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February 02, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-02

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4A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 2, 2004


Ulije t

opinion.michigandaily. com

ITX JTK7%T CT rV"%tr X I n ii,- A

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're going to be wise
when it comes to the
expenditure of the
people's money."

n evX eryaxe n a... $ ,-e


- President Bush, on his proposed
budget, despite predictions of a $521
billion federal deficit for the coming fiscal
year, as reported yesterday by
The Washington Post.

You want them to do what?

Two weeks ago
during the State
of the Union
address, President Bush
called for increased
.funding to promote
abstinence among our
nation's unmarried
youth. The idea struck
me as ludicrous, so in
my last column I dismissed the president's
call as part of his "not-so-hidden Christian
agenda." I stand by that statement, but
based on the correspondence I've since
received, it became clear that my casual
dismissal was inadequate for this topic,
and if you'll indulge me, I'd like to
explore it further.
Let me begin by saying that I believe
that choosing whether or not to have sex
prior to marriage is a personal decision.
It's not my place to tell you whether you
should or should not engage in premarital
sex, so my displeasure with the president's
comments is not part of any pro-premarital
sex agenda. What upset me about Bush's
call for abstinence-only education is his
true motive. Under the guise of preventing
the spread of sexually transmitted dis-
eases, the president is in fact promoting
the spread of Christianity.
With more and more of the avenues of
direct promotion (the Ten Commandments
in public courthouses, for example) clos-
ing in recent times, Christian politicians
are being forced to use back doors. Instead
of promoting Christianity explicitly, they

take Christian principles and promote
them sans the Christian label. It's in the
nation's best interest, they argue. And if
everything that's in the nation's best inter-
est happens to be eerily similar to the
tenets of Christianity, they can't be held
The situation is exacerbated by the fact
that abstinence-only education simply will
not work. Bush's plan operates on the
assumption that if you tell a teenager not
to have sex, he or she will not have sex.
But telling a teenager not to have sex is
like ... well, no analogy can appropriately
encompass the stupidity and absurdity of
the idea.
It's outrageous to assume that Ameri-
can teenagers will suddenly take what
their teachers and parents tell them to
heart, suppress their hormones and abstain
from sex until they're married. It's simply
in the nature of American teenagers to
ignore their parents and teachers. Based on
stories about the Bush twins that have cir-
culated over the past few years, the presi-
dent, if anyone, should understand that.
And if good Christian girls like them (I'm
assuming he raised them to be good Chris-
tian girls) behave in such a manner, just
imagine what all the other kids are up to.
Still, he remains steadfast. At exactly what
point in life do parents all of a sudden for-
get what it was like to be a teenager and
start assuming that their teens will mind
them perfectly?
But what if we forget the president's
true motives for a moment and believe that

the plan really is aimed at ending the
spread of sexually transmitted diseases? It
still doesn't make any sense. It's eerily
similar to the war on drugs - the second
coming of Nancy Reagan and "Just say
no!" And we all know how well that
worked out. Just like that war on drugs,
the president's plan sounds like a good
idea, but in practice it will have little or no
effect. It won't work, because it addresses
the problem at the wrong place. Didn't the
president see "Traffic?"
A proper sex education program should
take that into account and then concede the
point that most teenagers will have pre-
marital sex. Not doing so is both irrespon-
sible and dangerous. Bush, parents and
teachers need to understand that teenagers
face a constant barrage of sex-related
material in their daily lives.
From music to movies to television and
Super Bowl halftime shows, sex is every-
where. It's a part of modem American cul-
ture, and it's here to stay. So, sure, tell
teenagers about abstinence and how it's
the safest option available to them. But
don't expect them to take heed, and cer-
tainly don't advertise it as the only option.
Scare tactics will never win out over rag-
ing hormones. Instead, tell them every
option that's available to them. Teach
them that sex is healthy and normal and
that it can be conducted safely and respon-
sibly. Most of all, be open and honest. A
little bit goes a long way.


Bad job market is not a boon
to graduating seniors
I would like to congratulate Prof.
Matthew Lassiter on his achievement of
the Golden Apple Award. However, I was
dismayed by his comment "I think the bad
job market is the best thing to happen to
college graduates in years." It seems cal-
lous for a person who has a job that he
excels at, in a field he is passionate about,
to make such a statement about people
whose futures are not as certain as his. Not
having a job does not necessarily free up
time to pursue political causes; usually it
consumes time and energy in the search
for employment. I would like to extend an
invitation to Lassiter to join several of my
graduating senior friends in thejobmarket
and see if his optimism and excitement
LSA junior
Coleman needs to move
past 'lip service' and
engage with professors
I attended the 14th Annual Golden Apple
Award because one of my favorite professors,
Matthew Lassiter, was receiving the award.
The ceremony included various members of
the University's community, including the
director of Hillel and students on the Golden
Apple committee, praising Lassiter. President
Coleman also spoke about the importance of
teaching at a large research university. Cole-
man's words were overshadowed, however,
by the fact that she addressed Professor Las-
siter as Mark rather than Matt. It was a simple
mistake, but one that spoke volumes about
the sad realities of such a large university.
Lassiter was receiving a student-nominated
award that lauded his teaching ability as
exemplary and our own president did not
even know his name. I hope that in the future
the importance of teaching is not just paid lip
service and that Coleman actually meets and
gets to know some of these great professors.
LSA senior
11 -----.---1 1 -.

It surely can't be much, seeing as how
Coleman accepted a $200,000 "bonus" last
year in addition to her $475,000 annual
salary. I urge our president to take a symbol-
ic pay cut as a gigantic, and long overdue,
first step toward University efficiency.
Such a move would help convince Uni-
versity students that Coleman is serious
about her intentions to make the University
a financially secure institution. Coleman's
acceptance of such a large compensation
package makes it difficult to accept the
University's recent tuition increases as sim-
ply "facts of life." Some members of the
University's community are currently liv-
ing much better than others.
LSA junior
Mock edition of the Daily is
embarrassing to the 'U'
Upon further inspection, it appears that
the entire Jan. 30 issue is making a lame
attempt at satire. For your information, you
can post crap like that on other websites for
free and not embarrass University students,
staff and alumni by doing so.
You certainly have every right to express
your "editorial freedom," but you might want
to think twice about doing so at the expense
of your editorial credibility.
Good luck in your McJobs after graduation.
Daily is 'as lame as the
Every Three Weekly'
Friday's front page cover "article" (Three
'snobs' slain outside Rick's, 01/30/04) was very
distasteful. You guys are becoming as lame
as the Every Three Weekly.
LSA junior
Assessment of Howard
Dean's education plan is
misleading, biased
Tn T~ TNA77V

affordable, and the Daily has a responsibility
to its readers to be upfront about this.
Dean's proposals actually reveal his igno-
rance of student needs and what help for stu-
dents is already available. In fact, most of
Dean's proposals are regurgitations of loan
repayment plans that already exist.
For example, the Daily cites Dean's propos-
al to limit student loan payments to 10 percent
of income. Had the Daily done its homework,
instead of repeating Dean rhetoric, it would
have discovered that there is already a plan that
addresses this problem. The "income contingent
plan" now offered by the federal government
goes well beyond the Dean proposal, as pay-
ments could be as little as 2 percent of income
under the existing plan.
Dean's promise of $10,000 per year for
college comes in the form of grants and loans
and will consequently offer little to students
already getting this amount in loans because
Dean has not promised to increase the
amount of grant money.
Dean's proposals for higher education are
not surprising, as they reveal his failure to do
the tough work of researching what the real
problems facing students are. What is shock-
ing is the Daily's biased coverage of the can-
didates this week. The Daily wrote off John
Kerry's proposals (Evaluating John Kerry,
01/28/04), saying "Kerry's ideas on education
reform, however, remain hardly adequate to
satisfy the needs of Americas youth." The
Daily proceeded to ignore important parts of
Kerry's higher ed proposal, such as his
$4,000 tax credit for each year of college
which would reduce tuition costs for in-state
University students by about 35 percent. Fur-
thermore, Kerry's proposals would undeni-
ably help to stop tuition costs from rising by
granting $50 billion to the states for higher
The Daily is correct in saying that reduc-
ing the cost of tuition will encourage more
students to attend college. Kerry's plan will
reduce tuition costs; Dean's plan will not.
The Daily needs to reassess its editorial page
and ask itself if the purpose of the page is to
offer a critical analysis of current events or if
it is to uncritically showcase propaganda for
Howard Dean because it lacks the courage to
admit that maybe it was wrong about Dean.
If the Daily staff wishes to support a candi-
date, it should focus on finding legitimate
reasons for doing so rather than trying to
mislead readers regarding the candidates'
higher education proposals.


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