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April 14, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-04-14

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4- The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 14, 2006

OPINION

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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

RYAN JABERVJUST'MAKES MUIP
..a
VD,3

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
A category-five
political storm is building
in GOP precincts around
the country, and it is
going to blow Republicans
right out of the majority
in November."
- House Appropriations Committee Chair
Jerry Lewis (R-Calf.), in an editorial pub-
lished yesterday in The Wall Street Journal.

Free BTB
ANDREW BIELAK
BURN IN, BRiDGES

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.

*

A final self-indulgence
SowMYA KRISHNAMURTHY AU DI)I ALTERMAM PARTEM

"Live as if you were to
die tomorrow. Learn as if
you were to live forever."
- Mahatma Gandhi

n exactly one week,
I will graduate from
the University of
Michigan, moving the
tassel from right to left
and in doing so, progress-
ing into adulthood. It's surreal how quickly the
culmination of four years of college arrives; our
first blue-book exams and all-nighters seem like
just yesterday. Obtaining a diploma from the Uni-
versity is indeed a formidable accomplishment,
signifying commitment, a strong work ethic and
presumably some basic level of intelligence, but
the piece of paper is just the first step.
The real challenge now is what to do with the
degree.
For most, the next logical step is to enroll in
graduate school or begin the arduous climb up
the corporate ladder - but is this really the right
way or just the path of least resistance? Economic
competition, coupled with the undeniably exorbi-
tant price of college, have commoditized and dis-
torted the value of education. Learning is simply
a means to a larger end. Parents and graduates
want fast results - and a big house, a flat-screen
television or the facility to one-up the next per-
son is the most blatant way to show a return on
investment. But given that we, as graduates, will
spend on average about 9.2 hours per day work-
ing and commuting, for the next foreseeable 43
years, keeping up with the Joneses can quickly
turn into a long, vicious cycle.
Instead of jumping headfirst into a life that
may very well end up unsatisfying, this pivotal
moment requires intense self-reflection. I urge
graduates to redefine their own success. Think
not in terms of the number of zeroes you bring

home on a paycheck, but rather in regard to the
opportunities created and the lives that you leave
an indelible mark on. It's one thing to have $100
million, and another to invest that money to help
teach and empower generations to come.
Find your passion and live it. Whether it is a
traditional 9-to-5 route or something wildly off
the beaten path, an inner love for what you do will
help you endure the long hours and hard times.
Stepping outside of the box is difficult -
there's no doubt about that. It's always easier to
follow the herd or some arbitrary national rank-
ing than to forge one's own destiny. In addition
to societal (or even worse, parental) stigma, the
spoils of the road less traveled might take lon-
ger to manifest, and maybe they never will at all.
Being cognizant of the risks and the ability none-
theless to embrace the struggle builds invaluable
fortitude, which is half the battle anyway. And if
failure is imminent, so what? Now is the time to
make those mistakes, before the toll of bills and
mortgages supercedes everything else.
It probably seems ironic that as a business
school graduate, I seem to be preaching the polar
opposite of all things capitalism. But if I have
learned anything in college, it is that greatness
has no mold. The happiest, most self-fulfilled
people are those who have chased their dreams
without sacrificing their sanity or scruples in the
process. Making money and being successful are
neither mutually exclusive nor one and the same.
Personally, I'm not sure what the world has in
store for me - and I for it - once I step down
from this soapbox. As I search for my calling, I
can only hope to remain a lifelong student, with
the same blind passion and belief in a better
tomorrow that have carried me thus far. What-
ever is out there, I am ready to face it head-on.
Life is too short for regrets.
Krishnamurthy an be reached at
sowmyak@umich.edu.

t seems that
every day,
our student
body stumbles
upon some excit-
ing, creative new
way to remain
aggressively
polarized. Just
when we seem
to run the risk of
appearing cohesive or united, a miracu-
lously divisive event takes place, and
Joe Six-Pack of the urination club alleg-
edly relinquishes the liquid contents of his
evening's entertainment upon the near-
est passerby. In a flash, the shit-storm is
underway. Every active student mobilizes
according to sex/race/ideological affilia-
tion/campus group/favorite bubble-gum
flavor, and the tense political environment
that somehow fuels this campus is rein-
vigorated.
If there is one thing, however - one
single aspect of this University that eter-
nally brings us together, shining a bea-
con of hope for all who dream of a better
future - it has to be Big Ten Burrito.
Regardless of whether you want to tear
down the prison-industrial complex,
pound affirmative action into oblivion
or donate your breakfast to overzeal-
ous rodents in the Diag, you can find
utter joy and comfort in the humble
offerings of this local establishment. At
Big Ten Burrito, the jaded hipster rubs
elbows with the jocular fratboy; the Col-
lege Democrat trades laughs with her
Republican counterpart, and all are able
to momentarily forget the traits which
divide us over a deluxe vegetarian with
black beans and a dab of hot sauce.
And now, they're trying to take it away
from us. Under the hollow guise of copy-
right infringement, the malicious, power-
drunk officials at the Big Ten Conference
have challenged our favorite eatery,
threatening a lawsuit against it unless its
birth-name is struck from the record. The
guileless among you, whose appetites rage
without a sense of principle, may continue
reclining on your sofa, chicken nachos in
your belly and nary a care in your head.
After all, what's so horrible about Big Ten
Burrito being forced to change its moni-
ker?
Well, the truth may frighten you, my
friend. In fact, considering its level of
classification and potential explosive-
ness, the truth may actually get you
killed. But ask and ye shall receive. For
those of us who still have to the courage
to think, who still spend our time pon-
dering complex burrito systems and the
extensive history of authoritarian rule
imposed upon them, the implications of
this act are as painstakingly obvious as
the inferiority of Panchero's.
Plainly stated, the Big Ten Confer-
ence wants to destroy Big Ten Burrito.
From deep within the trenches of their icy
hearts, the depraved technocrats that run
this organization want nothing more than
the complete and utter annihilation of
BTB, along with everything it stands for.
You see, our favorite little burrito
shack, simple and innocuous as it may
seem, has committed the ultimate tac-
tical error in the eyes of conference
officials - it has upset the balance of
power. By laying the groundwork for
future cooperation among even the most
oppositional groups on campus, Big Ten
Burrito has the potential to foster a new
golden age for the University and usher
in unheralded conference dominance
for years.
Threatened by an uncertain future,
the faceless neo-burrito imperialists have
decided to act first. Having witnessed the
initial threat, it should come as no sur-
prise to us as the coming months bear
witness to an increasingly aggressive

campaign waged against poor, defense-
less BTB. It will start rolling along
quietly enough, with the imposition of
unilateral sanctions and a series of covert
operations attempting to undermine the
internal economic structure of the fran-
chise. Soon enough, however, the rage
of the warmongers will be unleashed
- along with their specious claims of
excessively spicy, chemically-and-bio-
logically-altered pico de gallo being cre-
ated in a secret basement lab and tested
on innocent 6-year-olds.
Their march to war will be fully
underway, and a campus will be sold on
faulty intelligence and hate-filled rheto-
ric, leaving us hostage to our tendency
to demonize any purported enemy. Effi-
gies of avocados will be burned in the
streets and humble quesadilla-makers
will receive daily threats to their liveli-
hood. Ultimately, the senseless violence
that will lead to the total destruction of
"the little burrito place that could" will
not only be deemed a necessary evil by
members of campus community - it
will be called justice.
My fellow students, I come to you at a
crucial moment. The traditionalist anti-

9I

VIEWPOINT
Fencing in America's future

0
0
0

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Reinstatement of contract
with Coke 'unjust, absurd'
To THE DAILY:
The University's latest decision to reinstate
its contract with Coca-Cola (Coke to return to
campus, 04/12/2006), is unjust, unreasonable
and illegitimate, and its lack of regard for stu-
dents is absurd. Its willingness to reinstate a
contract in only 24 hours and its enthusiasm to
protect the pockets of Coca-Cola is weak. Fac-
ing similar problems at Michigan State Uni-
versity, we have seen administrators across the
country continue to cradle the needs of Coca-
Cola in one hand while in the other create a
fagade of cooperative relations with students.
The administration at Michigan must stop pre-
tending that the International Labor Organi-
zation investigation of Coca-Cola's crimes is
legitimate and begin a real discussion with stu-
dents, as recommended by the Dispute Review
Board. It is time that our universities together
start sending a clear message - that they actu-
ally care about students, that they are ethically
and socially conscious institutions, and that we
will no longer allow Coca-Cola to prosper off
the backs of struggling workers, abused envi-
ronmental resources and the destitute poor.
Triana Sirdenis
Michigan State University
Cutting Spanish minor will

interest in the language and culture.
If the minor is so popular, why remove it?
LSA Associate Dean Robert Megginson says
it was too popular for its own good. Aren't
there other possible ways to improve the pro-
gram aside from just cutting it altogether? Of
course, the budget is tight, but there has to be
a better way.
In the next few years, I think there will
be a significant decline in the number of
students taking intermediate and upper-
level Spanish classes. Given that Spanish is
already the second most-spoken language
in this country, removing the minor at the
University makes no sense. I see the Spanish
Club losing membership and fewer students
taking an interest in the language because
they won't be recognized for taking classes
past Spanish 276. Short-term study abroad
programs will also suffer here at the Univer-
sity; students won't be interested in taking
large numbers of classes if they do not count
toward a minor.
In other words, the University should
address the root of the problem first - the
number of students and the number of facul-
ty teaching Spanish classes. It shouldn't just
say the minor is unimportant and get rid of
it all together. As I finish my Spanish major
this semester and recall the difficulties of
registration in semesters past, I reflect back
and think that there must be a better solution

BY KEVIN BUNKLEY
The presence of 11 million illegal immigrants
living in America alone wasn't enough to get the
government's attention. It took 500,000 protesters,
both legal and illegal, in Los Angeles and large
demonstrations around the country to do that.
Congress's failure to pass two separate versions
of immigration reform shows that it, and Presi-
dent Bush, neither understand nor want to fix the
immigration crisis in this country. The govern-
ment faces a choice between getting too stringent
and fencing in America's future, or solving the
problem economically and accepting the forces of
globalization that will tell Washington immigra-
tion is good for America. Forget about the fight
over the Latino vote - it's the eleventh hour, and
Congress has fallen asleep at the wheel.
Bush's plan has the right amount of toughness
that the McCain-Kennedy bill lacks, calling for
a welcoming but lawful society. The president
went a step further than the McCain bill and
made the right decision to call for enforcing
laws against businesses that hire illegal work-
ers. The White House knows that some owners
are fattening their pockets from hiring illegal
workers - at the cost of low-income Americans
losing out on work.
The president's conviction to overhaul the
U.S. Border Patrol would no doubt help slow the
number of immigrants flooding across the bor-
der - now up to half a million people per year.
Increased resources for the Border Patrol, such
as military drones and helicopters, would be a
wise move to compensate for the lax security
along the border. Putting more human resourc-
es on the ground is much more effective than
the 700-mile long wall that the Sensenbrenner
Bill, which already passed in the House, pro-
posed. Bush could even follow the example of
the Minutemen Project, the group begun in
2005 to watch a 27-mile stretch of the Arizona
border, and privatize border-watching to free
up more funds for said drones and helicopters
(the Border Patrol currently has 53 helicop-
ters at its disposal - four times more than are
being used to aid the Darfur region in Sudan,
according to The Economist magazine). 2,000
miles of border is just too much for one agency
to handle.
Though the McCain-Kennedy bill had ele-
ments of the right approach, the bill's guest-
worker provision is the wrong method to provide

immigrants a path to citizenship. Sen. John
McCain (R-Ariz.) has gone on record claim-
ing that the program is not amnesty for 11 mil-
lion people, but a way for immigrants to slowly
become legal citizens of this country.
The plan, however, could prove highly expen-
sive and porous. U.S. Citizenship and Immigra-
tion Services can only issue so many visas and
green cards, so Congress would have to set a
ceiling on the number of visas given out yearly.
The New Republic called the guest-worker pro-
gram "un-American." Why? Apparently because
it rewards immigrants for obtaining work ille-
gally and squeezing out blue-collar jobs for
Americans.
The McCain plan is right, though, in setting a
restriction on how long immigrants can stay and
work here. After about six to eight years, some
would be required to return home before apply-
ing for citizenship.
Both bills' end goals have the right means to
an end: Reducing the number of illegal workers
in the country and offering citizenship to many
of those who are able to stay their is an effective
safeguard for one thing - keeping the market
balanced. If 11 million illegal immigrants were
suddenly paid equal wages, businesses would cut
and run from our shores so fast the American
economy would tank. There just are not enough
low-end jobs for all of them.
America has entered a "Talent Age," accord-
ing to New York Times columnist Thomas
Friedman. As he says, economic success in this
world has to be measured in latitudes, not in
longitudes. America can take advantage of its
immigration heritage to stimulate the economy.
In a competitive market, the United States can
leap ahead of everyone else should the govern-
ment decide to allow moderate legal immigra-
tion. If the talent is on our shores, the businesses
will follow the talent, not the tax breaks. The
United States cannot squander such an opportu-
nity at its doorstep.
As Mexican President Vicente Fox said to
Bush: "The ball's in your court." Bush kicked
that ball over to Capitol Hill - he has done his
part. Now it's up to Congress to send something
to the Oval Office that, with the president's sig-
nature, will effectively break down the fence
and welcome back the huddled (Latino) masses.
Bunkley is a LSA sophomore and
a member of the Daily's editorial board.

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