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March 22, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-22

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 22, 2005


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Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


It tells us she's still
with us."
Bob Schindler, Terri Schiavo's father,
referring to Terri's alleged reponsive-
ness to his teasing Sunday, as reported
yesterday by The Associated Press.



Bush's dirty half-dozen

ast Wednesday,
the Bush admin-
istration made
the announcement that
it would nominate cur-
rent Deputy Secretary of
Defense Paul Wolfowitz
to the head of the World
Bank. This news, which
instantly generated con-
troversy both at home and abroad, comes at
the heels of the news that President Bush was
tapping John Bolton, a vocal opponent of the.
United Nations, as our next ambassador to the
international organization.
While the nomination of such controver-
sial and potentially antagonistic figures might
raise eyebrows under normal conditions, the
polarizing reign of Bush the Lesser has been
anything but normal. During the past five
years, Bush has elevated a bizarre and con-
temptible smattering of part-time criminals,
full-time hacks and high-profile failures to
some of the nation's most prominent public
service positions.
First, there's new Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales, who in his old capacity as former
White House counsel, was the architect of
administration policy concerning the treat-
ment of enemy captives. Problem: The Geneva
Conventions protect prisoners of war. Gonza-
les's answer? Just don't call them prisoners of
war! Just like that, Bush sidestepped Geneva,
and Gonzales's apparent respect and admira-
tion for the spirit, if not the letter of the law,
earned him the spot as the nation's top cop.
And if successful rule bending can get you
a job in law enforcement, colossal failure
shouldn't disqualify you from award either.
Take former Coalition Provisional Authority
head L. Paul Bremer and former CIA Direc-
tor George Tenet. In charge of post-war Iraq,

Bremer blundered through his tenure, leaving
the nation likely worse, but certainly no better,
than he had found it upon his arrival. Tenet's
term at the CIA included the two worst intel-
ligence blunders in recent memory: the Sept..
11 attacks and the "disappearance" of the Iraqi
weapons stockpiles. Last December, in light of
these tremendous and awe-inspiring screw ups,
Bush awarded Bremer and Tenet the Presiden-
tial Medal of Freedom - the nation's highest
civilian honor.
Moving on from the ass-backwards to the
absurd, we have Bernard Kerik - the thug/
criminal/adulterer who, last December, Bush
tapped to head the Department of Homeland
Security. As it happens, Kerik was unable to
secure even his own home - little over a week
after his nomination, Kerik resigned, citing
his employment of an illegal immigrant at his
All of this paints a pretty confusing picture.
Good at bending the law? Be the nation's top
cop. Fail colossally? Here's a medal. Don't
know what's going on in your own home? Help
design and administer the security apparatus
responsible for millions of homes.
In light of all that, I still can't get over the
audacity it took to tap the most recent of the
Bush nominees, Wolfowitz and Bolton, to
their respective positions. Already savaged at
nearly every opportunity by the anti-Global-
ization crowd, the image of World Bank as an
instrument of western imperialism will hardly
be bettered by the appointment of Wolfowitz
- one of the most controversial and antago-
nistic members of the Bush administration..
Joseph Stiglitz, the former chief economist of
the World Bank, had this to say concerning
the appointment: "The World Bank will once
again become a hate figure. This could bring
street protests and violence across the develop-
ing world."

Then there's Bolton - the heir apparent as
ambassador to the United Nations. Now one
would think that to be appointed to this post,
nigh, to even be considered for this post, a
candidate should have at least a basic respect
for the principles and practices of the United
Nations. Yet even on his good days, Bolton
has hardly been able to contain his distaste
for the organization to which he may shortly
become our duly appointed representative. So
flabbergasted by this pick was The New York
Times editorial staff, that they incredulously
quipped, "(Bolton's nomination) leaves us
wondering what Mr. Bush's next nomination
will be ... Martha Stewart to run the Securities
and Exchange Commission?"
Requiring a zealous, reckless antagonism
bordering on executive negligence, these two
nominations are the diplomatic and political
equivalent of purposely tossing gasoline on
a burning fire. How else can you explain it?
Even if both nominations do survive the con-
troversy, does anyone honestly believe that
either will be effective in his new position?
With that in mind, and with much of the world
at odds with the Bush and Neocon agenda,
Wolfowitz and Bolton seem just handpicked
to provoke.
The administration has written this theory
off, defending its choices as products of a desire
to offer a different point of view to the organi-
zations in question. I cannot help but entertain,
however, the appalling and frightening thought
that both nominations to these important and
respected positions were intended primarily to
make a statement - to piss people off.
To all those who believe in the value of diplo-
macy and respect the phenomenon of comeup-
pance, this is a very scary thought indeed.
Adams can be reached
at dnadams@umich.edu



SI's must re-examine
motivations for wakout
GSI = graduate student instructor. Let's dis-
sect that title briefly. Graduate denotes hav-
ing earned a minimum of a bachelor's degree
somewhere, so presumably not being naive.
Student - my favorite word in the defini-
tion, denoting the fact that they are still taking
classes and in the process of educating them-
selves. Instructor - they're imparting some of
their partially learned knowledge back upon
other students.
The role of the GSI was created to give Uni-
versity graduate students valuable experience
while also helping to teach the undergrads of
the University. At some point GSIs got into
the mentality of thinking of these as perma-
nent jobs that should have permanent pay and
benefits - if the University stops paying their
tuition, then I'd agree. As long as they're get-
ting their degrees for free, however, my blood's
going to boil when they risk our education to
ask for even more compensation.

As a Law student who also received my
undergrad degree from the University, I've been
here for six years - and it's hard to be able to
pick a year out of that mix that did NOT involve
the GSIs threatening to strike or striking in
some way, shape or manner. I've never ceased
to be amazed at their gall.
In addition to having their classes paid for
and receiving some form of benefits, GSIs are
paid somewhere around $14,000 a year. What's
the difference between them and most of us
who PAY $15,000 to 35,000 a year? They assist
a professor in teaching a class. Some of them
don't even do this - they assist professors in
In order to become a professor, learning
research and/or teaching is necessary, the cen-
tral justification foi the existence of GSIs in the
first place. This practical knowledge and expe-
rience is invaluable - the same type you get
working in a summer internship on Capitol Hill
or for a nonprofit organization. By comparison,
however, you don't get paid for your internship,
while GSIs are compensated tens of thousands
of dollars in free education, salary and benefits.

GSI spouses get their health care premiums
covered, too!
If the GSIs walk out, it should give you an
extra reason to go to class - it's the equivalent
of trying to take away the education you're pay-
ing for. This would be bad enough even if GSI
living situations were dire, but they're students
- just like you and me, except they get free
tuition and a boatload of money in a stipend. See
if they can look you in the eye and tell you their
pay raise is worth denying you and your class-
mates' education - at a university, no less.
GSIs should be doing what they do because
they want to become professors and serve stu-
dents and the educational process - walking
out on student classes a month before finals in
order to haggle over getting paid more to do so
is about as antithetical to that purpose as could
be. If you're a GSI and you're not thankful for
the education and experience you're getting,
you shouldn't be a GSI.
Matt Nolan
The letter writer is a Law student and
a former president of the
Michigan Student Assembly.


Can you hear me now?

I thought I had heard it all, except for the
sentence, "Red mulligatawny hips started
neoconservatism," which still remains
a fickle conversation piece. But then, I
picked up the Detroit Free Press, and what
to my wandering eyes should appear, but a
proposition to erect cellular phone towers
in graveyards.
Immediately I laughed, which is odd
because I can't read. I had my manservant
Albert read the article to me, and, upon
hearing it, grew quite horrified. I thought
it was common knowledge that, in Episode
58 of the famed science fiction series, "The
Twilight Zone," a child is able to contact his

grandparents were still alive? Do we really
want our ancestors listening in on our phone
sex? And, especially relevant to dead broke
college students: Does the afterlife count as
However, as I researched the idea, cracks
began to appear in the veneer. According to
the renowned scientific docudrama, "White
Noise," the dead have already found ways to
contact us through electronic means. Addi-
tionally, they areattempting to help save
the living from disaster. But, if this is the
case, am I really supposed to believe that
the dead would use Michael Keaton as their
conduit? Am I ready to assume that, like
their rotting flesh, the character judgment
of the dead also deteriorates?

giant tower, which would prove to be a bit
of an eyesore during a funeral procession
(though it would be great to finally get a
good connection, even if you are busy bury-
ing your loved ones), we should integrate
wireless technology into our marble com-
memorative phalli, which, let's face it, serve
very little purpose except to confirm how
correct Freud was in a lot of what he said.
"But, Bryan," some of you might say in
high, annoying, tinny voices, "don't you
think the property of graveyards is sacro-
sanct, intended to be peaceful, relaxing and
respectful of those that have passed into
another life?" And I say to these naysayers,
"Nay, nay! Be comforted!" Remember that,
when President Bush, on that cold January


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