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April 05, 2004 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-05

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 5, 2004


opinion. michigandaily.com

SINCE 1890

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.

tNow it
appears not to be
the case that it was
that solid."
- Secretary of State Colin Powell,
referring to the case he made before the
U.N. Security Council early last year,
concerning Iraqi mobile weapons labs,
as reported by The Associated Press.

mlokcad om





al -

One reform too many


C ampaign finance
reform has noble
goals; the presi-
dency, without doubt,
should never be for sale.
But at what point does
enforcing the McCain-
Feingold ban on soft
money become excessive
- potentially danger-
ous? In February, the Federal Election
Commission proposed a new series of reg-
ulations that would convert some "527
groups" - essentially interest groups
named after the section of the tax code that
governs them - into political action com-
mittees. Any 527 that spends more than
$50,000 per year on voter outreach or
political activities is reclassified, thus
becoming subject to the restrictions of the
McCain-Feingold law.
Once a group is bound by the McCain-
Feingold act, it can no longer receive
unlimited and unregulated soft money
donations; a PAC, at most, can receive
$5,000 from a single person per year. If
the average 527 group were to be bound by
these rules, it would find itself financially
insoluble - most 527s rely heavily on
large one-time "soft money" contributions
to fund their operations. In essence, the
new rules present 527 groups with an
unfortunate choice: one, stop advocating
issues, or two, face financial meltdown.
No matter which path a 527 chooses, it is
consigned to the same fate - ineffective-
ness. The regulations effectively seek to
quash 527 groups in a move that stifles the
right of citizens to free speech and press.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), instru-
mental in pushing the FEC to propose the
new regulations, has argued that because
527 groups are obviously engaged in parti-
san politics, they must be regulated just
like political action committees. However,
partisan 527 groups are already bound by
existing rules - they cannot explicitly
advocate the election or removal of a can-
didate. For the most part, they critique.
candidates' records in an effort to sway
elections. In effect, they seek to express
the views of their members and patrons by
pooling the resources of many to facilitate
a broad dissemination of shared beliefs.
Simply because these views affect elec-
tions, 527's are targeted for destruction.
The right of citizens to freely express their
views and push for change is being regu-
More importantly, and more worri-
some, is the possibility that 527s
are not mere victims of overzeal-
ous enforcement, but rather targets of a
partisan campaign strategy. It was predom-
inantly Republicans who led the charge to
reclassify 527's, which coincidentally tend
toward the Left.
Coming off his best month of fundrais-
ing to date, Sen. John Kerry has a cam-
paign treasure chest slightly shy of $50
million. President Bush, coming off a
merely average month, has a vast armory
in excess of $150 million - some sources
put it at $170 million. To make the election
competitive, Democrats are betting heavily
on 527 groups, which have millions of dol-
lars to spend on countering Bush. America

Coming Together, the richest Democrati-
cally leaning 527 group, plans to spend
$95 million dollars this election cycle,
while the Moveon.com Voter Fund has
already begun running the trademark
"Bush in 30 seconds" line of ads. Without
these groups, Democrats have little chance
to match the Republican war machine's
ability to spend money and produce ads;
Bush would benefit even more from his
huge fundraising advantage.
T hus, the dangers of the new FEC
regulations are two-fold. First, they
threaten citizens' rights to free
speech and expression; the death of 527
groups would limit the ability of citizens to
work together and influence elections. Sec-
ondly, this potentially partisan move could
very well swing the election to Bush, pure-
ly because he has a richer base that is more
able to write $5,000 checks to his cam-
paign. While campaign finance aimed to
level the playing field and reduce the role
of money in federal elections, the enaction
of these new FEC regulations would only
amplify Bush's ability to win an election
through superior funding. Luckily, while
Republicans pressured the FEC into pro-
posing the new regulations, the regulations
must be voted on by the six-member com-
mission before going into effect. The com-
mission, thankfully, is nonpartisan. In
keeping with the spirit of the First Amend-
ment and the ideal of fair elections, it
should ensure these regulations are killed.



Momin can be reached
at smomin@umich.edu.



AAPD should focus on
protecting pedestrians
I would like to publicly question why
the Ann Arbor Police Department fails to
enforce the law regarding stopping at stop
signs (i.e. stopping behind the sign rather
than in the crosswalk). In fact, they not
only fail to enforce this law, but I've also
regularly observed them failing to even
follow it themselves. Three weeks ago, I e-
mailed this question/complaint to the
AAPD community traffic officer, Sean
Lee. He has yet to reply. Given the number
of pedestrians in the University area, this
would seem to be at least something of a
priority. Enforcing this law even minimally
would increase community safety as much
or more than setting up speed traps or
writing MIPs, and most importantly, would
be at least as profitable.
Ann Arbor's music scene
is not fully appreciated
I would like to thank the Daily for its
recent increase in articles about the local
music scene. The last two Weekend Maga-
zines, as well as Friday's articles about Big
Ticket Productions and the East Quad Co-
op were all good sources of information on
a great local scene. However, I feel it's
barely even a start to providing students
with information on what's really going on
in Ann Arbor. Every night there are live
music events going on at multiple locations
around Ann Arbor, yet for students there's
really no good way to find out about them.
At best the Daily makes fun of a few play-
ing on Thursday through Sunday, but it gen-
erally overlooks the bulk of shows students
will care about. For instance, more than
nine different bands were performing here
for Hash Bash, "the event that places Ann
Arbor on the cultural map" according to the
Daily's editorial board, yet there was hardly
any mention of these events.
Something that should be of even
greater concern to the Daily is the misuse
of University budget and facility resources
regarding live music events. BTP is already

in East Lansing because there are no places
for them in Ann Arbor.
I understand it's beyond the Daily's
resources for extensive music coverage, but
it is not beyond the student community's.
Ann Arbor should be a renowned music
town in its own right. Students should not
have to make trips into Detroit and East
Lansing to see shows that Ann Arbor has
more than enough venues and interest to
support. Student groups shouldn't have to
spend hundreds of dollars to advertise for
shows on campus, when the student body at
large knows nothing about the bands. Stu-
dent bands should be able to more easily
make the transition to local venues and not
be trapped losing money on promoting free
shows. I would like to invite anyone who
also wants to see change in the Ann Arbor
music scene to the League Underground on
Thursday night at 8:30 for the Ann Arbor
Music Group mass meeting. Entertainment
will be provided by Roadside Zoo, More
Like Zero and Ty Reynolds, and a compila-
tion CD of some of Ann Arbor's best local
music will be available. Come help us
remake Ann Arbor into the nation's best
college music town.
LSA junior
The letter writer is the president and
founder of the Ann Arbor Music Group
Daily sensationalizes
rape, exploits incident
The Daily's tendency to sensationalize
very personal and sensitive issues by
splashing trigger words across its head-
lines is abhorrent and must be stopped.
Two days in a row (Alleged rape under
investigation, 03/30/04 and Woman denies
rape at SAE house, 03/31/04), the front-
page headline has screamed "rape" to the
entire campus community. While the
Daily seems to find it acceptable to exploit
such a traumatic, personal experience, I
contend that it is not.
I understand that accusations of rape
affect both the accuser and the accused.
However, the Daily must recognize that by
shamelessly exploiting incidences of sexual
assault, it makes it that much harder for
survivors to come forward and seek servic-

"got drunk and had sex" and emphasizing
that "there were a lot of guys in (SAE) felt
really bad about it" rather than focusing on
the feelings of exploitation and traumatiza-
tion a woman might feel after seeing her
experience so thoughtlessly splashed across
the headlines?
The Daily's irresponsible handling of the
devastating and life-changing trauma of sex-
ual assault is utterly reprehensible. By set-
ting a precedent of shamelessly throwing the
buzzword "rape" into multiple headlines, the
Daily shows that it is insensitive to the trau-
ma and issues surrounding incidences of
sexual assault, potential sexual assault or
recovery from sexual assault that countless
women and men on this campus face. Sexu-
alized violence is not a news opportunity; it
is a devastating experience that should be
respected and not exploited. The Daily's han-
dling of this most recent occurrence, regard-
less of the eventual outcome, and its desire
to sensationalize such an experience, is
incredibly painful to many people on this
campus. In addition, it encourages the myth
that women frequently lie about rape, mak-
ing it that much for difficult for society to
see rape for the serious crime that it is. In the
future, the Daily must exercise true thought
and journalistic integrity and print facts,
rather than wallow in speculation, exploit
students' most personal experiences and
grab at people's innermost emotions in an
effort to get readership.
LSA sophomore
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters
from all of its readers. Letters from Universi-
ty students, faculty, staff and administrators
will be given priority over others. Letters
should include the writer's name, college and
school year or other University affiliation.
The Daily will not print any letter contain-
ing statements that cannot be verified.
Letters should be kept to approximately
300 words. The Michigan Daily reserves the
right to edit for length, clarity and accuracy.
Longer "viewpoints" may be arranged with an
editor. Letters will be run according to order
received and the amount of space available.
Letters should be sent over e-mail to
tothedaily@michigandaily.com or mailed to the





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