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December 09, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-12-09

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 9, 2005


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Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor



4 I've got
money on South
- A Department of Public Safety offi-
cer, speaking over the loudspeaker of his
police cruiser while passing by the annual
South Quad-West Quad snowballfight
on East Madison Street; as overheard by
a Michigan Daily reporter last night.


Secular humanists' war on Christmas pierces
to the heart of the Bush White House, whose
Christmas cards don't actually mention the holi-
day commemorating the Savior's birth. And here
we thought President Bush had been saved.
Data-entry error causes Japanese firm to sell
610,000 shares for one yen each instead of one
share for 610,000 yen. In dollars, that's a $225-
million loss; in sushi, it's incalculable.



Homeless for the holidays

When I was
a little kid,
the idea of
homelessness plagued
me. I just could not
understand why some
people had to stand
outside in the blistering
Chicago winter while
I got to live in a warm
apartment with my par-
ents. In my eight-year-old head, it just didn't make
any sense.
I was too young, of course, to internalize the
socioeconomic reality of this country or the
harsh tradeoffs of a capitalist system. I did not yet
know the problems of affordable housing, mini-
mum wage, employment opportunity and all the
other roadblocks to the American Dream. All I
understood was that these people didn't have a
place to sleep.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a star-
tling 37 million Americans currently live in
poverty, and the average family is a dangerous
three paychecks away from homelessness. These
are shameful statistics from one of the world's
wealthiest countries. Right here in Washtenaw
County, 2,756 people will experience homeless-
ness each year, with 41 people becoming home-
less in any given week.
For me, Ann Arbor is where I go to school,
where I have my first apartment, where I go to
football games and write for the paper. I have a
home here, and I have a home in Chicago where
I'll go for the holidays. But for too many people,
Ann Arbor does not mean home or opportunity
- it means a lack of affordable housing, a tough
job market and a really, really cold winter.
The familiar faces we see around campus are
often not representative of Ann Arbor's larger
homeless population. There are many people
we never see, living just a few blocks away from

campus at the Robert J. Delonis Center. Each
night the Delonis Center can accommodate 50
people in its regular shelter and another 25 in a
rotating shelter. During the winter months, an
additional 50 can fit inside its "warming center"
- a room with chairs and blankets but no beds.
Shelter director Ruth Shabazz says the shelter is
nearly full to capacity every night.
I know as well as any University student that
it's difficult to make time to volunteer amidst the
never-ending demands of schoolwork. But as
the perilous Michigan winter sets in, maybe we
should all make a New Year's resolution to find
the time. The University community has not only
the responsibility but also the manpower to really
make a difference in Ann Arbor's fight against
No matter what your interests or how much
time you are willing to commit, there are hun-
dreds of ways to get involved. Many students
aren't even aware that places to volunteer exist
right in their own backyard - steps away from
the academic buildings, bars and restaurants we
all so regularly frequent.
The Delonis Center is a good place to start.
A truly incredible facility, the shelter provides
basics like warm showers, laundry and a place to
sleep - while also offering job counseling, sub-
stance abuse treatment and on-site medical care.
Volunteers go through a short four-hour training
session, and then can sign up for shifts almost
anytime of the day.
There is also the Ozone House - a crisis sup-
port and housing agency for youth who have run
away, become homeless or found themselves in
unsafe or unstable situations. Volunteers can
help out around the house or work the crisis
hotline after a two-week intensive training pro-
gram. The next volunteer training date is right
around-the corner on Jan. 9 - perfect timing for
anyone who wants to make good on that New
Year's resolution.

Or if you think you're better off working with
kids, SOS Community Services runs the Time 4
Tots program - a daycare center that provides
a safe, nurturing environment for homeless chil-
dren from infancy through preschool while their
parents are searching for housing or employment
or getting treatment for substance abuse.
These are just a few of the many organizations
that need student volunteers. If you want a com-
plete list, just go on www.volunteer-connection.
org and you'll find a directory of all community
service opportunities in Ann Arbor. The possi-
bilities are endless.
As for day-to-day interaction with people liv-
ing in poverty, it's easy to become desensitized
when walking to and from Angell Hall. When I
visited the Delonis center earlier this week, I asked
volunteer coordinator Jennifer Crippin what she
does when panhandlers ask for money: "Whether
you give a dollar or not," she said, "passing along
information about the shelter in your neighbor-
hood is important." It's a personal choice whether
or not to give, but pointing a person in the right
direction (in this case, toward the Delonis Center)
could make a world of difference.
Time, however, can be a more valuable cur-
rency than money. Interaction fosters under-
standing, and in working closely with the
homeless community we can begin to break-
down stereotypes surrounding homelessness
in Ann Arbor. As most will find in their first
few hours of volunteering, these people are
not stereotypes or statistics. Shelter director
Ruth Shabazz said it well: "The challenge in
life is to get beyond stereotypes and get to
know people as people."
Maybe we should put that on our New Year's
resolution list too - right above volunteering
time in Ann Arbor next semester.

Why have parents.
Parental notification critical before abortion

Dibo can be reached at

In Tuesday's Daily, our colleagues
opined against a New Hampshire
law requiring minor women to noti-
fy their parents at least 48 hours prior
to an abortion (Her Body, Her Choice,
12/06/2005). Our colleagues believe
that women, when able to bear a child,
obtain independence from their parents,
and parents have no right to notifica-
tion of this life-changing procedure. We
believe the Daily has lost credibility
regarding family values. Parents go to
great lengths to support their children
through financial and emotional means,
but according to the Daily, they should
have no legal role in their daughter's
abortion. Why, then, should parents
bother raising their adolescent children?
We agree with our colleagues that
parental notification is a lower hurdle
to jump than parental consent, but think
of all the other activities that require
leaping over an even higher hurdle. A
minor in school must obtain parental
consent, regardless of maturity, to par-
ticipate in field trips. Before obtaining a
driver's license, parents or guardians in
some states must sign off on their child's
driving ability. The state entrusts par-
ents with the right of child-rearing, but
according to our colleagues, that right
ends at the abortion clinic.
Obviously, those who favor abortion
have an incentive to dehumanize its
moral implications by treating it as a
medical procedure. If abortion is noth-
ing more than a medical procedure, it
should adhere to the same regulations as
any other medical procedure performed
on a minor. Currently, the law exempts
minors from obtaining consent for emer-
gency, life-saving medical procedures
because of implied consent. Abortion is
a choice and by definition premeditated.
Minors must obtain parental consent for
other premeditated medical procedures
such as root canals, appendectomies,
tonsillectomies and heart transplants.

Why is consent mandatory for these
procedures while mere notification of
an abortion is too much to ask?
Our colleagues also expressed
concern that U.S. Chief Justice John
Roberts will lead the Court in a more
conservative direction and "chip away
at the legacy of Roe v. Wade." As
conservative Chief Justice William
Rehnquist's successor, Roberts does
not add another anti-Roe vote to the
Court. The Court still consists of four
liberals, three conservatives, two mod-
erates and a partridge in a pear tree.
This minimal change to the Court's
ideological makeup should not cause
abortion advocates to fear an overturn
of Roe.
Even the most adamant supporters
of "reproductive freedom" have issues
with the legal foundation of Roe v.
Wade and its affirmation case Planned
Parenthood v. Casey. Nowhere in the
Constitution is there textual evidence
of the "right to privacy" the court
derived in the Roe decision. It would
take nothing less than a secret Con-
stitutional Decoder Ring to find this
reasoning in the Constitution.
We should allow our legislators,
as the elected voice of the people, to
determine the merits and regulations
of abortion and the role a parent has
in his daughter's rearing. Is there any
logic in requiring parental consent
for a root canal yet preventing parents
from knowing if their daughter will
undergo an abortion? Apparently, our
colleagues believe there is. As a gen-
eral principle, we believe parents are
responsible for the upbringing of their
children and should, at a minimum,
receive notification of potentially life-
changing events.
Reggie Brown and John Stiglich are LSA
juniors.Will Kerridge is an Engineering junior.
All are members of the Daily's Editorial Board.

Like him or hate him - spare Tookie
highly publi- vincing argument - that granting clemency to if more inmates took Tookie's actions to heart
cized clemency an "arbitrary" case will weaken the deterrent and used their time to earn high school or col-
earing was value of capital punishment. The more fun- lege degrees? Instead, prisons are serving as
held for Stan "Tookie" damental question of whether capital punish- graduate schools for advanced degrees in drug
Williams yesterday ment should continue to be legal is much too dealing, giving young dealers the opportunity
to decide whether the complex an issue to delve into here. However, to network and swap business tips. It is no
convicted murderer study after study of the deterrent effect of the coincidence that most convicts are re-arrested
and founder of one of death penalty has shown an incredibly weak within three years of release due to the over-
America's most notori- correlation between executions and murder whelming rate of criminals returning to crime.
ous gangs should be put rates. Considering that of the hundreds of thou- Most have simply had no training in any legiti-
to death next Tuesday. sands of murders committed since the death mate career field, and the only life they know
The hearing's outcome was not yet available as penalty was reinstated 30 years ago only 4,315 is that of crime.
this column went to press. But regardless of the individuals are currently on death row or have Some argue that by sparing Tookie, Gov.
outcome, this is an important symbolic hearing been executed, it seems that not only do many Schwarzenegger threatens the sentencing power
for convicts across the country. Unlike in most murders go unsolved, but the sentencing of the of juries. Instead, Schwarzenegger will be send-
clemency hearings, Williams is not blaming an death penalty is also rather arbitrary. Such a ing a message to incarcerated criminals every-
unfair trial, manipulated evidence or racism for low probability of actually being sentenced to where that reform is an option. The highly public
his death sentence. In fact, his plea for mercy is death sends an equally dangerous message to case of Tookie should serve as a wake-up call
not even based on his guilt or innocence in the potential murderers. for a redirection in funding to more construc-
murder of four people over 24 years ago - though The more important issue in the Williams tive uses of prison time. Let us also consider
he still maintains his innocence. case is his story of reformation. The fact that a that our prisons are overflowing with predomi-
Instead, Williams and an army of supporters man condemned to death has decided to use his nately poor black prisoners - often products of
are arguing that he has not only reformed during experiences to help steer young people away from the abysmal inner-city environments in which
his time in prison, but that he has become a posi- the mistakes he has made demonstrates a value they were raised. Most didn't have the option of
tive influence on society. Since being in prison, that should be the basis for our penal system: the receiving a decent K-12 education. Isn't it possible
the former leader of the Crips gang has writ- opportunity for reform and rehabilitation. Prison that many of this country's prisoners are decent
ten several children's books; brokered a respite terms give inmates plenty of time to consider their people steered astray by unfortunate environmen-
between the Crips and another violent gang, crimes and an opportunity to change and make tal factors? Shouldn't everyone have the chance
the Bloods; and has been nominated for several amends by being a positive influence on society. to change? Many will not, and for those we can
awards - including several literary honors and It is important to hold onto the notion that Tookie agree that perhaps they should be locked away
the Nobel Peace Prize. We certainly shouldn't will serve as an example to inmates serving non- where they can't pose a danger to society. My
condone Tookie's actions 24 years ago, but we life sentences. case for clemency for Williams is not based on a
should recognize what he has done since then. Instead of demanding Tookie's death, we personal fondness for the guy, but on the hope that
Some skeptics maintain that Tookie is tak- should be embracing the idea that people have his life in prison will serve as a beacon of hope for
ing us all for a ride, while others simply believe the capacity to repent their actions and change young inmates around the country.
that murder is murder, and he deserves the pun- their ways. Reformation and subsequent parole
ishment to which he was sentenced. Still others should serve as incentive for inmates to better Slade can be reached at
believe - and this is perhaps the most con- themselves while in prison. Wouldn't it be great bslade@umich.edu.

Israel/Palestine debate
accomplishes little
Too often, attacks are thrown back and
forth in this publication with little respect

have been shopping in that marketplace with
his friends, obviously something that does
not warrant being murdered. This Palestin-
ian suicide bomber who murdered those five
people did not do it accidentally - he did
it with the intent to murder as many Israeli

tion to condemn all acts of terrorism against
Israeli citizens. The Israeli leadership has
also made it a priority to stop all unwarrant-
ed attacks against Palestinians. The Pales-
tinian people should follow their leader and
condemn suicide bombings by Palestinians

"In Dissent" opinions do not reflect the views of the Daily's editorial board. They



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