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January 28, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-28

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01

4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 28, 2003

OP/ED

chbe lflkiguu n 4311

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR; MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

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

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
(Winning Michigan
for the president
will not be our
goal, it will be
our destiny."
-Michigan 's Republican Party Chairwoman
Betsy DeVos on the 2004 presidential election.

V.,

Th~e.

SAM BUTLER CIL A SC SOAPBOX

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You people are all missing the point
JOSEPH LITMAN TiHE LOW END THEORY
ffirmative action schools under other theoretically corrective not anomalous, though. All over the country,
is a necessary systems like the ones used in Texas and local public schools lack the resources neces-
evil, providing Florida. Notions of fixing our inadequate sary to properly educate students, and the
disadvantaged people schools are buried under the avalanche of many who can't afford alternatives - tutors
with important opportu- endless rhetoric and statistics. and private schools - are forced to learn in
nities that they wouldn't While the University and other finer insti- these substandard environments.
otherwise receive. That tutions of higher education are indeed popu- Americans should be embarrassed by this
the admission of some lated by plenty of public-school products, the situation. It is shameful, and if nothing else
less-qualified students presence of such students can be misleading. inefficient, that we do not guarantee all citi-
comes at the expense of How many are from schools in wealthy zens a quality education. Furthermore, the
other, perhaps more deserving, students is enclaves like the suburbs outside of places persistent lack of a concerted effort to ame-
unfortunate, yet there are plenty of other sys- like Detroit and Chicago and New York? liorate the situation illustrates a failure of
tems of privilege employed by top colleges How many, like myself, received a public altruism, an absence of compassion.
and universities. (Just ask President G-Dub.) education from a magnet school where com- Yes, occasionally school budgets go up
However, arguing about the merits and puters were plentiful, students were smart, and programs are created to recruit better
weaknesses of affirmative action neglects the and AP courses seemed to outnumber their teachers, but both are not nearly sincere or
real issue: Public education in this country is pedestrian counterparts? The answer to both effective enough. And, don't even mention
awful. Affirmative action only exists because questions is many. vouchers, a sure circumvention of the real
too many schools - mostly found in cities Of course there are graduates from problem. Can't fix the schools? Let's just
disproportionately populated by the under- schools actually in Detroit and other not go to them.
classes and minorities - lack the resources metropolises, but this group is unfortunate- To really make public education what it
needed to endow their students with the ly under-represented. Many who attend should be, all states should follow the lead of
knowledge and skills needed for entrance such schools are eliminated from the race Minnesota, and adopt region-based revenue
into elite colleges. If the primary and sec- before it begins. sharing to reappropriate money in a way that
ondary schools were fixed, then the debate Last year, I tutored students in Ms. Harris' ensures greater equity between urban and
over affirmative action would be rendered sixth-grade English class at Detroit's Vetal suburban public school funding.
moot, the program made superfluous. Neither Middle school. Weekly, I would return from I fully understand that this romantic
the program's staunch supporters nor its most my outings mostly depressed, dispirited by the idea is as likely as me becoming pope. In
fervent critics address this, though; those experience. I liked the kids very much and states like California, for instance, where
most actively involved in this struggle are Ms. Harris was a well-intentioned teacher. property values are king, such a system
completely missing the point, wrangling in However, rarely had the kids completed their would likely incite class warfare. However,
the wrong direction. homework and even less frequently would until a concerted effort like the one pro-
How far astray is public discourse? G- they attentively follow the lessons in class. posed is adopted by this nation, affirmative
Dub carries the banner for the anti-action For her part, Ms. Harris seemed to have lost action and its cousins will continue to be
movement, calling the University's prac- her patience and could not even appropriately suggested as means to level a constantly
tices an unfair quota system. Meanwhile, a explain third-person perspective. The "learn- skewed playing field. You all can now
gentleman I know from BAMN routinely ing" occurred in a dreary classroom that had resume your misguided fight.
eites numbers that proveblaks. are both .grates over the windowa. hipdfulof~shabby
unfairly discriminated against by staples of books, one malfunctioning computer and no Joseph Litman can be reached
the college admissions system, like the pencils or paper. atlitman@umich.edu.
SATs, and still excluded from the best The existence of such bleak conditions is
A new speech and the same bad ideas
PETER CUNNIFFE ONE FOR THE ROAD
T oday President That first State of the Union also gave us into confrontation, and alienate a once staunch
Bush will give his the Axis of Evil. While Bush is pushing hard ally for good measure, when you're not actually
second State of the - and not without justification - to invade going to do anything about it? Especially when
Union Address, and if his- chief evildoer Iraq, he has used the occasion it makes your ultra-tough line look hypocritical.
tory is any guide, it will be to alienate many of the United States' tradi- The stunning miscalculations worked into
memorable, influential and tional allies. Rather than working through the these presidential addresses will no doubt be
disastrous. In the first United Nations, which, contrary to certain portrayed as successes in today's speech. We'll
speech he gave before a punditry, is possible (as Bush himself showed be told the last tax cuts were so great that
joint session of Congress, by quickly getting weapons inspections wealthy people need even more. The Axis of
in early 2001, the newly- restarted), Bush seems to have decided what Evil will still be evil and will soon - probably
elected (to use the term loosely) president gave a will drive this war is not the inspections - have one fewer member. That's going to
pitch for more spending, huge tax cuts, a bal- process he promoted and agreed to, or the mean alienating much of the world, seriously
anced federal budget and paying down the coalition building practiced by his father, but degrading our standing and influence, but we
national debt. It didn't quite turn out that way. merely the machinations of his advisors. don't need help; the growth from the tax cuts
Bush emphasized spending on the military Then there's the first evildoer Bush actual- will pay for the war, the occupation and the
and education, and while outdoing the wildest ly mentioned in the speech, North Korea. This rebuilding. And even if they don't, deficits -
dreams of military contractors, he failed to even is a country with a military and weapons of according to a recent conservative revelation-
support fully paying for his own vaunted No mass destruction program far more dangerous are nothing to worry about. Unless they're fund-
Child Left Behind Act in this year's budget, than Iraq. It was also a country causing few ing Bush's own education programs of course,
leaving unfunded mandates that the states, most international problems and that was building a we just can't afford those right now.
of which are suffering from severe budget short- stable relationship with its longtime nemesis, Besides these rehashes, at least one new mis-
falls, now have to pay for. Bush did get the tax United States-allied South Korea, before Bush take in the making will be announced: a plan
cuts he wanted, but the first balanced federal came into office. The conservative theorists expanding prescription drug coverage, which
budgets in decades are quickly turning into the given control of much of American foreign moves seniors from Medicare to HMOs. I'm
largest deficits in history and the cuts certainly policy decreed that bad countries without oil sure they'll love that. And who knows what
didn't "jump start the American economy," as be handled roughly, however, and in one of his Axis of Evil-esque rhetorical flourishes Bush's
he asserted they would. first meetings with a foreign leader, Bush duti- overdramatic speechwriters will burden Ameri-
In his first official State of the Union a year fully jabbed a diplomatic stick into South can foreign policy with this year.
later, Bush focused on newly pressing national Korea's eye, deriding then-president Kim-dae The speech will also include the obligatory
security issues. But some of his recent actions Jung's rapprochement-seeking policies to his assessment of the state of our union as strong)
- such as setting spending limits under which face after Colin Powell had led him to believe But with the economy doing poorly, tens of
the Senate just cut the FBI budget from $4.2 bil- there would be no change. thousands of jobs being lost every month and
lion to $3.8 billion - seem to subordinate secu- A year later North Korea was tossed into the our international reputation being wrecked,
rity to filling the budgetary hole created by tax Axis, its antagonism assured, and we now have that's going to be a tough sell. This is what
cuts. The spending cuts he demanded have been a crisis to deal with that, unlike Iraq, Bush insists Bush's policies have given us and later today
projected to require the elimination of over must be handled diplomatically. North Korea is he'll offer only more of the same.
1,000 FBI agents, hundreds of food safety a bad place. Its building nuclear weapons and
inspectors, 1,600 customs agents and the reduc- keeping hundreds of thousands of people in con- Peter Cunniffe can be reached
tion the biodefense budget by 44 percent. centration camps. But why insult and goad them atpcunnif@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

0

Hanink, Honkala get it
right; anti-war movement
should be about end to war
TO THE DAILY:
While not personally holding strong
feelings on the impending war in Iraq, I
applaud the recent opinions expressed by
the editorial staff of the Daily. I am at pre-
sent a fence-sitter, like I assume many are
on campus, but still interested in the debate
surrounding the issue.
I share the sentiments exoressed in

sonal and sometimes venomous rhetoric" on
everything fron the actual focus of the rally
(organizing against the war) to promotion
of a Palestinian state or the personal charac-
teristics of our president.
Both arguments point out the alienating
force of tying too many issues together. If
the organizers of the anti-war movement
hope to attract the fence-sitters like
myself, they should focus their rhetoric on
the war and not their personal and numer-
ous other pet issues. They send a muddled,
ineffective and potentially off-putting mes-
sage to their intended audience.
BEN JULIAN
LSA senior

over the past several years, I could not be
more proud of Johanna Hanink's column
yesterday, No room for Israel in campus left,
(01/27/03).
Those on this campus that have aligned
themselves with the Palestinian cause can
be appropriately labeled "anti-Israel" more
than they can be "pro-Palestinian." I have
seen several protests, sit-ins, rallies ... and
for what? Have any of these functions been
in support of the Palestinian people?
Absolutely not; they have been in support
of the destruction of Israel. Likewise, the
leaders of this movement neglect to
acknowledge that there even is another side
to the conflict, and as Hanink said. believe

T HE BOONDOCKS AA RON MCj.RUDER

0

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