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April 14, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-04-14

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 14, 2005

OPINION

Ijz £i*bi'wu PaiIg

JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON GO
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
I consider us to
be Fortress Warren.
We are a fortress
standing against
the growth of crime
coming at us from
the south."
-Warren Mayor Mark Steenbergh,
seeking support for increased police
funding in a speech last week, as reported
by the Detroit Free Press on Saturday.
Warren is located immediately north of Detroit.

COLIN DALY THm Nc.IDy

.a 0

1 _ " +"--,-=mar fy "-

War of the Words, Volume II
JOEL HOARD Oi YEAHxi?

0

'm 23 years old, about
to graduate with zero
job prospects and my
hairline is rapidly reced-
ing. What could be bet-
ter? I used to think the
quarter-life crisis was just
a marketing gimmick, but
now that I'm living it, I've
changed my tune. Times
like these can make a man yearn for the days
when things were simpler and he thought he
would one day grow up to play first base for the
Detroit Tigers.
No matter. Things have a way of working
out, and while it might be therapeutic to use this
space to complain about my personal problems,
I'll spare you. I'd rather take these last 800 or so
words to reflect on my last two years here at Oh
Yeah? and maybe impart a little wisdom on my
way out the door. For reasons I don't feel like
discussing, the past four years have felt more
like 40, so you'll have to excuse me if I have
come off like a bitter 63-year-old man at times.
I came into this gig as a wiseass punk look-
ing to stick it to the likes of George W. Bush
and conservative America, to take a stand and
to make a real difference. The only problem was
that in the grand scheme, none of it meant any-
thing. Dust in the wind, etc. The Age of Infor-
mation has been great and all, but we reached

the saturation point a while ago, somewhere
between the inception of Fox News and the start
of the 37-millionth blog. Information exists
for information's sake. We have more than we
could ever need, and much more than we could
ever want. I've lost faith and interest in the writ-
ten word, and TV news has taken on a terrifying
life of its own. But don't let me stop you - Blog
on, you crazy diamonds.
A few people who read Volume I two weeks
ago wrote me and mentioned that I seemed bro-
ken and weary. Truth is, I am. I'm tired of pre-
tending to be happy or angry or interested or
whatever, when I'm really just tired, bored and
sad. I've slowly realized that I don't have it in
me to change the world, so it's probably time to
move on and give politics and caring a rest.
If there's anything I've learned from this cam-
pus and this city, it's that there are so many well-
intentioned wannabe world-changers who, like
me, lack the capacity to make any real differ-
ence. Unless you're a Gandhi or MLK, the kind
of person who comes along once in a genera-
tion if we're lucky, there's not much you can do
to save the world from itself. I'm not suggesting
that everybody should stop caring or give up, but
maybe it's time to try something else for once.
The answer to all of the world's problems isn't a
rally on the Diag or a march on City Hall, nor is
it complaining or-writing a newspaper column or
anything else so superficial for that matter. And

since that's all anyone can come up with, I guess
we're stuck. I sure as hell don't have any answers
for you. I'm starting to think the 18th-century
thinkers were onto something with the whole
enlightened self-interest thing, whereby pursuing
one's own interests, within reason, one could in
turn benefit the society as a whole. Or at least not
make it any worse. I could go on about the loneli-
ness of the human condition, etc., but I'm trying
hard not to sound like an English major's Live-
Journal. Anyway, I think you catch my drift.
Where does all that leave me? I guess if
everything works out, unburdened - but also
alone, which I'll have to deal with. I suppose
I'll live and let live for a while and see where'
I end up. This is supposed to be the time in a
person's life when he finds a career and settles
into the niche he'll occupy until his death, but
that doesn't sound like anything I should be in a
hurry to do. Now that I have absolutely nothing
in my life to hold on to, maybe I'll just drift for a
while and see where I end up. Or maybe I'll try.
out for the Tigers after all.
And where does all that leave you? That's up'
to you. I've said all I have to say, and you can
take it or leave it. If you think I'm just being an
asshole, you haven't been paying enough atten-
tion. Not that I'd blame you.

Hoard can be reached
at j.ho@umich.edu.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

iO

Cdlunm st misunertad
role, ben of Squirrel Club
To THE DAILY:
Sam Singer's article about the Squirrel Club
(Squirrel Huggers, 04/12/05) is thoroughly inac-
curate. The first problem with his article is its
numbers: He says that our meetings average 50
attendants, which they do perhaps twice a year,
but more normallyabout 10-15 people attend
(and perhaps five in cold weather). This is noth-
ing near the roving band of 50 squirrel-feeding
students Singer portrays.
Numbers aside, the article misunderstands the
University ecosystem and our club's purposes.
All animals adapt to their surroundings when
finding food. The squirrels on campus are depen-
dent on student garbage for food - who hasn't
seen a squirrel rooting around a dumpster or trash
can? Singer's point that squirrels fed by humans
are in danger of lacking food during the winter is
unfounded, as trash is never absent from campus.
However, the Squirrel Club does not like to see
squirrels eating trash, and we instead supply the
squirrels with a healthier alternative - unsalted
peanuts and sunflower seeds. Our efforts do not
impact the squirrels' ability to survive: their well-
nourished nature is shown by the much larger-

than-average size of squirrels on campus.
In a further effort for squirrel welfare, we
deal with a significant number of injured
squirrels every year, forwarding them;on to
the properly trained animal-rescue staff. Addi-
tionally, club members are currently involved
in an effort to combat the epidemic of squir-
rel mange on campus, which is a skin disease
treatable with antibiotics. Singer asks the club
to "think of the squirrels." We do so now and
will continue to.
Jason Colman
LSA senior
The letter writer is president of the Squirrel Club.
MCRI proponents not telling
the truth about its efe
To THE DAUY:
In his recent letter, Carl Cohen (MCRI adheres
to principles of 1964 Civil Rights Act, 04/08/2005)
unwittingly confirms the basic accusations against
the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative of using
deception and fraud. MCRI aims to outlaw all
affirmative action for women and minorities in
Michigan. The same language MCRI aims to pass
even banned outreach programs in California. The
proponents of MCRI, including Cohen, won't say

this plain truth about the aim of their proposal.
Why the striking omission?
Presumably, because they know it is unpopu-
lar. A Detroit Free.Press poll from the fAa Qf
2003 found that only 18 percent of white people
in Michigan think affirmative action should be
"ended now" - exactly what MCRI aims to do
(Michigan split over the path to equality, Detroit Free
Press, 01/19/2004).
The Ku Klux Klan group that is campaigning
for MCRI is more candid about why it supports
the proposition.
More evidence of MCRI deceit and fraud
is turning up in a survey now being conducted
of Detroit voters who signed the petition to get
MCRI on the ballot. Very close to 100 percent
of the people so far surveyed were deceived into
thinking they were signing a petition for affirma-
tive action. Many have already signed affidavits to
the effect that had they not been lied to, they never
would have signed the MCRI petition.
MCRI is wrought with deception and fraud
like no other ballot drive in Michigan history. We
would know this even without Cohen's admission
by omission.
Monica Smith
LSA junior
Kate Stenvig
Rackham

0

VIEWPOINT
Affirmative action has lost its purpose

0

BY RAplv PRABHAKAR
The question of whether or not I support affir-
mative action is a hard one for me to answer. On
one hand, I agree that diversity on a college cam-
pus is important in order to facilitate cross-cultur-
al interaction. Hence, I partly support affirmative
action because it is a long-term means by which
racial problems in this country can be solved. I
also feel that minorities deserve some compen-
sation to offset the discrimination that they face
throughout their lives. In that regard, I can see how
affirmative action can be justified as compensa-
tion for the discrimination that minorities and
women are still facing.
But the main purpose of affirmative action is
not to encourage cross-cultural interaction or to
compensate minorities and women for the dis-
crimination they are facing. The main purpose
of affirmative action is to help underprivileged
minorities make the transition from poverty to a
better life. The main purpose of affirmative action
is to make up for the lack of opportunities given
to minorities as a result of their economic woes.

Baltimore, grew up in the inner city and went to a
high school where few made it to college.
That, in a nutshell, is why I believe affirma-
tive action has lost its purpose. Fifty years ago,
the argument that minorities are given fewer
opportunities than others as a result of their eco-
nomic status might have made sense. But a lot has
changed since then. Many minorities have moved
up in the world and on the economic ladder.
It is true that many minority races are still lag-
ging behind the general populace, but the argu-
ment that all members of those minority races
need help is no longer true. The black student I
mentioned earlier came from a family with no
financial worries. He grew up in a neighborhood
where crime, gangs and drugs were not a major
problem. He went to a school with good teachers
and classmates who helped, not hurt, him aca-
demically. The white person I talked about ear-
lier did not have the same luxuries. One would be
very hard-pressed to make an argument that my
black friend has been given fewer opportunities
than my white friend, and yet, it was the former
who had affirmative action help him get into his

there are tens of thousands of exceptions to the
norm. There are numerous minorities who have
done very well for themselves and, as a result,
have been able to provide their children the
opportunities they need to succeed in life and
give them a level playing field or even one that
is tilted in their favor. There are also numerous
whites, who are living in poverty in inner cities,
whose children are almost certainly doomed
to remain in the poverty cycle as a result of
their circumstances and the lack of opportuni-
ties they are being given to succeed. There are
numerous families that don't fit the stereotype
on both sides of the fence, and this number is
growing every day. If the main goal of affirma-
tive action is to help those who have not been
given adequate opportunities to succeed, as it
should be, then it would make a lot more sense
for the bulk of affirmative action to be based on
socioeconomic factors rather than race.
I am not writing this viewpoint in support of
the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. MCRI aims
to abolish affirmative action without replacing it.
Doing so would only make the University less

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