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September 13, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-13

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 13, 2004


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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 pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

' I believe it is
important not to
forget where one
comes from and how
they got there."
- Real estate developer Stephen Ross,
who donated a record $100 million to
the University's Business School, at a
ceremony last week, as reported Friday
in the Detroit Free Press.

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The problem with fad liberalism

t took less than five min-
utes in class this semes-
ter before someone
made a joke at the president's
expense. The professor asked
whether a case mentioned
"the sanctity of marriage,"
and one of the more well-
known liberals promptly
responded with, "Well,
George W. Bush mentions it
all the time in his speeches." Everyone laughed, as
expected, and although this might be a good time to
explore the disturbing acceptance of Bush-bashing
as a substitute for real education, the more important
issue is why the majority of college students find this
type of humor funny in the first place.
A national poll released in July this year by the
Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Gov-
ernment at Harvard found that Kerry has built a 20-
point lead among college students, with 55 percent
of the vote. Similarly, a June 2004 poll commis-
sioned by the Panetta Institute found that "a signifi-
cant majority of the college vote" is backing Kerry.
45 percent of the students registered to vote say they
plan to support Kerry, while only 32 percent say
they plan to support President Bush.
Some GOP groups have questioned the Panetta
poll's reliability - on the ground that it is led by
former Clinton administration Chief of Staff Leon
Panetta - but even if the Panetta poll is biased,
which it probably isn't, there is little reason to doubt
the reliability of the Kennedy School of Govern-

ment poll. Moreover, a brief look around campus
supports the polls' conclusions that college students
favor Kerry over Bush. "Jobs Not War in 2004"
and "Beat Bush" signs litter campus corners every-
where. And of course there are the "Well, George
W. Bush mentions it all the time ... " comments
polluting the educational discourse.
What these polls and observations suggest, then,
is that the majority of college students tend to be
more liberal than conservative. What these polls
and observations do not offer, however, is an expla-
nation of why the majority of college students tend
to be more liberal than conservative.
One possible explanation is fad liberalism, a phe-
nomenon sweeping much of the 18-to-25-year-old
college-educated demographic into a pro-Kerry
frenzy. At its core, fad liberalism is an uneducated,
issueless approach to political involvement. In other
words, fad liberals support Kerry not because they
understand the issues, but because it's hip, cool and
trendy to support the Democratic nominee. Popu-
lar acceptance of Michael Moore, Al Franken and
Gideon Yago corroborate this possibility.
It is also relevant that colleges and universities
engender the mind set of fad liberalism. Numer-
ous studies have indicated that the majority of
college professors are registered Democrats.
Last week, the Law School sent an e-mail to its
students reminding them that the only reason
certain military employers can recruit on cam-
pus is because the school is forced to by federal
law. Over the past eight years, the University has
spent millions of dollars defending and rework-

ing its affirmative action policies. Look in the
LSA courseguide and count the number of class-
es with the phrase "race, class and gender" in
their descriptions.
Although each of these examples, standing
alone, is probably insufficient to produce fad
liberalism, the combined effect of Michael
Moore, "Jobs Not War in 2004" and "Well,
George W. Bush mentions it all the time ... "
is more than enough to create the buzz neces-
sary to start a fad. And now that fad liberalism
has infiltrated the collective psyche of the 18-
to-25-year-old college-educated demographic,
the only question is when it will end.
A fad is, of course, an idea taken up with great
enthusiasm for a brief period of time. It cannot,
by definition, survive in perpetuity. Years from
now, many fad liberals will look back on their
time in college and wonder what it is they actu-
ally stood for. Were there any reasons to support
this fad, or did they just do it because it was cool,
hip and trendy? Were there any issues that actu-
ally concerned them, or was it enough to put a
"War Is Not The Answer" bumper sticker on
their cars and call it a day?
In other words, did fad liberalism actually have
a purpose, or will it go the way of Reebok Pumps
and slap-bracelets? My guess, it's probably the
latter. For all its fanfare, fad liberalism lacks the
substance to stand the test of time.


Lee can be reached at


Weapons ban ineffective,
infringes on civil liberties
I would like the Daily to know that the facts do not
support the fear tactics employed to try to convince
readers of the need to renew the 1994 assault weap-
on ban (Shoot 'em up, cowboy, 09/10/04). According
to the Justice Department, violent crimes involving
firearms have only accounted for 7 percent of the
total number of violent crimes including rape, sexu-
al assault, robbery and aggravated and simple assault
and of this 7 percent; less than 1 percent involved the
use of a military-style semi-automatic firearm. This
clearly shows that the "staggering gun-related crime
numbers" mentioned in the editorial are extremely
exaggerated and only meant to scare readers into
believing firearms are to blame for a majority of the
violent crime in this country.
Another reason why the crime bill of 1994
should not be renewed comes from the efforts of the
anti-gun legislators to expand the bill to ban a much
larger number of firearms including many used by
millions of people for true sporting purposes. One
example includes the Remington Model 1100 my
dad used to teach me to shoot trap and hunt rabbits
with. Senate Bill 1431 would ban the 20-gauge shot-
gun that was used to teach me and countless other
10-year olds proper firearm safety. Though many
argue sportsmen don't need an AR-10 or an AK-47
for hunting or any other sport, what the Crime Bill

of 1994 really did was open the door for future anti-
gunners to seek a ban on firearms used by millions
for hunting and other sporting purposes.
The crime bill of 1994 was merely a bill to ban
cosmetic features on certain firearms and in no way
caused the considerable decrease in crime that was
promised. The fully automatic weapons used by
the Los Angeles bank robbers in 1993 have been
restricted from civilians since 1934 and violent
crimes have been on a constant decline since 1992.
Just as The Michigan Daily has enjoyed "113
years of editorial freedom" thanks to the First
Amendment to the United States Constitution, I
would like to enjoy the freedom given to me by the
Second Amendment: " ... the right of the people to
keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."
Engineering senior
Facts clear; weapons ban
not justified by reality
Ted Koppel, host of the show "Nightline," used
fear and misrepresentation to sway the opinion of his
viewers. He began his Sept. 7 show with automatic
weapons fire from some military film footage, and
then stated, "If the asshult weapons ban is allowed
to sunset on Monday, these weapons will be back on
the streets." Automatic weapons have been banned in
the United States since 1934. Whether he is speaking

from ignorance orpurposeful manipulation, neither
is acceptable. It seems the Daily fias joined Ioppel
(Shoot 'em up, cowboy, 09/10/04).
I would like to address the factual neglect in the
Daily as well as on "Nightline:"
Fact: The Assault Weapon Ban is an attempt to
define certain cosmetic aspects of semi-automatic
firearms such as folding stocks, flash-supressors,
hand-grips and bayonet lugs as making them some-
how more lethal. Ridiculous! (My opinion based on
knowledge and fact.)
Fact: Diane Feinstein has stated the purpose of the
ban as being a step in eliminating all firearms from
American citizens.
Fact: The ban has made not a whit of difference in
crime since its institution in 1994.
Fact: The crime rate was dropping when the ban
went into effect and has since continued to drop.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution is
unique among countries of the worldIt applies today
as much as when written. It is not about hunting,
sport-shooting or recreation. (Although personally, I
enjoy the shooting sports.)
Also, contrary to the Daily's position, tyranny
does exist in this country. Recent examples of the
public's willingness to roll over in the face of fear or
ignorance are the passage of the Patriot Act and the
McCain-Feingold Bill. Both, are taking away basic
rights afforded us. When our rights are gone, what
are our options?
Plant Department



A story of landlord woes

Just as students have moved in, some into the
dorms, others into off-campus housing, it seems
that the rush to find housing for next year has
already begun. As a summer 2003 transfer stu-
dent from Michigan State University, I have had
an experience with landlords and the court system
that is too unjust to ignore. Before I even applied to
transfer, I signed a lease in November 2002 to live
in the usual substandard housing in East Lansing. I
received my acceptance in May 2003. At that time,
I tried to find legal ways to get out of the lease. I
went to the Detroit College of Law Rental Housing
Clinic in East Lansing for advice and to explore my
options. My student attorney advised me to go to
the company, Terra Management, and get a copy
of the lease. To my horror and amazement, Terra
had crossed out lines and added people to the lease
without my consent. I learned that they had made

to at least the first month's rent and my security
deposit ($1,360). I had paid this amount in Novem-
ber 2002 when I signed the lease. We went to trial
in April 2004. While the judge ruled that Terra was
in breach by changing the lease, the modifications
were not enough to void the entire lease. I'm not a
lawyer or a law student, but here's a question that I
have: What qualifies a breach to be large enough to
void a lease? Although I was upset that my $1,360
was not going to be returned to me, I was willing to
put the whole mess behind me.
Two months later, I was served a motion for costs.
Under Michigan law, a defendant can file a motion
to get costs from the plaintiff, if a lawsuit is found to
be frivolous. Terra Management, which owns 300
properties and has a parent company that oversees
real estate development across the state, decided it
would file a motion for costs against me, a student
living on financial aid. Their argument for frivolity

is not blind. All a judge sees is a student with little
money going up against a corporation with lots of
money to spend, either in campaign donations oz
in city commerce. This happened in East Lansing.
However, students in Ann Arbor are just as suscep-
tible. I've seen friends and house mates here lose
security deposits for nothing. I've seen houses and
apartments in the most deplorable conditions and
landlords do nothing about it despite their legal
responsibility to do so. When they do perform
work that is required of them, it's well after stu-
dents have asked them to do it. I've seen people fall
through bad decks and patios because landlords
have either refused or neglected to obey the orders
of city inspectors. I've seen wealthy landowners
conveniently find the city's ward lines drawn in
such a way so that students are a minority in every
part of the city and thus are unable to elect one of
their own to the city council.

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