The coast is clear, but the party is under water

Hurricane Gustav dampened John McCainâÄôs hopes for cleaning up an American tragedy as the storm fizzled to a level two on Monday when it hit Louisiana. Though Republicans respectfully retained most of their activities on the opening day of the convention, Sara Palin broke the water with news that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. She divulged the information before the media got the chance to crash the party. Due to PalinâÄôs lack of experience in Washington âÄî an issue McCain has continually leveled on Barack Obama âÄî and her not-so-conservative family distractions, McCainâÄôs choosing of Palin as his Vice Presidential pick seems a little less groundbreaking, and his judgment a little more nonsensical. The media are not the only voice of skepticism for the GOP; Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has it out for McCain, too. In an interview with CNN last Thursday, Putin claimed that the U.S. conspired the Georgian conflict to create an advantage for âÄúone of the candidates in the competitive race for the presidency.âÄù Putin asserts the idea that the Cold War is still a hot topic as he continues to use propaganda, distracting media from the fact that this little war is all about a big pipeline that Russia wants to control. Unless youâÄôve been living under a comforter with a hangover this summer, you have heard of the war in Georgia. What you may not have heard is that Russia wants to be the worldâÄôs leading oil and arms source, which explains why Putin is so friendly with the Middle East. If Nostradamus was correct, World War III is just heating up. What does Russia have in common with your campus commute? Oil. Though gas prices are staying under $4, you should seriously rethink driving to campus. If the price of gas doesnâÄôt deter you, parking might. Each day, 80,000 people arrive at the University, and to add to the fun, out of state journalists and republicans are hitting the highways for the next week. Hopefully, you listened to the warnings about excessive traffic and stayed clear. If you rode out the storm, you were probably relieved when traffic downscaled yesterday. Even though traffic may not be terrible, youâÄôd likely have to donate some plasma to afford parking around campus. To save money this semester, you should take the bus; there are handy express routes all around the metro. Compare an $84 U Pass with a $300 parking permit and half your paycheck spent on gas. DonâÄôt expect oil prices to get any lower until we find an alternative energy solution. If the events of this week arenâÄôt enough to take in, add playing Tetris with your busy fall schedule to the mix. YouâÄôll have the chance to skim your reading before class, skip to the Starbucks in the Cube and lounge with your latté as you stare strangely at the circus-like un-convention activities going on at the Weisman tomorrow. Heck, you might even have time to peruse some political art. Good luck making your way through convention events, a slew of leafleters and 5,000 new freshmen. Welcome to the 2008-2009 school year âÄî itâÄôs going to be a memorable one. âÄîAshley Goetz welcomes comments at [email protected]