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February 20, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-20

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4A -The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 20, 2004

OPINION

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
opinion. michigandaily.com
tothedaily@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
Every single
year, George Bush has
promised to create
jobs. And every year,
he's ended up losing
them."
- Presidential candidate John Kerry, at
an event in Washington where he received
the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, as
reported yesterday by CNN.

N l- T D l ot - ES
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SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX

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--Wow

Thoughts to ponder over break
LouIE MEIZLISH As MEIZLISH SEES IT

couldn't think of one
single issue to write
about this week. So I
won't. I'll spare you the
column about what the
Muppets can teach us
k about international rela-
tions, as well as the one
about Judith Steinberg
Dean and gender relations
in America. Instead, here's a few things to
think about over Spring Break:
1. Budget cuts and dental care
A Tuesday Detroit News story said it all:
"On Oct. 1, the state stopped paying for, dental,
chiropractic and foot care for every Medicaid
recipient in the state over age 21.
"From now on, Medicaid will only pay for
emergency procedures - which means people
... who can't afford their own checkups will
have to go without routine cleanings, fillings
and gum care until their teeth are rotting."
How many poor people will have to get their
teeth pulled because the state couldn't afford
checkups for them? Hasn't the budget cutting
gone far enough? Good God, if there ever was a
problem that needed to be fixed it's health care,
and nothing is being done.
2. The death penalty
After two Detroit police officers were shot
and killed, one state legislator renewed his call
to reinstate the death penalty in Michigan.
Rep. Larry Julian (R-Lennon) wants the Leg-
islature to place before the voters the opportu-
nity to, by referendum, remove the state
constitution's ban on capital punishment. After
that happens, the Legislature could write laws
prescribing the circumstances under which
juries could apply the death penalty.
Julian, a retired state trooper serving his last

term in the House, said in a release that the
death penalty should only be applied in the most
"heinous" crimes where a "smoking gun"
removes any doubt as to the guilt of the accused.
While Julian's motives are surely pure -
after all, it's hard to say that killing a cop-killer
is unfair - the problem with our criminal jus-
tice system, as is inevitably the case with all, is
that it's not 100-percent perfect: there's no per-
fect conviction. Some defendant will end up
with a lousy lawyer, the evidence will be fabri-
cated, the trial won't be fair ... whatever the
case, the wrong person will eventually fry for
someone else's crime, and the death of one inno-
cent person is too high a price. The inherent
genius of a life sentence is that if the accused is
later exonerated, he still has his life.
3. Student government elections
Are you ready? I mean, ARE YOU
READY? It's time for the most inconsequential
event of the school year, when political
wannabes spend the next month hustling
around campus hoping to win a popularity (or,
should I say, name-recognition) contest. They
enlighten all of us with brilliant political rheto-
ric like "Vote Students First" or "Vote U Party."
All this to pad their resumes and act as a rubber
stamp for the University administration. Keep
up the good work, guys.
4. What an idiot!
University of Colorado President Eliza-
beth Hoffman placed her school's football
coach, Gary Barnett, on paid leave following
outrageous remarks he made after hearing
that one of his former players, female place-
kicker Katie Hnidaas, has accused some for-
mer teammates of rape.
As printed in The New York Times, Barnett
told reporters on Tuesday: "It was obvious
Katie was not very good. She was awful. You

know what guys do? They respect your ability.
You can be 90 years old, but if you can go out
and play, they'll respect you. Katie was not
only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no
other way to say it."
OK, Coach, so what you're saying is that
if the new teammate is good players should
respect her, and then it's not OK to rape
her? Or did I misunderstand - you're say-
ing that because she was a lousy football
player she must be lying?
Don't get me wrong, I truly respect Gary
Barnett's rights to free speech, but I must admit
the speech I'd respect even more would begin
and end with the words, "Coach, you're fired."
5. SuperTuesday
Well, it looks like this election might end
up being a little more interesting than all the
pundits, even the most enlightened of us
(me!), expected. Sen. John Edwards of North
Carolina now has the chance to go mano a
mano with just one candidate, Sen. John
Kerry of Massachusetts.
It should be noted that both of these cam-
paigns were left for dead until the last couple
days before the Iowa caucuses, so if there's
one thing that we can learn from this whole
process, it is: Elections matter. The candidate
who began with the most money and the
most endorsements, Howard Dean, is now
out of the race.
So let's see which message resonates more:
George W. Bush lied to you, I served in Vietnam
and I know all about national security (Kerry's);
or, I spent my life fighting the big bad guys, I'll
keep fighting in the White House and let's bring
people together (Edwards's).

0

0

Meizlish can be reached at
meizlish@umich.edu.

The bitter aftertaste of Valentine's Day
SOWMYA KRISHNAMURTHY AUMo ALTERAM PARTEM

0l

The sweet smell of
pheromones has been
replaced by rotting
flower bouquets and half-
eaten boxes of candy. The
cards have been read,
checked for the important
Hallmark seals and tossed
out. Valentine's Day is offi-
cially over. Men, relax; the
pressure to impress your wives, girlfriends,
mothers, etc. is over, until the ever-inane Sweet-
est Day arrives at least. But we women still have
a few more weeks to brag - oohing and aahing
over the gifts we received.
Every year I celebrate the onset of Valen-
tine's with a severe case of sarcasm and indiffer-
ence. Although Valentine's Day is traditionally
intended to commemorate the delight of
romance, society has misconstrued the holiday
as an excuse for the country to increase its gross
domestic product; in other words, corporate
interests dipped in chocolate. According to the
Greeting Card Association, an estimated one bil-
lion Valentine's cards are sent each year, mak-
ing it the second largest card-sending holiday of
the year, while the Society of American Florists
estimated 156 million roses were sold for Valen-
tine's Day in 2003. Thus a day of affection turns
into a day of consumption, with couples clamor-
ing to prove their love in the form of Teddy
bears and candlelight dinners. The usual rule of
thumb: The more you spend, the more you love.
At this point I probably sound like the
proverbial CSF - cynical single female. For
those who have never been so lucky as to be sin-
gle on Feb. 14, the CSF is the person who vehe-,
mently opposes Valentine's Day - a Valentine's
grinch of sorts, who would rather have a root

canal than down another one of those trite can-
died hearts. But can you blame me? Society has
conditioned women in particular to gauge their
self-image via this day, right after birthdays and
Christmas. If you do not receive any gifts with
especially hefty price tags, consider yourself
worthless and in need of improvement. Being
giftless further negates your chances at bragging
rights. Contrary to popular notion, most women
pay little attention to the creativity or impetus
behind a gift selection; baubles or jewelry by
Tiffany's are steeped in cliche and yet women
yearn to receive them. This is because the real
treat of Valentine's Day is not the present itself,
but the element of competition, comparing with
girlfriends and obtaining the coveted envy of
others. It is not so much what is acquired as how
many people know about it. Why else do you
think people are so eager to receive flowers and
gifts in the workplace?
Many bachelorettes do their utmost to
escape the leprosy of singleness, if even for one
day. Every major female-oriented publication
boasts ideas for a dateless holiday. Some of the
more revolting suggestions: "Wallow in Self-
Pity for One Day" and the incomparable "Pre-
tend You Have a Secret Admirer: Send a dozen
red roses to your workplace and sign the card:
'To the most beautiful woman in the world.'
You'll feel so special and no one will be the
wiser." With about 85 percent of all Valentine's
cards actually purchased by women, the latter is
more disgusting than improbable. Some women,
though, opt for a more noble approach. Instead
of sending gifts themselves, they beg men to do
it for them. Many girls would rather feverishly
scroll through their cell phones and solicit the
most vapid men as dates - even if this entails
suffering through a terrible dinner and even

worse conversation - than spend a night alone.
There exists a profound paradox here. We
as women pride ourselves in being modern,
more intelligent and autonomous than our
mothers. We do things for ourselves and not
for men; you'll never catch us bare-foot and
pregnant in the kitchen! Yet once a year we tell
feminism to take a respite and exchange our
war cry with superficiality and pathetic grov-
eling; anything to avoid the risk of being
labeled a "dateless wonder."
There is nothing innately wrong with
exchanging affection with loved ones on Valen-
tine's Day, but there is a problem when actual
love is replaced by an artificial display of love.
Valentine's Day should be a time to commemo-
rate special relationships, not to upstage and
marginalize others. If you choose to, go ahead
and celebrate with your mate, friends or even
yourself. But do so out of personal choice, not
out of the pressure to publicly consummate your
love and your worth to the world.
Correction: It has been brought to my
attention that my last column lacked some
information. When discussing Nobel Prize
nominations, I failed to mention that indi-
viduals other than those on the Nobel
Committee can make nominations (e.g.
members of national governments, interna-
tional courts of law; and foreign affairs
leaders). The questionable President Bush
and Tony Blair nominations should be
equally attributed to these people as well. I
apologize for any misunderstanding this
may have caused.
Krishnamurthy can be reached
at sowmyak@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Media conglomeration is
not a real problem today
TO THE DAILY:
Your editorial on media conglomeration (A
Goofy idea, 02/19/04) is based on a false prem-
ise. The media industry is not highly concentrat-
ed; furthermore, it is less concentrated than it
has ever been in modern times.
During the late '90s, the top 10 media com-
panies accounted for only 41 percent of all
media revenues. One measure of economic con-

less than 12 percent of all radio stations.
I refer Daily readers to the book "Who
Owns the Media? Competition and Concentra-
tion in the Mass Media Industry," by Ben Com-
paine and Douglas Gomery, if they would like
to examine the facts further. Refusing to face
the facts about deregulation will lead us to a
misery like that of our parents, who faced truly
concentrated media markets in their youth
before deregulation. n
DAN KRAWIEC
LSA junior

got an easy "A" and didn't question his ethics.
What Chirumamilla should instead complain
about is the disgusting laziness of her profes-
sor, who recycles entire exams after just one
semester of classes, or possibly write a column
on how her parents robbed her of a normal
childhood. As for her assumption that students
won't even help out their peers on resumes, I
feel she probably needs to start associating her-
self with more normal people, and she will
find this probably isn't the case. Another
assumption she makes that I feel is grossly off
is that people come to college to only learn

.~n farlr sa'rn ii-f"isn A

I-71

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