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December 04, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-12-04

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 4, 2001

OP/ED

4

The Iawrbig-un- u

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
daily. letters@umich.edu

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

GEOFFREY GAGNON
Editor in Chief
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
Editorial Page Editors

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
( So the days of
Democrats and
Republicans standing
on the steps of the
capital side by side
singing 'God Bless
America' are over, at
least for now."
-Jonathan Karl, CNN congressional
correspondent in the CNNcom chat room in
reference to an end of the bipartisanship that
Sept. 11 created. The issues he cited included
tax cuts, civil liberties and homeland security.

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.

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4

Frienemies: WhoCan You Trust?
DUSTIN J. SEIBERT THi MANIFESTO

4

(phone rings)
"Hello?"
"Hey, what's the deal
Dustin?"
"Hey, ... umm ... who
dis?"
"Yo, it's such-and-
such. How you been?"
"Oh, whassup? I'm
fine, and yourself?" (point-
less small-talk ensues)
"Yeah, so, uh, can you give me a ride to
Central tomorrow afternoon?"
(click)
Having been one of the few cats with a
vehicle my freshman year, I stayed in
the Rolodexes of many friends, associ-
ates and others who didn't hesitate to pick up a
phone or stop by if they needed to be shot down
to Central Campus or something. Now, I am not
a stingy individual, and I often go out of my
way to accommodate people who need a help-
ing hand. However, when I started noticing a
pattern of people calling on me only when they
needed a solid, and never otherwise, I started
politely telling them to do like Spike Lee says
and get their asses on the bus.
I have serious issues with "frienemies"
who form convenient "friendships" with peo-
ple who they would otherwise disassociate
themselves from. Common victims of such
bloodsuckers? Lonely people who yearn for
attention. My strong conscience prevents me
from taking pleasure in people's insecurities
as such, and so it invokes a passion within me
when I witness others do so. That line
between a user and someone with genuine
interests is so paper-thin that it is often diffi-
cult to tell who is what in the beginning.
This is exactly why the number of people
whom I call "friend" is scores different than
the number of people who I associate with on

a regular basis. I strongly believe that people
give the word far more blase treatment than it
deserves. A friend is something more than
someone who you simply exchange greetings
with on a daily basis; a friend, much like an
intimate relationship, is a commitment. To
give a part of yourself to someone is damn
hard, but that is exactly what constitutes a
genuine friendship.
If you are reading this, chances are you are
at an age where friendship actually means
something to you. This isn't high school,
where so-called friends are represented by the
politics of peer pressure. Though we con-
stantly make transitions in life, the measure of
a friend is their resolve to stick out said tran-
sitions, even if they get unbearable at times. I
believe that college is the period in where one
can firmly establish a lifelong bond with
another, while also cementing an idea of the
type of individual that one would wish to dis-
tance themselves from. Why? Because this is
the period of transition between childhood
and real life that largely defines who we are,
and what is truly important to us. Much like
finding a partner, searching for compadres
gets increasingly more difficult as you get
older, or so I am told.
I used to follow a list of "requirements"
for friends that I thought everyone should
hold to, but I came to realize that all of my
real friends don't have similar characteristics
across the board. Each of my closest friends
are drastically different from one another, and
for the most part, they are much different
from myself, but the truth remains that I
would rip my left arm off for any one of them
if I had to. The fact that such differences can
exist between friends is absolutely incredible,
because there is that hidden, unspoken under-
standing that the bond goes so much deeper.
People vastly underrate the value of the

whole concept. One of my biggest fearsis
that I don't maintain the truly important
bonds that I make in my tenure at the univer-
sity; sure we all go our separate ways, to dif-
ferent states, to lives and careers that vary
vastly, but is that supposed to be it? I refuse
to believe it. Despite how often I identify
many human emotions as weaknesses, I gen-
uinely believe that everyone needs someone.
Jumping headfirst into the world can be diffi-
cult without the support of friends ... they
help weed out that negative influence
designed to bring you down.
Being the paranoid chap that I am, I always
keep one eye open for that snake in the grass
that has no reservations about smiling in my
face while brandishing that proverbial knife
while my back is turned. The concept of trusting
your fellow man seems to be largely accepted in
the society in which we live, so every once in a
while I let my guard down and see where it gets
me. Surely enough, I repeatedly get let down by
people who take my trust for granted, thus
implying that they feigned the respect that
allowed me to let them in to begin with.
Now I am not suggesting that everyone
walk around with a constant air of suspicion
for everyone else, as that is an uncomfortable
way of life. Should the spirit move you
though, take a moment to closely re-evaluate
your relationships with people; I'll bet that
you surprise yourself by finding something
that you didn't want to find,- or perhaps you
will have a positive revelation about someone
that you didn't previously give much merit to.
Of course, if you don't have any friends alto-
gether, then perhaps you should consider
bathing on a regular basis.
Knowledge.

Dustin J Seibert can be reached
via e-mail at dseibert@umich.edu.

Just go home already
PETER CUNNIFFE ONE FOR THE ROAD

14

F:<< rying to allay con-
cerns that he was
not bowing to
Republican demands fast
enough to avoid being
labeled a traitor, Sen. Tom
Daschle (D-S.D.), appear-
ing on "Meet the Press" on
Sunday, professed confi-
dence that both an econom-
ic stimulus bill and a "terror insurance" bill,
measures meant to help prop up the economy,
would be passed soon. He also canceled a
planned fundraising trip next week so he could
be in Washington to shepherd these bills
through the Senate.
But he should take that trip, or a vacation, or
just go home. Because staying looks like it will
just mean more handouts to people who don't
need it at the expense of those who can't afford it.
"Terror insurance" sounds like a good idea,
right? But the bill isn't what you might think. It
provides $100 billion in loans to the insurance
industry should they need to cover the cost of
future terrorist attacks, but the loans wouldn't
have to be paid back if the administration chose
to let them off the hook. And should the insur-
ance industry's lobbyists prove as effective as in
the past, guess who gets to pay those bills. The
same taxpayers who so gallantly "insured" the
airlines to the tune of $15 billion last month.
One would assume that those in the insur-
ance industry are aware of and accepting of the
possibility they will have to make large payouts
from time to time. That's why there.are reinsur-
ers after all.
But this bill does more than add to the bal-
looning corporate welfare system. While mak-
ing sure insurers get all the money they want, it
puts serious obstacles in the way of individuals

seeking terrorism-related damages in court.
Insurers and other businesses would have their
liability severely restricted, all actions would
have to be filed in federal court and punitive
damages would be eliminated. Attorney fees in
such cases would also be limited. These burdens
could make it nearly impossible for a plaintiff to
ever resolve such an action. Plaintiffs are still in
court seeking damages from the 1993 World
Trade Center Bombing under the current rules.
New restrictions could kill the possibility of
legal redress for future victims of terrorism.
This is an old trick to prevent compensation
to victims. Republicans were doing the same
thing to the Patient's Bill of Rights a few
months ago when they tried to use the same tac-
tics of limiting punitive damages, restricting lia-
bility and forcing all cases into the already
clogged federal courts to effectively block
enforcement of many of the bill's protections.
They also tried to restrict attorney fees in
that situation because Republicans love free
markets, except when in comes to lawyers.
And corporate welfare of course.
A prime example of that is the economic
stimulus bill. It looks to be as galling an exam-
ple of corporate pork as the terror insurance bill.
To his credit, Daschle has been working hard to
include more help for workers in the bill in the
form of unemployment insurance and health
benefits, but because of the Republican adminis-
tration and House of Representatives, any eco-
nomic stimulus bill will almost certainly be just
a sop to big corporations and the wealthy with a
few pittances for workers that Democrats can
say constitute a victory.
The House has already passed its bill and
it's an almost freakishly elitist assemblage of tax
breaks for people with high incomes and the
nation's biggest corporations. Most notable is a

retroactive repeal of the corporate alternative
minimum tax (which ensures companies can't
use creative accounting and tax write-offs to
avoid paying any taxes), meaning that the large
companies subject to the tax don't have to pay
in the future and get back what they paid in the
past.
The budget deficit Republicans put us into
with their earlier tax cuts for the wealthy (and
isn't the economic growth those stimulated just
great?) wasn't enough. They've decided to dig
the hole deeper because why ask people to pay
now when they can just leave the bill for future
generations with interest? Of course it's possible
we'll have to pay now too, especially if the
economy stabilizes anytime soon, as administra-
tion economic forecasters predict, because the
budget deficits (projected to last for years even
with an economic recovery) will lead to higher
interest rates, which we all get to pay for.
The only winners appear to the corporations
getting back billions of dollars even as the
workers they shed are finding it more and more
difficult to get new jobs.
As interested as he is in not being accused,
as he assuredly will be anyway, of not doing
enough to help the country in a time of war if he
doesn't pass these bills, Sen. Daschle shouldn't
hold out for a few virtually meaningless conces-
sions to workers, but should just go home and
let these almost farcical corporate giveaways
die. Keeping down deficits and interest rates,
leaving terror victims with legal remedies and
not having gobs of money to businesses and the
bill to taxpayers would be far more helpful to
the country than any of the small concessions he
can win.
Peter Cunnife can be reached
via e-mail atpcunniff@umich.edu.

V LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

NJ. drivers not so bad, but
watch out across the Hudson

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TO THE DAILY:
Being from New Jersey, I under-
stand that we are considered a suburb
on New York and columnist Steve

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