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September 21, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-21

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4

4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Opinion

~I~ie £kuttn &

420 MAYNAR STREET
ANN ARBoR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily. corn

i

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

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
We made a mistake
in judgement, and for
that, I am sorry.
- CBS News anchor Dan Rather,
concerning the validity of documents used
in a 60 Minutes report relating to Bush's ser-
vice in the Texas National Guard, as repored
yesterday by The New York Times.

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OK, so there's this skunk ...
STEVE COTNER RED ALERT

K, so there's
this skunk that
lives outside my
x apartment. Every night
I go out on the stoop to
have a cigarette - and
no, I shouldn't smoke,
yes my grandpa died of
it, yes I'm going to die.
But it's this illegal war
and this president who
doesn't believe in science and these 15 per-
cent of Americans who believe the Rapture
Index indicates "Fasten your seatbelts" -
level prophetic activity, and this feeling I get,
whenever I fill up my car and drive, that I'm
dragging an Iraqi's body behind me. Every
morning I get up and run on a different road
as far as I can go before I collapse, and every
other morning I go to the CCRB and get on
this machine and row like a Viking. Every day
I read "the Nation," "Mother Jones," "Harp-
er's," "Le Monde," "The Guardian," the Wall
Street Journal, the "New Internationalist,"
and I buy books one after another, and read
until my legs go numb. But at the end of the
day, I've had enough glasses of water and pro-
tein and gingko biloba, I've seen enough kids
driving by blasting '80s music like they're not
really here and everything's a frigging joke,
and I just need a frigging smoke.
So around 10 at night I sit out on my steps,
and every time I flick my lighter, there's this
little rustle in the leaves, and then this hairy
black and white thing comes out and looks
all cute at me for a minute, until I make a
noise: I swing the screen door or stomp my
feet or click my tongue against the roof of

my mouth, and this thing gets all skunk
on me and turns around and rubs its legs
together like it's going to go bio-chem. So
I have to get up and hide inside and smoke
through my screen door, and I know it
freaks people out to see someone smoking
through their screen door with a porch light
on, but I don't want the whole neighborhood
bleeding through their eyes, so I do it. And
it's this great courtyard I have, little pink
and white flowers all along the little side-
walk, and yellow leaves, and this tiny poplar
that's trained to a big maple with a string,
and I just want to sit out there and look
at the four or five stars I can see between
the buildings, and forget about the Human
Rights Watch reports of U.S. operatives rap-
ing women with guns in South America, but
I can't, because Pep6 Le Pew wants to mess
around.
So I'm stuck inside my door, breaking
the no-smoking contract I signed with my
landlord, with the battery on the coun-
ter instead of in the smoke detector, and
puffing like a prisoner who passes notes
between cells, ashing through a crack in
the door. And finally it leaves, even though
I can still hear it behind the shed, tearing
through a trash bag. So I sit down with my
ears pricked, and accept that I can't enjoy
myself.
I remember every time I ever smelled a
skunk-bomb on the road, and I think about
how the head of the International Atomic
Energy Agency warned of the "security
implications of nuclear and radiological
materials that may no longer be under con-
trol" in Iraq, and how we Shocked and Awed

them anyway, and grabbed 200 state-owned
companies and gave them to our business
friends, and let everything rot except for the
oil pipelines. And I'm wondering if radio-
active fallout feels better or worse than a
skunk in your eyes. And then I think of all
the nuclear weapons that we have, and the
cluster bombs and missiles and tanks and
fighter jets, and how we go around the world
digging in people's trash and making every
decent person a shut-in who wants nothing
more than for us to leave.
And I think, what a crappy life, being that
skunk. What a terrible way to live out your
days, as this vagrant animal who scavenges
around in place after place, and when things
get bad it has no choice but to gas and run.
And maybe it wants to be good. Maybe it just
wants to snuggle up and rub noses. Maybe it
hates the fact that it is what it is, but it has no
other choice. Maybe Americans really do want
to do good in the world. Maybe we wish we
could hold a real conversation with a Euro-
pean, let alone someone who doesn't look like
us, or walk softly through a mosque with bare
feet, or do anything that can't be likened to
bingeing and purging. But we weren't made
like that. We have all these weapons coming
out of our ass, and we just can't help it. When
things get tough, we lose all ability to speak,
to think; we get nervous, our legs tense up, and
we just let it rip. We cut and run and leave a
big toxic thank-you note. Just ask Afghanistan
And I wonder, after all this time, why we can't
smell it ourselves? God, I need a smoke.
Cotner can be reached at
cotners @umich edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Daily insensitive in
reporting student's death
TO THE DAILY:
It has been with great disappointment that
we have read the Daily's report on the pass-
ing of Kristi Sprecher, a resident of Cam-
bridge House (Student found dead in dorm,
09/07/04). Not only were we shocked and
dismayed by the Daily headline on the first
day of class, "Student Found Dead in Dorm,"
but we were further disappointed by the Dai-
ly's insensitivity to the memory of Kristi.
It is apparent that instead of respect-
fully informing the campus communi-
ty of the passing of one of their fellow
classmates, the Daily chose to sensation-
alize an unfortunate occurrence with an
overdramatic headline.
The random collection of quotes meant
to memorialize Kristi in the follow up
article, "Campus Reacts to Student's
Death," were neither appropriate nor
thoughtful. The passing of a student is a
difficult time for the University as well
as for family and friends, and we believe

that the Daily did not consider this in its
reporting.
AMY KELLER AND JEFF SOUVA
Keller is the president of the Residence
Hall Association and an LSA senior. Souva is
an executive assistant to the Residence Hall
Association and an LSA senior.
Bush's corporate capture
bad for environment
TO THE DAILY:
I've wondered why I've heard nothing of the envi-
ronmental record of President Bush, the worst record
of any president in history. I was blaming environ-
mental groups, but now I know the real reason.
The corporations who finance his campaigns,
whose former employees he appointed to run the
federal agencies designed to protect us and our public
lands from them, own the media outlets, or threaten
them with lawsuits or lost revenue.
General Electric is the parent company of NBC,
one of the most-watched news outlets. It's responsible
for a number of Superfund toxic waste sites around
the country and is the company who destroyed the
Hudson River with PCBs, among other things. It is

facing billions in cleanup costs for it.
The biggest story of this election should be the
corporate takeover of the federal government and the
"air waves" that by law are supposed to be owned by
the public for the good of our democracy.
Go back to the months prior to Sept. 11, when
the Bush administration's obvious agenda from
the beginning was suspending every Clinton-Gore
environmentally friendly action. There was the
National Energy Policy written by the still secret
task force composed of energy company execu-
tives and lobbyists.
Sept. 11 explains why we started the War on Ter-
rorism. We may never know the real reasons for
starting the war on Iraq. However, both of these have
been perfect "smokescreens" for the corporate take-
over of our government and liquidation of our natural
resources for cash. They are newsworthy stories, but
I keep thinking about that movie the "Wag the Dog"
with Robert De Nim and Dustin Hoffman.
The biggest threat to democracy is not terror-
ism, but corporate takeover. Please read Robert
Kennedy's new book, "Crimes Against Nature,"
especially chapter 10. And hurry. It's getting
late. Then, please tell others and vote.
RAY MATH IS
Reader

4

VIEWPOINT
'Fad liberalism' redefined

4

BY ADAM BLOCK AND MASON THALHEIMER
Last week in a column titled, The Prob-
lem with Fad Liberalism (09/13/04), D.C.
Lee, in one fell swoop, baselessly accused
college liberals of being a mindless, cliqu-
ey bunch of conviction-less clowns. The
three crude arguments espoused by Lee's
article were as follows: First, the notion
that "Bush-bashing" is used by an uned-
ucated group, known to many as college
liberals, second, that colleges and univer-
sities engender this supposedly "unedu-
cated" bunch because "the majority of
college professors are registered Demo-
crats" and universities, for some bizarre
reason, believe in extending opportuni-
ties through affirmative action. Finally,

to foreign policy, in which the resources of
diplomacy, intelligence and economic sanc-
tions are fully utilized before unilateral
military action becomes a viable option is
fad liberalism, then call us fad liberalists.
Today, approximately one million stu-
dents are dropping out of high school every
year. Moreover, because the price of college
has risen by 35 percent over the last three
years, 220,000 qualified young people were
priced out of college last year. Kerry will
offer a college tax credit for up to $4,000
every year for tuition and will provide
financial aid to states that keep tuition
down. If refusing to be complacent with the
inadequacies and inefficiencies of the cur-
rent education system and supporting a new
vision of reform for our schools is fad liber-

type of conceivable benefit. If desiring the
assurance that our generation will obtain
jobs and other benefits after college is fad
liberalism, then call us fad liberalists.
Kerry is a man who knows the impor-
tance of faith, but more importantly appre-
ciates that the core value upon which our
great nation was founded is the separation
of church and state. If understanding the
importance of spiritual ideology in private
and secular values in public defines fad
liberalism, then call us fad liberalists.
To say that Democrats in the Univer-
sity arena succumb to passing whims and
fancies is to indict not only the students,
but also the intelligentsia - professors,
lecturers, and administrators - of our
community, who provide the foundation

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