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September 14, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-14

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 14, 2006

OPINION

Cl4le Ci l igtt t 3 tti1

DONN . FRESARD
Editor in Chief

EMILY BEAM
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK JEFFREY BLOOMER
Editorial Page Editors Managing Editor
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
413 E. HURON
ANN ARBOR, MI 48104
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
It just made me so sad
that I can't be patriotic."
- Lincoln Park High School junior Ben Lewandowski, who was suspended for three days
for wearing a T-shirt with an American flag bumper sticker and the words "Remember 9/11"
on Monday. The suburban Detroit school district's new dress code prohibits students from
wearing clothing with writing or pictures, unless it supports a school organization.
A tale of two mistakes
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK

0

More pills, fewer abortions
Contraception shouldn't be so controversial
Pro-choice activists in the state of ning clinics in Michigan, however,
Michigan declared a recent vic- can only provide contraceptive care
tory when the Michigan Civil to 40 percent of these women.
Rights Commission ruled that under If more than half the women who
the state's civil rights act, women need such services and supplies in
must have access to birth control in Michigan are being ignored, it should
their prescription drug coverage. be no surprise that abortion has
Those denied birth control coverage become such a heated issue on the
will be able to file in court. The deci- state and national level. In a coun-
sion is undoubtedly one to applaud; try with one of the highest rates of
indeed, the new mandate will provide unplanned pregnancy in the industri-
more women access to contraception alized world - and where more than
and penalize employers who fail to 20 percent of such pregnancies end in
provide coverage. The fact remains, abortion - support for preventative
however, that while at least 24 other methods should be a top priority for
states have passed laws legalizing policymakers. Instead, in a stubborn
contraceptive coverage, similar bills effort to avoid getting entangled in
have repeatedly been suppressed in the subject of abortion, policymakers
the Michigan Legislature. Increasing often exacerbate the issue by creat-
access to contraception - and there- ing barriers that make it difficult for
by decreasing the number of unwant- women to obtain contraception.
ed pregnancies - ought to be a goal The shortsightedness of Michi-
both pro-choice and pro-life politi- gan and U.S. policymakers stands
cians can agree upon. in sharp contrast to the example of
Federal law only requires busi- Chile - a largely Catholic nation
nesses with more than 15 employees where abortion is illegal, but where
to cover contraception. In Michigan, contraception has just been made
where 60 percent of employers have available free of charge for all
fewer than 15 employees, such federal women over the age of 14. In doing
protection does little to promote con- so, the government is addressing the
traceptive equality; the MCRC's rul- root of the problem - namely that,
ing extends coverage to women whose regardless of religious affiliation,
health insurance is provided by such lack of access to contraceptives leads
an employer. It shouldn't have been to more unwanted pregnancies and
the MCRC's job, however, to ensure more women seeking abortions.
that women have access to birth con- In no other area of public health
trol in Michigan. Unfortunately, an outside of abortion would a preventa-
attempt by Republican legislators to tive health measure be so caught up in
appeal to a small, staunchly conser- party politics. Birth control not only
vative minority led to the repeated prevents unwanted pregnancies and
suppression of a contraceptive bill in the health risks associated with preg-
the state Legislature. nancy, but may also be prescribed for
Medical realities and the social other medical reasons. That the state
needs of women in this state make Legislature has repeatedly failed to
access to contraception necessary. address gender discrimination in the
Indeed, according to the Alan Gutt- form of unequal access to health care
macher Institute, at least 1.2 million is an example of just how intensely
women are in need of contracep- polarized the abortion issue has
tive service, and of these, 582,140 become. Thankfully, the MCRC had
women need publicly supported con- more sense than a Legislature which,
traceptive services because they have by its inaction, merely worsened the
incomes below the federal poverty very situation its anti-abortion mem-
level. Publicly funded family plan- bers seek to resolve.
ALEXANDER HONKALA FFTII CHUM 'BUCKET
~ _
\ ,
r - ' ' '

f the Daily
were a
person,
it'd have egg
' all over its
face right
about now.
As today's
front page
explains, an
editing error
led a story in Tuesday's Daily (Col-
lege Dems, Republicans gear up for
election season, 09/12/2006) to report
incorrectly that an intern hired by
the Republican National Commit-
tee, Morgan Wilkins, was planning
two rather shocking events to recruit
young voters to her cause. Wilkins,
who suggested a "Catch an Illegal
Immigrant Day" and a "Fun with
Guns" event where students coulduse
a BB gun or paintball gun to shoot
at cardboard cutouts of Democratic
senators, actually worked for the Col-
lege Republican National Commit-
tee, not RNC Chair Ken Mehlman's
better-known organization.
The Daily's news section screwed
this up, badly. I shudder to think
what will happen next time Demo-
cratic National Committee Chair
Howard Dean - who sent a letter to
Mehlman, based on our erroneous
report, to denounce the supposed
RNC activities - receives a resume
from some former Daily staffer.
But the error wasn't that severe;
all that happened was that the word
"College" was deleted from the
name of Wilkin's actual employer.
Though a CRNC spokesman inter-
viewed by The Associated Press was
quick to point out that Wilkins was
an "independent contractor" and that
her activities were not authorized,
he didn't deny that the group hired
her. And though the University of
Michigan College Republicans were
happy to distance themselves from
Wilkin's ideas after Tuesday's story,
she stood behind their table at Festi-
fall - which is where she described

the activities she was thinking about
to a Daily reporter.
Editing glitch aside, the fact
remains that an individual on the
payroll of a national Republican
organization thought that taking
potshots, literally, at cutouts of
Democratic leaders like Sen. Hill-
ary Clinton (NY.) and Sen. John
Kerry (Mass.) was an bright idea,
that there wouldn't be anything
wrong with awarding a prize to the
lucky vigilante student who finds a
volunteer "illegal immigrant" hid-
ing on campus.
Now, young people - of what-
ever political persuasion - are
often more fervent and less guard-
ed in their beliefs than their more
responsible elders. They're likely
to appreciate extremes that older,
wiser folks might recognize are a
bit too far out of the mainstream for
comfort. Truth be told, there might
be a few Democrats on this campus
who would enjoy a "Fun with Guns"
event with cardboard figures of the
Bush Administration - if my lefty
comrades weren't so gun-shy.
Republicans, though, currently
have a monopoly on appeals to rac-
ism and xenophobia, coded or oth-
erwise.
I'm sure that despite her seem-
ing lapse of judgment, Wilkins is a
skilled organizer - otherwise, the
chair of the Michigan State Univer-
sity College Republicans wouldn't
have sent out a press release yester-
day defending her.But she can'tclaim
the honor of thinking up "Catch an
Illegal Immigrant Day." The Young
Conservatives of Texas organiza-
tion at the University of North Texas
held such a day in 2005, handing out
candy bars to those students lucky
enough to capture an "illegal immi-
grant." College Republicans at Penn
State planned to do the same earlier
this year, though public outcry con-
vinced them to change their plans.
If "Catch an Illegal Immigrant
Day" is too controversial outside

Texas, perhaps that's only because
it's a bit too direct in its appeal to a
brand of xenophobia that isn't quite
fit for polite discussion nowadays.
Republicans know, however, that
they can fire up enthusiasm in a cer-
tain percentage of white voters by
appealing covertly to their lingering
racist and xenophobic beliefs.
That's not to say Democrats have
a clean history in this arena. Segre-
gationist Democrats, probably more
than any other factor, long delayed
federal civil rights legislation.
But after former President Rich-
ard Nixon rolled out the "South-
ern Strategy" for Republicans to
go after the votes of racist whites
by promoting states' rights - and
after racists like Strom Thurmond
and Jesse Helms, both originally
Democrats, switched parties - the
Republicans cornered the market
on racism. As the dispute within the
Republican Party over exactly how
hard-line of a position to take on
immigration has shown, the party
has been, if anything, too success-
ful in attracting the support of those
who wish dark-skinned immigrants
would just stay home.
Ignoring forthe moment the moral
aspects of Republican ties to intoler-
ance, it's a politically stupid move
in the long term. As the country has
become more diverse and less bla-
tantly racist, being perceived as the
defenders of America the Lily White
has become a liability for Republi-
cans. The party's efforts to reach out
to minority voters can charitably be
described as pathetic.
The Daily made a significant
mistake this week. The Republi-
cans, however, made a far larger one
decades ago, and it will likely take
them decades more to recover.
Zbrozek can be reached
atzbrozek@michigandaily.
com. As editorial page editor,
he is not involved in decisions
concerning the news section.

0

.4

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Send all letters to the editor to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.

4
I

Doctors smoking on their break
make for unusual scenery
TO THE DAILY:
Over the past four years, I have witnessed many dis-
turbing things as a frequent passenger on the University's
blue buses. Whether it's a singing bus driver who has too
many close calls with hitting pedestrians or the token loud
cell-phone guy, there are plenty of interesting happenings
to see on the bus. However, as Iride the commuter past the
hospital, I get really pissed while I look out the window.
Could someone explain while there are hordes of hospital
doctors and nurses smoking outside in their scrubs?
Put aside all of the facts about smoking that people
either accept or ignore. Are these people mad? Do
they change their scrubs when they go back to treating
patients? Do they care about setting an example of good
health habits? Do they just want to promote job security
for pulmonologists and cardiologists?
The University Hospital is world-renowned, and some
of the most brilliant men and woman work there. Heck,
there's that new edgy TV commercial about it. However,
when pass hospital workers smoking on a corner of East
Medical Center Drive, I see a hospital with some weak-
minded and pathetic workers wasting tax dollars.
Jamie Shenk
Engineering senior

Notes, 09/13/2006) to students being held at gun-
point on the streets. I never expected anything
like that to personally affect me. On Monday
night, however, a man broke into my on campus
house on Arch Street, near campus, and threat-
ened to kill my roommate with a large butcher
knife. My roommates and I were neurotic about
locking doors and leaving lights on before this
happened - we did everything right - and we
were still victimized.
Two days later, there is still no mention of it in
the Daily; the story did appear in the Ann Arbor
News. I'm shocked that a paper devoted to report-
ing on "campus news" has neglected to inform the
rest of the student population about this incident.
Since this has happened, I have personally told
everyone I know to lock their doors and windows
- if something like this can happen to my room-
mates and me, it can happen to anyone. I don't
want any of my friends to feel scared to be in their
own homes as my roommates do now. I'm very
disappointed that the Daily would fail to report
this story.
Krista Klein
Engineering senior
Editor's note: The Ann Arbor News story on this incident
reports that police have arrested a suspect in the case.

VIEWPOINT
Welcome to America

BY JEREMY DAvIDsON
In an 1898 campaign speech, French politician
Maurice Barr6s told voters that French work-
ers were being poisoned by "the foreigner, like
a parasite" Barres also warned the crowd about
the dangers of "excessively cosmopolitan - or
rather excessively German - socialism which
would weaken the defense of the fatherland."
In the same speech, Barres labeled Jews as an
enemy to the French republic. To Barres and the
right-wingers he was appealing to, Jews and other
"foreigners" were not French.
One might hope that more than a hundred years
later, politicians would be able to keep these sen-
timents out of politics - if not out of their lives
completely. But alas, xenophobia is a problem we
still face today.
About a month ago, Sen. George Allen (R-Va.)
was visited at a rally by a young man named S.R.
Sidarth, who was sent by Allen's opponent to
record video footage of the event. Sidarth had
introduced himself to Allen before the rally, but
as it began, Allen turned to Sidarth, and referring
to him as "Macaca" (a word that refers to a genus
of monkeys, and which is used as a racial slur
in some countries), said: "Welcome to America,
and the real world of Virginia."
Sidarth did not need to be welcomed to Amer-

ica. He is an American by birth. But to Allen -
and the 46 percent of Virginian voters who still
support him - apparently that doesn't matter.
Allen's remarks demonstrate the way that some
extremely ignorant Americans define the term
"American." Ironically, both Allen and Webb
have repeatedly made claims that they represent
the "real Virginia"
In light of Allen's comments, it may not sur-
prise you that there has never been a Muslim
elected to the U.S. Congress despite the fact that
millions of Muslims live in America. Keith Elli-
son hopes to change that. Yesterday, Ellison won
the Democratic primary for the 5th Congressio-
nal district of Minnesota, which encompasses
Minneapolis. Ellison converted to Islam when he
was 19 years old, while studying at Wayne State
University in Detroit.
Ellison's candidacy is an encouraging sign.
Running in a heavily Democratic district, he
has a very good chance of success this Novem-
ber. However, his primary win in his district is a
limited victory against religious prejudices; it's
doubtful that a Muslim candidate would stand a
chance in a more conservative area.
As Americans, let's hope it gets better.
Davidson is an LSA junior and a
member of the Daily's editorial board.

Daily unfair in comparing used
book prices to new book prices preferences,
not affirmative action
TO THE DAILY:
I have been following the recent articles on textbooks TO THE DAILY:
prices in your paper, and I must say I am disappointed A letter from University President Mary Su
with the Daily's recent journalism techniques. I have Coleman sent to the University community or
noticed a trend for at least five years in which the Daily Sept. 8 includes - inadvertently, I am sure -
has been consistently bashing the Shaman Drum Book- serious mistake. Referring to the Michigan Civi
store. The most recent incarnation of this was in the arti- Rights Initiative, she describes it as a ballot pro
cle Save Money on Books (09/08/2006), which compared posal "to ban affirmative action." That is certainli
book prices at most of the textbook shops around town not correct.
against those of Amazon and Half.com. Affirmative action can mean many differen
I can't tell if it was poor journalism or simply an honest things. Avoiding that ambiguity, MCRI does no
mistake, but, after doing my own research, it was obvious mention affirmative action. It would ban only dis
that the article compared Shaman's new text book prices crimination and preferences, by national origin, se
with used prices from all the other venues. Simply put, or race. The distinction is very important becaus
the comparison is unfair and biased. Shaman Drum is an there are many forms of affirmative action that ar
independently owned business, unlike the other corpo- not preferential and are universally supported. Th
rately owned businesses it was being compared to - and MCRI will not affect these in any way.
as you probably know, negative publicity can really dam- Some people use the phrase "affirmative action
age a small business a lot. to refer to ethnic preferences with a more palatabl

ie
)n
a
it
iy
nt
it
S-
x
e
e
e
"
le

Lock your doors and9
face man with butch
To THE DAILY:
In my three years at this sc
countless notices of crime o
ing from "Workers' dust trigge

Cristina Mezuk name. In the light of that usage, the State Board of
Class of 2005 Canvassers settled upon ballot language (the lan-
guage voters will it see at the polls) which says, cor-
rectly, that the MCRI will "ban affirmative action
win lows or programs that give preferential treatment to groups
or individuals based on their race, gender, color,
er knife ethnicity or national origin for public employment,
education, or contracting purposes."
An accurate understanding of what the Michigan
hool, I have read Civil Rights Initiative says is important for us all.
n campus, rang- Carl Cohen
rs alarm" (Crime Professor

4

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