County Commission for following California's lead and approving the establishment of domestic partnership benefits.

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The commission - who obviously read Tuesday's Alligator editorial, where we implored our fellow Floridians to reject the politics of bigotry and embrace the equal protection of the laws - approved a measure to provide same-sex couples with hospital visitation rights and health care benefits on par with those enjoyed by married heterosexuals. Although this is but a small step toward full social equity, it is an encouraging one nonetheless.

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