4A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 6, 2003
C Jbe aibiuDug
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EDITED AND MANAGED BY
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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
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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.
I thought that if the
University of Michigan
didn't think I was good
enough, I wasn't. I think
my life would be
significantly different if I
had been admitted."
- Jennifer Gratz, admissions lawsuit
plaintiff in response to her rejection
by LSA which destroyed her ambition
to become a doctor, as reported in
yesterday's New York Times.
My fellow Americans, I'm deploying 70,000 troops to Iraq
in retaliation for a terrorist attack with which it had no part.
I am doing this regardless of the unfinished and
inconclusive counterfeit diplomatic inspections; which are
worthless anyway because in the coming months I will find
some technicality in the arms report that will legitimize my
aggression. No matter what chicanery you hear, I'm
attacking this mild threat, while ignoring a much larger
nuclear threat, because I want the United States to have
control over Iraq's invaluable oil resources and tremendous
geopolitical strategic importance over the Middle East and
SAM BUTLER THiE SOAPBOX
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"T ia Lrc3.c
ave risen to Ivy League of support for its develi
Get off t ence
A Balkan night on the town
JOHANNA HANINK PARLANCE OF OUR TIMES
ast August I son counterpart to my Michigan Daily, gave a have to the little girl with the pink shirt and
passed an evening speech to the group via our interpreter. He tri- goofy smile that I caught on my roll of film.
so jarring that to umphed the hope that the Roma children hold I was in New York on New Year's Eve.
confine it to some formu- for the future of their community, historically Where was she?
laic cliche would only and universally persecuted. We joked and Scanning the MSNBC news yesterday, I
dull the vibrancy it still teased him about it afterward - he did declare saw a photo story about the million and a half
holds in my memory. the children the future with a straight face - Roma who remain today as Kosovar refugees
When the start of last but as trite as it seemed the truth was there. - ironically driven out by ethnic Albanians
fall's semester was just Now in Ann Arbor, for this school year's returning, under the auspices of NATO, from
beginning to sneak into second post-holiday transportation disaster in a their own exile and persecution.
my peripheral vision, I took a trip on a high- row, my flights were all wrong and I came The first of the pictures in the slide show, a
way painted with a Balkan skyline to a place back a day earlier than I would have liked, on photograph by Lucian Reed, shows a little girl
about an hour outside of Sofia, Bulgaria. Saturday. With a perfect and overdue opportu- - black haired, mouth open and front teeth
There, in Pemick, a town closer to Macedonia nity to clean my room and despite having familiarly missing, yelling out to her friends.
than made any sense to the geography of my nothing to do, I slipped into my end-of-term She's sitting on a ledge in front of a dirty and
life experience, I went to a party epitomizing habitual procrastination (still resonant from broken building that's seen more than its share
that hackneyed "once-in-a-lifetime" classifica- December) and began shuffling through the of Balkan conflict, where she lives with more
tion - a party thrown by a village of Bulgar- summer's pictures. than one hundred other refugees.
ia's Roma. In tag-line terms, that Saturday, on There is one picture from that night that It's impossible not to put the two and
the murky doorsill leading evening into night, I always manages to freeze my hand when I pass two together. I know that she's not the girl
found myself dancingwith the Gypsies. by it in the stack: a little girl - probably 5 whose impression is smushed in a desk
When I and the friends I.traveled with years old and with beautiful black hair, her drawer between other pictures from Bulgar-
(Anti-Defamation League staff members and arms raised above her head and motionless in ia - but like the one I met, she probably
other campus newspaper editors) arrived, we the picture, but waving in my memory. She's dances with her arms waving above her
were met with more'than 100 members of the giving what we'd want to call a toothy grin - head, spinning and giggling and showing
local community: children, the elderly, a band, toothy, except for her missing front baby teeth off that painfully endearing little gap in the
all dressed in colors that stood out in disso- (I can empathize; I went front-toothless from front of her mouth.
nance with the falling dusk. Our translator? the age of about 3 - after a disastrous game of It's a bad combination to meet and see
The son of the Lord of the Gypsies. Translat- tag - until about the third grade). more people -- the inevitable effect of passing
ing for his father. The Lord of the Gypsies. When I took that picture I was crouched on another day - and to read the news more care-
Who was standing next to us. Imagine. my knees in the middle of the crowd, having fully. In October, at least 1,000 people died
Between every mathematically conceivable just listened to Dave's speech (a roaring suc- when the Senegalese ferry Le Joola capsized
pair of our 16-member group, this simple sen- cess). There was a group of kids in front of me, off the coast of Africa's westernmost country.
tence was whispered: "Nobody at home will screaming and giggling and clambering over Yesterday, at least 23 people died in a bus sta-
believe this." each other, everyone trying to position them- tion in Tel Aviv. Maybe I've seen one or two
We were greeted with roses and rose water, selves in the range of the camera lenses (given of those more than 1,023 people; maybe I
held in a little wooden vial that I still have - a away too easily by the constantly flickering haven't. But I can imagine them so clearly -
vial which triggers a Proustian rush when, flashes). They put their arms around each just like I can imagine a little Roma girl who
every month or so, looking for a pen, I find it other's shoulders and grinned, always looking may not have had such a happy New Year.
in the bottom corner of one of the more forget- in the wrong direction. That 5-year-old was the
table pockets of my backpack. My friend only one I managed to capture; in my life I Johanna Hanink can be reached
Dave, who in job terms is the Harvard Crim- haven't given more thought to a stranger than I firstname.lastname@example.org.
Worst Christmas ever
BY ARI PAUL much in our daily lives, these products no sion? Hogwash. How about words or actions
longer become special. that are original and genuine rather than a
It's as if all the retail moguls are crying Even the average student, and I'm not store-bought widget manufactured by 14-
out in the voice of the Comic Book Guy talking about us college kids, but high school- year-old, mangled Indonesian hands?
from "The Simpsons," "Worst Christmas ers, rely on individual access to transportation, There are two lessons about ourselves
ever!" Many economic analysts have point- Internet access and mobile communication. that Americans have or should learn for the
ed out the obvious answer that because Look around you, and see how many people coming year after this Christmas slump.
Americans lost their life savings in the stock have what the desire and/or need (if you can One, the next time CNN financial news says
market and got laid off since George W. define the difference). Laptops, cell phones that the lack of consumerism in this country
Bush took office, many Americans have and palm pilots appear on the American land- contributes to the recession, perhaps we
been less generous in handing over their scape, forcing people like me to think if they should wonder if rolling back social services
paychecks to the likes of Best Buy, Macy's had ever imagined that desktops, pagers (and and downsizing is really a good idea. Per-
and Amazon.com. It's the vicious cycle that even landlines) and the simple dayplanner haps if Americans had more access to
America is put in with each Bush presiden- would be anachronisms. employment and job training and didn't
cy. The recession leaves many Americans The electronic era has created webstores have the burden of soaring prices for health
without the ability to consume, and without and Ebay making purchasing less time con- care and insurance, we could put our money
consumption, our economy spins deeper and suming and a financial cinch. There are back into the economy and make things
faster into the financial toilet. commodities into which industries invested work again.
But the lack of giving by the middle and all their assets because of their high value, And two, maybe the optimists over at
upper middle class to the ruling class is not and now they're worthless. I remember Adbusters did, in fact, get the message
just due to the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Smith when I had to save up in high school to buy across. No, Buy Nothing Day didn't change
of Anytown, U.S.A. simply don't have any CDs, for myself and for my friends at the that many minds, but along with the stand-
money. I would like to think that the assorted Judeo-Christian, gift-giving holi- still in consumption it suggested that we
Adbusters' gimmick of Buy Nothing Day days. Now music is free via Internet and have come to the end of the road, and that
actually did make Americans reevaluate the CD-burning. the greed and innovation of the '80s and
materialistic drive, and realize how buying The industries and retailers that expected '90s didn't see the limits. And that progress
and selling controls our everyday lives. But to profit this holiday season like they usually brings us here, to the year 2003, where we
more accurately, the reason why the 2002 do found that everything they had to offer have everything and a society seeks to find
Christmas buying season was so dismal is was what American consumers already t new ways to use their resources. What's it
that Americans simply have everything. have. There's nothing left to buy. going to be then, eh? A pursuit of enlighten-
"Oh please, I'm totally materially unful- And it all goes back to that age-old ment? Redistribution of wealth? The rise of
filled," I hear people saying, and I kind of cliche. People shouldn't have to give gifts in the Great Society? Happy New Year.
agree; most people naturally feel that they order to express how they feel towards one
are missing something. But in today's world another. Nothing says "I love you" like a Paul is an RC junior and a member o
when technology and material matter so diamond ring or a 52-inch flat screen televi- the Daily's editorial boar
Women shouldn't want to golf where not wanted
STEPHEN CARLEY IROM THE UNIVERSITY WIRE
White House should support affirmative action
he president supports
affirmative access." So
said White House Press
Secretary Ari Fleischer in a Dec. 17
press briefing. If Fleischer's statement
leaves you uncertain as to the exact
nature. of the president's position on
the role of race in admissions, you are
not alone. The Bush administration
has crafted a murky message for pub-
lic consumption on the pressing ques-
tion of affirmative action.
As the Jan. 16 deadline for filing
amicus briefs - briefs that interested
parties may file with the U.S.
Supreme Court in order to influence a
court's decision - in the University's
affirmative action cases approaches,
the silence from the Bush administra-
tion on this issue is speaking volumes
to the nation's civil rights leaders and
the population at large.
The Justice Department is current-
ly engaged in a debate with the White
House not only over whether to file a
brief, but also over the arguments con-
tained in the brief The administration
would be short-sighted to avoid taking
a stand on such a high-profile issue.
Racial issues may be the defining
political issues of our time, and it
would therefore be unwise for the
administration to appear apathetic.
Refusing to take a stand or taking a
disingenuous stand in favor of affir-
mative action in order to help the
president's poll numbers does not
make for sound policy. The impor-
tance of affirmative action in order to
increase minority representation in
higher education should lead the
administration to file an amicus brief
supporting the University.
A recent report by the U.S. Com-
mission on Civil Rights provides evi-
dence that alternative strategies for
increasing minority representation at
the nation's universities have not
been successful. The so-called "per-
centage plan," which President Bush
supports and calls "affirmative
access," has been a clear failure in
the president's home state of Texas,
according to the report.
The "percentage plan," adopted in
Texas after the U.S. 5th Circuit
Court of Appeals' decision in Hop-
wood v. Texas effectively ended
affirmative action in all schools
under its jurisdiction, guarantees that
the top 10 percent of high school
graduates in the state will be admit-
ted into a public institution of higher
learning in Texas.
Since the enactment of this policy,
the University of Texas at Austin, for
example, has seen a decrease in black
and Hispanic admittance rates
despite the fact that blacks and His-
panics have been applying to the
school in larger numbers. Similar
problems are present at other Texas
schools. Other strategies intended to
be substitutes for affirmative action
in California and Florida also do not
pass the muster of the Commission
on Civil Rights.
These results provide evidence that
ending affirmative action will likely
depress black and Hispanic represen.
tation at institutes of higher learning
around the country.
If Bush wants to help ensure the
continued diversification of higher
education, he should have his admin-
istration file an amicus brief persuad-
ing the Supreme Court to uphold the
University's admissions policies.
n important issue in the national media know what? He's right.
this week actually arose several Why does Burk want women to join The
onths ago. At that time, Martha Masters? Does she really believe that there is
Burk, the 'head of the National Council of some kind of malicious conspiracy going on
Women's Organizations, had been leading the to keep women from enjoying something truly
movement to get women into The Masters special? Does she think that Adolf Hitler and
golf tournament, and claimed that the organi- C. Montgomery Burns are on a committee
zation discriminated against women who somewhere plotting to keep women out just to
wished to participate. Since then she has con- be mean? Never mind that women can play
tinued her assault on the organization with golf nearly everywhere else at virtually any
unrelenting hostility, threatening time.
to picket the tournament this THE FLAT HAT The fact
year. I am no great golf fan, but I C (LLEGE FL WILLIAM AND NARY is, Augusta
can telf that she obviously cares National is a
membership. Unfortunately for her, The Mas-
ters, since its existence, has been a privately
held,.organization, and it will stay that way.
Burk hopes that someday Augusta National
will be forced to accept women members. The
day that law is passed is the day that private
ownership dies in the United States, and the
day I move to Russia, where, as Abraham Lin-
coln said, "they make no pretense of loving
Liberty, you ask? Yes, liberty. Private
organizations, as well as individuals, have
rights. The uninformed may call it bigoted,
backward, unfair and unkind, but the fact