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January 04, 2001 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-04

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 4, 2001

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
EMILY ACHENBAUM
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

The art ofwriting a
W elcome back, folks. There's some-
thing about the start of a new semes-
ter that really makes you stop and smell
the coffee. And at Espresso Kula, we're
brewing up some cafe au underachiever.
If the truth sets you free, then consider
me unshackled from
the chains of acade-
mia. When it comes
to higher education,
I've finally accepted
the fact that I am an
unbridled, unabashed,
unashamed slacker.X
Slacker as in,
"What do I need to
just get by?"
Slacker as in,
"You know, 20 per-
cent of the grade Chris
really isn't that big of Kula
a deal." Slacker as in,
"I was going to do -
the reading, but then n Arbor
Conan came on."
The curious thing is that I wasn't
always a lost cause in the classroom. Many
years ago, in a residence hall far, far away,
I actually was a good student. I took notes
in lecture, I kept up on the readings, I even
started papers earlier than the night before
they were due.
Because that's how I - and many other
naive youngsters, I'm sure - thought the
system functioned.
Hard work equals good grades, right?
Think again, poochie. For engineers or
B-school kids,nit may take 12-hour days to
learn how to build the strongest bridge or
embezzle the most funds, but what LSA

B paper and other slacker secrets

Students need a longer vacation

types often forget is that Cs get degrees.
When you're looking for a job after col-
lege, ain't nobody gonna care that you
aced your Intro to World Music class (or
any other liberal arts course, for that mat-
ter), so why are you killing yourself for
that perfect GPA?
Ilere's the simple truth: It doesn't take
much effort to be successful at this univer-
sity - once, that is, you've figured out
how the system really works. And. if
there's one thing that I have learned in col-
lege, it's how to get your work done with
the least amount of effort.
For instance, you could spend two
weeks researching your thesis topic, one
week writing the paper and another week
making revisions and you know, you'll
probably get an A.
For overachievers, that's the definition
of success. But for the classic slacker,
there's nothing, like pulling an all-nighter
while filling 10 pages with self-described
B.S., turning it in right at the deadline and
getting back a solid B.
Congratulations, you've beaten the sys-
tem. But, princess, you can take your
slacking to another level.
First off, use and abuse your pass/fail
classes, especially the big, boring lecture
variety.
Go the first few weeks, pull a decent
grade on the midterm and then adjust the
cruise control of your mind to its Parker
Lewis setting (since you only need to
scrape together a C- to get credit, you real-
ly can't lose).
Sleep-in the rest of the semester, make
a special cameo appearance at the final and
boo-yah, you can collect three easy credits

when you pass Go.
Haven't read a page since the first wee
of class?
Don't sweat the bluebook: Just search
for the book titles on Google.com, peruse a
few Websites devoted to critical analysis
and make note of the few key themes that
each Webpage seems to mention.
,Nine times out of 10, your prof's essay
questions are going to be based on these,
the most obvious of themes, so as long as'
you can remember that "On the Road"
takes place on the road, you're in the cleaq
you dig?
And always keep in mind, it really
doesn't matter what you say, only how you
say it.
You could write a paper with the most
bland of theses, a total lack of factual evi-
dence and a page count far below the
required length, but if it reads like you
know what you're talking about, you' l:
never receive anything lower than a B, and
you'l never feel better about being a
slacker.
And that's what it all comes down to:
Accepting the fact that, despite what your
parents, professors and peers may try to
tell you, being a slacker is more than sima
ply being lazy - it's an art form.
To work hard and succeed is fine, but to
slack off and succeed is sublime.
For some people, a true understanding
of this philosophy comes only with time
and experience. You freshmen think you'
never slack off in college?
Give yourself a year or two and you'll
smell the coffee.
- Chris Kula can be reached via
e-mail at ckula@umich.edu

Now that you're back to take on anoth-
er semester, does it feel like you
never left Ann Arbor? Probably, because'
winter recess at the University is short to
the point of being insulting. While stu-
dents at other top-ranked universities'
enjoy winter breaks that are three weeks
long or more some students with late
exam dates had only 12 days to recover
from the stressful exam period.
The only rational explanation for this
is that the University administration and
the University Board of Regents (which
recommend and approve the calender
respectively) have decided that spring and
summer terms have to encompass a time
period extending from May through
August. Having a four-month interval
between the end of winter term and the
beginning of fall term makes it easier to
schedule two terms and it gives students
who are working their way through
school more time to earn enough money
to pay hefty tuition fees.
While these concerns are certainly
legitimate, they also need to be balanced
with the equally important need for stu-
dents to adequately rest before they are
faced with another semester. An adminis-
tration that gives students less than a two
week winter break is one that is out of

touch with students - otherwise it would
have an appreciation for how hard they
work over the course of a semester.
Naturally, it is debatable as to how
many days of break most students need
before they can be considered "well-rest-
ed" but for the administrators who recom-
mend the University's academic calendar,
students' physical and mental health
should be of paramount concern - not
minor scheduling matters. This is clearly
not the case since winter break could have
been extended four days by simply begin-
ning classes next Monday instead of
today.
By beginning classes mid-week,
the University administration is also
demonstrating that it lacks an appreci-
ation for how difficult it can be for
students with working parents to get
back to Ann Arbor mid-week. Since
most students do not have cars of
their own, they often rely on trans-
portation only their parents can pro-
vide, with classes beginning today,
some parents were forced to take the
day off to drive their kids to school.
The administration and the University
Board of Regents need to be more sensi-
tive to the strain exams put on students
and draft academic calenders accordingly.

'It's hard to keep up, but we do what we can.'

4

-Michael Scott, Ann Arbor Manager of Parking and Street Maintenance
on the task of keeping city streets clear of snow:

Republican coup
Oligarchy readies to take control

As President-elect George W. Bush
finishes plugging old school con-
servatives and one lone Democrat into
his surprisingly diverse cabinet, a fetid
cloud of illegitimacy continues to hover
over his camp, now two months after the
leetion.
Despite close ties to the upper echelons
of Washington's power elites, Bush has
yet to legitimize his claim to the presi-
dency in the face of cacophonous allega-
tions from. varied sources. And while
there have been questionable elections in
the past, never have so many question-
able factors come to a head only to be
overlooked by en apathetic populace and
overzealous but indolent newsmedia.
Let's get something straight: The Bush
dynasty - with party allegiances on the
Supreme Court, fraternal ties in baby
brother Jeb's Florida and daddy Bush's
presidential Rolodex -is this country's
true face of oligarchyAnd an abundance
of election snafus clearly show that
George II is an illegitimate heir to the
throne.
First, serious allegations have emerged
in Florida from respectable newspapers
like The Miami Herald that Bush not
only lost his baby brother's state, but lost
badly. Statewide media investigations
have already begun looking into mis-
counted and uncounted votes in all of
Florida's 67 counties.
Although the count may stretch for
months, conservative estimates have
Gore leading, almost unanimously. If
these estimates hold true, Gore's defeat
was actually an Electoral College win as
well his already well publicized popular
win. And this is not counting elderly
Palm Beach Country residents mispunch-
ing for Pat Buchanan or the alarming
number of disenfranchised minorities in
overly Democratic counties.
Not only were large numbers of
minorities denied access to ballots in
largely Democratic counties, but many
more were not given the chance to enter

the voting booth on account of criminal
records from overtly discriminatory laws
and statutes.
Additionally, a 12/8/00 Salon.com arti-
cle revealed how many Black citizens
were probably erroneously put on lists
blocking them from gaining access to the
polls. It appears this was an orchestrated
attempt by the Florida Republican Party
to prevent minorities from voting.
These are errors that were discovered
by the media, but not addressed by the
Supreme Court.
The justices of the Supreme Court, the
last guardians of civil rule, did not serve
justice, but voted along party lines to halt
the Florida recount. Chief Justice
William Rhenquist, in his yearly report to
Congress, hoped that the High Court
would never again interfere in a presiden-
tial election.
There was no need to block the recount
as the court did because there was no
need to rush forward. If the election had
dragged on, President Clinton could have
continued his tenure until a fair and accu-
rate recount of the Florida votes had been
tallied. Justice was not served.
For the good of saving face (and so
much blue blood), a president is getting
ready to take control. The highest office
in the land is now openly and embarrass-
ingly tainted. For the.good of democracy,
let's not forget how the second coming of
Bush came about. Political wrangling, a
lot of dumb luck and a rush to conclude a
precarious dispute.
The press cannot rewrite history. But it
can point out when an illegitimate next-
of-kin takes power without ever gaining
the majority of America's votes. It can
remind the many unheard Americans who
care about the state of our democracy that
a laundry list of disturbing allegations
have been glossed over with the rhetoric
of moving forward "to serve one nation.'
Election 2000 has been a sham and the
best thing we can hope for is four years
of painful, befuddled deadlock.

Don't fear, George
W. Bush will not run
nation by himself
TO THE DAILY:
I am just writing to say that the editorial
in the Daily's editorial about George Bush
is ignorant ("Election 2000 results in insult
and injury," 12/14/00). George Bush is not
going to run this country all by himself,
and neither would have Al Gore.
The president delegates power to people
who are extremely knowledgeable in their
respective areas and these people run the
show. Sure the president has the last say
but without the entire administration no
president would get anything done.
The claim that George Bush's resume
is dismal is ignorant. The statement that he
is ill-suited for the office is ignorant. And
for the Daily to say that he should not have
governing authority over the state of Texas
is absurd.
Why did the people of Texas elect him
then?
I have been at this University for three
and a half years and each year the Daily
amazes me with its incomplete coverage of
the news.
This year with its strictly Democratic
coverage of the election was especially dis-
turbing.
I urge you guys at the Daily to rethink
what your jobs are. Then maybe you can
report on more than one side of a story.
ROGER LUMPP
LSA AND BUSINESS SENIOR
Proper definitions
necessary for debate
on euthanasia
TO THE DAILY:
Whatever one's position on the complex
issues addressed in the editorial ("Patients'
right to die," 12/07/00), it is absolutely
critical that definitions be used consistently
and clearly - something that the editorial
inadvertently mixes up.
Euthanasia and physician-assisted-suicide
are completely different things. As defined
by the Oregon Death with Dignity Act
(http://www.ohd. hr. state. or. us/chs/pas/ar-
intro.htm), euthanasia, the act of a physician
directly ending a patient's life, is explicitly
prohibited.
In contrast, the Oregon act permits,
under certain controls, physician-assisted-
suicide, the act of a physician providing
medications that that the patient
himself/herself uses to end their life. The
difference is fundamental and critical no
matter where on the spectrum of beliefs
you stand.
By calling for the reconsideration of
euthanasia and then discussing the Oregon
physician-assisted-suicide experience, it is
unclear exactly what the authors of the edi-
torial are advocating. An issue this critical
and fundamental demands clarity and con-
sistency.
The entire issue of end-of-life care is

and demographic differences between Ore-
gon and Michigan for example.
The authors have the right to argue for
discussion and reconsideration - but to
portray the lack of legality as merely the
blithe and arbitrary imposition of dogmatic
moral standards is an unwarranted general-
ization and a disservice to this complex and
difficult issue - and the physicians,
patients and families whose lives are inter-
twined with this issue.

Federal loan program
privileges some
students over others
TO THE DAILY:
We'd like to respond to a recent editori-
al, ("Low interest student loans should con-
tinue," 12/5/00), which details the pending
legal dispute between student loan
providers and the Department of Education.
We support lowering rates for all bor-
rowers. In this case, however, the secretary
has unlawfully provided taxpayer-funded
benefits to the minority of borrowers who
participate in the Direct Loan Program;
none are available to borrowers in the Fed-
eral Family Education Loan Program.
The Department of Education is offer-
ing a series of taxpayer-funded entitlements
to only the 30 percent of student borrowers
who are served by the government's own
program -- leaving out millions of borrow-
ers who are served by the private sector-
based Federal Family Education Loan
Program. Our ultimate goal is an expansion
of taxpayer-funded student loan entitle-
ments to all borrowers.
Furthermore, we will continue to strive
to offer competitive services and rates to
borrowers. However, benefits provided by
the private sector that we provide are fund-
ed out of our own revenues,. In contrast, the
Department of Education uses unauthorized
access to taxpayer funds to pay for its dis-
counts.
The editorial states that the "Depart-
ment of Education never went outside its
federal jurisdiction."
However, when the Department
announced last year it would lower the
Direct Loan origination fee from 4 to 3 per-
cent, both the General Accounting Office
and the Congressional Research Service
issued opinions that the Department's
action was illegal.
We support competition between the

To THE DAILY:
I am so disgusted by the editorial in th@
12/14/00 edition of the Daily titled "Elec-
tion 2000 Results in insult and injury" that
I feel compelled to write to the Daily for
the first time in 15 years as an alumni of
the University.
This editorial was so biased and made
such caustic statements, all without a shred
of evidence to support the claims, that it is
pure dribble. This editorial is clearly the
personal ranting of a person who is unhaa
py with the results of the presidential elec-
tion.
There was no effort on the writer's pat
to include objective thought or reasoning in
presenting their view.
As a result, the writer presents them.
selves as bitter, close-minded and unedu-
cated with no interest in providing
constructive criticism of the election,
process.
I am aware that an editorial section is
meant to allow opinions to be heard but a
a paper for one of the finest universities in
the country (if not world) the Daily has a
responsibility to ensure that the articles and
editorials are of reasonableequality.
With regard to this editorial the Daily
clearly fell asleep at the wheel. And what
about showing opposing views?
How can the Daily in good conscience
print such a one-sided editorial without
including an opposing view!
I have been a faithful reader of the
Daily since I graduated and am aware of
the Daily's general bias toward the views
of the Democratic Party and I have no
objections to that predisposition.
Most every significant paper in the
country has a bent towards one party's plat-
form or another. However, please attempt
from including garbage like this editorial in
the future. This is the type of quality in disc
cussing a topic that I would expect to see
on the Ricky Lake or Jerry Springer show.
RORY STACE
UNIVERSITY ALUMNUS

programs - provided that the government
plays by the rule of law and stops using
taxpayer funds to benefit one group of stu-
dent loan borrowers over another.
W. NEIL EGGLESTO0
ATTORNEY FOR THE PLAINTIFF COALITIO
Election editorial

JEFFREY HUorlacked,'opposing
RACKHAM View'

THOMAS KULJURGIS TENTATIVELY SPEAKING

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