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January 17, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-17

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 17, 2003


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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.

'* On the whole,
I believe America
is politically mature
today and ready to have
a Jew, possibly, as
a president."
- Anti-Defamation League President
Abraham Foxman, on Joseph Lieberman 's
candidacy for the Democrat's presidential
nomination, as quoted in yesterday's
Washington Post. Foxman added that'he
wasn't so sure about the Jewish community.

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Lock, stock and two panicked nations

cate and watch one

So we've all seen
"Bowling for
Columbine" now,
right? No? It's playing
at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
at the State Theater. I
suggest you be a good
liberal and make it
there. Or be a well-
rounded pro-gun advo-
of the best 90-minute

editorials you will have ever seen. Maybe
you'll learn something you never knew before,
like how Dick Clark has it in for Oakland
County welfare-to-workers.
Anyway, part of Michael Moore's
hypotheses is that America suffers from a
culture of violence not because of Marylyn
Manson, hip hop and video games, but
because the preference of its leadership is to
make policy with the sword, and because the
nation's news media exploit and thrive upon
sensationalist images of violence. It's a
worthwhile hypothesis, and Moore attempts
to strengthen it by contrasting the American
media with the tamer and less sensationalis-
tic Canadian media. He then throws out sta-
tistics that illustrate how many more violent
crimes are committed in the United States
than in other Western nations (we suffer
approximately 34 more times as many gun-
related murders here than they do in England
and Wales). He suggests that it is the
nation's propensity toward war and the
media's "if it bleeds, it leads" philosophy,

rather than hip hop and video games, that
give rise to America's "culture of violence."
What's interesting is that in the wake of the
renewed awareness Moore's film has brought
to the issue of gun violence, one of the nations
that has famously (and, to some Americans,
puzzlingly) little gun violence has entered into
a panic of its own.
One of the lead stories on the BBC last
Thursday proclaimed that gun crime in Eng-
land and Wales has escalated 20 percent over
the past year. This news comes in the wake of
a double homicide in Birmingham (the real
Birmingham - not the one in Michigan)
where two teenage girls were shot at a New
Year's Eve party.
British politicians are reacting with alarm.
Home Secretary David Blunkett has taken a
page out of the American politicians' hand-
book by searching for answers in hip hop
lyrics. He called Jay-Z "appalling," and said
that, "I am concerned that we need to talk to
the record producers, to the distributors, to
those who are actually engaged in the music
business about what is and isn't acceptable."
Labour Party MP Kim Howells joined him
by proclaiming that, "For years I have been very
worried about these hateful lyrics that these
boasting macho idiot rappers come out with."
It is no coincidence that these misguided
accusations come in a year when The Streets,
a.k.a. Mike Skinner, a.k.a. the English
Eminem, has found his way into the CD play-
ers of little lads and lasses everywhere. Parlia-
ment, acting entirely unFunkadelically, doesn't

know what to do with rap music.
The Brits, bless them, have also found that
it is easier to target scapegoats than search for
answers (or stand up to the NRA, ahem,
ahem!) when it comes to dealing with hand-
guns. The BBC's online coverage of this story
included a link to a page containing various
hip-hop lyrics, from Jay-Z, 2Pac, Outkast, Big-
gie, Ludacris and Snoop. Sound familiar?
What is it Michael Moore said again about the
media? And then when I thought they couldn't
fuel the panicked fire any more, I found that
www.bbc.com provided a discussion board on
the topic, "is rap music to blame?"
No, BBC, rap music is not to blame. But to
the loyal subjects of the Queen I have bad
news: This has been going on in the States for
over two decades, and American politicians
still believe they can avoid the issue of gun
control by blaming popular entertainers instead
of the relentless and affluent National Rifle
As for Mr. Moore, your hypothesis seems
weakened. There is nothing unique about the
American media, or about American leader-
ship - the British are as panic-stricken and
specious in their approach as we are. But I've
got a job for you: pack your bags for Merry
Old England, and convince our chums across
the Atlantic that the source of-gun violence
runs deeper than song lyrics.
David Horn wanted badly to title this column
'Panic on the streets ofLndon. "He can be
reached via email at hornd@umich.edu.


Bush failed to da esrelevant
questions, or to sway fence-
sitters on aflirmative action
In listening to President Bush's recent
comments against my university's admis-
sions policy, I found myself feeling a mix
of disappointment and uncertainty. The fact
is I do not know how I feel about the poli-
cy. On the one hand I value the diversity on
this campus and the contribution it has
made to my experience, but on the other
hand I still find it difficult to accept that
race should be such an enormous aid or
detriment to an applicant's chances for
admission. Over my years in Ann Arbor, I
have waited anxiously for someone to make
it all make sense and to outline a system
that is fair, but also preserves many of the
values of the university.
On Wednesday, my disappointment and
indecision continued; I am beginning to think
that such a system will never exist. In listen-
ing to the president's words, I hoped to hear
him offer some brilliant alternative that
would resolve everyone's worries, but I
didn't expect much. I hoped to hear him
speak out against a legacy system in admis-
sions similar to the one he no doubt benefited
from at Yale University, but I didn't expect
that either. Now, with these two historic
cases pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, I
am hoping to see the University release to the
public all the relevant data. I am hoping to
see the numbers and find out exactly how
diverse this campus would be without the
affirmative action policies in place. I am hop-
ing that this kind of disclosure will help peo-
ple like me, now firmly planted on the fence,
to finally gain the perspective needed to
decide what is right and what is wrong. I am
hoping for all of these things, but if there is
one thing that I have learned, it is not to
expect much.
Business senior
Wireless Internet in class-
rooms would be too big a
temptation for Law students
Although the Daily is correct to note that
the Law School does have wireless access
(Wireless disconnect, 1/16/03), it incorrectly
uses this to support expanding wireless into
the classroom. In fact, wireless is unavailable
in nearly all Law School classrooms, and

were wireless to be available in class.
--Again; we have to look no farther than
the Law School: From the back of any large
lecture one can see solitaire on almost as
manyescreens as notes. All these people
wouldn't have pulled out a deck of cards
before laptops, and students with wireless
access will likely not limit their in-class
online activity to even marginally useful
pursuits. Forget "cultivating class discus-
sion" or even the Wall Street Journal online
- think www.hotornot.com.
Law School
Joint Cooperative Homse
unfairly pressured to call off
MLK Day party
Please note that although I am writing
this letter as a frustrated member of the
Joint Cooperative House, the opinions that
I am about to express in this letter are
mine alone, and do not necessarily repre-
sent the viewpoints of any other resident
of the house.
It may have come to the attention of
some on campus that the Joint House was
planning on throwing a party on Sunday to
celebrate the King holiday. Unfortunately,
due to the agitation of some who found our
flyer "offensive," and pressure by several
groups including the Inter Cooperative
Council itself, the Office of Multicultural
Affairs, the Department of Public Safety
and the Office of the Dean, this party has
now been called off.
I think this instance of much ado about
nothing is unfortunate, however, and would
like to take a moment to express my
thoughts about the entire debacle.
The flier that was placed at various loca-
tions around the University consisted of a car-
toon picture of Martin Luther King holding a
40-ounce bottle of beer and some text inviting
people to the party. The flier did not contain
anything regarding race or affirmative action.
whatsoever, and it was certainly not our inten-
tion in creating the flier to make any such
statements. The offense taken by the parties
and individuals involved is simply a result of
them having read their own feelings and
assumptions into the flier.
I can only imagine the satisfaction that
the various organizations and individuals
involved have derived from accomplishing
the important political goal of shutting
down a student house party where everyone,
regardless of race, color or creed, was wel-
come to come and have a good time. I

Why is no one else talkinga
about inequality in education
at secondary level?
This is my assessment of the situation. If
the Detroit Public Schools have a 75 percent
dropout rate, and of those 25 percent that do
graduate, we admit 10 percent, the University
is not admitting enough people to affect any
kind of meaningful social change. Worse
than that, the focus placed on the affirmative
action debate just masks the larger issues of
unsatisfactory urban public schools.
If the need for the use of race as a fac-
tor in admissions is because, without a
preference, minority enrollment would
drop, that says that on paper the minority
students applying are not as qualified as
non-minority applicants.
This says to me that the inequity exists
not only in minority enrollment in college,
but in access to quality education at the
secondary level. If this problem were
addressed and mended, there would be no
need for racial preferences in admissions.
This is the integral issue. Why is no one
else talking about this?
Music senior
U.S. Senate should vote to
prevent rollbacks to EPA'S
Clean Air Act
In a few days the U.S. Senate will be
voting on a paramount amendment affect-
ing the health of Michiganders and over
100 million Americans. As of the end of
last year the Environmental Protection
Agency has made rule changes to the Clean
Air Act, that, if passed into law, will allow
over 17,000 old and outdated industrial
sites to pollute even more than they are
currently permitted. An amendment, pro-
posed by Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.),
would block the EPA's rollbacks to the
Clean Air Act.
If the changes in the Clean Air Act are
implemented, many more Michigan citi-
zens will be forced to live in an environ-
ment that has been undermined by
industries driven by concern for profits and
not for health. Currently, air pollution from
coal power plants alone is responsible for
over 500 deaths and thousands of visits to
the emergency room in the Detroit metro



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