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February 06, 2004 - Image 4

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 6, 2004

I

UPINION

4W

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

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

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
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
SI'llsing the
national anthem
anytime, anywhere,
but not for this
NFL."
- N Sync singer J.C. Chasez, turning
down an NFL offer to sing the national
anthem at the Pro Bowl, after the NFL
cancelled his half-time show,
as reported by eonline.com

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX
ln- OYN Soy, t ra
Cr4-Ics w'Sio~an }a 45 -OMwltP
dei conoak Ky ' <L . tv2
tuo d - iCAA ie.Se ods,

a0

0
6

Noble rewards
SOWMYA KRISHNAMURTHY AuDi A TER AM PARTEM

ith awards sea-
son in high gear,
the nominations
have finally been
announced for one of the
world's most coveted acco-
lades. No I'm not talking
about the Grammys or the
Oscars, but the Norwegian
Nobel Committee's Nobel
Prizes. This year's nomi-
nees for best role as a peacemaker in a war are
President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair, both nominated for the 2004 Nobel Peace
Prize.
The fact that Bush and Blair are being hon-
ored for contravening international sentiments
and slaughtering innocent lives, simply to cap-
ture a disheveled caveman, is utterly ridiculous.
After months of squandering taxpayer money
on defense spending, nothing, including those
pesky weapons of mass destruction, has sur-
faced in Iraq. According to Norwegian lawmak-
er and Nobel committee member Jan Simonsen,
the two leaders are being acknowledged for
removing a dictator, thus lessening the chance
of a future war and propagating democracy.
Despite confused patriotism, it has yet to be
established whether Iraq indeed posed a direct
threat to American democracy; the majority of
Sept. 11 hijackers were from our good buddy
Saudi Arabia, not Iraq. And what exactly is this
criterion of thwarting the "chance" of war? I
don't ever recall getting an "A" on the hypothet-
ical basis that I might "chance" acing a test.
Despite the ignoble nominations, this is not

the twosome's first appearance at the awards.
Both men have been nominated several years in
a row by the Nobel Committee. What adds the
most insult to injury is that this is not the peace
prize's first gaffe, but rather just another notch
in long belt of shame.
Boasting the aphorism "person who has con-
ferred the greatest benefit on mankind," the
Nobel Peace Prize has long been associated
with deserving recipients like Martin Luther
King Jr., the 14th Dalai Lama and Mother Tere-
sa. But what about the lesser-known nominees?
Adolf Hitler was in the nomination run in 1938,
interestingly the same year that Mahatma Gand-
hi was nominated then later rejected. Unbeliev-
ably this was years after the enactment of the
discriminatory Nuremberg Laws, which estab-
lished Jewish persecution in Germany. In 2001,
Cuban President Fidel Castro was nominated
for helping underdeveloped nations and the
game of soccer; and yes, the game was selected
due to its efficacy in garnering international
relations. With such "lofty" standards as ethnic
cleansing and guerrilla warfare, I'm appalled
that neither Ugandan dictator Idi Amin or
Osama bin Laden have taken their rightful
places in Nobel history.
Perhaps I'm being a little too harsh on the
Nobel Peace Prize. After all, numerous merits
are bestowed upon unworthy candidates all the
time. In 1991 the recording industry gave out a
Grammy for best new artist to a group of lip-
syncers (see Milli Vanilli), and in 1942 Russian
despot Josef Stalin was named Time Maga-
zine's Man of the Year. These errors are inde-
fensible, more so in the case of Stalin than

Vanilli, but there exists a distinction among the
Nobel Prize that magnifies its flaws over its
counterparts.
With exception to the Pulitzer Prize and a
few others, the Nobel Prize has exceeded the
level of mere statue and situated itself in the
public lexicon as a synonym for greatness, like
Albert Einstein or Michael Jordan. The Nobel is
supposed to signify the echelons of achieve-
ment, the piece de resistance of one's life work.
Accepting such reverence entails a level of
responsibility on the part of the prize. The poli-
tics and commercialism that often drive other
honors should play no part in the Nobel deci-
sion. Furthermore, awards should be somewhat
universally agreed upon. Although it is impossi-
ble to expect total consensus, a large disparity
between whether a certain person is a deserving
peacemaker or not, as is the case with Bush and
Blair, should be nonexistent.
Perhaps the most efficient means of accom-
plishing this is by revamping the nomination
process completely. The deciding board must be
more heterogeneous and global, instead of plac-
ing complete autonomy in a six-person commit-
tee appointed by the Norwegian Parliament.
Individuals with no political ties past or present
ought to take short-term posts as judges, thus
ensuring ongoing fresh perspectives. This by no
means guarantees that next year's Nobel Peace
Prize will go to a more justified recipient, but at
least protocol will be altered, which in the long
run can prevent history from repeating itself.
Krishnamurthy can be reached at
sowmyak@umich.edu.

0

The battleground that never was
LOUIE MEIZLISH As MEIiZsLISHES T'

al

ne has to feel sorry
for Mark Brewer.
He took over as
chair of the Michigan
Democratic Party in 1995,
1 ajust after the Republican
Revolution of 1994, and
since then his chairmanship
has been a mixed bag.
He helped deliver the
state for Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 1996
and 2000 and did a lot of the dirty work that
resulted in Debbie Stabenow defeating U.S.
Sen. Spencer Abraham in 2000. On the down
side, Democrats have lost ground in Michi-
gan, giving up several seats in the state and
U.S. houses of representatives and allowing a
Republican to win the attorney general's post
- the first time in 40 years.
Soon after the 2002 elections, Gov. Jen-
nifer Granholm maneuvered to put her
favorite, Melvin Butch Hollowell, in charge
of the party, forcing a standoff between her
center-left, let's-make-nice-with-business
faction and that of Brewer's labor loyalists,
who had backed David Bonior in the Democ-
ratic gubernatorial primary.
Eventually labor and Granholm worked out
a power-sharing deal whereby Hollowell, as
chair, would handle communications and
fundraising duties, while Brewer, as "executive
chair," would focus on strategy and operations,
including tomorrow's presidential caucuses.
One of his first acts as executive chair
was to push for an earlier date for the Michi-

gan caucuses. The problem, however, is that
you can't just change the date. Any caucus or
primary date has to be approved by the
Democratic National Committee, or else the
Democratic National Convention won't rec-
ognize some or all of that state's delegates.
Brewer, joined by U.S. Sens. Carl Levin
and Debbie Stabenow and DNC member
Debbie Dingell, pushed Jan. 27, the same day
as the New Hampshire primary, as the date
for the Michigan caucuses.
But the DNC opposed the move, and threat-
ened to recognize only half of Michigan's 128
delegates should Michiganders hold caucuses
the same day as New Hampshire.
Instead, Brewer and his compadres settled
for Feb. 7, not the date they wanted, but the ear-
liest Michigan caucuses ever. And because of
his efforts, Michigan will be the only state to
allow voters to vote through the Internet.
As the biggest state to hold caucuses or
primaries up until Feb. 7, all expected Michi-
gan to be critical in the race for president. TV
would be flooded with commercials and there
would be numerous opportunities to meet the
candidates in Detroit, Lansing and Ann Arbor.
Then on Friday and Saturday, the voters
(many of them students) would log onto the
Internet and vote with a click of the mouse. A
diverse population, mixtures of rural, urban
and suburban areas, and if that's not enough:
128 delegates at stake.
It was going to be Mark Brewer's day
to shine.
But then the media hype machine

anointed John Kerry the "frontrunner" for
winning Iowa and New Hampshire. Some
of the candidates dropped out, and the rest
(save for one) basically dropped out of
Michigan. Howard Dean planned a last-
ditch stand in Wisconsin, while John
Edwards and Wesley Clark took their fight
to the South, leaving the place wide open
for the junior senator from Massachusetts.
On the other hand, Dennis Kucinich and
Al Sharpton will be ... never mind.
In short: It's John Kerry's to not win by a
landslide. How exciting.
I spoke to Brewer by telephone yesterday,
and surprisingly he sounded upbeat.
It must be a bummer to invest so much time
trying to put Michigan at the beginning of the
election season and for it to come to this.
"Our job here was to make voting as
easy as possible and to get Michigan in the
mix," Brewer said. "We received far more
attention from the candidates than we
received anytime before."
He's hopeful that a new DNC task force,
appointed to examine alternatives to the New
Hampshire-and-Iowa-get-first-dibs system, rec-
ommends a plan with Michigan closer to the
beginning in the 2008 race.
But if this election proves anything, it's that
first-in-the-nation status is key, and even an
early-February caucus date may not be enough.
I say let's have a national primary.
Meizlish can be reached
at meizlish@umich.edu.

I

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Edwards was the wrong
candidate to endorse
TO THE DAILY:
The editors could not possibly make a
worse decision than endorsing John Edwards
(Vote John Edwards, 02/05/2004). He is
exactly the type of Democrat we should hold
with the most suspicion. Not only did he vote
for the Iraq resolution sending thousands to
die with no evidence of remote danger, but
he authored the Patriot Act. Should we not
ask that people we chose to represent us at
least look out for our interest? The editors
seem to have been bought not on any actual
substance but because of some perception of

other candidates are a better choice than
Edwards.
JARED BOMBERG
LSA senior
'The Light' was simply
about what God wants
TO THE DAILY:
I also attended "The Light" and I'm writing
to defend that event. I can attest, as well as
many others can, that this was a life-changing
event. I truly enjoyed "The Light" and really
appreciated its message. There was a letter to
the editor printed (Gospel presentation good, but
anti-homosexual speech inappropriate for event,
02/05/2004) that had some statements that I was
- - - -44-1 &....A

is not how God wanted it to be. I personally
don't have a problem with homosexuality,
though I do not agree with it. Just like some
people don't agree with President Bush, I don't
agree with homosexuals, in that same context.
I am also a Christian and I do not believe in
hate as well. I do not agree in any way that
Brannon's message was a hate speech. I hated
to hear some of the things mentioned in the let-
ter, but that person is entitled to her own opin-
ion. She clearly stated that she did not stay for
the duration of the program, and her views were
a bit twisted because of that. She was not there
to experience God's presence in that Union
Ballroom. It was phenomenal, and I hope that
people understand where I'm coming from and
do not get offended. I really felt it in my heart to
write this letter because I did stay and receive

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