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March 30, 2006 - Image 4

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I

4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 30, 2006

OPINION

ke 31dli~pu Mtil

DoNN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief

EMILY BEAM
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK
Editorial Page Editors

ASHLEY DINGES
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
The American
people perceive
the entire ethics
system, House
and Senate, to
be broken."
- Sen Barack Obama (D-Ill.), speak-
ing in support of independent investiga-
tions of ethics violations within the Senate,
as reported yesterday on CNN.com.

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Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.

The double standard of growing up
AARON KAPLAN LIFE DOESN'T GET AN A
any of us dig in Coronastan, but by the time she's 28, ous, Yale-centric parenting. Once the kids leave
are familiar she probably still won't have a permanent job. college, though, society also tends to approve of
with the pro- And, if she's like 63 percent of 2004's college protracted, 13-to-30 adolescence. Sure, there's
totypical overscheduled graduates, she's planning to live with her parents. plenty of hand-wringing about the irresponsi-
child, that mainstay of Dave Barry once wrote that while the Greatest bility involved in leading "Sex and the City"
suburban satire who Generation could lay claim to weathering the lifestyles, but that's as far as it goes. This tacit
started cello lessons Great Depression, winning World War II and approval must stem at least in part from the fact
before she learned how making America the richest and most powerful that young adults prop up the economy by pur-
to crawl, took her first country the world has ever seen, the Baby Boom- chasing tremendous amounts of stuff, but I hope
PSAT prep class when ers have managed only one significant accom- that's not the whole story.
she was 12 and spent plishment: They didn't move back in with their If society wanted to encourage 22-year-olds
last summer leading a starving-child rescue team parents. Well, today's young adults haven't been to embark expeditiously on a career, get married
in Mali. All this, of course, was forced on her able to match the Boomers' record. and have children, there would be large subsidies
by her overbearing parents, who worried that an Clearly, something is happening to us between for law, medical and business school tuition, ben-
insufficiently rigorous fifth-grade program might the nothing-is-more-important-than-getting-into- efits for hiring graduates of American universi-
jeopardize little Ashley's chances at Stanford and, Duke stage and the nothing-is-more-important- ties instead of outsourcing jobs and expanded
inexorably, lead her to a career at McDonald's. than-living-it-up stage. Even our most successful child tax credits large enough to actually make
Much has been said about the problems asso- young people seem to value childhood more than a dent in the substantial costs of raising large
ciated with children's hectic lives - nobody adulthood. Why does Matchbox Twenty want the families.
plays outside anymore, people don't read for real world to just stop hassling me? Why does A pro-responsibility agenda would certainly
pleasure, etc. - and I share these laments. There John Mayer, wishing he was six again, want his include high school and college classes on bud-
is one possible benefit, though: Maybe society's life to be more like 1983? geting, intelligent use of credit, how taxes work
high expectations for its children are resulting There has to be a reason why people who are and the power of compound interest. It would
in a generation of highly organized, responsible committed achievers when they're 14 shun com- also discourage parents from enabling their adult
people who are used to achieving adult levels of mitment and achievement when they're 24. Pos- children's excessive live-for-today behavior by
excellence at extremely young ages. Have today's sibly, with modern childhood not resembling a bailing them out repeatedly.
young people already turned into their parents? extended idyll nearly as much as a taxing slog to Personally, I think society is on the wrong
Actually, nothing could be further from the the next status symbol, youths are getting burned path in both areas: I'd prefer that the social norm
truth. Another dominant cultural trend, also out way too early. If childhood no longer features were a less hectic childhood and a more tradi-
exhaustively studied and lampooned, is how freedom from an often bewildering array of tional adulthood. At the very least, we need to
these highly impressive children, after earning responsibilities, maybe young adults are simply figure out how to live a more balanced life at both
their Emory or Washington University degrees, searching for the peaceful time they didn't get to 14 and 24, because the prevailing winds at both
are taking a sharp turn off the road to adult- enjoy when they were 12. ages are unhealthy.
hood. Ashley might jump at the opportunity But privileged adult-olescents trying to per-
to spend her junior year (or, since this is 2006, fect childhood at 25 are only part of the story. Kaplan can be reached at
her third of about five) on an archaeological Satire aside, society tends to approve of overzeal- aaronkap@umich.edu.
VIEWPOINT
Consider divestment from Israel and Palestine
By DAVID SKRBINA AND WILLIAM THOMSON This process has happened twice before: with mention to world opinion. The status quo is an
respect to South African apartheid in 1978, and offense to the University's Arab and Muslim fac-
The problems in Iraq, Iran and the rest of the with tobacco stocks in 2000. In both cases, divest- ulty, staff and students. It is an offense to Arab
Middle East have many causes, but one issue ment was recommended and implemented. and Muslim taxpayers who fund the University.
is of singular importance: U.S. support for the Certainly the situation in Palestine differs in It is an offense to those who seek a just peace.
Israeli occupation of Palestine. This occupation, many ways from that in South Africa and from There is a final, and most troubling, con-
and the resulting apartheid-like structure, cre- the health risks posed by tobacco. They are vast- cern: Some who are clearly in sympathy with
ate conditions under which violent reactions are ly different issues but share two common quali- a divestment inquiry are afraid to speak out
inevitable. ties: They all present "serious moral or ethical publicly, for, fear of implicit or explicit retri-
For many years, peace advocates around the questions" with regard to our investments, and bution by colleagues and students within the
world have been pressing for Israel to leave Pal- they are of concern to a large number of people University. Concerns have also been expressed
estine and for the United States to halt its uni- within the University community. The Univer- that donations will be reduced if a divestment
lateral support of Israel. And our involvement is sity holds millions of dollars in corporate stocks inquiry is undertaken. But threats of harass-
not trivial; we give roughly $6 billion in aid to that are implicated in the occupation - more ment or reduced donations are, of course, no
Israel every year. As long as we continue to sup- than $18 million, by one accounting. Certainly it proper basis for making a decision about moral
port Israel without pressing for a just resolution meets the standard as defined in 1978. investments. Any such threats are absolutely
to the occupation, we will be seen by the Muslim The formation of such a committee repre- intolerable in a free and open university and
and Arab world as accomplices to crimes against sents a minimal first step toward taking positive must be immediately and categorically con-
the Palestinian people. action. The 38-year Israeli presence in Pales- demned.
One successful tactic for enacting change is tine is undoubtedly a serious moral issue, and The University of Michigan is a public univer-
divestment, the selling of stock in U.S. corpo- it is costing lives on both sides - though at a sity, and it must pay heed to public concern. We
rations that continue to support the occupation. rate seven times higher for Palestinians (since should support an inquiry on moral principle.
And of course, if corporations are found to be September 2000). The occupation has been. The occupation is wrong and efforts promoting
aiding Palestinian violence, the same standards condemned by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty its end are morally right actions. And one thing
should apply. International, B'tselem and the International is certain: Nothing will happen if no one raises
On March 17, several faculty, staff and stu- Committee of the Red Cross. The occupation is a voice.
dents initiated a campaign to call upon the Uni- both immoral and illegal; it encourages retalia- Many in the University, and in the state of
versity Board of Regents to consider divestment. tory violence, and the University ought not be Michigan, are advocates of human rights. Many
As it happens, there is a formal procedure for party to it in any way. are antiwar. Many have great concern for Pal-
divestment as established by the regents them- Some claim that the University should remain estinian - and Israeli - suffering. All these
selves back in 1978: If any particular investment "neutral" on this whole subject. But there is no causes are served by exploring divestment.
"involves serious moral or ethical questions being neutral here. The occupation is in its 38th
which are of concern to many members of the year, and the University continues to hold mil- Skrbina is a lecturer at the University's
University community," then "an advisory com- lions of dollars in corporations directly involved. Dearborn campus. Thomson is an associate
mittee ... will be appointed." The committee The University is funding and profiting from the professor emeritus at the Dearborn campus.
will investigate the matter and make recommen- occupation. This is a grave insult to Palestin- A longer version of this piece is
dation to the regents for or against divestment. ians, Arabs and sympathetic Muslims - not to available at www.michigandaily.com.
Send all letters to the editor to
LETTER TO THE EDITOR tothedaily@michigandaily.com.

0

The little burrito place that could
AU GO WHO WATCHES THE WKFCHMEN?

hink of it as the
story of Goliath
taking on David.
With lawyers. And bur-
ritos. And it seems that
Goliath wins.
The real drama is
actually between the Big
.7- Ten Conference and Big
Ten Burrito (which I'll
refer to as "BTB" from
now on to avoid confusion). Last year, when the
guys at BTB tried to trademark their company's
name, the Big Ten took notice. It contacted the
owners and strongly suggested they change their
moniker. Although it didn't go down without a
fight, BTB is now holding a contest to rename the
company.
The persecution and subsequent name change
has inspired fan reaction ranging from worry to
bewilderment to outrage. Will the chimichangas
still be as delicious? What did a quesadilla ever do
to an athletic conference? And most importantly,
why would a huge organization that handles mil-
lions of dollars worth of revenue and scholarships
want to crush a teeny start-up founded by two
young men with a dream?
Well, for one thing, because it can. By defini-
tion, it's big, and big companies have lots of smart
lawyers who get paid plenty of money. On the
other hand, BTB has lots of eager law students
who are willing to work pro bono. Even with our
stellar law school, the Big Ten Conference knows
it can litigiously squeeze BTB into submission
with a practically unending supply of money. It
can also do the same to every other unwitting
company that uses the name. Just like all the
monopolies that trample on and then eat up small
businesses, the Big Ten can push around whom-
ever it wants. If those galoots don't want to share,
well, they just don't have to.
The Big Ten, however, isn't just some name-
hogging bully. In its defense, there is a practi-
cal consideration in edging out a popular small
business. If, for whatever reason, BTB decides it
wants to publicly and ardently support some unsa-
vory cause - Nazism, Scientology or whatever
- the conference would want to distance itself
accordingly. Sure, no one is going to confuse a
burrito joint with a giant athletic conference (one

random, unsolicited e-mail I received pointed
out, "the closest thing to a sports theme the Bur-
rito place has is a signed photo of Bill Walton,")
but if BTB got big or crazy enough - and the
conference's wholesome all-American reputation
was on the line - then the athletic organization
did itself a huge favor by squashing any use of its
namesake. Call it a pre-emptive strike.
Meanwhile, it's completely understandable
why BTB would give up the fight. As one of its
owners pointed out, even if they win the suit,
which is possible and even likely, they would
still be down hundreds of thousands of dollars
- with only an old name, pride and a devotion
to principle to show for it. That might be enough
for some people, but maybe not for a two-year
old start-up.
Ironically, it was probably BTB's success and
subsequent attempt to protect its name through
trademark that jumpstarted the Big Ten's harass-
ment. There are dozens of business that use "Big
Ten" in their names, yet the conference either
doesn't know or care about them until they seek
governmental legitimacy and protection.
Then again, there is always the silver lining.
When BTB decides to continue its campus bur-
rito domination, it won't be constrained by the
"Big Ten" moniker. "Big Ten Burrito" only res-
onates well in 11 cities, and "ACC Burrito" just
doesn't roll off the tongue like it should. BTB can
now pursue a more creative designation. How's
"BTB" for creative, or maybe the absolutely orig-
inal "Blimpy Burrito." Whatever they choose, a
name change so early in the game isn't a death
certificate - a logo won't be devastating, and the
business isn't exactly established when compared
to, say, Wal-Mart.
And maybe the best part of it all is that the cus-
tomers don't really lose. Sentimentality aside, the
burritos themselves - which are temporarily $1
cheaper thanks to the contest - will presumably
taste the same, and the earliest "Big Ten Burrito"
T-shirts will one day become vintage. And, as
some of BTB's earliest fans, we will always be
able to tell our kids the full tale of Big Ten Burrito
- its rise, fall and eventual resurrection beneath
Goliath's feet.
Go can be reached at
aligo@umich.edu.

Coke dispute misguided,
student activists misled
TO THE DAILY:
The current dispute regarding the Coca-
Cola Company's alleged human-rights viola-
tions is seldom examined with an apolitical
eye. However, after conducting an extensive
investigation into the particulars surround-
ing the matter, the truth reveals itself rather

said provisions. Furthermore, the language
of the vendor code is overly ambiguous,
redundant and in serious need of revision and
elaboration - inherently rendering heavier
the DRB's burden of proof, which has by no
means been satisfied.
In a letter to the Daily (Student Conservative
Party is 'misguided and radical,' 03/06/2006),
LSA junior Aman Sharma wrote: "Coca-
Cola's unethical business practices have been
robbing people of their human rights." Here
VIhnrrnnn s rrnn nQnrn,,en in the. court rof law

May it be known that the Campaign to Stop
Killer Coke is headed by Ray Rogers, owner of
Corporate Campaign, Inc. The company touts
itself as the "#1 strategist for labor unions,"
and it is involved in the ongoing Miami litiga-
tion and stands to benefit (reputably and finan-
cially) for its role in the lawsuit, estimated at
$500 million. This corporate profiteer has
bamboozled thousands of well-intentioned col-
lege students into supporting a cause intended
to fatten his coffers and boost his and his com-
runnv's ren~utotton_

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