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February 19, 2002 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-19

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4 --The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 19, 2002



c br Elicrgau &Iit~rg


SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

"(We are
fighting against
- Mahmet Bakali, head of the Kosovo
Communist Party, quoting Slobodan
Milosevic's justication of the Yugslavian
genocide against Kosovar Muslims
during Milosevic's war crimes trial,
as reported by The Associated Press.

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Distracting us with evil again
ur post-Cold War world is backing them up, there's at least one huge minds need to be taken off the latest sale of gov-
dilemma ended last hurdle that we aren't yet doing much to overcome. emment policy to interest group X.
month. No longer And when asked about what's happening with It feels awfully Reagan-esque these days. I
will we have to grope about Iraq, administration officials invariably say some- don't remember Reagan all that well personally,
in a complicated world of thing about all options being considered, without but I do remember enthusiastically belting out
shifting interests and alliances ever committing to or being specific about any- "God Bless the U.S.A." with my grade school
and innumerable shades of thing. The anti-Iraq talk, propped up by the war music class as the Iran-Contra affair unfolded. As
gray. We can fall back into an (read: Ratings) fevered press, sounds like just that; people like to say about Reagan, he just made us
easy outlook of blacks and a lot of talk. feel good about being Americans.
whites. We finally have a new Why would Bush be making such a big deal Unfortunately, huge deficits, increased
enemy. A whole axis of them as it turns out. out of Iraq if he didn't really intend to do some- inequality and U.S. sponsored terrorism in Central
But George W. Bush's attempt to capture a bit thing about it? Maybe he's trying to get Hussein to America are a few of the things our patriotism got
of Roosevelt may disappoint. Unlike the original let arms inspectors back into Iraq by convincing us during the Reagan years. But for Bush, such
Axis powers, the new don't even pretend to like him that an attack is inevitable otherwise. Or patriotic popularity couldn't look better. As Rea-
each other and aren't gobbling up other countries. maybe I'm wrong and Bush seriously feels we can gan showed, if he can get all the kids singing again
In Asia this week, Bush is trying to sell other topple Saddam alone in another Afghanistan-like with pride in his clarity of purpose, then he can do
nations on the axis idea. But the complaints, espe- walk in the park. Or maybe in addition to driving anything.
cially from the Europeans, about the inappropriate- the national debt to undreamt of heights, pouring Never mind that North Korea was starting
ness of the "Axis of Evil" language haven't let up money willy nilly into every military boondoggle to finally engage the outside world when Bush
since Bush threw that rhetorical bomb in his Jan. available, and telling us to say no to drugs, Bush is decided to cut the legs out from under South
29 State of the Union address. Americans, on the taking another cue from that most popular past Korea's heroic efforts at reconciliation. And
other hand, can't fall over themselves fast enough president and found us some evil to fight (or at forget that Iran has been reforming and in its
to talk about how great it is for a president to have least yell at). most virulently anti-American moments has
"clarity of purpose," as U.S. News and World The admiration of so many had for Ronald never put the United States in as much danger
Report put it, with apparently no regard for what Reagan has always astounded me. He certainly as Saudi Arabia.
that purpose is. talked a good game if you're into blather about I'm no fan of Saddam Hussein, but his ouster
The problem with all the complaints and com- how wonderful we all are and bluster about the seems unlikely. The administration must see the
pliments of the "axis" talk is that it misses the evil of our enemies. Not that we aren't good peo- mess such an endeavor would be and while they
rather glaring fact that nothing is being done about ple and the Soviet Union didn't need to go. But if talk tough, there seems to be little real movement
it. Several weeks into the era of our new enemies, you think Reagan did the Soviets in, then you ludi- towards any kind of attack.
the administration admits there's no military crously believe their economic and political sys- Why fight an enemy when it can just be con-
action, or even much diplomatic movement, with tems were sustainable and it was the stern tinually condemned from afar anyway? Just as
regard to Iran and North Korea in the offing. They disapproval of the Gipper that brought them down. Reagan is acclaimed for an empty rhetorical flour-
are more overtly hostile to Iraq, with posturing Perhaps he made them spend more on their mili- ish that got people's hearts pounding, so too Bush
Democratic presidential hopefuls and TV studio tary than they would have, but it was communism, may be able to use slogans against an adversary he
generals egging them on, but are we really going not American weapons, that doomed them. never fights to carve a place in history.
to war with Iraq again? Since both Saudi Arabia Having an evil empire for an adversary made
and Turkey, where we would likely need to base us feel better though. It let us lob invectives at Peter Cunnife can be reached
such an operation, oppose it and the rest of the someone whenever the mood struck us or our apcunniJ@umich.edu.
How many GSIs does it take to screw in alightbulb?
Lindsay* walks into would rather deal with an established professor for less from a GSI without a fight, and on the other
the classroom full of all the loot that is being shelled out for our "high- side, there are your 22-year-old GSIs who might
freshmen, taking a er" education. Walking into a classroom only to react with less tact than a seasoned professor if one
couple of nervous glances at find someone who was in our shoes just a couple of their students were to rub them the wrong way.
the equally tense group of of years ago is somewhat disheartening, at least for It's also disturbing when the professor speaks
strangers waiting for their those of us who do give a damn. perfect English in lecture, but you cannot under-
very first taste of collegiate The concept of a fresh college graduate stand a word from the GSI in discussion. This is
learning. She timidly sets her instructing other college students yields difficulty.. one of those problems that probably can't be dealt
books down, the ambiance of Granted, the financial compensation allowed to with in a plausible manner, but it interrupts the
a recent University of Con- grad students for their willingness to teach courses hifalutin' hell out of the lecture/discussion flow
necticut graduate floating is, I am sure, incentive enough to go through with when one cannot understand the limited, accented
through the room. "So ... umm ... aheheh ... the ensuing headache, but I often wonder whether English of a GSI. I have left discussion with a
could everyone, umm, just raise your hand as I call the GSIs really want to do their jobs? I have come throbbing head questioning whether or not those
off your name?" As the class progresses, not a across a couple of them with huge chips on their participation points are worth sitting through an
damn thing changes with this woman's church shoulders, as if their compensation is not at all hour of hell. It makes me feel very sorry for for-
mouse demeanor. "Umm, does anyone know the worth their troubles. When students see this (and eign students who have the same struggle with our
answer? Anyone? "C'mon guys ..." yes we do see it), we associate the attitude with the everyday English.
They warned me. They warned me before I quality of work ... that is, we can tell when GSIs I have had a number of good GSIs, and only a
even got my acceptance letter to U of M in the don't give a rat's ass, and in turn we make sure handful of exceptional ones. But the bad, as it typi-
mail. They said, "Dustin, you know you are gonna their department heads find out as well. cally does, outweighs the good. I simply can't get
be dealing with a bunch of graduate student So I walk into my Economics 101 discussion with the concept of an English grad student grad-
instructors at that school, don't you?" I didn't for the first time, in a minor state of trepidation ing one of my papers when they are still in the
think too much of it ... I mean, what's the big deal, from all of the intimidating things I heard about process of learning how to write them themselves.
right? "You know the quality of undergraduate the course. Fifteen minutes after the hour, Perhaps I am tired of leaming everything I need to
insuction may be sub-par at times as a result, Gourou* busts through the door, a complete mess, know in lecture and attending discussion because I
right?" Ahh, I can take it. It'll be OK, I told them. and throws his things on the desk in a discombob- have to get the grade. Do I have a solution to the
How misguided can one incoming student be? ulated manner. He grabs the chalk, writes his problem? None that would satisfy all parties -
With the prestigious reputation of The Univer- name on the blackboard, introduces himself, and graduate school is expensive, and frankly I would
sity of Michigan comes the unfortunate stigmata says to the class in a heavy Japanese accent, and I probably commit to teaching as well if I were a
that are GSIs. Apparently, so many years ago quote: "I want to let you all know right now, that I grad student. Does that make me a hypocrite? It
some hapless bastard(s) decided that it was a bril- am not a very good GSI ... " True story, folks ... makes me a person in the same, financially dis-
liant idea to appoint college students to teach other imagine my confidence level after this. traught position as all of the other GSIs who do it
college students, oftentimes with no professorial An issue that has concerned me a number of because they have to. In the end, it is what it is,
assistance, therefore allowing the former to pos- times is the inevitable personality conflicts that we and those of us in frustration must deal.
sess absolute power over the latter's grades and have with GSIs. Our age group pennits that, in Knowledge.
subsequent futures at the university. I would imag- some cases, a GSI can be the same age as the
ine that the load of a grad school student is proba- undergrad that he/she is instructing, and so there *Names have been changed to protect the blissfully
bly more intense than that of an undergrad's, but are bound to be issues with egos. On the undergrad ignorant.
to have the added pressure of dealing with students side of the spectrum, you have your spoiled kids
on occasional semesters has to be mind-boggling: with the silver spoons shoved up their asses accus- Dustin J Seibert can be reached
On the flip side of things, we lowly undergrads tomed to straight As who won't accept anything at dseibert@umich.edu.


Daily has done a dissenice
to State Street revitalization
For two school years and two summers while
at the University, I took part in a project designed
to revitalize the State Street Area and ensure its
successful future. My fellow students and I held
countless meetings with local residents, students,
business owners and government officials in an
effort to appease all interested groups.
I feel that the Daily has done us a great disser-

before you condemn our efforts.


LSA-SG's survey indicates
poor research, interpretation
I was quite surprised to see numbers reported
in yesterday's Daily (GSIs receive low ratings from

responded said their discussion sections did not
prepare them for midterm or final exams, and 26
percent said the GSI did not investigate themes rel-
evant to the central focus of the course" is at best
inaccurate, and at worst intentionally deceptive.
It would be logical to assume that only those
students who have gripes about their GSIs would
have the inclination to take the time required to
voluntarily respond to an email survey. That would
skew the results disproportionately towards the
"poor-performance" end of the spectrum. But that
doesn't really matter. What does matter is that in
any survey where people self-select who responds



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